Wednesday, May 26, 2010

No Win No Fee

"No Win No Fee" in the UK is the term used to describe the Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) between a law firm and their client. In any claim (Commercial or Personal Innjury), this is an agreement between the client and their lawyer, which will enable the lawyer to take on a case on the understanding that if they lose the case, the client will not have to pay their lawyer’s costs, but will still be responsible for the defendants costs if the case is lost.

However, if the lawyer wins the case they will be entitled to their standard fee plus an uplift referred to as a success fee. In English law, the success fee cannot be greater than 100% of the lawyer’s standard fee.

If the client wins their case, either the Courts or the losing party’s will make an award of damages. In addition, the defendant will be required to pay the client's legal costs including any uplift of fees as well as expenses. With most Conditional Fee Agreements, the client will have nothing to pay and will receive 100% of any compensation awarded in their claim.

To protect a client from an adverse cost order (meaning having to pay the costs and fees of the defendant if the client is not successful) a soliciotr can purchase an After the Event Insurance (ATE) is the term used to describe the type of funding document, which is normally obtained by a lawyer acting on behalf of their client. This is generally taken out at the outset of a claim, when a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) is entered into. ATE insurance is designed to protect the client from the risk of legal costs and disbursments of the defendant and usually covers the clients own disbursments if the case is either discontinued, lost at trial or any disbursment shortfall even if the client wins, an admission of liability still leaves the client at risk to cost orders, solicitor clients need to be aware that if they lost there case or a solicitor has discontinued there case and the client was not advised of ATE insurance than there could be a potential claim against the clients solicitor for negligance.

In addition, there are a few alternatives to ATE for funding a personal injury claim.

These include:
Legal Expenses Insurance (LEI), often referred to as Before the Event (BTE) Insurance
• Legal Aid
• Paying for own Legal costs

Legal Expenses Insurance

This can also be referred to as before the event insurance (BTE), and is insurance that the client may already hold as part of Household contents or Car Insurance, either free or for a small fee. Some credit cards also include BTE insurance and it can also be taken out as a separate insurance policy. BTE insurance may pay for the legal costs when making a claim for compensation, whether the client wins or loses. Your solicitor will be able to identify if a client holds this type of policy and complete the necessary claim form. The 2008 report from the Ministry Of Justice found that in 2007, 48% of those who took part had BTE Insurance incorporated into their car insurance, 35% had BTE Insurance as part of their Home insurance policy and a further 17% had the insurance as part of their Travel Insurance. This insurance covers any legal expenses in addition to costs for pursuing a personal injury claim and cost for legal expenses from the other side if the client's claim in unsuccessful.

Legal Aid

Legal Aid is financial assistance which is funded by the Government. Legal Aid is not usually awarded in cases of personal injury unless under extreme circumstances. Legal aid is still available for Clinical Negligence cases.

Paying for own Legal costs

Due to the assistance that is available through insurance policies it is rare that an individual will fund their own personal injury claim although it is possible. As with all Legal fees if the client's claim is successful they will be in a position to claim back the cost of their expenses from the other side. If their claim is unsuccessful they will lose the money that they have paid out.

Guide to Conditional Fee Agreements
Conditional Fees: Law and Practice

Student Loan Consolidation Advice

With the constant rise of tuition costs, many college students are opting to apply for student loans. As a result, a large majority of graduating students end up with multiple loans. Unless they've graduated with a degree in finance, most students don't understand how to responsibly handle a large amount of debt. Fortunately large banks and financial institutions recognize this and now offer student loan consolidation advice and services.

There are a multitude of programs available to graduating students that can provide you with excellent benefits which can reduce your interest as well as providing an overall better loan in your terms. When you decide to consolidate your student loans, you are lumping them into a single lower interest, lower monthly payment. This provides easier money management and less hassle so the student can get on with their careers, instead of focusing on debt worries.

If you are considering consolidating your student debt, you need to be aware of the pitfalls that may cross your path. The overall goal here is to save money and to restructure all of your loans to fit your budget and needs better. Don't lose sight of your goal. Many consolidation companies may entice students with lower monthly payments, but higher interest rates. The lower payment may seem appealing at first, but you may end up paying much more in additional fees and finance charges. The only loan you should consider is one that saves you money and time in the long run. A good consolidation company will provide you with a plethora of options that can do both.

Another pitfall students may face when trying to consolidate is bad credit or the lack of credit. Graduating students should not be expected to have several years of credit history like their parents who have most likely paid off many cars and even their house. A good consolidation company recognizes this fact and many offer suitable terms that can help any student regardless of their credit situation.

A specific list of student loans, offers, terms, and interest rates is beyond the scope of this article. However, by using the power of the internet you can search and compare consolidation companies nationwide. When comparing companies, be sure to list the pros and cons of each, as well as listing the fees, charges, interest, and monthly payments of all your options.

Now that you are armed with the right knowledge, you should be well prepared to take the next step and find the perfect loan for your needs.

Student Loan Consolidation: Getting Out of Debt!
Student Loans And Debt - The Complete Guide To Getting Student Loans And Getting Out Of Debt FAST!

Lemon Law Buyback Vehicle

A Lemon Law Buyback Vehicle is a vehicle that has been reacquired by the vehicle manufacturer, on or after January 1, 1996, because of specified warranty defect(s). The vehicle must be registered in the manufacturer’s name prior to resale to a member of the public.

Manufacturer requirements

Upon reacquiring a vehicle because of specified warranty defect(s), the manufacturer must:

* Request that the Certificate of Title and Registration Certificate be marked “Lemon Law Buyback.”
* Title the vehicle in the manufacturer’s name.
* Attach a decal to the vehicle, which reads, “Lemon Law Buyback.” The decal will be affixed to the:
o Left door frame, or
o Frame of the major entry into the vehicle, such as the front right door frame of a motorhome, or
o Left side of a vehicle without doors, such as a motorcycle.

Additional requirements

When a warranty return vehicle is sold, the seller must notify the buyer/transferee on letter size paper of the following:

* The year, make, model, and vehicle identification number.
* The fact that the vehicle title is marked, "Lemon Law Buyback."
* The nature of each nonconformity reported by the vehicle's original buyer or lessee.
* Any repairs made to the vehicle in an attempt to correct each nonconformity.

How to determine if a vehicle was a Lemon Law Buyback

* Check for display of the decal described in the previous section.
* Look at the vehicle's Certificate of Title and registration to see if it contains the notation, "Lemon Law Buyback."
* Ask the dealer/seller if the vehicle was a Lemon Law Buyback. Law requires the dealer to disclose if it was.

What you need if you purchase a Lemon Law Buyback Vehicle

Prior to buying a Lemon Law Buyback Vehicle, you must be notified in writing by the seller of the nonconformities stated by the original owner.

If you decide to purchase the vehicle, the usual transfer documents and associated fees will be required. This includes the:

* Certificate of Title properly endorsed for transfer.
* Transfer fee.
* Sales/use tax, if applicable.
* Smog certification, if applicable.
* Odometer Disclosure Statement.

Renewal fees will be due if the application is presented within 30 days of the registration expiration date. Additional items and/or fees may be needed, based on the type of transfer application.

NOTE: For registration fees, see the brochure, Registration Related Fees (FFVR 34). Because fees are subject to change, visit our website at for the most current information or call DMV toll free at 1-800-777-0133.

You may contact the DMV for the exact documents needed to complete your transaction.

Lemon Law - The Standard Reference Guide
The Lemon Law Bible: Everything the Smart Consumer Needs to Know About Automobile Law
The California Lemon Law: When Your New Vehicle Goes Sour 

Things To Do When You`re Bored

Blink wildly and then close your eyes really tight for an interesting light show
(Amusement Potential: 1-5 minutes)
See a variety of blobs, stars and flashes. Try to make out shapes and see if your subconscious is trying to send you a message.

See how long you can hold a note
(Amusement Potential: 4-20 minutes)
Not that much fun, but it sure passes the time. Play with a friend, or try to beat your own personal best. Inhale deeply and then try and make a noise for as long as you can. Earn extra points for making your partner laugh or ending on an amusing note.

Try to not think about penguins
(Amusement Potential: 1-5 minutes)
This is especially hard, because by trying too much, you remember what you were trying to avoid thinking of. If you try too little, you end up thinking about penguins anyway.

Use your secret mind power
(Amusement Potential: 5-10 minutes)
Pick a passing by and try to use your mind power to command them do something, like drop their bag or knock into someone. The law of averages dictates that sooner or later one of your mind commands will come true, so you can convince yourself that you really have super human powers and waste even more time trying them out.

Pretend you’re a robot
(Amusement Potential: 1-3 minutes)
Walk down the street with mechanical movements, adding ‘zzzzzt’ sounds with each motion. Pretending to have a motor broken in, say, your left hand can add at least 30 seconds more entertainment.

Scratch yourself
(Amusement Potential: 1-3 minutes)
Go ahead, scratch yourself now. Even if nothing itches, go ahead. Doesn’t that feel pretty good?

Rate passers by
(Amusement Potential: 10-15 minutes)
Secretly award passers by marks out of ten as you go along, offering (unsaid) expert criticism over their clothing, hairstyle and footwear choices.

Repeat the same word over and over until it loses its meaning
(Amusement Potential: 1-3 minutes)
Pick a random word out of a magazine and say it aloud to yourself until it becomes a meaningless set of noises.

Pinch yourself
(Amusement Potential: 1-3 minutes)
What is pain? Why is it unpleasant? There’s nothing physical about it – it’s all in your mind. Plus, after pinching yourself for awhile, boredom will seem nice next to being in pain.

Try to swallow your tongue
(Amusement Potential: 1-2 minutes)
There’s not much to say about this one. It is possible, but really stupid.

Pretend to be a car
(Amusement Potential: 5-10 minutes)
Make appropriate revving noises in your head as you walk along and add a racing commentary as you pass strangers in the street. Use blinking eyes as indicators for extra authenticity.

Make Star Trek door noises
(Amusement Potential: 1-2 minutes)
Stand by an electric door to a bank or something and make that silly “Scccccccchwop” sound heard whenever people popped on to the bridge to hang with Captain Kirk.

Look at something for a while, shut eyes, study after image
(Amusement Potential: 2-5 minutes)
Another great time waster. It takes about 30 seconds of staring to create an after image, and the image is then viewable for about the same length of time. Fun to combine this one with pushing on your eyes.

Get yourself as nauseated as possible
(Amusement Potential: 5-10 minutes)
Best achieved by looking straight up and spinning around. Try to be so dizzy you can’t even stand up. This is also entertaining due to the “makes boredom seem a lot better” effect (see “Hurt Yourself”).

Invent a weird twitch
(Amusement Potential: 5-10 minutes)
Adopt a bizarre twitch (e.g. flicking your head irregularly, twitching with eye or busting out sporadic cough noises) and try it out when you go shopping.

Make a low buzzing noise
(Amusement Potential: 15-30 minutes)
Hours of fun in libraries! Keeping a totally straight face and looking nonchalant, make a low pitch humming/buzzing noise and see who reacts.

See what’s in your neighbour’s rubbish/trash
(Amusement Potential: 20-30 minutes)
You can learn a lot about people by what they throw out. You might uncover some dark secret about them. Plus, they might be throwing out something with value that still works, like a VCR or some porn mags.

Watch TV, repeat everything said in Italian accent
(Amusement Potential: 5-10 minutes)
Sort of entertaining. Include flamboyant shoulder shrugs for added impact, or go for a Marlon Brando set of grunts.

Send spooky emails
(Amusement Potential: 15-60 minutes)
Look up someone’s CV on the web, do some research on them via Google and then send them an email full of personal references claiming to be an ex-work colleague who fell in love with their shoes. Or something.

Make prank phone calls
(Amusement Potential: 20-60 minutes)
Very entertaining, but requires discipline. Remember – vulgarities don’t make a call funny, but getting the other person to believe a ridiculous story will. Try seeing if you can get them to make noises to ‘test’ the line. One to get you started off: Call McDonalds with weird complaints about their food.

Pretend all humans will die except for people in room with you
(Amusement Potential: 10-20 minutes)
What would you do if this really happened? Would the group stay together, or would there be factions? Who would join what group? Remember, there would only be power for a few days before the plants ran out of fuel or broke. To travel, you would always have to be near cars to siphon gas out of. Best to do with people you know.

Step off a curb with eyes shut, imagine it’s a cliff
(Amusement Potential: 2-5 minutes)
To get any benefit out of this one, you have to have a good imagination. Don’t step off immediately, build up to the jump. Study the ravine below. Feel the winds at that altitude. Step off and…AHHHHHH!!!!!

Try and sound Welsh
(Amusement Potential: 1-3 minutes)
The key to sounding Welsh is to make sure that your voice goes up at the end of the sentence, so that everything sounds like a question. Throw in a superfluous ‘isn’t it?’ at the end of everything you say and you’re halfway there. Isn’t it?

Burn things with a magnifying glass
(Amusement Potential: 5-30 minutes)
Ants are always fun to use for this, but burning the face of someone you don’t like, under some circumstances, can be just as entertaining.

Have a water gargling contest
(Amusement Potential: 5-10 minutes)
Put a glassful of water in your mouth and see how long you can keep gargling for. Award yourself extra points for loud and amusing gargling noises, and minus points if you laugh.

Stare at the back of someone’s head until they turn around
(Amusement Potential: 2-5 minutes)
This works on the “I have the feeling I’m being watched” principle. Conduct an experiment-does this really work?

Have a “Who is less competitive” competition
(Amusement Potential: 1-3 minutes)
Trying to win at this will make you lose. Trying to lose makes you win which makes you lose. Not trying at all makes you lose which makes you win which makes you lose.

Pick up a dog so it can see things from your point of view
(Amusement Potential: 3-5 minutes)
Think about it: your dog has only seen the house from a viewpoint from 6″ to 2′ high (15 to 60 cm for all you metric fans). It’s never seen the tops of counters, what you keep on your desk, the tops of shelves, etc. Try looking at things from its point of view, too.

Pull out a hair, stick in someone’s ear
(Amusement Potential: 1-5 minutes)
Best done to sleeping people. Added challenge in having no one else around, because then you can’t blame it on anyone else. Try to beat your record number of times before the person catches on.

Pour water in hand, make sneeze noise, throw water on back of person’s neck
(Amusement Potential: 5-15 minutes)
Always a good gag. For an even bigger reaction out of the person, act like you’re not sorry at all for what they think you did. Comment instead on how big that sneeze was or about how there was a lot of mucus in that one. 

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

22 Crazy Alcohol MYTHS You Swore Were True

Does this beer make me look fat? (the beer belly)
A study published in 2003 by the Journal of Nutrition looked at the bellies of beer drinkers, wine drinkers, spirit drinkers, and no drinkers. They measured the body-mass index (BMI) and the abdominal height of each subject. The abdominal height is the distance from your spine to the top of your abdomen (how far your tummy sticks out). The results showed beer drinkers had no more body fat than non drinkers on average . Beers range between 100 and 200 calories. You need 3500 calories to create a pound of fat. Of course beer can only add to your caloric intake, but lifestyle and genetics most likely play a bigger part in your tummy fat.
The minimum drinking age in America is 21 by federal law
Each state can set the minimum drinking age to any number they like. Unfortunately, the federal government passed the National Minimum Drinking Age Act in 1984, which coerces states to keep the drinking age at 21. The law does not state the drinking age should be 21. It states any state that does not make the drinking age 21 will lose 10% of their federal highway funding. Louisiana held out as long as they could, but eventually caved in with the rest of the nation.
Alcohol destroys brain cells and makes you stupid
Alcohol has no effect on the lifecycle of brain cells . According to Queensland Brain Institute director Professor Perry Bartlett in Australia, drinking alcohol does not kill brain cells, even if it feels like it did the next morning. The commonly accepted notion that alcohol creates huge craters of dead cells in your brain turns out to be an old wives’ tale. In moderate amounts, Italian researchers have demonstrated that red wine helps the brain and can prevent dementia in old age.
Parents can serve their children alcohol in America
This is true in only 30 states in America, and you can serve the alcohol only in your home to your own children. The other 20 states state that it is never ok to give your own children alcohol in any amount. You’ll have to look up the laws in your state to see if your state trusts you enough to know what is best for your children.
The puritans were the original forces behind the prohibitionist movement in America
There was more beer on the Mayflower than water. Before people understood micro-organisms, drinking water was a good way to get sick. People who drank beer were healthier and lived longer. In fact, the first Thanksgiving had plenty of beer, brandy, gin and wine. [ed- There is some contention to the fact that the Pilgrims had beer on Thanksgiving. The point I was making was more that the Pilgrims did drink alcohol. The Pilgrim's beer supplies most likely were exhausted by the first Thanksgiving. Thanks to Bob S. for this correction on his site and the reference at Joe Sixpack .]
The large American breweries make watery beer because it’s easier
As any homebrewer will attest, it is very difficult to make the American pale lager with the same crispness and lack flavor found in the macro brews. The large breweries make the beer that way, because that is what sells. The majority of beer drinkers prefer this lager to other lagers. Hopefully the craft brew movement in America will change these preferences.
Budweiser contains formaldehyde
We were so sure that this rumor was a myth, we added it to the list to research later. This might come as a shock to you. It shocked us when we found this on Notre Dame’s website . Canned beer does contain a small amount of the same junk that keeps your dead Kermit (frog) fresh for biology class. At least it used to.
Formaldehyde was used to kill bacteria that attacked the lubricant used in the manufacturing process of cans. The cans were rinsed, but a small amount always remained. People got used to this flavor in their canned beer. Other emulsions are used now, so there is no formaldehyde in current beers in America (there are reports that Chinese and Thai beers are using formaldehyde). Its legacy does remain – the newer emulsions created must have the formaldehyde flavor, otherwise it will change the flavor of the beer. People are so used to it, that they expect it.
European/Organic wines contain no sulfites
All wines, even wines that state “No Sulfite Added” contain sulfites. Sulfites are used as a natural preservative in wine. The fermentation process for creating wine produces sulfites in the wine. Additional sulfites in the form of potassium metabisulfite are added to help preserve the wine. Since sulfite is a natural by-product of the fermentation process, there is always around 10 mg/liter of sulfite in wine. This is true for organic wine.
Good luck at finding wine with no sulfites. It’s a natural by-product, so all wine has it.
It is a myth European wines do not contain sulfites; the EU does not require wine makers to list a warning label. European wines still contain 40-80mg/liter just like their American and Australian counterparts.
Sulfites causes red wine headaches
Australian researchers published in Thorax (2001 Oct; 56 (10):763-9), showed that “only a small number of wine sensitive asthmatic patients responded to a single dose challenge with sulfited wine under laboratory conditions. This may suggest that the role of sulphites [sic] and / or wine in triggering asthmatic responses has been overestimated.” However, an asthmatic reaction is very different from a headache. No scientific study has shown any sulfite links to red wine headaches.
Beer has the same amount of alcohol as a shot of 80 proof liquor or 5 ounces of wine
Anyone who has ever had a few Belgian ales knows this just isn’t right. Different beers and wines have a wide variety of alcohol contents. The wine and beer are listed in this often repeated fact with incomplete information.
80 proof liquor contains 40% alcohol. Proof is double the alcohol content. This means that a 1 ounce shot of 80 proof spirits contains 0.4 ounces of alcohol. Shots are usually defined as 1 ¼ ounces to 1 ½ ounces. We’ll be generous and go with the lower figure. One 1 ¼ ounce shot of 80 proof liquor will have 0.5 ounces of alcohol. (1 ½ ounces contains 0.6 ounces of alcohol)
Assume that the beer we are drinking is 4% ABV. Most beers in America are around 4%. In a 1 ounce shot of beer we would have 0.04 ounces of alcohol. Most beers are 12 ounces, so that is 0.04 x 12 = 0.48. If your beer is 12 ounces and 4% ABV, then one beer equals one shot of 80 proof alcohol. Most pubs serve pints which are 16 ounces. One pint is 0.64 ounces of alcohol. That’s more than a shot. If you are drinking a craft brew, this number will go up even more.
Wine alcohol contents are anywhere from 10% to 16%. We’ll assume 14% ABV for this example. One ounce of wine will have 0.14 ounces of alcohol. Five ounces of wine will have 0.70 ounces of alcohol. That is much more than a shot too.
Lesson learned: shots actually have less alcohol than typical servings of beers and wine. You need to pay attention to the alcohol content to make accurate comparisons.
Bottles of tequila in Mexico have worms in them
Tequila does not have worms. You are thinking of tequila’s close cousin mescal. In the 1950s, Jacobo Lozano Paez started bottling mescal and noticed the worms gave mescal a distinctive flavor. The worms were getting into the beverage during the processing of the agave plant. He came up with the idea of adding whole worms to mescal. The worms are harmless, and are more of a marketing gimmick. The worms will not make you hallucinate.
Rolling Rock’s “33” refers to the year prohibition was repealed
While Amendment XVIII was repealed in December of 1933, the source of 33 has a different origin. It refers to the number of words in their slogan on the bottles of Rolling Rock. The author was keeping track of the words in each proposed slogan and forgot to remove it. The number made it to production and was included on the bottles. The mystique surrounding the number encouraged the brewery to keep the number on the bottle.
Alcohol will make you feel warmer
It’s the reverse. Alcohol lowers your body temperature. Too much alcohol in very cold weather can cause hypothermia.
Corona beer contains urine from the workers
This myth was traced back to a Heineken distributor in 1987. The myth is false, and one can only wonder why this myth was started. Heineken was the number one beer import in America in 1987, and Corona was a close second. Corona learned of the rumor when Nevada grocers started removing Corona from their shelves. Corona traced the rumor back to Luce and Sons of Reno, a Heineken distributor. Corona sued and the case was dropped after Luce recanted the rumor.
Pennies under the tongue will help you pass a breathalyzer test
It won’t. We couldn’t even find the fake science behind this myth. This myth is so “out there” it is hard to believe anyone would believe it. The copper in the penny, which is mostly zinc, does nothing to the breathalyzer. Breath mints and prayer do not defeat the breathalyzer test either.
Coffee will sober you up
Your body processes about 0.015 percent of blood alcohol content per hour. Coffee, showers, nor exercise will speed this process. Gender, weight, age or any other factor has no influence on this process. You just have to wait to sober up.
Beer before liquor, never been sicker – liquor before beer, you’re in the clear.
The rate of consumption determines if you get sick. The mix or order has no influence on your ability to “hold your liquor”.
Aspirin while or before drinking prevents hangovers
Aspirin will not prevent or reduce your hangover. Taking an aspirin before drinking will actually increase the speed of intoxication and make your intoxication more severe. The Journal of the American Medical Association published a study that found aspirin before alcohol will actually increase you blood alcohol levels by 26%. They also found that the alcohol will stay in your system longer because your metabolism is slower.
Acetaminophen can be even scarier. This drug, commonly found in Tylenol, is toxic to your liver when it mixes with alcohol. Aspirin or Ibuprofen might help with the headache the next morning, and are a safer choice.
Absinthe is a hallucinogen
This is a very famous myth that resulted in the beverage’s ban in many countries. Many believe the main ingredient wormwood causes insanity, because it contains thujone. Researchers believe the alcohol content (~70% ABV) would have a much stronger affect than any amount of thujone in the drink. Researchers also question if absinthe in the 1800s contained the reported amounts of thujone required to have its toxic effect. In 2007, three licenses were granted to make Absinthe in the United States. These absinthes are thujone-free (less than 10ppm). The modern versions will get you drunk, but if you see pink elephants it is because you had too much.
Homebrewers should avoid lambic yeasts because they will infect everything
Many myths surround these yeast and bacteria. Since they are “wild”, it is assumed they have supernatural powers above and beyond the normal beer yeast. Brewers worry the critters will lurk in every crevice of your home or brewery and infect every beer you ever make again. If you are using porous fermenters (wood barrels), you might need to be concerned for that particular container, but glass, better bottles, and stainless steel are all safe. Just make sure you clean your equipment, and properly sanitize it.
Coors supports Nazis
With a name like Adolph, how can this be wrong? Well for starters, the Coors brewery was founded sixteen years before Hitler was born. There is no evidence ever reported that anyone in the Coors family were Nazis or ever supported Nazis. This is an unfounded rumor, most likely started due to the company and families conservative leanings.
Canadian (or insert another country here) beer is stronger than American beer
90% of the beer in the world is under 5.5% ABV. The myth most likely results in the conversion from ABV (alcohol by volume) to ABW (alcohol by weight), or the fact American macro beers tend to be lighter in flavor and body. The alcohol contained is similar in all countries.
Darker beers contain more alcohol
Coors Extra Beer is about 4.84% ABV. Guinness Stout contains 4.27% ABV. Budweiser has 4.6% ABV. Samiclaus, a dark Swiss beer, is about 12% ABV. Typical Belgian Golden ales are around 7%-10%. You get the idea.
The color of the beer has no corolation to the amount of alcohol in the beer. You can usually find a beer (ligher or darker) which has more alcohol than another beer.

Monday, May 17, 2010

What Makes A Good Club DJ?

It's About Time Somebody Let The Cat Out Of The Bag

By the time you've finished this article, you'll know what the experts have to say and you'll have heard my not-so-humble opinion. Before we begin, you are cautioned to ignore what curiosity did to my friend pictured above.

Who Are The Experts And What Do They Say?

DJ Magazine is a monthly magazine that is generally recognized as one of the largest selling dance music magazines in the world. Beginning its publication in 1991, this magazine now has a circulation of more than 30,000 copies monthly and is so popular that it is translated into numerous languages.
Each year, DJ Magazine publishes its list of the top 100 DJ's based upon public votes. I would consider the top ten identified DJ's to be reliable experts on what it takes to be a good DJ. Here's what they have to say on the subject:

#1 Armin Van Buuren - "Timing and character."

#2 Tiƫsto - "A great DJ can adjust to the crowd, make them go crazy but still be able to do his own thing."

#3 David Guetta - "A great crowd."

#4 Above & Beyond - "Good taste in music, an open mind and experience."

#5 Paul Van Dyk - "The confidence of knowing what your own sound is. And not being a snobby ass and playing for yourself."

#6 Deadmau5 - "Their taste in music. It's a little bit of technical know-how, but 90% of it is the music you play."

#7 Ferry Corsten - "Knowing how to entertain the crowd. You're not there to educate. You should present new music without forcing it down people's throats."

#8 Markus Schulz - "Unique style and understanding of the momentum in the room."

#9 Gareth Emery - "Knowing the crowd is a fundamental requirement and looking like you're enjoying it."

#10 Sander Van Doorn - "A lot of interaction with the crowd. Playing a set is about educating on one hand, but also playing music that the people are there for."

My Not-So-Humble Opinion

As a proficient Latin dancer who has taught more than 800 people to dance and who has attended dozens of Latin dance clubs, I am not without my opinions regarding what makes a good DJ.

As DJ Paul Van Dyk implied, a DJ who plays for himself is no more than a snooby ass. Of course, it's natural for performing artists, and I consider DJ's to be such, to have big egos. However, when a DJ plays for himself, the listeners and dancers know it and they quickly recognize that the DJ is too egotistical to listen to his/her clients and to serve them well. A truly professional DJ will keep an open mind as Above & Beyond indicates, and will keep his/her finger on the pulse of the audience.

DJ Ferry Corsten says that a DJ should "present new music without forcing it down people's throats." Wow! He is so right. While it's appropriate to rely heavily upon music that you know is tried and true, you have an obligation as a DJ to introduce new music to your audience. This is what keeps the experience fresh for your fans. Balancing your desire to teach and to expose your fans to new music with their ability and readiness to accept it, is an art that must be mastered.

Knowing the crowd's taste in music is imperative according to DJ Deadmau5. My experience bears witness to this. When a DJ in a Latin club plays lots of salsa and small amounts of the other Latin genres, he/she will only be considered a good DJ by the crowd if they like listening to salsa music and enjoy dancing to it. While a Latin club population consisting of large numbers of Caribbean Latins may fit this description, a Latin club population consisting primarily of people of Central and South American decent would likely not. Of course, this is not exclusively true and it's the DJ's job to know the musical likes and dislikes of his audience.

Curiously missing from the opinions of the experts, is a point that I stress often. While it's not imperative that a DJ know how to dance, it really can make a significant difference and it's sometimes what separates the average DJ's from the excellent ones. As a lead-and-follow partner dancer, I feel a very strong need to dance to music that motivates me and that has a discernable beat that I feel all throughout my body. I assume the same is true for dancers of other types of music as well. Therefore, it seems to me that, a DJ who knows how to dance will feel the music as his dancing audience does and will know what it is they expect.

Now What?

Now that you know what the experts say and you're aware of the opinions expressed by this author, make up your own mind and decide who's the best DJ by using your newly acquired educated and critical eye.

How to Live Like James Bond

Do you want the James Bond lifestyle? The travel, the women, the adventure, the style, the money...
It sounds pretty much like 'the dream' right? You're not alone, there are thousands of people around the globe who agree that Mr Bond is the epitome of cool. For some however it's more than just a dream...
A select group of people have been living the James Bond lifestyle without even the hassle of tackling international criminals. After some time Derek Johanson stumbled across their secret and has not only studied this global elite but has managed to become one of them!
Now part of this global elite; Derek Johanson managed to refine the lifestyle into several key elements which he has then broken down into actionable steps that anyone can achieve. He has written a guide on how to live like James Bond in real life and today I will share the key elements that his eye opening study contains.

Here Are the Keys to Living the James Bond Lifestyle...

  • The Bond Style & Image
  • The James Bond Body
  • Lethal Seduction Techniques
  • Associated Lifestyle Skills
  • Money, Wealth & Exotic Travel
Cover all these bases and you will not only be living like Bond but find that the benefits spill over into all areas of your life. This is the truth that many people are living across the globe afforded by the growth in possibilities with modern technology.

The Bond Style & Image

James bond has style that is timeless. No matter where he is or who he meets he always manages to dress impeccably for the occasion. To mimic this you will need to learn how to buy the best looking clothes at prices that won't break your bankroll.
Think it's just about the clothes? Think again! Learning body language secrets is one way that you can improve the way that you are perceived by others. When combined with the muscle building mission included in Derek's guide you'll be irresistable, which leads in nicely to the next area...

Lethal Seduction Techniques

The bond girls are legendary in their own right and this isn't by chance. You'll need to learn how to adopt James Bond's attitude and seduction techniques to attract beautiful women.You need to be able to use humour to build attraction and frequent places where you are likely to meet the Bond girl of your dreams.
Attraction may not be a choice but learning a selection of 'lethal seduction techniques' will enable you to approach women without the fear of rejection. Once she's hooked you will soon be able to sexually escalate and become intimate with your own Bond girl where ever you may be in the world.

Money, Wealth & Exotic Travel

Sure you may have mastered the art of seduction and have a style that would put the average man to shame but what does it count if you're not free to explore and play with it. With the advent of modern technology more and more people are finding that they have the ability to travel the globe and live the Bond lifestyle without becoming an international spy!
Don't beleive me, simply look to the world of lifestyle design where people are travelling the globe and earning as freelance writers, developers and much more. Living the Bond lifestyle really means the world is your playground.

Isn't it About Time You Lived The Dream?

Whilst looking through this hub it's likely that a sense of excitement grew within as you realised that living the Bond lifestyle really is possible. You can take control of your life and break free from mundane once and for all. Can you imagine how you'll feel in a years time as you sit in your dream location with a beautiful woman by your side?
If you'd like to learn more about Derek's step by step system for living the Bond lifestyle then make sure you check out his elite training guide entitled "007 Lifestyle: Living Like James Bond".
Everything has been broken down into sections with unique missions so that before you know it suddenly you'll be the guy who knew what it took to talk to the most beautiful women in clubs, bars, and on the street. You'll be the guy who spends his time travelling exotic locations in style. You'll be the guy living like James Bond.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

10 Steps to Install GD and ImageMagick using Yum on Fedora server

GD and ImageMagick are must installed components on your server if you are dealing with images in PHP, and I can’t believe that your application is not using any image processing.

PHP is used to create and manipulate image files in a variety of different image formats, including GIF, PNG, JPEG, WBMP, and XPM with the help of GD. Even more convenient, PHP can output image streams directly to a browser.

ImageMagick is an open source software suite for displaying, converting, and editing raster image files. It can read and write over 100 image file formats.

Lets start with its installation. Here are 10 step to achieve this.

Step : 1

yum install php-gd


Step : 2

yum install glib


Step : 3

yum install glib2


Step : 4

yum install libpng


Step : 5

yum install libjpeg


Step : 6

yum install libtiff


Step : 7

yum install ghostscript


Step : 8

yum install freetype


Step : 9

yum install ImageMagick


Step : 10

yum install ImageMagick-perl


That’s all!

Top 5 Alternatives to the Apache Web Server

The Apache web server is the most popular server online, used on more than 70% of all servers connected to the World Wide Web. And there are good reasons for it: it’s free, it’s very stable, it delivers a great performance, it’s very customizable, and last, but not the least, it was one of the first web servers available when the Internet just started, so people didn’t have much of a choice back then :-).
Joking aside, Apache is an excellent all-purpose web server. But for those who need a more specialized web server that is stronger in some areas (like size, customization, serving speed, etc.), even if it falls short in others, there are, of course, alternatives to Apache.

Below are the most popular alternative web servers that can replace Apache on your server.

Lighttpd. The most popular free alternative to Apache, Lighttpd is a single-threaded web server optimized for a large number of keep-alive connections (which is what most high-traffic web sites and applications need). A lot of popular web sites use it, including Youtube, SourceForge and Wikipedia. It has FastCGI support, HTTP compression, mod-rewrite and a lot of other useful features. Despite having almost as many features as Apache, it is extremely lightweight (~1MB) and can easily server double the pages that Apache can with the same configurations.

Nginx. This is a very popular web server in the Russian online community (Runet, as they call it). It’s used by a lot of high-traffic Russian sites, the most popular being Rambler, the search engine. It is excellent for serving static pages, it’s lightweight and it’s free, but it doesn’t support fastCGI, so it’s a bit harder to get it to work with PHP and MySQL.

Microsoft IIS. A solution from the software giant, Microsoft, IIS (Internet Information Services) is a great web server, despite the many negative reviews (which often stem from the fact that it’s the most attacked server online). It is installed on over 20% (including a lot of high-traffic ones) of all sites and can serve as many pages as Apache, having the same performance. It is practically the best web server if you want full ASP.NET support (it also supports PHP), has a very advanced API and a few unique features like the integrated IIS Media Services platform, useful for smooth and reliable streaming of media files. A major drawback is that it runs only in Microsoft Windows, is not open source and is not available for other operating systems.

A lot of webmasters swear by Boa when it comes to the need for a lightweight web server for less powerful machines. This is a single-threaded HTTP server, which means that it doesn’t spawn multiple copies and child of itself when serving multiple users at once. It is a great choice for popular sites that run on a single server.

Jigsaw. This is the leading-edge web server platform from W3C (the World Wide Consortium, for those who don’t know about it). It is built on top of an advanced architecture implemented in Java and it’s packed with advanced features like the HTTP 1.1 implementation. It’s on about the same performance level as IIS and Apache if configured correctly (Java is a bit slower than other languages), and is a good choice if you want support for all the next generation features and goodies, otherwise, you may easily stick with one of the other servers on this list.

There are plenty more good alternatives for the Apache web server, so if you have a more specialized need, take a look at them, maybe you’ll find something that suits you better.

Monday, May 10, 2010

10 Free Computer Games That Rock - No Demos!

I know in this economical time of distress, the last thing you want to be spending your money on is unnecessary material items. I’m constantly searching for freebies, because after all, once all the bills are paid for, I barely have enough money to keep food in the fridge, let alone go out and buy superfluous accessories. After about a year of exploring all the great, free stuff out there on the ‘net, I’ve compiled a list of some of the greatest free computer games there are to offer.

Frets on FireIf you like the Guitar Hero series, then you will absolutely love Frets on Fire. It’s Guitar Hero on your computer, played with your keyboard! And when I say that it’s played with your keyboard, I mean you hold that keyboard like it’s your guitar and rock out. Frets on Fire is set up much like Guitar Hero, but like I said, you play with the keyboard by pressing the Function buttons as the keys and Enter as the strum bar. The game comes with a small collection of starter songs, but more can be downloaded from the official website and at other places around the Internet. Happy rocking!

Savage 2With impressive graphics and addictive gameplay, there’s no way you could have a collection of free games without this one. Savage 2 is an FPS meets RTS, and it’s completely multiplayer which will probably come as good news to a lot of people. Players are split up into two teams with a commander on each side, and both teams strive to destroy the other’s command center. The players’ perspective under the commander appear 3rd person and low to the ground, while the commander’s perspective appears in RTS style! New players might find the game difficult at first, but once you begin learning, you won’t be able to stop playing.

F.E.A.R. CombatThis is a great FPS, as it is also a completely online multiplayer, and it’s actually fun! This game moves at an exciting pace with great graphics, which those factors are hard to come by when searching for free games. The game features several stimulating game modes such as Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, CTF, Elimination modes (last man standing type games), etc. Not only does the game include awesome game modes, it’s got loads of great weapons to eliminate your opponent with! Some of the weapons you can choose from are (but not limited to) a rocket launcher, a collection of sub machine guns, a shotgun, a railgun, etc. If you’re looking for a great FPS without having to spend a dime, then check this goody out!

S.W.I.N.E.I’m not going to lie. This game is a little quirky, but the concept is great. This is a great RTS game (without the gathering of resources and building construction) with very nice graphics! You choose to either play as rabbits or pigs in campaign, and then you are put on the frontlines to defeat your opponent. Multiplayer also features exciting game modes to play as well. If you’re into cheesy humor, then this game is definitely right up your alley!

CellFactor: RevolutionOriginally this game was designed for use in combination with a PhysX graphics card; kind of like an advertising scheme to show gamers how “cool” the card can make your gaming experience appear, but after further examination, the game performs perfectly well without the card. Although this game is a bit needy of optimal computer specs, it makes for a great, free FPS. Don’t expect a story mode behind the game, as it is based around fancy graphics and killing opponents. The only multiplayer experience that this game offers is via LAN connection but not online, which might be disappointing to some. Overall, I think it’s worth it to check this one out if you are into LAN gaming.
Trackmania Nations Forever – If you’re looking for a fun, exciting racing game then this is it. The tracks in this game make the experience, as they are all well-detailed and thrilling. Don’t expect a realistic experience with factors such as vehicle damage and life-like physics. This game is more centered on having fun, and not worrying about the technical end of things. The best part is this game DOES offer a massive online multiplayer experience, as well as leader boards and the like. One more thing that makes this game completely awesome is the fact that you can build your own tracks with an editor for use in the game. Nice!

Tremulous – Tremulous is an exceedingly fast-paced FPS/RTS game that allows you to join 1 of 2 opposing races, humans or aliens. Your purpose is to build structures (like in an RTS) and eradicate the opposing team. One of the buildings that the teams have the ability of constructing are meant for respawning players, and if the opposing team destroys that particular building, your team will be quick to be eliminated. New players start out as weak humans or aliens and eventually grow more powerful as the game advances. If you’re looking for a fun, enticing experience, try Tremulous.

Freeciv – If you’re a fan of the Civilization games produced by Sid Meier then you’ll definitely be interested in this similar strategy game. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, then the game can be best explained by telling you that your mission is to lead a civilization and conquer the world. You advance in the game by exploring, building cities, and conquering other nations. You have the choice of either playing single player or going up against other players online on a Freeciv server. The graphics are not much to drool over, but the concept is wonderful. Give Freeciv a try!

AssaultCube – This is a great FPS that features a single player and multiplayer mode. Although the game does feature the single player mode, the game is most known for its multiplayer as it is perceived to be the most enjoyable part of it. As far as downloading the game, it is extremely small (somewhere around 20 MB or so), so don’t expect to be anxiously waiting around for it the download to complete. Don’t try comparing this game up against newer FPS’s though, as the game is quite aged and the engine is pretty old-fashioned. But really, those things aside, this game still makes for an exciting experience and time-waster
The Suffering – This awesome survival FPS features an amazingly eerie storyline that is set in a prison that is infested with monsters. You play a character named Torque, and your main objective is to escape the extremely creepy prison. Although the game provides a solid, gripping plot, there is no multiplayer to accessorize the fun, which is discouraging. However, if you’re looking for a great story to delve into and conquer, try The Suffering out, you won’t be let down.

Should You Pay Off Your Mortgage Early?

I only know of one person who has ever saved up all the cash needed to purchase a home. Not even my grandparents could do it. If you want to own a home, a mortgage is just about the only way the average person can do it. When you get a mortgage you are agreeing to pay a (usually) set amount of money (a large amount!) every month for thirty years. It can be overwhelming to commit to something for the next thirty years of your life, but once you start making those payments, it is easy to just accept that that is the way it is and keep making those payments for the next few decades. Except there is the option of paying it off early.

In today's instant gratification society it can be hard to find extra money in your budget each month when there are so many other tempting things calling for your money. Even if you can find some extra to send to the mortgage company, it can seem like only a small drop in the bucket of the total mortgage. One has to wonder if it is worth it to send extra money in. Well, I believe it is. If you can scrape together enough extra each month to equal one extra payment a year you can pay off your mortgage five years early while saving yourself tens of thousands of dollars in interest. Let's look at an example.

According to this mortgage calculator if you take out a 30 year fixed rate loan of $200,000 at 6% interest you will have a payment of $1199.10 every month for thirty years (starting in January of 2010). At the end of the term in December of 2039 you will have paid a total of $431,676.38 with $231,676.38 of that being interest only. You read that right, you will pay more in interest than what the original loan was for. If you were to make one extra payment each year towards the principal only you would pay off your loan in June of 2034 paying just $181,913.68 in interest for a total of $381,913.68. This is a savings of $49,762.70.

If you can get enough money to pay even more each month then you will pay it off even sooner. But why should you pay off your mortgage early? There are many good reasons. Do you like owing people money? I don't, therefore we are trying to get out of debt as quickly as possible. I don't like getting a paycheck each month that is already spoken for by other people. Wouldn't it be nice to have more control over your money? Imagine all the things you could do if YOU were able to keep that $1200 a month for yourself rather than sending it to the mortgage company.

You could easily save for retirement, pay for your children's college, donate to charities, go on an extravagant vacation, purchase a new car with cash and much, much more if you don't have a mortgage payment. If you didn't have a mortgage payment you wouldn't be as tied down to your job. If you want to change careers mid-stream or switch to a part-time work schedule not having a mortgage payment would make those things much more possible.

Right now my husband and I are in our upper thirties. We have 29 years left on our mortgage. That means that we will be past retirement age by the time we pay it off if we don't pay extra. That doesn't sound like fun to me. I would rather sacrifice a little bit now and enjoy myself a lot more later. Not having a mortgage payment is a huge form of financial security - one that I really want to have as soon as possible. It is all about short term sacrifice for long term gain.

5 Unusual Freelance Jobs

What's the first thing you think of when you hear the word "freelance?" If you're like most people, you said writing. Those two words just seem to go together. There are a lot of people who would love to experience the freelance lifestyle, but just don't like to write. Fortunately, you don't have to be a writer to be a freelancer. You can use your spare time to make some extra money online, or turn your passion into a full time freelance career. Here are just five career ideas based on the hundreds of freelance opportunities I turned up in a recent job search; and none of them have anything to do with writing or article marketing.

Freelance Social Media Consultant

Have your friends been telling you that you spend way too much time on Facebook? Do you tweet so much that you've started speaking 140 characters at a time? You could turn that experience into a career as a freelance social media consultant.

The business world is finally realizing the marketing value of social networking sites. A lot of these companies are putting up their own websites, but have no idea how to attract attention to them.

Since many businesses don't have personnel that know how to take advantage of the big social networking sites, more and more of them are turning to savvy freelance social media consultants for advice on their online advertising .

As a freelance social media consultant, you can earn $120 per hour or more to advise companies on how to make the best use of social networking sites, marketing on Youtube, and even how to add a blog to their website.

Make Money Online As An Online Instructor

If you worked hard to get your teaching credentials but still haven't landed that teaching job, or you've been teaching for a while but are tired of all the bureaucracy, there is a huge demand for online teachers. As colleges and other institutions expand their online courses, they are constantly searching for online instructors.

Freelance ESL tutoring is also on the rise. You can earn $20 per hour or more online to teach English as a second language from home. These part time positions pop up on Flexjobs and other freelance sites all the time.

Many of these ESL online instructor jobs require you to speak to students directly, using Skype. The majority of the jobs that I've seen involve teaching English to business students in Japan and China, and may also require you to write lesson plans.

Make Money Online As A Virtual Juror

A lot of people go to great lengths to avoid jury duty, but serving as an online juror is interesting and pays much better than real jury duty. Most companies pay $20-$60 per case, depending on the scope of the work involved.

These companies summarize real cases and email them to qualified jurors, like you. Once you give your opinion (and get paid for it), the company sends all the data to the attorney that placed the order. By doing this, lawyers can gain new insight into how an actual jury may view the case.

On average, each case takes 30-60 minutes to review, so the money isn't bad. Just watch out for scams. Virtual jury services are becoming popular, so scammers are starting to surface. If a company wants you to pay a fee to join, walk away. There are plenty of legitimate, free to join online jury services out there.

Work From Home As A Virtual Concierge

Are you detail oriented? As a virtual concierge, you can make up to $20 per hour to handle details like making dinner reservations, giving restaurant recommendations, or giving driving directions to clients. Some busy executives even use the services of a virtual concierge to plan birthday parties and vacations. You can do all of this from your phone, by Skype or online.

Scrapbooking Consultant

Are you a scrapper? It may have started as just a hobby, but in recent years scrapbooking has become a multi-billion dollar industry. If you have an eye for layout and design, you can cash in on the scrapbooking and rubber stamping boom as a freelance scrapbooking consultant.

If you're not sure where to start, you can earn free merchandise by hosting parties for companies like Creative Memories and Stampn' up. If you already have a business plan, you can strike out on your own with scrapbooking advice and services; or by making your own greeting cards and other products and selling them on eBay or through your own website.

Don't Quit Your Day Job

Freelancing is not for everyone. A lot of people are seduced by the claims that you can work part time and make thousands of dollars a month; but the reality is that freelancing is a lot of work. Don't fall for the wild claims.
If you have a day job, keep it! Start out slow, test the waters and get a good idea of what's really involved in freelance work. You'll quickly find out that the real freelance lifestyle often involves low pay, long hours, and a lot of hard work. It may take months, or even years to start making a reliable freelance income, and you're going to need that day job to pay the bills while you build your business.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The A to Z of Cold Brewing Coffee

If you are unfamiliar with the term “cold brewed coffee”, then know that it is a coffee syrup that you can brew using fresh ground coffee and cold water. If you are an iced coffee fan, then this syrup is a really fantastic addition to complete your summer coffee drinks or to even add to hot water so that it will give you a premium hot beverage. One of the main benefits of cold brewing your coffee is the fact that it actually is less acidic than a regular hot coffee brew. Another thing to be noted, which may be good or bad depending on your coffee addiction, is that a cold brewed coffee actually does have less caffeine than it’s steaming hot counterparts. If you are a heavy coffee drinker, then it may be wise to replace a few of your cups per day with this type of cold brewing style.

Often times, when you are a heavy coffee drinker you will notice difficulty sleeping and irritability if you are not well supplied with your steaming mug of java. To add some much needed balance to your coffee drinking habits, a cold brewed type of coffee may be the perfect yen to your yang. Other coffee drinkers have noticed issues of heartburn and insomnia, so to add to your health and wellness, alternate cold brewed java with a regular brewed coffee to give you the balance that you need. Who says that you need to cut back on your favorite caffeinated beverage? A wise move would be to give yourself a little bit more are variety and style by alternating your brewing temperatures and coffee products that you are drinking.

To begin cold brewing, you pretty much only need a plastic pitcher with a fabric filter. This is much more low-tech than your fancy espresso machine, yet it will yield you magnificent results. What you need to do is place your filtering system over a coffee carafe to catch your final syrup product. This is an old-school type brewing system which is very easy to try in your own home. Your first step in cold brewing your coffee will be to start with a pound of pre-ground coffee that I would recommend you grind in your own home with your own grinder for optimum flavor and freshness. Pour filtered water over the top in a ratio of 9 cups per pound of coffee grounds. Your brewing time for this ratio will be around 10 hours. Basically, you can leave it overnight for 10 to 12 hours. After that you will then filter the coffee liquid to remove all grounds and store it in the fridge for two weeks. If you leave your syrup too long, the flavor will start to go bad after about one week. That is the maximum shelf life that you can expect for your cold brewed coffee. After that, the possibilities are up to you! You can use this syrup to mix into all of your summer coffee beverages and enhance a variety of your flavorful coffee drinks!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

What is Homeowner Loans - A Quick Guide

What is a homeowner loan?
If you own your home, there is an additional loan option available to you. In addition to personal loans, there are also loans that are secured against your home. Because your home is used as security for repayment, these secured loans are also commonly referred to as homeowner loans.

What are the advantages of a homeowner loan?
By using your home as security against the loan you may be able to borrow more money than you could with a personal loan. Personal loans usually cater for loans of up to £25,000 while homeowner or secured loans are required for larger amounts.

Having the security of the value of your home also means that lenders can rely on something other than just personal credit history to determine whether you will repay your loan. This means that people who are self employed or have experienced a bad credit history in the past will often still be considered for homeowner loans.

Is my home at risk?
Yes. If you default on your re-payment you could lose your home. So, think very seriously before taking out a homeowner loan.

What should you consider?
Will I still be able to cover the repayments if I am going through a rough time financially?

Is the purpose of the loan worth risking the loss of my home for?
If the secured or homeowner loan is being used to consolidate existing debt, have you made the necessary plans to ensure that all avenues of the existing debt are controlled to prevent a similar situation from arising again?

Secure your best loan now
Now you know all about the pros and cons of borrowing money secured against your home or other assets, go to our secured loans calculator to compare the best secured loans against the best personal loans in the market.

Abdul Kadir Lokhandwala

The Basics of Making a Proper Cocktail

Types of cocktails:
Cocktails can be separated into two main categories:
  • Short drinks typically contain between 6 to 12 cl. of liquids and tend to be consumed as a digestive drinks. These Short Drinks are strong and contain a lot of alcohol.
  • Long drinks typically contain between 12 and 25 cl. of fluids and can be enjoyed as aperitif or as a thirst quenching daytime beverage, as they are less strong than the short drinks.
Professional bartenders will divide the cocktail families much further and will use words like: collins, fizzes and flips, all of which will be discusses elsewhere on this site.
Cocktail preparation:
Although, in principle, all combinations are possible and the number of cocktail recipes is therefore nearing on infinite, there are some basic rules that need to be observed:
  • Combining 2 "bad" products can never come to a positive result.
  • Neither a short drink nor a long drink should contain more than 7 cl. of alcohol.
  • Never combine 2 types of "eau-de-vie" in one cocktail recipe. Never mix grain based spirits (gin, vodka, whisky) with a wine based spirit (cognac).
  • Dairy products like milk, cream and eggs do not combine well with fruit juices.
  • always follow the order of the cocktail recipe
  • It is wise not to mix more than 5 different ingredients.
  • By the glass: pour every ingredient directly into the glass and serve the cocktail after stirring it thoroughly. This technique is not efficient when serving a group of customers the same cocktail. In that situation we advise to use mixing glass or cup.
  • In a mixing glass or cup you can make more of the same recipe for several people which you can later cool by pouring it over ice cubes and stirring strong for no more than 10 seconds.
  • in a cocktail shaker: pour the ingredients over ice cubes. Close the shaker and shake it for about 10 seconds, after which you pour the mix into the glasses, using a strainer so that the ice will remain in the shaker. In a shaker it is more easier for the ingredients to blend resulting in a true emulsion. Sometimes an electronic mixer / blender can be used to grind the ice cubes.
In most cases the amount of the ingredients in shown in parts, so that you can the number of cocktails with the number of people. The originality, and therefore the quality, of a cocktail heavily depends on mixing the proportions correctly. This is why professional bartenders hardly every use a half-measure goblet: they stick to the proportional mix of the drinks and other ingredients. For the less experienced or amateur bartenders among us it is always possible to measure in centiliters. A 7cl short drink with 3 ingredients A, B and C could, for instance, look like: A 1/10 x 7 cl = 0.7 cl (which would be rounded up to 1 cl), B 3/10 x 7 cl = 2.1 cl (rounded down to 2 cl.) and C 6/10 x 0.7 cl. =4.2 cl. (rounded down to 4 cl.) totaling to a 7cl cocktail. This method works for most recipes (both short drinks and long drinks) as most cocktails contain only 7cl. of alcohol. The long drinks will just be topped of with champagne, tonic or soda water. For recipes that use only one spirit, 4 cl. is the standard.
Cocktail terminology
  • Twisting: Giving orange- or lemon-skins a short twist or squeeze over the cocktail. Depending on the type and taste of the cocktail you can add the skin to the mix, after twisting it.
  • Cooling: Placing the cocktail glass in a refrigerator for several hours or by placing a few ice cubes in the glass and rolling them around the glass for a few minutes. Remember to remove all of the residual water before adding the cocktail.
  • Rimming: moisturizing the rim of the glass with lemon- or lime juice and dipping the rim into regular or colored sugar, or salt, and twisting it until the rim is evenly covered.
  • Blending: Some drinks require the use of a blender. One should always blend the ice separately before adding the other ingredients and the liquids should be added last.
  • straining: After mixing or stirring the ingredients in a shaker, a strainer is required to keep the ice cubes from falling into the glass. Nowadays most cocktail shakers come with a build-in strainer. Remember not to use shaved or crushed ice, if you intend to use a strainer for serving.
Ice is the basis of almost all cocktails. Nearly every recipe calls for ice to be used to chill the cocktail.
The ice should as cold and as dry as possible, to prevent water from mixing with the cocktail too much. Ice cubes should always be taken directly from a freezer or kept in an isotherm ice bucket. When utilizing a shaker or a mixing glass, try to execute all the required steps as quick as possible so that the melting of the ice will be minimal. Use demineralized water, or low minerals water like evian, to make the clearest and cleanest ice cubes.
Crushed or shaven ice, which can be made by machines or by smashing ice cubes that are wrapped in a bar towel or other cloth, give faster cooling but also melt more quick, so only use shaved or crushed ice for long drinks.