What Makes A Great Basketball Team?

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There are a lot of components that go into the making of a really good basketball team (or any other sport team, for that matter). It certainly helps if you have some very talented players on the squad. Most teams, if they're lucky, have one or maybe two exceptional players who are surrounded by the other team members that possess a range of talents and abilities. While many coaches and team managers would no doubt love to assemble a team made up only of superior players, that is not very realistic. You build around your best players and you expect all team members to do their jobs to the best of their abilities.

What is it, though, that makes some teams far better than the rest? Certain teams appear to be reliably even matched with the teams that compete against as raw talent is concerned but play head and shoulders above most of those teams.

Beside talent, there are other ingredients that must be present in order for a team to really shine. One of those ingredients is cohesiveness. The players have got to share the ball, be able to read one another, to understand their role and be willing to execute their plays. If this does not happen, it does not really matter how talented the individual players are, it does not equate to long-term success.

Energy is another ingredient that is absolutely necessary to a winning team. It's easy to lose focus when the play is slow and inefficient. The rhythm that seems to be the magic component in winning teams does not happen when there is a lack of energy. It takes energy and hustle to move the ball down the floor quickly and either hand it off to another player who is in a better position to get it to the basketball goal or to be able to make the shot yourself.

Determination and confidence are also essential elements within a winning squad. It's pretty difficult to play your best ball (or anything else) if you do not feel like you are going to be successful. You must keep at attitude that you can get the job done even when you might find yourself in a bit of a slump. History has shown that in many instances, individuals and teams have come back from some pretty dismal odds to get the win. While being talented is great, it is not enough. To be a successful team there are other elements that need to be in the equation.

Educational Toys Make Learning Fun and Easy

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Children love hands-on education and the Toobeez educational toys for kids are just the tool to get them learning through play and physical activity.

These giant tinker toy like building kits support educational classroom goals through exciting and enticing activities and differentiated instruction that addresses multiple intelligences. You'll find dozens of learning activities created by teachers for teachers in the Toobeez activities books.

Kinesthetic Language Arts Activities
In your language arts classroom, the Toobeez educational toys for children are a quick way to set the stage for dramatic learning. Act out literature for greater understanding. Role play scenes and then record the dialogue to build writing skills. Have students create a new invention with Toobeez and then produce an instruction pamphlet for their unique device, including clear instructions. With the Toobeez Language Arts Activities Book, you will find ten innovative activities to improve reading comprehension, grammar, and creative expression. There is no end to the cooperative learning possibilities.

Hands-On Mathematics Activities
Bring another dimension to your math instruction with Toobeez construction toys for the mathematics classroom. Difficult, abstract concepts are easier to master when you build graphs, angles, and shapes using Toobeez learning toys.

As Kim Cooke of Walter Bickett Elementary School in Monroe, NC, explains, "One of my passions is gaining a better understanding on how the brain learners, and your activity books included up to date brain strategies. I was able to immediately incorporate the activities into my presentations and lessons. I have contacted 3 other principals and 18 other Teachers in my school system about your products. "

Students will understand the relevance of mathematics as they build and test their Tobeez structures. Ten engaging and open ended activities from the Toobeez Mathematics Activities Book will have students eager to learn more about mathematics.

Educational Toys for Toddlers and Preschooler
Young children learn best through play. Give kids a good start by choosing the right educational learning toys for toddlers and preschoolers. Because these multipurpose toys can be used in a variety of educational and fun ways, Toobeez make the perfect day care toy or toy for teachers of young children.

Toobeez encourage young children to explore their world in an educational and rewarding way. Build a tunnel, teach basic shapes, and create puppet theaters for kids.

Learning Toys
With these educational toys for kids, classroom activities transform into an opportunity for collaboration and genuine discovery.

Pete Smithson from Central Middle School, Orlando, FL, is impressed with the flexibility of these building toys: the open ended nature of the product allows us to use your products within our entire school. We use them in our staff development days, core subjects, field day, and even our after school activities. What a great program.â
As teachers and educators, you know the value of character education. Toobeez brings learners together to complete authentic tasks.

Toobeez encourage perseverance, trust, responsibility and cooperation through activities that complement linguistic, logical spatial or kinesthetic learning styles.

The textbooks also include discussion questions and activity variations to differentiate for learning styles and strengths!

Your students will build amazing things with Toobeez including their self-esteem.

Florida Vacation Destinations

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Florida is the place known for its beauty and fun filled vacations. As you have already decided to go for a vacation in Florida, the foremost requirement becomes a travel guide, which makes you aware of the attractions and how to visit all of them.

Florida the sunny state is not only restricted to the beauty of beaches, clear water, and sparkling snow, but a lot more. It’s a state with diverse culture and beautiful people. It’s rich arts and culture lets you rediscover yourself and its splendid beauty revitalizes your mind. The ‘Sunshine State’ can be explored in three parts, Southern Florida, Central Florida, and Northern Florida.

Northern Florida is composed of beautiful cities and beaches. These cities give you the luxury of indulging in various water sports and recreational activities like fishing.

Ft. Lauderdale, St. Petersburg, Miami and Key Largo are the major cities in southern Florida. These cities are known for the beautiful beaches and nightlife. The world’s number one beach, Black Beach, is located in Miami. Miami and St. Petersburg are also popular as they are centers for arts and entertainment.

Central Florida boasts Tampa bay, the home of Busch Gardens, and Orlando the home of Disney World. You can also find Sea World in Orlando. In east Orlando you can find the popular Daytona Beach. From Daytona beach, the NASA Kennedy Space center is only a short drive. Florida vacations offer a gripping, exciting, and thrilling experience. So pack you bags and explore the world of water and sand.

How to Get the Best Concert Tickets Online

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The process of buying concert tickets can enlist mixed feelings in most people. For one, you are excited about the anticipation of going to see your favorite artist live. On the other hand, most people do not look forward to queuing in line for hours on end just to ensure that you get the best concert tickets that you can. Depending on how popular the musician is or the band, one can find that people have camped outside the box office for hours or even days just to guarantee that they get the best seats that the house has to offer. All this could prove to be quite time consuming not to mention frustrating if you are going as a group and you cannot get tickets that place you and your friends at the same location. In the worst case scenario, you may end up lining up with the rest of the masses only to realize once your turn finally arrives that the concert tickets are sold out.

All these can be problems of the past if you opt to purchase your concert tickets online. For one, you could end up finding concert tickets that are quite affordable. In some cases, individuals buy these tickets in advance only for the date to arrive and they are indisposed to attend the concert. Such people will go online to sell their tickets and most of the time they will not be looking to make a profit from the tickets. Thus you can get concert tickets at an affordable price and sometimes even at a discount if you are planning on buying several of them.

There are also several websites dedicated to ensure they provide the best tickets for their visitors. The best websites to look into would be websites that have insured their tickets thus in case of any mishap you can be guaranteed of getting your money back. Most of these websites will also cater for groups that are looking to purchase concert tickets. This is a great advantage for people who would like to attend a concert with their friends so as to cherish the experience together. With the box office, you can never be assured of getting seating for more than two people at a time. However, with these websites all you would have to do is let them know the number of people in your party and they can go about finding the best seats to cater for your entire group.

Lastly, searching for concert tickets online also gives you the opportunity to get your hands on VIP tickets as well as VIP passes that will grant you access to the backstage and perhaps the opportunity to interact with your favorite artist. Most of the VIP tickets tend to be sold out or given to friends of the people organizing the concert. By getting them online, you give yourself the chance to get a piece of the action. Gone are the days of depending on the box office for concert tickets that you are not even sure you will secure.

Color Your World: How to Choose the Right Color for Your Roofing

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Although the first job of shingles is to protect the house, they’re also a major component of your residence’s visual appearance. Thanks to the variety of modern materials, there’s no need to settle on a drab color. Here are some tips for picking out an appealing roofing style.

Take a Drive

Before your project commences, take a drive around the neighborhood to get a better idea of the commonly used colors. Be sure to look at houses that are similar in style, size, and shape. Since there are so many options available, it helps to look at the finished product before making a decision. Looking at similar houses provides the best preview of what your home will look like.

Let There Be Light

When looking at shingle samples, be sure to match them up to your home in daylight, lamplight, and the shade. You will see a difference in how the shingles look in these conditions; be sure to select a material and color that shines throughout the day.

A Personal Preference

Although the color of shingles is ultimately a personal preference, homeowners should keep in mind that the color should contrast with the home’s exterior, rather than match it. An exterior that’s colored too similarly creates a boring, monotone look. Given the cost of upgrading roofing, it is also important to temper personal preferences with some consideration of what future buyers may find attractive.

That Line About Location Still Applies

Don’t overlook the importance of location when considering an upgrade. For instance, a house located in the Deep South, where it’s warm a considerable amount of the year, may benefit from something that’s lighter in color in order to reflect the heat. However, houses in areas that are cold for a few months out of the year will benefit from a darker roof that absorbs heat. That’s not to say that a homeowner should choose a darker-colored roof just because they live in a cold climate, but they should be mindful of the potential energy savings.

Consider the Resale Value

Keep any plans to sell the home in mind when choosing a shingle color. This is a big investment that should last two decades, so it will have an effect on the sale. A bold and bright choice may be just the thing for you, but that’s not everyone’s preference. Going with a more neutral roofing color can protect the resale value of a home. Don’t risk a buyer who loves the inside being completely turned off by the color of the roof.

Upgrading your home’s roofing is a big decision. It’s best to do as much research as possible before deciding on not only the color of the singles but the type as well. Keep in mind that this is an investment that can improve the value of your home as well as its exterior presentation. With some research and a bit of help from your roofing contractor, you’re sure to be pleased with the finished product.

Hints for Basic Roof Repairs

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One household project that can seem frightening and expensive is the idea of ​​doing your own roof repairs. Whether you have major damage to your roof, or just need new gutters and shingles, repairing your own roof is a daunting task, but is something you can actually do on your own. You'll just need to know how. Of course, for major repairs, you may need to call in a contractor to help. There are also some things you can do to improve the longevity of your roof.

For instance, inspecting your roof a few times each year will let you see problems before they get bigger. If you have a few loose shingles, or gutters that are on their way to needing replacement, you can catch them early. Preventative maintenance can keep you from paying a lot for larger roof repairs later. Be sure to make your roof inspections in the spring and early summer, or in the fall. During this period, it's not too hot on your roof, but it's also not icy.

Never climb on your roof under the direct heat of the summer sun. Warm shingles will loose their coats as you walk on them, shortening their useful life. Check your flashing for problems, and fast down loose or warped pieces. Use nails made of the same metal as the flashing when possible, as this predictions corrosion. Those with chimneys should check out the area where the chimney flashing meets their roof. Gaps caused by shrinkage of the cement and tar should be repaired with the same type of sealant. This keeps your roof from developing a leak near the chimney.

If you see a bulge in your flashing, a simple roof repair is to place a piece of wood on that area. Hammer the wood to flatten the flashing, rather than hammering the flashing and shingle directly. If this does not work, there may be water damage in this location, causing the wood to swell. These cases require replacement of the damaged part of the roof.

If you see problems with your gutters, do not be tempted to fix them while you're on the roof. This is a common way to fall off the roof's edge! Instead, note the locations that are a problem, get a ladder, and deal with them from the ground. Apply a protective coating to your roof to reduce the heat from the sun and improve its lifespan. There are a number of different types of roof coatings, but one of the most common is the albedo coating. Used in areas with a lot of hot, sunny weather, they bring surface temperatures down by as much as eighty percent. This extends the life of your roof by blocking UV rays, and keeps your home cooler. If you have a metal roof, other coatings can be used to prevent corrosion, keeping your roof in good shape longer.

Take a Student Tour Band Trip to New York City

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New York City is a desirable student travel destination with many educational and recreational opportunities to offer. It is also a great city for student groups who would like to perform in highly visible venues. While planning band trips to New York City, keep in mind there are some excellent choices for students performance groups. The itineraries I offer student groups who want to travel to New York City and perform there include a performance date as well as visits to the same highlights and attractions in the city any student group would find of interest.

I am the owner of an educational travel company that specializes in performance trips to New York City, Washington DC, Orlando, and other US destinations. I have spent over 25 years creating exciting visits to these destinations specifically designed for performance groups. My company specializes in high school band trips, orchestra trips, choir performances, ensembles and more.

In this article I will outline a sample itinerary for a band trip to New York City. This sample itinerary will give trip planners, students, teachers, and parents a clear picture of the type of performance trip a group may take to the Big Apple.

High School Band Trip Itinerary

Day 1

A high school band trip to New York City begins with a guided tour of the city with a professional and certified tour escort. The sites visited include Trinity Church, South Street Seaport, Madison Square Garden, Rockefeller Center, Broadway, Chinatown, Central Park and other points of interest. After this tour of NYC is complete the group will visit the American Museum of Natural History, have dinner at a restaurant, and journey up to the observation deck of the Empire State Building. Educational travel groups may elect to take in a Yankees or Mets Baseball game as well.

Day 2

The highlight of day two is the performance by the high school band (or other type of performance group) at the United Nations or Lincoln Center. Student performance groups may also select the Statue of Liberty (Liberty Island) as a venue. Choirs may perform at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine. These well-known venues are a great chance for the high school band to reach out to a new and different type of audience than the one available to them in their own hometown. Scheduling this type of performance takes six months to one year advanced planning, so educators planning a trip like this need to keep this in mind. After the high school band performances, the group is taken shopping along 5th Avenue, on an NBC Studios Tour, and visits the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The student travel group then eats dinner at a restaurant, and takes in a Broadway Musical that evening.

Day 3

After breakfast the high school band or performance group checks out of the hotel, and takes a Boat Tour of Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. When this is complete the group explores the South Street Seaport and Greenwich Village. Afterward, they travel to Ground Zero and Chinatown. The last stop on the student tour is a shopping trip to Macy's Department Store. After the shopping spree, the student group departs for home.

The sample itinerary outlined in this article does not represent the only performance trip available to New York City. I have worked carefully to put together an effective student performance trip to New York City that covers a three-day period. If additional destinations are requested within the New York City area, the student group may decide to travel for four days, instead of three. Whatever the requirements for the high school band or performance group, my professional staff remains adaptable to the specific needs of the group in the planning phases.

Can You Do Your Home Inspection Yourself?

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Home inspection is essential not only to identify the value of your property when selling your home. It is also crucial in maintaining your home. Inspecting it properly will help you identify the areas you need to repair, replace or clean. You can hire an inspector or work on the inspection by yourself. However, you have to study the things you need to inspect to ensure that you check everything.

If you are doing the home inspection yourself, here are some tips to help you:

1. Focus on the essential systems first. These systems make your stay more comfortable. Notice your electrical system. Have you been having power interruptions? If you suspect that you are having electrical problems, call an electrician right away. Do not attempt to resolve it yourself because it is too risky. Aside from the electrical lines, check on the water system as well as the heating and cooling system. Take note of your findings and have it checked by a qualified personnel if you discover problems.

Check the roof and gutters. These are some of the areas you can handle yourself as long as you have the right gear. Ensure your safety first before you go up there. Wear a non-slip pair of shoes. Make sure you have your gloves to protect your hands. Check the roof and take not of what needs to be done. Are there damages? Do you need to clean the roof and the gutters? If so, when?

3. Check the ceiling. After checking the roof and the gutters, see if there is something wrong with the ceiling. Do you see water stains? If you do, there might be leaks on the roof. Take not of your findings and indicate what needs to be done.

4. Check the walls and the floors. After checking the ceiling, turn your attention on your walls. You might want to check for cracks especially if the winter months are coming up. Check for drafty spots. Evaluate your windows and doors as well. They might need some caulking. You might also want to change the knobs or the hinges if they are busted.

5. Check the kitchen. The kitchen is used all the time but it is seldom checked. There are several things to be inspected. First, check the pantry and the cabinets, you might need to clean them. You should also check the expiration dates on the goods you have there.

Check the bathroom. Check the faucet, showerheads and other fixtures. Some may need replacement. Check if there are leaks. Small leaks can lead to problems especially if not attended to right away.

7. Inspect the individual rooms. It is important that you check the individual rooms as well. Take note of the work that needs to be done. You might need to change the floor for your son's bedroom. Repairs might be needed in the rooms as well.

It is important that you inspect your property regularly. This will ensure that it is in good shape. Make a checklist of the things you need to inspect to ensure that you do not forget anything. Make sure that you take note of the things you have observed. Write what you need to do next as well. Note if there are broken shingles you need to replace or some cracks on the ceiling that you need to seal. Your notes will guide you with the things that you will do next.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Installing Gutters

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If you are going to install or replace gutters on your own, you have to be careful. You may end up making a lot of costly mistakes. As a matter of fact, gutters that are not installed the right way may damage your office or house. The installation also involves safety risks. Given below are 5 common mistakes that you may want to avoid when installing or replacing gutters.

Type of Gutter

You can find a large variety of material, gauges, styles and sizes. Choosing the wrong size, material or style may cause a lot of trouble for you. As far as material selection is concerned, make sure you go for the most durable material. Also, you may want to discuss the shingle size, gutter width and other stuff with your hardware store or contractor. Standard homes go for K style gutters made of aluminum. For gauge, we suggest that you opt for 32 gauge.

Pitch calculation

Appropriately, gutters may look even. But they are not even. As a matter of fact, they have a little bit of pitch in order to let the water flow downwards. Typically, it's a good idea to set a decline of two inches for each 40 ft of length. This way the decline will be gradual and will not be as noticeable. When mounting the gutters, make sure that they have the right pitch.

Mounting System

Different types of mounting or hanging systems are used for gutters. Make sure that the hangers are properly spaced and they should give enough support to the gutter. Without support, the system will sag. In the lower areas, water will accumulate. As a result, your gutter system will get damaged.

Locating the Gutter

Where should the gutter be located? Actually, your gutter should be a couple of inches below your roof edge. Actually, water drips off the roof edge from time to time. It also gets rolled back up and drip out underneath the edge of the roof. Moreover, drip edge is installed below shingle and makes the water flow down into the gutter.


Lastly, gutters should be soldered or welded together for attachment. However, make sure you use welds sparingly. As time goes by, the material in the seams is exposed to very high force, temperature or water. As a result, the connection you welded or soldered gets stained. This breaks the gutter, especially if you do not check or touch them up on a regular basis. Actually, in a gutter system, seams are the weakest point. Therefore, you may want to treat them with care.

Continuous or seamless rain gutters is another option that you can consider. With this option, you can avoid the potential problems caused by the weld gutters.

Long story short, you see that installing gutters is not as easy as you may think. As a matter of fact, this is a tricky job. It's not a good idea to go at it on your own. Instead, it's better that you get in touch with a good contractor. The gutter installer will make everything get done properly.

Roof Maintenance – 8 Things to Inspect and Repair If Needed

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Roof maintenance is a necessary task. A visual inspection should be performed twice a year. If the area where you live is subject to inclement weather, you may want to inspect 4 times a year. During inspection, if you notice little things here and there like the ones mentioned below, you should do your best to perform some of the minor repair work. A well maintained roof will have a longer life expectancy.

Clean Debris

While you are up there, you should sweep away any and all debris. Pay particular attention to any pipes and other roof penetrations. Any dirt that collects in these areas will hold moisture which will help increase the rate of deterioration.

Check For Algae

If you see algae, install some zinc control strips. If you can, scrape whatever you can off. Algae can be a very intrusive organism.

Loose Shingles

If you see some shingles that are loose, apply some roof cement to re-secure.

Missing Pieces

If you find that some pieces are missing, you should replace them. For asphalt shingles, it is fairly straightforward process.


Any pieces that have damage should also be replaced.

Check The Gutter

If you have a gutter, make sure to keep it clean. You want any rain water to drain easily away from the roof.

Overhanging Branches

If you have trees close by your house, keep the branches trimmed if they start to hang over the roof.

Caulking And Sealants

If you see that these are cracked or damaged, you will need to scrape it off and reapply new caulking and sealant.

If you are unable to get on the roof, you can schedule with your roofer to come out on a regular basis to perform the maintenance work. It will prevent major problems down the road and give you peace of mind. If you know that minor problems are taken care of, then you will not have to worry about major problems the next time a big storm comes your way.

Gutter Cleaning Tips

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Maintaining their guttering system in tip-top shape can be extremely stressful for some people. Not only do they have to consider different maintenance procedures since gutters come in various types and sizes (seamless and sectional, U-shape and K-shape for examples), they also need to spend for a number of services that includes cleaning.

However, cleaning your guttering system does not necessarily have to be done by a professional. While gutter cleaning seems to be a very complicated thing to work on, it can actually be a Do-It-Yourself task.

So if you have decided that it’s time to give your gutter some cleaning (which is usually twice a year, one during spring and another during fall) and you’re trying to figure out what are the tips that should be followed, then in your luck. There are ways to ensure that cleaning your gutter would be more “effective” than it would be a “headache”.

Do not place your ladder directly on the gutter

Gutter cleaning requires that you climb the roof with a ladder. But the ladder should not be placed directly on the gutter itself to avoid damage. There are gutters that are available with attachments so you can adjust your ladder higher without doing it any damage.

Use Rubber Gloves

You have to remove debris that you can reach by your hands when you are cleaning your gutter so having rubber in handy would be recommended. This would also avoid any accidental cuts that you might get from working in the roof as well as to protect your hands from the heat of the roof when doing the cleaning on a hot sunny day.

You can do relevant home repairs while cleaning your gutter

Since you’re already there in the roof, you might as well include other things that need fixing. For instance, if there are nails up there that are already loosened, you can hammer new ones. Or you can reposition your television’s antenna.

Have an auger ready

There would be instances when you will encounter foreign materials in your gutter that already hardened. For clogs that are too tough to remove, you need to use an auger. Once you are done, spray water to it to make sure that there’s no more clog that will stop water flow.

Spray water on hard to reach areas

There is a hose especially designed for gutters that could spray down debris that are too small to be reached by your hands.

Ideal Hotels in Orlando Downtown

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Hotels located in the downtown of Orlando are among the favorite choices of many business travelers who wish to have their leisurely too too. They are mostly located in the business district area which is adjacent to all major business establishments, shopping centers, entertainment areas, restaurants and bars.

Sheraton Orlando
Sheraton Orlando is a downtown hotel best for a combined business and leisure trip. It is accessible to popular attractions, sporting events and beaches. Experience the magnificent view of the picturesque Lake Ivanhoe. Jog in the morning along a covered jogging trail.

The hotel has 341 guestrooms and suites providing the most comfortable accommodation. Enjoy a quiet and sound sleep with the exclusive Sheraton Sweet Sleeper SM Bed that's covered with the best beddings. Go online in the comfort of your room with your laptop using a high-speed wireless Internet access.

Modern facilities are equipped in all guestrooms with amenities such as:

o Iron and Ironing Board
o Bottled Water
o No Smoking Room
o In-Room Movies
o Microwave Oven
o Coffee Maker
o Cable TV with remote
o Grab Bars In Bathroom for handicapped
o Handicap Accessible Room
o Wet Bar
o Cribs
o Data Port
o Dual-Line Speaker Phone
o 24-Hour Room Service
o Pets are allowed (a Sheraton Sweet Sleeper Dog Bed is provided)
o Hairdresser

Proceed to the roof deck and have a refreshing dip at the swimming pool and whirlpool. Starbucks Coffee Shop is ready to serve you at the lobby.

The hotel has 18 meeting rooms for official business events such as seminars, conferences and meetings. Weddings, ballrooms and parties can also be held at these rooms with ample space to accommodate around 500 guests.

The Westin Imagine Orlando
The Westin Imagine Orland is an exclusive hotel located in the middle of Orlando's Convention Center. Its location is advantageous to visitors who wish to visit the Universal Studios, Sea World Adventure Parks, and Walt Disney World. Shopping malls, amusement areas and restaurants are plentiful around.

There are 315 guestrooms and suites, with facilities that will make your stay enjoyable and comfortable. The latest 32 inches HDTV LCD, Heavenly Bed, dining table, coffee table, coffee maker, video games, refrigerator and chairs are among the amenities included in all guestrooms. Rooms have private balconies.

Other guestroom amenities include:

o Spacious Bathroom
o Wireless High-Speed ​​Internet Access with a minimal fee
o Coffee Maker with Starbucks Coffee
o Handicap Accessible Room
o Free Daily Newspaper (National)
o Data Port
o Turndown Service
o 100% Non-Smoking Guestrooms
o In-Room Electronic Safe
o Maid Service
o Connecting Rooms Available
o Kitchenette
o Individual Climate Control

The 7,100 square feet conference hall combined with modern conference equipments is perfect for any social gatherings. Catering services can be arranged, and is handled by the hotel's finest chef.

The Fiorella's Cucina Toscana is an Italian restaurant inside. It serves the finest local and international cuisines that will make you come back for more.

Amenities provided:

o Bellmen / Porters
o Luggage Storage
o Multilingual Staff
o In-Room Massage Treatments
o Laundry / Valet Service
o Outdoor Heated Pool
o Westin WORKOUT
o Business Center
o Sundry Shop
o Valet Parking Facilities

55 Creative Entertainment Ideas For Your Next Event Or Meeting

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1. Hire a comedian who can poke some fun at your CEO, do an impersonation of him, or even make light of your industry as a whole.

2. Hire a magician that can incorporate your sales message into his magic, or cut your CEO or receptionist in half. He might even be able to vanish the CEO, much to the delight of the employees.

3. Book a vocal improvisation group to take requests and spin them into a funny performance.

4. Have a musician write a song about your company and play it at the event.

5. Hire a celebrity impersonator to come to the event and sign autographs and take pictures with guests.

6. Book a caricature artist to draw personalized sketches of each employee at the company. These are fun souvenirs as well.

7. Book a digital caricature artist who composes his or her photos digitally on a computer right in front of your eyes. They can even personalize the backdrop to reflect the company

or event. This is a great souvenir for the guests to take home.

8. Book a balloon artist that makes the life size figures such as Disney characters, scenery like palm trees, huge company logos, and more. The balloon artist can do these figures with everyone watching making it an experience to watch the balloons being put together.

9. How about a strolling juggler who can mingle through the cocktail hour.

10. Book a stilt walker to make a big announcement for your company at an annual conference or meeting. It is a fun and guaranteed way to get everyone’s attention.

11. A clown is a great option for events with children or families. There are also evil clowns for events with no kids or around Halloween.

12. Book a palm reader to make psychic predictions about the future of the company or to tell people’s fortunes.

13. Hire a reality TV star to interact with guests. They are far less money than big time Hollywood celebrities.

14. Book a tribute band to play the songs of an artist that is popular among the guests.

15. An a cappella group can perform on stage or stroll through the event during a cocktail hour or dinner.

16. Hire a symphony orchestra to play at the event. You will need to consider space requirements for this type of an act.

17. You could have a mime act out a corporate message to employees or event customers.

18. Book a DJ to play only requested songs or songs from a certain era such as the 80’s

19. Break dancers can be lots of fun. They are generally young, hip, and add a sense of youth to an event.

20. How about a mariachi band for some festive music.

21. A steel drum band can be a nice addition to a high end gala event.

22. Booking a fire eater can be a great way to kick off the launch of a hot new product or service.

23. Carolers can be nice addition to any holiday event.

24. A living statue can be a great idea for almost any event. Make sure you ask for a living statue that matches closely to the theme of your event or meeting.

25. Booking a cirque act is a great idea when the event needs something remarkable or to get a buzz going. Make sure you can accommodate for the space some of the cirque acts require.

26. A snake charmer is a unique way break up a meeting or attract a crowd at an event.

27. Hire a mentalist to read the minds of the guests. This is creative way that the performer can interact with the audience.

28. How about an ice sculptor who can sculpt the company logo or a corporate message live while people watch it being carved.

29. Acrobats provide a lively addition to an event.

30. Singing waiters are an a cappella group dressed as formal waiters. This catches guests off guard and is an offbeat way to infuse entertainment into the dining experience.

31. Ballroom dancers can be popular with all the dance themed TV shows like Dancing with the Stars and others.

32. A barbershop quartet is an a cappella group where all the members wear red and white costumes, similar to that of a barbershop pole. This has a nostalgic feel to it.

33. Dueling pianos are a fantastic way to get the audience involved with nonstop entertainment

34. You could have your employees put on the entertainment by having a talent show and getting everyone in the company involved including the CEO. You will want to record this so everyone can watch it later on, or you may even want to send them all home with a copy, or mail it to them afterwards. You could also post them on YouTube for all to comment on.

35. A marching band can be an official way to introduce somebody special at the event. It can also be a way of showing that the company does not take themselves too seriously if they book a fun themed marching band.

36. Book the 60 second novelist. He comes with his own table and a manual typewriter and asks guests a few questions to get a sense of who they are, and he types out a short life story in one minute. He even binds it so guests can take it home. The story is funny, imaginative and true. This is a fun way to get people to open up and share their stories and get to know each other.

37. Face painters are a neat way to entertain the younger kids.

38. A choir can be a nice way to make a grandiose statement.

39. How about an opera singer for a classy event or gala.

40. A graffiti artist that can create a painting of someone or something with a large crowd watching. Some artists do this type of thing super fast, making it intriguing to watch.

41. Book hula dancers to mingle on the dance floor with guests.

42. How about Polynesian dancers to inject a unique culture into the event.

43. A ventriloquist can be a great entertainment choice that can play well for kids or adults depending on the performer.

44. Hire a dynamic storyteller who can weave a message about the goal of the event or meeting.

45. An escape artist is a dramatic way to convey messages such as, escaping or breaking free of limiting beliefs and constraints. This can be a nice way to motivate employees to achieve a goal.

46. Booking a hypnotist can provide a serious element or a comedic one.

47. A rapper could perform a comedic rap specifically written about the company. Some rappers can even improvise this on the spot.

48. A puppeteer is another option for younger children to keep them entertained.

49. Hire a sword swallower to attract the crowd or if it fits into the theme.

50. You can always hire a real Hollywood celebrity to attract the attention and buzz you need or try booking a couple of smaller celebrities to make better use of your funds and get more celebrity drawing power.

51. You might want to book a political impersonator that is popular such as Sarah Palin or Barack Obama.

52. A harpist can add a light musical touch without loud music. This would be nice for a laid back, high end atmosphere.

53. How about having multiple celebrity tribute artists on stage performing a bunch of hits songs from the various artists they impersonate.

54. Have a stage where different executives from the company do karaoke for a variety of songs.

55. Finally, the best way to guarantee a creative entertainment experience is to have the performer or performers customize their acts to your event or meeting. This creates a memorable experience guests are sure to remember for a long time.

Museums and the Marathon Man

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The Washington Post article by Christopher Ingraham (June 13th, 2014) says it all “There are more museums in the U.S. than there are Starbucks and McDonald’s – combined.” Quite accurately we think of museums as important cultural and educational institutions; however, they are also quiet superstars of the entertainment industry. According to The American Alliance of Museums (AAM), with over 800 million live visits annually, their attendance exceeds that of all theme parks and major sporting events combined. But America’s museums are much more than popular and numerous; they are cultural and educational gems that play a vital role. They are community elders that tell the stories of our American neighborhoods. Mamie Bittner with The Institute of Museum and Library Studies (IMLS) stated in the Washington Post article:

“Many of these institutions, particularly in small towns and rural areas, are historical societies and history museums. We are in love with our history – at a very grassroots level we care for the histories of our towns, villages and counties,”

The story of how I came to visit and admire so many small museums begins nearly eight years ago when I faced a scary scenario. Diagnosed with prostate cancer my doctor’s instructions were clear and blunt. “We caught this thing very early; lose some weight but by year’s end take care of this.” Taking care of this meant either an operation or radiation. He was confident that either procedure would be sufficient; nevertheless, I was scared as hell. When you hear that diagnosis, “you have cancer”, a thousand things race through your mind all at once, yet somehow the whole world stops at the same time. What are the treatment options… I have to research each treatment… I have to research the surgeons… what if I don’t make it… what happens to my wife… what happens to my family… I want this thing out of me… how do you research this stuff… I want this done before the end of the year… why me… why not me. My mind was racing, racing, racing. Who do I tell? When do I tell them? Should I tell them? My mind was just racing, racing, racing.

It was June 2010. I was 54 years old, a professor, husband and father. Earlier that year my wife had been hospitalized for 34 days. Should I tell my wife? Would this aggravate her condition? She was already worried about being unemployed. Do I tell her? Our three sons were all in high school and doing reasonably well; the oldest would start college in the fall. Out of worry would my oldest boy forgo his athletic scholarship to stay home with his ailing parents? Even if he did go to college, if he knew I was battling cancer how would this affect him academically? Who should I tell? Do I tell my boys? Do I tell everyone? Do I tell no one?

I once heard somewhere that “we grow up and become our parents.” How true that is. Although it didn’t occur to me at the time, I’d seen this situation play out before in 1969; I was 12. One day my dad asked me to come with him to his doctor. This was strange; he had never asked me to go to a doctor with him before. We went to St. Nicholas Park, Mount Morris Park, Central Park, baseball games, museums and grocery stores. On Sundays we walked to newsstands to buy the New York Times and Daily News. Afterwards we’d come back home and eat big southern style Sunday breakfasts – smothered chicken, smothered pork chops, grits, gravy and biscuits, never rolls – always biscuits. We did a lot, but he had never asked me to go to a doctor with him. I should have known that something was up, but I didn’t.

The doctor’s appointment took place on an early evening. The office was located on the first floor of an apartment building and it was dark outside. I sat in the waiting area while my dad met privately with the doctor. That day his doctor told him he had six months to live. My dad a tall, quiet, dignified WWII vet said nothing. We went home and he acted as if nothing had happened. He kept it all to himself. Yet twenty one years later, and long after his doctor had died, my dad was still alive. He told no one this frightening secret for all of those years. Finally, in 1990 he spoke with me about what had happened on that day way back in 1969. When I asked him why he hadn’t said anything he had a classic answer, “Hell, I wasn’t gonna die to just to make the doctor look good.” To this day I still don’t know if he ever told anyone else.

In 2010, 41 years after my dad was told he had six months to live and said nothing to the family, I became my dad – absent the courage and dignity of the WWII vet. Initially I told no one. I did however listen to my doctor’s advice and began power-walking aggressively to lose the weight. I weighed 308 pounds. This was the beginning of a journey. Little did I know it would transform my health, my body and to a great degree my soul.

I elected for a robotic prostatectomy as treatment. Recognizing that I would be hospitalized for several days I was forced to say something to my wife. Every married man knows that disappearing for several days without telling your wife is a guaranteed death sentence; cancer is only potentially lethal. We sat down on the living room sofa on a Sunday around 7pm. It was the evening before I’d be admitted to the hospital. This scenario gave her very little time to dwell on the matter; I had to be at the hospital early the next day. As I had feared, she broke down and began to cry and as soon I uttered the word cancer. We agreed not to tell our sons; we both thought it might cause them to worry.

Fortunately the operation was a success. Neither chemotherapy nor radiation was required. Several months later I resumed my power-walking. Over time a routine evolved. I prefer walking outdoors in parks (no matter the temperature) to treadmills and tracks, mornings are better than evenings, warmups last 5 – 7 minutes, weekday walks last 45 – 50 minutes, weekend sessions last a minimum of 90 minutes and finally, almost all sessions end with 7- 8 minutes of stretching. I walk 4 times per week during cold months and 4 – 5 times per week during warm months, I also found a very reliable partner, music from the 70s, 80s and 90s. My partner also gets along fabulously with an ancient Sony Walkman. Who knows, perhaps this partner is my subconscious whispering to remind me of long lost youth.

While I do not claim to be a very religious person, being outdoors in parks (which are after all tiny forests) sweating, breathing and among the general splendor of God’s nature is often a spiritual event. The cancer has now been gone for nearly eight years. Over that time 70 pounds have melted away and my diabetes seems to have disappeared, or at the very least be well controlled. Along the way I began to enter races; I power-walk but compete against runners. Half marathons (13.1 miles) and 10Ks (6.2 miles) are my favorites. Being somewhat vain, before entering my first race I checked the times of the runners to make sure I would not finish last. At first I entered local races. Later a colleague, who is a runner, told me about the Philadelphia “Love Marathon” which I competed in. This lead me to research races in other locations. Now, I travel to participate I races. However, journeying to different cities only to participate in a single race seemed hardly to be an efficient use of time and travel. I needed another activity to compliment the racing. This is how I developed an interest in small museums.

I had some experience with researching museums. Years ago I had begun exploring museums as field trip venues for high school students. At the time I supervised a college program that provided various activities for at-risk high school students. The American Alliance of Museums (AAM) provided a great deal of information for our program. Later, as I began to look for museums in the cities and towns I would be racing in, AAM and several other museum related organizations such as The Institute of Museum and Library Service (IMLS) and Museums of the World (MOW) have become valuable resources. One fact that immediately became clear is that America is the undisputed museum capitol of the world. According to MOW there were an estimated 55,000 museums located in 202 countries in 2014. IMLS, (a U.S. agency) states there are 35,144 active museums in the United States alone. Assuming these data are accurate, over 63% of the world’s museums are located in America. The IMLS 2012-16 Strategic Plan points out “There are more than 4.5 billion objects held in public trust by museums, libraries, archives and other institutions in the U.S.”

My articles will attempt to capture some of the fascinating stories, color, history, myths and life that are the marrow of America’s small museums. I hope you will join me. Coming soon wax, warships and a poet named Wadsworth.

The Brave Art Educator: Making the Contemporary Secondary School Art Course Relevant to Your Pupils

We instruct in contemporary, not contemporary times. This awareness needs a transformative instructional method to the training of secondary school art. The term “modern-day” leads individuals to think that whatever comes from it is advanced as well as to life. Nevertheless, in contemporary art classes NYC terms, contemporary is of the past– and also contemporary is these days.

As an example, Matisse as well as Picasso, 2 “modern-day” musicians that operate in various “designs” are not at the reducing side of contemporary society. While both males were art radicals in their very own right and also talked with the problems of their times, they are not our contemporaries– as well as risk I state– they are mainly of little importance to contemporary young adults. Naturally, I do not promote that we totally eliminate their (or the canon’s) payment to art’s background – yet I certainly do not see them as one of the most motivating musicians for teenagers to be revealed to. There are lots of contemporary musicians that speak about the important problems these days such as sustainability, body picture, spirit, usage; that make use of contemporary media such as video clip, noise, and also installment; and also that make art for public and/or personal factors. Your senior high school art trainees see musicians such as these as a lot more appropriate to their lives.

Henry Warwick, an interdisciplinary musician as well as teacher, contextualizes “society today” as in an “everlasting contemporary” problem – a type of schizoid hypermodernity devoid of the time-outs that past periods have actually supplied. For instance, in between roughly 600 and also 1400 in Western Europe, art, songs, and also style transformed little bit throughout a time of outright church authority. The age in between the 1400’s to the mid 1800’s revealed little adjustment initially. Nevertheless, as European (as well as later on, American) culture transformed its power base from solar and also eco-friendly resources (such as wind, water, human as well as animal power) to significantly extra effective fossil or nonrenewable gases (very first coal, after that oil and also gas and also nuclear), it normally increased the exchange of signifiers of social modification. From there, we delve into the Industrial Age to the Technical to the Theoretical Age and also slap right into the Eternal Contemporary. This period’s setting makes good sense if you think of exactly how swiftly style is available in and also out of support: footwear, songs, cosmetics, information, national politics, social musings, modern technology and also sector swiftly modification.

To puts it simply, prolonged ages of living are gone as the contemporary is permanently relocating – and also our educational program has to relocate also! Within a timeless contemporary construct, we could not anticipate last academic year’s educational program to be appropriate to this year’s trainees. Secondary school art educators could accept the difficulty of the “brand-new” as well as check out the myriad of art products, suggestions as well as musicians offered to trainees concerning contemporary art as well as the people/world that creates it. Nevertheless, isn’t really discovering exactly what musicians do?

Blockbuster Star Orlando Bloom

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You have known him as the elf-prince Legolas in The Lord of the Rings and as blacksmith Will Turner in the Pirates of Caribbean trilogy of films. Since then, he has established himself as one of the most thought-after leading men in Hollywood today. A head turner and every girl's delight, the hot and sexy Orlando Bloom is certainly too hot to handle.

Born in the United Kingdom, the 30-year-old Bloom shot to fame in 1999 when he was cast in his first major role, playing Legolas in The Lord of the Rings (2001-2003). The trilogy was an awful success, transforming Bloom from an unknown actor into one of the world's hottest, sexiest and well-known celebrities.

Named as one of Teen People's "25 Hottest Stars Under 25" in 2002 and People's hottest Hollywood bachelor in 2004, the actor also starred in the 2003 summer hit, Pirates of Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, opposite Johnny Depp and Keira Knightley . He next appeared in another blockbuster film Troy, with Brad Pitt, and in films such as Kingdom of Heaven and Elizabethtown, in which he played the lead roles.

As of May 2007, Bloom's box office was as impressive as ever. His films had grossed a combined $ 2.4 billion at the United States alone. He also appeared in four of the top 15 highest grossing films of all time.

What others do not know about Bloom is that this hot and sexy actor is also an environmentalist. As part of his advocacy, he has renewed his London home so that it would be capable of using solar panels. He is also incorporating recycled materials and utilizing energy efficient light bulbs.

An Intro to Artificial Turf

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Artificial turf is various other sensible called fabricated grass, they are the type of surface area intended to appear like all-natural grass. Although it is destined to have an all-natural appearance, it is generated only utilizing the initial synthetic product. Such synthetic grass also tends to be more powerful compared to all-natural grass. By custom, artificial turf is been utilized in sporting activities locations and also an area where the all-natural grass ends up being rather hard to preserve, primarily in interior locations. The prime greatly-identified use phony grass was made to cover the area of the Astrodome positioned in Houston, Texas in the year 1965. Always Green Turf has, on the various another hand, a growing number of gotten popularity for exclusive yards nowadays.

Throughout the 1970s, Astroturf and also various another sort of artificial turf substances went off into the view for both within and also outdoors area arenas. Even with its efficiency, gamers and also target market yet over as well as over once more preferred utilizing artificial turf various other that all-natural grass. This is generally as a result of the genuine artificial turf reacted likewise as all-natural grass, and also as a result of the loved one suppleness of this artificial turf created much fewer injuries to take place. Today continues in the development of artificial turf have actually also made it an extra pleasing alternative to all-natural grass.

Integrating the synthetic compound with products like sand as well as rubber has actually aided artificial turf to obtain a much more all-natural appearance and also has too made it protect for sporting activities location. In real reality, artificial turf is currently gauged to be a safe and secure alternative to all-natural grass when residing in a cool climate. Numerous sporting activities arenas at some point prepared to incorporate their all-natural grass after the poor action from followers as well as gamers while favoring synthetic grass. With improved artificial turf suggestions, nonetheless, a few of those that separated their artificial turf are currently utilizing it once more. Similarly, those areas, which maintained their artificial turf, are recovering it with the initial as well as improved present artificial turf.

The improvement in the look, as well as the experience of artificial turf, has actually included primarily in its larger usage for the real estate grass as well as yards. By utilizing artificial turf, house owners can enjoy the stare of a fit, environment-friendly, preferably preserved grass throughout the year. Even more over, artificial turf additionally requires the tiniest security and also upkeep, making it much handier as well as less costly to maintain compared to the all-natural grass.

You might find whole lot variety of choices apart from making use of grass for your yard as well as yard, and also much of them are probably available at your residence yard shop. It is could likewise seem advantage thinking about these choices, as numerous are much easier to observe as compared to grass. You might go after choices to grass that would certainly transform the life of the area, changing it right into a flashy function aside from a helpful one, must you so make a decision. Nonetheless, to boost the appeal of your grass it is the most effective concept to select syntactic or fabricated grass.

Disney’s Magic Kingdom Orlando Florida

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No matter how old you are, this place will enchant you from the moment you enter Disney World property. As you drive toward the transportation and ticketing center, along Disney’s highways, you see Mickey Mouse on the road signs. At first just his gloves over the top of the sign and as you get closer more and more of him is revealed.

You have to go to the Transportation and Ticketing center to get to the Magic Kingdom, either by ferry across the Seven Seas Lagoon or by Monorail. I always find it quicker to go to MK by Monorail and return by ferry as it carries more passengers. This would only really apply if you left the park when either the park closes or a Firework Display has finished. You can also get the monorail to EPCOT from here if you wished.

This is the first time you will get a glimpse of Cinderellas Castle. It sends a tingle down your spine and I have had grown men say “It brought a lump to my throat”. It never does it again, just that first time. Once you arrive at MK you then need to queue (Get in Line) for security and the turnstiles for admission.

On entering MK the first place you come across is Main Street USA. Main Street is designed, through forced perspective, to look as if it’s much longer than it is when you’re walking towards the castle. In the mornings, you are all excited and have the energy to walk. When you’re walking away from the castle towards the exit, it looks shorter. Also, it is believed that most people walk on the right side of the street, so, all the food shops are on the right as you enter for those wanting breakfast, while the shops are on your right on the way out! When you are coming out, all the shops on your right have gifts and souvenirs. Towering in the distance is Cinderella’s Castle in all it’s glory. This is where everyone gets to grab that first photo opportunity. There are also Disney photographers on hand to take your picture.

If you have arrived early, just as the park has opened it may be a good idea to go right through to the back and go on those rides first as most people will work there way to the furthest point visiting rides and attractions as they go. Some of the attractions for older guests are there too, such as, Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain. A tip if there is a bit of a wait for both these rides, take a fast pass for one and queue for the other. Normally by the time you have done one ride it will be about time to ride the next one. A thing to note about fast passes, you can only use one fast pass at a time. So if you get a fast pass for a ride that says you should return between 10:00 and 12:00 you can’t get another fast pass till after 10:00.

Try and avoid EMH (Extra Magic Hours) unless of course you are staying on a Disney property, this is when the park opens earlier and closes later for Disney Guests. The parks tend to be more full on these days.

The day time parade starts around 3pm and the sidewalks tend to get busy 1 to 2 hours prior to that. It does get very congested and it is difficult to cross the parade routes around that time too.

One other tip, if it is your birthday, anniversary or your first time visiting call at guest relations and tell them they will give you a badge and listen to the cast members say “Happy birthday Steve” or “How are you enjoying your first Visit Steve?”

MK can be one of the busier parks in Orlando but is well worth the visit. I wont go into all the rides that they have there you can find information about those sort of things quite easily.

Why Some Gutter Guards Fail and Others Succeed

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Most roof gutters are subject to a significant amount of material that can cause blockages and leaks. Roof moss, pine needles, leaves, even tennis balls and other debris such as falling cement from chimneys.

Gutter guards are designed to allow rainwater through while keeping this debris out. These are the two basic requirements of any gutter protection product. Unfortunately many fail even at this early stage, while some are so over complicated and expensive to install that they are unattractive to the home owner.

Here is a brief overview of just a few of the popular protection products on the market today:

Gutter Mesh

This type of product is possibly the oldest on the market today, unfortunately it fails predominantly in almost all conditions. Wet leaves and roof moss typically cause this flimsy mesh to collapse into the gutter rendering it useless.

Foam Filters

Rigid foam can be inserted into the guttering, this allows water to run freely into the base of the gutter and is strong enough that it does not collapse under the weight of any debris. Will the foam itself become clogged with smaller debris such as pine needles and moss? If that is the case then how easy is it to remove the product, clean it and refit it?


Another product on the market today is a brush that is specifically designed to fit inside the gutter whatever it's size or profile. This product is extremely easy to install, even by DIY novices. No tools or adhesives are required during the installation process so removing the brush and giving it the occasional clean is not too difficult a task. The spikes of the brush work well at keeping out larger debris such as leaves and twigs. This product, just like the foam guard does have faults, neither of the products actually keep 100% of the debris out so it's really a case of how long until they become blocked and clogged.

When considering buying a guard it's always a good idea to search web forums and product review websites to get a better understanding of which product is best suited to the environment it will be used. Some guards are easy to install, others are not so the skills of the installer often become an important factor and will determine whether it works well or not. Choosing a specialist rather than a handyman is also sound advice.

Tips To Install Guttering

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So, you need to either replace or install gutters on your home. This is not a very complicated job even though it sounds as if it is quite extraordinary. There are a couple of decisions that have to be made before you can install it though.

First you will need to decide if you are going to use pvc or metal guttering. Vinyl guttering is very easily installed but the brackets and clamps are exposed on the outside of the guttering for everyone to see. It does not look that bad but you have to decide if this is what you want. Metal guttering on the other hand is as simple to put up and you can hang it with spikes that are pretty well hidden from view. You will have to also decide on color as there are a variety to choose from now.

Once you have decided on your type and color the next thing to do is to measure your house in order to determine the amount needed. You want to measure across your house at the bottom of the pitches of your roof. Remember water will free flow down hill and you want the gutter to catch it here and divert it to the downspouts. After you have this measurement you divide this number by the length of each piece of guttering and round up to the next whole piece. This is the number of pieces of guttering to buy. The next thing you need to calculate is your downspouts.

Downspouts are what your gutter diverts the rainwater into. You will need at least one if not two on a straight run. The way you determine this is by figuring the pitch or slope on your guttering. Gutters have to have one quarter inch slope every ten foot in order for the water to drain. That is one inch every forty foot. So, in a nutshell, if your guttering is going to be 40 foot in length you put a downspout on each end. In the middle of your run make a mark where the gutter will mount. At each end make a mark one half inch lower than the center mark. This is a one quarter inch drop every ten feet. Now make a chalk line and install the gutter starting at one end or the other and work the opposite way. This provides the slope often in both directions and makes it less noticeable to the eye of the viewer. After you have connected the guttering across the fascia board now you install the downspouts on each end and use the clamps to clamp them to the wall.

Remember gutter channels come in either 4,5, 0r 6 inch channel and the 5 inch is the most commonly used. Downspouts come in either 2×3 inch or 3×4 inch and are usually corrugated. If you live where there is a lot of rain or snow, or there are a lot of trees around your house then go with the 3×4 inch. This will accommodate more runoff and will not stop up as quick from leaves. The downspout is correlated in order to slow the running water a bit to keep it from gushing out the bottom of the downspout.

Once your gutters are installed you need to place a diverter under your downspout and this is usually plastic and fits right under the downspout with the higher end of it next to the house. These points the drain water in the direction of flow without creating a hole in your lawn from the rainwater. Some people and you may consider underground drain pipes to divert the water even further.

Even though this may sound complicated you do not need a lot of technical expertise. A pencil, paper, tape measure, small saw or snips, hammer, or screw gun, ladder, and a chalk line are all the tools you need. This is a job you can do yourself but is easier with a helper.

The Basics Of Roofing And Guttering

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Roofing is one of the most important aspects of any home. The roof is what protects you from the elements of nature. So a lot of caution and planning has to be taken when deciding the roofing for your home. Roofs have to be tough and durable to handle all kinds of weather. A roof has to be water proof and fire resistant to protect your home from rain, hail, snow, sleet and from the sun's heat and light.

Roofs are available in different designs and can be made of many materials. The basic construction of a roof will have its framework and the roofing material. Also some optional components like chimneys also can be found. Roofs can be of asphalt, slate, concrete tiles or even metal. Nowadays gutters have become part of a roofing system. During rains and snow, the gutters collect the water and stream them down in a controlled manner through a downspout.

One of the most common options for roofs is slate. The look of natural slate roof is always something that is desirable. Slate is attractive and also is long lasting. Moreover slate is proven to offer good fire protection. Slate roofs are hard to install and also much more expensive than the normal asphalt roofing.

Concrete tile roofs come in a variety of looks. As they are made from concrete, they can be molded into any shape or size. They are ideal for custom roofs. Concrete tile roofs are also durable and fire resistant like slate roofs. But concrete is heavy and that means the load on the building increases drastically when a concrete tile roof is installed. Also concrete roofs can be damaged by hail. So it is recommended to go for concrete tile roofs where the possibility of hail is the least or non-existent.

Metal roofs are very durable and are resistant to hail and winds. Metal roofs are also available in a wide variety of colors and styles. Metal roofs are mostly made from steel that are recycled and they are environmentally friendly. They are known to last long too. But metal roofs are hard to install and also expensive. During rain, metal roofs can be noisy. The sound of rain drops hitting the metal roof can be annoying for some while music to the ears for some.

No matter what roof you are planning to install, never overlook the need for proper guttering for your roofs. When it rains water tend to flow from all sides of our home. When gutters are installed, they collect the water that falls on the roof and guides it down to the ground through a downspout. You also have the option of letting the downspout outlet into a small reservoir to collect the water or even draining it into a water conservation unit.

Two major types of gutters are available in the market. The traditional gutter usually made of iron sheets and the newer seamless gutters. Traditional gutters nowdays are being upgraded to seamless gutters. As traditional gutters have a lot of joints welded, the possibility of a leak in future is very high. Seamless gutters do not have any break anywhere. They are made from copper, galvanized steel or aluminum.

A good roof with a proper guttering system will ensure that your roof does the job it is supposedly to do – to protect you from the different elements of mother nature.

How to Keep Your Gutters and Down Spouts Working Properly

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Clear gutter's of twigs, leaves, and any other debris in the spring or fall. If not, water could overflow and get into your house. Using a ladder, lean it against the house, not your gutter, and wearing gloves, climb up and try to remove debris with your hand. If you have a clogged upper downspout, use a plumber's snake to unclog it. With a garden hose, flush the cleaned gutter's and downspouts. To prevent any future clogs, install copper leaf or stainless steel strainer's in the downtpout.

Patching Holes- To patch holes in gutter's you will need a fiberglass patching kit and a small box of either # 6 or # 7 (1/2 inch) sheet metal screws; available at your neighborhood home improvement center. If a metal gutter has a leak at the joint, the joint overlap might not be right, that means, water is running against the seam rather than over it. Take the gutter apart and reconnect it using the sheet metal screws, then, apply the aluminum sealer.

To adjust gutter pitch-Overflowing may be caused by an improper pitch. If you have standing water in a clean gutter, reset its pitch. The first thing to do is to check that the gutter is touching the overlapping shingles at the high end; adjust it if necessary. One inch below the bottom of the gutter at each end, drive a nail into the fascia (the board at the very top of the wall). Draw a string line taut between the two nails. Use a line level and run a level string a couple below the first. Measure between the two lines every four feet. The distance should increase 1/4 inch for each four feet. If it does not, reset the gutter. Starting at your downspout end, disconnect, then, reconnect three or four hangers at a time.

Extreme Sports Activities in Pattaya

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For those who think Pattaya is a nightlife center and only comes alive at night, check out the extreme sports available to add excitement to your days.

If water sports are your interest, there's wind surfing, and kite surfing. You can windsurf all year round, but the ideal time of the year is January to end of March, when there are moderate west to south west winds around 8 to 12 knots. For kitesurfing (or kiteboarding) enthusiasts, the best time is March to June when there's moderate south westerly winds and low tides making wide beaches, which are ideal conditions for novices.

Windsurfing and kiteboarding lessons are held at the Blue Lagoon Watersports Club, on Jomtien south beach. The area is reserved for wind powered sports only, so there's no annoying jetskis to contend with! The waters in the Pattaya area are safe. During the wind season there are no jellyfish or sea urchins and there has never been a shark attack recorded in Thailand!

Windsurfing lessons are given by Amara Watersports, owned by Ex World Champion Windsurfer Amara Wichithong. If kiteboarding is your sport, there are several courses, from a 4 hour introduction to a which will prepare you for your first ride on the water, to a 3 day course that will make you a separate kite boarder.

For scuba diving enthusiasts, Pattaya offers a host of diving activities and good diving conditions all year round. Diving trips to Pattaya's Islands are available every day. Pattaya is Thailand's wreck diving capital, you can choose from several wreck diving courses. If you're an experienced diver, then consider a specialized course like underwater photography or a technical diving course like a rebreather course (no bubbles so you do not frighten the fish!) Or a cave diving course.

Adventures in the air abound in Pattaya, learn to fly an ultralight, or a paraglider, or if jumping out of plane appeals to you, there are several skydiving courses available. A great way to start is with a tandem skydive. There's all the thrill and sensation of free fall, as you enjoy a panoramic view of the world below you. As you travel through the air, an expert skydiver is in control, managing the parachute and bringing you safely to earth.

Paragliding allows you to float on thermals and soar like a bird across the countryside, in a silent and effortless fashion. Courses from beginner to advanced pilots are available. Paramotoring courses are also available.

For the adrenaline junkies, Pattaya has two bungee jump locations. Take a ride to the top of a 50 meter tower and leap towards the earth in the knowledge a bungy cord will stop you before you reach the lake below!

If you're a speed freak, you'll love the bike track days at Bira International Raceway. Your bike is a powerful but controllable, race bred Suzuki GSXR-750. On site specialists help you set up the bike to suit your style of racing, and ensure you have a fun filled day!

How You Can Participate In Fear Factor

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Have you always dreamed of participating in a reality show? Here is your chance. Fear Factor Live is a stunt show at the Universal Studios Tours where volunteers are from the audience. Since there are three to five shows held everyday, chances are good that you might just be able to take part in it.

Of course there are a few things to know and remember before you take part in the stunt show. First, this is not a mock show. The fears are real and no simulated Fear Factor in this show. And the stunts are performed by members of the audience just like you. So if you are faint-hearted, better not attempt.

If you think you have the guts to go ahead and take part, visit the casting office, located near the Terminator ride, in the theme park. There are some physical standards that have to be met, which stands guarantee that you can handle the tasks assigned to you. You have to even sign a liability form which relieves Universal Studios and Fear Factor of any obligation, in case of any injuries or damages that may occur.

Before the actual show begins, those members of the audience who were not selected to participate are called on stage and some similar challenges are thrown, like eating insects and bugs. The winner of the pre-show contest is awarded wonderful prizes, like an annual pass to the theme park. Then there is an audience warm-up to build the excitement by the hosts of the show.

There are six participants in the show – all chosen from the casting office. Their dress code is just like the original Fear Factor dress – tight uniforms. Then a line-up of challenges, again like the Fear Factor challenges are thrown at the contestants. These include falling from a height, skill tests and of course the well-known gross-out challenge. While the show is on, a member of audience is picked up for yet another challenge, like putting your head in a tank which is replete with scorpions.

After watching Fear Factor, if you have bragged to your friends that it was easy for you and you could easily handle all those stunts yourself – watch out. It could be that you prove yourself right or your friends could prove you wrong. This is your life-time opportunity to participate in the Fear Factor Live show at the Universal Studios Tours, and prove your mettle. Go and meet the casting office as soon as you can but make sure that you meet all their physical requirements. In case you don’t, ask for being part of the audience.

SEO – the Basics You Should Know

What is it?

SEO is a carefully created method of improving the probability of your web page appearing on the results page of a search engine query. The nearer the top of the search engine results page your web site appears, the more likely that searchers will click on your web site link and go on to purchase the product or service you represent. You can perform search engine optimization yourself, or hire an expert to do it for you. There are approved ways to improve your standing and ways that can get you banned. It’s important that you do the optimization correctly to avoid getting your web site shut down.

Who needs it?

Any small business owner with products or services advertised online should make the effort to optimize their web site so as to achieve the best results when the search engine spiders visit your site. There are SEO algorithms that are used that are generally proprietary and different search engines look for different components in order to determine the rank of the specific web page. Naturally, each web site owner wants to achieve the highest possible page ranking for the products or services that are displayed on the web site. Getting your page ranking as near to the top of the search results as possible gives you more web browsers seeing your link.

How to get the best results

The best results for SEO is to determine the specific algorithm used by a particular search engine and write your web site to use the best possible mix of keywords, links, and placement so as to improve your ranking. Attention should be paid to using the keywords or keyword phrases correctly. Not only the number of times they are used, but in what context they are used. Even the placement of keywords on the page is important for best results. Another factor that is important is that of links to other web pages.

How does SERP apply?

SEO best results are returned on the SERP or Search Engine Results Page. When a searcher on the internet uses terms in a search engine query box, the search engine returns results on a page called the Search Engine Results Page. This can be a few links up to thousands of links, but few searchers look beyond the first page or two of results, since the results often are less relevant as you move further down the page. The ranking of your web page up toward the top of the list is what can increase your sales significantly.

Page rankings

Page rankings are the somewhat arbitrary number assigned to web pages based on the SEO results identified by the search engine spiders or robots. Each major search engine relies on a different algorithm for ranking, although there are similarities between the three major search engines, MSN. Yahoo and Google. The goal of search engine optimization techniques is to have the web page appearing on the first page of search results for the specific query.

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