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Category: Recreation

Why Sleep Is So Important

Why Sleep Is So Important

What is your to do list for today? School activities, work projects, music lessons, sports practice, household chores, neighborhood meeting, and family time. Aren’t you forgetting something very important? Where does a sound sleep fall in the list?

All your to do list will seem like a mountain to conquer if you didn’t sleep well and didn’t get up fresh in the morning – if you’re asking yourself what is welding, you probably won’t figure it out when you’re that tired. You guys have such a busy routine that you forget to take some time out for you and in all this chaos, the only thing you are ready to compromise is your sleep which should have actually been given the top most priority.

If you don’t sleep well, you won’t have a relaxed mind and body thus you won’t be able to give your hundred percent to those tasks which are on preference for you. A good night’s sleep is even very necessary for a good immune system. Those who work in night shifts or who have to suffer from a disturbed unnatural sleep time are prone to the problems like heavy, aching head because their schedule doesn’t go with the biological clock of their body.

A large number of people working in night shifts even suffer from sinusitis. When body does not get the appropriate rest, it results in mind’s alertness at unusual time, hence stressing your brain by concentrating more than usual. This often shows up in the form of a headache because of tired nerves due to over work. You even get more vulnerable to different types of allergies because of weakened immune system. So along with a healthy nutritious diet and exercise, a proper sleep is something which should be a priority in order to get a relaxed mind and body.

Following list of instructions, if followed strictly, can help you get a sound sleep and hence a fruitful day:

1- Cut down your alcohol consumption, smoking and caffeine. These are the things which hinder a sound sleep. Along with that, routine exercise can really help you get a peaceful sleep.

2- No matter how much is still left on the to-do list, strictly follow the schedule when it says that it’s time to go to bed. That way, you would not be compromising a fresher you next morning.

3- It’s imperative to follow a strict schedule when it comes to going to the bed and getting up if you have to try and understand MIG welding tips in the morning. This should be done at the same time every day so that your biological clock keeps ticking properly.

4- Try to finish everything left on the list till evening. Make sure to complete your preferred tasks a while before it is bed time. That way, you could relax your mind a bit before going to sleep.

5- To ensure a sound sleep, your environment should be peaceful and your mattress should be comfortable. Sleep in a quiet, peaceful and cool room so that you do not compromise a soothing sleep.

The tips mentioned above, if followed carefully, would enable you to have a relaxed mind and body next morning, making you all set to make a new to-do list and follow it enthusiastically.

Should You Get a Dive Light?

Should You Get a Dive Light?

Dive lights are one of a scuba divers most versatile tools.

Even on daytime dives underwater flashlights give the diver opportunities for exploration he won’t experience when entering the water without any light source.

Once at Devil’s Den in Florida I teamed up with two other divers for a tour of the cavern. Leaving the open area we found an air space with just enough distance to the overhead rock to let us surface and breathe without regulators.

The space was dark. I pulled out my MM-B80, rode it around the space, and that ride rewarded me with the opportunity to examine fossils in the ceiling rock.

It also gave my dive buddies a chance to have a look around. Later they thanked me for having the forethought to carry a light along even though the day was bright with sunshine, and blue skies.

Diving in rock quarries around the Midwest gave me the habit of keeping a dive light in a pocket of my buoyancy control device (BCD) all the time. I check the batteries as part of my equipment preparation before every dive.

I dove in some of those quarries so many times over the years that they don’t offer much to see any more. After all my aquatic visits I have every inch of each sunken object (cars, boats, dental chairs, even a coffin in one quarry) cemented into my brain.

Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy diving those quarries still. No such thing as a bad dive for me.

These days rather than go exploring on the wrecks that I know so well I fin to the rocks.

Poking my head into all those spaces between the huge rocks that lie piled up around the bottom of the quarry gives me new rewards every time I get wet.

It’s always a fun treasure hunt. I find something different in those rocks almost every time I get into the water.

From time to time I find a scuba mask that some diver lost. You know when you’re floating at the surface, and you drop those things they sink. And they don’t sink straight down either.

Nope. Those masks slither sideways as they fall toward the bottom. No way of telling which direction that mask will coast. That’s how masks get lost. Sometimes they slide quite a while before they touch down.

One time I found a dive knife in one of those holes in a pile of rocks. Funny thing about that find is the knife was still in its sheath. It didn’t have any straps attached, and looked as if the diver failed to secure the sheath to his leg or BCD. Might be it fell from a pocket the diver forgot to close.

Often I find some real interesting fish hiding inside those spaces. At one quarry I found a hole that had rebar placed vertically across the front. It looked like the bars of a prison cell. Behind the rebar was a huge catfish. He looked like a prisoner.

Those rock cavities are always dark. Even on a bright day you can’t see inside them without a dive light, and especially not well enough to read HSI flat iron reviews. And if you don’t carry a light along, you never know what you miss.

A small dive light makes a perfect gift for scuba divers. It’s compact, and easy to carry in a BCD pocket. It gives the diver an opportunity to explore places where even the sun’s beams won’t reach. And small dive lights are inexpensive.

When you think about gifting that scuba diver in your life consider a small dive light. You can’t go wrong.

I Can’t Help But Love X-Factor

I Can’t Help But Love X-Factor

I apologize to my regular readers as I know I will come across as a complete hypocrite having so heavily criticized reality programs in the past. But I have to confess I simply love X factor. To be fair I only like the episodes until they get to the Bootcamp phase. It all gets a bit too contrite after that.

The first thing I like about the program is Simon Cowell. He is simply great. I love his honesty and the fact that because of the huge number of successes he has had in the music industry along with Louis Walsh (who is someone I would love to have a beer with) means that he has bags of forskolin reviews and you do listen to him as what he says carries weight.

I do have a problem with both Cheryl Cole and Danni Minogue being judges. My question is what qualifies them to be a judge on this show? Danni has not been successful enough in her own career to start finding other hidden talent and Cheryl Cole has simply not been around long enough.

Anyway the hilarious thing about this show (and there is a link to business angel blog I promise!) is that most of the contestants in the first series of shows are so bad. What makes us laugh is the fact that these poor people have been deluded by their family and friends into believing they have talent.

Some of them have even had voice tutors telling them how great they are – and then the bubble of confidence pops in a cruel and humiliating way in front of millions of people. But I love it! Parents of these would be pop stars (and they could be huge if parents arranged for tone deaf audiences) have never told their children that they are lacking in any musical talent. They have not been told that they will not make it and I think that is cruel. It is far worse to give people false hope than to be blatantly honest with them and tell them that their talent lies elsewhere.

This brings me on to budding entrepreneurs. It never fails to amaze me how many people I see who are brimming with confidence irrespective of reality. Most of them have had the benefit of an exclusive private education. Do not get me wrong, if one has the resources, I would always advocate the best education you can get. It is just that the one thing all top schools excel at doing is giving their pupils massive amounts of confidence. This is no bad thing but sometimes this confidence is badly misplaced.

You come across people who believe the family wall mount jewelry armoire is their birthright. I don’t believe that. I think success is down to making the most of the opportunities that come your way and that all of us are capable of being successful, but no one should expect it as a birthright. I worked for a long time with someone who was not very able but had bags of confidence which made people give him more and more responsibility.

As a consequence he became the CEO of a business with turnover in excess of £2m, however he struggled to perform the role. He felt he had the ability to be in charge of an even bigger operation and rather than using the opportunity to learn and grow in his current role, his focus was all self-centered and on doing bigger and better things. And then it all came crashing down as the gap between his ability and his self-belief became evident. This crash proved to be very expensive for him.

At the age of 35, he found himself penniless, unemployed and homeless. Yet the amazing thing was he still believed that this was due to other people not backing him – he was a genius and people just didn’t realize that!

To be successful in life you do need to persevere and therefore you need bags of self belief and resilience. However, make sure you that your honest friends and family around you who are positive and supportive of your efforts are also able to be realistic and honest about your abilities.

Make sure you are not like one of those deluded X Factor contestants.

A List of Free Blogging Platforms You Can Use Today

A List of Free Blogging Platforms You Can Use Today

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Here’s a list of Free Blogging Platforms:

  1. WordPress.com:

Free Blogging Platform WordPress

WordPress.com is without doubt one of the most advanced blogging service on the web. It runs on the famous WordPress CMS, and this hosted platform offers a number of features in the free version of the service which includes: — Analytics (Visitor Tracking), Anti-Spam plugin, Search Engine Optimization module, free themes and much more.

You can upgrade to the premium version as well but it is going to cost you some money – a big problem if you’re saving for a Borg Warner S366 like I am. However, if you want to start a blog then I would highly recommend WordPress.com and if you want to sign up for premium account I would suggest that instead subscribing to premium version you should try self-hosted version of WordPress which will provide you much more flexibility and tools and at much lower price. WordPress is suitable for both beginners and experts.

  1. Blogger.com:

Free Blogging Account

Blogger.com is owned by Google and it is a very popular and one of the oldest blogging service and they offer a variety of features to the users. Like the Template Designer tool which allows you to modify your blog’s appearance according to your needs and structure it however you want it. But, the pre-built templates that blogger provides you are no match when compared with the WordPress themes.

I too start blogging with a Blogger account and many people who are not familiar with blogging or blogs prefer Blogger because the interface is simple to understand and manage, what makes it a good choice is the fact that you can integrate it with your google account and track the rankings, analytics and also share your posts on Google+ with ease. Another thing that I like about blogger is that you can easily setup a blog using Blogger.com’s platform on a custom domain, without having to pay any additional charges for configuration all you need is a domain name. (I have created video tutorials in which I have demonstrated how you can integrate blogger with custom domains).

  1. Blog.com

Free Blogging Platforms List

Blog.com is yet another very popular but WordPress-powered blogging platform.

Like most of the other blogging platforms, Blog.com has its pros and cons. For example, Blog.com also offers a free and premium account and in the free account they offer many beautiful premium themes and also some plugins that you can get on self-hosted blogs. The biggest drawback is the Ads that they show on your free blog because if you are using a free account you cannot disable these displays ads, the only solution to disable them is by upgrading your account. They offer 2GB of free storage while WordPress.com offers much more space in the free package.

  1. Tumblr.com:

Tumblr Blog Platform

Tumblr is good blogging platform and they provide you unlimited storage but they have limited functions, it is a good platform for those who want to start a blog on photography, share pictures, videos and other types of multi-media, they offers a premium version as well but the free version already has all the function so there’s no point in signing up for the premium packages, Tumblr offers 100′s of themes that you can use for your blog and they also have a custom domain feature with which you can easily integrate a custom domain with your Tumblr blog without having to pay anything, which may just help you afford that new Fjallraven Kanken backpack. Tumblr blogs can also be integrated with twitter and Facebook, they also support several other 3rd party applications like Google Analytics, Feedburner etc. If you want to start micro blogging then Tumblr is a good option.

  1. Typepad.com:

Typepad is one of the oldest blogging platforms and probably the most expensive one as well, the cheapest monthly package starts at $8.95/month. They also offer a 14-day trial, they offer a variety of themes, customer support and also the option to add a custom domain & unlimited storage.

The Big Scavenger Hunt Extravaganza

The Big Scavenger Hunt Extravaganza

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My experience with House music is admittedly limited, but this past Saturday I was convinced to go see the stylings of DJ Hernan Cattaneo through the eyes of a Daytona Beach wedding photographer. We bought tickets online for the show for $30 which felt a little steep, but I was willing to give it a shot, so at 10pm we got in a cab and headed out.

The Mansion is a club in the Meat Packing district that we almost walked right by at first owing to a general lack of signage that I’ve come to expect of trendy Meat Packing clubs, but once we got inside we quickly realized how huge the place was. After dropping coats off upstairs, we descended down to the bar area. Actually, the first bar area was more like a very large anteroom, with the main club area lying deeper in.

After crossing a hallway flanked by flaming beds of stones, we were in the heart of the club. A large bar and a VIP area in front made up the main room, with an upstairs lounge circling the back of the club. Early on, I realized the bar was too expensive for my blood at $10 for a shot and $16 for mixed drink, so I determined it would be a sober evening. I did try ordering a glass of water, but it was crowded, so I waited for about 10 minutes to get a bartenders attention, only to wait another 10 minutes to get it after I’d ordered it, which made my already sober experience just that much more unpleasant. I sat there the entire time looking at food steamer reviews.

Upstairs was muuuch better. It was less crowded and had a better view of the DJ booth giving us a good place to settle in and dance, which we did for five hours straight! The house DJ opened, and for the most part was pretty awesome, though unfortunately I don’t know his name. Hernan Cattaneo was also good, and the club’s special effects kicked into high gear for his performance with strobes, giant jets of fog, and dancing girls in their underwear. He did nearly make my ears bleed with about 2 minutes worth of straight feedback noise, but otherwise the entire show was spot-on.

The bottom line is that this club is way too expensive to go to unless you really love house music and a club scene with perhaps a touch of euro-flavor to it. The tickets weren’t cheap, the drinks were egregious, and the VIP area was bottle-service only with $1000 price tag attached. That being said, if you avoid the expenses and stick to the balcony area, you’ll be fine – even without your own professional Daytona Beach photography expert. I wouldn’t recommend this spot though, unless you have a very specific reason for going.

But What About Hopkins and Martin?

But What About Hopkins and Martin?

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Oh goodness, it’s baby feet! Seriously, the episode starts off with baby feet.

Jake mentions something about how many babies will be born today and how each of them are unique and are a link in a greater chain. I don’t know about you but most babies I see do nothing but eat, sleep, and make a mess of themselves, there’s nothing very unique about that – it takes a great photographer to catch them in a good light. I will say one thing though, Beyonce’s baby Sky Blue or whatever the hell it’s name, is unique alright…uniquely ugly! (There, I said it. Chesscat, you owe me $13 bucks.)

Anyway, during Jake’s monologue we catch a glimpse of a young Muslim woman learning that she’s about to be forced to marry somebody she doesn’t want to. She sends a text to someone and tells them she’ll meet them in ten and high tails it out of her house. There’s an Asian guy walking down the street who tells a passerby he’s lost but we learn this is a ruse to pick his pocket but interestingly has a change of heart after seeing the guy’s daughter’s picture. There’s a guy on the subway checking out a girl yet seems to be afraid to talk to her and a young lady is lighting candles at a church, it looks like we have the players in today’s game.

Martin “Jack Bauer” Baum, Jake, and Hopkins are having breakfast and looking over images from Kari Janesko Photography. Jake is having an evaluation done later in the day, the first of many to see who will get custody of Jake. Hopkins goes on about the importance of the evaluation while Martin assures her he understands and he’ll be there at 5:00 (that is unless he has to save the world from terrorists before then, the clock is ticking Jack, er, I mean Martin). Jake knocks over a glass, Hopkins makes a comment and Martin tells her it’s an accident. As Hopkins and Jake leave, Martin goes to clean up the mess and sees the pattern Jake left using sugar packets as well as the same pattern on the window left by Jake. Dun dun dun…

Martin talks to Teller (a.k.a Danny Glover) about the patterns but because of the evaluation going on that day, he said it’s in Jake’s best interest to just be his father instead of you know, being the “Messenger of Doom”. Teller tells Martin that it’s in his son’s best interest to follow the road map he’s just pulled up on the internet, something about the Golden Ratio.

Back to the Daytona Beach wedding photographer, who goes by the name of Norah. She pulls up recklessly to pick up her friend, they begin discussing the legality of a woman driving, Norah acting rebellious to get back at her father as well as her displeasure with her arranged marraige. Norah suggests that since the boys make all the decisions, her and her friend will be boys for the day. This can’t be good, and her friend agrees, because she gives a sigh of frustration.

What Is the Main Difference Between the Diesel and Gasoline Turbo Design?

What Is the Main Difference Between the Diesel and Gasoline Turbo Design?

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There is much confusion between the use of diesel and gasoline engines. But light needs to be thrown on the subject from the very first moment. The principle of operation is the same and along with the plumbing or intake of air. If it is so, then why there is so much difference between the two.

Diesel Engine and Turbos

When a semi truck or generator is set on the holset hx40 diesel engines, there is a typical large distinction of the RPM. Moreover, these run at very low RPM. Atomization of the diesel fuel occurs when it enters the combustion chamber and after compression the mixture lights off.  The combustion pressure is high because of a high combustion ratio that is required to light up the mixture. The high compression pressure gives a lot of stress on the mechanical part and thus it requires to be strengthened. All this reinforcement implies that there is much heavier rotation mass which is quite difficult to turn at very high RPMs.

With the internal combustion engine, as more air and fuel enters the combustion chamber, more power is produced. In case of diesel engines, rotating at a low RPM, enough air cannot be sucked up. Hence that is the reason it requires the help of the additional turbo chargers.

Diesel usually burns at a lower temperature and hence, the exhaust temperatures are very high which results in exhaust of gases in big volumes. The holset hx50 segment should have enough inflow for the excessive quantities of exhaust gases with minimum back pressure. It also should take in a large volume of air, to fill up the cylinders completely.

Quick summary of Diesel design

  • Low RPM
  • Low Boost
  • High Volume of air
  • Lots of warm exhaust gas
  • Slows spool up
  • Almost no back pressure

Quick summary of the gasoline design

  • Variable RPM
  • High boost
  • Variable volume
  • Quick stool up
  • Hot exchange gases
  • Hardback pressure on the throttle

Gasoline tube designs

Gasoline is more volatile as compared to diesel as it ignites naturally and does not require atomization for the combustion. There is also lower air to fuel ratio as compared to the diesel designs. There are also smaller displacement engines which operate at a vast RPM range for driving purposes. There are four valves present in the head region that helps to get a good amount of fuel and air in the cylinder while exhausting the gases out. With the vast RPM range, there is a scope of making a proper volume of air for the engine speed. The engine needs twice the volume and it should be efficient enough to drive the vehicle.

The turbine portion of the holset hx60 needs to be taken care of differently in case of gas designs. The gas designs can range from 1000 – 1400 degree F when under the load. Any restriction can cause a slow spool up and it is a waste. This is how the diesel designs can be differentiated from the gas designs.

Twin Scroll Turbochargers

Twin Scroll Turbochargers

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Back in the days, most of the aftermarket and factory turbo chargers systems feature in log style exhaust manifolds. But just like the normal aspirant engines, where the exhaust manifolds designs have recognized as critical element to maximize the horsepower and torque output of the car. But recently there has more attention paid on the turbochargers design. One of the recent inventions of the design is the twin scroll Turbocharger Review which has enhanced the performance of the cars in a vast way. But what exactly is the role and feature of a twin scroll that is making the cars run in a smooth way. Let’s check out.

Design

A twin scroll turbo is sometimes called twin scroll turbocharger and it is the new version of the single scroll holset hx30. A twin scroll turbo is connected with the exhaust manifolds using the 2 inputs which lead to turbine and also to two scrolls where the separate wastegates control the gases from each end. The 2 input lines used so as to separate the cylinder whose exhaust gases would definitely interfere with one another due to the firing sequences in the car. This allows quite a bit of efficiency in flow of the exhaust gas to your turbo.

The flow of the exhausts from the different cylinders usually mixes with each other. This happens because while the exhaust stroke is completed and the intake stroke starts, the valve remains open. It is at this junction that another valve will start opening to start its exhaust stroke. As a result, it may happen that the exhaust from one cylinder mixes with the fresh air and the fuel that is to be taken in by another cylinder. This considerably reduces the fresh fuel and air in the cylinder, thereby reducing the combustion that occurs within the cylinder.

One must pay attention to the order in which the cylinders are fired in order that no cylinders could be mixed with the other directly in the sequence of firing. The motto of design is such that the cylinder pairs will never mix. As soon as the gases reach your turbo, it starts to rotate the tiny scroll so as to make the turbine spin. The entire body of turbo works as a single and the scrolls themselves act as a turbo unit by themselves and together form a same sized single turbo.

The benefits of twin scroll roller

Twin scroll technology gives a lot of advantages compared to a traditional holset hx35.

  • Slightly offset with two paths and alternative delivery in order that the turbo remains spooled up during the gear changes and improved engine response.
  • Gradually increasing pressure spins the turbo chargers faster and also adds to the resultant power and boost.
  • A large quantity of fuel or fresh air can enter the cylinders with each stroke that increases the power.
  • Reduction in turbo lag as the turbo functions as small turbos and a large turbo simultaneously.

The twin roller turbo charging is far more complex and expensive but the advantages that it gives will make the car run in a better wa

Live Blog The 84th Academy Awards

Live Blog The 84th Academy Awards

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Welcome to our live blog of the 2012 Academy Awards!

7:30pm – And the 84th Academy Awards begins…

7:31 pm – Billy Crystal’s opening video is pretty funny. As much as I hate George Clooney, that was hilarious seeing him kiss Billy Crystal while riding a two wheel scooter.

7:32pm – F***in’ stupid Bieber…

7:34 pm – Billy Crystal in The Help!

7:37 pm – James Earl Jones! See, told you he was awesome.

7:41 pm – You know how you always hear complaints about how awards shows always go on for too long, this is probably why. Billy Crystal can take 5+ minutes singing and dancing, but I guarantee you when the winners go up to give their speech, the “Wrap It Up” music will start playing after about two minutes.

7:42 pm – Dude. Tom Hanks, always great.

7:44 pm – First Oscar of the night, Hugo‘s Robert Richardson (sporting some long ass hippie hair!) for Best Cinematography.

7:45 pm – Hugo again for Best Art Direction.

7:48 pm – Did anybody see Sacha Baron Cohen dressed as “The Dictator” drop Kim Jong Il’s “ashes” on Ryan Seacrest? Pretty damn funny stuff, the look on Seacrest’s face was priceless. I’ll try to post up the video in a little bit.

7:53 pm – Pretty cool montage of movie clips…of course, they’d include a Billy Crystal film.

7:54 pm – Ugh, Jennifer Lopez. Go away and put on your sleep mask

7:56 pm – Sweet! First win for The Artist for Best Costume Design, here’s hoping for more awards.

7:58 pm – The Iron Lady wins for Best Make Up.

8:01 pm – How awesome would it be if an actor came out during one of these “Special Movie Moments” and says their favorite movie recollection was something obscure like the reveal of the killer in Sleepaway Camp or something like bed devouring scene in the original A Nightmare on Elm Street. Hell, it doesn’t even have to be a horror film, anything from Team America: World Police would work just as well.

8:06 pm – I love you Sandra Bullock!

8:08 pm – A Separation wins for Best Foreign Film. It’s too bad The Skin I Live In  wasn’t nominated though.

8:09 pm – Christian Bale is presenting Best Supporting actress. Berenice Bejo is very pretty. Melissa McCarthy was hilarious in Bridesmaids, but I’m rooting for Octavia Spencer.

8:12 pm – Best Supporting Actress winner Octavia Spencer! Congratulations!

8:14 pm – So, I’m thinking about my Octavia Spencer post and how she went from being in a Rob Zombie movie and getting brutally butchered by Michael Myers to winning an Academy Award. Pretty freakin’ cool.

8:19 pm – I’ve picked out three American Pie alums in this The Wizard of Oz focus group video. Hey, there’s Catherine O’Hara.

8:24 pm – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo wins for Best Editing, very left field win.

8:25 pm – That’s going to be me when I when an award, flustered up onstage.

8:26 pm – Hugo wins Best Sound Editing.

8:27 pm – If they ever make a Martin Scorsese bio pic, I nominate Eugene Levy for the role, they look surprisingly alike.

8:28 pm – Hugo wins Best Sound Mixing, Hugo’s cleaning up isn’t it? His stuff definitely sounds better than the best white noise machine that I’ve owned.

8:34 pm – Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy!

8:37 pm – This Cirque de Soleil performance is pretty damn cool. I’m loving the scenes playing in the background. Don’t cut to George Clooney and his pretty girlfriend damn it, I want to see the performers!

8:41 pm – This Robert Downey Jr and Gwyneth Paltrow presentation is hilarious.

8:42 pm – Undefeated wins Best Documentary Feature.

8:44 pm – Bam! They said a bad word and seconds later, the ‘Wrap It Up” music starts playing…coincidence?

8:45 pm – Chris Rock! Ha!

8:46 pm – Come on Rango!

8:47 pm – Rango wins for Best Animated Feature! F*** yeah! Great movie.

8:50 pm – Hey Pixar, you probably should have released Brave last year, maybe you could have kept your Oscar streak going, but nooooo… you just had to release Cars 2 didn’t you?

8:52 pm – Funny bit with Billy Crystal and Melissa McCarthy, haha. I love Emma Stone, she’s so cute and adorable. This bit she’s doing with Ben Stiller is funny too.

8:54 pm – Nice dig at Stiller there Ms. Emma Stone, nice. Haha.

8:55 pm – Rooting for Rise of the Planet of the Apes…

8:56 pm – Hugo wins for Best Visual Effects, Rise of the Planet of the Apes was robbed! Robbed I tells ya!

9:00 pm – Max von Sydow or Christopher Plummer…

9:01 pm – Christopher Plummer wins Best Supporting Actor setting a record for oldest Oscar winner. Congrats!

9:04 pm – The “In Memoriam” segment is about to come up, I see they’ve included Whitney Houston.

9:08 pm – Morgan Freeman!

9:11 pm – Billy Crystal is a great host, I can see why this is his ninth time doing this. So much better than Ricky Gervais, I only bring this up because I really dislike Gervais – has has nothing to add about the best flat iron for natural hair.

9:12 pm – I really dislike Owen Wilson too.

9:14 pm – The Artist wins Best Original Score! The composer won the Golden Globe last month for the same category.

9:16 pm – Nice reference to how unpronounceable Zack Gilafinakimasous last name is…

9:18 pm – The Muppets wins Best Original Song!

9:25 pm – Is anybody as tired of Angelina Jolie as I am?

9:26 pm – The Descendents wins for Best Adapted Screenplay, Dean Pelton strikes a pose.

9:30 pm – Midnight in Paris wins for Best Original Screenplay, Woody Allen doesn’t show up, probably porking his step daughter. Too soon?

9:33 pm – Here’s that video of Sacha Baron Cohen and Ryan Seacrest I mentioned earlier…

9:38 pm – The ladies from Bridesmaids are onstage, Kristin Wiig and Maya Rudolph are making sexual innuendos. Kristin Wiig is very pretty.

9:40 pm – The Shore wins Best Live Action Short Film.

9:41 pm – Awesome! Rose Byrne and Melissa McCarthy continue the Scorsese drinking game from the SAG Awards. Rose Byrne is very pretty.

9:42 pm – Saving Face wins for Best Documentary Short Subject.

9:44 pm – Ellie Kemper and Wendi McLendon-Covey are now talking. Ellie Kemper is very pretty.

9:46 pm – The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore wins Best Animated Short.

9:51 pm – Michael Douglas on stage presenting Best Director. I’ve got my finger’s crossed for The Artist‘s Michel Hazanavicius…

9:53 pm – Michel Hazanavicius won! Sweet!

9:55 pm – Meryl Streep is presenting The Governor’s Award, her track record of 17 nominations is referenced.

9:57 pm – Oprah Winfrey, James Earl Jones (see awesomeness!), and Dick Smith are all receiving honorary awards. Congrats.

10:03 pm – In Memoriam…Jane Russell, Annie Girardot, John Calley, Polly Platt, Ken Russell, Donald Peterman, Farley Granger, Whitney Houston, Bingham Ray, Tak Miyagishima, Bert Schneider, Michael Cacoyannis, David Z.Goodman, James Rodnunsky, Peter E. Berger, Jack J. Hayes, Peter Falk, Cliff Robertson, Laura Ziskin, Sidney Lumet, Sue Mengers, Steve Jobs, George Kuchar, Hal Kanter, Theadora Van Runkle, Tim Hetherington, Gene Cantamessa, Gary Winick, Bill Varney, Jackie Cooper, Gilbert Cates, Richard Leacock, James M. Roberts, Marion Doughtery, Norman Corwin, Paul John Haggar, Joseph Farrell, Ben Gazzara, Elizabeth Taylor…to the tune of “What A Wonderful World”.

10:11 pm – I like Phillip Seymour Hoffman, good actor.

10:12 pm – Patton Oswalt, funny guy.

10:13 pm – Billy Crystal, his first line after the video clip of actors talking about acting, “I’ve never felt that way” was just good comedic timing.

10:14 pm – Best Actor is being presented by the lovely Natalie Portman.

10:16 pm – Jean Dujardin for The Artist, fingers crossed…

10:17 pm – Gary Oldman, fantastic actor. Really could appreciate some respectable reviews about him.

10:18 pm – Jean Dujardin won for Best Actor! Congrats!

10:21 pm – Two more awards left: Best Actress and Best Picture. I’m rooting for Viola Davis for The Help for Best Actress and The Artist for Best Film.

10:24 pm – Colin Firth is presenting Best Actress.

10:25 pm – Glenn Close makes an UGLY man. Viola Davis, fingers crossed.

10:26 pm – Rooney Mara is odd looking, her sister Kate however, very pretty (yes, I find lots of actresses to be “very pretty”)

10:27 pm – Meryl Streep may be Viola’s biggest competition, if she does win, lets hope she doesn’t spit on anybody like she spit on Lisa Simpson (like that reference Chesscat?)

10:28 pm – Michelle Williams is very….cute. Ah, see what I did there?

10:29 pm – Meryl Streep wins Best Actress, congrats!

10:32 pm – What??? Tom Cruise is presenting Best Film? Blech.

10:33 pm – Come on The Artist! I would be just as thrilled if The Help wins.

10:35 pm – And the award for Best Film goes to…

10:36 pm – The Artist! Well deserved, fantastic film. Congratulations!

10:38 pm – And the 84th Academy Awards comes to an end.

10:39 pm – I’m gonna watch The Walking Dead…

Mountain Biking the Colorado Trail – Great Compilation Video

Mountain Biking the Colorado Trail – Great Compilation Video

For all of you mountain biking fans out there, here is a pretty cool video that I just found on YouTube of a guy biking the Colorado Trail. No – he may not have finished the entire trail (apparently he ran into an issue with a flat tire and no working pump towards the end), but I’m still pretty impressed by his effort. If you have a few minutes – and yes, the entire compilation of his trip is about 25 minutes long – you should sit back, hit play, and enjoy the ride.

Apart from the Colorado Trail, what other long-distance rides have you done? Feel free to share some of your favorite trails or most memorable experiences in the comments below.

Enjoy!

Getting Started Hiking: Planning Your First Hike

Getting Started Hiking: Planning Your First Hike

hiking

It shouldn’t be any surprise that hiking is one of the most popular outdoor recreation activities out there. After all, who wouldn’t want to be able to get out and spend a little bit of time getting closer with nature? Hiking – whether it’s only for a few hours or perhaps for a few days – is a great way to relieve stress, improve your health, and get closer to the outdoors.

For those who may not be regular hikers – who are looking to get started enjoying this incredible pastime, but don’t know where to begin – we’ve put together a helpful little guide that will outline some of the most important things you need to know to get ready to begin hiking.

Know Where You’re Going

The first thing that you should do when the urge to hike strikes is to figure out where you’re going to be hiking. Are you looking for a quick afternoon stroll, or do you need to find a long-distance trail for a multi-day trek? By searching the internet for public hiking paths in your area, you can get a good idea of what options there are and which ones fit into your customized hiking plans.

Once you’ve chosen a spot, look closely for posted trail maps or any other online resources that will make it easier for you to navigate your way out in the field.

Pack the Right Items

Packing the right items is going to mean looking closely at the type of hike you’re taking and then being sure that you’re only taking things with you that are necessary and that won’t weight down your bag. For example, if you’re only going for an overnight hike, you probably don’t need a full field kitchen – you could probably get by with a single Kanken backpack. Conversely, if you’re going for a longing hike that involves different weather and terrain, make sure the items you’re bringing with you are versatile enough to be effective everywhere. No matter what, I wouldn’t worry about bringing a flat iron for natural hair, no matter how long you’ll be out there. The added weight simply isn’t worth it.

Wear Proper Clothing

Even if you’re just going out for the afternoon, make sure that your clothing is appropriate for the situation you’re in. Most often, the best hiking outfits are lightweight yet fully covering. This allows them to block the sun and annoying insects while still keeping you cool and refreshed. Hiking in jeans may sound attractive because of the protection they provide, but the weight and heat is only bearable in colder climates and times of the year.

Bring a Friend

Unless you’re an experienced hiker – and even then it isn’t the best idea – you should always go hiking with a partner. While hiking is typically safe, there are a number of unknowns that you can face out in nature – everything from sudden bad weather to dangerous animals to random accidents – that you should also have someone with you in case there is a problem. Find a friend who enjoys hiking, or think about joining a nearby group in your area which promotes outdoor activities, such as a local chapter of the Sierra Club.

At the end of the day, hiking should just be able having fun. It’s a great way to escape from the confines of everyday life and spend some time how we were meant to – out in the beautiful outdoors. Hiking shouldn’t be difficult, but it does require you to be prepared and ready for the unexpected adventure.