Top 10 Reasons to Be Ethical and Live With Integrity

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Choosing to live ethically and with integrity isn’t for the faint of heart. It means making choices and dealing with consequences that choosing to lie might help you avoid, at least in the short-term. Here are the top 10 reasons why it’s worth the time and energy.

1. It’s a great way to keep life simple. Life is complicated enough already, and it certainly seems like the trend is towards exponential complications in our society. Living with integrity is one way to keep it simplified. You don’t have to remember who you told what, or pretend to be something you’re not, or to deal with consequences you’d rather avoid which…

2. Saves you time and energy. Fixing problems that can simply be avoided is an unfortunate waste of time and energy. If you’re up to accomplishing big stuff in the world, this side effect of living ethically and integrously is one that you are going to have to leverage in your favor.

3. It’s a small world after all. I live in bustling Miami, rubbing elbows on a regular basis with over six million people (between Dade and Broward Counties), and yet I am still constantly surprised at the ways I meet people again after not seeing them for years. As a trainer and a coach I’ve come to appreciate what a truly small world it is. Having always strived to treat people with honesty and to live with integrity it makes it a happy surprise to see them again. And because they’re happy to see me too, it preserves my reputation in the circles of my new endeavors and I’m constantly rediscovering new warm market opportunities.

4. It keeps you from burning your bridges. When you live this way, you’re not burning any bridges. It is a small world and you never know when you will find it useful to cross back across bridges you thought you were done with.

5. Life is a relationship game. Life is a team sport and the kind of team you have and the kinds of relationships you have with them is going to determine the boundaries of your success, and the level of integrity that you’re living out of is going to have a direct impact on the kind of relationship that it is.

Design it wisely.

6. Your relationship with yourself. Whether you consciously realize it not, being ethical and living life with integrity builds your self-esteem, your self-respect and your faith and trust in yourself.

One of the most powerful tools we have for high powered living is our word.

When we can count on ourselves to keep our word with ourselves it increases our confidence in our ability to achieve big goals, which is a wonderful way that…

7. It’s using the Laws of Attraction. The underlying premise of the laws of attraction is about accomplishing more with less effort. Who wouldn’t want more of that?

8. It makes you distinctive and special. If you’re one of those people that thinks or says “But everybody’s doing it!” – cutting corners, living in shades of grey, cheating on their taxes, whatever it is for you – then this one is especially for you.

I often hear people say that in order to stay competitive they have to adopt some of the same shady practices the competition is using.

If everybody’s doing it, doesn’t being the one who says “I won’t” really make you stand out from the crowd?

9. It makes you a role model. Whether you realize it or not, people are modeling their behavior after you. What kind of a role model do you want to be?

10. It helps to build a life worth living. Nobody has ever laid on their death bed and longed for the opportunity to go back and do it all over so they can lie to more people, steal more stuff, and to throw the people they love under the bus just one more time.

Nor has anyone ever gone to their funeral and wished the same for them.

Living with ethics and integrity is the fundamental platform for a life worth living.

I would never be the one to suggest that financial and personal success isn’t worth chasing, but a life of integrity lays the ground work not only for that kind of success, but also for the personal success that will probably be the only kind of success that will really matter in the end.

Your partner in saying “YES!” passionately to life,

Tracy Batwinas

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Signs That Your Husband Has Ended the Affair

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I often receive emails from wives who really do want to believe that their husband have ended the affair and are completely committed to working together to saving the marriage. But, for whatever reason, many have trouble totally believing in this. Maybe it’s because he was actively lying to you before when he was cheating. Maybe it’s hard to believe that someone can just turn off and on their feelings and flip flop in this way. Or, maybe he’s just still acting “off” so that you can’t help but question if he is as trustworthy and sincere as he claims to be.

Many of these emails ask for some signs or indications that their husband is telling the truth when he swears that he has ended the affair once and for all. Their are some behaviors and actions that you want to look for. I will discuss them in the following article.

He Doesn’t Have The Time To Keep Having An Affair Because He’s Spending All His Spare Time With You: The first thing that you want to look for is a husband who, when he’s not working or fulfilling other necessary obligations, is with you. It’s much less likely that the affair can continue when one of the parties is no longer present. If he can’t see her, spend time with her, converse with her, or interact with her, then how can they be having an affair?

So the first thing that you want to look for is the husband who is taking you along when he has to go somewhere and wants to include you in all of his plans. You want to see the guy who immediately comes home from work and puts off all of his leisure or extracurricular activities right now because his priority is you and the marriage.

If he’s still having to work late or run around because of other obligations, then you are potentially right to be suspicious and should most definitely check up to see if these claims are true. With that said, it’s not unheard of for a man to ask the mistress to “be patient” and wait until he can get you off of their trail. This is somewhat rare, but it does happen sometimes.

He’s Willing To Do Whatever You Ask Him To Do To Help You To Save The Marriage: A truly sincere man is going to follow up on his claims. Not only will he promise you that he’s going to make this right and end the affair, he will immediately begin doing exactly what he’s said. If you want to go to counseling, he will go. If you want answers, he will give them. If you need reassurance, he will work tirelessly to provide it. In short, he will make it his priority to give you what you need because he is truly sorry and wants to fix this.

Men who still have one foot in their life with this mistress are going to hold back a bit when it comes to their wife. Sure, they may talk a good game. But, when it really comes down to it, they are not able to “go all in” because their heart and their loyalties are divided. If your husband still isn’t at the point where he’s doing what needs to be done, ask him for what you need. If he’s still resistant, ask yourself why this might be.

He’s An Open Book With No Secrets: Man who are trustworthy will go out of their way to show you anything that you want to see. They are anxious to get your trust back so they will often go overboard with giving you their passwords and phone records. They have nothing to hide so this just isn’t a big deal to them. Now, sometimes, they will fall over themselves showing you only what they want you to see. They’re trying to steer you toward what is “safe” for you to see. That’s why it’s you who should decide what books you want to open. Because sometimes, they will be very anxious to show you phone records to a phone they aren’t using. Or, they’ll show you emails from an account that’s off limits between him and his mistress.

Finding Your Own Peace Of Mind: Sometimes, you have to ask yourself if you’re over reaching or if things are really not adding up. Try to see if there are just too many signs to ignore or if there is something that you can follow up on. Because sometimes, you will just need to see for yourself. There’s nothing that says that you can’t check up (discretely of course, so you won’t get caught.) This way, you will have your answer and he will never need to know that you were doubting him if he gets the all clear.

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Starting Your Own Hat Wear Line – 7 Things To Know

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In the 10 years I have been in the custom apparel and hat wear business, I can not remember how many people called asking for help in starting their hat wear line. All of them believed they had a great idea. Most of them had little or no money. And none of them had a clue what it takes to make it in one of the most competitive businesses in America. The first question these people asked was always “How much to make my own custom design hats?” And always, I told them, as gently as I could, there is a whole lot of other questions they should ask first, and cost is perhaps the last one of them. I have always given these people my honest opinions while trying my best to encourage them. This article sums up all the advice I have given over the years. Subsequent articles will address each of the following steps individually in greater detail.

#1: Know Your Customer

Perhaps THE most important thing to do before starting any business! You should answer the following questions regarding your customers:

1. Who might be your customers?

2. How old are they?

3. How many of them are there?

4. Where do they shop?

5. How often do they shop?

6. How much do they tend to spend when they shop for hats or caps?

7. What is popular among these people right now?

Answers to these questions determine the niche to sell your caps in, what designs are appropriate, how many of your hats can you possible sell, and at what price.

#2: Know Your Competition

The 2nd most important thing to do before starting any business! You should answer the following questions regarding your competition:

1. Who may be your competition?

2. What types of hats and designs are they offering right now?

3. How much are they charging for these products?

4. Where do they sell their hats?

5. How are they marketing their hats?

Answers to these questions determine what designs you should offer, how much you should be charging, what channel of distribution you should consider, and the possible marketing venues you should consider when launching your own hat wear line.

#3: Know Your Marketing Plan

So what you have the greatest hat design of the decade if you can not get your products out there! Launching a hat wear line is all about marketing. Let me give you a very simple example. I have a customer, a real customer whose name I can not mention. These guys have some pretty cool design ideas. So they teamed up with a poker player, and hired a public relations person who is connected in the entertainment industry. These 2 people generated a lot of interests in their products! Before you know it, couple celebrities were wearing their designs, and the rest is history. So brainstorm, be creative, put your name out there! Who knows? You might be the next ROXY, or Quicksilver, or even NIKE!

#4: Know Your Start-up Cost

So you have figured out who your target customers are, who your competitions are, what hat designs you want to launch, and you have come up with the most creative marketing campaign. Now it is time to answer some cost-related questions:

1. Staffing and office rental

2. Marketing campaign costs

3. Travel expanses

4. Trade show expanses

5. Production relation costs:

(i) How much does it cost for sampling of your designs?

(ii) Who should you go to get prototype designs made?

(iii) Production run costs (largely depends on how many hats you want to produce for your launch. To get any reasonable price point, you need to order at least in the hundreds per design. 25 hats is NOT a wholesale quantity.)

#5: Financing

You have a plan to market your hat wear line; you know how much it will cost you; now you need to know how to finance your venture. Possible sources for money:

1. Your savings

2. Your friends and family

3. Mortgaging your current assets such as your house

4. Finding outside investors (although this might be difficult for starting a hat wear line, but you never know)

5. Borrowing from the bank (SBA loans are available for entrepreneurs in many cases)

#6: Know Your Launch Date

In fashion, timing is everything. Are you launching your hat wear line for the Christmas season? For the back-to-school season? For the 4th of July? Most overseas production takes 72 to up to 90 days via ocean freight. Say you are producing your hats in China. Do you know that the Chinese shut down for up to 15 days during Chinese New Year, which occurs on different dates, although mostly in January and February, depending on the year?

#7: Write Down Your Plan

You have gotten all the pieces of the puzzle; writing them down increases your chances of success. Your plan will keep you focused, and provide you with the big picture as well as the details you need to consider. And if you are trying to secure financing, a business plan is not only crucial, but absolutely necessary!

This is a simplified run-down for the essentials steps you need to take before starting a hat wear line. So be creative with your designs; be thorough with your research; be meticulous with your planning. And good luck! Please make sure to check my other articles regarding specific details on each of the above points. You might also want to check out my web sites for additional information.

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Three of the World’s Best Film Schools

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There are many really good film schools around the world. Some of the world’s best film schools are located in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Many of the are located in California, New York, or have places across the world. Examples of the world’s best film schools include Vancouver Film School, New York Film Academy, and UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television. All of these are considered to be some of the best in the world, and a person going to one of them is sure to learn a lot about filming.

Among the world’s best film schools, Vancouver Film School stands out in filming. The school actually gets over 50% of their students from outside of Canada, which makes it a very international filming school. The school also has representatives from top filming and entertainment companies such as Pixar, Electronic Arts, and Dreamworks.

Another of the world’s best film schools is the London Film School, which is another international school. Over 70% of its students are from countries other than Britain. The school teaches its students on the actual film sets, rather than through classrooms. It is one of two schools in the United Kingdom that has been recognized as a Center for Excellence by Skillset.

Located in Los Angeles, The UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television is yet another internationally recognized film school. Students at this school will not only learn about filming, but they also combine theory and practice. This filming school teaches many different aspects of the industry, including acting, playwriting, and screenwriting.

The world’s best film schools are considered the top places to learn about movie making. Places such as Vancouver Filming School, London Filming School, and UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television rank among the world’s best film schools and they all produce some of the best filming eduction available. They all are internationally recognized as the best, and all teach the many aspects of filming. Anybody who goes to one of these schools will be able to learn a lot about filming.

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5 Ways to Make Your Girlfriend Like Star Wars and 1 Way to Make Her Hate It

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While most of us are happy to sit down and watch Star Wars, respective partners are not so willing. I know that I get quizzed all the time on why I like it so much. My girl friend can’t seem to understand why the Star Wars movies are so good. So I decided to sit down with her and show her why she should like Star Wars as much as me.

1. Harrison Ford. Most chicks still think that he is hot. Yeh sure he’s getting older now days but in the original trilogy he is still a good looking. Plus if you tell her he gets his shirt off in The Empire Strike Back then she will sit there and wait for it. Now we all know that he doesn’t really get his shirt off, just ripped a little, but you are allowed to exaggerate sometimes.

2. Ewoks. Girls all like cute and cuddly things, and there is nothing more cute and cuddly than a Ewok. I know that you may not like the half Wookie want-to-be’s but remember this is not about you. Tell the love of your life that if she likes them then you will get her a Ewok doll. I don’t know if you can, but you can tell her you will try.

3. C3PO. Girls like gay guys. They see them as a man friend with female advice, and who better fits that role than C3PO. Once they know that he is gay they will watch the whole movie laughing at his antics and hoping that he will find another gay robot so that they can live happily ever after.

4. Princess Leia. Chicks love a big tough strong female lead. They also love a soft and feminine character that they can relate to. Leia Organa has the lot. She is tough but soft, brave but scared. Tell your partner that she is a role model and someone you respect. That will win you brownie points every time. It shows a intellectual side. Hey lie if you have to, but remember were trying to sit down and watch our favorite movie here.

5. Cry when Darth Vader dies. When Luke Skywalker takes of his helmet, shed a tear. Show your girlfriend that you have a soft side. Girls dig that. They may not feel the same way, but if it gets you emotional than you will be able to watch it more often.

Now that you have her won over to liking Star Wars you don’t want to stuff it all up by doing something stupid. Unfortunately, as men, we are almost pre-programmed to do stupid things, and what is the biggest mistake we can make when watching Star Wars?

“Gee Leia looks hot in that slave girl outfit!”

And in an instant you have blown it.

Mind you in saying all of this I have tried it all and still have no succeeded in winning her over. Mind you, you are better to try than to just fail outright.

Terry Shadwell

P.S. I do know where you can get a Princess Leia Slave Girl Outfit!

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Is Your Dog Showing Signs of Stress? 6 Simple Techniques to De-Stress Your Pooch

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When it comes to our four legged friends, the impact of stress has long been underestimated. Stress in humans can lead to health problems, affect our relationships with others and can make us unbalanced, irritable and aggressive towards our surroundings. So, why wouldn’t we think our dogs are stressed out too?

Here are a few Stress symptoms of Dogs.

  • Restlessness
  • Hyperactivity
  • Very frequent display of calming signals.
  • Aggressive or anxious behavior
  • Compulsive behavior
  • Dog appears “distant”
  • Panting
  • Underweight
  • Excessive self grooming
  • Frequent barking or whining
  • Very frequent urinating.

Many, if not all behavioral problems with dogs are more or less stress induced What can be done?

You must recognize when and why your dog is stressed. We can defuse conflicting situations or prevent them form occurring in the first place. A stressor is something in our dog’s life that causes them stress. Examples of stressors are.

  • Death of a person well knows to the dog
  • Changing residences
  • Death or loss of a fellow four legged friend.
  • Being locked in a cage for too long.
  • Loud noises (ex. construction, thunderstorms)

When the dog is stressed it increases a hormone called Cortisol in the body. Increased levels of Cortisol can do emotional and physical harm to our 4 legged friends. The reaction to stress can be subdivided into 3 subsequent stages.

  1. Stage oneThe Alarm Reaction Stage. The dog has an interaction with nervous impulses and hormone release leads to optimum efficiency.
  2. Stage twoThe Resistance Stage – During the second stage the dog tries to cope with the situation which lowers his resistance towards other stressors in his life.
  3. Stage ThreeThe Exhaustion stage – If the stress persists, the animal can no longer cope. The animal will begin what is called “adaptation disease.”

This means he will revert back to stage one, but the problem will be ongoing. Adaptation disease is caused by a constant increased level of Cortisol in the blood.

Naturally, the dog’s body cannot keep up the sate of alarm forever, and therefore negative behavior will occur. If the strong tension and stressors lasts for a longer period of time the dog will react like the 3 stages above.

A permanently raised level of Cortisol in the blood weakens the immune system of your dog. Further consequences may be diseases of the digestive system such as stomach ulcers, and chronic diarrhea. In the long term it can lead to serious damage to the adrenal gland, high blood pressure, heart attacks and even stroke.

If you feel your dog is stressed out take some time out to make him feel better.

Of course all dogs are different, but this is a great beginning to de-stressing your dog.

  • Show them love and security
  • Healthy calm breathing with you.
  • Bonding time with his/her master
  • Give them enough places to withdraw to, rest and sleep.
  • Give them a life suitable for a dog
  • Let them have contact with other dogs, friendly cats and dog loving people.
  • Walks in fresh air
  • A healthy diet

De-stressing your dog might just make them a little happier. When they are happy you are happy.

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South Indian Actresses – The Hottest Ones

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South Indian cinema comprises of the movies of many languages and many genres. South movies can be in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada or Mallu languages. South Indian actresses are considered some of the hottest ones and in some ways; they compete directly with their Bollywood counterparts both for their oomph and their acting skills. Here is a lowdown on the top 5 actresses who have ruled the cinema.

Shriya – She was one the reigning queen of Tamil and Telugu cinema. She started her career with Ishtam and went on to act in dozens of movies. Her prominent movies include Sivaji The Boss, Nuvve Nuvve and Mazhai. After a successful career she tried her luck in Bollywood but she could not get much successful there. Later she returned to her home turf, south Indian cinema and is currently doing a couple of movies there.

Nayantara – This south Indian actress is credited with starting the trend of bikini-acts in Telugu and Tamil cinema with her movie Billa. In fact she shot to fame after this movie. Her super hit flicks include Boss, Vallavan and Ghajini. She was caught in controversy when some photographs of Nayantara kissing her costar Simbu were made public.

Sneha – She is known as homely beauty of Tamil screen because of her girl-next-door looks and roles in most of the films. This south Indian actress has done in all of the languages and every possible genre. In an upcoming movie she has gone for an image makeover as she is playing a tough cop. Her hits include Inba and Pandi.

Namitha – She is the voluptuous siren who has caught the fantasy of million both in India and other countries. According to Google, Namitha was the most searched term on mobiles in 2008. Namitha Kapoor is known more for her skin show than her acting skills. Despite being endowed with an over-sized figure she has mesmerized her fans in every movie. Her craze can be assessed by the fact that her fans are keen on building a temple in her name and worship as her goddess!

Anushka – She is another buxom actress of Tamil and Telugu movies. Anushka is known for her ethnic sex appeal. She has mostly done glamorous roles but in a recent movie Arundhati she played a very challenging role. Arundhati was super hit and made Anushka one of the most sought after actresses.

Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Mallu actresses are very beautiful.

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The Top Ten Movies You Should See This Holiday Season

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It’s the Christmas season, but that doesn’t mean you can go entertainment hungry. Not with all this good material around. Set down the decorations and celebrate with joy, laughter, humor, lots of family love, and some wonderful movies to help it along. Here’s the top ten Christmas movies for this season:

A Christmas Story

This classic is not only number one because it is probably one of the most widely viewed Christmas movies in America, but because it is something that is definitely something that all ages can enjoy. Safe to watch with the family and very lively indeed, it makes us all believe in a true family who although are just an average everyday 1940s household, create magic and mayhem around the holiday season.

It’s A Wonderful Life

As we all watch this movie we wonder if any movie as painful as this is can be worth the pay off…..then we see the ending and know that it most certainly is. When Jimmy Stewart reviews his life as it would be if he were not around we suddenly know what the spirit of true Christmas is, the joy of family, love, and being grateful for that wonderful life in which we possess. With such loyal town folk around we are more than willing to enjoy and feel Stewart’s pain year after year.

Miracle On 34th Street

For those children who are just discovering the truth about Santa Claus, this is the quickest remedy for true happiness. As we go through the trial of a man claiming to be the real Santa Claus, we try to discover the truth for ourselves. With the help of a little girl that tries to believe that this is the real Saint Nicholas of the North Pole. We cling to hope and happiness with this old time movie.

A Muppet’s Christmas Carol

With the help of Jim Hensen’s marvelous puppets we are taken on a oh so familiar journey with more happiness, Muppet mayhem, joyful music, and family fun then you were bargaining for. All that and you get an incredible performance by Michael Caine as that humbug Mr. Scrooge. Be sure that all the Muppets you love so well will be present along with that good message that this Dicken’s favorite will be sure to deliver on.

Gremlins

A little out of the common mold of the traditional Christmas movie, this classic delivers on a playful and mocking way that although not suitable for a younger audience is well worth a watch. Poor Gizmo and those mean ugly gremlins out to destroy all those town’s people Christmas fun. It will have you still screaming “Don’t feed him after midnight!!!”

Babes In Toyland

This 1960s cult classic definitely has a lot to offer. Set to a very fairy tale setting, your family will be enchanted by all the nursery rhyme characters set to a fascinating and changing story filled with costumes and effects a-plenty. Plus, who doesn’t want one of those incredible toy machines?

Little Women

Don’t look at me like that. I know that this is not primarily a Christmas movie, but it should be. Some of the most charming scenes in this movie are set around the Christmas season. Not to mention that this movie is definitely set in the Christmas spirit. With love above money, and happiness despite hard times you will be feeling the love this Christmas.

Elf

Will Ferrell gives every other elf a run for his money in this movie. With a lot to laugh about, faith of his human father on the line, tons of Christmas jokes, Christmas mayhem, and that poor executive who gets called an elf we discover the joy of laughter, faith beyond compare, and the restoration of true love free of all conditions.

Home Alone

That’s right, “Home Alone,” a movie with enough antics, fun, and for every kid that wished he could be left home alone this is the ticket. With some evil robbers trying to take over all the houses while everyone is on Christmas vacation this kid will definitely have none of it and he has more tricks up his sleeve than this pair of robbers have bargained for.

White Christmas

We’ve got to have a full blown musical on the list. Especially this movie which has enough Christmas music to give us those large smiles on our face. With a lively plot and a fun atmosphere it is guaranteed to be a new family classic in your house.

Enjoy your holiday season and may you and your family have the best that the world has to offer!

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Patio Heaters – What Your Patio Heater Manual Doesn’t Tell You

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A patio heater, just like any other appliance needs periodic maintenance. When checking your manual, you will probably have very good instructions in how to assemble and operate your patio heater. There may even be some useful troubleshooting information, if your patio heater doesn’t operate properly. But there is something the manufacture doesn’t bother to let you to know.

The warmer seasons are ending and you get your patio heater out of storage, ready to warm up those brisk mornings and colder nights. You turn on the natural gas supply or make sure you have a full propane tank. Friends and family are eagerly waiting to stand by the patio heater, so you go to light it up. Using the outdoor heater before, you know to turn the knob to pilot and depress the ignition button… click, and it doesn’t light. Okay, you try it again, click and it doesn’t light again. Your guests continue to wait patiently, but slowly start to move indoors and out of the chill. You check the gas supply again and try the ignition process a few more times, but decide to move the party inside.

The next day you check the instructions and troubleshooting guide, but still can’t get your patio heater to light and think you may need a new outdoor heater to move the gathering outdoors once again. However, if you knew a few maintenance tips, you might be able to save yourself the cost of a new patio heater and once again be the life of the party.

What most patio heater instructions won’t tell you is that a covered or stored heater is a favorite home for spiders and other little creatures. The cool, dark and confined space makes for a perfect nesting location for our eight legged friends. The debris, nest and spider webs created during the period of non-use of your patio heater, blocks the important functioning parts, making it not to work properly or at all. Unfortunately, without dismantling a couple key parts, you would never be able to see the problem created by the web, debris or nest. If your patio heater is more than a year old, more than likely it is out of warranty and the manufacturer won’t offer much help.

So what do you do now to get your outdoor patio heater back in operation. Almost all natural gas or propane patio heaters contain the same components of a control valve, a pilot, a thermocouple and a main burner. Getting to and cleaning these components are essential to having your outdoor heater working again.

Cleaning the internal parts of your Patio Heater:

Note: Always make sure the patio heater is cool, with any gas supply disconnected.

1. Remove the hood or reflector and emitter screen. The parts are usually attached to main burner housing with four screws. Once this is remove, you will have access to the main burner, pilot and thermocouple.

2. Remove the main burner, which is usually attached to a bracket with anywhere from two to four screws. Once the main burner is removed, you will have access to the main burner orifice. The orifice a small brass fitting with a tiny hole, measured in gauges. This tiny hole can become clogged or obstructed by the debris, nest or web, left by the spider. Since very little or no gas can pass through the obstruction, the outdoor heater will not create a flame or will have a very yellow sooty flame.

3. With a wrench or socket set, remove this orifice for cleaning. To clean, use compressed air or a needle to remove any obstruction.

4. Check the pilot for any other obstructions. On occasion, the pilot orifice, like the main burner orifice, will have leftover deposits by the spiders. This brass fitting will have an even smaller hole that the main burner orifice. Removing the pilot orifice can be tricky, as different manufacturers will secure the pilot in different manners. Most pilots, however, will be connected to a bracket holding the pilot and thermocouple. Loosen this bracket so you will have free access to the pilot. The pilot orifice will be directly on top of the small copper tube and just under the pilot. Remove the pilot and then remove the pilot orifice. Clean the pilot orifice in the same manner as the main burner orifice with compressed air or a needle.

5. On the main burner, there should be two openings near the bottom of the burner, these are called the venturi. Make sure the opening are clear of any obstructions, so air can be mixed properly with the gas.

6. With all patio heater parts cleaned, reassemble all the parts in reverse order from above, but DO NOT re-attach the hood (reflector).

7. Reconnect and turn on your gas supply. Following your operation manual, light your patio heater only to the pilot position. While keeping the control knob depressed in the pilot position, check and see that the pilot is lit, with the flame touching the top of the thermocouple. After you have check this, release the control knob (about 30 – 60 seconds) and the pilot should remain lit. If it does not, wait for the heater to cool and follow the pilot orifice cleaning instructions above. Reassemble and light the pilot again.

8. Once the pilot remains lit, turn the control knob to the high position. If the main burner orifice was cleaned properly, you should see a 4 – 6 inch blue flame with orange-yellow tips. If the flame is almost all yellow, then the obstructions in the burner venturi were not cleaned properly. The venturi allow air to mix with gas to burn clean. If no air mixes with the gas, a yellow and dirty flame is produced.

9. With the pilot and main burner now in perfect operation, wait for the patio heater to cool then reassemble the emitter screen and hood back onto the housing bracket, using the same screws provided

10. Light your patio heater and your back in business and ready to have another great party, gathering or outdoor dining experience once again.

Please note that with either a natural gas or propane patio heater, if you are uncomfortable with gas appliances, contact a qualified gas technician.

Want to know more about patio heaters, visit PatioHeatingUSA.com.

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Build Your Social Capital – 28 Tips

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I am seeing a growing trend in interactive media that is bothering me. Unfortunately, user engagement from social media is on the decline. I know many industry folks will challenge me here as the registration numbers to social media services are in hockey stick growth mode (as of this post.) However, the percentage of registered users engaging in the services as measured by clicks, time spent, comments, etc. is on the decline. I understand the argument that this is a natural trend as the early adopter “geeks” have a high penetration of engagement and newer social media adopters are more lurkers and generally have less involvement.

I don’t totally buy that argument. I believe there are several reasons for this user engagement downward trend and one of which is a lack of individual social capital.

Ask yourself a simple question… when you look at your Facebook News Feed or Twitter postings – how many posting do you ignore vs. read/respond/forward?

More now than in the past? Is it one in five, one in ten, or one in twenty?

Wikipedia provides more of an academic definition of social capital. In my layman terms – it is the authority others give individuals based upon their knowledge/experience/interactions with the individual. If your social capital is high then your blog post/comments/articles are likely read and esteemed by many. If you are an unknown to some – your social capital is in heavy evaluation mode by that some. If your social capital is rated low by certain individuals – you are likely ignored by those individuals.

I think the success of your social media experience is heavily dictated by your social capital. It is my belief that significant improvements in individual social capital will improve overall social media engagement metrics. For me, this is an industry-wide issue.

Given my experiences, I’ve compiled a streaming consciousness list of 28 Things to Boost Your Social Capital:

1. Have a Unique Voice – Don’t be afraid to stand out and speak your mind. Be willing to challenge conventional thinking – just use your experiences and become the voice.

2. Be Respectful – Always remember to respect and appreciate different opinions and points of view. It’s a good thing and it challenges smart thinking. As an old boss of mine once told me, “Say what you mean – mean what you say – and don’t say it mean.”

3. Generate New Ideas – I will often say that in technology “nothing is really new, rather a novel approach to the same thing.” It’s the same in media. Novel approaches are great and allow innovation. If you are good at generating novel approaches to business problems – people will listen.

4. Talk About What You Have Experience in – Self explanatory. If you are reading this post it is highly likely you have a decent amount of experience in something. Figure it out and stick to what you know. Authenticity is critical for success in social media.

5. Create a Trusted Relationship – Social Media has done a great job enabling the development and nurturing of faceless relationships. Do the right thing to develop these relationships as there is much responsibility there. This includes distributing accurate information, enabling conversation, responsiveness, etc.

6. Be Positive – There is enough negative going on in the world and your social interactions should avoid the negatives associated with that. This doesn’t mean you should only talk about good things, rather keep the tone positive even when talking about challenges. I am a believer that giving off positive Mojo brings back positive Mojo.

7. Listen – Remember you are a focus group of one (unless of course you are referencing research data.) This is not lip service – make sure you read postings and absorb what others have to say. Everyone is busy and if someone takes the time to post – make sure you hear what they are trying to say. Social is all about different POV coming together in a conversation.

8. Be Socially Sustainable – Make the commitment to social communications right away. Too many folks get-in, get-out, and then back-in, etc. Social media is not going away anytime soon so get used to it and figure a way to sustainably incorporate that into the balance of your life.

9. It’s a Process – Building your Social Capital takes time and lots of resilient effort. Don’t give up. Do what any life coach will tell you… create a plan, set attainable goals, and make it like brushing your teeth – something you incorporate into your life. Trust me – over time you will see the benefits.

10. Be Naked – Be willing to reveal yourself to your audience, even if that means sharing your idiosyncrasies or mistakes with millions of people. Jeff Bezos did.

11. Be Honest – It will feel good.

12. Resist Unimportant Chatter – This is a big one. Many folks post too much unimportant information (Ex. my dog took a pee,) private jokes, or every turn of their life. Resist the urge to share topics or issues that are likely not to have meaning to most of your audience. The reality is that most folks don’t care about your dog going to the bathroom and if you continue to post useless information you will be ignored when you want to be heard when posting something important.

13. Be First – Being first to report industry news, an upcoming product launch, competitive information, etc. is great way to build social capital. Simple rational – if you are on top of what’s going on in an industry, others will rely on you for more of this insight in the future. A more sophisticated and sustainable approach is to provide strategic commentary on the news. If your users like your strategic commentary they will always come back for more, regardless if you are first to report it. A simple strategy here is to setup Google Alerts with industry keywords. You then find out the skinny when it happens.

14. Learn SEO Right Away – It is critical you understand the basics, have a keyword strategy, and know how to quantitatively monitor performance. Your acquisition investment in traffic from social media needs to translate into a retention strategy and growth via search engines (Google, etc.)

15. Learn the Credibility Pyramid – My favorite commentary on the topic comes from Darren Rowse at Problogger.net where the pyramid is explained in more detail. For me, the most interesting part of the pyramid is the 50% at the top attributed to your care and concern for your audience.

16. Update Your Social Profiles – Make sure your profiles on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, MySpace, etc. are current and express what you want your audience to know about you. They will go there first to get an understanding of who you are.

17. Start a Blog – Among other things, starting a blog is a good way to communicate your thoughts and build an advertising-free audience via social media and SEO.

18. Don’t Let Social Media Take Over Your Life – Another big and difficult one for many. Resist the temptation to let social media take you over 24/7. Enjoy screen-free time with family and friends. It will make you a better person and, at minimum, it will provide you with more interesting things to write about. Audiences love anecdotal stories about life experiences.

19. Incorporate Offline – Even with the great Social Media tools that exist today – online relationships are limited and can feel one or two dimensional. It’s OK to start with an online relationship, yet once you’ve developed a Social Media relationship with a respected peer – meet face-to-face. Meet-ups are becoming popular and typically enhance your Social Media capital. Disclaimer: Of course, be safe and careful as there are many weirdos out there.

20. Don’t Be Too Personal – This is self-explanatory. People don’t care about your athletes foot fungus unless it is in the context of an academic health conversation. It is too much information and you will be considered a bit weird, thus lowering your Social Capital.

21. Do Posts Yourself – I know this is a controversial topic as many executives have shadow writers that write blogs/Tweets/etc. under the executives name. The argument is that the executive is too busy to write themselves. If you are not writing under your name, as yourself – my position is that it is not authentic. If you tell your audience that others are writing for you – that is OK. Although, having others write under your name can reduce your Social Capital. By nature folks are not trusting and they smell inauthentic behavior from a mile away. They will call you out and then the hammer drops – it’s a bad situation… I’ve seen it. More importantly for executives, personally writing and engaging in Social Media conversations provide the opportunity to speak directly with customers, prospects, peers, and friends. A very different experience than the Ivory Tower.

22. Include Links – When posting (via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) it is important to include links to the resulting articles, blog posts, video, etc. as users are materially more engaged when links are available. Additionally, if the links are set up correctly they are quantitatively traceable providing key metrics for you.

23. Provide FREE Value – I know this is a hard one for many professionals/consultants that expect to get paid for their grey matter. Get over it. It’s the old cliche – if you give – you will get.

24. Follow Through – If you become an active participant in Social Media you may find that folks are seeking your help and advice aside from quick comments or answers to questions. Take the time and go out of your way to answer them promptly – be helpful. The majority of folks are respectful of people’s time and effort. You will make some friends, boost your Social Capital, and the payoff will come over time.

25. Be a Good Social Media Citizen – Get out there and comment, write, post, re-tweet, and share your views with other Social Media evangelists. Don’t just spend time on your own blog, Facebook page, or Twitter account. Just like you want folks to come to you – they want the same.

26. Remember This is Networking – Be professional. Act as if you are in a face-to-face networking experience.

27. Seek Industry Leaders – Do your homework and find your niche and the associated voices there. You need to understand the conversation and challenges. Read, write, and engage other voices in your niche – it helps to build Social Capital. If you prove yourself they will quote you and want your feedback on issues.

28. Practice a Good Value System in Controversy – It’s the obvious. Expect controversy to happen – it’s just a matter of time. Deal with it with respect and good values. Lots of folks are listening to your every move so don’t let the heat of the moment change who you are. If being right compromises the integrity of others – resist explicit comments or postings and handle the situation privately. The old cliche, “treat others as you want them to treat you.”

What Social Capital tips can you share?

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