Monthly Archives: November 2014

house fire from 9 volt batteries

9 Volt Batteries Can Burn Down A House

house fire from 9 volt batteriesThis is for everyone who keeps batteries in their home.  A 9 volt battery, if stored improperly can start a fire pretty quickly.  Watch this YouTube video and see what happened to a nice home in just minutes.  The unsuspecting home-owners had no clue that a fire could start so quickly from just throwing old 9 volt batteries into a paper bag.

Make sure you store your 9 volt batteries safely.  The end of the video shows the proper way to store your 9 volt batteries so that what happened to this nice home in CO doesn’t happen to you or your family.

video courtesy of UltraSharpVideo

Please share with your friends and family.  Be safe this holiday season.


Remote Control Plane Launched From Model Aircraft Carrier

Being a former sailor in the United States Navy and serving on an aircraft carrier (CV-43), I appreciated this video that was done by RapidNation.  They built a model aircraft carrier and successfully launched an RC plane from it.  It took a couple of tries to get a successful launch, but they did it.  They even had a camera below decks in the catapult steam room and even some steam coming from the “cat-tracks”.

Their next project is building a landing system or for us sailors, “arresting gear”.  You can see more of their action at:



The Simplest Mitre Cut Chart and Diagram

I recently did some improvements around the house.  My wife and I took down some floor-to-ceiling mirrors in the living room.  Repainted the room, installed one of the windows sideways and framed it in pine.  Article on that project coming soon.  Another added feature was adding crown molding around the living room and eating area.

I’m no stranger to wood-working, in fact I have built quite a few items in recent years but this was the first time that I was installing crown molding.  So like most of my computer skills that I have learned over the years, it was to the computer to find some tutorials on how to set up the saw for crown molding mitre cuts.

Outside_Miter_CutsI must have searched through at least 20 websites trying to find the right settings.  Oh the settings were out there, but it seemed so complicated.  They had bevel angles and mitre angles for every conceivable angle.  I’m trying to do a few inside corners and a few outside corners, why soooo many angles?

Then I went to the saw, I remembered that the saw had a little diagram on it.  Perfect!!!  I don’t know who wrote/drew that diagram.  Nothing was coming close to lining up the right way.  In fact, after following it step by step for an inside corner, the outcome I got was for an outside corner.  Ugh!!  OK, let’s take a look again and try the directions for an outside corner, maybe that will produce an inside corner.  Nope, didn’t work.  Frustration mounts higher and higher and my moldings become shorter and shorter.

Back inside and back to searching more tutorials and videos.  I finally come across one video, and unfortunately I didn’t bookmark his video, but I did draw on a piece of scrap paper the simplest of directions that he posted.  Back to the garage for a test run.

Viola!!!  It worked on the first try!!!  New found excitement and back inside to install the crown.  And no matter, do not lose that piece of scrap paper.

Here’s the steps that I did to set up and never make another cut in the wrong direction:

  1. The Bevel Set Up:  My saw has a “stop” for the bevel angle at 33.8 degrees (once it’s set, it stays the same)
  2. The Mitre Set Up:  My saw has a “stop” for the mitre angle at 31.6 degrees (left or right depending on the mitre cut in diagram)
  3. The molding lays flat on the saw no matter which corner is being cut.
  4. See diagrams below to set the direction of the saw blade.



Now I know that we didn’t account for spring angles and we didn’t set up for non-45-degree angles.  I needed to put crown up in a rectangle room with a flat ceiling.  I had a couple of outside corners to deal with because of a heating duct.  All-in-all, once I had my cheat sheet, I didn’t waste anymore crown.  I hope this helps you if you are a first timer to installing crown molding.

Feel free to print out the two images above and keep near your saw for future reference.

pianist Maan Hamadeh

What This Frustrated Man Did At Airport Made People Grab Their Cameras

We all have been frustrated by airports and airline delays.  Canceled flights due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances get people all fired up.  Well one passenger took matters into his own hands.  While awaiting a flight at the Vaclav Havel Airport in the Czech Republic, Mann Hamadeh took to a piano facing an exterior window of the terminal gate and did some remixing of his own on the piano.

Hamadeh entertained the awaiting passengers with a remix of Beethoven’s, “Fur Elise” and Celine Dion’s, “My Hear Will Go On”.  Passengers grabbed their cameras and began video taping the talented pianist.

A video you don’t want to miss.  Share this with your family and friends.

dominican republic business philosophy

What All Businesses Should Be Saying


“No problem”.  Everything is no problem.  What a great philosophy.  My wife and I visited the Dominican Republic last June.  As we were on the tour bus to Saona Island the tour director spoke about the history of the Dominican Republic and how different countries fought to have the land that is now the Dominican Republic.


It was like “no problem” was their slogan even in a time of war.  With no big army or navy, what could they do to defend themselves?  Eventually they got their freedom; however the US wanted to run their country.  They pleaded with trust.  The people of the Dominican Republic stated, “Trust us to run our country.  Come visit us anytime, no problem, we will take care of you”.  And they have.  Taking care of their visitor is embedded into the people of DR.

Coined phrases like, “Welcome to the party”, “How are we?” is asked often but  “Manifico” is the only acceptable answer.  “Are you having fun? Yes or yes?”  Which doesn’t even give you the chance to say, “No, not having fun”.

You want something?  No problem.  Whatever it is, it’s no problem to get if for you.  How many businesses in the US utilize that phrase?  No problem.  Many times if a customer wants something that not in the line with normal operating practices, it’s probably a big problem.  I can’t do that it’s not by my protocol.  But in DR, it’s not a protocol; it’s a way of life.  To keep their country going, they depend on everyone within to do their part to make sure we come back again and again.

Their work scheduled at the resort is 16 hour days for 11 days straight.  Insane work schedule, however these aren’t factory workers.  They do live in a paradise where their motto is, “Welcome to the party”.  It does make it easier to endure when your workplace is a “party”.  But you try to be nice to strangers for 16 hours a day.  I’m sure it’s not easy.  Their “niceness” is not limited to the tourists; they are friendly to each other as well.  I have seen them many times give each other kind greetings, high 5’s, etc.  If you were a customer in a large department store, how much better of an experience would it be if you saw the employees being nice to their fellow employees?  Multiple times I have been in my bank only to see the tellers being “catty” to the other tellers.  That’s not good for business, ever.

But in DR, it’s one big family.   As the bartenders stated, “you are mi familia”.  Our tour director would state in order to get our attention, “Attention Enrique Family”.  It gave us all a sense of intrinsic security knowing that he was there to take care of us.

To the newcomer, Dominicans can come across as pushy and at times may cross that line of personal boundaries but what I have noticed is that they cross sell other products and services that may not directly affect that one person.  They help their fellow Dominicans because in turn it helps all Dominicans.

Dominicans have a sense of humor, light-heartedness.  Funny that they know what’s going on in our country.  We arrived at Saona Island (one of sixteen national parks in DR).  Our tour director tells us what to expect there at the island by referencing Obama-care.

What is included and what is extra.  “Welcome to Obama-care.  Everything here is free, but if you want to get a lobster, that is extra”.

DR and its people are beautiful and desire everyone to come visit them, not just once, but often.  “Welcome to the party”.

veterans day

The Origin of Veterans Day


The Origin of Veterans Day

Did you know that Veterans Day originated as Armistice Day and was celebrated by other countries along with America?

World War I was known as, “The Great War”.  And though the war ended with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on June 28, 1919, the fighting ceased seven months earlier.  The Allied Nations and Germany had an armistice, a temporary halt to the fighting.

It was agreed upon that on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, their would be an armistice.  And because of that, November 11, 1918 was regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars”.

11.11.11 – The Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month.

In 1921, an unknown American soldier was buried in Arlington National Cemetery, which became the focal point of reverence for American veterans.  Similar ceremonies took place earlier in England and France where one of their unknown soldiers were buried at their nation’s highest place of honor, which also took place on November 11th.  The day became known as “Armistice Day”.

The First Veterans Day

It wasn’t until 1947 that we started using the term Veterans Day.  Raymond Weeks, a WWII veteran organized a “National Veterans Day” in Birmingham, AL.  The event included a parade and other festivities to honor all veterans.

A bill was proposed to change Armistice Day to Veterans Day.  Congress passed the bill in 1954 that President Eisenhower signed proclaiming November 11 as Veterans Day.

In 1968, a law was passed to change Veterans Day to the 4th Monday in October.  However November 11th stuck out to too many people as a day of remembrance and in 1978, Congress moved the day back to November 11.

Every Veterans Day

At 11am today, a combined color guard will execute a “Present Arms” at the tomb of the unknowns, followed by a bugler playing, “taps”.

So in your busy moments of today, remember to honor our American veterans for their sacrifice, their patriotism and love of our country.

What It Means To Me

I served in the Navy back in 1987.  I was only a kid, but I was proud to serve, with my shipmates on the USS Coral Sea (CV-43).  Every time we left a port, the ship played, “Proud to be an American” by Lee Greenwood over its loud speakers (1MC).  It gave you chills to hear it played and here it is 27 years later and the song still gives me chills.

Last year my father-in-law took us out to Applebees and he proudly wore his Vietnam Vet hat and jacket.  I was in-awe of the responses he got walking into Applebees.  If you didn’t know, Applebees gives a free meal to all veterans on this day.  It must have taken him 15 minutes just to walk into the restaurant.

As for me, my cruise jacket doesn’t me anymore.  My Coral Sea hat is somewhere up in the attic.  But I was still served a complimentary meal from Applebees.

I’m “Proud To Be An American”


CSS Opacity and Transparency

The opacity property is how transparent an object is over another object on a web page.  The default value of the opacity property is 1 and the range is from 0 (completely transparent) to 1 (no transparency at all).  Let’s create a nice visual effect using the CSS opacity property. Continue reading

css tip text box transparency

CSS Opacity Property – Text Box

In another article, we discussed how we can use the CSS Opacity Property to change the transparency of an image.  But let’s say we want to keep the image at its normal opacity (100%) but we want to add text over the image.  Depending on the background of the image and the color of the text, it may make it hard to read the text. Continue reading

featured image

How To Use Featured Image In WordPress

Writing blogs is not just about what you are writing about.  There is some planning involved in-order to make your blog not just informative but pleasing to your reader. When organizing your posts, I’m sure you are thinking about items like:

  • Content
  • Audience
  • Images
  • Advertising
  • Related Topics
  • Etc

metaBut one item to think about is the Featured Image.  If you don’t spend some time thinking about this, your blog may not look as sleek or clean as it could be.  Usually the theme that you are using has already set how it displays the featured image however you may have to take it a set further.

Hopefully you use a program like Photoshop or Fireworks or another image-type software.  Make a template that fits what you are looking to do.  For example, if a box for your featured image works, set up a .psd file and do the following steps:

  1. Set the canvas to dimensions of 250px x 250px (or whatever size your prefer).
  2. Copy and paste the image that you would like to use for the featured image.
  3. Create a rectangle over the image and make the color a color that goes with your theme.
  4. Change the fill of that rectangle to 80%.
  5.  Add some text above the rectangle using a font that goes with your theme.
    1. Be creative here, think of this space as like a short headline to attract readers to your article.
  6. Save the image to your gallery in WordPress.
  7. Edit your post and use the new image as your featured image.
  8. Redo steps 2-7 for all your articles.
  9. Save the .psd for future use on your future articles.
  10. DONE !!

Now your home page to your WordPress blog will have featured images that are all uniform, making it cleaner and visually nicer.

If you have any questions regarding how to do this, please comment below.  If you have your own tips on how you use featured images, I would love to hear them.


Create A WordPress Gallery


If a picture is worth a thousand words, would 10 pictures be worth ten-thousand words? Creating a WordPress gallery is very simple to do.   But before you start your first gallery, you need to upload images to your Media Library.

Step 1 – Place Your Cursor To Where You Want The Gallery In Your Post

You can put a gallery anywhere you would like on a post or a page.  Put your cursor at the area in the post/page that you would like the gallery.  Best if you have the cursor on a new line so that the gallery is not next to a block of text.


Step 2 – Click the “Add Media”

After you placed the cursor at the spot that you want the gallery, click the “Add Media” button just above the tool bar for the post/page.


Step 3 – Add/Select Images For Your Gallery

At this point you can upload images to your gallery or you can select existing images.  TIP:  You can add images and upload images to your gallery at the same time by switching back and forth between the Upload Files and Media Library tabs.


Step 4 – Create Gallery

When you are done selecting or uploading the images, click “Create Gallery” from the left menu bar.  Then clicking the blue “Create a new gallery” button in the lower right-hand corner of the screen.


Step 5 – Edit Your Creation

Now you can edit the images that you selected.  You can RE-ARRANGE, REVERSE, ADD DESCRIPTIONS or REMOVE/ADD images.  If you are using the Jet Pack plugin, you can change how the gallery is displayed.  When you are done, simply click the blue “Insert gallery” button in the lower right-hand corner of the screen.


Step 6 – View/Save/Continue

After the gallery is inserted, you can continue writing, publish, save or edit the gallery.  To edit the gallery, just click your mouse anywhere over the gallery in edit mode and the two boxes will appear in the upper left-hand corner of the screen.

The pencil shape will bring you back into the gallery edit whereas the “x” will delete the gallery from your post/page.


Your gallery is complete.

Happy Writing,