My favorite time to get acquainted with a city is early in the morning when the weather is at its best and the air is fresh. The few precious hours following the dawn offer the best photo opportunities, before the tourists and street-ramblers flood the city and spoil the scenery for a good picture of a fountain, bridge, cathedral, or the duomo. More importantly, there is also just something amazing about watching a city awaken, observing the lifeless streets as they gradually come alive and burst with activity.
The sun rose over Florence, Italy, at 6:38 a.m., slowly illuminating the classic edifices that cast their shadows on the almost-too-narrow cobblestone streets. I wanted to be outside in the cool morning air before the heat came. The river shimmered as it flowed under numerous arches, including the Ponte Veccio, boasted as one of the oldest medieval bridges in Italy. Large wooden boxes with giant chains and padlocks occupied much of the bridge’s interior walls. As the shopkeepers slowly appeared, they swung open the lids of these ugly boxes and transformed them into quaint, yet attractive, tourist shops. These shops hung out over the water, slanting and sagging. Gondolas passed by on the river every once in a while, with a faint splash of the oars.
As the sun shone more brightly, eliminating the shadows on the buildings and revealing their true color; black gave way to chocolate brown, as the drab gray turned bluish. A distant tower materialized across the bridge, a brown stone structure, resembling a castle monolith. I continued walking down the sidewalks, capturing everything on film. Some of my best pictures are created in the soft rays of the morning light.
One restaurant worker, equipped with a green apron, wiped the outside tables with cherry-red cloths and swept underneath the tables. A typical breakfast in Europe consists of fruit, pastries, bread, and spread (usually chocolate). Florence was no different. Driven by hunger, the sweet smells lured me into the eatery.
Once inside I met one of the few other people who were awake at such an early hour without the reason of needing to go to work. The waiter led me over to a blue and green swirled table, where I dined beside an Italian-speaking man. This man, whose name was Carmello, did not view the language barrier as a problem. He continued to chatter in his beautiful Italian to me, even though most of the time I could offer only a smile and a blank gaze in return. Still, he didn’t give up trying to converse with me, offering me biscotti and pointing out city sights on my tourist map.
Outside the restaurant, the hubbub was reaching its peak. Honking horns and other traffic sounds came infrequently from those brave enough to make an attempt at maneuvering their vehicles through the hustle and bustle. Except for one section of town by the library where motorcyclists kept driving in, parking, and then dashing off to their desired destinations and except for the few Peugot drivers, everyone else walked or traveled by bike. Professional-looking women dressed in short skirts and tan suit jackets and men in darker suits rode their bikes as if they were wearing casual clothing.
Soon the early morning aroma of baking bread was lost, snatched away by a breeze from the river, and replaced by the stench of tobacco and cigarette smoke. The sidewalks filled up with the loud noises of chattering Italians, a cell phone in one hand and a cigarette in the other. Many of these Firenzians were always smiling and laughing, and like Carmello, they seemed ready to make conversation with anyone, especially foreigners.
Florence was fully awake, and after my breakfast, so was I. I was ready to start the day, content in knowing that I had beaten the tourists and had already seen Florence the way it really is.
The game, “L.A. Noire,” developed by Team Bondi and published by Rockstar, puts players in the role of fast-rising detective, Cole Phelps. Although gamers may associate the name, “Rockstar” with violent titles centered around murderous sociopaths, Phelps is a peace officer. His role, as a member of the LAPD, is to investigate crime scenes for clues and interrogate suspects and witnesses to obtain new leads and information.
Searching for evidence is easy. Players are guided through the process with the help of a variety of sound cues that are impossible to miss.
On the other hand, the L.A. Noire interrogation system may seem simple, but in reality, it can prove to be confusing and frustrating for new players. An interrogation will usually play out as follows:
Phelps asks the Person of Interest (P.O.I.) a question. Questions are chosen by the player from a list in the detective’s notebook.
The person being interrogated replies with a a concise answer. It is important to note any peculiarities in the Person of Interest’s facial expressions – both during and after their response. If the individual appears to be uncomfortable after their statement, they are likely hiding something important.
Phelps must then respond in an attempt to get the Person of Interest to further divulge information. The player is given three options: Truth, Doubt, and Lie. Choose wisely; there is only one correct answer.
It’s all too easy to botch an investigation if the player isn’t aware of what each response truly entails. Poor communication can lead to a witness or suspect refusing to talk further with Phelps, resulting in the loss of vital information.
Listed below is a breakdown of each interrogation response:
Choose “Truth” when the P.O.I. doesn’t appear to behave suspiciously during or after their response. Continual eye contact and a serious demeanor are the usual signs that the person being interviewed is telling Phelps the truth.
A person behaves suspiciously while answering a question. The P.O.I. smirks, their eyes shift about, and they seemingly cannot maintain eye contact with Phelps to save their life. It is obvious that the person isn’t being honest, but there isn’t any sort of evidence to prove it. Choose “Doubt” to pressure a dishonest person into telling Phelps the full story.
A Person of Interest’s statement is directly contradicted by a previously-discovered clue. Challenge the deceiver and bring truth to light by presenting them with the indisputable piece of evidence. Only choose “Lie” when concrete evidence exists that conflicts with a given statement.
The game allows some leeway by offering “intuition points.” These bonuses reward correct responses and allow players to eliminate incorrect responses in future interrogations. These freebies are scarce and should be used sparingly. Players should instead rely on their understanding of the interrogation system to solve cases.
Turbo Jam has often been compared to Taebo by many of customers who bought both of these videos. Comparing Taebo to Turbo Jam is a pretty easy conclusion because the very nature of these two popular weight loss exercise videos follow similar plans, routines, and music.
Here is a look at Turbo Jam versus Taebo from the perspective of someone trying to loose 20 pounds.
Cost is always a deciding factor with me, so I usually will start here when comparing two products. Basically, there is a clear winner here and that is Taebo.
You can buy Taebo DVDs and videos for less than $20 a pop to get you started. If you want to do Turbo Jam to loose weight, then you are looking at a minimum investment of about $50 to get started.
You will really need to spend about $80 with Turbo Jam if you want to get weights and the videos. This is a package though, which is why it costs more. The weights are huge part of this workout program though.
Taebo is the winner because you can also find them easily at your local super center, which is probably why they cost so much less. Turbo Jam is only available online or over the phone.
So, the routines are sort of similar, which is what led to the comparison of these two work out videos in the first place. You are standing, punching, and moving about on the floor. Ok, that is a little generalized.
Basically, Taebo makes me feel like I am doing a lot of standing, squeezing, and punching in controlled movements. I do feel like I get more of a touch of aerobics with the Turbo Jam.
Neither work out video requires a step stool to get started, like traditional aerobics, so they have less impact on the old knees.
You can choose timed routines with both systems. Beginners usually begin at intervals of less than 30 minutes and work their way up, adding more with and time as they progress.
I honestly have to say it is something of a tie here. The routines really are similar!
Both use music to get you going, get your energized, and keep you motivated. The music is similar on some level. Lots of beat, few words, and tons of techno sounds. Personally, I don’t love the music in either Turbo Jam or Taebo, but I do find the music less annoying from Taebo.
Neither type of music is something I would listen to at nay other point in the day, unless maybe I was a teenager going to a Rave….
You really can get results with both of the work out systems. This is why they are so popular. I recommend renting a Taebo DVD from Netflix or buying one used on the web. Try is out. If you like it stick with it. If you are not motivated enough, then try this same idea with Turbo Jam.
You can find either one for sale for less on Ebay, and you will loose weight if you follow their routines.
This summer will have many people rediscovering their need for home improvements now that the economy is improving. While some tax benefits have ended for buying homes there is always a place for writing off the interest on home improvement loans and benefits to improving the value of your home and making it more to your liking. The tax credit for consumer energy efficiency runs out in December so take advantage of that now. Here’s what many people will be doing this summer and what you can expect to find in home improvement stores this spring.
The movement to be green, as in better for the environment and not the color, has certainly gained popularity in all segments of contemporary American society. Whether you insulate your house or simply replace your incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent ones, green is certainly a way to go.
Green doesn’t just mean doing things with energy. It can also mean buying locally grown produce for your kitchen, making woodworking projects out of scrap wood, or buying furniture that has been made from some recycled materials.
Energy costs have been a huge topic over the past two years when gas prices soared and we realized our dependence upon foreign sources of energy. This year the focus has been squarely on the electrical grid and spewing carbon into the air with coal.
To reduce your own costs on energy this summer is perfect to insulate your house, seal the cracks in your windows, and get an energy evaluation. Even something as simple as an electronic thermostat can help reduce your cooling costs this summer.
Making space is always a priority in your home, from the basement to the attic. Do some space saving measures this year by doing two simple things. First, have a summer garage sale. Weekends in June are nice in that there may not be as much rain and it’s not unbearably hot yet.
The second thing to do is evaluate your closets. What can be done to make things smaller so you have more space? Whether you get fancy space bags or hangers that fold down and save room, getting your space in shape for summer can be a small project with big dividends.
Instead of getting an entirely new furniture regimen for your living room go with a few accents here and there to spruce up the place. Your small addition can be a corner shelf to a new television that will make your space more updated.
Make your space more relaxed and cozier this summer by adding one or two things that will break up the space. A bean bag chair here or a foot rest there can break up the pattern of your living room nicely without having to do much.
Improving your walls may not have anything do with drywall or adding insulation. A wall hanging, no matter the type, is a great way to improve the look of your home. Whether you get a reproduction of a Renoir or the deer you bagged last November, just about anything will do as long as it fits your tastes.
If you want to do something slightly more drastic you can add a new light switch or electrical outlet to make your room do a bit more than it used to. The outlet can be used to plug in that new lamp you’ve always wanted.
Get away from the mundane world or work or the cold temperatures of northern America at Ilsamorado, Florida. A string of Florida Keys island stretch from the Everglades National Park and the Florida Straits. Six separate island comprise the municipality of Ilsamorado; Upper Matecumbe Key, Plantation Key, Lignumvitae Key, Lower Matecumbe Key, Indian Key and Windley Key. Ilsamorado is known as the “Sport Fishing Capital of the World.”
History of Diving Museum
Take a tour and gain a better understanding of man’s quest to investigate the deepest depths of the sea. Browse display which exhibit the invention and progress of diving and snorkeling gear over the past 100 years. Learn what living and working underwater is like with the Aquarius Team research laboratory interactive program. Artifacts and photographs from more than 30 countries are on display at the museum.
The outdoor recreational area features 40 acres of green space and hundreds of free activities year around. Plantation Harbor Marina is located inside the park’s boundaries and offers water sports and sightseeing charters. A white sandy beach and swimming area offers a family friendly environment with water shallow enough for young children to play safely in the waves. Founders Park Watersports Area features a picnic area with charcoal grills as well as pedal boat and kayak rentals. Additional park amenities include an outdoor swimming pool., sports courts and fields, dog park and a fishing jetty. Once a month movies are shown at night from a screen hoisted above the swimming pool. You can float around on a raft with the kids and catch a Disney or Pixar flick. Watch local and regional performers at the Amphitheater each weekend.
Diving and Snorkeling Locations
Secure a private boat charter or join in a public tour of the natural and man-madeunderwater reefs which border the islands of Ilsamorado. The Eagle reef surrounds a nearly 300 foot long ship which was sunk in 110 feet below the surface. School of tarpon and grunt swim around the wreckage. Alligator Reef is located next to a historic lighthouse. After the USS Alligator sunk in 1822, the boat’s remains were claimed by underwater flora and sea creatures. Snorkel around Davis Reef and mingle with green morays and schools of snapper. Cast a line along the 450 foot long Crocker Wall and try your luck at snagging tournament size yellowtail and grouper.
Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park
The park was created by fossilized coral and limestone. The land once belonged to the Florida East Coast Railroad. A keystone quarry produced rocks which were shipped around the world to adorn yards and businesses. Strap on your hiking boots and traverse the rugged trail around the rim of the quarry walls and view antique machines once used to remove and transport massive rocks from the back country. The visitor’s center showcases educational exhibits and artifacts from the areas early history. Additional recreational opportunities include guided tours, picnic area and wildlife viewing areas.
Theater of the Sea Marine Mammal Park
The park offers so many things to do, you may have to plan a second visit just to get to all of them. Choose your favorite marina animal and get in line to play with them in the water. The mammal park is home to dolphins, sting rays and sea lions. Take a dip in the salt water lagoon and communicate with dolphins before receiving a dorsal fin tow back to shore. All of the interactive animal encounters take place in no more than 15 feet of water. If getting into a swimsuit in public isn’t on the top of your “to do” list, opt for a glass bottom boat tour of the waterway instead. Four hour snorkeling cruises include a tour of Lignumvitae Key Botanical Park and Indian Key Historic State Park. Don’t forget to save time for the parrot show and a visit to the gift shop before departing.
As an independent lady with limited funds, I became tired of calling the local handy man to solve my to-do list around the house and decided to start conquering the home improvement projects myself. After countless hours of research, I compiled a list of the Top 10 DIY Home Improvement blog sites to tackle almost any project. These websites can help you wield that hammer in your hand with more confidence and mark off that to-do list.
Written by two couples in Baltimore, Maryland, www.oneprojectcloser.com is a gem. In addition to traditional how-to articles, this blog also offers a forum for users to post questions for experts (or people who just know more than us) to answer.
This blog has an extensive archive of articles that covers topics from the roof to the basement and everything in between. www.homeconstructionimprovement.com.
Why read a how-to article when you can watch a video blog? www.askthebuilder.com has a library of how-to videos that walk the inexperienced DIYer through projects, such as laying tile and grouting. Sign up for the newsletter and have tips and tricks delivered to your email weekly.
www.pioneerthinking.com is a general lifestyle site, but it has a great DIY section with thoughtful tips for those of us who don’t know anything about projects, such as repairing drywall or fixing a dishwasher. Click on Easy Home Repairs under the Home and Family Section.
Home and Garden Magazine has a fantastic home improvement website, www.homeandfamilynetwork.com/homeimprovement/index.html. This site is very helpful for a novice in home improvement and provides information on budgeting and planning a remodel and a first timer’s guide to operating power tools.
Home builder Mark J. Donovan shares his passion for home building and improvement on his blog, www.homeaddition.blogspot.com. He offers his experience in home construction with easy to read articles and hints and tips to make a potentially stressful remodel experience smoother.
Who in the world of home improvement doesn’t know the iconic name Bob Vila? Bob has brought his expertise to the web in his blog ‘On the Level.’ New technology in home improvement is one of the many topics covered.
Tweens – those kids who aren’t quite teen-agers yet but who are too old to be called little kids. It usually means the ages between 10 and 12. Most kids that age are aware of the basic swimming rules, or at least one would think so but it isn’t always true. At this age the love to rough house and try to outdo each other so swimming pool games can get a bit rough. Parents and care givers should constantly be reminding them of pool safety especially when playing swimming pool games. Here are few of the swimming pool games kids enjoy and how you can help keep your child safe in the pool.
Volleyball in the Pool
You can find several games that tweens can play in the water such as volleyball that involves the use of some type of equipment. The rules are very similar to a regular volleyball game with each team trying to score points by getting the other team to miss hitting the ball. Volleyball in the water can get just as intense as it does on land. Make sure your tween understands that getting smashed in the face with a ball is easier in the water and it is also easier to slam into others as the playing area is usually much smaller. You can help with swimming pool game safety by buying equipment that is designed just for the pool. These are usually much softer than the real balls. Make sure everyone understands the rules before the games begin and remove those who don’t follow them immediately for a time out.
This is one of those games not only tweens but adults love to play in the water. There are two teams, as a rule, and two people on a team. One member of the team sits on the other one’s shoulders. The goal is simple. Knock your opponent down before they knock you down. This game can get very dangerous if the teams are not in the middle of the pool. You run the risk of kids falling onto the sides of the pool or the concrete floor. Things can get a little rough when the kids are trying to topple each other as well. If you are going to allow chicken fights in the water establish some ground rules for your tweens. The must be in the middle of the pool and the teams should be evenly balanced strength wise.
Find the Object
Tweens love to play diving games where someone tosses either pennies, or weighted items into the water and they sink to the bottom. The kids dive to find them. This is a favorite swimming pool games for kids of all ages. When kids all dive at once for the objects heads can bump. There is also the risk of a child who does not swim well getting into water too deep for him. If your tween is going to play this swimming pool game make sure he wears goggles so that his eyes are always open and he can see where he is diving. Be very clear about where the game is allowed to be played. For example, you might not let the kids play in anything over 4 feet of water.
When you do these simple things swimming pool games for your tweens can be fun. Kids love the water and they will literally spend hours in it playing games. You can keep them happy, entertained and safe this summer easily.
Many use different things to cover the furniture. This will keep the cushions clean or if worn cover it up. Throws are used most often. Covering the seat or the whole chair with a sheet is an idea. Also covering the sofa or loveseat with thin plastic with keep it clean another is to purchase furniture covers. The furniture covers can be very costly. Then they never fit. Each of these will move every time they are sat on. The covering has to be straighten when used. Having fabric recovered is also costly. There are ways to make a cover for the furniture cushions. This is a tip to make one that will not need adjusting. They are inexpensive to make depending on the material chosen. They also can be taken off to be washed.
Furniture cushion covers can be made with any kind of fabric. Some that are less expensive is sheets or blankets. The cushions on the sofa, chairs or loveseats are different sizes. In this case it may take more then one to cover them. Having a queen or king size will work well. Of course the material used would need to match the back. A solid color is great.
These are things needed to make and do the covers. First things are the cloth with thread. Also scissors, measuring tape, pins and sewing machine are needed. Now measure the cushions front to back, side to side and thickness. Next, cut the material chosen by the measurements giving an extra inch for seams. It will take a top and bottom for one cushion. Cut the bottom part which should be shorter. Allow five inches more. Now fold it from side to side and cut to have two bottoms. This will be for the seam and to lap over on the underneath. Then four strips for front back and sides.
After the cover is cut it is time to put it together. With the pins attach the strips together. Now stitch them together until all ends are sewn. Usually chair cushion are not square. So there should be two long and two shorter slips. Next, turn the fabric where the good side is in to sew. Take the sewn strips then pin the front to the pieces. Then sew down one side to corner all but a quarter of an inch from end. Lift the pressure foot to turn the material. Once the cloth is turned sew about an inch then back stitch to end. Repeat this until all of it is attached.
Now it is time to do the back or bottom of seat. Since it was cut bigger measure the top allow one inch for seam. Next, seam each one of the bottom pieces one inch side to side. Then lay flat placing them together overlapping the seamed sides. Measure it to get it the same size as the top. Attach the overlap with a pin on both ends. With making sure everything is turned right repeat the same as top.
When finished just turn then take a pin to pull the corners out completely. This way they actually look like corners. The cushion itself will have to be folded to place it in the cover. It will be a tight fit. But it will look neat, cover any torn places, and also keep it clean.
One of the oldest techniques of body hair removal goes by the name of threading. It is more popular in the Middle East and India, but is also used in some Western beauty parlors. Rolling twisted cotton threads over unkempt hair lines and pulling out the unsightly hair is how threading is done. It is so much healthier for the skin and will not result in an ingrown hair; this is the main reason for its continued popularity. It is a temporary technique as opposed to laser hair removal with is safe, if done right, and long lasting.
Believed to have originated in Turkey, threading is used in many places. It is known as khite in Arabic and the Egyptians call it fatlah and both cultures use it to remove hair from the eyebrows, upper lip, the chin and cheeks. In many countries, including India, beauty salons have employees skilled in this ancient art. Some cosmetologists in the west have chosen to practice threading as well and favor it to remove eyebrow hair.
How threading is done
The skilled practitioner holds one side of a cotton thread between the teeth and the other in the left hand to perform threading. The middle of the cotton thread is looped through the index and middle fingers of the right hand and the loop is used to grab the hair and pull it from its place on the skin.
More commonly used on facial areas, threading may also be used on lower parts of the body such as the belly button area, the pelvic region, and even on the toes and tops of feet. One fact about threading must be remembered and that is it must be performed by a thoroughly trained person and takes months to perfect. Nothing could be more painful than an unskilled person performing threading.
Advantages of threading
Several advantages of threading over other methods of hair removal include; threading is inexpensive as well as virtually painless so it won’t hurt your body as well as your pocket book; it’s a fast method as opposed to other methods; threading is convenient for removing all forms of facial hair and last for two to four weeks; its suitable for all skin types, so if your skin is too sensitive for laser hair removal threading maybe a better option; it has none of the pain accompanied with waxing and no disgusting smells or allergic reactions from using lotions or creams. Only fifteen minutes are needed to do both eyebrows, so that makes eyebrow threading particularly popular. Threading is a good alternative to most hair removal methods, but there are some disadvantages.
Disadvantages of threading
The hardest part is finding a skilled practitioner to perform this method and it can be painful if done improperly. It has a few side effects such as, a bacterial infection of the hair follicles called folliculitis and reddening of the skin where the threading is performed. Another major drawback of threading is it only works on flat surfaces which make it difficult to perform on the bikini line and the knees. If you suffer from acne you should not use threading because it can cause sever acne to be ruptured. Even with these set backs, threading and shaving have a superior advantage to other methods.
I’ve been tutoring for the past three years. Currently, I am a junior at a local university and work with other college students as well as elementary, junior high, and high school students. When I first started tutoring, I had no idea what I was getting into. I thought it was going to be a rewarding and satisfying experience. And it has been. However, it is far more difficult than I ever thought it would be. If you are considering becoming a tutor, there are some things you need to know.
First, I want to reassure you that there are a lot of benefits that come with tutoring. The pay can be one of the biggest advantages. Most tutoring services start around $20 an hour and if you are qualified to instruct in an extremely difficult subject – such as calculus – you may make over $100 an hour. Salaries are even larger if you have a graduate degree.
Another advantage that comes with tutoring (albeit a less tangible one) is the knowledge that you are helping another human being. Unlike some occupations (*cough* telemarketing *cough*), tutoring is extremely fulfilling and meaningful. I feel good about going to work because I know that I’m making someone’s life a little easier.
One more significant benefit to tutoring is that it allows you to learn while you educate. Since many of my students have mental or physical disabilities, I have learned a great deal about both behavioral and physical disorders. I have also learned how to cope with different learning styles and how to motivate students.
With that said, I wouldn’t want you to blindly invest yourself in a profession without understanding the potential downsides. Each age group has its own unique disadvantages.
If you are tutoring elementary, junior high, or even high school grades, you will inevitably end up dealing with the parents as much as the children. Most of the parents I deal with are fairly pleasant; I even got Christmas gifts from some of them. However, you will undoubtedly run into some issues with parents who don’t fully understand what tutoring is. They may expect you to baby sit their kids, to do their work for them, etc.
Another issue that commonly arises among young kids is that they don’t understand the need for tutoring, and therefore consider it to just be another thing that cuts into their free time. It’s difficult to encourage kids to care about their education when all they want to do is go out and play or watch TV. You may be able to win over most of your students, but some will be stubborn.
One difficulty that I have occasionally is incompetent teachers. Now, when I say this, I do not mean to criticize the teaching profession. Most of you care about your students and are working hard on their behalf. However, I still will sometimes run into a teacher who is incorrectly teaching a student something. One student of mine was taught MLA formatting completely wrong. What’s worse is that many teachers feel “competition” with a tutor, which is even more problematic.
If you’re working with college age students, you will face different challenges, especially if you’re working at a tutoring facility run by the college or university. Many students will come in simply because their instructor or professor is offering extra credit for those who get help on their papers. These students don’t think there’s anything wrong with their papers and expect you to just look it over, smile, and give them the thumbs up. Unfortunately, most of papers have poor writing quality, but these students can’t see that.
Another problem is that many students who come in for college tutoring expect to hand over their paper or assignment and have the tutor proofread or do it for them. Unfortunately, tutoring is about teaching someone to better his or her skills in a particular area. If tutors simply fix the problem instead of showing the student how to do it, what is the point of tutoring? The student will never learn how to do it on his or her own.
Tutoring has the potential to be a very gratifying experience. There are definite downsides – as with any job – but if you can handle these disadvantages, tutoring might be a good choice.