Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York)

Friday, November 30, 2012
The Met, as it is universally known, is one of the truly great museums and galleries of the world. It is the largest museum in the USA with a brilliant location on the Eastern edge of Central park.
The collection combines elements of a traditional museum of antiquities, with a marvellous, wide ranging collection of art works ancient and modern. The Met covers no less than 2,000,000 square feet of interior space, and so it is no surprise that no visitor can hope to see everything in one day. To avoid 'museum fatigue', one needs to restrict one's visit to a particular section or sections, and leave the rest for another day. It will still be there as it has for more than a hundred years.
The History of the met began when a group of the great and the good, politician, artists, thinkers and businessmen, came together with the purpose of establishing a museum of art and artefacts in New York. The new museum was to benefit the people by educating them about culture, and so improving their minds. The ideals were high minded, and they would no doubt be happy to see the vast and successful institution, loved by New Yorkers and visitors alike that the Met is today.
When the present site was gifted to the museum by the city of New York, a red brick and stone mausoleum-like structure was built in 1880 to house the growing collection. The building was badly regarded as its gothic style had fallen out of fashion, and it was incorporated into a bigger building after about 20 years. Addition followed addition as the years went by and the collections grew, so that now the met is about 20 times the size of the original, which is buried deep within the structure which comprises 20 individual structures.

Tips For Making A Customized Gift Basket

For anyone looking for a special and personalized gift to give to someone on any day of the year, think about giving a customized gift basket that will be sure to please. The advantages of this are numerous, such as any skill level can do it, each basket can be customized for each recipient's interest, and they are great for birthdays, Christmas, or just any occasion at all.
What You'll Need
Find a basket about the size of an old Easter basket or a picnic basket. If you really want to be creative, think of another type of container such as a colorful plastic bin, an aged wooden crate, a small metal tub, etc.
Tips For Customization
Think of the recipient's interests or hobbies to help you decide what to fill your baskets with. Here are ten ideas to get you started.

What Can Solar Power Do For You?

How much electricity does a solar panel produce? How many panels do you need? Find out how to calculate solar production and your true energy needs.
Solar power is produced by photovoltaic panels that convert sunlight to electricity. The power that a solar panel can produce is based on its size and material, on its orientation to the sun and on the amount of sunlight it receives.
How much energy does a solar panel produce?
When a solar panel is manufactured, it is tested under Standard Test Conditions (STC) which are equivalent to full sun at sea level at 25 degrees Celsius. The panel is then rated for the number of watts it produces under those test conditions. For example, a typical solar panel for a home system might produce 200 Watts. Five of these panels would then produce 1000 Watt, or one kiloWatt. When the sun shines on the one kW array for one hour, it will have produced about one kWh of electricity. If you have the equivalent of six hours of full sun in a day the array will have produced six kWh. This is the amount of energy you now have available to operate your electrical appliances.
The number of kWh you can expect the solar array to produce in a typical day, month or year in your area depends on the amount of sunshine you receive. Days vary in length with the seasons. Some days are cloudy. On overcast days the panels will only produce about 20 - 60% of their full rating, depending on the thickness of the cloud cover. These variations are taken into account by using climate data that provides the average solar radiation per day throughout the year. Just multiply the solar radiation by the panel rating to determine how much energy you can expect.
How much electricity do you use?

First Two Adventures of a Legendary Spy

The year was 1962, a time where John Kennedy was our president and the Cold War was at a peak with the Cuban Missle Crisis. It was also the year a new hero came onto the silver screen; a man who had a way with the women while dealing with some of the most ruthless, cunning villains around. He brought style and panache doing what he needed to do his assignments for Queen and Country. His name: Bond, James Bond.
Producers Albert Broccoli and Harry Saltzman launched a franchise created by Ian Fleming, who at one time was a British intelligence agent as well as a journalist. His experiences cultivated in creating Mr. Bond, whose first story was "Casino Royale", which was made first as a TV play with American actor Barry Nelson essaying Bond. But it wasn't until 1962 when audiences around the globe were flocking into movie theaters watching the very first film chapter of James Bond.
Ironically, the first book filmed was "Dr. No", which was the sixth book Fleming penned. Broccoli and Saltzman searched for the perfect man to play 007 with names from Roger Moore to Patrick McGoohan popping up as possibilities. But it was Saltzman who discovered a Scottish actor who appeared in a Walt Disney film, "Darby O'Gill and the Little People" that caught his eye. The result was this actor came on board to do a five picture contract, yet he was unknown to many. The actor: Connery, Sean Connery.
Connery brought flair and dash to the character and audiences fell in love with James Bond from the get-go. "Dr. No" begins with a fellow agent, John Strangways, being gunned down by assassins known as "Three Blind Mice". Strangways was investigating a Chinese-german named Julius No (Joseph Wiseman) who lives at Crab Key in an underground base. Apparently No's plan is to disrupt an American space launch using a radio beam weapon. Bond gets help from a CIA operative, Felix Leiter (Jack Lord) and a native boatman, Quarrel (John Kitzmiller) who worked with Leiter in the past.
The trail leads to a geologist, Dr. R.J. Dent who notices some rock samples taken by Bond. But Dent secretly works for Dr. No and is asked to kill Bond by placing a tarantula in his bed. But Bond awakens in time and smashes the creature to death. In turn, Bond traps the geologist and kills him.
Bond is then following the trail of samples to an island where he meets up with Honey Ryder (Ursula Andress), who is found collecting shells. She is first leery of the secret agent, but then she warms up to him as they, along with Quarrel, try to outrun a "dragon" sent by our villainous doctor. Bond and Honey are captured and dine with No, who in turn tells them of his plan to mess up the U.S. space launch.
Bond is then roughed up and taken to a dungeon while Honey is placed somewhere in the lair. Bond escapes and manages to overload the reactor that would set off the beam. It results in a duel to the death with Dr. No, of which No is defeated and Honey is rescued by Bond.
Directed by Terence Young, the film seems to me a little dated by now. Yet this makes for a first exciting adventure that is smartly paced and well written. Richard Maibaum and Johanna Harwood collaborated on the script that would be the framework for further adventures.
What was most memorable for me was when the audience is first introduced to Bond via a card game. Connery cooly delivered the signature line that set the tone for the rest of his performance. Another highlight was when Bond encountered the tarantula and as he destroyed it with his shoe, the music, conducted by John Barry and written by Monty Norman, was in rhythm with Bond's shoe beating, making for a very tense moment.
While Connery was very effective as Bond, Wiseman was having fun with his character of Julius No. It is a shame that Wiseman was only better known for that character alone than for his other works. Ms. Andress was the model for other Bond Beauties after her, but she did not have very much to do here. Lord makes for a cool Felix, but this was his only appearance as the CIA agent. Kitzmiller brough a lot of authenticity to his role of Quarrel, making him a good ally for Bond.
It was only a year later that we would get the second Bond adventure, this time from an earlier Fleming novel that President Kennedy called "one of the best books I ever read". It would turn later into a video game using Connery's voice as its star.
"From Russia With Love" finds 007 involved with a cryptographic device that an organization called SPECTRE wants and is willing to sell it back to Russia while trying to exact revenge on Bond for killing off Dr. No in the first movie.

The Long Shadow of the State

If a movie starts off with a burglary in the middle of a rainy night, it must be film noir. So it is with Ve Stinu (In the Shadow), the Czech Republic's entry for Hollywood's 2012 foreign language Oscar. It's the story of an honest cop fighting the system, only instead of being tossed into the meat grinder of Stalinist Czechoslovakia, he willingly walks into it.
The year is 1953 and there are rumors about a currency devaluation, which the government denies. Of course, the film ends with the devaluation and disillusioned people tossing their worthless money out the windows. But before we get there, Captain Hakl has a huge problem.
His investigation of the burglary turns up a conspiracy by the police, state security and the Soviet Union to discredit what Jews are left in the country after the Holocaust. Adding insult to injury, the case is taken over by a captive ex-SS officer named Zenke with orders to stand before a show trial and declare that the Jews are engaged in supporting "Zionist terrorism". For that, he can go home. Otherwise, it's back to Siberia, never to see his family again. Hakl, who neglects his own family as the case progresses, preys on Zenke's conscience. What, six million weren't enough?
In the end, Zenke does what he's told and is allowed to go home with evidence that Hakl secretly gave him proving the innocence of the Jews. (The phone call to stop him comes just seconds after he crosses the border. Who would've guessed it?) All that's left is to take the good captain to the basement and beat him to a bloody pulp before dispatching him. The last scene shows his young son, fresh from dad's funeral, threatening two bullies in the street. The face that stares into the camera reassures the viewer that, yes, the fight for truth and justice will go on.

Wedding Tents for a Royal Experience

Innovative designs of tents can be combined with attractive interiors and exteriors to create an amazing look at weddings. Latest patterns and innovative techniques and equipment for designing tents makes them look very exotic at weddings.
Wedding tents are an excellent choice to provide aesthetic shelter when the function is being held on open lawns and creates a royal and amazing look which adds to the beauty of the festivities. Different types of tents are available in the market and can be selected based on the overall décor and style of the decorations. Lovely patterns of tents are available which can be selected to adorn and beauty to your wedding celebrations. Fabric used for making the tents must be of good quality in order to ensure the tents do not get easily damaged and last for a considerable period of time. The material used for making the tents must be strong in nature and must also be resistant to water in order to provide shelter and protection in case of rains. Quality of material used for making tents must be consistent and the fabric must be of reliable standards to ensure there are no mishaps or untoward incidents at during the wedding festivities.

The Greatest Writer of All Time

William Shakespeare is the greatest writer of all time, in any language. While this may seem like a very controversial statement, it is so only through the eyes of fragile national, ethnic and gender egos. Objectively speaking Shakespeare's greatness cannot be denied. Although it is popular in some circles to claim that writing is subjective, this is never true. Writing can be objectively evaluated even if the subject matter is subjective. This is so because language is actually trying to accomplish something. When we write, we take the content of our minds and hearts and share it with other people. This can be done well or ill. We can stutter, sputter, run around in circles, never saying what we intend to, or we can be clear, concise and coherent. This is not subjective.
It has become popular among modern academics to replace in their curriculums some of the greats of the Western Tradition with minority writers, female writers and multicultural writers. While I can, to an extent, appreciate this, I believe it is a mistake of the most profound order. Writing is about what has been seen, felt, thought, and experienced. A great writer is one who can, through the use of words, make another participate in what he has felt, thought, seen, or experienced. In this sense a great writer is not just one who has mastered the art of writing and the rules of grammar but one who has seen and experienced much, and intensely. I have read various feminist writers, African-American writers, Latino writers, and am currently going through a series of lectures on the Eastern Intellectual Tradition. Some of these writers are clearly fantastic, and I would label many of them as great, but when it comes to rank, I have to place Shakespeare first.

Business Is About Seeing Opportunities That Others Don't

In 1983, a man named Paul Hartunian worked a stroke of genius that wrote itself into the New York history books as one of the master strokes of the Century. The Brooklyn Bridge which connects the New York City Boroughs of Brooklyn and Manhattan to each other, was undergoing some major renovation and the old wood that the bridge was originally built with was being thrown out with the trash. Paul Hartunian was watching a news interview with a man talking about the renovations being carried out, with the pile of wood right behind him and his telephone number right there on the screen, printed on the side of his van, so he called the man and even had the wood delivered. He quickly cut the wood into small blocks and designed and printed certificates authenticating the blocks of wood as original pieces of the famous landmark, with a little history about the bridge written on each certificate. He then set about letting every newspaper in town know what he was selling, with the story heading, "Man sells Brooklyn Bridge for $14.95!" The rest, as they say, is history.

Goblins Were Once Real

Goblins were at one time real, and people saw all around them evidence of their existence. This was so because of the way the human mind works. Given that we interpret reality through mental paradigms, and that before the advent of science the dominant paradigm was animism--the belief that everything in nature was, in one way or another, a type of person--our ancestors saw in what we would nowadays call natural phenomena agency. For them everything that happened was caused by someone or some thing; therefore, when a tree fell, it was because someone pushed it down or cut it down. Coincidences and accidents could not exist within this mental paradigm; the entirety of reality was interpreted as being animated. What we now see as natural forces, impersonal forces, was--and not so long ago, really--seen as the workings of some either benevolent or malevolent entity. So within this paradigm goblins did exist in so much as the natural processes they were meant to explain existed. Goblins, as well as the other myriad of fantastic creatures believed to exist, served an explanatory function, explaining such things as embarrassing accidents and diseases, and everything else that required an explanation. Mysterious deaths could also be blamed on them. The existence of goblins could not be doubted as the consequences of their actions were readily apparent for all eyes to see. Thus, goblins were real because the human mind cannot tolerate a vacuum and would prefer a bad explanation to none at all.

Wondering What Kind of Winter Lies Ahead? Check Out Tried and True Ozarks Weather Wisdom!

After being battered by a hot, dry summer that turned into the worst drought in decades, folks in the Ozarks are enjoying a beautiful respite in the form of a lovely autumn in which the beauty of the Ozarks' fall foliage is lasting weeks longer than usual.
Unusual weather is almost normal for those who live in this magnificent part of the U.S. In fact, generations ago, our ancestors became very adept at foretelling various weather phenomena based upon signs that, with time and persistent observation, proved to be amazingly accurate. It may not be awash in scientific bases, but why would anyone choose to read stuffy scientific data on weather trends, when we have a colorful, interesting, sometimes humorous, and totally Ozarks methodology to study?
So, without further adieu, may we present: Ozarks Weather Predictions That Are 100% Accurate; And If Not Accurate Today, It Probably Will Be Tomorrow...
*If you want to determine the amount of rainfall to expect in the coming year, do the following on either Christmas Eve or New Year's Eve: Between 11:00 pm and midnight, gather 12 onions and place them on a table or counter top in an east-to-west line. Cut the top off each onion, then scoop out a small amount from the cut side of each onion. To this small, scooped-out area, add one-fourth teaspoon of salt. Do not look at the onions again until the next morning. After sunrise the next morning, examine the onions. You will find that a small amount of liquid has accumulated within the scoop-out area of each onion, and that the liquid is not equal in amount in each onion.
* The onions which contain the most liquid represent the months that will have wetter weather in the coming year.
* Ring Around the Moon: When you see a ring around the moon, count the number of stars that lie within the circle of the ring. This number will correspond to the number of days that will pass until the next bout of precipitation.
* Predicting the First Frost: As spring and summer come along, listen for the first song of the katydids. The first hard frost will occur exactly 90 days hence.

FAP - Fine Art Photography

Fine art photography (FAP) refers to photographs that are made in the creative vision of the photographer as an artist. Fine art photography generally stands in contrast to photojournalism, which is a visual account of news events or a record of things, places and people. Commercial photography, the primary focus of which is to advertise products or services, is generally held apart from fine art as well. That said in my experience the commercial and journalistic often slops over into fine art.
If one reviews the history of photography it quickly become clear that well made image narratives, produced for journalistic or commercial purposes, frequently become objects of art. Often but not always this transition takes place well after the journalistic or commercial significance has passed. If one examines the enduring images from the great photographic publications of the past, the truth of this can easily be verified. Today many truly great images can be seen on the web, produced from the present journalistic and commercial traditions.
I could find no generally accepted definition(s) of the terms "art photography", "artistic photography" or "fine art photography. Definitions are found in articles, essays and reference books in all media forms. What seems to be lacking is the generally or universally accepted part. (see: Wikipedia-Fine-art photography for examples.)
The balance of this essay is more personal opinion dependent than academic. One significant difference between an artistic rendering and fine art is the level of emotion created by the image's narrative. An artistic rendering, of a really great image. that is creatively presented is surely art. Fine art takes that rendering one or two steps further into an emotional place that transcends the propose or location. Art in general and fine art almost always has a transcendence or universality that just images can not quite match. Fine art melds together all the compositional, technical and transcendence qualities to give it and its narrative a true universality.

Promote Your Art And Make A Striking Impression

These days, there are lots of ways that can help you in art promotion. In particular, the internet is probably the best and fastest way to promote your art. If you think you have what it takes in creating a masterpiece, why do not you show it to the whole world? Make an impression. It is always better to promote your works of art for other people to see. It can help you attract an audience. With the power of the internet, you will never encounter any problems in art promotion.
Almost everyone goes online today. It is a great way to stay connected with friends, family and get to know the latest news all around the world. You need to promote your art on several websites. Likewise, you can go on social networking sites as these sites are among the most popular sites for people of all ages.
Works Of Art On Social Networks

Interview With Lauren Beukes

Tom Hunter: People always say it's an honour to be shortlisted for an award, and we all know from the Oscars that it's important to prep your stoic face in advance, but what is that winning moment when you hear your name read out actually like?
Lauren Beukes: Deeply shocking. Like being sideswiped by a train. I really wasn't expecting it, had, in fact, just given myself the pep talk about how it's an honour just to be here and to lose to someone as good as Ian McDonald, when China Miéville announced my name. My brother, who was my date for the evening, had to shove me at the stage because I was just sitting there, stunned - which meant I didn't have time to grab my speech and had to ad-lib. My hands shook for half an hour afterwards, but mainly it was this sense of just huge, deep gratitude for everyone who'd read the book or given me support or encouragement or a kick up the arse along the way. It was an unreal high for weeks.
TH: Writing is always hard, but does winning an award like the Clarke make it even harder in some ways?
Lauren: For the first few weeks afterwards, I found myself dreading sitting in front of the keyboard more than usual. I had this image of the ghost of Sir Arthur C. Clarke looming over my chair, arms folded, sneering,

The Sound (of a Troubled Genius) - Part 1, Jeopardy

First, what a great name for a band! Second, what a great band!
Much as I love The Teardrop Explodes and Echo and the Bunnymen, The Sound are the band who should be mentioned in the same breath, who should have had the same success. That they didn't is slightly puzzling though it was probably a combination of far darker lyrical terrain and a lack of cheekbones that both Ian McCullough and Julian Cope possessed. There was also the fact that they were initially signed to the same record company as the Bunnymen which meant that the time, money and resources went into the band that had the best likelihood of commercial success rather than The Sound who were very much the runts of the litter.
It is probably no coincidence that Adrian Borland, lead singer and songwriter for The Sound, named his first band The Outsiders, for that is the role he played throughout his tragically short life. If you listen to those early recordings, he already had some of the songwriting dynamics and introspective lyrical concerns that would appear on The Sound's debut LP, 'Jeopardy.' Unwittingly, and regrettably presciently, this record starts with 'I Can't Escape Myself', a song whose themes would recur throughout Borland's career: "So many feelings / Pent up in here / Left all alone, I'm with / The one I most fear." These are words we can probably all relate to but for Borland it really was a matter of life and death. As time progressed, he would have regular periods of clinical mental illness, even being sectioned at one point, and he would frequently turn to this theme in his lyrics. That it is here so starkly formatted as track 1 on his band's debut LP is an indication of the darkness at the heart of The Sound. The song itself is contained, scratchy, pent up, intense, with minimal instrumentation until the band explode into the chorus. It is a fine template for what would make this band so special.

Are You Holding on to the Monkey?

I had this interesting conversation with a General Manager (whose name I cannot reveal) of the largest Seminar company in the world. We were just talking about staff issues and how sometimes the managers of a company like to take on the responsibilities of their staff and try to solve all their problems. They sometimes feel responsible if their staff can't deal with their own problems and try very hard to reassure their colleagues that "we'll pull through this together, I just need to think of a way out".
I call this syndrome: Holding on to the monkey.
Allow me to explain.
What is the monkey? The monkey is a personification of typical problems that your staff or colleagues face in their everyday work. Everyone has their own set of monkeys and it does affect their daily work. But what they do with it is important.
For most people, whenever they face a monkey or monkeys (many problems at the same time), they will usually go to their managers and ask for help. They share with their managers how it affects them and look for advice. This is good but this is where the problem begins. They leave the monkey with the managers and expect them to solve it.
I personally know it very well because I have many clients who share with me that they have informed their boss about the problem and are waiting for their boss to give them the direction.
The boss however, is not able to deal with the problem quickly (sometimes they are travelling or have work piled up so high that his or her face is blocked by stacks of files and papers). The problem now becomes the boss' problem because the monkey is handled to him (or her). He becomes the bottleneck since everyone is waiting for him to give his 'valuable' input or turn on his 'messiah complex' to save the day with his brilliant ideas.

Hypnosis: Serious? Fun? Or Serious Fun?

Expert Author Edward Lewellen
You've seen it many times, the hypnotist with the dark cloak, the top hat, and the intense stare as they approach their subject to make them obey their every command. Dark, sinister... and not even close to the truth! I commented on this before, and I'm sure you'll hear it again, I get a wide range of responses when I tell people that I am a Master Hypnotist.
The most extreme response: I have family members and others that won't speak to me because their religion dictates to them that hypnostism is "from the Devil". Now, I believe everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I can't help but hear Bobby Boucher's mama when I'm told that... and snicker a little inside.
Then, there are the people that believe hypnotism is all fake. That the people you may have seen during stage hypnosis are paid to act like they are following the hypnotists suggestions.
There are those that have never experienced hypnosis, but believe in it because they know someone that couldn't stop smoking, but went to a hypnotist 20 years ago, and haven't smoked since. Or, some similar story.

Catering - Tips to Help You Pick the Best Provider

One important aspect of event planning is making sure that you have chosen the right caterers. Since the type and quality of food you serve can impact how well your event goes, you need to make sure that you hire an appropriate catering service. Instead of opening the yellow pages and picking the first company you come across, try to invest a little time screening the prospects before you hire anyone.
You need to have a good idea of what kind of foods different companies specialize in. Don't assume that just because they say they can make chicken that it is going to taste great. Contact the companies and get a copy of their menus. Keep in mind that no two companies cook the same, so their foods will not taste the same either.

Purchasing Your Baby Grand Piano

Usually, when you are looking to purchase an instrument for your child, there is a purpose. One of the most common is a piano, and the price and type depend on what your specific needs are. It is a common belief that if a child is only a beginning player, a cheaper upright style is all you need, however, if you have a good teacher, he or she may suggest that you need to get the best one on the market so that your child will look forward to practicing his lessons. One of the best that you can buy for your child is a baby grand piano and there are several steps that you should follow to be sure to find the best one for your home and budget.
The first thing you should do when you are considering buying a baby grand piano is to visit a showroom so that you can familiarize yourselves with the different manufacturers and what makes each stand out. At this time, you should ask any questions that you may have and take notes from the dealer. You will also want to play each and listen to them so that you can hear the varying tones of each style. This instrument style will take up more space in your home, so make sure that you have pre-measured your space before you visit the showrooms.

Choosing the Best Place to Play Golf

If you are in need of ways to relax after a long day or week of work, you should think about learning how to play golf. This is a sport where you can learn how to discipline yourself and improve your ability to focus and concentrate. All you need to do is find a place where you can play in peace. Since there may be several places that provide an environment for you to play, here are a few tips to help you choose the best place for your new found hobby.
It is important for you to find a place where you feel completely comfortable. This means that you may have to try out a few different places before you can find a place that you want to call your golf home. This is where having access to the internet comes in handy. Go online and start doing some research. You will discover that there are private and public places for you to play at. Each has its own set of benefits that will help you determine where you will feel the most comfortable at when you go to play golf.
Public courses are managed by the local government of the jurisdiction it is located in. Most of these places charge a small yearly fee to help generate revenue to manage the place. Anyone can play at this type of facility and they are open six to seven days a week most of the year, depending on your location. You don't have to make reservations any time you want to play, unless there is going to be a league or tournament. This is a great option if you are in need of place where you can go as frequently as you want and save money in the process.

Family Attractions - Tips to Help You Plan Your Outings

Did you know that some of the best things to do are considered family attractions? Some of the world's most famous spots are places where people of all ages can have a great time. No matter where you go, when you and your friends talk about things you can do to have fun, the majority of the suggestions are going to be family attractions.
Why do you think that these places have such a big appeal around the world? Is it because they provide an environment where everyone can remain safe while having a good time? Maybe it is because the environment just makes it so much easier for everyone to enjoy themselves. No matter what the reason is for going to family attractions, the bottom line is that you won't be disappointed. Since there are so many places for you to choose from, you don't want to waste a lot of time trying to figure out which ones to go to. You could end up feeling overwhelmed, which would put a damper on your mood when it is finally time to get going.
Make sure that you know what you are getting into before you reach your destination. Know what the busiest times are for the family attractions that you decide to go to. This can save you a ton of time and frustration. If you decide to go during the busy season, make sure that you go early in the day so that you don't have to wait in long lines. This can also save you some money as well.

Start Looking At Banquet Halls Early

When it comes to planning social events and gatherings, you should start your planning early on to avoid having things get hectic at the last minute. There is so much work that goes into making sure that the final event goes off without a hitch. You do not want to end up feeling overwhelmed and frustrated before it is time for the actual event to take place. One of the most important components of planning an event is choosing an appropriate venue. There are many different banquet halls available for you to choose. If you want to save some time, there are a few things you can do to increase the likelihood of getting your desired venue.
Don't procrastinate. As soon as you come up with the idea of throwing a party, you need to start looking around town at different banquet halls. Even if you don't have a set number of guests in mind yet, you can still start looking at what venues are going to be available. Besides looking at the exterior of the facilities, make sure that you ask for a tour. You may want to take a notepad with you to jot down information about the available amenities and the capacity of the space. While you are there, you can inquire about rental rates and their cancellation policy. Make notes about what would make each facility the best place for your social gathering.

Weddings - A Few Pointers To Help With The Planning

As exciting as it is to be engaged, it is even more exciting to be planning your ceremony. Even though there is a lot of work that goes into planning weddings, you should be glad to know that this is a task that brides ever relish with great joy. Keep in mind that along with the joys of planning come the frustrations and stresses of making sure that everything goes right. Here are a few pointers that can help make your special day go off without a hitch.
It is never too early to start planning. When it comes to weddings, it is the early bird that gets the worm. As soon as you get engaged, you need to be thinking about where you want your special event to take place. Keep in mind that there are countless other brides who may be competing for the same space that you decide is perfect for your big day. Instead of you stressing out about whether or not a particular establishment is going to allow you to make a reservation for you special date, contact them early so you can have first dibs.

Procrastination - Gangnam Style?

Even when we mean to finish something and have the best intentions, things do not always work out as planned. Many of us turn to web surfing or other forms of entertainment, even when we have work to do. Videos, like the currently popular Gangnam Style, on YouTube are one of the biggest reasons for procrastination for many individuals. Getting over this and focusing on what is important is possible, you just need to know how to start.
In the age we live in now, procrastination is easier than ever. One of the popular ways to do this is to surf the web and watch videos for hours on end. Gangnam Style is one of those new music videos that has attracted a large amount of attention and continues to be the go-to when someone wants to relax and get away from stressful work. While this is good when you are taking a break, it is far from that when it cuts into you doing the work you should be doing. Social media and entertainment may provide you with some fun here and there, but they might end up doing damage, too
While these things may be tempting, it is important to remember where procrastination leads. For those people who are supposed to be doing work, this means you are choosing those hours of fun over your paycheck. This can put your employment in jeopardy, something no person wants. As for students, procrastination leads to lower grades and a lot more stress when deadlines begin to creep closer.

UNLV Season Is Opened By "A capella" Group Mo5aic

"A capella" group Mo5aic (Mosaic) has been on the rise for some time now. Opening the Season for UNLV Runnin' Rebels Basketball with the National Anthem (and if you follow basketball then you know this is a BIG season). Featured in 2007 as the winner of CBS "The Next Great A capella Group" judged by none other than "Boyz 2 Men." Since then Mo5aic has been on a mission to bring their Voice-Instrument sound to the forefront of entertainment. Having been featured on Americas Got Talent and receiving outstanding reviews, this group of singers have managed to land a steady stream of big name gigs as they slowly climb to bigger heights.

Using the Hammer and Hardie to Cut Marble for Mosaics

The Roman Hammer and Hardie
For cutting stone the hammer and hardie (sometimes spelt hardy) has been in use for 2,000 years. It is used to cut marble and other hard stones into a wide range of sizes to create the tesserae (tiles) needed for mosaic work.
Its advantage over using nippers in cutting stone is that it is the weight of the hammer which does the cutting thereby alleviating the stress on the wrists you get with using tile nippers. With practice you can even cut tesserae down to 1mm in size.
Using the hammer and hardie is a very straight forward practical skill and you should be able to gain a basic level of competency with 2 weeks of practice.
Your Cutting Position

Reasons to Participate in Children's Activities

It is very challenging trying to find time to spend with your children after a long day of hard work. With all of the obligations and responsibilities that you have to deal with on a daily basis, finding the time to have fun with you kids is something that often gets neglected. In order to help prevent you and your kids from being unable to relate, communicate, and understand each other, you may want to look for children's activities to participate in.
No matter where you live, there are plenty of events that are happening all around town. Since you have trouble finding extra time to do things with your kids, why not look for children's activities that are taking place close to places where you run your errands? Keep in mind that not all activities will be listed for you to look up. If you have trouble finding events that are being hosted for you and your kids to participate in, why not consider coming up with your own children's activities?
For instance, why not encourage and foster your child's love for reading by taking a trip to the library? Some libraries have a young adult and youth department. Some places hold reading nights where the public is welcome to participate. You don't have to spend a fortune trying to find ways to bond with your young ones. All you need is to find a common interest. Then, use it to come up with ideas for ways to help you reconnect with your loved ones.

Family Things to Do - Have Fun While Creating New Memories

If you are looking to add a little variety to the way you and your loved ones spend time together, maybe it is time for you all to find some family things to do that involve you going to some places around town. No matter what time of year it is, there is always something going on. It is up to you to discover what those events are so that you can start adding some fun activities to your list of family things to do.
You can't go wrong with a trip to the zoo. What better way to spark your children's interest and give everyone chance to reconnect with nature? Zoos are inexpensive, provide a great opportunity to get in shape by walking, and provide a peaceful environment that everyone will enjoy. You can even learn about the animal kingdom in the process. Some zoos have conservatories or insectariums were you can get a firsthand look at some of the world's smallest and most complex creatures. Learn how some of these creatures impact your life for the better and where they stand in the hierarchy of life. This is an excellent opportunity for you to help your children build a genuine passion for nature and enthusiasm for their science lessons.
Have you been keeping up with all of the movies that have been coming out at the theater? Chances are there are quite a few movies that you and your children would enjoy watching together. Instead of waiting until it is on DVD, why not treat everyone out to a special date at the show? This is something that you can add to your list of family things to do.

Things To Do - Get Active

You may think that in order for you and your family to have some fun and get in shape, you have to go and join a gym. You don't have to spend a ton of money just so you can get active together. There are plenty of things to do around town that everyone can get involved in. You don't have to have a set schedule or make reservations. Just pick out a day that fits within everyone's schedule, and get ready to have some fun.
When was the last time you and your family have watched an IMAX movie together? Chances are it has been quite a while since you have all even taken a trip to the movie theater together. Seeing any movie on an IMAX screen is very impressive and exciting. You can enjoy a movie on the biggest screen in the area. There is no other place you can go where you can feel as if you are an actual part of the movie. Keep in mind that this is one trip to the theater where you will have to spend a little money, but it will be well worth it.
Is anyone up for a game of golf? There is no time like the present for you and your family to learn how to play. You can go to the golf course and take out a club and start swinging away. Keep in mind that this game is a bit more challenging than it looks. You can learn to play for fun or for leisure. Either way, everyone will have a great time.

How to Turn Your Hobby Into a Profitable Business

Everybody has at least one thing that they enjoy doing. It is what most people spend most of their times doing although not everyone gets financial returns from their hobby. However, it is not so hard to turn your hobby into a small business to get that extra income. These are some steps you can take which can bring amazing results if strictly followed to the letter.
You should start by making a list of everything you enjoy doing. Do not exclude anything no matter if you think of it as a business or not. Be generous and wise as you are adding things on the list you are making. Include as much details as possible for every hobby listed as long as you enjoy doing it. When the list is made, go through it and find similar ideas in your home town. If there is no other such business, maybe it is not one of the best ventures to carry out in that area.

Kinetic Artistic Creations - Case Study

Not long ago, I was talking with a very nice lady. She was originally from the Netherlands before moving to the United States and becoming a scientist, an astronomer. Today, Patricia Vader is intimately involved in creating Kinetic Art. If you don't know what kinetic art is; it is art which is in motion, it is moving. She likes to create windmill type art, which probably makes sense because she is Dutch originally.
I met her in the high-fashion shopping district in my international golfing community. She currently lives in San Francisco, and she was commissioned by our city to create a beautiful Sunflower Windmill on our main street in town. Most of her creations are based off the concept of a bicycle wheel as the platform for her spinning art. It stands to reason with the popularity of wind turbines out here in this desert community not far from Palm Springs, and all the alternative energy power that we are now generating in our nation that her art is taking on new meaning.

Ideas for Family Things to Do

Family time is very important especially if you have kids. One of the challenges that most familial units face is finding time to spend with each other. Since most parents have a ton of obligations besides work to deal with, finding time may be a bit challenging. In order to increase the likelihood of spending time with your loved ones, you should look for some family things to do on your days off.
Depending on where you live, you may have trouble finding stuff to do. If you live in a medium to big city, you could take a tour of where you live. Think about it, when was the last time you took the time to explore the major city closest to where you live? This activity alone can provide you with tons of ideas for future outings. You can learn and teach your kids about the local history of the area.

Palm Tree Symbolism in Custom Oil Painting Composition - Part 4

What You Learn In This Article
Now we will learn the first part of how the image of a palm tree in a painting tells the a viewer to feel.
Earlier articles in this series applies to the lore behind palms in art paintings or drawings. Similarly, everything read previous to this section applies to trees-in-general, so naturally, it applies to palm trees as well.
We Will Only Look At Healthy Palm Trees
The analysis in this sections will be only about healthy and tall palm trees in fine art paintings. If you want to read about the sick or withered ones, refer to sections 2 and 3 of this chain of articles.
A List Of Benefits From Seeing The Images Of Palm Trees
When seen in any or all kinds of art works, palm trees tell the looker to be peaceful and tranquil. They tell him to be aware of opportunities.
The palm trees in your custom oil painting instruct the viewer to aspire highly, to "shoot for the stars", or to "go for the brass ring." They tell him/her to succeed or to perhaps be famous.
Various Benefits Of The Sight Of Palm Trees' Images
If we suppose that palm trees have been added to original paintings, then might we ask, "what else does the sight, of palm trees suggest the looker?" It tells him/her to hope or to be hopeful. Moreover, it tells the viewer to live long.
Remember, I beg of you, I am not telling you these meanings based upon my own authority; I merely assume that the sources that I found on the internet are authoritative. They may be so, or they may be not so.
The sight of palms tell us to feel a sense of peace. That same image allows us to be aware of opportunities and chances as they emerge or appear in our life's drama, or lila.
Older societies felt that the palm tells us to be fertile.
Greely Revised: "Go Beyond, Young One"
The sight of palm trees, in any work of oil painting art, speaks to our unconscious. The sight of them instructs our unconscious to tell us to go up above and beyond to the spot where small entities compete against one another.
The palms tell us to shine, shine, shine, high above the trivial and disappointing layer of being, just as the Sun does shine upon Earth.
The symbolic readings in this article have been paraphrased from other authorities rather than myself.
Palms And Paradise
Paradise has often been thought of as having both palms and ocean. Thus, when combined with ocean in a custom oil painting, the palm might also be a symbol of paradise. I decided to look up a definition, of "paradise:"
The first definition listed of the word literally means a park, with a wall around it.
However, the second definition of "paradise" is in this wise: "wanting to balance our consciousness and to make it to be whole, as it, though as hidden, has ever been."
Palm Fronds Welcome Folks Back To Home
Palms have been known to welcome those who return home. Along with the event are the feelings of getting a desired end and of making those who return home feel that they are welcome. Finally, more to the point, palms symbolize the glory and fulfillment that our soul feels as we come back to our source.
The wisely laid palm leaves upon the path that was taken by Jesus as he walked into Jerusalem.
Some of the heirs of the gifts of Jesus Christ used palms to represent resurrection. To them, or to us, this means winning against the threat of death by becoming one with Jesus Christ.

The Joy Of Creating Custom Shower Curtains

You open the door to your bathroom. The white plastic shower curtain hangs limply in this all too functional bath space. You know life is supposed to be more meaningful than this. You know you should have harmonious beauty in every inch of your living space. But your checking account is woefully low and a professional decorator is not in the near future plans. But you have something more valuable than money bubbling within. Good taste. You know what you like, which is half the battle in this DIY project. Beautifying this drab environment and creating a stunning showplace that will have you seeking out this small space takes little more than a good idea and second grade level craft skills. What more do you need to have a fun afternoon while creating custom shower curtains.
- Inner liner
- Fabric
- Iron
- Fabric glue
- Hooks
- Embellishments
Getting Started

Why Not Advertise Your Art While At Starbucks?

The other day, I was talking to a gal who was an art major. She specialized in photography amongst other things and was busy getting her college prerequisites out of the way to go to a four-year university. She was not only an accomplished photographer, but quite an artist. When I first sat down near her at the local Starbucks I noticed she had a unique piece of art work on her laptop. It had been superimposed on the back for all to see.
It was so good in fact that I complimented her, and she smiled. Then I realized that she had produced that piece of art, digitized it, and put it on. Although I did not get her business card for her art business, it seems to me that this might be a good strategy to advertise your art while you're sitting in a coffee shop, at the airport, or even while taking a flight, or riding on a commuter train. By displaying your artistic creation on the cover of your laptop, you will be displaying your art in public. Now then, I suppose it also makes sense to use this same strategy on the back of your clothes too.

Meeting Rooms - Choosing the Best Venue

No matter what your reasons are for holding conventions and other business gatherings, you are going to need space. With a large number of businesses hosting off-site strategy conventions as a way to further educate and inform their employees, renting meeting rooms has become quite popular. There are several reasons why renting space is more appealing than hosting in your own facilities.
Many places that provide conference space have staff that you can hire to help facilitate your conferences. There are amenities available that you may not find in your own office space. In fact, it is much easier and more convenient for businesses to host their conferences outside of their own facilities because there is not enough space to accommodate holding all of their employees in one area at the same time.
Renting meeting rooms also allows you to present and uphold the company's image. Impress your conference attendees by being selective about where you choose for the venue. This can help create enthusiasm and pride in your employees, which will in turn help boost morale.
By hosting your conferences in another location, you are also implementing disaster recovery plans. It is very hard for you to predict what will happen at your conferences. When you hold them in meeting rooms at a convention center, you are protecting yourself, your attendees, and your business. Any disruptions will not have an impact on your operations since you are going to be at another facility. It is best for you to be prepared and most convention centers are equipped and prepared to handle many different types of situations.

Who Is to Blame When the Love Affair Ends?

It all starts as sweet as a honeymoon escape to an exotic island. They walk into the sunset, in love, for the next five years.
What the Buyer (Margaret) Remembers
Charlie, the sales guy, introduced us. It was love at first sight.
My old one was just not working out anymore: too slow, always in need of repair and unpredictable. Or maybe "IT" had become technologically obsolete. "IT" could be a copier, phone system, fork lift, over-the-road tractor and trailer or printing press.
Margaret thinks... this new, shiny, fabulous creature will fit in perfectly. There's enough room in our operation for it. "IT" is affordable, sleek, flashy and flexible. This will help us attract new customers, will always work perfectly and be more productive than my best employee.
Charlie showed Margaret how easy the lease would be to get in and out of. All "you'll have to do is write the check for the first payment and sign the four-page contract." Margaret thinks... what could possibly go wrong? Margaret thinks this is a marriage made in heaven.
Unlike a real marriage, this one is for 5-years. At the end of the 5-year lease, the options are to return the old one and trade up to a new unit, no fuss, no hassle. In a perfect world, that is how it is supposed to go.

Brighten Up The Holidays With These Photo Gift Ideas

If you are looking for a gift that is personal and customizable for the upcoming holiday season, you will want to consider getting presents that make use of photographs. In a culture that is consumed with mass-produced gifts, a personalized present will really stand out and make your recipient feel special and appreciated. These photo gift ideas are sure to make a lasting impression on your family and friends.
Refrigerator Magnets
Because people typically open their refrigerator door several times a day, it's a logical spot in the household to place notes to family members, along with shopping lists, artwork by kids and other items that need attention. Refrigerator magnets are available in a variety of sizes, shapes and colors.
For example, companies often print their logos and phone numbers on magnets and then distribute them for free to consumers in the hope that their message will get through upon repeated viewing. Why not take advantage of this phenomenon by ordering refrigerator magnets that are made with your own photograph?
Coffee Mugs

iOS Has an Uncertain Future, And That's a Good Thing

In case you haven't heard, there has been an executive shake-up at Apple. In addition to one other exec that doesn't matter, Scott Forstall: the SVP in charge of iOS, is out. By all indications, he was shown the door, and shoved out. There were no sad farewells or glorious write-ups on the Apple homepage. Tim Cook did not publicly acknowledge and thank Scott for his many years of faithful service to the company. This is extremely significant because Scott came from NEXT with Steve Jobs to Apple. Scott and Steve were close friends. It has been bandied about that Forstall was going to be Steve's successor. As we all know, it didn't turn out that way. Still, He was the heir apparent to the throne of Steve Jobs. Now, he's out the door. That is a very big deal.
OK, he is not out the door just yet, at least, not officially. He will be staying on for a few months as an advisor to Tim Cook. That's how executives get fired. That just means he is on a beach somewhere brushing off his resume. Someone needs a CEO, and Forstall is probably the most eligible, unemployed exec in the world right now. There is a great deal of drama and corporate intrigue leading up to this point, and it would make a fine article. But that is not what I want to write about. That is what every other blog is banging on about. If you want the inside dirt, read theirs. I am more interested in what this all means for the future of iOS, and maybe the Mac.
The implications of this ouster are far reaching. First, many aspects of iOS were directly influenced by Scott Forstall. Some of those aspects were not much appreciated by others in the company. I am referring to the gratuitous skeuomorphism that has become a hallmark of iOS. It has even crept into Mac OS. Skeuomorphism is carrying over a design feature from the original version of a product in order to make people feel comfortable with a new product. A good example of this is the page turning in iBooks. There is no good reason to turn a page in a digital book. It is necessary for physical books, but is merely ornamental in the digital version. Yet, people love it. It makes us feel comfortable with the new format, wrapping us in the familiar while ushering us into the new.

Imagination Land

Imagination Land
For any South Park fan the title of this story is a flashback to an awesome trilogy episode created by Matt Stone and Trey Parker. A quick summary for anyone who missed that episode, the infamous Eric Cartman and Kyle Broflovski have a bet that Cartman can prove that leprechauns are real. Cartman succeeds in proving Kyle wrong, and at the same time, people's imaginations have been taken over by terrorists and imaginations are running wild. Like most South Park episodes there is always a message, the message is this "who are we to judge whats real or not?" Characters like "Popeye" are fictional but we learn a lot from them, sometimes a lot more than from real people. I don't think eating spinach would have been an option in my life if it wasn't for Popeye. For those not familiar with Popeye, the character always gained incredible strength to defeat his enemy and save the girl by eating a can of spinach. I was amazed by this cartoon as a kid and today I can genuinely say "Thank you Popeye" for helping me eat spinach! Today it's one of my favorite dishes. As a cartoon junky I started to think about the different characters I've been watching in the past years and how each one of them taught me something really valuable. So I decided to share some of my "Imagination" learning journey by introducing some "fictional" characters from a different perspective. Not tight costumes and super powers, but more of how their struggles were more real than ever and how they dealt with issues and the lessons learned. I shall choose some of my favorites to show you. "Spiderman and Batman" are the ones I will cover.
Chapter 1
The Amazing Spider Man
"Amazing Spiderman" indeed, not just because he can walk on walls and shoot webbing, but because with all that he faces he always finds a way to stay on top. For people not familiar with the character created by the awesomest human alive Stan "the man" Lee, here's a quick synopsis. Peter Parker is a teenage science genius who faces normal teenage problems like getting the girl he wants and getting picked on by a bully. After getting bit by a radioactive spider, he turned into the "Amazing Spiderman". He gained super human strength,"amazing" agility, sticking ability and a spider sense that warns him when danger is coming. But Peter's secret weapon was always his intellect.
Peter decided to lead the life of a superhero after the death of his Uncle Ben who taught him that "with great power comes great responsibility". His life was torn in half when he had to maintain his high school life while maintaining his secret identity. The lesson Uncle Ben taught Peter is the hidden message of almost each and every spiderman story. The power of being an extremely intelligent student and the responsibility to use that blessing to help enrich your life and others. The power of being able to lift a car and throw it 10 meters away and the responsibility of saving the world from villains that are constantly trying to destroy it. So what can we learn from our web headed friend? Well honestly this character is an encyclopedia of lessons, but Ill choose my favorite Spiderman lesson "Perseverance". You can see this character struggling every day from trying to keep his grades up, to a part time job taking pictures for a newspaper, to taking care of his aunt May and saving the world. The level of responsibility and perseverance is a lesson that everyone should follow. Never give up even if you are trying to the save the world; or if you can't start exercising because you're lazy or you can't get yourself the house you want, never give up. Plan, put a strategy and fight to reach your goal. "Your dreams are your responsibility, channel the power of your mind to accomplish those dreams"... From your friendly neighborhood Spiderman.
Chapter 2

Mardi Gras Costume Renting - What You Need to Know

If you want to get out on the street and revel in the celebrations in style, you'll need to consider picking up a Mardi Gras costume. Since this probably isn't something you're going to wear more than once, many people decide to rent, rather than buy, their outfit. But even renting an outfit comes with a lot of considerations. After all, if you're going to go through the trouble and expense of dressing up for the occasion, you might as well make sure you're going to look your best. Here are some of the things you need to know before patronizing a shop.
Part of the fun of a Mardi Gras costume is all of the accessories that go along with it. No one shows up on the streets of New Orleans without a few bead necklaces hanging around their neck at the very least. But beads are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to fun accessories. Masks, feather boas, and even fans can make sure that you stand out from a very strange and eclectic crowd. Some shops will have all of the accessories you need to complement your outfit, while others stop at the outfits themselves. You may want to find a shop that can meet all of your needs if you don't want to hit several places in an attempt to cobble together an ensemble.

Mardi Gras Costumes and the Traditional Colors

One of the great things about Mardi Gras costumes is that, in choosing one, you can be as conservative or wild as you want to be. There are no rules you must follow to dress up and have a good time. If you want to reuse your crazy outfit from Halloween, there's nothing saying that you can't. That said, most people like to choose an outfit and mask that hearkens to some of the traditions surrounding the celebration. These traditions are rich and steeped in history, which adds another dimension to the revelry. One of the most obvious aspects of these traditions is the prominent colors. Here's a look at these colors, any or all of which you can incorporate into your outfit.

People Come Back Into Our Lives Like Betty White

This is the time of year people come back into our lives for a reason.
Some you don't want to see. They show up with drama and they teach you something about yourself and life. Others you are thrilled to see because they come back with love.
I had not seen actress Betty White in person for nearly thirty years, when I got a chance to hug her recently.
We met when she was starring in "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," and I was the publicist on the show for CBS Television Network.
Over the years I had seen Betty on TV, and I wanted to tell her how she influenced my path in later years.
She's a great animal lover, and on the board of the Los Angeles Zoo. When an opportunity came around for me to volunteer with the zoo and take animals to children's hospitals, I jumped on it because I remembered a special day in Betty's life that influenced me.
Betty had just finished an interview with TV Guide. It was moments before she was going to make her debut on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," a classic now in television history. She was about to act her way into the hearts of millions around the world.
I was in Betty's dressing room with her, the TV Guide reporter, and a studio publicist when there was a knock on her door. It was the assistant director.
"Time to go on stage Betty!"
This was it, an exciting time for the show and for Betty. The producers were looking for a Betty White type to play Sue Ann Nivens, a saucy, over-sexed host of a cooking show on the fictional network.
Mary Tyler Moore, a good friend of Betty's said, "Why not just get Betty herself." They did and the ratings went through the roof.
When Betty opened the door for the assistant director, he told her she had to hurry to get on set. We all started walking briskly with Betty to the stage, when a make-up artist on the show was passing us carrying a shoe box with care.
Betty asked what was in the box and the woman said, "A baby bird fell out a nest."
Betty stopped dead in her tracks, and the assistant director almost had a heart attack.
A studio audience was waiting, and thousands of dollars would be ticking away with crew time if Betty didn't get on stage immediately and deliver her lines. She peered into the box and melted. She wanted to nurture the poor nestling, when the nervous assistant reminded her it was time to go.
Betty began walking again, but she looked back over her shoulders telling the makeup artist to get a dropper to feed the bird. Her mind was on the bird, not on the upcoming biggest moment of her life.
Throughout the years whenever I saw Betty on a show, I thought about that moment. I thought about the love she has not only for animals, but for people. Her assistant who has been with Betty for years said, she has never heard her say a bad word about anyone. When someone was out of line, Betty made excuses for them.

Mardi Gras Costumes - The History Behind the Revelry

You would be hard pressed to find a bigger celebration in the United States than the one that occurs every week prior to lent in New Orleans. While the celebrations have taken various forms in various states, the New Orleans version is still the one people will travel from far away to be a part of. Mardi Gras costumes are a must for those who want to get into the carnival spirit, and you won't see a more motley assortment of crazy outfits outside of Halloween. For those in the know, this tradition of dressing up for the occasion is called "masking", and it is as much a part of the festivities as beads and floats. Here's a look at the history behind this proud tradition.
Pierre Le Moyne
Like almost everything with strong historical roots in New Orleans, Mardi Gras costumes have strong ties to France. Brought to America by the Canadian explorer Pierre Le Moyne, the carnival was an instant success, carrying on the masking traditions beloved in Paris at the time. When New Orleans was under French rule in the 1700s, costumed balls were as common as they were in the city that made them so famous. Towards the end of the century, however, the Spanish took control of the territory and put an end to the masked parties, considering them pagan in nature. They remained outlawed until the early 1800s.
The Parades

How To Make Your Own Stickers: The Fun And Easy Way

For those who enjoy arts and crafts, most likely they collect items that fit their needs. Yet, there maybe a time when they wished to have something that is a bit more personalized. Opportunely, there is a fun and easy way of creating a personalized item and that is to make your own stickers.
Stickers can be custom-made from one's own designs, photos, and clip arts. They make a wonderful gift for a loved one or can be used as freebies for promotions, or simply used them to brighten up a room. Read on and learn how easy and fun it is to make personalized stickers.
In making a sticker, the first step is to choose the design. A personal art or pictures, for instance, can be scanned, and using an application like Microsoft Paint or Photoshop, add colors to the art. Also, thicken the border lines using the same application to make sure that it is easier to cut the stickers later.
Whether the chosen design for the sticker is a personal clip art, photos, or something else, if it looks satisfying, then it is time to print it out. The sticker's design should be printed on a special sticker paper. Sometimes, this paper is also named as vinyl paper or contact paper. The other side of this paper should have an adhesive. When printing the sticker, make sure to let the ink dry up completely on the paper before proceeding to the next step.

Power Behind Prophetic Art

To understand the power behind prophetic art is a vast subject. First we need to briefly identify what "prophetic art" is. Many prophetic artists have written and taught on this subject and have defined the art in so many ways, as basically creating what's on the heart of God. Part of understanding the power of art, just as we understand the power of the "spoken word" gives us the ability to move forth in it in boldness and with an understanding of responsibility in relation to our identity.
If you're an artist and you love Jesus, you have a gate open for divine creativity to flow, to speak what's on the Father's heart and change the realm on earth. He made us creative beings in His image! He loves to create! So how do we tap into the creativity "Source"? The church is at an age where we are experiencing God more than ever before! Encounters are becoming more real and vivid and frequent. So we as artists should be more busy with our hands creating more because there's more being revealed. During night visitations, encounters, meditation, worship, prayer or quiet time and reading. We need to keep note or sketch what is revealed in your heart or what is revealed visually.
When we create or portray a heavenly reality, we are decreeing and prophesying God's kingdom values here. That changes an atmosphere, just like music or aroma or people engaging in some activity. It is related to vibrational frequencies just like these other elements that can have an effect on an individual's physical or mental state. The art in the same way releases some vibrational frequency by what it portrays. And what we are filled with will always come out in our work. A very simple example... A depressed person may paint a painting. Whether or not that painting has any obvious portrayal of depression isn't significant. It will ultimately have an effect on the viewer who has consumed or participated in the artwork by accepting it in and taking it in most likely unconsciously or subconsciously. Taking it from a metaphysical to a spiritual level... a depressed person more than likely has a spirit of depression taking control which in turn will come through in the process of creativity. This spirit then leaves a mark or opens the door for depression to enter into another individual. Of course this is oversimplified. There are other factors involved but this is an easy access to dominate or destroy someone's life.

Finding Good Art Supplies Retailers

The biggest challenge most budding and mid-level artists face is regular supply of material at low cost. Art can be expensive unless an artist works out an agreement with a retailer who can give him good quality art supplies at an affordable price. Many hobby artists give up learning midway because the cost of supplies can be pinching. Learning art can be fun and inexpensive if you find a good retailer who can give you supplies from the best brands at an affordable cost. If you can make purchases of required quantities from the comfort of your home, then that is a bonus.
Buying canvas
For students purchase of canvas will be the most frequent expenditure they incur. Canvas made from either cotton or linen can be expensive. Students have to use only the best as their developing skill does not allow them to work around the inadequacies of the material. There are two types of canvases available. One is the stretch type and the other the rolled type. For students the stretch canvas with staples on the back is suitable. Good quality artist canvas is primed adequately, usually triple primed with acrylic gesso. For those who prefer painting on Linen, price should be taken into consideration. They are generally more expensive than cotton canvases but you can choose one of desired size and order it online from a good art supplier at a low cost.

How to Ask for a Raise - Part 2

In the first article How to Ask for a Raise - Part 1 you learned how to say no, how to negotiate, and exactly how your skills and salary measure up against the rest of the world doing your same job. You should have also learned what it takes to move up the ladder a couple of rungs. At this point you should have 1-2 pending job offers and a job that you are currently working in. Now that you have everything you need you are ready to ask for a raise.
Find your VALUE not your VOLUME
When asking for a raise too many people walk in with a laundry list of tasks. As an executive my answer is "So what! That is your job!" If you don't want that kind of reaction you have to think in terms of value and not the volume of tasks that you complete. You can do this in three simple steps by using the following table.
Step 1: In the first column write down your expertise. This is generally your title. In our example, there are three different titles for demonstration purposes only. When completing yours you would only enter YOUR TITLE.
Step 2: In the second column enter a description of your expertise. Note: we are not talking about tasks. This is a high level summary description of your work. You can leverage the summary information from the information gathered in the first article How to Ask for a Raise - Part 1. If you did not do that homework you could always get a summary from a job description on LinkedIN jobs.
Step 3: In the last column you will enter the quantifiable results of your work. Each result should start with an action word like increased, better, improved, reduced, etc. If you can go as far as quantifying the amount that would be even better. For example: 70% reduction in errors; 30% increase in profit; etc. Take note of the last column as these are your talking points. You will NEVER talk about column 1 or column 2 as they are irrelevant to the value that you bring to the table.
Now that you know what you bring to the table, how much is it worth and how much can your company bear. If your company can not afford to pay you what you really need then you might want to go back to those two offers in the first article. If they can, then now is the time to use the financial information from the first article to determine how much you should be paid.
There are two ways to get a raise: You can ask for a percentage increase of your current salary or you can ask to be paid within the current market rates. Either will work.
How much to ask for:
To get a raise you must walk in with your numbers already in hand. This step will help you find those numbers.
  1. Start with your current salary or the market salary that you want. For our example both numbers will be $100K
  2. If you are using your current salary and not the market rate then, determine the percentage increase that you want. For example: if you make $100K and want to make $110K then that is a 10% increase.
  3. Double the percentage increase as your starting point for negotiations. Using our example you would ask for a 20% more than the base from Step 1 or $120K.
How to ask for your raise:
A couple of rules of the game:
  • You will never make ultimatums. This conversation is not about threats, bullying, or feelings.
  • You will never talk about the tasks that you do. This is a value conversation; volume in irrelevant.
  • You will stick to the script and keep the conversation short. Too many times people go into circles. You will have 5 statements that you will use over and over and over again. This is the same HR trick that is used for tough conversations. You must stick to the script.
The Script:
The script has a formula and that quite easy to master. Using the Past, Present, and Future elements you will lay out your conversation and consistently come back to these three areas as needed.
Here is an example:

2012 Holiday Party Registration Made Easy for You

It is time to bid farewell to the year 2012 and welcome the New Year soon. Before that there is ample opportunity to soak in the festivities that abound during the year-end time. Halloween and Thanksgiving are over, but there is more to come; the biggest being the New Year eve events and parties. If you are in the event industry you are sure to have a hectic time ahead in the coming month. Prepare yourself with the latest technology solutions that will make the 2012 holiday party registration easy for you.
Online event management solution is a software application that makes the otherwise stressful affair of party planning a real cakewalk. A genuine, user-friendly product, the event registration software allows professional event organizers, corporate houses, clubs, alumni associations, healthcare facilities, non profits, and even individuals to manage their 2012 holiday party registration in a convenient manner.
Following are the procedures that can be streamlined by the productivity tools of the holiday party registration online solution:
Creation of online event registration form: To make your events a stand out amidst the party galore, take your 2012 event planning online. It will let you create and upload attractive looking online event registration pages within minutes by using the customizable templates of the software. Having an online entity will help you get more attendees for your events as everyone will be able to access the registration pages from their web enabled devices and computers at anytime and from anywhere in the world.
Collection of online registration fee: Not every event that you will be hosting during the holidays is going to be free of charge. You will surely be charging your guests a particular amount for participating at these events. To make the payment procedure methodical for them, you can avail of the online payment management options provided by the event registration solution. This will allow your guests to pay through a number of online and offline payment means in a secure manner. You will be able to keep a track of every transaction in real-time as well.

Ester Williams: Camera Hog Extraordinaire

Esther Williams was a huge star during the 1950's and unbeknownst to me someone I was about to cross paths with.
There was always a big event taking place in Atlantic City, and the summer of 1958 was no exception. A new movie was to be premiered at the Warren, previously Warner Theater. The Warren was located on the boardwalk, directly behind our lifeguard station at Arkansas Avenue. It was one of the most beautiful theaters in the country.
The name of the movie was Raw Wind in Eden, starring aquatic mega star Esther Williams and Jeff Chandler.
Prior to the premier however, Esther Williams was to perform a publicity stunt, upon her arrival by helicopter, and that was to dive from the copter into the ocean. She would perform this feat during peak hours when huge crowds packed the boardwalk and beaches. You could not buy this kind of publicity. My partner Tommy and I were excited to learn that after her dive she would swim to shore and exit the water right in front of our lifeguard stand.
Then we received word we'd be the crew to row the photographer out, who would take pictures, as she swam to the beach.
Furthermore, seven more guards from our stretch were picked to swim out and be waiting to greet her as she completed her dive. Their mission was to form a flying wedge behind her and escort her to the beach.
On the appointed day the photographer showed up to our stand. We couldn't believe it, the dude was dressed in a full suit of clothes including hat, tie and a very expensive looking movie camera. We almost fell off the stand. We expected to see someone in a bathing suit and were tempted to tell him he wasn't greeting Esther from a yacht.
We shrugged and led him to the boat. When he saw his mode of transportation, he had the good sense to take off his shoes and socks and roll up his pants. It dawned on him that he would have to wade out a little bit to get in the boat. When all was ready and we had him safely ensconced in the stern seat we headed for our destination.
We rowed out to where the seven guards were waiting and joined them in their vigil. The guard at the head of the flying wedge was my irreverent buddy and world class prankster Joe Rush. These guys were about 150 yards from shore and been waiting for a while for Esther Williams, who was late. When we pulled up in the boat Joe yelled to us, "Where the hell is this broad?"
Just about that time we heard the whirring sound of the helicopter blades, which suddenly appeared over the hotel's rooftops. In a matter of seconds it was circling above. We saw Esther appear at the doorway to get ready for her dive. When the photographer saw her he stood up on the stern seat at the same time a big swell rolled underneath us. The dude lurched forward and if were not for Tommy's quick reflexes, he would have deep-sixed himself... and his camera.

Lincoln - A Real Rule Breaker!

This week I watched Lincoln, a movie by Steven Spielberg that chronicled the second term of Abraham Lincoln and the abolition of slavery. It made me think of leadership beyond leaders. In the movie, Lincoln struggled with continuing a civil war or continuing slavery.
Lincoln's struggles were evident.
He could take the path of least resistance by ending his demand to pass the 13th Amendment which would abolish slavery. The four year bloody battle would finally end, sons of the North and South would go home and the nation would return to business as usual; slaves and all.
The path of greatest resistance and the higher chance of failure included getting 100% of the members of his own Republican Party (which were not on board with the idea) along with 20 members of the Democratic Party to pass the unpopular Amendment. In addition, slavery would be abolished which have a negative impact on the South (a full 50% of the country), the bloodiest battle in American History would continue killing its own sons, and now his own son was in harm's way as a soldier.

An Event Planner And Coordinator Makes Event Management Successful

Event planning is a systematic and organized way of planning a ceremony, festival, convention, party, exhibitions, fairs, fund-raising & social events, company promotions & product launches, competition or concert. It includes financial budgeting, choosing & reserving the site, deciding dates including alternate dates. Along with these activities, it also includes coordination of transportation and parking of vehicles. Thus, the role of an event planner is crucial, which is also responsible for developing a theme or motif, coordinating location support such as electricity and other utilities, arranging tents, chairs, decors, tables along with security concerns, police, fire, catering, Signage, health care professionals, parking, portable toilets and clean up. Now, you can understand the importance of an event coordinator or planner.

Understanding The Business of Music

I normally wouldn't discuss this because I consider music to be really irrelevant. But, I do have readers and associates that are involved in the music industry. There was also a time when I was involved in the music business. Fortunately, I gave it up to pursue something more meaningful and more profitable to me. When it came to the music business, I was a lot more knowledgeable than your average person trying to break into the industry... which plays a huge role in why I gave it up. I sit back and observe a lot of people that are still trying to make it. There are some people that manage to do well in the music business despite being an underground artist with no major connections. But of course the vast majority of rap artists trying to make it are broke and constantly throwing away money.
By observing these people, I noticed that the successful and the unsuccessful had something in common. Those that were successful understood that music is a business. And like any other business, if you don't approach it as such, you're not going to make it. While those that were unsuccessful failed to understand that music is a business. Instead, they convince themselves that to make it in the music industry, you have to be a great artist and love hip-hop... but that's complete bullshit. If you have to put out corny music to sell, then that's what you do. Again, music is a BUSINESS and the name of the game in any business is to generate revenue. If these broke ass "true to hip hop" types understood that, they'd be a lot better off.
I remember when I used to hear people dissing artists like Soulja Boy, who I admit is pretty sub par as an artist... but who cares? The guy managed to be way more successful than these backpacking nerds who take pride in being a broke unknown rapper. Those types who claim they stay broke because they love hip-hop, knowing damn well they're doing everything they can to get on the scene, but can't because nobody is checking for them. You know what types I'm talking about. The ones you see proclaiming that hip-hop is dead and making up wild conspiracy theories as to why major artists made it and unknowns such as themselves didn't.
Wanna know why major labels don't put out what some of you think is "real hip hop?" Because that stuff doesn't sell! Many of you claim you want real hip-hop, but you won't buy it from the artists, instead you pirate their music. Putting out "real hip-hop" isn't free. Since you aren't willing to pay for it, the labels assume that there's no market for it. Therefore, they make music to cater to the people who will buy the music they put out. If that means putting out "wack" music, so be it. That's another reason the backpack crowd will stay broke, because they don't understand the idea of a target audience. They're too busy trying to impress backpack listeners who won't even buy their CD! They'd much rather get props from these guys and feel "real," instead of generating sales. I don't understand it...
Not only do you have to cater musically to the audience who buys music, you also have to brand yourself a certain way. What I mean by that is --- artists brand themselves as whatever character they need to be in order to fit their music persona. Artists will brand themselves as gangsters, thugs, sex symbols, conscious types, etc. Its all a part of playing the role to sell records. Throughout the years, major labels have perfected this tactic. They take a guy who has an image they like (let's use a gangster rapper as an example), brand him as some tough guy from the streets and have a ghost writer construct lyrics to fit that street life for them. They market this artist to the public as someone from the streets. Take an artist like Plies. He portrays himself as being a gangster, a goon or whatever you want to call it. But outside of the music, Plies is a really intelligent, educated guy. In fact, he sounds nothing like he does on the records. Its all an act. I take my hat off to Plies for that, by the way. Some artists don't seem to understand that, which is why a lot of them try to actually live that life they rap about and end up getting themselves in trouble in order to build some sort of street credibility... not knowing that these gangster artists are manufactured. The trick is to get the audience to believe its real! It's really no different than a director recruiting an actor for a movie.
Back to the successful artists. As was already stated, they approach music as a business (because it is). They understand that like any other business, you need capital in order to push the product (the product being themselves). They also understand marketing and branding. If they themselves don't understand it, you'd better believe they have people around them who do. Now let's talk briefly about capital. You absolutely need capital at some point in order to make it in music. Everything that goes along with creating an artist costs money --- studio time, mixing & mastering, legal counsel, artwork, clothing/cars (labels usually buy those items to create the artist's image), music video production, marketing, traveling, etc. A successful artist will have an investor put up the money to pay for all those things. As for marketing --- with today's technology and the rise of social media, its a lot easier for artists to market themselves and develop a fan base. But that's still no substitute for marketing and branding in the traditional sense.
The unsuccessful artists think the only money they need to spend is on studio time. They don't even realize the existence of the other things. These are the guys that are constantly spending money on what they think is an investment in their career, but that money goes to waste. Some even get caught up with shady people who call themselves "managers," but in reality, that person has no connections and no knowledge of the industry. All they do is take their money. But of course, that could have been avoided have they bothered to educate themselves on the game. I have seen guys that are damn near 40 years old, still trying to make it as a rapper, that fit this category of artist to a tee. By the way, if you're past 26 years old and haven't made it, then its time to find something else to do. Either that, or become involved with music from behind the scenes.
Back in the days, the record labels would provide all of those things for you. They'd sign the artist and provide the capital, marketing & branding experts, lawyers, choreographers, etc. In other words, a label was just a group of people who funded and marketed an artist. But today, a lot of artists are going independent and skipping the label thing altogether... which I encourage. Record labels essentially own an artist while they're under contract. They decide what that artist's music content will be, how that artist will look, how that artist will conduct themselves in public, etc. That's why a lot of artists are going independent because they want complete creative control and because they understand that chances of getting a record deal with a major label is really slim.