Wednesday, December 7, 2016

5 Things You Should Know Before Visiting Batu Caves in Malaysia

The Batu Caves serve not only as a tourist attraction but is considered a Hindu shrines as well. It is a pilgrimage site visited by hundreds of Hindus worldwide especially during their annual Thaipusam festival. The other famous attraction at Batu Caves is the 42.7 meters high giant golden statue of Murugan and there is definitely no way of missing it!

But before you visit the Batu Caves, there are five important things we would like you to consider and include in your plans. So take a peek on the following important notes below. We believe this would help you be more prepared and make your visit more memorable.

1. Get ready to climb the 272 steps to Temple Cave.

The numbers may look exhausting to climb but it is all worth it! Just continuously think of this: “It will benefit my health. It will benefit my health!” But kidding aside, it is not that strenuous. Anyone with good health condition can reach the top without difficulty. Plus, the steps are numbered so you will feel motivated each time you step forward! Therefore, remember to wear comfortable shoes, which make a pair of rubber shoes an excellent choice. And once you reach the top, all your hard work will pay off. The Temple Cave is one of a kind. We will tell you more about it in the latter part of this article.

2. Beware of the mischievous monkeys!

That is right! Make sure to add extra care on your belongings especially if you have a food on your hand. These macaque monkeys have the tendency to freak out the visitors of Batu Cave. They move so quickly that you will never know what they are up to next. A local advised us to just avoid having too much eye contact with them. It makes them wilder. Some even said that besides from stealing, they also bite! So the best you can do is attempt to ignore their behavior, if not their presence. Just continue walking the steps and try not to be so close to them. If you want to take pictures of these macaque monkeys, be careful and avoid irritating them.

3. Pay respect for it is a religious site.

Presently, it is still a religious site. If you are lucky enough, you can witness a few Hindus worshiping. So it is wiser to take note of this. Keeping your voices low and helping the caves clean are helpful. And of course, avoid vandalism for it will destroy the caves itself. If you want to learn more about Batu Caves, it is also nice to experience the Thaipusam festival. It is an event wherein devotees carry milk as an offering and bring it on top climbing the 272 steps. It is said to be one of the biggest gatherings in Malaysia. So attending the Thaipusam festival is a fantastic way to experience a Malaysian culture.

4. Try the existing rock climbing routes.

This is of course for the mountain/rock wall climber enthusiasts. Or if you are a sporty/adventurous type of person, you are in, too! There is said to be a total of 170 rock climbing routes. If you would like to know more about the routes, you can go directly at this site. It enumerates the different routes and even provides directions if you are planning to ride a public bus.

5. Explore the other caves as well!

Lastly, in order for you to complete your Batu Caves visit, it would be great to explore the other caves too. The Batu Caves consists of three main caves which are the Temple Cave, Dark Cave, and the Art Gallery Cave. The biggest one which has 100-meter high ceiling is the Temple Cave. This is the one which you need to go up and climb the 272 steps. It is just amazing how high the ceiling of the cave is. You will even find a large opening as you walk farther back. As for the Dark Cave, rock formations are the main stars. You can find amazing stalactite and stalagmite formations here. And if you wish to see a lake and ponds inside a cave, just go ahead to the Art Gallery Cave. It is an enchanting place to be at. Plus, you will learn more as statues and paintings about Hinduism are displayed in this cave. There are also a few smaller caves around the area if you still wish to explore more.

There you go. These are the important things you should know before heading out to Batu Caves. Remember to bring extra water if you wish to explore all the caves, for it can be really exhausting. Most especially if you are trying to avoid the monkeys! Though on a lighter note, there is an extra bonus. You can buy fresh coconut juice as a treat! Plus, there are hundreds of pigeons on the grounds of the Batu Caves which bring additional delight to the visitors as well. If you wish to view some photos, you may visit my slideshow “Travel Log: Batu Caves, Malaysia”.

Address: Batu Caves Sri Subramaniam Temple Kuala Lumpur 68100 Malaysia

Contact Number: 60-3-2287-9422


Admission Fee: Free


Wikipedia, Batu Caves,

Virtual Malaysia, Batu Caves,

Backpacking Malaysia, Rock-Climbing at Batu Caves,


Amazon : Looking Beyond Online Marketing Communications Strategy

Today’s advancing world of business has brought many opportunities for producers to cater to consumers. It has encouraged the growth of Internet technology to use in the means of business, to bring it to greater heights. The advancement of technology opened opportunities for organizations to expand beyond their reach with the beginning of E-commerce.

According to,” Electronic commerce is the paperless exchange of business information using electronic data interchange (EDI), e-mail, electronic bulletin boards, fax transmissions, and electronic funds transfer. It refers to Internet shopping, online stock and bond transactions, the downloading and selling of “soft merchandise” (software, documents, graphics, music, etc.), and business-to-business transactions.”

E-commerce basically comes down to one thing – employing the Internet to do business more effectively and efficiently. It is about giving customers control over purchasing behavior and letting consumers serve themselves better while giving producers the chance to committing an online effort to increase their market share. As a result of this, many marketing communication strategies have been implemented. Marketing communications not only concern with product and services promotions but also impacts the promotion of a company’s corporate image. Marketing communication, according to Kimmel (2005) in his book ‘Marketing Communication’,” or the so-called promotional mix… represents a critical mediating process that links a company’s offering to its intended consumers.” is an online retailer selling products and services such as books, appliances, DVD’s and B2B services and many more. is a global brand and a pioneer in the e-commerce industry. Amazon aims to focus on customer experience through offering a wide array of products at low prices at the most convenient possible way. The company aims to provide the world’s biggest selection of merchandise while maintaining an organization that is operated from its customers’ point of view.

Although the company makes billions of dollars a year, to achieve their aim of expanding, needs to restructure its marketing communications strategies. The Internet has come to an age where every user today is no longer captivating and audiences are used to tactics employed online when producers market their products and services. While works to gain repeat purchasers for their products through their web-site, a larger market out there can be targeted through other forms of media in the marketing communications mix.

Amazon needs to think outside the box…instead of focusing all their efforts at advertising online, they could implement other marketing tools through conducting most of their branding efforts offline such as sending out brochures, catalogs and place ads in magazines. Other forms of media can be implemented as well, such as through television and radio. Thus, although the Internet offers electrifying prospects for marketing communication, it can rarely stand alone as a brand-building tool. Instead, it must be carefully integrated into the broader marketing communications mix.

According to the excerpt “The Internet, Interactivity, and All Those Nets and Dot-Coms : Disintegrated Marketing Communications?”, “The Web’s ineffectiveness as a major brand building tool is one of today’s hottest marketing issues”. (Kotler, P. Armstrong, G. & Cunningham, P. (2001). Advertising and focusing marketing strategies online alone is barely notable to the user, as shown in the excerpt – an advertisement on the television or a jingle from a radio ad is more likely to stick in the minds of the consumer rather than an online advertisement. Top B2B e-commerce organizations such as Cisco Systems market themselves through full-page ads in the Wall Street Journal relatively to Web banners.

There are many limitations of the internet in the form of marketing. Although considered to be the best media to promote a product, it still comes down to mainstream media to effectively market a product. The major limitation of the Internet is the coverage. While there are a growing number of households with internet, many consumers still prefer traditional media compared to buying their products online. The competition online for Web-surfers is also a limitation to the Internet. The increasing number of web-pages makes it progressively more complicated to capture consumers’ attention. [Cateora P., Graham J. (2008)]

Web ads still do not have the impact producers and marketers want for their products. Consumer are still attracted and intrigued by ads that are seen, heard, smelt, taste and touch rather than the occasional pop-up ad online that annoys them which immediately makes them close it. In a recent survey noted in an excerpt, “In the digital world, consumers control ad exposure. Many consumers who’ve grown up with the Internet are sceptical of ads in general and resentful of Web ads in particular. Internet advertisers face an uphill battle in getting such consumers to click onto their ads. In fact, a recent survey found that 21 percent of Internet users polled said they never clicked on Internet ads and another 51 percent said they clicked only rarely.” (Kotler, P. Armstrong, G. & Cunningham, P. (2001).

Consumers have become so used to pop-ups online, that they automatically close the ads before even glancing at it. Even advertisement banners across the top part, side and bottom of the web page do not necessarily encourage any sales boost. Consumers tend to remember commercial jingles and slogans for yesteryears rather than an online ad today. But as noted in the article, it has to be a balance of both worlds – e-commerce and traditional commerce. (Kotler, P. Armstrong, G. & Cunningham, P. (2001).

A large organization such as Coca Cola even has a website ( to cater to merchandise and collectibles enthusiasts. Though their main products which are the famous carbonated drinks fondly known as “Coke”, it is not sold online. Their products are for consumption and are marketed throughout without actually having the need to maintain a website.

Amazon should create an image for itself that showcases what it really does. Most consumers know to be a site that sells books. What the company really is all about is to encourage, introduce and expand other businesses online through it main web portal. Amazon should strategize ads targeted towards businesses that would like to enter e-commerce. Amazon needs to expand globally through other Medias with the appropriate marketing campaigns. Amazon today is a highly successful e-commerce website in the US, Canada and Europe. Though known throughout most developed countries, not many consumers actually purchase products online. Online purchasing is still relatively new in the Asian market, but Amazon can encourage this behaviour if implemented the right tools. For Amazon to prosper even further and gain global market share, they need to focus on other areas.

Focus on the availability of the markets advertising media.
Amazon should review on the potential markets in other countries such as Asian countries. Many countries use as many as 40 to 50 different Medias as national coverage. [Cateora P., Graham J. (2008)]

Focus on improving information of coverage.
Expand coverage throughout localities by expanding locally and regionally. Partnering with local e-commerce sites such as and could gain help Amazon gain market share in Malaysia. Ebay has a Malaysian portal known as simply, eBay Malaysia at to cater to the local market.

Focus on improving market data.
Amazon needs to research and analyse potential markets to improve market data on consumer behaviour. Amazon needs to be kept up-to-date in order to move in with the fast-changing pace of consumer’s tastes and preferences. [Hawkins, D Mothersbaugh, D & Best, R (2007)]

Marketing campaigns have to be targeted and remain focused on the aims and goals of the company. The aims of these marketing communications strategies are to communicate a company’s message and appeal in an organized, identifiable and persuasive approach.

As Kimmel (2005) pointed out in his book, marketing communications has developed into a complex far-reaching medium for most organizations today. Marketers today are entrusted with the latest technologies through the evolving ranges of possible types of marketing communication tools. Though the internet is one of the most effective tools in the marketing communications strategy, other forms of media can be taken into consideration to stimulate the desired responses from target market. Consumers’ behaviour is constantly changing, hence the need for marketers to constantly evolve and remain positive. According to the author, “competition is so strong in the contemporary marketing environment that marketers a re obliged to keep experimenting with different ways and means to direct their messages to increasingly jaded consumer audiences.” [Kimmel A. (2005)]

Traditional media selection is still the staple in any major media marketing campaign. That is why needs to reconsider other marketing communication tools to implement their strategies. Many producers in other countries still maintain newspapers as their overall market coverage due to the many alternatives in newspapers. The appropriate messages through this media are vital. Amazon’s books could be advertised in newspapers to consumers routing them towards the website. Segments in newspapers could showcase different genre books, business section could advertise business management books or the entertainment section would mean advertising a new CD from a pop artist.

Another form of marketing communications tool is magazines. Advertising in overseas edition of reputable magazines such as Readers Digest International could introduce Amazon to many potential customers. Overseas edition of the magazine is available in more than 20 different languages, and Amazon can advertise its services in the local languages. Magazines provide critical brand awareness. It has a clear and specific demographic selectivity as well as geographic flexibility across many urban markets.

Radio and television today are major communications media in most nations. In countries like Japan, television is a national obsession and an advertisers dream. Television allows demonstration; it is in good reach and has proven impact upon consumers. Amazon should introduce advertisements on TV that would induce viral marketing. Honda’s ‘The Cog’ advertisement made viral marketing headlines when the advertisement was downloaded all over the world from internet sources. When the advertisement was first shown, it generated so much interest; viral marketing began for the Honda Accord from word-of-mouth to word-of-mouse. As shown here, products and services that are not sold online do obtained a market share through online methods as well as its traditional advertising methods. []

Another marketing communications tool, satellite and cable TV are a great way to reach audiences. According to the book, ‘International Marketing’, “Star TV, a new pan-Asian satellite television network, has a potential audience of 2.7 billion people living in 38 countries from Egypt through India to Japan, and from Russia to Indonesia.” [Cateora P., Graham J. (2008)] Amazon could advertise in TV stations such as these to widen their audience and consumer horizon. Amazon could advertise during prime time programs such as ‘How I Met Your Mother’ with advertisements promoting DVD purchase of the popular series while offering recommendations of other series of the same genre.

Direct mail is also an effective way to reach greater volumes of audiences in most parts of the world such as countries in Southeast Asia. In Japan, companies such as Nestle’ Japan promote their Buitoni fresh-chilled pasta using a 12-page colour direct mail booklet which included Japanese-style versions of Italian favourites. [Cateora P., Graham J. (2008)]

Street-level posters, billboards, and interior posters could also generate interests outside of the online community. As noted earlier, even Cisco Systems revert to traditional forms of marketing communication. One example of misixng the best of both worlds is Dell. Being an online retailer, Dell also promotes their products through magazines and television.

“Dell Computer is one of the largest ad spenders in tech trade magazines and runs a $150-million-plus branding campaign almost entirely on TV. Dell hopes to conduct 50 percent of all transactions online and contends that it can’t generate that kind of volume with Web advertising.” [Kotler, P. Armstrong, G. & Cunningham, P. (2001).]

The reach is the key – it has to be done in moderate frequency to avoid annoying overplay that is why overkill of adverts online are often surpassed by the user/consumer. Featuring creative ads on other media would keep consumers intrigued and entertained while still being informative. It is the reach of these Medias that online tools cannot compare to. While being global and used widely, the Internet advertising campaigns do not always reach the right targeted audience. While the marketing communications strategy might take on a budget of millions, Amazon would gain a competitive advantage that not many organizations could achieve. Reaching out and expanding to the millions of consumers around the world would boost sales for Amazon.


8 Simple Back to School Health Tips for Parents

With the school year starting back up kids are going to be more prone to illnesses than they were during the summer months. As all parents know the exposure to germs increases when large groups of children are put together. There are however, eight back to school health tips that parents can follow to reduce their child’s risk of becoming ill or spreading illnesses.

Make sure your child is up to date on all shots:

Review your child’s shot records and make sure that he/she is up to date on all shots before heading back to school. There are several immunizations that are elective that a parent should look into getting for their child. One such elective is the Hepatitis A vaccination that comes in a two shot series.

Hand Washing:

Before your child goes back to school makes sure he/she understands the importance of proper hand washing. Soap and water can do wonders in reducing your child’s risk of illness. A child should wash his/her hands properly before eating and after using the restroom.

For times when a child can not wash their hands with soap and water a hand sanitizing gel can be used. These can be picked up in personal size bottles at almost any store. Show your child how to use the hand sanitizing gel and tell them to use it when he/she does not have the opportunity to wash his/her hands with soap and water.

Do not use other people combs/brushes:

Children have this habit of sharing things with their friends. While sharing is a great concept children should be taught not to use his/her friend’s combs or brushes. Nor should he/she allow their friends to use theirs. The sharing of combs and brushes can cause the spread of head lice which is more common in children during the school year.

Do not send your child to school with a fever:

While this back to school health tip do not reduce your child’s risk of illness it does protect other kids and adults. Even if your child is feeling fine a fever is an indicator that their immune system is trying to fight something off. A child is at his/her most contagious when running a fever. This puts all children and adults that are around your child at risk. So if at all possible do not send your child to school with a fever.

Sanitize hard surfaces in your home:

Your child will be exposed to all sorts of germs and viruses while at school. These germs and viruses can hitch a ride back home with your child therefore it ideal that you sanitize hard surfaces that your child will be coming into contact with. A can of Lysol and/or sanitizing wipes should work to kill germs and virus that your child leaves behind.

Maintain a well balanced diet:

Children should be getting a well balanced diet every day. By getting a well balanced diet a person’s immune system works at top performance and therefore aids in fighting off germs and viruses that a person is exposed to. Since your child is going to be exposed to so much more now that they are back to school it is very important to their over all health that they eat a well balanced diet. In addition to aiding in the immune system a well balanced diet is important for brain health as well. Children have longer attention spans and retain more information when they eat healthy.

Get plenty of sleep:

Make sure your child is getting an adequate amount of sleep at night to help aid in their over all health as well. Just like a well balanced diet the body needs plenty of rest to be at peak performance both physically and mentally. People who are sleep deprived are more likely to perform poorly at tasks and more likely to suffer from frequent illnesses.

Be consistent:

Children need consistency to retain what they are being taught. Be consistent in reminding your child why he/she needs to wash their hands, not share combs/brushes, eat a well balanced diet and get plenty of sleep. The more you stay on top of teaching your child why these things are important to their health the more habit forming it will be. Eventually these things will become habits for your child where you no longer have to remind him/her.


7 Valuable Tips on Flyer Printing for Beginners

Let me get you setup in flyer printing. Beginning something can be a bit scary, but with the right knowledge and advice full of wisdom, you should be able to get the hang of it quickly.

So here are seven tips on printing flyers for newbies. Each tip should give you some insights on the best design and printing practices for producing good outputs for business. Study each one and apply them yourself.

1. Use medium sized flyer templates – It is best to go for the middle ground in terms of the size of your color flyers. Going at it big might get you some impact, but it also might be unwieldy to some of your readers. Going at it small and they might just be easily ignored or worse turned way. So make sure that you try to use more medium sizes templates, as this is a good starting point. Anything from 8.5 by 11 inches to 4.25 by 5.5 inches should be okay for your first try.

2. Print full color only ‘” Full color is the best thing that you could do for your prints. While you might want to save money and print only black ink on colored paper, this will only give you amateur level results. Full color flyers with full color graphics always deliver the best impact since people get the whole picture with those prints. It is best to print full color only, even if you are just an amateur.

3. Use durable paper materials that you can afford ‘” It is also highly recommended that you use durable materials as you begin your printing process. Try to get the best materials that can fit you printing budget. Thicker paper is good, as well as those materials with water resistant coatings. The better the quality the more you can lengthen the life of your custom flyers, giving you a better time in marketing using them.

4. Use glossy inks when possible ‘” Now, if you do have the extra money to invest in, I recommend using glossy inks. Glossy inks let your designs shine and twinkle in the light, further catching more attention. Beyond that, it also imbues that professional touch, making it look very expensive and of course causes people NOT to throw those away immediately. 5. Print in bulk always ‘” To get extra discounts, always try to print in bulk. Do not print piecemeal as these results in higher printing quotations. So make sure that you schedule your printing as a bulk order. A onetime major order is typically something that flyer printing companies consider giving discount on since they can save some materials in the printing process.

6. Get other types of discounts from your printer ‘” Also keep in mind that you can get other types of discounts. Besides bulk printing discounts, it is well possible to get loyalty discounts and other special offers on materials. Just keep asking so that you can get all the special offers in their promotional campaign. Every special deal counts.

7. Print flyers online for faster processing ‘” Finally, you should always consider printing online for faster processing. While it is well easy enough to have a local printer handle the mass production, online printers typically are easier to work with and have very fast turnaround times. So try to go online and search for an online flyer printing company that suits you. Trust me, you will be saving time and money, with no real disadvantage on your part.

Now, as a newbie, you do not have to be afraid. With these tips, it should easy now to design and print for mass production.

Kaye Z. Marks is an avid writer and follower of the developments in print flyers and flyer printing that help businesses in their marketing and advertising campaigns.


Are Tiny Giraffes Real, like the One on the DirecTV Ads?

If you found this article by searching, “Are tiny giraffes real?” or “Can I get a pet giraffe like on the DirecTV commercial?,” I will give you the short answer right away, so you don’t have to wait in agony anymore. The answer is: No. I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but no one is getting one of these adorable little creatures, because they don’t exist. Not yet anyway. Maybe one day a mad scientist will perfect some sort of shrinking machine.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, it started with DirecTV ads featuring Gregor, the Russian billionaire. He had a cute miniature pet giraffe; in one commercial he kisses the giraffe, and in another, the giraffe runs on a tiny treadmill and walks away with a towel around its neck. You can read about all the well-placed details in these ads (such as real dogs playing poker) and view these commercials at the following links:

Most people would know that the giraffe was not real and that it was just to be funny and ridiculous, but people still wanted one for a pet and started searching for it. Then a website,, was created to reserve your very own miniature giraffe from the Sokoblovsky Farms, “the best and only breeders of Petite Lap Giraffes.” This site is hilarious.

There is even a “live” web-cam so you can watch the bull giraffe in real time. The quote under the video says, “See what our bull Vladimir do around farm. If not see him, don’t worry he come back.” The whole site is jokingly written in broken English and is full of funny sayings. You have to check out the “About” section, with advice like, “Petite Lap Giraffes are very funny animal that require special care. They need lots of love. Hugs and kisses every day. Otherwise they make tears.”

All you have to do to get your very own tiny giraffe is get in line by signing the waiting list. The site says, “We are expecting baby from Vladimir and Raina in approximately 156 days. This baby reserved by prince for birthday gift. If you are interested in having own petite lap giraffe please sign waitlist.”

When I clicked the button, I received the following message: “Congratulations!!! You make 891,888 on waiting list for petite lap giraffe. Share greatest news with family on the facebook or tweeter.” I wonder if my great-great-great-great-great (who knows how many greats) grandchildren can inherit my place in line after I die, because there’s no way I’m getting a petite lap giraffe in this lifetime.

Marketing people, are you paying attention? Make a realistic robotic mini giraffe and you will make a killing. Offer accessories like a mini treadmill and towel too. I think this might be the next big Christmas gift.

You can read more commentary about this at this link:

And just for the heck of it, I’m throwing in a link to a video of George Strait’s live performance of “Ocean Front Property in Arizona,” which I referenced in the subtitle above. I don’t know what year it’s from, but he looks so young in this video. You can watch it here.


Linked in article

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America's VetDogs Are Waiting to Help Our Military Veterans

Introduction to America’s VetDogs
When you see wounded veterans returning home from the war, doesn’t your heart go out to them? I bet it does, mine does too. You want to help, but what can you do? War has changed things in their world. They need help on a daily basis and America’s VetDogs are serving the purpose. Our four-legged friends are even more necessary than ever. America’s VetDogs have given new life and new hope to veterans and their families. Are you a vet, or do you know a vet, who would benefit from a guide dog? If so, America’s VetDogs are waiting to help.

America’s VetDogs have three types of dogs: guide dogs, service dogs and military therapy dogs. This article will give you information on their guide dog program. You can request a dog and attend a 25-day training program in many locations across the United States. As with any dog-human program, the veteran will be matched with an appropriate dog. The training classes are typically small; in order to give more personalized training.

The veteran will get a dog that has been suited to his needs as well as his personality and lifestyle. It is anticipated that man and dog will have many years together, and it is important to get a good start on that new and improved life. Once training is over, vet and dog head home to begin their life together. If additional training is required in the future, it will be provided. Help is only a phone call away.

Information regarding a guide dog from America’s VetDogs program:

Am I eligible for an America’s VetDogs?

If you are an honorably discharged Veteran from any branch of the Armed Forces, are legally blind but in good physical health, have proper housing and are able to travel for training, you can apply for a dog. Vets should apply for an America’s VetDogs through the Department of Veterans Affairs, through your local VIST coordinator.

How do I apply?

That is easy, just call 1-866-VETDOGS (1-866-838-3647), which is the Admissions Office, and ask for an application and tell them if you want it via e-mail or regular mail.

What kind of dog will I get?

America’s VetDogs program only uses full bred Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Standard Poodles and first generation mixes of labs/goldens.

How big are the training classes?

They are held to a total of 10 students with 2 instructors.

How much does it cost?

There is absolutely no cost to the vet for the dog or the training, including room and board. Once training is complete your dog’s medical and food necessities will be the vet’s responsibility.

How many years can I expect with my guide dog?

A working service dog’s career lasts approximately 7 to 8 years.

What about service dogs and military therapy dogs?

A service dog is used by veterans that have disabilities other than blindness. If you are in need of a service dog – click here for more information.

Military therapy dogs serve in VA hospitals in the United States and abroad. If a military therapy dog is what you need – click here for more information.

Can I donate to America’s VetDogs?

If you would like to donate to this worthwhile program – click here to find out how you can help. America’s VetDogs is a not-for-profit organization and all donations are handled through their parent organization, the Guide Dog Foundation.

Donations are always welcome and they are tax-deductible. It is an easy and painless way to help our veterans lead a better life.


If you are a veteran in need of the services of America’s VetDogs program, take the time to check into it further. This is a fantastic opportunity and something to take into consideration. If you know a veteran who fits the criteria, please let him or her know about VetDogs. They gave their all for their country; now let’s show them that the country cares.



5 Great Stretching Exercises for Seniors and Older Adults

The National Institutes of Health and other health professionals suggest that exercise is the key to overall health and wellness for seniors and older adults. Among the exercises that are most important as we age? Exercises and fitness routines that build, maintain or increase balance, strength, flexibility and overall endurance are highly recommended for seniors and older adults.

Stretching exercises, in particular, help seniors and older adults move more freely and confidently throughout the day. Stretching exercises are especially beneficial forms of exercise for seniors and older adults with medical conditions, like arthritis and osteoporosis, that may prevent them from being as physically active as they once were. Stretching exercises are great for seniors and older adults who may have chronic back, neck or joint problems. Stretching can be helpful prior to walking or engaging in other exercise routines.

Stretching exercises are an important part of a physical activity program for seniors and older adults for whom movement may not be possible without difficulty. These exercises enable seniors and older adults to more easily engage in everyday physical activities and movement, like walking, getting dressed, bathing, cooking and reaching for out-of-the-way objects on a shelf.

Putting Flexibility and Movement to Work in Your Daily Routine

Incorporating flexibility and movement exercises into your daily routine is fairly easy. You might try these low impact exercises first thing in the morning or, perhaps, mid-day, before or after lunch. You can do them all at once or break them up, doing a few flexibility exercises at a time. The key is to do something to maintain or improve upon your flexibility and movement as you age.

Don’t Forget to Warm Up

For seniors and older adults, it’s always important to warm up and be careful not to lock your joints or move while doing your stretching exercises. Be relaxed and don’t continue the exercises if you feel uncomfortable. Before you embark upon your new exercise routine, you may want to consult with your doctor or other health care professional. While stretching is relatively low impact, you’ll want to make sure that these particular exercises are medically appropriate.

5 Flexibility Exercises for Seniors and Older Adults

Flexibility exercises demand that seniors and older adults hold a stretch without bouncing. They also require that seniors and older adults do them very gently, so much so that there is little to no discomfort. In other words, stretching should not be uncomfortable, rather you should feel relaxed when doing them. Over time, stretching should help you build, maintain and improve upon your flexibility.

Here are 5 flexibility or movement exercises to try in your home or on the go. Remember, it’s important to stretch gently, to the point of resistance, and then hold that point for thirty to sixty seconds. No bouncing or movement, please. Do each stretching exercise 3 to 5 times at each session. Slowly stretch into the desired position and hold the stretch for 10 to 30 seconds. Relax, breathe, and repeat, each time trying to gentle but firmly stretch farther. Over time, as you become more flexible, try reaching farther, but not so far that it hurts.

Ankle Stretch

1. Sit securely on the edge of a sturdy, armless chair.

2. Stretch legs out in front of you.

3. With heels on floor, bend ankles and point toes upward, toward you.

4. Hold position for 15 to 30 seconds.

5, Bend ankles to point toes away from you.

6. Hold position for 15 to 30 seconds.

7. Repeat 3 to 5 times.
Chest Stretch

1. Stand or sit in a sturdy chair.
2. Keep feet flat on floor, 12-18 inches apart.
3, Hold arms at your sides at shoulder height, palms facing forward.
4. Slowly move arms back, while squeezing your shoulder blades together.
5. Stop when you feel the stretch or sense discomfort.
6. Hold position for 15 to 30 seconds.
7. Repeat 3 to 5 times.

Neck Stretch

1. Stand or sit in a sturdy chair.
2. Keep feet flat on floor, 12-18 inches apart.
3. Slowly and gently, turn head to right until you feel a slight stretch.
4. Do not tilt head forward or backward.
5. Hold position for 15-30 seconds.
6. Return to forward looking position.
7. Slowly and gently, turn head to the left until you feel a slight stretch.
8. Do not tilt head forward or backward.
9. Hold position for 15-30 seconds.
10.Return to forward looking position.
11.Repeat 3 to 5 times.

Shoulder Stretch

1. Stand with back against wall.
2. Keep feet flat on floor, 12-18 inches apart with arms at shoulder height.
3. Bend elbows so fingertips point upward, toward ceiling, and touch the wall.
4. Hold position for 15-30 seconds.
5. Stop stretch if you feel discomfort or pain.
6. Let arms roll forward, slowly, elbows remaining bent.
7. Alternate position, pointing towards the hips or above the head.
8. Repeat 3 to 5 times.

Upper Body Stretch

1. Stand facing wall, about an arm’s length from the wall.
2. Keep feet 12-18 inches apart.
3. Lean body forward towards the wall, palms flat against the wall at shoulder height, 12-18 inches apart.
4. Keep back straight and slowly “walk” your hands up the wall until your arms are above your head.
5. Hold arms overhead for about 10 to 30 seconds.
6. Slowly “walk” your hands back down the wall.
7. Relax and, then, repeat flexibility exercise.
8. Repeat 3 to 5 times.


Senior Health
National Institutes of Health

National Institute on Aging

Healthy Aging for Older Adults
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Healthy Aging and Longevity Center

Exercise & Physical Activity: Your Everyday Guide from the National Institute on Aging
National Institute on Aging

Exercise and Physical Activity: Getting Fit For Life
National Institutes of Health


A Thing of Beauty: The Perfect Definition of Beautiful

Everything is a recipe for beauty. For some people, there is nothing more attractive than a smart head over the shoulders. Others would agree that someone with an unbelievable sense of humor is a form of beauty in itself. A few others stick to the archetypical expression of beauty that is the physical. Still others believe that true beauty is really only seen with the heart.

But what is beauty if not the product of the beholder’s eyes? The measure of beauty is anybody’s discretion and nobody’s decision. The perception of beauty is different for everyone, except the common truth remains: a thing of beauty is a joy forever.

What is beautiful and what gives you joy are all up to you.

Wits and Wisdom

If your idea of sexy is remarkable brainpower, then obviously your judgment leans toward the intelligent side. If what makes you feel more and more beautiful is a closet of knowledge and new discoveries, then you are a living testament of human thirst for explanations. Just be sure that you are not easily disappointed if not everything may live up to your expectations. But be rest assured that you will never run out of something beautiful to see because as it is, the world is full of exciting facts and features.

Funny Bone

A simple, uninhibited laugh is enough to make you feel a million times beautiful. The wonderful thing is, you always have something to laugh about, so to the world, you are always a beauty. A hearty chuckle from you is all it takes to lighten up the general mood in a room, and people will always love you for that. You are a thing of beauty that is literally a joy forever.


For you, there’s no denying it – beauty is simply what the eye can automatically see. All you need is a smashing outfit to make you feel beautiful. Sure you may dwell at the physical side, but it doesn’t mean that you are a heartless, superficial doll. The best thing about you is that you are confident about yourself and is true to yourself. You make sure that your own personality shines through in everything you do.

Heart of Gold

A touch of compassion and love all around you is all it takes to make you shine. You possess classic traits of pure-heartedness and innocence that are forever endearing. For you, beauty and happiness come in the form of kindness and empathy. You always find something good and beautiful in everyone, that’s why you easily always find joy.

Your thing of beauty may be a delightful mixture of two or all of the above qualities. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as there is it. In the midst of hardships, it is important that you always believe there is something beautiful. The thought of it will get you through any tough day and give you enough joy to last a lifetime.


5 Fun Ways to Spend Labor Day Weekend in the San Jose Area

If you’re looking for something to do this Labor Day weekend, the Bay area has many options for you and your family. Check out these five things to do in the San Jose area.

Tapestry Arts Festival
The annual Tapestry Arts Festival has been a San Jose tradition since 1976. The weekend festival will take place in the Plaza de Cesar Chavez this year. There is something to do for everyone, including live music, arts and crafts, and the usual carnival food booths. On Saturday, the South Bay Guitar Society will perform at 10:30am. Other performers include Black Pearl and Groove Kinds on Monday, Nitecry on Sunday, and Jamie O’Neal on Saturday. The festival will also feature an all new trash art fashion show, showcasing clothing designed out of recycled materials. Admission is free for everyone. Check out for more information.

Begonia Festival
Enjoy the cool Pacific breeze at Capitola Beach during the long weekend with your family. This fun beach themed festival is a Capitola tradition for families in the San Jose area. Admission is free, and features include a sand sculpture contest on Capitola Beach, a local artist exhibit displaying student art, and live music in Esplanade Park. Call 831.475.6522 for more information, or visit the official Begonia Festival website at

Kings Mountain Art Fair
The Kings Mountain Art Fair in Woodside, CA might be a bit of a drive, but if you’re looking for some fresh air and great art, this is the place to go on Labor Day weekend. The Kings Mountain Art Fair is a three-day event in the redwood forest. It has been an annual event since 1963 to raise money for the local volunteer fire brigade. Admission and parking are free for everyone. For more information, call 650.851.2710 or visit

Millbrae Art and Wine Festival
The Millbrae Art and Wine Festival in Millbrae, CA promises to be the Bay Area’s biggest Labor Day weekend event, according to their official website. Features include a Mardi Gras feast, live music, over 250 professional artisans, a microbeer tasting exhibit, an environmentally friendly product show, a car show, a Chinese Dragon Dance, Taiko drum shows, and a Playland for kids. Admission is free. For more information, call 650.697.7324 or check out the festival website at

Race to the end of the summer
Labor Day weekend marks the end of the summer, but this race event is going to celebrate! The 10K and 5K event will take place on Embedded Way in San Jose. The race routes will go along Coyote Creek Trail, and runners of all abilities are encouraged to participate. The race has already been sanctioned by USA Track and Field. To sign up, go to

The Bay area is full of fun events for Labor Day weekend. Whether you want to shop for local art, taste homemade beer, or just listen to great music with the kids, there are plenty of options for you.


5 Things You Should Know About Adult ADHD

Since the turn of the millennium, more and more adults have received an ADHD diagnosis. The condition once reserved for fidgeting children is now used to explain adults who were previously known as flaky, lazy, sloppy and moody. Although it seems as if every adult in the U.S. is being diagnosed with the condition, only 8.1 percent of the population has ADHD. These 18- to 44-year-old people have found a world of information out there to help explain their behavior and to also help them change it. You can too. First, you must understand the ADHD condition.

Little Known Facts About ADHD

Along with the increase in the disorder’s diagnosis, ADHD has like many other conditions accumulated many myths in such a short time. However, researchers have also discovered just as many absolutes about the condition that you should know if you have been diagnosed with ADHD or think you have it.

1. The average age of ADHD onset is seven years old, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Adults with ADHD do not develop the disease out of the blue. They actually have the symptoms from childhood, but were little experts at coping. explains that the rigors of adulthood demand organization, time management and a calm demeanor. These are all difficult states for an ADHD patient to maintain. It is these and other stresses of adulthood that trip those childhood coping mechanisms and lead many sufferers to seek treatment for the first time.

2. Hyperfocus is the one symptom found more in adult ADHD sufferers than in children with ADHD. It is common knowledge now that adult ADHD is a lot different than childhood ADHD. The lack of motivation, disorganization, forgetfulness and lack of time management are adult symptoms. Meanwhile, WebMD describes childhood symptoms as inability to sit still, hyperactivity and inattention. Surprisingly one of the most common adult symptoms is something called hyperfocus. Instead of being unable to pay attention like children, adult ADHD patients experience a phenomenon where they aim all of their energy to focus on one task. That focus is so intense that there is no room for other attention. The hyper focused patients lose sense of time on that one task, causing missed appointments and problems in relationships according to the

3. The frequency of symptoms and age of onset distinguishes adult ADHD from Bipolar Spectrum Disorders. Bipolar Spectrum Disorder, also known as bipolar mania, is characterized by extreme mood swings and impulsive behaviors. ADHD patients also experience very wide mood swings and impulsive behaviors. The difference between the two illnesses is frequency. ADHD cause a constant state of mood swings as it exaggerates the moods that a person normally experiences. Sadness in amplified to depression and happiness can appear manic, with both states constantly leading one into the other. Bipolar disorders have states of mania and depression but between episodes, the person experiences normal behavior. For the ADHD sufferer, there are no episodes. The exacerbated moods are a fact of life.

4. Approximately 42 percent of ADHD sufferers have at least one other mental illness. Conditions such as depression, bipolar disorders and more. According to ADDitutde Magazine, 20 percent of adults with ADHD have a bipolar disorder. Psychiatrists tend to treat the accompanying condition before treating the ADHD.

5. Patients with ADHD always have more than one family member with the condition as well. 11/7/11. Having your own diagnosis is often the first step to a new life. However, many patients don’t realize that ADHD is a disorder that is tied to genetics. There is never just one ADHD sufferer in the family. Research shows that families that carrying the gene have several members affected in varying degrees.

Armed with the understanding of the disorder, patients can begin build a plan for living. If you suspect that ADHD is the condition laying a shadow over your life, seek medical treatment from a psychiatrist.


National Institute of Mental Health, “Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Among Adults.”, “Adult ADD/ADHD Signs, Symptoms, Effects and Treatment “

ADDitude, “Is it Bipolar Disorder or ADHD?”

WebMD, “Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Symptoms of ADHD”


Appendicitis Symptoms and Treatments

Appendicitis is defined as the inflammation of the appendix. The appendix is the small finger shaped branch connected to the large intestine. The appendix is located in the lower right quadrant of the abdomen. The function of the appendix is not known. Although it appears that the appendix has no use for the present day, scientists still speculate on the organs past functions.

Appendicitis affects people across all age, cultural, gender, and socio-economic barriers. Although anyone can be affected by appendicitis, the condition is not contagious.

There are many ways in which appendicitis can develop, although there is no obvious reason for it’s onset. Appendicitis sometimes develops when partially digested food particles cause a blockage in the appendix. The appendix becomes inflamed as a result of the blockage and appendicitis further develops. Appendicitis sometimes develops after the large intestine becomes infected. The appendix is in close proximity to the large intestine and may be infected to due location.

Appendicitis is a condition with many symptoms which may vary in intensity from person to person. The first symptom of Appendicitis is usually an ache surrounding the belly button. Vomiting often follows the initial pain leading to sharp pain in the lower right abdominal quadrant. Some Appendicitis sufferers describe pain associated with Appendicitis as bad indigestion pains or stomach cramps. As Appendicitis progresses, the sufferer may lose his or her appetite and develop a slight fever.

Anytime Appendicitis is suspected, the health care provider will advise the sufferer to go the emergency room or office for an immediate evaluation. Once at the appropriate facility, the health care provider will perform a detailed physical examination to determine if Appendicitis is the culprit.

The health care provider often begins the physical examination by checking for tenderness in the abdomen paying especially close attention to pain in the lower right abdominal quadrant. This spot located in the lower right abdominal quadrant is called McBurney’s point. People suffering form Appendicitis experience a sensation called rebound tenderness in and directly surrounding McBurney’s point. Rebound tenderness is checked by applying direct pressure to McBurney’s point. Relief is felt by the sufferer when McBurney’s point is depressed. Pain is experienced when the applied pressure is lifted. Rebound tenderness is a classic sign of Appendicitis.

Blood samples may be taken to assess the white blood cell count. A high number of white blood cells present may be indicative of infection. X-rays and CT scans are often performed to further examine the abdomen.

If the health care provider makes a positive diagnosis of Appendicitis, the appendix will need to be removed. The removal of the appendix is called an appendectomy. Since there is no known use for the appendix, the Appendicitis sufferer will be able to lead a fully functioning life after appendix removal.

The appendectomy is performed under anesthesia. The surgeon will make a small incision to remove the appendix. A small scar will be visible after the appendectomy.

After an appendectomy, several days of follow and monitoring are done at the health care facility. Recovery times vary but most people are fully recovered in 3 weeks.


Are Americans Becoming More Accepting of Gays and Gay Rights? Armistead Maupin Thinks So, I Disagree

This morning, I watched the latest BBC ‘HardTalk’ programme, this one featuring an interview with gay American writer Armistead Maupin. Maupin is famous as the author of the ‘Tales of the City’ series of books, portraying the lives of gays, lesbians and heterosexuals in San Francisco. As an avid reader and a supporter of gay rights, I’ve read the entire series many times and it’s marvelous. But, where I agree Armistead Maupin is a wonderful writer, I think he’s missing the boat with his opinion on the improvement of gay rights in America. In fact, as someone who has been involved in gay rights for more than 20 years, to me it seems gay rights in America in recent years have taken several massive steps backwards. A view the BBC interviewer also expressed.

The premise of the ‘HardTalk‘ interview with Armistead Maupin was the question, “Has America become a more socially tolerant country in the last three decades?”. And, while Maupin rattled off how happy he is with the progress of gay rights in America, although he did admit it still had a long way to go, the multiple-award-winning BBC interviewer Stephen Sackur looked at him incredulously.

In England, where ‘HardTalk‘ originates, gays have many rights gays in America can only dream of. Laws are in place to protect gays from hate crimes and harassment and gays open about their sexuality are able to serve openly in the UK military. Discrimination in housing, employment and the provision of goods and services because of sexual orientation is illegal in the UK. So is discrimination against adoption by gays and lesbians, who are allowed to adopt just like anyone heterosexual is. Recent polls also show the majority of Brits think gays and lesbians should be allowed to marry and would support the UK government passing such a law.

Compare this with the US, where gays are still discriminated against in the military and can be kicked out under ‘DADT’ (Don’t Ask Don’t Tell) policies. Congress is supposed to vote to repeal this law but, as of this date, it’s looking less and less likely.

Even President Obama who promised to forward gay rights when campaigning has done jack-diddly to actually follow through on this promise. An enormous disappointment to many gay rights activists, and a big reason Obama’s ‘base’ has all but disappeared. Even Armistead Maupin could do nothing but express his abject disappointment in Obama and his lack of follow through.

Other gay rights too in the US are non-existent or pathetic at best. Only five states have legalized gay marriages, and several have tried then been stopped by voters who are primarily homophobic and bigoted. Even California, a state supposedly the most ‘progressive’ in the country, had its voters vote to ban gay marriages in California through a majority vote in support of Proposition 8.

Many American states ban gays from adopting, discrimination in housing and employment is as rife as it was 20 years ago when I first started campaigning against it, and even with supposed ‘hate crime’ laws in place, they’re rarely followed through on by US police departments.

Not exactly progressing much in ‘gay rights’ now, is it?

So, as much as I love Armistead Maupin, I’m sorry, but he’s wrong on this. If I was gay, the US is one of the last countries I’d want to live as even countries like Thailand, where I live, are more open and accepting and the UK, most of Europe, Canada, Australia and several South American countries have America beat by miles.

Gay rights will never change in America not while a vocal majority of so-called ‘Christian’ Americans continue to lobby against them with their hate-filled rhetoric. Very sad for any gay man or woman in America today. But, hey, Thailand is lovely and the Thai authorities welcome hard-working westerners with open arms. Now, there’s a thought.


A Free Psychic Reading - Open New and Better Opportunities in Life

Obtaining a free psychic reading can actually open new and better doors for you. It can bring in new hope in your life especially if you are covered up with problems. So, if you are distressed in life and you need an expert’s advice to solve any problem, get a psychic reading. Psychics are those people who have the ability to read people’s future and they can help the person improve his point of view towards life. Generate new energies and create a new hope in the person so that he is able to lead a better and peaceful life.

There are times in life when we get perturbed and do not know which path to move forward. An accurate reading is of great help in such situations. There are different types of psychic readings and some of them are designed to help people trapped in specific problems. For example, if you have lost anything or you want to find anyone, you can make use of the medium psychics. These psychics will also help you to call the spirit of the person who is no more in this world. They have the ability to talk to the spirits and if you have any question or you simply want to say good bye to your near and dear one who has passed away, you can make use of this service.

You will simply gain from a free psychic reading. There is nothing you are going to lose. However, if you are really suffering from any problem and need to go for a psychic reading to find solution or the right way out, you can make use of the short term free readings offered by famous websites. This will give an idea whether the network is genuine or not and also you will be able to test the ability of the psychic over there.

If you find yourself comfortable with the psychic and you feel that it is worth paying for the reading, you can continue with the reading session. A free psychic reading can be short, but it can give you right way to proceed.


Are Opportunities for Westerners Better in Thailand or the U.S.A.?

I’ve lived in Thailand for almost seven years and often get asked by Americans wanting to come here, “Are opportunities better in the U.S. or in Thailand?” When I first moved to Thailand, I was convinced opportunities in Thailand were better than in the U.S., but six years on, I must admit my opinion has changed. Opportunities are good for some people in Thailand but, for others, opportunities in Thailand are minimal at best. In the U.S., there are opportunities for everyone, regardless of age, sex or education level and even regardless of the terrible U.S. economy. If you’re thinking of coming to Thailand, think about the following things before you make that decision. As you may find the opportunities you expect to find as a farang (a westerner) in Thailand, don’t really exist.

Jobs in Thailand are for Thais – As much as is conceivably possible, most Thai companies will give a job to a Thai before they’ll give it to a farang. I’ve now worked at four jobs in Thailand, worked hard at every one and been told I would get promotions or be moved from being a teacher to a higher-paid position. In every company, I’ve been let down or outright lied to. At my present job at a big four international accounting firm in Bangkok it was discussed over and over again by partners of the company that, if I continued to work hard, I’d likely get a marketing position. Of course, the position never materialized and was the reason why I finally quit my job and decided never to teach in Thailand again.

Other farangs report the same thing; being continually strung along by Thai employers, promising new opportunities, better job titles, more money and a chance to get out of teaching. Very few of them report any of these ‘opportunities’ ever materializing. Because, when push comes to shove, most Thai companies will give a job to a Thai before they’ll give it to a farang. Protecting their own, as they say.

In the US, you cannot protect jobs for specific sets of society as that’s called discrimination. Unfortunately, the Thais don’t see it that way and they are the losers for it. Most farangs with any high-level skill sets move on from Thailand to countries like Japan and Malaysia, countries where their skills are valued and utilized.

Salaries in Thailand are Low – For many positions in Thailand, salaries are low and opportunities just aren’t there. Farang teachers in Bangkok make an average of 35,000 to 50,000 baht a month ($1,000 to $1,400) and outside Bangkok it’s often even less. Salaries also don’t rise very much (in fact, average salaries for teachers in Thailand have not risen in more than 15 years). In seven years of teaching in Thailand, my salary has only gone up by 4,000 baht (just over $100 a month) and I’m now maxed out as I’m at the highest salary level most teachers can hope to achieve. For a nice lifestyle, it’s a good salary, but if I want to save or put money away for retirement it’s nigh on impossible.

If you have a job with a company as an expat (i.e.: hired outside Thailand) the salaries are true expat salaries and often much higher than you’d ever receive in the US. But these jobs are very difficult to get and, expect for rare cases, are always hired outside Thailand.

In the US, salaries have always increased for me and often over 10% per year. Living now in a country, where a good annual pay increase is $40 a month, it makes me realize how good I had it when I was in America.

Farangs are Not Allowed To Take Most Jobs – In Thailand, most jobs are blocked to anyone who is not Thai so that cuts out most opportunities. Farangs can work as teachers, we can own our own businesses (although a Thai has to own 51% of the business) and, in some cases, we can get into editing, marketing or sales. Overall though, most jobs in Thailand are blocked for farangs as it’s against the law for us to do them.

In the US, no jobs are blocked. If you have the expertise, the education or are willing to learn, you can do any job you want. Oh that Thailand was the same.

Opening a Business in Thailand – There are opportunities for opening businesses in Thailand and quite a few farangs have done well. Except for exceptional cases, however, most businesses can only be owned 49% by a farang and 51% by a Thai. If you have a Thai wife or a business partner you trust, then this is the way to go. Unfortunately though, there are too many farangs who have been burned by Thai wives or Thai business partners for me to ever put my hard-earned money into a business that’s not truly owned by me.

In the US, you can open a business anywhere and it’s owned 100% by you. Sure, Thailand, (and Asia!) looks set to have outstanding growth in the next few years but, if I wanted a stable environment to open a business, I’d choose the US and not Thailand.

Jumping Through the Work Permit Hoops – Rules in Thailand change all the time for work permits, and are becoming more and more restrictive. In order to get a work permit in Thailand the company has to sponsor you and some companies just don’t want to as the cost for corporate work permits can be high.

If you own a business in Thailand, you have to hire four Thais, or you usually can’t get a work permit, even for yourself. A cost that can sometimes be cost-prohibitive not to mention a waste of time and effort.

In the US, with US citizenship, or even a green card, there are no hoops to jump through and the right to work in the US is guaranteed and permanent.

Overall, I do love Thailand and Thais and have enjoyed working here very much. If I’m honest with myself though, most opportunities for me are in the US and not in Thailand, and many other farangs come to that conclusion every year. Out of the 12 teachers that were on my teacher training course when I arrived in Bangkok, every one except me has left Thailand for better opportunities, either back home or on to another country.

So, be aware, if you plan on coming to Thailand to seek your fame and fortune, it can be done, but with great difficulty and with a huge loss of time and energy. For me, working in Thailand is not worth it any more. For you, who knows, it might be? I do intend to stay in Thailand but, from now on, will be working for several American companies as that’s where the true opportunities lie.


7 Watercolor Projects for the Elementary Artist

Does your child have an interest in learning to draw or paint, but you don’t know where to begin?

To encourage that interest you need great lessons/projects that will provide step-by-step instructions, and are sure to bring success. The following free lesson plans are recommended watercolor lessons for the beginning elementary art student (Grades 2-6). They present characters and themes that will be of interest to them, while focusing on developing the skills they will need to produce wonderful works of art.

Here’s a list of watercolor supplies you’ll need from you local art/craft store:

Watercolor Paint Box
Watercolor paints should have a rich and satisfying color. The five-and-dime store variety can keep your expenses down, through will not provide for the best experience. A Reeves or Prang watercolor set is recommended.

Watercolor Paper
Watercolor paper is a special paper that is thick enough to get soaked and still stay flat. This paper comes in different weights. A 140lb. cold press textured paper is recommended.

Watercolor Brush
A basic watercolor paint set will probably include a paint brush. If it doesn’t, you can buy a medium-sized (#5) brush to get started. If you keep your paintings small, that’s all you’ll need.

Watercolor Pallet
You can buy a watercolor pallet if you want to. However, a paper plate covered with plastic wrap will work just fine.

There are many drawing pencils to choose from at your local art/craft store. If you would like to provide a new experience, you can buy a set, and let you kids experiment. However, your child’s #2 school pencil will work just fine.

2 Very Easy Watercolor Lessons

Watercolor Chicken
Watercolor Chicken is simple to draw for even the most challenged artist, and is a great first painting for the beginning watercolor artist. You will also need some salt for a special effect.

Snork Monster
Beware the Snork Monster! This funny creature is also a great first painting for the beginning watercolor artist. The free printable lesson comes with a drawing that can be printed onto your watercolor paper if your young artist would like to get right to painting.

5 Easy Watercolor Lessons

“Make a Wish” Fairy
“Make a Wish” Fairy provides kids with the opportunity to create two watercolor washes. This project may require a slightly smaller brush for the details.

Joan Miro Watercolor
Here’s a chance to recreate a famous work of art by Spanish artist Joan Miro. This project is based on a painting called People and Dog in Sun. It will also require a black crayon to create the outlines.

The Little Engine That Could
The little engine from the classic children’s story is the subject of this watercolor project. This lively and fun watercolor project provides children with an opportunity to create a simple wash.

Watercolor Robot
A retro-style robot is the subject of this watercolor project. Kids will have an opportunity to learn about how light effects a character, and then create that effect.

“Where the Wild Things Are” Monster Watercolor
A Maurice Sendak’s “Where the Wild Things Are”monster is the subject of this watercolor project. It is quirky and fun to paint. Just the thing for a child who has just enjoyed reading this popular children’s classic.

Let’s paint!


7 Reasons Why People Hate Those Who Are Successful

The world is an extremely competitive place. When others perceive that you have achieved the success that has eluded them, they will feel like they have been beaten in a race. Very few people like to lose or can even do it graciously. Consequently, people who believe that you have succeeded, and they have failed will build resentment toward you. Here are 7 things that feed into this equation to make it tough to keep your old friends that knew you before your success arrived and avoid having others hate you.

New friends push out old friends in the competition for your time.

This may not technically be true in all cases, but old friends will notice when you are not around as much. Your new friends come from 2 sources. They helped you get your career on track by showing you how to get it done. This means for you to achieve and maintain success, you need these people in your life. They also will need more than just a moment here and a moment there. Having to spend so much time working to get and stay successful will naturally take time away from old friendships.

With success itself comes new friends. The success will have elevated your earnings, your influence, your worth to current society, and fame. All of these conspire against your old friends. However, more new friends will show up who may not have the relational quality of the old friends, but they are drawn to your new status. It is easy to enjoy the new found social level, and for a time at least newly successful people will feed off of this environment to build up their ego. In any event, old friends usually lose in this equation.

Sometimes, the old friends were a barrier to your success.

Unfortunately, not all friends whether or not they are old friends are good for your future advancement. There are times when you have to let old contacts go because they were dead ends on your path to success. When old friends perceive that they have been dumped, they will dislike you for it. This is a rift that can seldom be mended for mutual satisfaction. You will have to just give your apologies and move on with your life.

There are people in the world who just do not like it when others look like they have made it.

This is not strickly about competition. Some people have their heads wired to resent successful people. It is not a personal thing with you, they hate everyone who is successful. One some level these people believe that in order to become successful you must have sold your soul to the devil. This will cause them to view your success as a huge moral failure. To them money, fame, and power are all signs of an evil world and evil people.

People will hate you for achieving success because they did not make it themselves.

For some reason, certain people will view your success as meaning that you got their spot on the success roster. The reality is that anyone who really applies themselves can reach a measure of success. The problem is that it is not all talent, connections, or drive. It requires a combination of these to manage to succeed. If any of these are in short supply, the individual may not rise to be a superstar in their field.

There are many very successful people who never achieve widespread fame, but they still can be considered a success in their field. The scientist who helped put a man on the moon is a success even if the scientist never go to go there. It still would not have happened without the work of the scientist.

Some will hate those who succeed because they believe making you look smaller will make them seem larger.

By making light of the person and the success, people will try to steal some of your glory. Telling others why your success will be short-lived and is not very praiseworthy is their attempt to erode your success or keep you from rising higher. The fact is that by doing so, it will usually benefit the successful one and harm the complainer. Often a measure of this is seen in the rebuttal of presidential speeches and in the rants of television personalities trying to ride the coat tails of important people.

Successful people are often resented because they do not always reach back and help others to their level.

Not all successful people are in a position to make other successful. This is not clearly understood by those who watched them succeed. “I will remember you when I make it to the top.” Most successful people would be wise to not use this phrase too often or too lightly. Those who hear it will take it as a contracted promise. When the successful person does not honor it or seems not to honor, hate will show up soon enough.

People hate successful people because they are not happy with themselves and choose to blame others.

No ones success keeps others from succeeding if they choose to go after it. In fact, most of the time as some succeed, it makes more room for others on the way up. It also establishes a career path that another might be able to follow to get to the same place. The measure of success sometimes get blurred in the minds of people. For some, fame without wealth is a failure. For others, the opposite stands true. Still others, believe that power is the key ingredient to success. Somewhere along the way happiness needs to be the main goal. Many people who are viewed as successful never achieve happiness. Many who never really seem to succeed are quite happy. Success should ultimately be measured by contentment and financial stability.


Arkansas: Fun Facts and Trivia

Ask most Northerners about Southern states, and you’ll quickly discover they know the least about Arkansas beyond Bill Clinton and his family.

The state shares a border with six states, although the Mississippi River largely defines its eastern border. The geography is varied, with the Ozarks and the Ouachita Mountains comprising mountainous areas and eastern lowlands located along the Mississippi. According to, elevations vary from 54 feet above sea level to 2,753 feet at Mount Magazine, the highest point in the state. The Arkansas River at 1,450 miles long has been named the longest stream to flow into the Mississippi-Missouri River system.

The name “Arkansas” shares the root for its name with Kansas. It derives from the Kansas tribe of American Indians associated with the Sioux. The word is actually a French pronunciation of a Quapaw name that means “land of downriver people” or “people of the south wind”. The state is one of several carved from the land bought as the Louisiana Purchase from Napoleon Bonaparte.

Visitors will find 6 national parks, 2.5 million acres of national forest, 7 national scenic byways, 3 state scenic byways and 50 state parks. The Ozark National Forest alone spreads over more than a million acres. Crater of Diamonds State Park permits amateur prospectors to search for precious gens such as diamonds, amethyst, garnet, jasper, agate and quartz just outside Murfreesboro. One of the country’s premier restoration efforts, the Quapaw Quarter, contains some of Little Rock’s oldest buildings, including Victorian and antebellum homes.

Since the 1830s, Arkansas has been known for Hot Springs National Park. Among its famous bathers were President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Babe Ruth and Al Capone. The city of Hot Springs, childhood home of Bill Clinton, completely surrounds Hot Springs.

Arkansas entered the Untied States as its 25th state on June 15, 1836. The Arkansas Post, which was established in 1686 near the mouth of the Arkansas River, was the first permanent white settlement in the state. The correct term for a resident of the state is “Arkansan”.

Unlike many other states, Arkansas has a state instrument: the fiddle. Quartz crystal was named the official state rock in 1967. Six years later, the honey became the state insect. The state gem is the diamond, and the official state name is The Natural State. Milk was designated as the official beverage of Arkansas in 1985. The apple blossom is the state flower, and the mockingbird is the official state bird.

Pine Bluff is recognized as the world center for production of archery bows. Alma says it’s the Spinach Capital of the World. The Work’s Championship Duck Calling Contest is held in Stuttgart each year.

Arkansas has been the residence of many famous individuals. Among them was musician Scott Joplin, who was born in Texarkana. Johnny Cash hailed from Kingsland. Entertainers Julie Adams, Glen Campbell, Gail Davis, Alan Ladd, and Mary Steenburgen and Billy Bob Thornton have called it home. Baseball great Dizzy Dean and legendary Alabama football coach “Bear” Bryant hailed from Alabama, as did author John Grisham and activist Eldridge Cleaver.

The state gained national attention after the Brown v. Topeka Board of Education case in 1954. The Federal Government intervened in Little Rock to protect African-American students trying to integrate a high school in the state capital. By the fall of 1959, Little Rock high schools were totally integrated.


5 Reasons Not to Buy a Gordon Setter

Have you watched the Westminster Kennel Club dog show? If so, maybe you noticed the Gordon Setter — a beautiful hunting dog with glossy black fur set off by a black and coppery-tan face. And you probably thought, “Wow, he’s gorgeous — look at the way he moves.” Maybe you were even smitten the first time you saw one. But, before you let one run away with your heart, consider these 5 reasons not to buy a Gordon Setter.

Energy Plus
When we say a Gordon Setter could run off with your heart, run is the operative word. Our Gordon Setter, Mac D, one time went on a run for miles. And then came home and wanted to play a vigorous game of fetch. Being bird dogs, Gordons need lots of exercise. If you’re the couch potato type, consider a getting a Basset Hound. Or an exotic turtle.

Oooo, Birdies
Gordons have great focus. However, they can get so focused on birds they aren’t paying attention to your commands. It takes a lot of training to get a Gordon to focus on what you want, not what he wants.

Pay Attention!
It seems like an oxymoron to say Gordons have great focus, and then turn around and say they’re like a child with ADHD. But, it’s true. Take a Gordon Setter on a walk and he’ll watch everything but where he’s going.

One of the most beautiful aspects of Gordon Setters is their pendulous ears. Mac D had soft, silky ears. Unfortunately, a Gordon’s ears don’t get much air movement, and they can become infected. If you’re squeamish about washing the ears or squirting medicine in, consider a goldfish, which doesn’t need its ears washed.

Stubborn Streak
It’s true, we’re generalizing … but we want you well-informed before you make a choice, right? A Gordon Setter’s stubbornness comes from its high energy level and hunting instincts more than willful disobedience. If you’re looking for a pet that will obey your every command, consider a Robot Dog.

Now that we’ve pointed out 5 reasons not to buy a Gordon Setter, are you still interested in one? If so, and if you’re willing to put in needed training, you’re in for a treat with a Gordon Setter. They’re beautiful, affectionate, and love to play the class clown. Their upbeat outlook will have you feeling better no what kind of day you’ve had. And those are pretty good reasons TO buy a Gordon.

Personal experience with Gordon Setters

More from this author:
Dog Breeds (Welsh Corgi): 5 Reasons NOT to Buy a Pembroke Welsh Corgi
Beekeeping Tips: 5 Reasons Not to Own Bees
Dog Training: The Art of Rolling Over, as Perfected by Corky Porky Pie


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