PC Desktops - What Should You Buy?

If you are in the market to buy a computer, there are so many PC desktops to choose from, it can be an overwhelming task. How do you sift through all the products available?

As always, the first step is to consider how you will be using the computer. As obvious as that may seem, it is something you want to do before you start the process of shopping. Otherwise, it is far too easy to end up with more or less than you really need.

For basic uses such as spreadsheets, documents and emails, you can invest in a simple system. However, if you plan to be using your computer for applications that use a lot of graphics or need excellent audio output, you need to spend a bit more money on a system that is more powerful. Do not, however, buy based on what you think your needs may be too far ahead of time. Technology changes rapidly and there may be something better by the time you are ready.

For basic tasks, a basic processor will do just fine. Any dual-core processor will make your machine run quickly and be able to multitask. You do not have to buy at the top of the line for your needs. For gaming or more demanding applications such as those used in audio-visual editing, you will need a high-performance processor and may want to consider one that is four-core.

System memory can be added later easily. However, it is a good idea to get what you think you will need along with the rest of the system. This is going to have to open and operate all your applications, so keep that in mind while making your decision.

For the hard drive memory needs, this again depends on how you will be using your computer. For basic files such as documents and spreadsheets, you don't need a lot of room. If you are going to be saving movies and graphic files on your hard drive, these can take up a huge amount of space, and again it is far better to start with an ample amount.

You also want to spend a moment to think about what you will want to connect to your computer. Make sure that you have enough USB and FireWire ports, for example. Also be sure that there is expansion room to add extra cards such as for enhanced graphics if you think you may need that facility.

Once you have worked out your requirements in a computer, you will find that there are several PC desktops that can answer your needs. You should also find that there is more than one that answers your budgetary needs as well.

How Do I Get My Ex Girlfriend Back If She is Telling Me That She Needs Space?

You never thought it would happen, but it did. Your girlfriend broke up with you - said she needed some space. OK - space. What does that mean, exactly?

Usually, when one of the couple says they need space, they aren't happy in the relationship anymore. It's an easy way out.

By your reading this article, you want to try and work things out with her. You miss your ex girlfriend, and desperately want her back. You CAN win her back...

If she said that she needs space, then that means she isn't open to communicate with you. That's ok, though. You can still send her signals that you want her back. That you do still love her.

Start by simply saying 'Hi" to her when you see her. Don't give her the third degree, just be casual. Make small talk. Talk about the weather, work, school, a new movie... anything BUT your relationship. This will make her less anxious about talking to you - she won't be afraid that you're going to try to pull a reason or an answer out of her.

Every good relationship begins as a friendship. The two of you were friends at one time. Be friends again! That is the easiest way to get her back into your life. As your friendship grows, she will start to open up to you. Then you can talk about what went wrong before, and the two of you can talk about your future together. Only, this time, you will both know what not to do, in order to keep a happy relationship.

Remember this - relationships happen all the time. There are as many reasons for the breakups are there are people on the Earth - maybe more. By someone saying they need space, they just don't want to have to try to explain anything. Maybe they feel that your relationship has reached a point where the two of you should take things to the next level, and it scared them. Maybe there are different reasons, but you're going to wind up driving yourself crazy if you continue to try to figure it out.

The only sure way to get her back in your arms again is to be friends with her. She's going to need a shoulder to cry on, and let that shoulder be yours. Imagine the two of you back together, and having fun again, and turn it into reality.

Touring Turin With a Car Hire

The motorcar capital of Italy, Turin, and the 2006 Winter Olympics was famously hosted with the snowy backdrop being a popular skiing station for ski enthusiasts. This Italian city is only a drive away from France and the appeal of this city is more French-influenced than other Italian cities. One of the most famous tourist sites are the Mole Antonelliana and the National Cinema Stadium.

The Mole Antonelliana is a famous trademark and was previously built as a synagogue. Now it serves a museum for cinematic trivia. The National Cinema Stadium is a very informative and even displays famous memorabilia such as paintings and classic movie projection at the Great Temple inside the building.

The Egyptian museum contains ancient artifacts from Egypt which has a massive collection of 30,000 exhibitions. The ancient collection s of Coptic Egypt comprise of important documents, canvas paintings, and even the tombs of Kha and Merit.

It is never an official Italian town without the existence of a cathedral. On a hill near Turin city, the Cathedral of Superga was built as a remembrance for the victory against the French during Thanksgiving.

It is advisory that tourists allocate a reasonable amount for a rented automobile in this city due to some pick pocket threats near the east side. Here are some tips for car hire.

First make a definite comparison of the fees and additional charges of the service providers.

Secondly, be sure to ask whether there is an airport surcharge included in the rental. Some services separate the airport surcharges until the final payment is settled. This would not be a hassle if you pre-book your order online.

Other tips for car hire consist on being sure to find out whether there is breakdown coverage. If you should encounter with any problems with the vehicle in duration of the rent, you can easily claim for a Loss Damage Waiver, which prohibits any damage fees to be implemented to the renter's bill.

Frustrated About Your Kids Excessive Computer Use? At Least Make Them Smarter

It is a well known fact that many parents, teachers & caregivers today constantly struggle with the dilemma of not wanting to discourage children from using computers. Anybody educating a child from home or school will acknowledge the fact that the computer is a very powerful learning tool that needs to be mastered at a tender age so as to aid the child throughout life...

The biggest problem for many parents/caregivers is that as soon as a child becomes computer literate, they lose any form of authority or control with regards to when & how long that kid should stay glued to that screen. For many kids (In fact about 90% of all computer literate kids) this powerful tool becomes a virtual play ground of sorts - They spend countless hours playing games, chatting with friends, downloading movies/music & doing all sorts of kid stuff.

This addiction makes it very difficult for parents/caregivers to impose any form of restrictions on that childs' computer use...

"Constant Frustration, Arguing, Punishments & Fighting Become The Order Of The Day As Parent & Child Fight For Authority During This Battle Of Wits. Parents today need to find new approaches to stop this constant fighting, and yet achieve their goals.

One of the biggest mistakes that most parents/caregivers make when trying to manage their kids computer use is that instead of trying to leverage the computer time itself, they blindly rush into 'fighting' it...

This Is The Root Cause Of All The Aggression & Fighting That Characterizes Child Computer Use Management...

Any psychologist will tell you that the first & most important principle to know when trying to manage a childs' enjoyable habit is that you should never try to be very restrict or otherwise over impose your authority as a parent/caregiver or else you are bound to fail in your quest.

As much as parental control is important in any childs' up bringing, it is also vital to 'throw caution to the wind' when handling kids. This is a basic psychology principle that is often overlooked by most parents/caregivers...

Kids love computers for one simple reason!
Their curious little minds are eager to learn...they are eager to explore the complex world around them & the internet provides such a platform. Once they familiarize themselves with this complex machine it becomes very hard to separate them from their beloved 'objects of affection'...

Once you try to impose, restrict or deny that child access to their new found friend (the computer), then you will inevitably create a recipe for disaster!

So What Then Is The SolutionTo Addressing This Highly Complex Dilemma?

Well what parents need today is "different approach" solutions to managing their kids computer use...Something that will not force them to shut their computer once time limit reached, but rather increase their educational activities & reduce access to otherwise harmful/detrimental extra-curricular activities.

What they need is a solution that takes the whole concept of excessive computer use & transforms it into an educative, study oriented, approach without their kid even realizing it. What they need is an approach designed to enrich their knowledge each time they use a computer...

Imagine This...

* Imagine a solution that allows the child to channel their computer time towards pro-active, fun & exciting educational activities (simply put, for every hour they spend playing on the computer they will have to inadvertently dedicate a couple of minutes towards educational activities)

* Imagine an educative intellectual solution designed to create a sense of 'learning is so much fun' every time the child turns on the computer.

* Imagine a home study solution designed to reward the child with extra-computer time each time they correctly answer a series of interesting & exciting math and general knowledge questions, suited for their age and knowledge progress...

* Imagine an educative solution that helps the child to explore & broaden their knowledge while it indirectly restricts computer use by allowing the child to 'release' the lock feature using Only Their Brain...

* Imagine a program designed to help the parent/caregiver to improve the childs' knowledge in specific areas that he might be interested in by creating private subjects and questions which can also assist the child in preparing him/her for a school exam.

Fortunately, parents don't have to imagine such a solution, because it exist.

Travel the Route of 1000 Kasbahs in Marrakech

A Marrakech holiday is one full of exotic and rich culture. As you wander the souks and sample the tagline, you will experience a world a million miles away from your own. But outside of the city walls there is an entirely different world awaiting you. Your holiday in Marrakech will take a different turn as you journey the Route of 1000 Kasbahs towards the Atlas Mountains.


Ouarzazate, known to the Moroccans as 'the door of the desert', is the first stop for those wishing to take their Marrakech holidays out of the city. South of the High Atlas Mountains, the Berber province has become known for the fortified city or ksah, Ait Benhaddou. This beautifully structured, mud-brick fortification contains many wonderful examples of Kasbahs and, though most inhabitants have moved on, it still houses twelve families who repair the damage the ksah suffers with each heavy rainfall. As you make your way up through the city you'll pass collections of goods crafted by these dwellers, which you can buy as an entirely unique souvenir of your trip. A particularly impressive example of the Moroccan Kasbahs, Ait Benhaddou has been the setting for many successful movies, including Lawrence of Arabia, Gladiator, Alexander and The Mummy.

Dades Gorge

Travel a little further into the Atlas Mountains themselves, and you will find the Dades Gorge. The marvellous colours of the valley are the first thing to notice, with the green riverbed lined with volcanic red rock. Impressive Kasbahs are dotted over the landscape, blending in with the soil and rocks so that you have to look twice to see them. The winding roads take you through the magnificent scenery and lush palms of the mountains, and past fascinating landscapes, including the bizarre rock formation known as 'the Monkey Fingers' due to its uncanny resemblance. Venturing into the Dades Gorge allows you to see breathtaking backdrops unlike anything you will see in Marrakech. Holidays to Morocco are enormously enriched by the colourful landscapes of the Dades Gorge.

The Skoura Oasis

Found in the middle of the Dades Plain, the Skoura Oasis radiates an air of peace. The immense palm groves make visitors feel as if they have been wrapped up in nature itself. However the main reason to visit the Skoura Oasis, other than the sense of tranquillity, is to view the Amerhidl Kasbah. This 17th Century Kasbah is immortalised on the back of the 50 dirham note, and is one of the more fascinating Kasbahs in Morocco. You can take a tour of the mud-brick building, venturing through prayer rooms and kitchens that have been preserved all these years and be amused when your guide shows you traditional artefacts along the way, such as old-fashioned door locks and hairbrushes, to see if you can work out how they were once used. Resembling an Eastern castle, you can gaze out over the ramparts at the desert views and rows of palm trees, enjoying the peace after what was likely to have been a frantic start to your holiday in Marrakech.

Todra Gorge

Slightly less secluded but equally magnificent is the Todra Gorge, found on the east side of the mountains. Cool your feet in the stream running through the gorge, and watch as Moroccan families go about their business - swimming, washing fruit, and even doing their laundry. One of the most dramatic sights to be seen in Morocco, standing at the bottom of this cut in the mountain looking up at the dizzying height of the walls above, you will be glad that you ventured out of Marrakech. Holiday makers from all over Morocco travel to the Todra Gorge regularly, in order to enjoy the cool, fresh streams running through the gorge.

Marrakech holidays are undoubtedly full of dramatic and fascinating culture that you are unlikely to have experienced before. But the areas surrounding Marrakech and stretching into the Atlas Mountains have so much to offer. For truly outstanding landscapes, be sure to head out of Marrakech along the Route of 1000 Kasbahs.

Foreplay Tips

Ever heard of the comfort zone? The bedroom is meant to be one. You come into a man's abode for the first time, he takes you round, showing you which room is which till you get to the last one, the bedroom. Your bedroom must be as inviting as possible to arouse your partner. Women love sensuous feelings at all times in a romance. An untidy and unkempt room is usually a turn off. Most women love to be caressed, fondled, complimented and shown intimacy and affection. All these make the mood swing right. Whether it is a first date or a ten year old marriage, women do not just want to have sex but really make love hence the need to get the foreplay right is as important as having good sex.

Here are some tips to help you get it right:


Set your mood aright. You may have had a heated argument but don't let that becloud your sense of arousal. Relax your mind and let love fill you up gradually. Respond to the touch it may be another way of saying 'I'm sorry'.


Come give me a hug. Warm long hug is proven to pep up a woman's level of hormone that heightens sexual arousal. Hug yourselves and express deep feelings of how wonderful it feels to be in each other's arms. Exchange deep passionate kiss. Pour ice cream all over her body and lick off teasingly with loving kisses.

Boost his ego

Don't hide your feelings, boost his ego by saying 'You know I enjoy it so much, you really turn me on with your tongue'. Avoid negative and cynical comments such as 'Don't you know how best to turn me on? I can't stand your touch'. These are turn offs and not encouraging at all. Be matured about it and guide him to what you expect if he is not getting it right.

Tell him what you want

Communication is key in relationship. Express your mind to achieve the kind of pleasure you have in mind. If you want it slow, say so. If otherwise, blurt it out. Remind him of something good he did to your body that sets you on fire sometimes. Use one word at a time like 'slowly', 'great', 'go left', go right', go down', go up' just any how you want it, let it flow. Get your rhythm.

Shower Trick

Remember the warm warmth sweet scent of bath gel and bubble bath. All these have a way of moving things in the right direction. Call him over to give your back a scrub. The slippery effect if properly applied may work wonder.

Identify your soft spot

Don't get frustrated if he is not getting it right. Identify your soft spot and carry him along. Teach him the new things your body craves for and guide him gently to them.

Find ways to say it's not working

In spite of all, if you are not feeling right about the whole process, find a way to say it's not working for you perhaps you may want to explore another avenue. Do not discourage him out rightly. You can tell him to slot in one of your favourite romantic song or movie. This will help you disconnect from the thought of having sex and set you up in the right mood for love making. Perhaps its that time of your cycle when the mood is not always right, turn the mood aright by retuning your head to receiving the vibes that come with love making. Try to view sex as the antidote to your frenzied life, a time to relax and enjoy.

The Many Hats of Self Published Authors

Self-publishing is not easy. Let's get the myth out of the way right now. Just because you wrote a book, Oprah will not call, you aren't going to see many big royalty checks in the mail, and you won't be living some F. Scott Fitzgerald Great Gatsby party lifestyle where everyone hails you as a genius.

Being both publisher and author simultaneously is not the easy life. It's a whole new level of work you've taken on. Not one job but many jobs.

Most authors never achieve success precisely because they are authors and can't envision or motivate themselves into being more than just authors. Once the first book is published, an author just doesn't turn to writing the second book. The self-published author needs to be a writer, but he or she is also a publisher, a marketer, a book delivery person, a salesperson, and usually the janitor too.

Having a day job and trying to promote your book at the same time is not easy, much less writing the next book. Self-publishing is time-consuming and wearing all those hats can leave you running ragged trying to keep track of everything.

The best advice I can offer is to make a list of your priorities and create a schedule for your various activities-those both necessary and enjoyable. And don't overlook that you started doing all this because you love to write-if writing is what feeds your soul, schedule it in with your book promotion time.

Let's say you are a married woman with a full-time job and two teenage children. You work 9-5 each day so you can't block out that time. You've heard about authors who get up at 4:00am to write their books but you're realistic and don't want to mess with your sleep. Once you come home from work, you make dinner (your husband does the dishes), and some evenings you have family events. The important thing is to make a schedule and stick to it. Life will intervene; there will be school plays on Monday night when you usually write or your daughter's soccer game irregularly scheduled on Thursday rather than Wednesday, but you can work around them.

Remember that Rome was not built in a day, and neither was your first book written that quickly. At the same time, you don't need full days to work. You don't even need full hours. You can be productive and still have a family life, time for yourself, and time to write. Bottom line, maybe you can only carve out two hours a night from 7-9, and not even every night. If that's the best you can do, that's great. Just make sure you do it. Even if it's half an hour, it's better than nothing. If you find marketing less fun than writing, reward yourself by doing the marketing first.

Here's a sample schedule you might want to carve out:


7:00pm - send out mailings to libraries, bookstores, interested organizations.

8:00pm - work on next book.


7:00pm - promote book online at social networking sites. Post blog.

8:00pm - reply to emails (includes replying to customer orders, making contacts, participating in writing and publishing groups online).


Your daughter has soccer this night so you don't get home until almost 8:00pm and work an hour later to catch up.

8:00pm - prepare to mail out book orders.

9:00pm - work on making media contacts, sending out press releases etc.


7:00pm - post blog, reply to emails.

8:00pm - work on scheduling or preparing for upcoming book signings and speaking engagements.


7:00pm - prepare to mail out book orders.

8:00pm - use time to catch-up, or as free time to choose whatever you want to work on.


12:00pm-4:00pm - work on next book.

4:00pm-5:00pm - post blog, reply to emails.


12:00pm-2:00pm - write weekly blog entries, promote book at social networking sites.

2:00pm-4:00pm - work on next book.

This is just a sample schedule. Some of these activities may take more or less time than you initially plan. You may find yourself one evening spending two hours mailing out books you sold which cuts into your writing time, but the next week, you may only need thirty minutes to mail books and can regain the time. The important thing is to figure out what are the most important tasks to do and make sure they get done. Do not let your email, or other requests take you off course from your goals. Whatever your goal is for the day, do it first and then deal with whatever comes up or new ideas you have. At the same time, don't let a goal such as mailing out press releases override spending that time being interviewed by the local newspaper. Be sure you understand the value of some interruptions. At the same time, if you find certain activities are not showing positive results, stop or lessen the degree you do them and turn to something that works for you.

Consider updating your schedule monthly or quarterly or even weekly, and also consider that you will have busy and slow times. In November and December, you may want to set aside writing your next book as you focus on promoting your book at Christmas time. Then in January and February, when book sales are slow, you can make up for time lost on writing your book. As time goes by, you'll better understand the rhythm and the requirements of publishing and marketing and be better able to plan ahead.

You have a lot to do when you're an author and publisher. You can't do everything you want-no one can-so make sure you use your time and money wisely. If you're good at doing graphic art and you enjoy designing your own business cards, that task may be worth your time. If fighting with your color printer is something you don't enjoy, outsource your business cards to a printer company-it probably will be cheaper and less time-consuming for you. Perhaps maintaining your website takes you longer than it would a good web master so consider outsourcing that. Look at what you can afford to outsource, but also consider the value of your time. Time is money. How can you use your time to the best extent possible, both to save/earn you money and also so you do not end up feeling burnt out.

Don't forget to give yourself a break now and then. If you're tired and the best you can do is write on your laptop in your recliner in front of the TV and you only write 100 words that night, it's better than nothing. If you have a lot to do, but your husband wants to take you out to dinner, don't be afraid to say, "Yes" if you need a break for the evening, or if you won't get home until 8. You can always work 8-10 instead, or maybe a good meal and some relaxation will make 8-9 more productive than 7-9 would have been otherwise. If your friend asks you out to the movie, I give you permission to go. I give you permission to have a life.

You're an author and a publisher, but you're also human. You're in this business because you love writing books. Don't forget that. Don't make what should be fun into a chore. Do what you can today, but remember also, there's always tomorrow.

What's So Important About Eye Contact in a Law Practice?

Of all the behaviors in a lawyer's interpersonal toolbox eye communication is one of the most important. This is because only your eyes make a direct connection with your clients.

Eye contact carries messages of attention, interest, involvement, intimacy, as well as intimidation. Everything depends upon the length of the gaze. Representing over 90 percent of your personal communication, eye contact of two-to-four seconds is what communicates your desire to connect and create a rapport, your understanding and empathy.

The actual meaning of any eye contact, especially of longer duration, will depend, in part, upon other nonverbal communication itself, the context of the situation, and the relationship of the interactants. For example, eye contact of 10 seconds or more may mean "I find you attractive" OR "Watch out or you'll be sorry!" Your tone and body language accompanying it will suggest the appropriate interpretation of the gaze.

The general recommendation is to "look at each other naturally." But what does that really mean? It means look away occasionally so you do not appear to stare. But, at the same time, you have to be careful not to look away so frequently you appear to dart your eyes. Rapidly moving eyes can make you look like a frightened animal. Casualness is the key.

Similarly, you need to keep focused on the other person. Specifically, it is important that you not look at the floor, out the window or at any place other than that the speaker or listener. Glancing around makes you look uncomfortable or disinterested.

If you have difficult making eye contact, you can sweep your gaze over the eyes, look at one eye or the other, at the bridge of the nose, eyebrow, or high on the cheek near the eye. When you show discomfort in the interaction, your client will absorb that emotion, experience it too, and wonder if they really want to be there with you.

Surprisingly the rate at which you blink makes a difference in how others relate to you. A "slow blink," when your eyes are closed for at least five seconds' duration, creates confusion in your clients. Most will not know how to interpret this behavior: Are you bored or anxious or something else?

I personally experienced this slow-blink confusion when having dinner with an attorney I had just met at a conference. When he was not spearing filet mignon or lobster, he was talking to me with his eyes closed. After a while, I felt I was invisible to him and felt bad for his clients.

The only exception to this direct-gaze communication requirement is when you are on camera in an interview format. In this situation you maintain good steady eye contact with the interviewer (not the camera). it shows attentiveness, enthusiasm, interest, and involvement.

How sure are you that your eye contact is good with clients? It is always useful to assess your eye contact behavior to make sure you have not slipped into any bad habits. Some simple ways to increase your awareness of what you do and what you might need to work on include:

- Using the second hand of your watch, count out five seconds and practice holding eye contact with another person for that period of time.

- Using a friend, check to see how it feels when someone
- (1) Looks at you for five, ten, and fifteen seconds
- (2) Looks away for five, ten, and fifteen seconds
- (3) Darts their eyes for ten seconds
- (4) Does a five-to-ten-second slow blink.
- Observe others in real life, on TV, and in the movies to see how different eye contact makes you feel about the person or character.

- If comfortable doing so,
- (1) Videotape yourself talking with and listening to another or
- (2) Have a friend monitor and analyze your eye-contact habits.

It is important to remember that your eyes speak volumes about you and what you think, feel, and do, not only to your clients and staff but also to juries. With awareness and practice you can make your eyes convey exactly what you want when you want it to create that rapport and relationship.

The Secret to Increasing Cash Flow - Invest in Opportunity Zones

A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds. ~Francis Bacon


Don't just find houses that meet your criteria, find the house that meets your criteria in locations where people like to rent. There are nice areas in my town and there are not- so-nice areas in my town. However, neither of those two areas is where most people like to rent properties.

There is an "opportunity" zone between the nice and not-so-nice areas where people are eager to rent, and where house values are relatively lower, but where you can charge a moderately high rent. There are both good and bad houses in these zones, but usually there are supermarkets and stores within close distance, often close enough to walk to.

Advantages of Opportunity Zones

Opportunity zones have one overriding advantage over other areas of town, you can make more money with them. There are two reasons for this:

1. You pay less for a rental property in an opportunity zone than you would for a comparable property in a nicer neighborhood.

2. You can charge about the same rent as you would in a nice neighborhood.

For example, I own two houses in two different parts of the city. I have one house in a nicer neighborhood on the edge of town where new growth is taking place. I pay $700 for the mortgage, and I receive $875 in rent for a profit of $185/month.

I own a second house in an opportunity zone neighborhood, near the central part of town where property values are lower. For this house, I pay $525 for the mortgage, receive $750 for rent, and turn a $250/month rental profit.

It is not how much I make each month for a house, but how little I pay for the mortgage that accounts for the higher opportunity zone profit!

Why do people choose to live in opportunity zones?

1. Cost. As mentioned, the cost of purchasing property is economical, and when you can walk to purchase your groceries and other staples, you pay less on gas.

2. Convenience. Many people want to reduce their dependence on the automobile.

My Opportunity Zone Experience

When I bought my first house, I bought it in an opportunity zone. My wife and I liked the house because the price was right and because of the location, close stores. Not only would we walk to buy groceries and to rent movies, but we also walked around the neighborhood at night for exercise.

The area was a mixture of all types of housing. In a four square block where we lived there were owner-occupied homes, townhouses, apartments and trailer parks. Our house was located within three blocks of two grocery stores, a video rental store, 7-11 and Circle K stores, an auto parts store, a Taco Bell, a McDonald's, and a pharmacy. Granted, there were also some rougher edges to the neighborhood, such a few strange characters in the neighborhood, but they were in the minority.

We lived in that house for 9 years. Then we bought another house and kept our first house as a rental. I recently bought a second house in the same block. It has been a location where it is very easy to find good tenants.

I do not have any desire to live in that area again, but it is a place where I love to have rental properties.

Do You Learn More From Success Or Failure?

Do you agree with these scientific statements?

1. We make conscious decisions 95%% of the time?
2. Emotions drive our behavior, and emotions are the seat (core) of our subconscious mind?
3. We learn more from our failures than our successes?

Inquiring Minds Want to Know

Number 1: (false) we are aware of making decisions only 5% of the time.
Number 2: (true) our behaviors and decisions are 95% on autopilot.
Number 3: (false) brain cells learn from doing something right, and not from our mistakes.

So What?

Professor Earl K Miller at MIT, in an article July 30, 2009 in the journal Neuron: Our brain cells have a file cabinet for our decisions with one side for Right actions, and a different feedback loop for Wrong ones.

After a failure, there is no change in the cells. Get this. Failure produces no improvement in human behavior. When we produce a successful behavior there is neuroplasticity (physical change) in the cells. Neuroplasticity is your brain's ability to change (adaptation) in response to your new experiences.

Key Point: Success leads to additional successes because brain processing and behaviors improve. You are cued to perform better the next time.

Two Brain Structures For Learning

Giving a reward (pat on the back, big smile, or a checkmark or gold star) after success registers in your Prefrontal Cortex (learning, memory, thinking), and your Basal Ganglia (motor controls, cognition and emotions). Both are wired to work together.

After a reward for a correct response, neurons in PFC and BG are stronger, and supply more information because of improved electrical impulses fired. If you were incorrect in the prior trial, you are weaker and more likely to fail again.

Double So What

We can affect adult learning by rewarding and tracking career behavior. Homo sapiens require reinforcement to improve. Yes, it applies to teaching children from first grade to graduate school.

How can you wire yourself for self-improvement? Condition (program) your mind to expect rewards for correct results. There has to be a payoff or there is no improvement.

Your Prefrontal Cortex and Basal Ganglia are involved in obtaining internal goals. They are the two key players in learning and long-term memory for kids and adults.

Trial And Error

Your hippocampal neurons are involved in Associative Learning: example: matching names with faces. There is a physiological measure linking (together) trial-and-error which strengthen Right answers, and modify Wrong responses.

Trial outcomes improve the learning process. Long term memories are laid down in your hippocampus. The function of your hippocampus is to memorialize new facts and events, and produce new Associations about unrelated ideas, words and concepts. It leads to Declaratory Memory.

Google: Wendy Suzuki, NYU in March 26 Neuron journal. N.B. The more Trial Outcomes (practice, rehearsal) the more you stimulate the neural networks for future successes.

Associative Memory

When you learn to LINK new, unknown ideas, words and concepts, with old consolidated long-term memory, your associations create learning. Example: if you already know it requires 21 consecutive days of practice to create a habit, relating that fact to the information, 21% of room air is oxygen is baby-easy.

You are hardwired for Associations. When you hear the term "up", your brain responds with "down", and when someone says Red for stop, you associate that with Green to go, without any conscious thought, right?

Your Memory

Human memory relies up to 90% on Associations and concepts we automatically link together in our mind. Wait. Your brain thinks in pictures and mental movies, and remembers in associations and links.

To improve your memory - ask yourself - what does this new word or concept remind me of that I already know? Link the new with the old, and you create and strengthen connected synapses into neural networks.

If I need to recall the five nucleotides of the DNA/RNA of the genome:

a) adenine
b) guanine
c) cytosine
d) uracil
e) thymine

Associate adenine with Add+Nine; Gain+Nine; Sight+Sign; U+R+Sill; and Thigh-Mine.

These five are linked in my mind with the Acronym A-G (ony) + C-U-T. These associations are first learned, and then strengthened by ordinary daily language experience.

Why bother with the trouble of learning what you can write down on paper or wordprocesser and copy?

The answer is health, but only if you desire to expand your Cognitive Reserve and protect your brain throughout your life. A second reason is longevity. Lifelong learners improve their chances of living a long, healthy life. Each time you learn your brain changes structurally and functionally for the better.


Would you have a competitive advantage in school and career by reading three-times faster than your peers, and remembering information twice as long?

Knowledge is the key ingredient to personal growth and career success in our economy. Promotions, salary increases, and bonuses are often knowledge based.

New skills and strategies improve your personal competency. For details to be the Go-To person for knowledge in your organization, contact us for a Free report.

See ya,

copyright © 2009 H. Bernard Wechsler



Affordable Christmas Gifts

Affordable Christmas gifts is what the majority of people throughout the world will be looking for this Christmas 2009.It was a very tough year economy wise for many countries and for many many people. But and I say this optimistically we should not let it dampen our Christmas spirit, good will and peace to all, and lets look forward to 2010 and a change in the worlds economy for the better.

OK so lets get back to the subject of affordable Christmas gifts, what's recommended and where to find them. First off we have to decide who these presents are for. Perhaps they are family presents or maybe a girlfriend or boyfriend, husband,wife or maybe for children. Whoever they are for there are plenty of affordable gifts out there this Christmas just waiting to put your name on them.

Lets start with affordable Christmas gifts for children. Here are a list of the 10 most popular toys for children this Christmas 2009 and all at a very affordable price.

1. Bakugan battle pack.

2. Battle strikers starters set.

3. Ben10 alien force Kevin's DX action cruiser

4. Bendaroos mega pack.

5. Go Go Pets Hamsters.

6. GX racers tightrope terror.

7. Kiddizoom multimedia digital camera.

8. Lego games minotaurus.

9. Monopoly city.

10. Transformers movie 2 voyagers figures.

10 Affordable Christmas gifts for him.

1. Acqua Di Gio by Armani for men.

2. Palm pilot.

3. Wallet and accessories.

4. DVD collection set.

5. Tom Tom One XL GPS navigator

6. iPhone.

7. iPod Touch.

8. Nintendo Wii.

9. Designer jewellery

10. Sports or concert tickets.

10 Affordable Christmas gifts for her.

1. iPod Nano.

2. Jewellery.

3. Belgian Chocolates.

4. Dolce and Gabanna light blue.

5. Canon digital camera.

6. Espresso machine.

7. Apple iPod.

8. Lingerie.

9. Waterford crystal.

10. Antique collectibles.

I am quite certain there will be something in the above list that will help you pick out a few presents this Christmas and since you are obviously reading this online you must have access to a PC or laptop, which is very handy since all the above Christmas gifts can be bought online at a very reasonable price this Christmas. If by chance and for some unknown reason there is nothing here that catches your fancy,never fret just continue your search online and I am confident you will find exactly what it is you are looking for.

2012 Catastrophe - A Who Dunnit by Sherlock Holmes

A meeting between Dr. Watson and Mr. Sherlock Holmes, Esquire.

Watson: (Gazing past his open newspaper, talking to Holmes) Who is behind this 12-21-2012 End of the World craze? And Why? Why have they begun hyping three years out? How did they get so well-orchestrated? It is obviously someone with a lot of money and a grandiose agenda. They are doing a masterful job of swaying the masses into fearing December 21, 2012. Now who do you suppose it could be? (pretend that we have some suspenseful music playing in the background, almost ominous). We need your help now more than ever, Mr. Holmes.

Sherlock: (busy with some scientific experiment) Let's go through the usual list of suspects, try to think of all the possible motives, and see if we can't come up with a few possibilities.

Watson: Right-o! Let's start with the Bible-Believing Christians. Usually it's the Bible bunch wanting to see the Lord come back and unleash His righteous indignation upon the wicked. In years gone by well meaning but misguided Christians have set dates for the second coming of Christ. Could it be them again? Maybe their zeal and excitement has got the best of them, due to the fact that they want the Lord to come. They have always been wrong in the past, you know. Is it them?

Sherlock: My dear Watson, the glaring absence of any Bible-believing groups promoting 2012 removes them from our list completely. At this point, none of them are selling their homes and moving up in the hills, waiting for the Lord to come. And honestly, if it was the Bible-believing Christians behind all this, everyone would laugh them to scorn. Think clearly now my good man:
1) They wouldn't have enough money to make it look so convincing.
2) They wouldn't be so organized and unified. (a snicker escapes his lips)
3) They wouldn't be given nearly as much publicity.
To be sure, we are still 3 years away, but if it were the Christians behind all this, the media would be mocking them incessantly. No, it isn't the Christians.

Watson: Quite so. Quite so. Dash it all. It is always so gratifying to blame the Bible-thumpers. Confound it. Ah well, let's move on down our list, shall we. Number 2 Would be the Sensationalists. You know who I mean don't you Holmes? Those who profit off of any big event. Namely, the news media, such as newspapers, radio, television, movie makers, etc. And then there are the T-shirt manufacturers, website builders, basically all your "promotional" people. What do you think Holmes? Could these guys be the culprits? I say.

Sherlock: Hmm (puffing on his curly pipe). You are getting closer, but I don't think you've hit it yet. (pause) No, these are not the people responsible. They are merely profiting from the big event. Like the guys selling watches and umbrellas, caps and t-shirts at sports stadiums. To be sure, they are profiting, but they lack a motive. (Holmes stares off into the distance). You see, my dear fellow, these are the pawns being used to hock the "stuff" on the street. They are the "front". Behind them, hiding somewhere, sinister, methodically plotting some devious scheme is our real perpetrator.

Watson: I say old man. Are you sure?

Sherlock: Without a doubt, old chap. These criminal types always get some unsuspecting dupe to do their dirty work for them. No, we haven't named our man yet. Let's keep digging through that list of yours, shall we?

Watson: Good heavens! All this thinking makes my head hurt. I wish this were simple? Blast it all! Very well. Our third one would be the Prophets and Fortune Tellers. They come in all stripes and colors, you know. There are Catholics, Muslims, Hindus, and everything in between. There are men, and there are women. There never seems to be a lack of these self-proclaimed visionaries. They each have a small spattering of a following. Some have their own websites too. I say, Holmes. Aren't you even listening to me? (Holmes had unconsciously been shaking his head negatively and making a look of disgust).

Sherlock: No, no, no. All wrong.

Watson: All wrong? What is all wrong?

Sherlock: The whole picture. Don't you see? All of them agreeing! All having the same date. No. Totally out of character. Where is the individuality? Where is the credit for the prediction? None can take the credit! How completely unprofessional. No self-respecting fortune teller or prophet would agree with another. It's counter productive. Bad for business.

Watson: You mean they all would disagree on purpose because they otherwise would be less than authentic?

Sherlock: Precisely, my good man. Well said. Well said. Shall we consult your list once more?

Watson: My dear friend, I only have one last suspect. To be honest, I put them at the bottom, for I didn't really suspect them at all, but some have suggested they be considered.

Sherlock: Quit balking and out with it then. Cat got your tongue?

Watson: (ashamedly, quite timidly) The New Age Movement and the New World Order.

Sherlock: What's that you say?! (in whispered tone now) Tell me. Why would anyone suspect them?

Watson: I saw it on the internet. Silly isn't it? Absurd. Preposterous. If you ask me, it couldn't be them in a million years. Really!

Sherlock: (after long silence) Not so fast. Hmm. You may be on to something there, old boy. Yes! That's it! You have just given us the men, the means, and most importantly, the motive.

Watson: I say! Me? But how? Who? Explain yourself won't you?

Sherlock: Delighted. (Holmes stands to his feet and strides across the room deep in thought).
1) Some cataclysmic event occurs.
2) The New Age Movement and the New World Order unite to usher in a new world leader (otherwise known as the antichrist)
3) The governments of the world cede power to him, for to refuse would mean annihilation. And there you have it. All this Mayan poppycock is just a set-up for power-hungry ambitious tyrants to steal our freedoms!

Watson: Good Havens, man! Are you sure? Not our sovereignty!?

Sherlock: Quite sure. Thus, the tried and true prophecies of the Bible are completely and exactly fulfilled, wherein none other than the Antichrist himself is enthroned. You see, no one else has the manpower, the means, or the motive to create such a crisis.

Watson: Phenomenal! Amazing! But how did you figure it out Holmes!

Sherlock: Elementary, my dear Watson. Elementary!

Technology Advancements

Technology advancements in many areas make it possible to build devices that were not possible 20, 10, or even 5 years ago. The rapid evolution of Integrated Circuits (IC) has been one key factor and the other key factors are the rapid development of colour screens and camera's. Advancements in IC's have led to the reduction in size and weight of mobile terminals as the processing needed can be done faster using smaller devices and at reduced cost. Colour screens with high resolution allow complex applications and services to be visually displayed that 10 years ago would have been in science fiction movies. The pace at which these advancements in technology are occurring is mind boggling and is difficult to predict.

The Apple iPhone is an excellent example of a phone that is small, slick and has some amazing applications that 5 years ago would have been difficult to support on such a device. Apple have shown traditional mobile manufacturers such as Nokia and Ericsson that application driven devices offering services that customers want is far better than a high specification mobile supporting the latest 3GPP specification. The iPhone may be a weaker device in terms of its RF capabilities but the average person does not really care about that provided the phone works.

The Google G1 was produced in collaboration with T-Mobile following the foot step of Apple iPhone. However though it had some amazing applications the phone was not as user friendly as the iPhone and was not a success after its launch. Google G2 is a second attempt at capturing some of the markets Apple have gained through their iPhone solution.

Overall these new phones are allowing people to easily access the internet, browse normal websites and manage their e-mail accounts with just one click of a button. The numbers of applications are huge with many new ones coming out each week. I think finally we have the applications to match what was promised when third generation mobile networks were first launched.

I just can't wait to get my hand on the next killer mobile with funky applications such as the Apple iPhone and its services.

Uncertainty in Investing is the Enemy - Not the Bank

I have noticed that when many Kiwis join the world of investing in bonds and shares, their aim is to achieve a return that 'beats the bank'. Using bank deposits as your performance yardstick in this way arguably misses the whole point of investing. The bank is not the enemy, uncertainty is.

People who invest their capital in a wide range of assets that together form a diversified portfolio do so for one reason, and its not to 'beat the bank'.

The goal is to protect themselves against uncertainty and risk. Nobody knows when or where the next financial crisis or dramatic shift in markets or economic fortunes will happen. The vast weight of research to date shows that investing a portfolio across a diversified range of assets is the best way to mitigate risk, generate an income and to protect and grow capital over the longer term.

One stark lesson I have seen over the 20 years I have been in the investment sector is that uncertainty and risk can come from anywhere. Even investments that 'look safe' can get caught out.

The dramatic impact that the sharp decline in interest rates this year has had on short-term deposits is a classic example. Deposits are a low risk investment for sure, but for anyone that had all their capital invested in short-term deposits when interest rates fell from over 8% to just over 2% suffered a 75% decline in income, in a matter of months.If that's not disastrous enough, over the past six months they have seen consumer price inflation rise 2% (goodbye interest return!) and house and shares prices inflate by 25% or more. In other words, this cash just lost 25% of its spending power in the housing and equity market.

Certainly, when you have money invested in shares and bonds there will be times when your portfolio underperforms bank deposits, market volatility is part of investing. If you don't want volatility that's fine, buy bank deposits, but you need to recognise this is not as safe as it seems - see the previous two paragraphs.

Certainly, investing involves risk. As soon as you invest into financial and asset markets such as bonds, shares and property, you are exposed to risk.For example, from October 2007 to March 2009 the New Zealand equity market fell 41% in the wake of the recession and global financial crisis.

If you held a portfolio of New Zealand shares it probably fell by a similar margin, perhaps a bit less if it was made up of blue chips, or a bit more if it was mainly smaller or riskier stocks. The point is; if the market falls, your portfolio will fall with it. Over this period, 94% of NZ stocks fell in value. That's a very strong tide to swim against.

Being diversified into other markets didn't help either with over 90% of global share markets fell in value over this period. The very few exceptions included 'heavy-weight' markets like Ghana, Tunisia, Jordan and Bangladesh.

It is clear then that during this tumultuous 17-month period, if you were invested in shares, there simply was nowhere to hide.

But since March 2009 the reverse has happened. Our market has rebounded by 30% and most other markets around the world have risen by a similar, or larger, amount. Almost every investor in shares should have seen their portfolios rise by 15% to 20% or more over this period as they hitched a ride with the market. In the bad times we can blame the market, in the good times it's hats off to the market.

As the past couple of years have shown, investing is challenging. This is precisely why most people take a balanced approach to their portfolios; combining some low risk investments with some higher risk shares and property.

When it comes to investing it is very important to keep up with the Joneses, and the Joneses are not bank deposits, but the real world of food, wine, travel, education, healthcare, housing, movies and power bills. The cost of living is a far better benchmark than 'beating the bank'.

C'est La Vie - French Lessons For Sales Negotiators

So what is your view of the the French? Is your view of this magnificent county and its people shaped by those Inspector Clouseau movies that you used to watch while you were growing up? If it was, then it's time to get over it and move on - they negotiate much differently than you do.

As with all things in sales negotiations, there is no right or wrong as long as you are able to eventually reach a successful conclusion to your sales negotiations. The trick when dealing with the French is to realize that they approach negotiations differently than either Americans or British do.

There are two key characteristics that every sales negotiator needs to know when dealing with French negotiators. The first is HOW they approach sales negotiations, and the second is HOW they view concessions.

In all honesty, we Americans always seem to be in a rush when we enter in to a negotiation - we work from the bottom up. We pick the first point, try to hammer out an agreement, and then move on to the next point. The French have a completely different approach - if I had to use a 50 cent word I'd call it a more "holistic" approach.

The French prefer to work on a sales negotiation from the top down. They'll try to reach agreement on the basis of some broad principles first, and spend time working out the details. While they are working out the details, they will constantly refer back to the central agreement on the broad principles. Since you start from a point of agreement, it always seems like the rest of the work is just sorting out the details and that an agreement will eventually be reached.

When it comes to concessions, the French have a very strong sense of quid-pro-quo: they always want to get something in return. Unlike Americans, the French have no problems tying strings to their concessions - you are going to have to give something up if you want to get them to give in on a point.

There you have it, it is possible to reach a successful sales negotiation deal when the other side of the table is French. You just have to remember that their approach to the negotiation and to concessions will be different than yours and you are going to have to change to make the deal work out.

Capitalization in English For ESL Writers

In Romanized writing, capitalization is important and, in some cases, can change a sentence's entire meaning. That's why all ESL writers who produce document in English are highly-advised to get their heads around the proper rules for this specific area.

When people first learn English from their English learning software, they are immediately told to capitalize proper nouns, but to leave common nouns without it. That sounds simple enough, right? Problem is, many people don't understand the correct distinction between those two groups of nouns. Neither are they familiar with the additional rules that govern capitalization.

So, let's start with the basics:

  • Proper nouns refer to specific people, places or things (e.g. Mrs. Jones, President Obama, Omaha Flower Festival)
  • Common nouns are nonspecific (e.g. teacher, leader, festival)

Apart from those two basic rules, take note of the following items that also require capitalization:

  • The first word of every sentence
  • The first-person pronoun "I"
  • Days of the week, months and holidays
  • Historical documents, periods and events
  • Religions and their followers
  • Titles of books, plays, movies and other creative works
  • Personifications, as in creative names given to characters in writing
  • Companies and organizations
  • Derivatives of proper nouns (e.g. Westernize, Shakespearean, etc.)
  • Names of classes in school (e.g. Math 101, Colonial History 102, etc.)
  • Acronyms
  • Official titles if they come before the name (e.g. Colonel Sanders, Miss Simmons, etc)

Note that some usage may require you to do without capitalization. That may be beyond our scope for this short article, though. We'll look at those exceptions another time.

The Gothic Vampire Coat

The vampire coat is also often known as the Gothic style trench coat.

Usually made of PVC or leather, it is very long or even full length.

Sometimes it is made from velvet, but men tend to prefer a stronger style of fabric. The soft option tends to include frills around the cuffs or neck area. The more masculine option is usually clean cut with defined lapels and pockets.

So why the rather creepy name?

This Gothic style appearance is somewhat creepy, similar to the overall 'Goth' image of black eye makeup, black or red hair and blood red or black lips.

Old and new horror movies often have the main 'defenders of good' sporting such a garment, as they do their job of combating evil, and driving a stake through the vampires heart.

This garb is most commonly seen in black, and often has some design work on the upper back part.

A red silk lining allows an even more dramatic effect when the buttons are left undone.

You will see designs that are close fitting and straight and others that are fitted down to the waist band then flared from the waist down.

When you choose your clothing you are create an image, and this style presents an image of a confident self assured man. If the wearer is not an extrovert he will still give the illusion that he is a very confident individual just by his fashion choice.

To create an aura of mystery, to stand out and to get noticed, an ideal choice for outerwear is the vampire coat.

Digital TV Aerial

In today's society, having a television is almost as important as having a car. It's a source of entertainment, a channel to keep up to date with current affairs, and even a way to learn new information; as a result, having a good signal on your TV is absolutely vital. The developments in television technology have been incredibly rapid over the last decade, from HD channels to Blu Ray movies there's always something new. To stay ahead of the game, consider a digital TV aerial.

With a digital TV aerial you'll be able to pick up all your favourite HD channels and enjoy the stunning quality of high definition. It's even possible to get hold of aerials that provide upscaling qualities to normal signals, if supported by your TV. The bottom line is that an HD aerial will allow you to enjoy the next generation of television.

There are a great deal of digital aerials on the market these days. Some of the best aerials are the SLX Gold Digitop Amplified High Performance and Thomson Indoor TV Aerial for Digital Freeview. These aerials are reasonable priced and allow users to get a great signal for digital Freeview channels; that means you'll be able to get all your favourite channels in addition to the +1s. The One For All SV9320 is another fantastic product that receives a very strong signal thanks to a top quality amplifier.

Digital aerials work with a variety of home entertainment appliances. Receiving digital channels by Freeeview is just the beginning. Sky, Sky+ and Sky HD are also compatible with digital tv aerials. If you are a FreeSat user, their digital Blu Ray service can be picked up too. Essentially whatever you're setup, a digital aerial will be able to handle it!

So if you're looking for a way to receive an unbelievable signal for your TV, consider a digital tv aerial. Not only will you be able to pick up countless Freeview channels, you're Sky signal will also be much improved. A digital aerial will let you watch your television the way it's meant to be watched!

Free Ringtone Downloads - Popular Ringtones to Download Online

The internet has been the fastest and best way to obtain much needed applications and information for free. The reason being is because it can be easily accessed by anyone and everyone without having to spend a lot of money. The internet offers a lot of services for free. For instance, there are quite a number of online sites that offer downloadable ringtones for free.

You would not even need to register or become a subscriber for most of the sites. You can freely browse through the innumerable tones that they have and pick out the ones that you like. You also do not need to be technically inclined to download ringtones online, the good thing about the internet is it is very user friendly so basically anyone can use it.

MP3 tones have been the most popular ringtone download lately. Favorite songs, theme songs from TV shows and movies and funny tones like the infamous "crazy frog" are well-liked by the consumers. These websites will be able to provide countless of listings for you to choose from. All you need to do is to make a search of your preferred genre or music artist and select from the ones available.

They would also have compilations of the most recent or most popular downloads. Keep in mind that not all websites are for free, there are also several who charge a fee for downloading ringtones. You will be asked to subscribe to downloads and they will be sending you tones weekly. If you do not want to spend money for downloads, keep away from certain sites that charge fees. It can also be quite tough to cancel your subscription as it can be for almost any subscription.

It is also very important to make sure that the websites you get your tones from are legit and secured from malicious software or viruses. As we all know, there are a lot of viruses that can be acquired through the internet by downloading stuff. Just be careful to click on every free advertisement that you see. To protect your computer from this, be smart and find out if the websites you are visiting are secured.

Managing Your Finances

Going to university isn't exactly cheap; fact of the matter is, it's become extremely expensive. A degree is certainly a necessity in today's competitive market place, however, at times it can seem prohibitively expensive. Most students look to banks and loan companies to fund their educations; however, despite the many obstacles that seem to be in the way of getting that degree, securing the funds necessary isn't as hard as it may appear.

Getting the necessary cash to get a degree can seem daunting; it's usually the top priority for new students who've already got through all the hoops of applying and getting accepted. Some students may even opt not to go the university route because they simply cannot afford it. They decide instead to enter the job market and try their luck without a degree. Being a full time student, it's hard to actually save money; what one earns, one tends to spend on rent and living.

The stereotype of the poor student just scraping by is actually not so far from reality. The majority of students, except for a lucky few, don't actually live lives of luxury. In fact, most students have to give up a fair amount of luxuries they may have grown accustomed to while living under their parents' roofs. Meals at restaurants, new pairs of shoes and clothes, going to the movies-such indulgences become far less frequent. As a student, you usually can't spare the extra cash to go out all the time.

It is, therefore, vital that you learn how to manage your money; it's good to start young. When you're a student you can still rely on your network of family, friends and the university to help you figure everything out, which makes it an ideal time to get a hold of your financial situation. The experience you get from learning how to budget will come in handy later in life. It's best to start out earlier rather than later.

Living on lesser means can be difficult. No one said it was going to be easy. It does take a fair amount of self control and you do have to be prepared to make sacrifices. Learning how to make sound and smart financial choices can take some getting used to, but you will learn. More people in the world have to live on much more paltry incomes and if they make it work, so you can do so too.

The first thing you should do is grab your calculator and a sheet of paper. Start making numbers. Decide what your priorities are and decide what you can do without. You should put rent and living expenses at the top of your list. Don't forget to add in books and other school supplies that you'll need to buy for your classes.

Start figuring out a budget as soon as possible. Don't dally. The more time you waste, the less time you'll have later to get everything in order and it will be harder to do. Don't wait until you're actually in trouble to try to get things in order.

Most universities offer free financial planning sessions and workshops. Your bank will probably offer cost-free financial counseling as well. Sign up and pay attention. Learn about how to plan responsibly and how to stick to a budget.

Beware of credit cards. They may be able to get you out of a jam, but don't rely on them. While they great for establishing credit and for setting up certain kinds of payment, it's very easy to get into debt and that's the last place you want to be. Remember to think before you make any unnecessary purchases.

Amazing Salt Lake City Hotels Worth Your Money

Hotel accommodation is made perfect with the help of appropriate amenities and friendly concierge service. The most important factor that determines the likeability of one's stay is the affordability and honesty to what the hotel claims to offer. That can only be found out if one has proper knowledge of all hotels by studying guides and directories related to hotels. Salt Lake City hotels are famous for their amiable staff and perfect performance. Almost every hotel in the city is worth every dime in your wallet.

Homewood Suites by Hilton in Salt Lake City is a lovely hotel that caters to all your needs. It is located in the trendy and chic Gateway area of Salt Lake City. Situated within walking distance of all important and famous companies of the city, this hotel can offer you direct routes to the all the entertainment and amusement centers and shops of the city. It consists of 124 suites that have complete kitchens, ironing boards and DVD players. The hotel also includes hot complimentary breakfast every morning so that you do not have to leave the coziness of your bed. Evening beverages and snacks are arranged for your entertainment. Meeting facilities and on-site restaurants are present.

Parrish Place B&B was formerly known as Cannon Mansion. It is a beautiful building that was built in the late 1800's. Famous architects M. Cannon and Marion A. Morris designed the hotel in such a fantastic manner that each and every corner of this structure is perfect and precise. Due to its monumental attraction, it is listed in the National Historic Register. Breakfast in bed is offered every morning. You can revisit the times of an epic era in the dining room under the colorful embellishments of an amazing glass-stained window. Carefully chosen chandeliers hang from the ceiling. Guests exclaim to feel like princes and princesses while their stay. It is royalty personified.

Let's make your stay in Salt Lake City an exciting one. Book yourself a room in Red Lion Hotel and start your vacation with a big bang. It is situated in the heart of downtown Salt Lake City. Located very near the Salt Palace and Symphony Hall, it offers its leisure travelers a treat of a unique kind. The hotel proudly claims to offer easy access to the city, Utah University, trolley bus routes and skiing. So get your skiing equipment and flashy goggles; fun has yet to start! The hotel has 393 rooms with complimentary parking and airport transportation. Hot tubs, broadband internet access, swimming pools and other amenities are offered to all travelers. Pets are allowed too!

Hampton Inn will definitely gain your respect and admiration for its well-kept condition and caring service. It is conveniently located several blocks from Temple Square and the Energy Solutions Arena. Jazzy and trendy in style, Hampton Inn is spacious and worth-booking. It is within walking distance of the famous Gateway Mall, restaurants and movie theaters. Seven major ski resorts are present only a few hours away. The Capitol Theater, Utah University, Red Butte Gardens and golf courses are located nearby. On-site restaurants and other attractions make the stay worthwhile. Broadband internet is provided so that you are constantly in touch with your work and friends. Who said traveling implies complete cutting-off from the world?

Residence Inn Hotel offers proud residence for the travelers of Salt Lake City. It is located approximately six or seven miles from the Salt Lake City International Airport. It is also half a mile away from the Temple Square. Lagoon Amusement Park is only 10 miles away while ski resorts are located within several minutes. Amenities offered by the hotel include pool, sports, whirlpool, exercise room and other facilities. Valet laundry services are offered. Dinner delivery services from local and on-site restaurants are provided. Pets are allowed so you can bring your precious little pal along. Sit back and let Residence Inn Hotel take care of your vacation.

Make Money by Helping Baby Boomers Retire

Make Money with your Home Business/Small Business.

Dreaming of starting your very own home business? There are many reasons why people decide to start a small business. Maybe you want more money to pay the bills, save for childrens' college, buy a new home, buy a new car. Maybe you have a goal to retire in 10 years or less. The benefits include financial freedom, leverage, residual income, family values, tax incentives, personal growth, helping others, recognition, and leadership

However, starting a business in a recession to make money or Retire in 10 years or less may be frightening to many people, but not having an alternate source of income and becoming unemployed can be even scarier. Here is information to help you make money a home businesses that can prosper even more in a recession.

Starting a home business, including selecting the best products or services to sell can be a daunting task to say the least if you don't understand your market and what is needed. Fortunately, there is enough information readily available online to help you research business opportunities. Unfortunately, many of the business opportunities you come across are scams. A work at home business can be very satisfying or it can be a nightmare.

Working From Home Helping Baby Boomers.

It is vital to understand the needs of a particular market before committing yourself to a home business. You need to know certain things about the market you are going after if you want to be successful. Understanding the market size and scope, the market's spending power and spending characteristics and trends. One market that is popular is the Baby Boomer market. It consists of over 78 million people who are reaching retirement age. Many large companies have been targeting this market for years. These are people who were born between 1946 and 1964. Nearly 8,000 of these Baby Boomers turn sixty years old daily beginning in 2006. Those same people are now 63 years old.

What do you think is on their minds as a result of the stock market crash and the deep recession that has crippled this nation for the past 18 months? What do you think their major concern is now that over 2 trillion dollars has been lost in retirement accounts and 401(k)s?

What would you call a situation where 78 million people who are on the verge of retirement have lost a significant amount of their retirement savings, are facing rising unemployment rates, rising health care costs, and are living longer than past generations? Most people would call this a disaster. It's like the scene in the movie "Perfect Storm" where the meteorologist studying the weather graphics says "this could be a disaster of epic proportions. This could be the perfect storm."

That's exactly what 78 million Baby Boomers are faced with right now. Their greatest fear is that they will outlive their money. Can you imagine what life would be like in your late 60's with no money?

These people are desperately seeking financial solutions to their problem.

Some of the options available to them are:

  • Work longer. Do you know what the problem with this option is?
  • Get a part time job during retirement. Do you know what the problem with this option is?
  • Get a reverse mortgage where they sell their home to a mortgage company at current value and receive monthly payments. Do you know what the problem with this option is?
  • Buy annuities which will allow the person to receive payments for life. Do you know what the problem with this option is?
  • Lower their standard of living. Essentially reduce expenses in their golden years. Do you know what the problem with this option is?
  • Start a home-based business allowing them to make money from the comfort of their homes while taking advantage business tax deductions. Do you know what the problem with this option is? Most home businesses fail due to lack of support, training, and mentoring which leads to business failure within the first year. Many others are scams and do not offer any type of guarantee.

Ask yourself this question - at what age do most people plan to retire? Age 65 right? These people have 2 years to go. By the way, how soon do you want to retire? Do you want to retire in 10 years or less? How concerned are you about having enough money to retire? Not having enough money to retire is what over 78 million people are concerned about right now. As a matter of fact, according to a recent survey conducted by The National Association for Variable Annuities, 95% of Americans fear they will run out of money during retirement. Again approximately 2 trillion dollars were lost in Americans' retirement accounts over the previous 18 months due to the recession. You will be successful if you start a home business that addresses the needs and solves the financial problems of over 78 million Baby Boomers.

Sympathy Gifts - Their Purposes and Uses

We received hundreds of sympathy cards after our elder daughter and my father-in-law died on the same weekend. Some of the cards contained checks. So many flowers were delivered that the house looked like a flower shop. We received more cards after my brother died two months later. The cards kept coming after my former son-in-law, the father or our twin grandchildren, also died.

Some public health friends, people I had worked with for several years, gave us a gift card for a local nursery. Friends assembled a caring basket filled with candy and more gift cards. The outpouring of caring and generosity was overwhelming. What could we do with these gifts?

All of the checks we received were sent to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. We asked the clinic to use the money for medical research. I do not recall the exact amount, but the checks added up to about $1,500.

Our orphaned grandchildren moved in with us. They used most of the caring basket gift cards and took friends to lunch and the movies. The cards got them out of the house and gave them some control over their confusing lives.

I wrote thank you notes to every person who gave us a sympathy gift. I told my public health friends that their gift would be used to create a garden in memory of my daughter. When I mentioned the idea to my grandchildren, however, their lack of interest was apparent. Creating a memorial garden was the last thing on their minds. Months passed and I brought up the idea again, and the kids still were not interested.

So on a dark and depressing winter day, I went to the flower shop and bought a pink cyclamen. I put it on the coffee table and it lasted for weeks. The blooming flowers brightened our spirits. As flowering plants often do in winter time, the cyclamen withered and died. I replaced it with another plant. And another. Watching buds form, grow larger, and bloom reminded me that life goes on.

Sympathy cards and gifts were more than expressions of caring, they were expressions of support. I knew I could turn to the givers if I needed help. My dear friends helped me to join life again. Bob Deits writes abut this process in his book, "Life After Loss: A Practical Guide to Renewing Your Life After Experiencing Major Loss."

"You cannot wait until you feel better and then decide to live again," Deits writes. Instead, you must make a conscious decision to re-join life. Sympathy gifts have helped me to do this and I am grateful for each one. You may have received sympathy gifts as well. How did they make you feel? What did you do with them? These gifts are comforting and can gently nudge you toward your new life. Enjoy them.

Copyright 2009 by Harriet Hodgson

Christmas in the Hospital

"Wasn't it hard to spend Christmas in the hospital?"

She had just finished reading my story and I guess the story prompted thoughts of the approaching holiday.

CHRISTMAS IN A HOSPITAL might make a good title for an inspirational story or a heartwarming Hallmark movie, but it wouldn't be my choice for personal experience. I didn't choose permanent paralysis as a Christmas gift. Intensive Care wasn't the ideal backdrop for an idyllic Christmas memory. Stockings hing on the IV pole with care didn't fit the warm, cozy image.

In real life, Christmas in the hospital was terrifying and lonely and incredibly sad. Decorations draped on beeping monitors in a sterile room provide a poor substitute for stockings hung on the mantle. Doctors and hourly vital signs can't replace the joyous chaos of kids flitting from new toy to new toy.

The Night Before Christmas loses most of its rich imagery in the context of medical equipment and nurses wearing Santa hats. In place of a magical sleigh and eight tiny reindeer, that Christmas Eve brought claustrophobia in an MRI machine and fears of advancing infection.

But Christmas isn't all about gifts and decorations and feasts. As much as we all cherish our particular family traditions, Christmas is a time when life softens a bit. Apart from the mad rush of shopping and travel and preparation, Christmas affords an opportunity to focus, however briefly, on what truly matters to us. Family and friends, love and peace, health and joy-these remain long after lights fade and gifts are forgotten.

That's how I recall my Christmas in ICU. In the midst of fear and pain, I discovered that Christmas really does involve something deeper and more lasting than tinsel and toys. I discovered a connection to a child born thousands of years ago in troubled circumstances. I learned something important about authentic hope from a horrible experience.

Hospitals, hospices, prisons, and rehab centers don't close for Christmas. Overwhelming financial uncertainty doesn't recognize holidays. Loneliness and depression don't take a week off. But hope lives on as well.

That's my message. That's why I chose to share such a difficult, painful, and personal story.

For all those who spend this Christmas in difficult situations, I wish a special sense of hope. I pray that they'll experience the true meaning of Christmas. I pray that they'll be touched by the baby whose birth in the center of turmoil signaled glad tidings of great joy for all of us.

What Are the Hot Christmas Gifts This Year? How Many of the Top 10 Will Make it Under Your Tree?

Everybody remembers the Cabbage Patch Doll, Furby, Tickle Me Elmo, Nintendo Wii, and other impossible-to-find gifts of Christmases past. There seems to be one or two products every year that people (mostly kids, but some grown-ups) just have to have under their tree on Christmas day. Nobody knows exactly why these products go viral - maybe it's scarcity, maybe it's great marketing, or maybe they just strike a chord with the masses - but every Christmas season there are one or two that become the must-have gifts.

Mommy, I Have to Have That!

So if you haven't already completed your 2009 shopping, just what are the hot Christmas gifts this year? Here is a list of the Top 10 (and maybe a couple more) that will vie for the title of Must-Have 2009:

  • Nintendo Wii ($199.99) - yes, this physically interactive game console is still popular and hard to find for 2009
  • Canon Digital Rebel XTi ($1499.95) - this 10.1 mp digital SLR has a 2.5 inch display
  • Pleo the Dinosaur ($349.99) - this UGOBE life form is a robot with a personality
  • Transformers Movie Optimus Prime ($149.99) - battery operated robot-to-vehicle figure
  • Hasbro FurReal Friends Butterscotch Pony ($299.99) - interactive plush pony that responds to its owner
  • Spinmaster Air Hogs Battling Havoc R/C Helicopters ($169.99) - radio controlled copters that battle for air superiority
  • Fisher-Price Power Wheels Jeep Hurricane ($775) - battery operated ride-on vehicle that your child can drive at up to 5 mph
  • Creative Zen Vision W 60GB Widescreen Multimedia Player ($299.99) - holds photos, video, and music and has a 4.3 inch LCD screen
  • Fisher-Price TMX Tickle Me Ernie ($24.99) - just like Elmo, but with Ernie's personality
  • Zhu Zhu Pet Hampster ($9.99) - interactive mechanical rodent (enough said)
  • Motorola T505 Bluetooth In-Car Speakerphone ($82.64) - this allows you to connect your phone to talk and listen to music hands free
  • Kindle 2 ($259) - this wireless reading device is hot for book lovers

Rush Out and Get Them All

Okay, maybe you don't need them all -- and maybe you don't need any of them! But these are going to be the big items for 2009 and if you have that special someone that has to have one of these, you better act fast to get them by the time Santa comes down the chimney. Traditionally the hot Christmas gifts are scarce and people scramble to find them in time. But don't get carried away and pay huge mark-ups to buy them by December 25th. Anyone who paid $500 for a Tickle-Me-Elmo probably regretted it by January 1st. Most of these products will be available at retail prices in January, so if you don't mind giving an IOU and being a little late with your gift; wait until they are widely available and at regular prices.

Remember, Christmas is about more than gifts - and chances are your loved ones will be satisfied with whatever you choose to give them - as long as it comes from the heart. So happy hunting and good luck spotting the last Zhu Zhu on the shelf at the local mega-mart. Just make sure that the rodent you grab is a robotic one.

Online Surveys Can Help You Pay For Extras

While there are many websites that offer "paid" online surveys, a significant portion of them are illegitimate scam sites, or sites from which your computer could download the latest virus. But the good news is that there are real, legitimate online survey sites that will actually pay you money for filling out online surveys. These are marketing surveys and are performed for companies that want to know how to market a product, or how one of their products is viewed by a particular demographic group.

Pay may start as low as $2, but it may go as high as $70. The shorter surveys pay less. The mistake that many people make when they think about getting paid to do online surveys is they think it won't take any time at all, and that it's almost like getting money for nothing. The truth is, if you want to make money doing surveys, you will have to devote a significant amount of time to it. The more time you dedicate, the more money you'll earn. If you devote three hours per week, you will earn some extra pocket money, but you won't earn enough to pay the bills. Some people do put in enough time to make a living at it, but these are exceptions. Most people just want a little extra to help ends meet or to or to pay for little "extras" like pizza and movies.

Paid surveys are very beneficial for the companies that request them because they not only receive valuable customer input, they don't have to send field representatives out to gather face-to-face surveys. Doing paid surveys is definitely worth looking into if you want or need to boost your income.

Rent PS2 Games Online and Never Stand in Line Again

Rent PS2 games online? If you do, you're already part of a growing group for sure. If not, then online game rental is something to look into. It definitely has advantages.

For one, video game rental in the past was a major pain. You got in the car, drove to the video store and maybe even stood in line on a Friday night to get a specific game. Then all to often, you'd find the store copies were already gone. A bit deflated, you picked a different game, and then probably stood in line at the cash register. What a hassle. It was expensive, took time, and you were never really sure if the titles you wanted would even be available. Renting games online solves that problem.

The alternative? Buy your own copy at $40 to $60 a shot. Now that is expensive, and if you weren't sure you already liked the game, it was a gamble. A video game rental service solves that problem as well.

How about buying a game title you absolutely love, but later decide to upgrade your system to get all the latest features. Will the games you bought for the old system work in the new one? Not Likely. If you rent ps2 games online, you don't have to worry about system compatibility. Just order for the game console you have and the problem goes away.

What if you simply want to play more game titles, but can't come up with the money to buy them all? No worries. An online subscription solves that too. Most online services let you play the games you want to try, all for a fixed monthly fee. If you don't like a particular game title, just return it in the mail and get another. In fact, some rental companies provide free shipping both ways, no time limit or late fees, and also have an option to buy any game you can't part with at discount prices.

So it is possible to rent ps2 games with the press of a button. When the game shows up in your mailbox, you get to decide its fate. Play it forever. Play it to make sure you like it and then buy it. Play it until you win. Or return the game after a few minutes if it isn't fun. It's your choice because you can always send for another. That's why online video game rental is rapidly growing in popularity. Even the movie rental giant Blockbuster has announced that a test program for online game rental is underway in the upper northwest. I think that says they're about to give Gamefly some competition, which might even bring the monthly fees down.

If you don't play a lot of games, or can't seem to consistently return the old ones, then game rental programs are probably not for you. The membership fee comes every month, and if you don't rent ps2 games frequently, you simply won't get your money's worth. However, if you're like a growing number of us gamers, then rent your video games online and enjoy!

By the way, there's no problem if you own an Xbox, Xbox 360, Nintento, Gamecube, Wii, PlayStation 3 or others. I'm betting there's a rental service out there that supports it.

The Top 3 Things Should You Buy For His 1950's Version Man Cave

If he likes the 50's and is designing a place where he can call his own, help him with some gifts under the tree this year. Men like their space and nothing gives him more pleasure than having a place to go where he can stretch out and enjoy time watching basketball or old movies.

His man cave gives him back some of his identity lost over the years. His new room deserves a woman's touch but still needs to target his interests. If you are struggling with what to buy for the man who has everything, then this might be the concept you have been looking for.

If he likes old style decor, finding the right gifts to adorn his new room will go a long way when he begins to open presents on Christmas morning.

The top three things you need to look for when selecting gifts will be something for his wall, his table and his music player. For his wall, a neon sign or vintage wall clock might be perfect to hang up just opposite the entrance to the room. Whether it is a beer, coffee or just a neon "open" sign, this 50's will look great and catch the guest's eye when they first walk into the room.

For the table, an old fashioned lamp with a campy picture from the past will continue the them. Stick with a rustic feel that keeps within the same color scheme that compliments the neon wall sign. If you went with a coffee sign above, go with something similar for the the lamp shade so that it flows well with the rest of the room.

An old style radio or record player that plays vinyl albums would round out the list of things you can put under the tree for him to open and add to his new room. Using Neon as the basis of the '50's man cave is easily done for the right effect.

At the end of the day, you will see that spring in his step again once the room is complete and your gifts are in their rightful place.