Buzzy buzz around affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is one of the most popular ways for home business owners to promote their companies. But at the same time, affiliate marketing is a great way for anybody to start a home based business. So as you can see, affiliate marketing works from both sides of the business world. If you have never heard of this sort of marketing technique you are not alone. Generally speaking, it has just become popular among the masses over the past couple of years. And even though there are a lot of people that are using this technique, there are still many more that are out in the dark. The most common reason that people do not get started in affiliate marketing is because they are not aware of what it entails. They are afraid to give it a shot because they simply think that it will be a waste of time. The good thing is that affiliate marketing is not hard to understand. The basic definition is that affiliate marketing is a method of promoting websites in a way that affiliates are rewarded for sending visitors or customers to other sites.

As far as affiliate marketing is concerned, compensation varies depending on the type of program that you are involved with. In some cases you will get paid or have to pay for each visitor that you send or receive. In other cases, compensation is based purely on customers buying products or services. If you are looking for a way to promote your home business, affiliate marketing can help. What you will do is find affiliates that are willing to promote your site to others for you. The good thing about this is that you do not have to pay them unless they meet the specifications that are set forth; this usually includes pay per click, or pay per sale.

This means that you will get a lot of promotion without having to do any work on your own. Most people prefer pay per sale programs because they will never have to pay out any money unless they get a sale. On the other side of things, there are many people that make a living by affiliate marketing. The way this is done is by getting involved with as many programs as possible. You can then set up different websites that will drive traffic to your affiliate’s sites. When this happens, you will get paid! Affiliate marketing for a home internet business is a great way to get promotion. Do not be one of those people that overlook this option because it sounds too complicated. Affiliate marketing is worth a shot. Who knows, it may be all you need to take your earnings to the next level!



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Blog marketing and home businesses

Blog Marketing and Home Businesses Blog marketing is something that all blog owners do. They market their blog so that they can get readers, and make a profit from their blogs. Marketing their blog means to get it out there so that others that are interested in it can find it and read it. It is also a great way to sell things by using affiliate links and programs. Blog marketing can very well become a home business if that is something that you are interested in. Having a home business by blog marketing would definitely entail that you have more than one blog. If this is something that you are considering, you will want to make a list of markets that your blogs can cover. You will find that your blogs will do best when you only have one market per blog. For example, if you have a blog about cats, you will not want to include anything on the blog about kitchen appliances. This is because the readers that read your blog and visit your blog to learn more about cats and what you have to say about them will not be interested in learning anything about kitchen appliances. Once you have overcome the relevancy issue, you will be ok. You can however, have a blog about pets, and then blog about all of the many pets that you want to include. In order to make a living by blog marketing, you need to know every aspect of it. You need to know what needs to be done to get readers to your blog, how to write about the things that you are promoting and how to get it up in search engine rankings. Doing so will lead to successful blog marketing and making a home business income with it. One big aspect of blog marketing is SEO. SEO is search engine optimization and it consists of optimizing your blog so that the search engines will find it and rank it as high as possible. Which also leads to more traffic and leads from your blog. If you do not have time to learn SEO, and apply it to all of your blogs, hiring someone to do this for you might be something that you want to consider. Especially if time is an issue. Outsourcing much of your work is something that you will need to get used to if you plan on making a substantial amount of money with your blogs. You may want to hire bloggers or writers that can write the content for your blogs, and someone else that can leave comments on other blogs with a link back to yours. Spread out all of the duties on a spread sheet and decide how often each thing needs to be done for each blog. Doing so will help you to be more organized and know what you need to do when, as well as prioritize. Using a spread sheet will also help you to keep track of who is doing what, and keep you from asking more than one person to get one job done. Blog marketing for a home business is not much different from any other home business. You are going to get out of it what you put into it. If you only put in a couple of hours a week into your blogs, you can not expect to make a full time income with them. However, being consistent and working on your blogs every chance that you get will pay off in the long run. You will also discover that there is no better feeling in the world than owning your own home business, and working for yourself. Just remember to start small, and work hard. That is all you need to become successful at blog marketing and make the income that you are dreaming of. All of your hard work will pay off if you are persistent and keep it up. Word count 661



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Seven deadly trading mistakes part one

By studying at the most frequent reasons for failure, we can avoid making the same mistakes as the crowd, and thus turn these negative points into positives. In this series of articles, I will be looking at the seven most common mistakes I see made by traders. Mistake Number One - Switching Strategies or "The Hunt For The Holy Grail" The holy grail of trading - we've all looked for it - the super system that never loses. We've searched forums, read books, been to seminars, discussed in chatrooms, but the secret system that wins every time continues to elude us. Why do we waste so much time and effort searching for something that doesn't - cannot even - exist? Because it's far easier than facing up to the reality that trading isn't quite as simple as buying when a magic indicator says "buy" and selling when it says "sell", and watching the endless profits roll in. Actually, it is almost a simple as that, but we'll come to that later in this series. For the moment, the important thing is, that there is no holy grail-always-wins trading system. The grail hunt is a highly destructive behavioral pattern that affects almost every trader at some point in their career. Typically, the trader starts by learning a system or strategy, and trading it for a short period of time. The strategy may prove profitable almost immediately, or may incur an early loss. Either way, sooner or later a loss will happen, and equally inevitably, a run of losses will occur together. At this point, the trader decides that this is not the system for them, and heads off in search of a new method. In jumping from system to system in this manner, the trader never gives a strategy time enough to prove itself over the long term. All systems involve some losing trades, that's the nature of the markets, but as long as a strategy has positive expectancy overall (that is to say, it will on average win more than it loses), those losses are of no importance. Action: As traders, we must accept that fact that losses are to be expected, and stick to our chosen system for long enough to prove or disprove its expected long-term outcome. In doing so, we break the grail hunt cycle and overcome one of the biggest obstacles to our success. As a final note on this subject, I want to add a word about forums and chatrooms. Whilst these are undoubedtly excellent sources of information and ideas, they can be very dangerous in fueling the cycle of strategy jumping. The nature of these resources means that they continually offer new ideas, and to the trader that means new temptations. By all means test out or paper trade new ideas alongside a live strategy, but beware of becoming a forum-follower and re-entering that pattern of always jumping aboard the 'next big thing'. In the next article, I'm going to look at trading plans, and why failing to plan means planning to fail.



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Online insurance the end of the high street broker

Once the insurance salesman visited you, then you visited his office. Now you pick up your phone or click your mouse. Does the Internet herald the end of the high street insurance broker in Britain? When I was a lad, some 25 years ago, the Insurance Company called to your door every month to collect your life insurance premium. My recollection is of a drab suited man having to run the gauntlet of neighbourhood dogs rather like the postman. Then through the eighties more and more people found their wages being deposited directly into hastily set up bank accounts; this led to the standing order for paying all sorts of regular bills including insurances and heralded the demise of the door to door representative. An economy quickly realised by big insurance companies in the UK. Then during the nineties big firms latched on to the idea of “direct” which is a handy abbreviation for cutting out the middle man. Just watch tv or listen to the radio toady and you are sure to observe this direct and that direct. The purpose of this in the world of insurance is to cut out the traditional high street broker and the percentage paid to them wherever possible. The advent of the Internet and its increasing usage in most homes up and down Britain has accelerated the “direct” phenomenon. The big boys have quickly realised that websites are cheap to build and in addition there is a small army of privately owned websites on the World Wild Web that are more than happy to promote their insurance products for a commission – this commission usually being a lot less than a typical shop front broker is currently paid. This all sounds very good………for the PLC that is. From the consumer’s point of view the casualty in all this is usually the level and quality of service. It’s fine when you are arranging your policy on the phone or on the net and you can even have the privilege of paying there and then by credit card. What will the “direct” experience be like when it comes to making ac claim? Just how “direct” is a call-centre located in India? While you the consumer are no doubt seeing some of the savings by skipping the broker don’t think for one minute that all the savings are being passed on. So in ten years time will the high street broker be a thing of the past?



Online Online insurance the end of the high street broker

It s a good time for registered nurses

: The healthcare industry is experiencing a great amount of job growth. There is a nationwide shortage of nurses, and this shortage is predicted to get worse. Jobs in the field of nursing are abundant worldwide. Unfortunately, not only are there not enough nurses, there are not enough nursing educators. This causes a high degree of competition for those wanting to get in to a nursing program.

Potential nursing students are finding it difficult to find programs, and when they do, there are often wait lists. The wait is worth it, however. Since qualified nurses are in high demand - and will continue to be, the wages too, will continue to rise. Registered nurses constitute one of the largest healthcare occupations, with 2.3 million jobs. Even more new jobs are expected to be created for registered nurses than for any other occupation. These job opportunities are expected to be very good.

Registered nurses known as RN's work to sustain health, prevent disease, and support patients who are dealing with illness. They are advocates and health educators for the community, their patients and the patients families. Registered nurses deal with direct patient care. It is their job to observe patients, record symptoms and track patient progress. The also help to assist doctors during surgery, treatment, and examinations.

They are also required to administer medications, and help in convalescence and therapy. The setting a registered nurse works in somewhat determines their regular duties. Hospital nurses form the largest group of nurses. Hospital nurses provide bedside nursing care and carry out medical regimens. They also may supervise licensed practical nurses and nursing aides. Hospital nurses usually are assigned to one department, such as surgery, maternity, pediatrics, the emergency room, intensive care, or the treatment of cancer patients. There are three different nursing degrees that lead to an RN. To become an RN, nurses need to graduate from a 4-year Bachelor of Sciences in Nursing, an Associates of Nursing, or a Nursing Diploma program offered by hospitals. They also need to pass a national licensing examination. A registered nursing degree has a national licensing section that makes it easier to get licensed in multiple states.

This is helpful if a nurse gets recruited elsewhere. According to the Department of Labor Statistics, registered nurses will be in great demand for the foreseeable future. More new nursing jobs will be open than jobs in any other field. At this time, there is a shortage of qualified nurses to even come close to filling the projected demand. The average salary for a nurse is approximately $48,000 with the higher 10% making upwards of $69,000 annually. Melissa Steele, College Degrees @ EducationGuys. com Writer.



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Do you qualify for a first cash advance

Do You Qualify for a First Cash Advance? There are not many requirements that cash advance companies ask for when their customers are applying for a cash advance loan, and First Cash Advance is no different from the other cash advance companies. These days you don’t need much in the way of requirements, all you need is to be over 18 years of age and earn over $1,200 a month, plus you will also need to be able to produce a few recent pay checks that confirm that you are a regular earner who can make the repayment structure that the cash advance company will go over with you when you are accepted for the cash advance loan. Qualifying for a cash advance loan is simple for first time customers just so long as you meet the requirements, then you will be more than able to be granted a cash advance loan. For a repeat customer, though, the process may become more difficult especially if they were a poor customer before who couldn’t keep up with the repayments. If that sounds like you, then you are more than likely going to be rejected for a cash advance loan and First Cash Advance will also suspend repeat customers who were unable to keep up with the repayments on previous loans. If you are willing to keep up with the repayments, then they are willing to help you. You have to understand that cash advance companies like First Cash Advance are trying to keep their business safe from customers who clearly can’t handle a cash advance loan. They are letting those customers know that their budget does not support a cash advance, loan and that they need to review their budget before they can apply for a cash advance loan. This is a tough but fair approach by these companies, but at the end of the day they want to be paid back.



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Girls in the know say sherri hill is queen of pageant dresses

When it comes to pageant dresses and prom dresses, few dispute that Sherri Hill designs lead the way to coveted crowns. Miss USA 2007 Rachel Smith, Miss USA 2006 Tara Conner, Miss America 2007 Lauren Nelson, and Miss America 2006 Jennifer Barry were all crowned while wearing Sherri Hill pageant dresses. Even the third runner up for Miss Teen USA 2007, Caitlin Upton, whose response to a question about the inability of Americans to locate the U. S. on a map made her an overnight YouTube sensation, was wearing a classic baby blue Sherri Hill dress at the time. It's not surprising that Sherri Hill's 2007 and 2008 collections of prom dresses, pageant gowns, and special event dresses have caused a sensation in the fashion world and among teen fashionistas across the globe. After all, Hill spent a decade as the chief designer for Jovani, a huge name in prom dresses. In her collections, it's evident that Sherri Hill combines fabrics and trims with innovative combinations of cuts that are designed to flatter virtually every body type. A Sherri Hill dress can be bold, sassy, or glamorous - but it is always elegant. Her black strapless satin gown with a red striped sash and jeweled bow is sure to turn heads, while her lavender pleated metallic chiffon spaghetti strap gown is frosted in silver and accented with silver liquid beading for a shimmering glow.

An intricately cut bodice combined with an hourglass fit and fun detailed pockets make her jewel-toned satin creation the envy of many prom queen hopefuls. Similarly, her long, black satin dress kicks it up a notch with a thigh-high slit and red lining - not to mention the rhinestone cherries that adorn the pockets. For those who need a bit more roominess, Sherri Hill's short, gold and silver sequined party dress is made from tiered ruffles of silk chiffon and features a wrapped empire waistline. For those who are more daring, one Sherri Hill purple sleeveless gown features full front coverage but is slit to the waist and comes together with ties. The tie design is repeated in the backless gown, leaving some - but not all - to the imagination. If beautiful elegance is the goal, Sherri Hill designs never disappoint.

From an exquisitely cut long strapless gown with a large bow at the empire waist, to a pleated shimmering gown with a sequined sweetheart bodice, her gorgeous designs are timeless. In another of her prom dresses, yards and yards of beautiful satin-finished silk chiffon make a woman feel as though she's floating, while the intricately shirred bodice and rhinestone straps make her feel like a princess. Sheri Hill's collections of pageant dresses and prom dresses are elegant and bold, making her designs both coveted and treasured.



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Changing the location of your dish network dish easily

One of Dish Network's offers is free installation of all equipment and service to first time subscribers. This is excellent because you are assured of expert installation initially. There may come a time, though, when you either must change Dish Network's Dish because of necessity or just because you want to change it. Whatever the reason, it is easily accomplished with some precaution. The actual Dish Network Dish is small, about 2 to 2 l/2 feet in diameter, and mounts quite easily on an outside wall, a veranda, roofing, fences, or even the roofs or sides of garages. It is light in weight and this makes it even easier to fasten. Each Dish Network Dish has two antennas, and they should always be pointed toward or facing the Southern sky. Each of these antennas is instrumental in intercepting and transmitting satellite signals onto your television screen. When choosing a new location for your Dish, be sure you look at the environment well so there will be no future obstructions of the signal transmission. Place it away from trees, places where children play, buildings, other wiring, any thing that might get in the way of satellite transmissions.

Dish Network's satellite dish must be pointing directly and unobstructed at a Southern sky at all times. This assures you of uninterrupted signal transmission from Dish Network's satellites and the best in quality program viewing on your television system. There may be occasion when mounting of the Dish is just not possible. If such an instance should present, Dish Network includes, in their promotional offer, a tripod stand.

This alternative to wall or roof mounting is great for use in apartments or condominiums - especially if there are rules that prohibit nailing and mounting objects on dwelling exteriors. The only problem with using a tripod is that it is highly sensitive. The tripod and Dish Network Dish need to be placed far and away from people or animals that may cause it to tip in any way. Sometimes people and animals may bump into the tripod and even the slightest touch can interrupt your reception. When this happens, your television screen will indicate that the Dish is looking for a signal. Then you will need to lightly touch or tap your satellite dish until begin transmitting is resumed and the imaging is restored on the television screen. It is assumed that the question is being asked: Well, if Dish Network's Dish is so sensitive that even a bump or nudge will knock it out of line, then how does it withstand being mounted on walls with the wind, rain, snow, etc., hitting it constantly? The only thing I can think of is that with the Dish being stationary, it is secure and receiving a constant line of signaling; when jolted, it interrupts the flow of signaling from satellites and throws it into chaos until secured again.

Who knows? Your guess is as good as mine in this regard.



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How to check credit reports

Credit Reports - What's On Them, and How to Check Yours Businesses in the United States buy more than two billion credit reports every year. Since there are currently fewer than 300 million people in the country, this means that the average adult has his or her credit reports examined by someone about once every other month. And yet, only a small percentage of Americans have ever laid eyes on their own credit reports. Viewing your credit reports at least twice a year is a necessity in today's electronic age, and while it may not always be free, getting access to your credit reports is much easier and less expensive than it has been at almost any time in history. What is a Credit Report? There are three major credit bureaus in the United States. They are Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. These three companies are competitors, and therefore they don't share information with one another. As a result, your Equifax credit report may be significantly different from your Experian credit report, and your TransUnion report may be different still. Sometimes this is a good thing - if only one of the credit agencies reports a bad history, for example. But more often than not, it's a headache, since at least one of your credit reports is bound to have some incorrect, negative information on it. What's On Your Credit Report? Although each of the three credit agencies record slightly different information, the following is a basic list of what you'll find on each of your credit reports: Your name and your spouse's name. Where you live, where you work, and where you used to live (and used to work). Your social security number, phone number, and birth date. A list of your credit accounts and when you've paid your bills - on time, late, late by more than 30 days, late by more than 60 days, etc. How much total credit you have available. Whether and to whom you've made an application for credit in the past six months. Which companies have requested and obtained your credit report. And finally, dreaded "public records" - bankruptcies, foreclosures, repossessions, court judgments, convictions, and tax liens. How Long Does Information Stay On Your Credit Report? Positive information stays on your credit report indefinitely, which is a good thing. Most negative information should be deleted after seven years, with the exception of certain types of bankruptcy, which can stay on your report for ten years. If one of your credit reports is missing positive information or contains negative information that's older than seven years, contact the appropriate credit bureau. Their website addresses are listed at the end of this article. How To Obtain Copies of Your Credit Reports Usually, you may have to pay for your credit reports. The fees that the credit bureaus can charge vary by state, but the maximum is $9.50. You can find out more information by visiting the individual sites of the three bureaus: equifax. com, experian. com, and transunion. com. So go ahead and do it now! Find out what your score is, it could make or break your financial future. Sincerely, James http:// CC-Yes. com



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Customer service skills training and roi

Statistics consistently reinforce that the biggest challenge in today’s contact center environment is agent training. Turnover continues to be high; new hire costs are on the rise—I’ve seen anywhere from $6500 to $10,000 quoted per agent! At the same time, losing customers because of bad call experiences negatively impacts your bottom line. What can you do? How do you justify the training expenditure? Research has been making a case for how spending in human performance areas such as training, translates into bottom line growth.

Accenture's study on the impact of training on ROI has some interesting results. (Smith, David. Y. and Waddington, Ted. Running Training Like a Business: Determining the Return on Investment of Your Learning Programs, Outlook Point of View, March 2003.) First, in the area of recruitment, training opportunities were among the top three criteria people considered when deciding where they want to work (the others are the opportunity for advancement and a good benefits package). In the area of productivity, as a result of training, employees were: 17% more productive 20% higher performance levels relative to their peer group Stayed with the company 14% longer In the area of retention, employees who had access to the training were: More than 2 times more likely to expect to be with the company in 2 years More than 6 times more likely to think the company is a 'great place to work' More likely to think they are fairly compensated Dollar figures associated with their statistics for a fiscal year report the annual per person net benefit or $25,324. They multiplied this number by their 50,000 employees yielding a companywide benefit of training of $1.26 million. By dividing the benefit by the cost of one year of training ($358 million), researchers concluded that the ROI (at Accenture) is 353%. Negative Customer Service Experiences? How many of you know (and track) what percentage of your calls are bad experiences? Hopefully, you do know the number, and they’re in the low single digits. In a recent study, in answer to (1) did the agent satisfy your needs in the call, and (2) based on any negative experience, would you stop using this company and go to the competition? the results were: Ages Would Stop Using the Company in the Future 18 - 25 100% 26 - 35 97 36 - 45 53 46-55 50 56-65 33 Over 65 63 Source: 2003 Purdue University/BenchmarkPortal. com As you can see, there is a strong correlation between participant's age and his/her tendency to stop using the company after a bad experience. Notice that younger participants were less tolerant, more likely to go to the competition, and those over 65 are more demanding that those in middle age. Therefore, it's very important to take great care of your younger callers so as to maintain their loyalty. Callers above 36 have more of an 'emotional bank account' with the company they're dealing with-probably had some good experiences and are more willing to 'forgive' a bad one. If you know your percentage of bad experiences, put a dollar amount on that call and then total it out for the year. I think you'll be very surprised at the amount of lost revenue. Now if you have a 1% improvement, as a result of a training initiative for example, the amount of recovered revenue (and customers) is very encouraging. This is just another means to tie soft skills to ROI, and to include your front lines as part and parcel of the revenue-producing operation of your companies. Customer Satisfaction Driver #1 We all know first call resolution (one and done) is the #1 driver for customer satisfaction with best practices reported at 86%. However, if your center is at 86%, this means that 14% of your customers are contacting you more than once to resolve their issues! This not only frustrates your CSRs and yourselves, but your customers as well. Repeat calls are costly not only to operations and the bottom line, but they negatively impact customer satisfaction, and ultimately, customer loyalty. How do you define first call resolution? And how do you—if you do—calculate it? Research shows that there is no common measuring method. However, what gets measured gets managed, and what gets managed gets better. In a recent study (Ascent Group) more than 90% of companies measuring first call resolution reported improvement in their performance. Another study (callcentres. com) reported a dramatic fall in call volume—identifying that a minimum of 20% of all calls were repeat calls from customers needing an answer or help they didn’t get. Further, that the absence of first call resolution was found to account for a minimum of 30% of a call center’s operational costs! The bottom line: Invest in your people—give them the training, the tools, and the authority to get their job done right the first time. After all, CSRs are the interface who handle customer issues. One of the foremost methods to boost customer satisfaction—and improve first call resolution—is to consistently and ongoingly train, train, train your CSRs in world class customer service skills.



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A record 377 california schools honored with the distinguished school award

The California Schools created the California Schools Recognition Program in 1985. Its purpose is to publicize and reinforce California schools priorities, which are to improve student scholastic achievement and promote students based upon measurable objectives. The program identifies and honors public schools that exhibit exemplary and inspiring achievement. Though participation in the program is voluntary, the California Distinguished School Award is highly coveted. To be considered for the award, California schools must meet a variety of eligibility requirements. These include designated federal and state accountability measures that are based upon the No Child Left Behind, Adequate Yearly Progress, and Academic Performance Index measurement programs. Approximately, five percent of California schools are selected each year for the award, with no fewer than 40 counties typically being represented. The program alternates awards yearly between the elementary and secondary California schools. Year 2006 honors elementary schools. California schools that meet the requirements complete an application and submit it to a team of local educators from across the state, which evaluate and score the merits of each school application.

Schools with the highest scoring applications are selected as statewide nominees for the award. Nominated California schools then receive an onsite visit by a team of county school superintendents and members of the California Department of Education, who validate the accuracy of the application data. Those California schools selected for the Distinguished School Award are honored at a statewide ceremony, where the state school superintendent awards a plaque and flag to each school. The program and annual ceremonies are funded through the generosity of prominent California corporations and statewide education organizations that believe educational excellence should be rewarded and encouraged publicly. In 2006, a record 377 public elementary schools were honored with the California Distinguished School Award, surpassing the 302 elementary schools honored in 2004 — the last elementary school award cycle. They represent the largest number of elementary school awardees in the 21-year history of the program. The 2006 California schools awardees were chosen from 190 school districts in 40 counties. They were selected from the largest number of eligible elementary schools to date, setting another record for the program.

Of the more than 5,000 elementary schools in California, 2,043 were eligible to apply for the 2006 award. California schools are proving that student scholastic excellence can be nurtured and consistently improved.



Online A record 377 california schools honored with the distinguished school award

Girl talk boy talk

Chas and Dave wrote a song about it and how right they were. Women just love to rabbit! Whether you calling it chatting, nattering, gassing or just plain talking, we're way ahead of the opposition in the vocal stakes. Not that I'm saying it's a reason for our men to dump us, as suggested by Chas and Dave, but I've no doubt there are times when they wish we'd put a sock in it. More often than not, talking to another woman is far less work than trying to get a decent conversation going with a bloke. How many times haven't you tried initiating conversation by mentioning something you're sure he'd find agreeable only to receive the standard "mmmm" reply. If you know he loves BMWs and there's a fine example of one parked along the road, try saying "that's a nice car, isn't it?" and see what happens. Yepp, the standard reply. If you really want to get him talking, try "I can't see what anybody sees in those cars" and before you know it, he'll be chatting on about how reliable the engine of a BMW is (assuming it is, of course), how comfortable the interior is, not to mention how well planned the layout is and the luggage room's just awesome! And did you know it can do 0-60 at the speed of a fart? The point is, men need to be dragged into action through a good disagreement. Small talk, just for the sake of it, isn't their forte. It's hardly surprising, given our differences, that men become frustrated at their women who constantly want to talk about things that offer no argument. They don't see the point in discussing the scent of the roses unless you happen to think it smells like sherbet whilst he thinks it smells of honey! And if you've already decided to get a Greyhound, why continue to talk about them? The subject would really only merit further discussion if you've started doubting the decision but to him, simply reiterating that Greyhounds make wonderful pets is hardly worthy of word expenditure. Women, on the other hand, are happy to spend hours discussing various aspects of life, be it which washing powder does the job best (although I have to admit that this particular subject has a short life around here) to whether or not there's life in outer space. We'll analyse our lives from every perceivable angle and serve our emotions on a plate to be shared and devoured. When we talk about sex it's because we're either experiencing difficulties in that department or finally achieved multiple orgasm. The fact that the bloke standing next to the BMW (the one you earlier admired with your partner) has a huge lunch box isn't THAT important to us. Sure, we'll joke about it but where men stop at "I'd give her one", women will discuss 'why' they'd give him one. How often have you known your partner (or father or brother) to pick up the phone for no other reason than because they fancy a chat? They may well have done during your courting days but do they ever call their male friends just to have a natter? I doubt it. Women, on the other hand, can spend hours on the phone to the same girlfriend, talking about anything and everything, going into minute detail about every event that's happened since last time they spoke and still finding it all just as interesting as they would've had it been the very first conversation they'd ever had. When witnessing this behaviour, men simply shake their heads and wonder how the heck we can find so much to talk about to somebody we visited with for three hours just last week. To a man, the telephone is either a means of making contact when something needs to be said or done or, for some, a means of getting a quick thrill through dialling premium rate numbers. It certainly isn't a tool designed for nurturing friendships. I'm not saying that men will never talk; of course they talk. Men are great at discussing business deals and are generally happier speaking publicly than women are but they need a definite goal to make talking worthwhile. To them, when talking about next door's new car, the technical specs are what interest them, whereas we'd probably wonder about it's cost and how on earth they managed to afford it! Gossipy, yes, but that also comes naturally to women. Evidently, our propensity for gossip stems from way back when we lived in caves. The men went out to hunt leaving the women to look after the cave and offspring. For those women, it was important to know what was going on around them in order to keep their own home and family safe, something which eventually evolved into gossip once we mastered the art of meaningful speech. Knowing that Missus Chucklebum could be likely to steal your food supplies or that old man Poop-pants had been known to rape women while their men were away were important things to know. Gossip was what moved this information quickly through the villages, rather like the jungle drum. Unfortunately, gossip often changes facts so poor old Annie Spottyface was seduced by Tommy Littleballs could easily turn into something that makes Annie sound as if she's slept with half the village. Men, as much as they deny it, also gossip. They don't see it as such because their gossip takes on a different stance. Knowing that Dave has put a new turbo in his motor or that Bob's been promoted is just as much gossip as anything we women talk about. Men gossip because, going back to the days of old again, they needed to know which tribes or villages were strong and with which weapons they were likely to fight with. That sort of thing translates in our modern society to who's got the most money (money = power) and what they've earned it by doing. Facts were, and still are, important to them from a strategic point of view. My partner would call it "intelligence gathering" but no matter what impressive name you put to it and how pretty the packaging is, it's still gossip, plain and simple. They just don't do it quite as much as us ladies. Conversation's a bonding agent between women, something that men don't need. They bond through activities; either doing them or discussing them. If they're not out on some muddy field kicking a ball around then it'll be "Did you see Beckham's penalty last night?". Oh, and "look at the knockers on that" will sometimes come into play because sex is an activity just as much as football, biking, fixing cars, fishing or downing pints. Most of us have heard that women use about three times as many words a day than men but even so, mixed gender company, men are likely to dominate the conversation. Why? Because they need to exert their power and strength, of course. That isn't to say there aren't women who wouldn't dream of allowing a man to dominate in this way and there are also men who wouldn't dream of trying but in general, men like to have their voices heard. I'm afraid we girls have to take some of the blame for that, too, because of our tendency to tack a question on the end of a statement. Saying "that was a lovely meal, wasn't it?" allows others to jump straight in and, in the case of a man, answering the question then allows him to go on to change the subject in order to satisfy his need to dominate the conversation. Believe me, the only way we can control a conversation is to stop leaving open-ends, because while we might see them as showing a concern for the opinions of others, men will see them as weak statements from a woman who doesn't know her own mind. Another way in which the sexes differ can be clearly seen when a woman wants to discuss something that's bothering her. I'd be reasonably well off now if I'd been given a pound for every time I heard a woman complain "he always has to be so argumentative". He isn't doing it to hurt, though; it's just his nature. Discussion's good, small talk's a waste of time. We just have to accept that they're not women (and I can assure you there are times when I'm glad my partner isn't) and let them do what comes naturally. That, incidently, also includes offering advice. Again, for him, if the conversation's to achieve anything, a solution's needed. You might not want advice but he's gonna give it, regardless. One friend complained that her husband wouldn't listen to her problems because she never took his advice anyway and if she isn't going to listen to him, why should he bother to listen to her? I can see that a man could get frustrated by women who "don't listen" but when we desperately want to share our feelings with somebody else without being "told what to do", that's when we really need our women friends. For life to continue, women need men, but when it comes to talking, women need women. It's good to be understood.



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What s so special about cinnamon

I don't know about you, but just the smell of cinnamon makes me feel warm and fuzzy all over. My favorite cookies to make is Snickerdoodles because I just LOVE the smell of them baking. There's just something warm and delicious about it. The sense of smell is powerful - and when my kids smell Cinnamon, they are going to feel warm and fuzzy all over because of the fun we've had in the kitchen. But, you might be surprised to know that the history of Cinnamon goes waaaay back - it was one of the first trade spices. In fact, cinnamon is mentioned in the Bible - it was used in the combination of ingredients used to make a holy anointing oil for the tabernacle: Moreover the Lord spake unto Moses saying, Take thou also unto thee principal spices, of pure myrrh five hundred shekels, and of sweet cinnamon half so much, even two hundred and fifty shekels, and of sweet calamus two hundred and fifty shekels, And of cassia five hundred shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary, and of oil olive an hin: And thou shalt make it an oil of holy ointment, an ointment compound after the art of the apothecary: it shall be an holy anointing oil. Exodus 30:22-25 NKJV The ointment or oil was used to anoint the tabernacle of the congregation, the ark of the testimony, the table and all the vessels, the candlestick, the altar of incense, the altar of burnt-offering, etc. I find two things interesting about this passage: That cinnamon was an ingredient in this holy anointing oil That is is called "an ointment compound after the art of the apothecary. Does cinnamon have health benefits as well? There are cinnamon pills for diabetes, cinnamon bark used medicinally by the Chinese for calming stomach acids, cinnamon bark being used in India for childbirth labor, and cinnamon increasing blood circulation and creating a warm feeling. Well, didn't I start out by saying just the smell of cinnamon makes me feel warm and fuzzy all over?



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Body and soul keeping it together

LET'S START WITH THE BODY . . . H E A L T H It is said that the first thing a man does when he wakes in the morning is to look out of the window to see how the weather has changed overnight, and the first thing a women does on waking is to look in the mirror to see what the night has done to her face. Enough said … but if your look in the mirror is followed by 'Oh, my God … I could do with a face-lift, etc. etc.' (don't worry, we've all been there) before you start layering on more make-up and deciding to embark yet again on another diet/exercise regime (which will probably have been forgotten anyway by the weekend), let's stop wishing, and start by trying to make the best of what we have got. We may not be able to recapture the healthy glow of youth, but we may be able to inject a little sparkle by giving as much thought to the inside of our bodies as we do to the outside. Just think of what would happen to a house if it were not built on firm foundations. Also how would our cars run if we filled them up with the wrong fuel? Similarly, how can we expect our bodies to function smoothly if we just worry about the paintwork and not concentrate on the engine? So analyse what you are putting into your body. Is it mainly 'comfort/grab-a-snack - I'm in a hurry' food, eg buns, crisps, chocolates etc., or is it nourishing food with all the vitamins and minerals the body requires to operate efficiently? Many moons ago, a colleague of mine, who had a connection with a pharmaceutical company, said the idea had been muted within the company that as the elderly often start the day with a cup of tea and digestive biscuit, then a good way of ensuring that they receive all the necessary vitamins and minerals was to add them to the digestive biscuit It seemed a great idea, but when you think of how we absentmindedly dip into a packet of biscuits, then we would probably overdose on vitamins. Although we need vitamins we can also have too much of a good thing. It is worth remembering that whereas the body will expel too much of say Vitamin C, the body will store Vitamins A & D and an overload of these vitamins can have a detrimental effect. So leave it to the experts to get the balance right. It is better to start the day (together with your nourishing breakfast) with a good multi-vitamin and mineral tablet. The tablet container will show the RDA (which stands for the 'recommended daily allowance'), and it will also show how the tablet equates with this. A good multi-vitamin and mineral supplement is the Holland & Barrett's Formula for the 50 PLUS called ABC PLUS SENIOR (on half-price offer at the present time). Another supplement I would recommend for those of us whose memory is not what it used to be is 'Ginkgo Biloba'. (Also on half-price offer at the moment). This has been in use for years on the continent as an aid to improving the circulation. It is said that it not only improves the supply of blood to the head and subsequently improves the memory (so hopefully we'll remember where we put the bottle of tablets) but it also improves the blood supply to the extremities, which is great if you suffer from cold hands and feet. Ginkgo, by the way, comes from the Ginkgo tree, which is one of the oldest trees known to man. You can therefore appreciate how vital it is that we do not allow plants to become extinct. Remember the old wives' tale that 'fish is good for the brain'? (When I hear this saying, my mind always goes back to a lecturer jokingly saying that his mother was determined that he would do well and always made him eat fish before an examination, and, of course, to her delight he did do well). Well, now it has been proved that Omega 3 (pure fish oils) not only benefits the brain but the whole body. It is high in essential fatty acids, which help to maintain a healthy heart and circulation. Another very good supplement is Selenium. This was naturally present in the earth and in our vegetables years ago, but sadly has become depleted over the years with intensive farming and chemicals. So we can put back this missing ingredient. I certainly felt a difference on taking this as a supplement. Now, if you are prone to numerous infections, coughs, colds, etc., then your immune system needs a boost. In addition to the usual Vitamin C, a couple of good supplements for this are Zinc and Echinacea. It's a good idea to take Echinacea well before the 'flu time' is upon us in order to get it into the system. We have always known the importance of making sure that we have enough calcium in order to maintain bone strength, but it is only in the past few years that Glucosamine has come to the fore as an aid to the joints. Glucosamine is believed to stimulate cartilage growth and prevent it wearing down and hopefully reducing the subsequent pain. I have a friend who swears this has helped her painful joints. Chondroitin is often added to the Glucosamine as this helps to attract fluid into the cartilage Healthy Direct ( healthydirect. co. uk) has a special offer on this powerful combination of Glucosamine, Chondroitin and Vitamin C. They also operate a free postage and packing with prompt delivery service, which is great if you have difficulty in getting to the shops. Notice that throughout I have been using the word 'supplement' as no tablets are going to replace a healthy diet. I remember being told by a doctor when I was in my twenties that the way towards a healthy life was to eat a small amount of a wide variety of foods and that way the body would obtain the necessary vitamins and nourishment. Whilst I agree with the 'variety' advice, I am not sure with the present day treatment and overlong storage of foodstuffs (particularly fruit and vegetables) whether there are many vitamins left by the time they reach the table. It came as a shock to hear at one lecture that when they tested an orange for its Vitamin C content, the results came back as a surprising 'nil'. Still to end on a happy note, the fibre content was there, and we must eat plenty of FRESH fruit and vegetables not only for the vitamins but also for the fibre and enzymes necessary for the digestive process to function properly. But more on that - together with a breakdown of all the essential vitamins and my favourite subject - FOOD - (I'll try not to think about or mention chocolate cake) IT'S … 'HOLD-BACK-THE-YEARS' FOOD …… next time Looking forward to chatting to you again and also looking forward to hearing from you …



Online Body and soul keeping it together

Walking is the best exercise

Running, jogging, weight lifting, calesthenics. These are all good for keeping in shape but walking is still the most simple, and effective, of all exercises to lose weight and stay in shape and maintain good health. Approximately 67 million Americans of all ages walk for exercise regularly. Walking can be done with friends or alone. And it can be performed outside or inside. Walking helps the metabolic system to control weight, regulate blood sugar, and cholesterol levels. A brisk walk burns up to 100 calories per mile. Walking is an aerobic exercise meaning that it uses oxygen. A brisk walk increases oxygen intake to the blood, strengthens the heart, improves circulation and lowers blood pressure. For people with poor circulation in the arms and legs, walking can help to increase the size and improve the efficiency of the tiny blood vessels that supply blood to the cells. Walking slows development of all forms of arthritis, degenerative joint disease, stops loss of bone mass in osteoporosis, and tones the muscles. Walking helps recovery from back pain. For women walking reduces premenstrual and pain during periods. Regular walking also relieves and prevents constipation. Psychologically, walking generates an overall feeling of well-being because it produces endorphins, a natural tranquilizer. This aids in relief of depression, anxiety, and stress. To get the most benefit from walking, 30 minutes of walking must be done at a brisk pace without stopping. Gradually increase time to 40 to 60 minutes for each session. Always stretch muscles and warm up before walking. Wear walking or running shoes that fit snugly but not too tight, support the arch and lift the heel slightly. Replace your walking shoes every 6 months or 600 miles, whichever comes first. In hot, cold and inclement weather consider getting a treadmill for walking indoors. For more information on walking and treadmills visit: http:// apluswriting. net/health/bestwalking. htm Copyright: 2005 Marilyn Pokorney REQUIREMENTS FOR REPRINT: You have permission to publish this article free of charge in your e-zine, newsletter, ebook, print publication or on your website ONLY if it remains unchanged and you include the copyright and author information (Resource Box) at the end. You may not use this article in any unsolicited commercial email (spam). You may retrieve this article by: Autoresponder: bestwalking@getresponse. com Website: http:// apluswriting. net/articles/bestwalking. txt Please leave the resource box intact with an active link, and send a courtesy copy of the publication in which the article appears to: marilynp@nctc. net



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The incredible mystical formidable herpes virus

You are one of the oldest forms of life on this planet. Yet you are not truly alive. Instead you walk the shadow-world between life and non-life. You are feared by all, Revered by none. You infect all vertebrates and many invertebrates.

You are one of the driving forces in evolution. Your genes have been incorporated into our genes. You are a wonder of engineering and adaptability. You are ruthless in your primal drive to survive. You are the life-long uninvited guest in my body.

You are a red-hot wonder when active. Yet will lie dormant for decades like a seed in the dessert waiting for an opportune moment. You are the Herpes Simplex Virus. MEMO TO THE HERPERS VIRUS: You need to hire a PR firm. Although one of the least damaging viruses, milder even than its relatives the chicken-pox/shingles virus and the mono/chronic fatigue virus - Herpes is feared, scorned, reviled like almost no other disease in modern times. It’s a simple sexually-transmitted skin infection classified as a minor disease in dermatological textbooks. But it’s sexually transmitted and of course anything related to sex in this sexually conflicted society comes under the prevue of religious conservatives and those with unresolved sexual hang-ups. Herpes isn’t one of the bad viruses that will kill it’s host. It is a virus that merely wishes to take up permanent residence in a host and remain dormant for long periods of time. Some studies suggest that up to 70% of those infected by herpes simplex do not have outbreaks that they can detect. Herpes is a wonder of engineering. The debate in the scientific community about whether or not viruses are actually alive continues. Viruses lack the ability to survive and reproduce on their own. They are entirely dependant on having a host. The herpes virus is actually very similar to a computer virus in the way it behaves. Like a computer virus, herpes simplex penetrates into your hardware/body, re-programmes your operating system/dna to change the way your computer/body behaves and make billions of copies of itself. Viruses come close to fitting the definition of being alive but they stay on the boundary between life and ab-life. Viruses can grow in dead human cells and even have the ability to bring them back to life. Viruses can even stage their own resurrection. Even if you manage to destroy massive amount of a virus in your body, if there was more than one copy of the virus in any one cell, the virus can resurrect itself by playing Dr. Frankenstein, piecing together parts from more than one dead virus to create a new living whole virus. The herpes virus like no other virus I know of has the ability to compel the host cell its has invaded to change it’s shape and turn itself into a tunnel to the next healthy cell so that herpes can move from cell to cell without exposing itself to your blood stream. This way your immune system has no chance of detecting and destroying it. Just as impressive is the strategy the virus employs of only sending 50% of active virus during an outbreak to the surface of the skin. The other 50% of the activated virus it sends to infect uninfected cells. Thus it is never in danger of being wiped out of your body. Viruses have been one of the key players in the evolution of humans and other animal life. When a virus has infected us in the past if it has any genes which are useful to our evolution those genes have been incorporated into our genome. When that same virus mutates, again if there are any useful new genes our bodies have in our evolutionary past incorporated those new genes into our dna. Since viruses mutate faster than we can they have had a profound influence on how we have evolved, as have bacteria. It can be argued that viruses have probably had more of an effect on our evolution than climate change or other changes in our environment since those changes will always happen much more slowly than the mutation of viruses and bacteria. The word herpes comes from the Greek “to creep”. Herpes was certainly an issue even to the ancient Greeks. Herpes can indeed creep from cell to cell undetected by the immune system. Herpes can creep from one outbreak location to others. Herpes does indeed creep from an infected person to an uninfected person. Herpes has been around for 140 million years and will be around long after we’re gone from this planet. We still don’t know a great deal about the herpes simplex virus. I have no doubt that as we get to know this virus better and better it will become harder not to acknowledge it an engineering marvel, a great survivor and evolutionary instigator.



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The dramatic changes in male vanity and sexuality

The only constant thing in this world is change... an irrefutable paradox of life. People, opinions, perceptions, feelings, relationships, and just about every other thing in this world is subject to change. As time elicit more changes, words continually change its meaning. Even the centuries-old notions about male identity are now changing.

Gone are the days when men were seen as Neanderthals who only use brute force to satisfy a need or an urge. Over time, men also underwent a process of refinement --- through culture, education, and other norm-setting beliefs that were developed in each era of history. For example, in the olden days, it was common to see men wearing long gowns and tunics. This is evident even today in Scotland where men wear their traditional skirts that bear their family or clan's “colors.” It is also true that in some countries, the mere sight of a man wearing something that looks like a skirt would automatically attract unfavorable comments and insults. According to traditional masculine concepts, men are supposed to be unconcerned about fashion, grooming, and other so-called feminine matters such as shoes and accessories. There is, however, a new concept of how it is to be a man. New forms of “manliness” has been called “metrosexuality.

” A metro sexual is a man who has special concern over grooming, fashion and other external matters that help improve one's physical appearance or image. The term “metrosexual” was first used by Mark Simpson, a British commentator, to refer to men who always looks at a mirror in a clear demonstration of vanity. Metrosexual men, unlike the customary “dirt-loving” men, are described as having a strong regard for their appearance. It's also noteworthy to see that these types of men have a “sharp eye” for fashion. Metrosexuals are said to be “aesthetically-concerned”... pampering themselves in salons, gyms, and other beauty-enhancing centers. Metrosexuality is somewhat close to the concept of narcissism. The Greek myth of Narcissus, a man who loved himself in great excess is the origin of the word, narcissism.

According to the story, Narcissus saw his reflection in a river and he grew to love his reflection so much that he reached for it in the water. Naricssus fell in the water and drowned. His love for his own face led to his own death. Some observers of gender-issues view metrosexuality as a form of confusion of gender roles.

Simply put, metrosexuals are “straight men acting like gays.” Others even say that metrosexuality is one of the avenues for “gay wannabes.” Those who are openly metrosexual defend their lifestyle by saying that their focus on fashion does not automatically make them gay. The firmly state that being conscious about clothes and accessories do not make them any less of a man. But it is also viewed that metrosexuality should not only focus on externalities. Some say that this lifestyle should be exploited to promote sexual health. As defined by the World Health Organization (WHO), sexual health is not only about getting the right information to protect one's self from sexually transmitted disease. It is also having the right attitudes toward sexual activity and relationships with the opposite sex. Indeed, sexual health must be taught and promoted as a way of life, especially among men.



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The social killer

Scared to go out to a meeting to speak to a client? Need to deliver a speech but feel like fainting at the thought of going in front of the class to present? Scared to attend a social gathering for no apparent reason? You might be suffering from social anxiety disorder. Social anxiety disorder, also known as social phobia, is a kind of mental disorder where the sufferer experiences a severe or unreasonable fear of social gatherings where there is a possibility that one may get embarrassed or ridiculed.

Most of the time, these anxieties arise from an intense fear of being closely watched or scrutinized - from the simple things like the way they dress, talk or act; to important job functions like performing in front of a crowd, giving a presentation, or finishing an interview for a job application. This kind of phobia gives sufferers a feeling of being trapped or shut away from the world. They say social anxiety disorder is closely related to shyness. However social phobia differs in the sense that this disrupts normal socializing functions.

It is true that everyone goes through a stage of shyness in their life, overcoming it is a different thing. When it becomes too much that it interrupts your daily life and relationships to the point where you are sick with worry, it is time to seek counsel. It is good to know the signs and symptoms of social anxiety disorder to be able to determine and treat this said condition before it worsens. People with social phobia manifest 2 basic kinds of symptoms: emotional and physical. The emotional symptoms include: an intense fear of being in situations in which you don't know people, fear of situations in which you may be judged, worrying about embarrassing or humiliating yourself, fear that others will notice that you look anxious, anxiety that disrupts your daily routine, work, school or other activities, avoiding doing things or speaking to people out of fear of embarrassment, avoiding situations where you might be the center of attention.

The physical symptoms include: Blushing, profuse sweating, trembling or shaking, nausea, stomach upset, difficulty talking, shaky voice, muscle tension, confusion, palpitations, diarrhea, cold and clammy hands, and difficulty making eye contact. Basically, this phobia manifests a symptom of being overly anxious around other people. Sufferers think that other people are more confident that they are, that other people are better them. They feel uncomfortable being around people that it makes it difficult for them to eat, drink, work, asking questions, asking for dates, even going to the toilet, when other people are around. The good news is that there is a cure for this condition.

For the past 20 years, a combination of talk therapy and medications has proven most helpful to limit the effects, if not cure, this mental condition. Certain anti-depressants (Paroxetine, Sertraline and Venlafaxine), anti-anxiety medications, and beta blockers are used to help Socio-phobic people to balance certain chemicals in the brain and minimize panic attacks during periods of heightened anxiety. Talk therapy teaches people with social anxiety disorder to react differently to situations that trigger their anxiety. The therapist helps the patient confront the negative feelings about social situations and the fear about being judged by others. Patients learn how their thinking patterns add to the symptoms of social anxiety disorder and how to change their thinking so the symptoms begin to lessen.

To be shy is quite normal, everybody has gone through a similar phase. Getting past that stage is the difficult part. Ultimately, it ends up to building your confidence to a certain level for you to be comfortable enough to move normally. In case you’ve been diagnosed as a socio-phobic, it is nothing to be ashamed of. With a little bit of therapy, proper medication, and enough support from people who believe in you, you’ll slowly be able to do socialize and function normally within a group without being too anxious.



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Race scanning tips and hints

I’ve been scanning at the race tracks for almost 25 years. Long before programmable, hand-held scanners, my first scanning set up consisted of a big old Bearcat 250 mobile scanner duct-taped to a huge 12 volt lantern battery. The whole setup must have weighed 10 pounds and I had to lug it around in a big camera bag! I guarantee I was the only guy in the stands at The Milwaukee Mile listening to those USAC stock cars go round and round in 1980! Things have changed a bit since then. Estimates are that there may be more than 10% of fans at a typical NASCAR event are "scanner equipped". Race track scanning has become so popular, it’s expanded well beyond the NASCAR super speedways to the dirt tracks, drag strips, and even Saturday night at the local short tracks. I’ve compiled a collection of tips and hints to help you gain the maximum enjoyment from you race scanning experience.

If you have any others to add, please send them along to me so we can share them with others. Enjoy! Why bring a scanner to the races? What can I hear? Once you’ve experienced a race with a scanner, you’ll be hooked forever. Scanning at the races adds that extra "dimension" or layer to the experience. You’ll be able to listen to conversations between the driver, his crew, and the spotters.

You’ll hear the race officials and safety crews. You’ll even be able to monitor the "behind-the-scenes" action of the TV and radio broadcast crews. IMPORTANT! One thing you may want to be aware of regarding listening in to race communications, it’s not necessarily for children! Emotions can run high during racing action and quite frequently, the language can get a bit "colorful" to put it mildly. You may wish to consider this if you are easily offended by harsh language.

What kind of equipment do I need at the races? The two major elements of a race scanning setup are the scanner itself as well as a noise - reducing headset. First - The scanner. What kind of scanner will you need? It really depends on your needs or your budget. Almost any hand-held scanner made will work at the races. They are available with as few as 10 or as many as 5000 channels! Price wise, expect to spend anywhere from as little as $75 to over $400. The most popular frequency ranges are 150 - 174 Megahertz and 450 - 470 Megahertz. There is some, but not much racing activity in the 800 Megahertz band.

Popular "racing" scanners are the Uniden Sportcat 200 and 230, Racing Electronics RE-2000, and the Radio Shack Pro 99. A couple of features that are really nice to have are alpha-displays, which allow you to program the driver name instead of just the frequency, and CTCSS or tone function, which allows you to program a certain tone code on a channel to help cut down on interference. The second thing you’ll need is a good quality, noise reducing headset. Racing is LOUD! Not only will a headset help protect your hearing, but it will help you be able to hear your scanner more clearly. They are available in several styles to suit your personal preference.

You can also get the small, foam, in-ear type devices similar to what the drivers wear. Some other accessories you might consider are a "racing" or stub antenna, which will help reduce local interference, a leg strap to help keep your scanner secure while watching the race, and a headset splitter or a "Boostaroo" unit so you can bring a second headset for your friend to listen in too. Don’t forget extra batteries! Nothing worse than running out of "juice" halfway through the race. Where can I buy a race scanning setup? You can buy a complete setup as close as your local Radio Shack store. Some specialized vendors who sell race scanning equipment are; Racing Electronics http:// racingelectronics. com Racing Radios http:// racingradios. com Race Scan http:// racescan. com Frequency Fan Club http:// racescanners. com If you’re not sure if you’re ready to buy a setup yet, most of these vendors offer rentals too. These vendors have trailers offering equipment at most of the larger races. OK, I’ve got my scanner and headset, now where do I find the frequencies? While you can find some information for free on the Internet, most of it is outdated, incomplete, or just plain wrong. I highly recommend purchasing up to date information from one of the above vendors. It is well worth the few dollars it costs. They have information on the national series such as NASCAR, IRL, and Champ Car. Most of the newer scanners are computer programmable. You can even bring those to the vendor trailer at the track and get the latest frequencies loaded right into your radio while you wait. The new Uniden SC230 scanner comes with the frequencies for Nextel Cup, Busch Grand National, Craftsman Trucks, Champ Car, and IRL already programmed into it! For regional series, your options are more limited. For Midwest fans, we have put together the Midwest Speedway Scanning Digest. It contains information for local tracks as well as regional touring series such as USAR - Hooters Pro Cup, CRA Super Series, and NASCAR Elite - Midwest. Information on the Midwest Speedway Scanning Digest can be found at; http:// racescanning. info At The Track Tips 1 - Do as much as you can before you leave the house. If you can get a hold of frequency information before the race, you’ll save a ton of time by pre-programming your scanner before you get to the track. Don’t forget extra batteries, paper and pencil to take notes, and sunscreen. Packing a plastic bag to put your scanner into in case of a sudden rain shower is a good addition, too. 2 - Programming tip. One popular trick is to program the frequencies so the channel number is the same as the car number. For example, you would program Mark Martin, Car #6 into channel 6 on your scanner. That way during the race, if you want to quickly switch to a particular car, you can just manually switch to that channel. With the newer scanners with alpha displays, it’s much easier to keep track of who’s who. 3 - Don’t try to listen to everything! At a big race, there’s just way too much stuff going on. Pick the leaders or your favorites and lock everything else out. It helps to have race control in your scan list too. At the big races, you can also listen to the TV and radio broadcast feed (MRN broadcasts on 454.000 Mhz). Some tracks will rebroadcast the track PA on either a scanner frequency or a low power FM radio station. These broadcasts will “lock up” your scanner though, since they broadcast continuously. You will have to lock them out and switch to them manually if you want to listen in. 4 - Get to the track early. If there is a vendor selling race frequencies there, this will give you a good chance to check it out or get your scanner programmed for you. Buy a souvenir program. They will have the line ups so you’ll know who to listen for. 5 - Practice and qualifying are a great time to verify frequencies. Taking notes now will help you during the race. Listen for the spotters and crew chiefs talking to the drivers. You may be able to tell "who’s who" when passing or coming in to the pits. 6 - When the drivers are getting into their cars before the race is a good time to listen in for radio checks. Pace laps and caution periods are also the time when radio traffic increases. 7 - If you’re using the search mode on your scanner to try and find new frequencies, narrow your search to smaller ranges at a time. The range of 450 to 470 Mhz will cover just about all race communications. Some racing officials will use frequencies in the 150 - 174 Mhz range. Even if you have an accurate list already, you can usually find some new stuff by using the search feature. 8 - Take good notes! Using your scanner really adds a new dimension to the 'racing experience" and besides that, it’s just plain FUN! As you can tell, race scanning might seem like a bit of a challenge at first. The more you do it, the better you’ll get at it. I have gone to a race with almost no information and, by using these techniques, have found more than 90% of the field by the time the race was over. Happy scanning and see you at the races!



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Making small bathrooms seem larger

When people think about rooms they want to remodel, often the bathroom is last on the list. We use our bathrooms all the time, of course, and so this is a little strange that it often gets left out of the make-over plan. One reason for this may be that bathrooms tend to be smaller than other rooms, and so even though they get used and even abused more than other rooms, they often get left behind. Even though bathrooms are smaller than other rooms, there are still countless things you can do with them. In fact, because there are so many different elements involved in even the smallest of bathrooms, they are often one of the most interesting (and most challenging) rooms you could choose to redecorate. If you have the challenge of a small bathroom, one of the first things you're probably going to want to do is make it seem larger. Because we do spend so much time in our bathrooms, the quality of this space can affect how we view the quality of our homes overall. A nice, clean, large bathroom can improve the quality of your life. The problem, of course, is that some of us don't have nice, large bathrooms to play with. Not to worry.

Below are some tips for making any bathroom seem larger. As was mentioned earlier, even a tiny bathroom has loads of things to play with, redecorate, move around, or simply get rid of. There are vanities and tubs and showers and lighting and tile and mirrors and sinks and storage spaces and on and on and on. There are also a multitude of accessories that can be found in any bathroom, even accessories that you may not even consider as an accessory, things such as bathrobes hanging on the back of a door, towels hanging on towel racks, and even little washcloths. All of these things are "exposed," if you will, and so whether you want them to or not, they go into making up the overall design of your bathroom. The good news is that once you start thinking of them in this way, they give you more elements to play with in your design. Although older homes have lots of character and lots of advantages, one of the biggest curses of an older home is usually, of course, a small bathroom. If you don't have the time or finances to rip out walls and simply make the place bigger, there's still hope. Even a little bit of color can help change the perception of a bathroom's size. One general rule about color and size perception is to stay away from very bold colors and very dark colors. A very bold or dark color is going to make any room seem smaller that it is. However, a few splashes of color in a room that is overall light and soft can go a long way in brightening it up. Therefore, in general, a good idea for a small bathroom is to use neutral colors for the walls, and then liven it up with carefully chosen bright accessories - a nice, flashy shower curtain, or a few bold, bright towels. A relatively light-colored floor is also usually a good idea if you're looking to enlarge the feel of your room. Another thing to always consider, especially for a small room, and even moreso for a bathroom, is lighting. Because bathrooms are built for privacy, this often translates into rooms with few windows and little natural light. There are exceptions, of course, but it usually takes a lot of forethought to get the proper balance between natural light and privacy, and unless you're living in a modern, extremely well-designed home, you're probably going to find that your bathroom doesn't live up to that idea. Fortuanetly, of course, you can simply add more lighting to your room by putting in extra fixture. Some could increase the lighting in their bathrooms dramatically by making sure they're using the highest watt bulb possible. That seems like a no-brainer, but many simply don't think about it. Another element of your bathroom that can cause smaller spaces to seem even smaller is the size of your fixtures. Of course we want comfort, but if your toilet and your vanity are hulking pieces that dominate the room, then you're going to feel cramped every time you go in there. Some changes, while they may seem major, are not that big of a deal once you commit to them. One idea is to change out a large, cabinet style vanity for a pedestal sink. A pedestal sink will immediately slim down the whole sink area, and as a result, open up the whole room. Of course, if you switch to a pedestal sink, you will need to then find extra storage space somewhere else, but there's a good solution to that too - metal racks. Metal racks make great storage areas, and they have the advantage of feeling open, airy, and light. In addition, because the materials stored on them are open to public viewing, you can use their colors and shapes to add character to the room. The last tip for making a small bathroom seem smaller is an old one - mirrors. Mirror have been used in this way for as long as they've been around, and they will always be used in this way for one simple reason - they work. Use more mirrors in your bathroom. You don't have to limit yourself the one, simple mirror above the sink. Get creative. Use them as decoration. Use them in places that you won't even be able to see yourself in. Once you've added a few mirrors around the room, every other element will be able to reflect it's uniqueness over and over again.



Online Making small bathrooms seem larger