Online Music – The Best and Worst of the Web

Viral widgets allow members to place music players on websites to expand the fan base – Lots of tools to promote your music, build a buzz and track promo efforts – Customized email newsletters for fans – Seamless integration with Facebook, Bebo – Free streaming music

CONS: None

RECOMMENDATION: For musicians, this is an amazing tool. For fans, it’s a great, interactive way to find new music and support independent artists.

iLIKE — ilike.com — 5

Major artists from Tori Amos to Missy Elliott, as well as independent musicians, post their music, videos, photos, shows, etc.

PROS: Free – Seamless integration with Facebook, Bebo, Hi5, MySpace, Orkut, iTunes – iCast feature lets the artist post text, audio or video directly from a cell phone – Sidebar feature lets you play music and videos by your favorite artists free

CONS: None

RECOMMENDATION: Definitely yes — an excellent, inexpensive way to keep in touch with your favorite artists

FACEBOOK — 4

Users who are musicians can create a page to profile their bands. That’s nice, but even better, Facebook integrates seamlessly with iLike (see review above). My only criticism is that Facebook can be confusing to navigate.

GARAGE BAND — 3

Operated by iLike, but focuses on independent artists seeking greater exposure.

PROS: Free – Write your own music reviews – Partnerships with podcast and webcast radio stations

CONS: Less professional than similar sites

RECOMMENDATION: The review feature is fun, but you’ll get more out of ReverbNation and iLike.

MYSPACE — 0

Musicians can post music, videos and the usual, but this pioneering social network site has been gradually sliding downhill. Now that it’s been eclipsed by Facebook, why would you bother?

PROS: Free

CONS: Interminable time waiting for pages to load – Terrible customer service

RECOMMENDATION: Skip it.

MUSIC DOWNLOADS

iTUNES — apple.com/itunes/ — 5

Who doesn’t know about iTunes? Apple dominates the market with this well-designed program, but you’re out of luck if you have an mp3 player other than an iPod.

PROS: Largest selection of titles (8 million) – Video, movies, podcasts and more

CONS: Songs only play on the iTunes software (PC or Mac) or an iPod

RECOMMENDATION: The gold standard (ranked #1 by Top Ten Reviews).

NAPSTER — 4

Napster recently shifted its business model from a subscription-based service to selling mp3s. Earlier problems with certain browsers and platforms have apparently been resolved.

PROS: Compatible with all mp3 players – Vast selection of 6 million titles (but not as many as iTunes)

CONS: Annoying woman pops up saying “Click on me to get started” – Monthly $12.95 subscription fee if you select that option

RECOMMENDATION: Highly recommended by reviewers (ranked #2 by Top Ten Reviews).

RHAPSODY — 3

One of the most popular music download sites, Rhapsody offers subscription and pay-per song options, but it’s not cool that they thumb their noses at Mac users.

PROS: Unlimited streaming of songs – Play and share your own music mixes – Easy drag-and-drop interface

CONS: Monthly $12.99 subscription fee if you select that option – Windows only – Not all of their 4.5 million titles are available for purchase – Non-purchased songs are encrypted and will no longer work if the subscription is canceled

RECOMMENDATION: Rhapsody gets good ratings from many reviewers, but there are better options for streaming music without a fee.

AMAZON MP3 — 2

Amazon is in the process of converting its music catalog to digital downloads. With their ubiquity, they may well surpass iTunes and Napster. They are not very artist-friendly, though, charging musicians high distributor fees and an annual fee.

PROS: Large selection of 5 million titles (but less than iTunes and Napster) – Compatible with all mp3 players – no Digital Rights Management encoding like iTunes – Some tracks priced at only 89¢

CONS: Greedy

RECOMMENDATION: Convenient for customers, but if you want to support independent musicians, take your business to iTunes or Napster.

INTERNET RADIO

PANDORA — pandora.com — 4

Pandora describes itself as the “music genome project.” As you listen to each song, you tell Pandora if you like it or not. Pandora learns from your responses and finds songs that match the qualities of the songs you like.

PROS: Free – Available on iPhone and other cell phones – Create your own customized music stations and share them with friends – Vast selection of artists

CONS: As a work in progress, the “matching” can be a bit hit or miss – You’re only allowed a limited number of skip options within a given time frame, but hey, it’s free

RECOMMENDATION: Great for streaming free music by artists and genres you select.

LIVE365 — live365.com — 4

Search for genres or for stations playing an artist you like, check out the details, and click “play” to start listening. It’s that easy.

PROS: Informative listings about each station including listener ratings – Easy to use – No plug-in required – Extensive listings at your fingertips

CONS: Advertisements unless you pay a $5.95 monthly subscription fee

RECOMMENDATION: Sure you can invest more time and find listings in other ways (after stumbling through dead links, pay for play stations, etc.), but Live365 is quick and easy. Spring for the cost of two lattes if you really detest the ads.

MUSIC BLOGS

MOG — mog.com — 4

Designed for bloggers who like to write about music, but its appeal is much broader than that. Besides allowing you to listen to millions of songs for free, you can share opinions, keep current with music news you might otherwise miss, and discover recommendations by users who share your musical tastes.

PROS: Free – Lots of interesting tidbits of information – Find people whose opinions you trust

CONS: Weak search function – Anyone can claim to be an expert

RECOMMENDATION: Worthwhile even if you don’t intend to post your own articles.

OTHER

SIX SONGS OF SEPARATION — 3

Load up your own music library playlist (the site imports the list from your music player, e.g., iTunes or Real Player). Once you have your own account up and running you can see music from members with similar musical tastes. Or you can search for songs, artists or albums that you enjoy and find related music based on what other people are listening to.

PROS: Free – A creative way to be exposed to new music that you’re likely to enjoy

CONS: You must click on a link to iTunes or Amazon to listen to a song sample

RECOMMENDATION: I didn’t find the matches especially relevant to my interests, but it’s an intriguing concept that may improve with time.

Writing Blink – 7 Tips to Create Powerful Counter Melodies Like Blink 182

Blink 182 does a great job of writing the most intoxicating counter melodies that get stuck in your head so easily. Wouldn’t it be great if you could write counter melodies just as well as Blink 182?

Well, no one said you can’t similarly write Blink 182 counter melodies. Follow these 7 songwriting tips about composing killer counter melodies and you might rival Blink 182 some day.

1. Be mindful of frequencies if using two vocalists.

It’s easy to having conflicting melodies if using two vocalists because they may use the same frequency range. Blink 182’s vocalists, Mark Hoppus, and Tom Delonge, sing high and low however. Try to pick a range of notes for each vocalist that stays clear of the other.

2. Use similar or same chord progressions as your main melody.

If you listen to “Hold On” by Blink 182, you’ll notice they wrote their melodies in the same chord progression of the song. Don’t think you need to write completely new parts to have a counter melody. Fit two melodies into the same section to make that section more appealing.

3. Keep one melody longer and more flowing than the other.

Writing counter melodies that have diversity is the key. Keep one of your melodies long and flowing to lead the listeners’ ears along in the tune.

4. Keep another melody rigid and quicker.

Writing another one of your counter melodies to be rigid and fast will keep your song driving with the tempo. This will create a lot of interest like Blink 182’s songs.

5. Try to avoid hitting the same notes simultaneously.

When Blink 182 writes a song, they try to keep Delonge’s and Hoppus’s parts separate, but still very appealing. You need to try to do the same by giving each melody its own unique identity. Don’t create your counter melodies as just copies of another.

6. Put as much time and effort into one melody as you do the other.

Neglecting one melody over another can only detriment your song. No one wants to listen to a song where a poor melody ruins a good one. Put as much effort into one as you do the other for the best response.

7. Use the same singing style if possible.

Blink 182’s vocalists may have high and low voices, but their style of singing is very similar. If you’re using two vocalists, try to stick together as a team. Utilize each other’s strengths to turn your melodies into something incredibly strong.

Blink 182 may never stop writing these great counter melodies for their songs, but that doesn’t mean you can’t compete. Put these 7 songwriting tips into action and create some of the most appealing counter melodies you’ve ever heard.

History of Ear Gauging in Tribal Civilizations

A study of the history of ear gauging indicates the practice to be as old as recorded human history. For males, this form of ear piercing has been a symbol of status, while for women, in addition to being used as means of bodily decoration, it has also been employed to signify the attainment of womanhood.

Ear gauging, which is also referred to as ear stretching, is the stretching of ear lobe piercings to larger diameters than that of the original piercing. It is a form of body enhancement or beautification that many young western people adopt to look ‘different’ from the usual crowd. However, this is not a modern form of body piercing, since it has been around for as long as archaeological records exist.

In many cases, ear gauging has been used historically to indicate the standing of members of a specific tribe, and in many respects this is still the situation today. Stretched piercings have been, and still are, a reflection on the individual’s sexual capability and also their superiority over other males in the tribe. The larger the stretching, the more important the individual.

Otzi the Iceman is a prime example of mummies known to have stretched ears. This is the earliest known example of ear gauging, Otzi having 7-11 mm ear piercings during 3300 BC. It has been suggested that the stretching of the ears noted in depictions of Siddhartha Gautama, better known as Buddha, may have been caused by the weight of the gold jewelry he wore, but this is mere supposition.

It is supported, however, by the fact that the Masai tribe of Kenya and the Lahu and Karen-Paduang people of Thailand use this ‘gravity’ technique to stretch their piercings. Let us have a look at the ear gauging practices used today by various cultures.

A. Mursi Tribal Women

The Mursi is an Ethiopian tribe where the women are obliged to wear plates in their gauged ears and on their bottom lip. About a year prior to her marriage, or at about 15 years of age, a Mursi girl’s lip will be pierced by her mother and a wooden peg pushed through the incision.

Once healed, the peg is changed for a larger diameter one. Eventually, the peg is replaced by a plate of clay or wood, and this plate is successively changed for larger diameter ones until the required diameter is attained – from around 8 – 22 cm in diameter (3 – 9 inches). Once these plates have been secured, she receives a higher degree of respect than those without them, and is known as a ‘Bhansanai’.

These lip and ear plates need not be worn permanently, but are an expected adornment during special occasions such as during weddings and other celebrations, and when they serve food to men. Today, young women can generally make their own decision as to whether or not they follow this tradition.

B. The Masai People of Kenya

The practice of ear gauging has been common among Masai men and women for thousands of years. In recent years, however, most young men have not been following this custom, although you will still find many Masai women wearing ear decorations made from stones, cross-cut elephant tusks, wood and animal bones.

The original piercing is carried out using a thorn, sharpened twig or a sharp knife point. Once healed, ear gauging is then carried out by wearing increasingly heavy jewellery that pulls the lobe down and stretches the piercing. This is the traditional way of gauging ears in the more primitive cultures, although many Masai today will use proper ear gauging techniques, such as their own versions of insertion tapers or taper spikes. Beads are a common form of ornamentation, although plugs made from bone, tusks and wood are also used.

C. The African Fulani Tribe

Fulani women from Nigeria and Central Africa tend to use smaller diameter ear gauges, and decorate them using large gold domes or hoops carrying earrings. A Fulani child will have her ears pierced at around 3 years old, although they may not be stretched until she is older. The gauges used by Fulani women are relatively small compared to the Masai and Mursi, although the jewellery can be larger.

D. Asian Hill Tribes

Of the various hill tribes, the only two known to practice ear gauging are the Lahu from Thailand, and the Karen-Padaung (Longnecks) from Myanmar (Burma) and also the Phrae province in Thailand. That latter tribe are best known for their neck rings, offering the appearance of long necks, but both cultures believe the ear to be sacred and the more jewellery they can wear on the better. By gauging their ears, they are able to wear the maximum amount of jewellery they believe possible.

E. Mexican and Central American Civilizations

In Mayan and Aztec society, ear gauging was regarded as desirable for males. There are many Mayan representations of men with flares and ear plugs (ear spools) in gauged ears, and the material used was indicative of the social standing of the wearer. Jade ear plugs were worn by the higher classes, while the rest would use bone, stone, wood and other materials. In central Mexico, the craftsmanship of the Aztecs is evident in the ear gauging plugs and ornaments of gold and silver, though the lower classes would adorn their stretches earlobes with shells, copper and wood among many other imaginative materials.

Ear gauging has been carried out worldwide, and among other notable areas involved in this practice are Japan, where the Ainu used ear jewellery made from shells, bone and a ball and ring known as Ninkari. There are many other cultures worldwide where ear gauging was a part of their life, and even today many people regard ear stretching as a fashion statement and a way of expressing their own personality and individuality.

Top 10 Travel Advice

  1. Always ensure that you have checked the latest travel advice for the destination you wish to travel so subscribe to any free email notifications each time the travel advice is updated.
  2. If need be opt for travel insurance and make sure this is arranged before hand to cover any activities you wish to participate in as well as insurance for all your baggage.
  3. Check to see if you are in need for a visa for the countries you are going to visit, however be aware that you may need more than just a visa to enter the country so find this out by contacting the Embassy or High Commission before hand.
  4. Confirm you flight details and all reservations for cars, hotels and activities before you leave.
  5. Organise your money. Make certain you are sure of which credit/debit cards you will be taking and find out the best rates for converting currency and purchasing travelers cheques.
  6. Make a list of all emergency contact numbers, for example lost and stolen credit cards, and leave a copy of your travel itinerary with a friend of family member so they can contact you if need be.
  7. Check the weather at your travel destination so that you can pack the appropriate gear to suit the climate.
  8. If you are going to be flying then make sure you have an essential carry on bag just encase you bags get delayed.
  9. If you are going to be driving then make sure you have a road map, GPS handy so you can look up any directions when needed.
  10. Pack you camera and video equipment atleast 24 hours before you leave, so that you can check and charge any batteries beforehand.

Monsters Rise From the Grave in New Ways

In the 1910s to the 1950s, many classic movie monsters, such as Frankenstein (1910), Nosferatu (1922), Dracula (1931), The Wolfman (1941), and The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1953), made their first mainstream appearances. These monsters leapt from the literary pages of their respective novels to the big screen. Few would consider these fiends appropriate for children, but the shift from print to film did popularize them. The horror genre in general has always been adult oriented. However, over time and in a society of relative safety, fear can become alluring.

With the rise of slasher films in the 1970s and 1980s, and the subsequent gore-horror films, it seemed the final coffin nail was hammered in for classic horror monsters. Yet, they would rise from the grave from a new angle–as the good guys and friends to children. In fact, in the 1990s there was a resurgence of horror in a fun way with Beetlejuice, Ghostbusters, Tales from the Crypt, The Addams Family movies and cartoons, and with Goosebumps books. The horror themes that used to terrify generations before now brought mostly nostalgia and delight. Now, this generation of viewers is beginning to raise children of their own. Most of these new parents seek out books, movies, and various other forms of children’s entertainment–including the more recent form of media that is the website–which invoke a sense of delighted dread in children while avoiding the true horror aspect of it.

Hotel Transylvania (2012), Monsters, Inc. (2001), Monsters Vs. Aliens (2009), and Monster High (2010Present) are prime mainstream examples of monsters evolving from the antagonists to the protagonists. These franchises borrow their themes from the horror genre, but keep the tone heartfelt and comedic. These features are echoed in children’s books, as well. On top of the book formats of the aforementioned movies, there are books such as Where the Wild Things Are, and Monster Trouble, I Need My Monster. Some of these new takes on monsters have grown beyond their original stories to accommodate the new connected world. For example, the Monster High and Teach Your Monster to Read websites utilize the World Wide Web to reach new audiences and utilize new tools to give a more interactive, educational, and engaging experience. With these fresh and inventive takes on werewolves, vampires, banshees, lagoon creatures, and other monsters, the new casts of creature characters are certainly unique and something that will tickle many-a-funny bone.

Overall, it seems the classic horror monster theme will not fully waste away. At worst it will remain undead for a few years, but given the new trend of monster-themed children’s books and media–a genre that expands by the day–the horror theme may soon creep more and more into mainstream children’s media and delight new generations. Perhaps, in time, even the popular idiom ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’ will be changed to ‘Judge a monster by its manner.’ In any case, the kid-friendly horror theme is alive and well and nowhere close to an early grave.

Dealing With Racquetball Injuries

Playing any type of sports always entails risks of injuries. Racquetball is one sports activity that can be risky looking at the speed of play and the equipments used (racquets and balls).

Nevertheless, it is a presented with that sports injuries C severe, superficial or critical C can always be avoided, if you take safeguards. Apart from the protection gears you need to wear, the next are some reminders for you to deal with your racquetball-related injuries.

Eye protection

Racquetball is reckoned a lightweight sport when equated with others which can produce some terrible critical injuries. Alternatively, it is one of the most injury-prone sports because of the speed of the ball traveling within the small confines of the playing court.

Ninety- 5% of these injuries contains being hit in the eyes by the ball. Interior bleeding in the eye socket, lacerations, bleeding eyelids, abrasions, swollen eyes C these are the a lot off the most commonplace eye injuries.

Wearing correct eye gear prevents fundamental injuries to the eye. Be certain to check if your goggles are the right way recommended by the American Standard of Testing and Materials, and the Canadian Standards Association.

Feet protective cover

Racquetball is one game where you do a lot of running. It follows that you need to maintain your feet all during the game.

Ankle sprains can sideline you for in any case 7 days and disrupt your activities. Achilles tendon injuries are rare but they need correct medical care.

Blisters and calluses occur most often if you possess the wrong footwear or if they are a new pair and had not been broken in yet. Dont throw the old pair until you have the new ones fit your feet just right. Afterwards, you can play a hard game with them.

Elbow protective cover

They might call it tennis elbow, but this injury also happens to racquetball players. (Only 5% of all cases happen to tennis players.)

Manifestations incorporates pain around the elbow joint, with tenderness occurring on or underneath the bony bump. Natural expansive arm movements (even simple grip movements) can lead to pain and exacerbate the injury. Follow your physicians advice.

Next, talk over with your racquetball expert for incorrect technique in racquet handling. Is your grip wrong? What about the mass and type of your racquet?

Shoulder protection

Shoulder injury is caused by utilizing the shoulders C and not the right way using the side of the body C in swinging your racquet. These injuries generally develop from a past fall or a slam on the wall.

Remember: Use the entire side of the body in swinging the racquet, NOT the shoulders.

Knee protective cover

All the running and pivoting around on your feet is tough on your knees. In racquetball, all kinds of knee injuries are possible.

These injuries are sneaky, too. They commence with a dull ache somewhere around the sides or back of the knee right after playing. Later, the anguish arrives before, during, and after your play.

Get yourself a professional to teach you the proper stretching and conditioning program for your knees. (While you are at it, you may incorporate all the necessary conditioning moves for all the parts of the body that complement your racquetball playing.)

Racquetball is supposed to be fun. Avoid injuries before they can happen.

Self Defense Weapons – What Is The Best Weapon For Self Defense?

If you are thinking of purchasing a gun, or other “self-protection” device such as pepper spray or an alarm, then you are obviously concerned about your personal safety. You know it is essential to learn how to defend yourself, now more than ever! Today, not only do you have to worry about criminals, but now terrorists as well! What is this world coming to? Would you know what to do?

You may be thinking, “Well, I’ll just get a gun!” Unfortunately, real-world tests have shown that overall , weapons (or other “self-defense” products) are often ineffective when it comes to self-defense. Why?

There are many factors that contribute, but the main reason weapons are ineffective is, if the weapon is not in your hand at the moment of attack, you will never get the chance to use it! But, the law does not allow you to walk around with a gun in your hand, and most studies show that people soon forget to carry the various types of self-protection devices they purchase.

Even if you have a stun gun or pepper spray in your purse or pocket, if caught by surprise, you won’t have a chance to get it out before you get decked! Mace does you no good if it is still in the purse that just got snatched out of your hand! Tests prove that 90% of the time, you will never get the chance to reach for your weapon before you are hurt too severely to use it.

FBI statistics and Police reports from all over the country show that in more than half of all instances where the victim was able to get to a “weapon” (usually sprays are mentioned), the attacker knocked it out of their hand before they could use it. Police files are filled with tens of thousands of incidents of weapons taken away from the victim and used against them! It is estimated that almost one third of all gunshot victims are shot with their own gun! The figures are even higher when it comes to stun-guns and sprays.

This doesn’t even include all of the incidences where the victim shoots themselves! Accidental discharge is the leading cause of gunshot wounds in both crime and non-crime reports. You may think that wouldn’t happen to you, but the reports prove that it happens to even experienced gun owners.

I know of a Police officer, even after extensive training , the first time he tried to use Mace against an unruly suspect, ended up spraying himself.

Unfortunately, most people have little or no training as to the safe and proper use of the weapons in their possession. Inadequate, or even improper training is the leading cause of accidental discharge involving guns, stun-guns and sprays. What do you think will happen when they attempt to use that weapon under the stress of a real attack?

There are literally millions of incidents reported where the victim couldn’t get the weapon to work at all, mainly because of inadequate training! Even the most basic principles of weapon usage are often overlooked by owners. The figures are stunning (pun intended) of the number of incidents of stun guns that didn’t work when needed because of dead batteries!

There are thousands upon thousands of reports of guns that wouldn’t fire because the safety was on, and the user didn’t know, forgot, or was too panicked to figure it out in time. In at least one incident I am aware of, the victim couldn’t get his weapon to fire before the criminal took it away from him. Lucky for him, the criminal couldn’t figure it out either.

Defective or Fraudulent Products

I’m sure you have purchased products that didn’t quite work as advertised. How can you be sure that the pepper spray you buy will work as well as advertised, if at all? How will you test it? Spray yourself? Spray a friend? We’re not talking about perfume! I doubt you will get any volunteers to help you.

When the criminal attacks, it is too late to find out that the pepper spray is really just vinegar, or that the 10 million volt stun-gun doesn’t deliver much more of a shock than shuffling across the carpet and touching a doorknob.

If you buy a police radar detector that is guaranteed to work, but doesn’t, the result is a speeding ticket. If you buy “self-protection weapons” that don’t work, the result can be severe injury or even death. Relying on someone else’s guarantee is only a false sense of security that will only have bad results!

If you are serious about Self-Protection, your best self defense weapon is your mind . If you think about what has just been discussed, you will realize that ‘weapons’ will only help you in ideal situations, and even then, you need to keep a clear head to be able to use them properly.

But, crime doesn’t happen in ideal situations!

Being able to think clearly, and knowing what to do, is your best weapon when it comes to self-defense. Second best is being able to use your feet. Now, that doesn’t mean to start kicking! It means that at the first sign of trouble, you need to RUN! Escape is always a much better self-defense tactic than getting into a struggle or a fight.

However, if you can’t get away, your body is your best self-defense weapon! Since you cannot always have a weapon in your hand, it is essential that you know how to defend yourself without weapons. But mindless flailing against an attacker does you no good at all. You need to learn the most vulnerable points on the human body. But even that isn’t enough if you don’t know the most effective ways to strike them. You need to learn how to kick, not just where to kick.

Everyone should at least take a basic self-defense course .

What about Martial Arts?

Traditional Martial Arts are great for disciple, self-confidence, and exercise. They can help to produce the correct mindset needed when faced with a self-defense situation. But it usually takes several years to become proficient in the more complex techniques.

If you have the time to commit to a long-term training program, by all means, a martial art will provide the most comprehensive training. However, just as in choosing a self-defense weapon, you must do your homework before choosing a martial arts program. Many don’t deliver the comprehensive training they promise, and most don’t train you for realistic self-defense.

Far too many martial arts programs focus greatly on sports and competition. Sports and competition oriented martial arts are worthless as self-defense. They teach you to follow rules, and for the most part, there are no rules in a street fight. If you are conditioned to follow the rules, you can’t do what is necessary in a dangerous situation. In fact, you will probably do the wrong thing, and get yourself hurt or even killed.

Seek out a training program that focuses almost exclusively on realistic self-defense scenario training.

Knowing how to handle yourself when confronted with violence is your only insurance against becoming a victim, or just another statistic in a police report. You have car insurance, home-owner’s insurance, life insurance, health insurance…

What insurance do you have against being the victim of a violent crime? That type of insurance is only available through proper training. A long-term self-defense program offers the most comprehensive training, and therefore, the best opportunity to learn to handle almost any situation that may occur. However, if you don’t have the time to commit to a long-term program, at least some form of weaponless self-defense training is better than none.

Summary

If you are serious about self-protection, your best bet is to first learn weaponless self-defense. Then, if you still want to purchase a weapon, do your homework before choosing the best weapon for you, and don’t just read the instructions that come with it and think you are ready to use it.

  • Take a class on how to use it effectively, how to handle it safely, and how to maintain it so it works when you need it.
  • Take regular refresher courses so you don’t forget anything about the weapon.
  • Follow all maintenance procedures on a regular basis.

Your best bet is to learn weaponless self-defense and get the best weapon for you. Remember, you will never feel safe until you have all the tools necessary for self-protection. And the most important weapon of all is your own mind and body!

Resources:

Strong, Sanford – Strong on Defense ; Simon & Shuster, Inc.; 1996

Federal Bureau of Investigation – Uniform Crime Report ; 2000

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Linen Clothing

Linen fabric is liked by everyone. People like using linen fabric for a variety of purposes from home furnishings to clothing. There is a definite expansion and growth in the variety of linen clothing available. Linen fabric was once used extensively for men suits because of its soft and smooth texture. But over a period of time, linen clothing revealed its many different uses to the people.

Linen clothing has its respective advantages and disadvantages, just like any other fabric. Price, quality and durability are the three most important things people tend to keep in mind while purchasing any kind of clothing item for them. Linen fabric is made from one of the aged natural fibres – well-known as the flax fibre. It is admired because of its strength and stylish texture.

Many industries are working on finding a mix of two well-liked fabrics: cotton and linen. Merging the strengths of both the fabrics will produce an even better end product. At the same time, one should keep in mind that any fabric, which is given the needed attention and care would obviously last longer. It would also not lose its charm. Therefore, to counter the negatives of pattern clothing you should use some techniques that lessen the chances of this fabric getting dried out quickly.

Advantages

Some of the positives of using linen-clothing are that it adds to charm and trendiness to any attire. Being a stylish fabric, you can buy nicely printed pattern clothing and look extremely fashionable. Many designers now display linen clothing that is well-liked by the people around. Pattern clothing has a natural luster.

Linen-clothing can last longer because of its characteristics; such as high strength and durability. Texture clothing is made from strong flax fibres which mean that it is available in a variety of textures.

Linen-clothing can be worn in any kind of weather. It can even be worn in a hot and humid weather, because it is highly absorbent. Pattern clothing makes you feel fresh because it is not sticky and removes skin perspirations. Linen clothing can be tailored without any trouble.

Linen clothing can be washed and dried easily. It can even be hand-washed. In fact, washing makes linen clothing softer, however, make sure you use soft water. It does not stretch or elongate but keeps in shape even after routine washes, hanging and ironing. Linen clothing can be printed, finished and designed easily.

Disadvantages

With a number of advantages linen fabric comes with various disadvantages as well, however, they are not many in number. Linen clothing can lose its charm if washed with hard water. Therefore, you need to be extra careful while washing texture clothing with chemicals and detergents. Texture clothing is restricted to a small range of colours, providing not much variety.

It wrinkles and creases easily which can make you look untidy. It is best not to fold linen clothing for storage, you should hang it. Another disadvantage is that pattern clothing is a little more expensive than cotton; making cotton products more desirable.

Indoor and Outdoor Jewelry Displays

Plan and invest effort, money, and time to create displays which will help to sell your handcrafted jewelry. The attractiveness of your display needs to compel a customer to stop at your location and see the jewelry creations. As you compete with other competitors’ side-by-side at indoor or outdoor shows, your display needs to attract and hold the attention of customers.

The style of jewelry which you create with your hands will help to determine how these articles should be displayed.

  1. Elegant jewelry will require an upscale background and commercial display racks
  2. Craft jewelry appears at its best surrounded by crafty knickknacks
  3. Leather and stone displays nicely among original uncut raw stone and animal hides
  4. Fashion jewelry is best displayed with high fashion apparel
  5. Specialty jewelry deserves its own unique support
  6. Children’s jewelry is enhanced by placing them with toys and children’s clothing

The items which you use to show off the jewelry will help the customer to see how the piece of jewelry which they are buying will look when they wear it with their garments.

A Thoughtless or Careless Display:

  1. Arranging an unappealing jewelry display will cause passersby to look and walk away
  2. Unattractive or inappropriate containers do not enhance the product line
  3. Jewelry scattered haphazardly sends a do not care attitude
  4. Too many pieces which present clutter will confuse and discourage shoppers

An attractive display shows that the artists have pride in their work and the artistic ability to display their creations to help the customer make a decision to buy. Solving the customers’ problems will sell more jewelry. Much effort and heart is given to creating a piece of jewelry; the same should be done when displaying your artwork.

We are guilty of wanting to show off every creation which we have made. However, this may cause a display area to look cluttered and will diminish the uniqueness of your creations. The customer may be overwhelmed by too much merchandise and will walk away from your table.

Showing less gives the customer a clear and detailed picture of whatever piece they are admiring. Let the customer ask if you have a different size or color and if you do, pull it from a stock box. Or perhaps, the customer may have a custom order. Conversations with customers will open opportunities for more sales.

Indoor and Outdoor Displays

The type of materials which will be used for displays rests heavily on the location. An indoor setup can be done with glass. Glass tops and counters, shelving and display cases may be used. Strategically placed mirrors offer luxury and the illusion of a large space.

Commercial retail stores have special display units or glass showcases to arrange their jewelry. These types of display cases may be considered for gold, silver, and gem jewelry. These cases are made of wood or plastic with locks and may also be considered for outdoor displays to keep jewelry safe and clean.

Outdoor shows require articles that will not blow away on a windy day or discolor or melt in the hot sun. The shelter needs to protect your merchandise from rain and other inclement weather. Free standing furniture needs to be reinforced. Use metal, plastic, and wood to offer stability and security for your merchandise. Arrange your creations for fast removal in inclement weather.

Making quality jewelry pieces, displaying them appropriately, and interacting with potential customers will increase your profit margin.

Are You at a Threshold Moment?

We all have those times where we can just chug along in our businesses and lives… la la la la. We’re good. We’re happy. It’s status quo at its best.

And then that all changes. We want more. We’re ready. Status quo is not good enough.

So, then we have a decision to make.

I call this a threshold moment or a choice point because it usually involves taking a conscious step – passing over that threshold or choosing a different path from the one you’re on.

It can be scary, and what I know is that in order to cross over that threshold, the potential result has to be stronger than the fear of change. And many people can’t do it.

The unhappily married woman who complains day after day about her husband not taking any responsibility for the kids or the house, and yet won’t let him make a single decision, like what to eat, on one of the rare occasions when she’s out for the evening.

The woman who goes to a women’s business conference every year and approaches a coach about writing a book. They even brainstorm a kick-ass title. Year after year, she comes back to the booth and says, “I still haven’t written that book.”

The business owner who says she wants things to be different and even creates a plan for big changes. But when it comes time to implement those changes, she backs down, and rails against the person who partnered with her to make those changes.

The consultant who says she needs to create boundaries with her clients, but it takes her months to put those changes in place. Then, when she does, at the first sign of complaint from her clients (who have gotten used to her loose boundaries), she returns everything back to the way it was.

People may say they want things to be different, that they want to step into their biggest, brightest, highest selves.

But when it comes down to it, change at that level is too big and scary.

It’s not that they didn’t mean it when they said they want XYZ. They do want XYZ. It’s just that what they have to do – who they have to be – in order to get XYZ… they’re not willing to do that.

Change isn’t easy. It’s made up of baby steps and then, at other times, leaps. No matter how many baby steps you take, eventually you have to leap. And that leap is scary. And rarely do you ever get the message, “This is the right time. Everything is absolutely in place. It’s the perfect time.”

There are always doubts. And you have to leap anyway.

The end goal that lies beyond the threshold? To be that biggest, highest, brightest self.

So, how do you cross over the threshold?

  • Keep the end goal in mind… and FEEL it. What does it look like, smell like, sound like, taste like? What are you going to be able to do as a result?
  • Listen to your Inner Critic Gremlin, and then come up with the data to prove him wrong. “You never finish anything.” Your response: “Sure I have… Lookie here… This time, and that time, and this other time.” Write the data down to refer to because the Inner Critic Gremlin will poke his head up again and again.
  • Create your Action Plan to get to what lies beyond the threshold. What are all the steps you can take? Write them all down, even the littlest ones. Especially the littlest ones. And then take at least one step every day.
  • Review your end goal and your Action Plan regularly to keep you on track.
  • Build a support system. Share your goals and dreams with others. Ask them to check in on you. Report back to them, no matter if you’re happy with your progress or not.
  • Every so often (the time frame may vary depending on your goal), list all that you’ve accomplished toward your goal. People almost always do more than they think. Write it down so that you can see how awesome you are.
  • Celebrate once you’ve reached your goal. Don’t just move on right to the next one. Breathe, take some time, and feel into your new place across the threshold.

And then get ready for the next one.