Warning: This Article is a Waste of Time

Today’s topic, ladies and gentleman, is: Time. We’re going to talk about time today because I never seem to have enough of it. And I figure that if I dedicate a whole article to the subject of time and stress some of it’s finer points, then perhaps Father Time will show his appreciation by granting me a few extra hours each day. This will allow me to be able to complete a couple more important tasks each day such as hitting the ‘Snooze’ button on my alarm clock at least 15 more times each morning. And speaking of snoozing, there will be none of that during today’s lesson which will begin right now:

Time is defined by the The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language as: ‘A nonspatial continuum in which events occur in apparently irreversible succession from the past through the present to the future.’ This definition leads us to the obvious question: If a definition contains 20 word, 5 of which contain 10 or more letters, and it still doesn’t make much sense, isn’t it time to get another dictionary?

Of course, dictionaries aren’t the only people who have trouble with time. The ancient Mayans, for example, struggled to understand time for centuries and never got it quite right. One look at their calender clues you in to this fact. The Mayan calender had 18 months, one of which was called ChikChan (short for May), and each month had 20 days. There was even one month, Wayeb, that had only 5 days. As you can imagine, this horribly inaccurate calender made scheduling important events like the Super Bowl next to impossible. It also left them wide open to insults from other ancient civilizations, like the Sumerians for example, who had fairly accurate calenders.

The Sumerian calender had 365 days per year and even incorporated a leap year. Sadly, there was no Presidents Day, Martin Luther King Day, or Arbor Day incorporated into the Sumerian calender which is why the Sumerian civilization was eventually wiped out. Such flagrant calender discrimination, even in the Dark Ages, could not be tolerated.

Since we have covered all pertinent information available about calenders, I think it’s high time we expand our understanding of time by discussing another mechanism by which we mortals judge the passing of it. But first, does anyone know where the phrase ‘high time’ comes from? Is there such a thing as ‘low time’. Feel free to ponder these questions quietly as we move on to discussing: The Clock.

A clock, for those of you who don’t know, is defined by The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language as…Wait a second! Let’s not even go there. We’re already pretty confused as it is. Let’s just all agree that a clock is a device that has lots of numbers and two arms and makes it’s living by juggling minutes and seconds.

I feel the extreme need to insert a time cliche here. This cliche makes absolutely no sense whatsoever and probably has pagan, barbaric origins, but I think it summarizes what we’ve learned thus far in our discussion. So here goes our first time cliche ‘A stitch in time saves nine’. And now back to the show.

There have been numerous different kinds of clocks throughout history. Many of them made absolutely no sense whatsoever. A good example of this is the ancient Egyptian water clock, which was basically just a bowl with a hole in the bottom of it. There were markings on the inside of the bowl that measured the passage of ‘hours’ as the water level reached them. One of the obvious problems with this clock was the fact that whenever working-class Egyptians wanted to get off work early they would keep taking little sips of water from the bowl/clock throughout the day. This was one of the reasons it took so long to finish the Pyramids.That and the lack of power tools.

Time doesn’t permit us to talk about the other types of ancient clocks like obelisks, sundials, and hemicycles. And there definitely isn’t time to go into merkhets.

Speaking of merkhets, a close cousin of the clock is the watch. The watch is the time-telling device that most of us use today. We do not however, use it to tell time. We use it to do numerous other tasks that watch manufacturers have incorporated into watches like instant messaging, reading email, and fast forwarding the DVD player. There’s even a new watch on the market that comes equip with a radiation detector. And you laughed at the Eyptians for drinking from their time-telling devices.

Obviously, time is not something that can be explained in just one lesson. There’s a ton of more interesting stuff we could go into about time but, frankly, I don’t feel like taking the time to look it up right now. I believe I’ve achieved my goal of using as many time cliches as I possibly could in one article and now, I think it’s time to call an extended timeout on this whole time subject. I’m sure when I do write the follow-up to this article that it will be just in the nick of time. Probably sometime around Wayeb 1st.

Berlosconi Gets Plate of Spaghetti In Face

Silvio Berlusconi, the media tycoon who became the outspoken, conservative Prime Minister of Italy, was recently handed an electoral plate of spaghetti in the face.

As you no doubt have read, he lost a narrow race to a left-of-center challenger, who the deep-pocketed Berlusconi outspent many times over. Although Berlusconi continues to contest the vote, the Italian court ruled in favor of his opponent.

Since Mr. Berlusconi seemed to bring a bit of spice to Italian politics and will now be replaced by a relatively bland serving of leadership, one cannot help but feel some remorse at his departure from the generally pallid troupe on the current stage of world politics.

One would think that an apparently bright guy like Silvio would know that a penchant for provocative speech and sartorial splendor are two of the most likely ways to inspire the average voter to take him down a peg. Apparently, being the effective but humble servant of the citizenry is not his cup of espresso.

Since Berlusconi was a forthright ally of our struggles in Iraq, we must now face the prospect that the newly elected Prime Minister will beat a speedy retreat.

So we better get ready to duck. The second plate of spaghetti may fly our way.

Low Budget Filmmakers Must Do Everything Required

So you say you have a burning desire to make a movie and you will do what ever it takes to get the job done? You fancy yourself and ?independent? type and you want to reflect that in your art? Well, you better know what it takes before you decide to launch yourself into the world of independent filmmaking. If you do not know, your project may never see the light of day, or more importantly the light of a movie screen.

Making a low budget or ?independent? film is a double edged sword. On the one side you have the freedom to express your art without corporate considerations, but on the other side you have the daunting task of doing almost every job yourself. From writing, producing, directing, and acting to providing travel arrangements, applying make-up, and fixing broken equipment, you cover the broad spectrum of chores and responsibilities. And that does not even cover the other responsibilities such as providing meals for everyone, rehearsals, etc? All you have to do is look at the long list of credits at the end of any movie in the theaters and you can see how much work it takes to make a motion picture.

While in the midst of making my last film Mike And The Magic Lamp I almost started to doubt whether I would ever finish it. I had been working on this movie for about two years straight doing every aspect of the film myself when I suddenly started to run out of energy. The continuous filming that I was doing combined with a heavy work schedule at my real job (Stage Manager of TV shows in Hollywood) was starting to get to me. I would have to prepare everything before a film shoot, and then do just about everything during the film shoots. Once in a while I would have a loyal friend help me with the awesome responsibilities of carrying equipment, setting it up, and then tearing everything down and putting it away each day, but you can only ask them to do so much if you are not paying them.

At one point during the filming of M&TML I passed out, fell off my director?s chair and hit my head on the corner of the set. I was mentally and physically exhausted while only halfway through the filmmaking process. The problem was that I was not yet creatively exhausted. The burning desire to make a movie and enter it in all the major film festivals was still alive, but the vessel (my body) that allows me to create was in need of a little R&R. I would take a day off here and there but it was always hard to rest when you have that little creative voice in your head bugging you to get your film finished so the world can enjoy your art. I was very lucky that I only suffered a minor head injury from that accident.

I finally finished the film Mike And The Magic Lamp after four long years of endless work that nearly put me in the hospital from exhaustion. The film went on to win the Silver Award at the Houston Worldfest in 1998 along with several other awards that year at major film festivals like the Santa Clarita International Film Festival. That film gave me recognition as an Independent Filmmaker and inspired me to pursue the path of making films on my own terms.

I pushed myself to the limits mentally and physically to get my movies made in the beginning of my career and it was just the springboard that I needed to get launched into the world of independent filmmaking. I may have doubted my body?s ability to keep up with my creative drive, but I some how managed to strike an agreement between the two and get my films finished. Before you take on the daunting task of making a movie almost completely by yourself, you have to ask yourself one thing; AM I REALLY COMMITTED to this idea? If you are not, then I suggest you find another outlet for your creativity. If you are committed, then pursue it with everything you have inside, but make sure you realize that your creative drive cares nothing about your health.

Copyright 2006. Michael P. Connelly
http://www.makeindependentfilms.com

What Segment Uses Myspace Backgrounds?

Myspace backgrounds are available in plenty, as this site is a very popular networking site. It has the most number of users, so naturally one would get bored looking at the same backgrounds again and again. Thus the use of the backgrounds is very useful. There will be a lot of versatility to the profile if different schemes are applied.

This site caters to any kind of individual. Whether they are young or old, or whether they have different interests, they are all allowed to use the site. And any user may access free Myspace backgrounds and apply them to the profile. Everyone will have different interests, so there will be the choices available to the user.

All users will want to have different Myspace backgrounds, and there will be no restrictions to the user. If they are keen about any one background, they may sue it. They will also be allowed to use it for free, and thus it is easy for all users to make their profiles different. The sub categories in the profile will need good backgrounds, and this is a very good chance for the user to make use of the backgrounds.

There are also various types of people who sign up on the site. There could be teenagers who only want to form some exciting groups, and there could be some others who are there for pure business purposes. Whatever the reason, there are many backgrounds available for free that the user may use. Any individual will be able to find the kind of background he is looking for.

All he has to do is pick one from the many categories that are available, and there will be a code that he can use. All he has to do is apply the code and he has his background ready in his profile. There will be no need for him to look too hard either. There will be many ways for him to get good Myspace backgrounds.

As these are very simple, they will be easy to access on search engines. Irrespective of the user as well as the profile, they may use any kind of background they wish to choose. Users will never get bored either, so all of them may decide to change the backgrounds every now and then. They will be given the choices and all that they would want is the code.

The Myspace backgrounds are very easy to apply and they are of various categories, thus making it very popular too among all the users. Different colors as well as themes are available with these backgrounds. There might be a lot of backgrounds to choose from, and the users should know what they want before they begin the search.

The Road from Saigon. Memories of Vietnam

I forget why I was in Saigon. I imagine it was to see some girl I’d met before I was posted to Baria. I must have stayed overnight and had to get back that evening to be ready for duty the next day. It was too late to get a flight so I did the obvious thing and took a taxi. There were cars with chauffeurs one could hire. Big powerful American cars. There were French cars with seats for eight or ten people where one could buy a place. But I had only been in the country a month or two and I didn’t know this. So I took a Saigon taxi, a venerable old Renault 4cv. The driver had vaguely heard of Vungtau and as I offered a lot of money he agreed to take me.
All went well down the Bien Hoa highway. It had theoreticaly three lanes in either direction. Or at least I think it did because in practise the concept of lanes was alien to the Vietnamese mind. Let’s just say that there were two flows of traffic going in opposite directions. Flows made up of every conceivable type of transport imaginable overtaking on your left or right, no matter. From big US duce and a halfs all the way down to overladen motor scooters. The inevitable three-wheeled-scooter-powered-taxi-cum-all-purpose-goods-transport. The only thing I never saw were tanks. They did appear from time to time but then everything else vanished. I’ve never been down that twenty (?) mile stretch of highway without seeing a major, often fatal accident.
After the highway we passed by rubber plantations of sinister reputation. In the heat of the day rubber plantations are delightfuly cool. But they feel really spooky. Too many things have happened in them to ever enjoy being there. This area would later be the responsibility of Thai soldiers. Mostly known for having very effectively shelled there own base.
Evening was drawing to a close and the car’s radiator started giving cause for trouble. The driver kept on getting out to go and find water in what were probably the beginings of the mangrove swamps. Night falls suddenly in the east and suddenly it was dark. The Renault either had no lights or the driver chose not to advertise our presence by using them; the darkness was total.
Part 2
I am able to retain that great British calm in periods of stress. Outwardly it appears admirable. Inwardly it is what I call one of the shades of fear. I was to get to know all the shades of fear over the coming years. Discipline helps one blanket out reality. One functions normally, one is completely without emotion. When one returns to the real world it leaves no trace. One’s mind has been completely protected. It is also rather suicidal unless you are born with the luck of the Irish.
The road that led to Baria had been the scene of a particularly bloody ambush shortly before. The hills that lay back a short distance from the road were infested with Viet Cong.
In the camp we had become a little concerned. The Viet Cong were often setting up road blocks and any foreigner who accidently strayed too far on the wrong day disappeared. Later an Australian division would move in to try to clear the area. Admirable soldiers they were not there at that time.
There was a worrying crunching sound and the car came to a holt. Silence. We got out. The car was tangled up in a mess of barbed wire. We waited, but there was no movement, the area appeared to be deserted. Had the Viet Cong laid the barbed wire? Was it left over from a previous road block earlier in the evening? Were they preparing something for the next morning? All traffic was forbidden on that road at night from dusk to dawn. Only a certifiable nutter would use it. We had four flat tyres. Somewhere deep inside me I felt really scared but managed to suppress it somehow. We got in and limped along for what seemed ages. The tyres were in shreds. I doubt if the wheels were any better. We finally arrived in Baria. I gave the driver some more money and took one of the three wheeled taxis from Baria to Vungtau. That stretch of the road was relatively secure in the day. Dodgy at night, forbidden also to traffic, it was complete heaven to what I had just been through.

Starting An Art Collection

Identify what kind of art you like. The following techniques can help you determine what that is:

1. Visit 3 to 6 museums displaying different types of art. Finish your visit by purchasing postcards in the gift shop that reflect artworks that are attractive to you. Toss these cards in a bowl, and don’t look at them again until you have visited all the museums on your list. Once you have done so, review all the cards and look for similarities among them in terms of mediums chosen, time period of the artists, or the style of the artworks.

2. Visit your local library and find an art history book that spans at least four centuries of art from many different countries. Use sticky notes to mark your favorite pieces. Again, look for common elements to determine what you like the best.

? Match what you like with what you can afford and what is currently available to buy. Consult with knowledgeable art dealers or art appraisers about costs and availability of what you have selected. Determine your annual budget and the number of pieces you want to be able to purchase with that amount.

? Gather information about the quality of what you like, what you can afford, and what is currently available. Consult with museum personnel and knowledgeable art consultants about what they consider to be quality work.

? Join ancillary museum groups that offer lectures and exposure to valuable information.

? Subscribe to magazines that focus on the type of art you want to collect.

? Don?t rush to acquire art. For many, it?s a lifelong pursuit.

Starting a Contemporary Art Collection

Contact museum curators or art professionals in your area who do not sell.

1. Build a relationship with these professionals by attending lectures where they assemble.
2. Discuss your interest in collecting contemporary art and ask for their recommendations.
3. Listen for names being repeatedly identified as quality artists.

? Attend exhibitions at contemporary art galleries in your area. Ask for information about any work that interests you. This will help you understand what the artist intended for his or her work “to say.”

? Go to national and international art fairs to gain additional exposure to contemporary art. Ask for information on work that interests you at these events as well.

? Contact prominent local contemporary artists working in a medium you like and ask them to identify their “hot picks.”

? Supplement your efforts by reading art publications such as Art in America, Art Forum, and Art News, as well as magazines directed toward just one kind of medium, for example, Fiberarts or types of art for example, Latinarte, Native Peoples and American Indian Art magazines.

? Join ancillary museum groups focused on contemporary art. These events allow you to experience what experienced collectors of contemporary art have chosen. Travel to other cities with these groups to gain an even greater understanding of contemporary art.

? Do MOST of the steps described above before purchasing for your collection.

Your Guide To Long Arm Quilting Machines

Long arm quilting machines are definitely rising in popularity at the moment and this trend looks set to continue well into a future. They can actually save you time when you are quilting thus allowing you to complete more quilts in a shorter period of time. There is a variety of long arm quilting machines available to choose from today and a whole list of features that seem to be interchangeable between models. The list of features actually determines price so you have to come up with a budget and decide what you actually want from long arm quilting machines. However, once you have decided on budget and need, you will have to do comprehensive research in order to find the perfect one for you.

Completing Your Research

There are a variety of sources out there that you can investigate the possibility of finding one of the perfect long arm quilting machines out there for you. The first place you should look is the American Professional Quilting Systems (APQS) range. They actually stock six different long arm quilting machines, although they are rather pricey at anywhere between $10000 and $18000 each. However, they also stock a range of extras that you can choose to add to your order to make the task of quilting easier. For example, you can actually include a computer system or software service with your long arm quilting machine to ensure that you actually get the best possible use out of it. As a result, it will probably answer any queries you have for you so that you will not be left with a redundant piece of equipment that you are stuck with forever!

Another company you can check out is Nolting Long Arm Quilting Machines. They are extremely highly thought of in the industry, to the point where they are actually considered to be the best. You do not have to trawl around stores for them either because you can buy Nolting Long Arm Quilting Machines directly from their website so that you have a ready source of support and can go straight to the source with ease should anything go wrong. There are also plenty of dealers that stock them so if you need a demonstration then you are best to go looking for one of them. Of course, the website can put you in contact with one in your local area. You can also book onto classes to learn how to use it effectively. For more info see http://www.iheartquilting.com/Quilting_Software/ on Quilting Software

Long arm quilting machines have added a new dimension to the world of quilting and can actually enhance the prospects of you turning your hobby into a viable business venture. There are other companies offering long arm quilting machines out there but my advice is to stick to the best. They represent a sizable investment so you are best to buy from the best Both of these companies offer your ongoing support and training should you need it, and there is also plenty of information to research on them before you go shopping for one. The maxim is to decide what you want and then go out and get it!

Why Candles?

Some people may find candles a messy thing to handle especially when they drip on the table or onto the cloth. However candles give off a soft glow, creating the kind of ambience needed in a romantic setting. Sure, a fireplace has the same effects but candles are portable, can be lit up easily anywhere, can be scented to enhance your sensory experience and above all lack the heat of a fireplace.

Thinking About Making Candles In Containers?

It is relatively easy to learn how to make candles in containers. Before you start, there are a few essential things that you need to get the process underway. You will need wax (soy, beeswax or paraffin), a container (preferably tin, glass or ceramic), a double boiler, pre-tabbed wicks, an empty ball pen barrel, a wooden rod, a thermometer and a glue gun with glue sticks. For the more adventurous, dyes and fragrances can also be added to the ingredients.

Making Candles In A Container

Now that you have your tools ready, let the fun of candle making begin. Firstly, boil your wax. While the wax heats up, don?t forget to use the thermometer to monitor the temperature of the wax. As it reaches the temperature of 160 to 165 degrees Fahrenheit, you have the option of adding either the dyes or the fragrances to your candle. Next, glue the pre-tabbed wick into the bottom of the container by inserting the wick into the empty ball pen barrel which is there to keep your aim straight so that the wick glues perfectly into the bottom of the container.

Making candles is not an exact science, get creative and don?t be afraid to experiment with new tools as long as they are safe to use. Improvise if you cannot find a particular tool to do a particular job, be resourceful. The next step requires you to tie the end of the wick on a wooden skewer or a toothpick, depending on the diameter of the container?s opening. Wood is a much better material to use compared to anything that is metallic which are excellent heat conductors. You may wish to preheat your container before pouring melted wax into it. This process effectively reduces the bubbles. Heat your container by placing it in an oven at the lowest setting for only a few brief minutes and no more, or you can also use a heat gun to achieve the same result. Take care in pouring the melted wax into the container as it can get very hot. Make sure to leave sufficient space from the container?s opening to the level of the wax to avoid spillage. Let the wax cool down and set completely. If you find a depression in the middle of your candle, reheat some of your leftover wax to a temperature higher than the melting temperature to ensure better cohesiveness. This is also to avoid unsightly lines from forming in your finished product.

When the candle is completely set, there you have it, a completely homemade candle right before your eyes. Once you have mastered the basics, the rest are all about perfecting the shape, the colour, the texture and the scent of the candle. Many people make candles as a hobby. Homemade candles make for unique gifts and you definitely have more control over their appearance and functions to be used and enjoyed by everyone in the family.

Video Game Voices Give Life To The Game

Video games have evolved a lot since the first one climbed out of the primordial goo in 1958. The first was actually played on an oscilloscope. Years later, there was Pong and Asteroids. No characters, no talking. These days, however, players demand realism, and you can’t have realism without video game voices, no matter what anyone tells you.

When a character is hit, you can’t expect him to just take it silently. Where’s the fun in that? Whether you are the one being hit or doing the hitting, hearing that ?Oomph!? right afterwards is satisfying. It makes you think that something’s at stake. That’s where video game voices come in.

Then, of course, you have to have narrators as well. Between the fight scenes on a lot of games, you have a storyline, and someone has to explain it. Video game voices are about a lot more than just talking crap, although that is a fun part of the whole thing. Can you imagine Muhammad Ali without his famous lines? He would make a great video game character, because he is the kind of person that goes great with video game voices.

Besides, video game voices add a touch of reality to the game. They do this by allowing the player to use more of his senses. We’re not as in tune with the smells around us as we are to sights and sounds, which is why no one has yet invented a viable way to add smell to the experience, though it’s probably coming. But there is something weird and unnatural about people who never say anything. You don’t want people to think that about your characters, so give them video game voices. It will have a dramatic effect on them.

If you use the right video game voices, they will add a lot of personality to your characters. Movie producers have understood the power of the voice for a long time, which is why we no longer watch silent films. It’s much more natural to listen to speech than to read text. Voices stay with you a lot longer than text does. And if text does stay with someone, it’s because it made them hear a voice. The right video game voices will work a lot like commercial jingles in your players’ minds. This will give them a truly memorable experience and call them back to the game again and again.

Things You Should Know When You Are Making Button Jewelry

When you are making button jewelry, there are so many different things that you can take into consideration. One of the most important things that you want to think about when you are making button jewelry is that of how you want to make each piece personalized and unique, and so you really want to take some time beforehand so that you can come up with some really great ideas.

Getting Started On Making Button Jewelry

In order to get started on making button jewelry, the first thing that you are going to have to do is get all of your supplies together. This means picking out the threads and buttons that you are going to want to use, of which you can get at any of your local craft stores.

If you cannot find the specific materials that you are looking for, then you should know that you can go to other places besides around your local area, and for instance you can shop on the Internet, so that you can browse through stores across the world without even leaving the comfort of your own home.

Once you have found and purchased all of the materials that you want and you are ready to being making button jewelry, then the next thing that you are going to have to do is select the pattern that you want to follow first.

This can either be a pattern that you created yourself or one that you found in a jewelry making book or on a website for instance, regardless of where you found it, you just have to make sure that you have it set out properly with all of your supplies, and now you are finally ready to get started and begin having some real fun.

Remember to enjoy yourself while you are doing it, and improvise along the way, especially if your plans are not particularly set in stone. After all, creativity is incredibly important with something like this, especially if you are planning on using these jewelry pieces for business purposes, because you will want to give your customers a lot of variety to choose from.

Also remember that doing your research is very important for something like this, so that you can find out about the different tips and tricks that you can use along the way.