Where Do You Get Your News?

If you want to know what is current, watch iCarly on Nickelodeon. If you aren’t watching it… believe me your kids or grand kids are! The story lines are mostly slap-stick comedy and pre-teen issues, but it is relevant. Here’s a gem of a line: Question “Who reads newspapers?” Answer: “Hobos and old people.” So which are you?

For the New York Times lifestyle-section-and-a- crossword fan that probably sounds sacrilegious and, ah hem, politically incorrect. Unfortunately, if you haven’t embraced the New Media you may have already been relegated to the bottom rung of the information ladder.

So, where do you get your news? Once you consider how you get your news you’ll know where your customers are getting theirs!

Traditional News Sources are time tested and trusted news sources, like the BBC, where you can subscribe to their RSS feed. You get all their news delivered to your favorite feed reader. Other news services, like CNN, give you your own account on their website and you choose which news subjects you want to feed new stories and updates to read online.

Want Ads were the bread and butter of the printed press. Traditional media has been rocked not only by the dawn of free online news services, but the shift to free advertising on the Internet. Have you heard of a little website called Craig’s List?

Social Media or what is also called New Media are internet based news sources that allow a reader to discern the news they want to read. The reader is now in charge of what combination of content they want to read. They can select to receive news feeds on specific subjects like Perez Hilton’s celebrity blog http://perezhilton.com. The reader can get news from specific sources like company blogs, for example Google’s blog http://googleblog.blogspot.com. Perhaps the most interesting change in news is that social media now allows you to keep up with news as intimate as a circle of friends on Facebook or get news from the community you do business with, keeping up with snow days, learning about new products, receiving information about special offers.

We know that you are neither an old fuddy-duddy nor are you a hobo (but you knew that!). You’ve proven that by reading this blog post online. If you aren’t subscribing to blog feeds, it’s time to test the water… it’s fine! Start subscribing.

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Consider Large Art for Average-Sized or Odd-Sized Walls

Looking for a way to make an decorative impact at your home or office?Large art might be just the solution you need.Here’s how to decide if large-sized paintings are an option worth considering:Look at the wall spaces you have to choose fromIf you take inventory of the walls in your home or office, you might see that your average wall is between 8 to 10 feet in height and maybe 15 feet in width. You might think that one or two 30″x24″ paintings on such a wall would be the only solution to use that space, but I am suggesting you reconsider your options.Your wall space could be set off perfectly by a large painting as the centerpiece or focal point. You might not immediately consider that a painting that is… say… 7 feet tall by 5 feet wide will work there. Sure, it may not be the most pleasing of sizes on a particular wall, but there are times when it might be your most pleasurable.Here is a good gauge to use when considering what might work on a wall: Think of that wall having a mural painted on it. What might that look like? A mural would often go from edge to edge on all sides of a wall space. It would essentially fill the wall with imagery, such as a Tuscan landscape or a faux texture of some kind or a jungle scene. Hold up a photo in a magazine or look at a mural online, and be in the same room as that wall so you can look at the mural and look at the wall together. If you can picture that in your mind and you find that the picture might look great on that wall, that is your indicator that a large painting could go well on that wall.How to choose between a painting on canvas or a muralA mural, as mentioned above, often stretches to fill an entire wall space from edge to edge. I love murals. They can transform a room into a completely different environment. There are a ton of options for mural treatments in a home or office and your vision of the extent of that transformation is given full voice in that option. If you think you have a mural in your future, call me and we can discuss your vision and what your options are.So, a mural is a large statement and is a terrific solution to just the right space. But, how do you decide between these choices, and which walls would a mural look best on?1. A great way to know is to simply get a photo of the wall(s) and have someone superimpose a shape on the wall digitally until you see what size of square or rectangles seats into that space comfortably.2. Create a paper cutout using newspapers or cardboard and tape it onto the wall. You should see right away what might work best for you.3. If you have a video projector that is transportable, you can actually shine an image onto the wall and consider the space usage that way.4. If none of those methods are practical for you, you still can hold up a photo and eyeball it.Advantages for muralsThey look spectacular. What a statement — Full immersion into an environment limited only by one’s imagination! For some spaces, there’s nothing like it.If you aren’t aware of it, the tried and true way of having a mural in your home or office by having the artist working right there on the wall in person is only one way of getting it done. Now, artists can size up the wall space and create a canvas, work on it at his or her studio, and then adhere the finished product to the wall.There are several advantages here, but the main — to me as an artist — is that the artist can work on a piece in full privacy and can work longer at a stretch than if he or she were working onsite. This can be a benefit for the home or business owner, too, because there is no mess, no noise, not distractions, and no issues with having workers hanging around.The main disadvantage is that once the painting is on, it’s typically there permanently. I did a painting once for my sister’s room that had horsies and rainbows and clouds and meadows. It was 8×15 and took a lot of work. Fast-forward our lives 10 years into the future, and our family moved away. The mural was great for a young girl’s room, but maybe not a good solution to sell the home if potential buyers had no girls and planned on using the room as an office or workout room. It became somewhat of a liability, and my folks ended up painting over it after we moved. Too bad.Advantages for traditional paintingsIt might be that a large painting on that space would be best for a piece that hangs on the wall rather than being painted on the wall. I would suggest using the four methods above to see if a traditional painting on canvas would work best for you in that case.It can be framed. It have depth off the wall. It can fill just the amount of the wall that you want with untouched edges. It can be moved around, too.Odd sized walls need… what?I can hear you saying, “That odd-sized wall is a bit different than the main walls, but I’d never consider putting a large painting there.” To that, I would say to open your mind! You could be pleasantly surprised!Your odd-sized walls may be a hidden gem, and all it needs is your call to try something large there and see what happens. Again — use one of the 4 methods mentioned above and test it out. You can mitigate your risk so you will have a great idea ahead of time if it will work in that space or not.Are your walls a good candidate for a large painting to make it shout for joy?Think large art in a small space!Try it!

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Freshwater Fish Disease – Signs, Causes, And Cures

It’s a fine lazy day and you’re just kicking back and enjoying the aquarium you’ve worked so hard to set up. But wait, something’s off. One of your fish looks like he’s been rolling in the sand. And another seems to have less fins than you remember. And still another is so swollen he looks as though he’s about to burst. All in all, it looks as though your fish are sick! Yup, keep fish long enough and it’s something you’ll have to face eventually, and usually fairly early unfortunately. You see, illness is often preventable, but typically we only learn how to do so after doing it wrong the first time. But fear not! Many ailments can be turned around if spotted early and treated properly.Spotting IllnessSo how can you tell that a fish is sick in the first place? It’s not like they’re going to tap you on the shoulder and let you know. For the most part the only way you’ll know something is wrong is through careful observation of their appearance and behavior. Hopefully you’re already fairly well acquainted with what could be considered normal for your fish and can thus notice when something is off. Here are some key things to take note of:-paleness/color change-clamped fins (the fins are held close to the body)-scraping or rubbing against objects in the tank-heavy breathing-loss of appetite-loss of equilibrium-hiding/isolation-decreased activity… and of course the more obvious signs like visible sores, swelling, and the like.Keeping a watchful eye out for signs of illness is an important part of keeping fish. Try to take a few minutes each day to check for any signs that something is amiss. Feeding time provides an ideal opportunity to do this as most fish are at their most active when there’s a meal to be had. An illness caught early is far easier to treat and the chances of the affected fish surviving the ordeal are far greater. For many ailments your fish may face by the time it’s blatantly obvious it is too late.Quarantine TanksOf course one step better than treating your fish once they become sick is preventing it from happening in the first place. The absolute best way to prevent diseases from reaching your tank is by using a quarantine tank. A quarantine tank is essentially just a small bare bones aquarium setup where all new arrivals can spend a week or two before entering your main setup. This gives you ample time to make sure your new fish are in good health before they have a chance to potentially spread any diseases to your other fish. It also gives new arrivals a chance to recover from the stress of moving in a quiet and peaceful environment. And if a problem does arise having the specimen already isolated makes treatment much easier as well. Finally, in the event that a problem does reach the fish in the main aquarium the quarantine tank can serve as a hospital tank as well, preventing the further spread of disease and providing a safer and more controlled environment for the application of any treatments.Water QualityIn addition to a quarantine tank, keeping your fish in good general health goes a long way towards preventing any illness from taking hold. Most common diseases often arise in fish only when their health is already compromised. What causes their health to become compromised? The majority of the time the culprit is poor water quality. A fish trying to live in dirty water in kind of like you trying to live in a house filled with smoke- it’s unlikely you’ll be in the best of health. Keeping on top of your aquarium setup’s maintenance is key to keeping your fish healthy and disease free. As such, should your fish ever become ill your first step should always be to make sure the water is in excellent condition. All the critical parameters, such as ammonia, nitrate, pH, and temperature, should be checked. Always be suspicious of any equipment or decor that was recently added to the tank as well which could be leeching something toxic into the water. And, even if poor water quality isn’t the root cause of the illness, a water change is never a bad idea When it comes to recovery the cleaner the water the better.About MedicationsOften people go straight for the medications at the first sign of an illness in their fish, usually without even knowing what exactly is wrong. This is a bad move. Positive identification of a disease is absolutely essential before beginning application of any medication. Many medications aren’t exactly easy on your fish either meaning using the wrong one could end up further stressing your fish without curing their illness, likely leading to death. Still, should you encounter a disease where a medication is applicable it can be a real life saver. Just make sure to remove any carbon from the filter before beginning treatment as it will soak up the medication before it has a chance to act. And, it should go without saying that the directions should be followed to a T. Pay particular attention to any warnings dealing with species the medication should not be used with. Some, for example, will kills snails and plants if there are any in the tank.Common AilmentsThere are tons and tons of diseases your fish may face- far more than what are listed here. However, many of them are fairly rare, affecting only a few specific species or only arising under specific circumstances. Instead, this list tries to cover only the most common ones that most aquarists tend to run into.Ammonia Poisoning/New Tank Syndromesigns- red irritated gills, fish gasping for air at the surface, most common in new tanksAs the common name of ‘new tank syndrome’ suggests, this is typically only a problem in freshly setup aquariums, although it can occur is older systems if the filtration system is severely damaged. Basically, not all bacteria are out to make a meal of your fish. Some are actually quite helpful, and necessary, to your aquarium. Their job is to process the fish’s waste from highly toxic substances, namely ammonia, into compounds they can more easily tolerate. The process of establishing these bacteria in a new system is called cycling. Unfortunately, this step is frequently skipped leading to a buildup of ammonia which in short order leads to dead fish.treatment: water changesTo solve this problem you basically just have to keep the water clean through frequent water changes until the bacteria have established themselves and can take over. A test kit for ammonia is very helpful here as ideally you want to keep the ammonia level under 1ppm. Typically you will need to do a small water change daily for a few weeks to allow the cycle to complete while keeping the tank habitable for your fish. Keeping feedings light during this time can also help keep the waste load low which in turn keeps the water cleaner.Fish Fungussigns- fish has fuzzy whitish globs or patches attached to its fins and/or bodyLike a lot a ailments you’re likely to encounter, fish fungus usually appears on fish whose health has already been compromised. The fungi that cause it are quite common and pretty much guaranteed to be in the tank at all times. This normally wouldn’t be a problem, but when a fish is already in poor shape the fungus can get a hold very easily. It often starts at the site of an injury, which could be anything from small scrapes to major sores, and spreads quickly from there.treatment: medication for fungal infectionsThe best way to treat fungal infections is with medication designed for them. Of course making sure the tank is in good shape is key as well as the fish is likely already in poor shape and needs all the help he can get recovering. As a side note, many remedies for fungal infections also work against bacterial infections which can bring some added benefit if the fish’s initial poor health was brought on by one.Ick/Ich and Velvetsigns- fish is covered in lightly colored specks or has a dusty appearanceIckAsk people to name a common fish disease and ick is probably the one you’ll get. It seems just about everyone who’s ever kept fish has had to deal with it at one point or another. Furthermore, it’s quite easy to spot compared to other diseases and so seems to stick with people. If you haven’t encountered it before, ick is a parasite that burrows into the fish’s skin causing little white spots that make it appear as though your fish has been salted. Outbreaks often occur after the addition of new fish, which bring ick along with them, although it can also limp along in a tank for a long time until conditions are favorable for a explosion. Like pretty much every disease, favorable conditions means fish in poor health with the most common reason being poor water quality.VelvetVelvet is less common but still worth mentioning. It’s another parasite that behaves much like ick, appearing as spots on the skin. The difference is the spots are much smaller and may have a yellow to greyish appearance. With enough of them it can sort of blend together giving the fish a fuzzy velvety appearance, hence the name.treatment: medication for parasitesTreatment for both ick and velvet is pretty much the same. They’re both parasites with a similar life cycle- part of which is spent attached to a fish and part of which is spent free swimming. Killing them is more or less impossible while they’re safely burrowed under the fish’s skin. It’s only when they emerge into the open water to look for a new host that they’re vulnerable. This means treatment can take some time. Medication needs to be applied for an extended period to basically wait out the parasite’s natural life cycle, which can take up to a month. Raising the temperature of the aquarium a few degrees can help speed things up a bit. Also one other note- these parasites do require a fish host to complete their life cycle. So, should you move all your fish into quarantine for treatment, any parasites left in the main tank will die off after about a month.Dropsysigns- fish is bloated, possibly with the scales protruding giving it a pine cone appearanceDropsy isn’t a disease itself but rather the physical outcome of some other ailment, usually a bacterial infection although it could be caused by any number of other things. The swelling is brought on by a buildup of fluid in the fish’s body cavity.treatment: medication for bacterial infections, aquarium saltUnfortunately by the time the symptoms are clearly visible it’s often too late to save the fish. Still, the best course of action is to move the fish to quarantine and begin administering an antibiotic, preferably in the form of an medicated food. Adding a small amount of aquarium salt may also help the fish expel some of the excess fluid thus alleviating the swelling. Use around one tablespoon per five gallons.Swim Bladdersigns- fish has difficulty maintaining equilibrium and may have trouble controlling depthA fish’s swim bladder is sort of like a ballast tank in a submarine, only with air instead of water. They use it to keep themselves upright and at the correct depth. When it becomes damaged or otherwise perturbed the fish is no longer able to control this air and so will usually either sink to the bottom or float to the top, often in an off-kilter orientation.treatment: fasting/cooked peas, medication for bacterial infectionsUnfortunately there’s not a lot of consensus on the exact cause (and in fact there are at least a couple possible causes) or how to treat it. Making sure the tank’s chemistry is in good shape should be your first step of course, as it should be with any problem. One common cause is a blockage in the fish’s digestive system. The common solution for this is shelled cooked peas (they’re sorta the go-to fish laxative). Backing off on feedings for a few days can also help. Try this and see if the problem clears up. If not then it may be the symptom of a bigger infection in which case a medication can be tried. Unfortunately it can also sometimes arise due to trauma sustained during transport in which case there’s not much that can be done. In these cases all you can do is give the fish a place to recover and hope for the best.Pop Eyesigns- fish has a protruding eyeA pretty self explanatory name, the fish’s eye or eyes bulge out from the fish’s head as if they’re on the verge of falling out completely. It’s basically an inflammation of the eye causing it to swell and protrude. Once again this isn’t so much linked to any one specific cause but instead may originate from a couple possible sources, namely injury or an infection.treatment: improve conditions, medication for bacterial infections, aquarium saltInjury due to fighting or possibly from bumping into something is probably the most common. Think of it like the fish equivalent of a black eye. A good indicator that this is a the cause is if only one eye is affected. In this case the best you can do is stop any fighting and provide your fish with a peaceful home in which to recover.Another possibility is a bacterial infection. If both eyes are popped then this is more likely, though the fish should still be checked for signs of injury or fighting. A good medication is the best course of action here.Finally, another thing you may try is aquarium salts. The increased salinity will help draw out the excess fluid, relieving the swelling. Add one tablespoon per five gallons and watch to see if it has any effect. Remember this can help relieve the swelling but won’t fix the underlying problem and as always your first step should be to make sure the water is in good shape.Cloudy Eyesigns- fish has a cloudy eyeThe creatures of the world have all sorts of interesting eye with various colors and shapes and whatnot. One thing they all have in common, though, is that the center is nice and clear. If you ever notice your fish’s eye or eyes becoming milky then something is not quite right.treatment: improve conditions, medication for bacterial infectionsThere are a handful reasons a fish’s eye may become cloudy. Parasites or bacteria are possible causes, particularly if the eye has been injured. Poor diet or even cataracts as a result of old age are possible culprits as well. But, the most likely cause falls in line with so many other problems- poor water quality. Getting the tank is good shape should be your first concern if your fish develops cloudy eyes. Pay particular attention to the pH as an especially low pH is thought to contribute to this problem. Check that you are feeding your fish an appropriate diet as well. With better water quality and a proper diet the problem should clear in a few weeks. However, if the problem does not clear after several weeks with improved conditions an antibiotic can be tried.Hole in the Head/Lateral Line Diseasesigns- fish has holes in its headThe name is pretty self explanatory, and the symptoms are easy to spot, so all that leaves is the cause. Why are there unwelcome holes in your fish’s head? Unfortunately there’s no consensus on the exact cause. It may be caused by some specific pathogen, but none has been positively identified as of yet. Some think overuse of activated carbon or nutritional deficiencies may have something to do with it as well.treatment: improve conditions, diet changeUltimately, your best bet is to improve conditions as much as you can for your fish. Step up the water changes and try removing any activated carbon from your filtration. Try to add as much variety to your fish’s diet as you can. Frozen as well as vitamin enriched flake foods are great sources of vital nutrients your fish may be lacking.Fin Rotsigns- the fish’s fins are deterioratingFin rot is another ailment that’s not so much about a specific contagion rather than a result of the fish’s overall health. Fin rot typically only affects fish that are already stressed or weak due to something else such as poor water quality, malnutrition, bullying, or possibly even some other sickness, at which point bacteria move in and start feasting on your poor fish’s fins.treatment: improve conditions, medication for bacterial infectionsYour first course of action should be to determine why the fish’s health has slipped in the first place and correct it. Check the water quality and switch to high quality vitamin enriched foods if you haven’t already. An antibiotic may be necessary if the damage is severe (more than just a small section of the fin).Again, the majority of the time health issues come down to a water quality problem. Keeping on top of your aquarium maintenance schedule is the best way to prevent problems in the first place. Likewise, if an illness should strike checking the water’s parameters should be your first step. Many problems will clear on their own with improved conditions. And if a medication becomes necessary make certain to follow the directions extremely closely. An overdose of medicine can be just as bad if not worse than the illness itself.

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