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Fun Things to do with Kids in Penang

 “What are we going to do today?” How many times have you heard that one from your children? Here’s a collection of ideas for fun activities to entertain your kids. Some of these would be great for kids birthday parties in Penang, too.

I’m still working my way through doing everything on this list, but I wanted to get it out there so you don’t have to wait on me to blog about each place. Penang really does have so much family fun to offer. Do you have anything to add? Let me know in the Comments.

* indicates birthday party package available

Adventure Zone

Free is Good

  • 5 Fun and Free Things to Do: Visit the Youth Park, Hunt for Street Art, Visit a Temple, Hit the Beach, Trek the National Park

Swimming beats the Heat

  • * Hard Rock Hotel: Yearly memberships, foam parties, birthday parties
  • * ParkRoyal Resort Hotel: Day passes and birthday parties

Outdoor Adventures

  • * ESCAPE Eco-Adventure Park: Ropes course, climbing, innertube slides, and birthday parties
  • Ride bikes and scooters: Traffic Garden, Youth Park, Straits Quay, car-free George Town, Air Itam dam
  • Penang Hill: Ride the funicular up and enjoy the activities or just hike around at the top; if you want to hike up from the bottom, trails are not marked so go with someone familiar with the hike
  • National Park: hike, canopy walk, take a boat back from the beach, Turtle sanctuary, and camping
  • Countryside Stables in Balik Pulau: Ride ponies and feed the horses and donkeys
  • Wet World Wild Adventure Park: A Wipeout-style obstacle course floating in the waters of Moonlight Bah; recommended for teens and adults
  • Kayaking at Straits Quay; Fridays after 3 p.m. and Weekends 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; See Marina Office
  • Playground at Straits Green with Water Sprayground activated from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.; Access road is at Quayside condos next door to Straits Quay; Note: No good shade
  • * Soccer Experience: tot lessons, youth league, and birthday parties
  • Jerejak Daytripper Package: This little island by the bridge has tons of outdoor activities for kids ages 10 years and older; contact fanjerejak@gmail.com for more information.
  • Paintball: 6 paintball fields in Penang; recommended for teens and adults

Explore Nature

  • Penang Butterfly Farm: Not just butterflies — insects, reptiles, and amphibians, too
  • Penang Bird Park: On the mainland; daily shows and photo sessions
  • Botanical Gardens: Popular with runners and joggers; stroller friendly; fun hill to roll down
  • * Tropical Spice Garden: Snakes and Ladders playground, garden tour, kids events, birthday parties
  • Toy Museum and Heritage Garden: Before it moved, it was a look-don’t-touch museum; new location has added an outdoor garden
  • Forest Recreation Park and Museum: forestry museum, playground, hiking trails, and wading pools
  • Tropical Fruit Farm: Take the 45 minute tour, buy a fruit tasting plate and (book ahead) have BBQ
  • Happy Goats Farm: Tour this dairy farm, feed the goats, and try your hand at milking them

Stay Cool Indoors

  • * Top Picks for Indoor Fun: Adventure Zone (birthday parties), Mega Kiddie World, Cartoon World, KidLand, video game arcades and movies
  • Made in Penang Interactive Museum: Bring your camera for some photo fun
  • *Kidland Penang: Play at the pretend firehouse, hospital, music studio, greenhouse, cooking school, art gallery, airplane pilot training and more; Prangin Mall, Level 4.
  • *Urban Playground inflatable jump houses, slides, obstacle courses and climbing walls in Times Square Mall
  • JumpStreet: Huge room covered in trampolines. Dodge ball arena and foam pits, too. Atrium of D’Piazza Mall in Bandar Baru.
  • Urban Playz climbing walls on Level 7 of Gurney Paragon Mall
  • Archery: 1st floor of Komtar Walk; recommended for teens and adults
  • Bowling: Penang Bowl near the E&O; Premium Lanes in Sunshine Square; Classic Bowl in Prangin Mall
  • Break the Code: Solve the puzzles in time to escape the room or be trapped inside forever; for tweens and older

Arts and Crafts and Cooking, too

  • Hammer Out a Pewter Bowl: Royal Selangor in Straits Quay
  • *Batik Painting: Rozana’s Batik or Craft Batik
  • *Kids Cooking Class at Makers Shakers Bakers in Tanjung Bungah Hillside

Take a Day Trip

  • Carnivall Water Park at Cinta Sayang: 1 hour from Penang; water slides, lazy river, and a spray playground for non-swimmers
  • Bukit Merah Laketown Resort: 90-minutes from Penang; orangutan sanctuary, eco park, water park
  • Taiping Zoo: 1 hour 45 minutes from Penang; becomes a night zoo in the evenings
  • Lost World of Tambun Water Park: near Ipoh
  • Gua Temperung Caves: near Ipoh; even preschoolers can walk Tours 1 & 2
  • White Water Rafting: near Ipoh; must be at least 10 years old

Hire an Activity Organizer

  • * Birthday Castle: I’ve been to a couple parties they’ve organized, and the kids have always had a blast.
  • Spiral Synergy: During school holidays, they often hold special events for children. Email them for a schedule.

NBFF 2015: CALAMITY JANE

Calamity Jane, nee Martha Canary, was born in 1852 (most likely) in Missouri. According to Greg Monro’s film, her unstable childhood included the 8 year-old Martha traveling the Oregon Trail with her family, her parents’ subsequent deaths and Martha and her siblings being sent to an orphanage. First adopted at age 12, Martha was soon sent away for bad behavior. Where she went and/or what she did is not fully known. What historians do know is that Martha joined the Newton-Jenney Party into the Black Hills in 1875. Dressed in men’s attire, when reporters found out that Martha was a she, the public’s interest grew, leading to many articles, dime novels and even an autobiographical pamphlet Martha dictated (as she had no formal education) for publication. We also know that in 1876 she travelled to Deadwood, South Dakota, along with Wild Bill Hickock, though the full extent of their relationship is unknown.

Martha was daring and caring (as long as we are not talking about Native Americans). Not only was she a professional scout in the Wild West, she helped nurse smallpox sufferers back to health in Deadwood in the late 1870s. She was also, by all accounts, a raging alcoholic. She had two children, who were placed in foster care, and despite her infamy, died destitute in 1903 at the age of 51.

Told with reenactments — with Kay Campbell playing the titular character, vintage photographs and lots of moving shots of pastoral and pristine rolling hills, wind-swept plains, and mountain ranges, director Monro’s film also employs many “experts,” most of whom rely heavily on hypothetical phrases such as, “I imagine… ,” or “it was possible… .” They make many suppositions about Martha and her family.

Martha was known for her colorful stories, but many of the tales about her life are unsubstantiated. Historical facts have disproved many of the musings about Calamity Jane. Unfortunately, Monro’s Calamity Jane is just as colorful yet unreliable as Martha’s own history. Monro tries to straddle the line between fact and fiction, but just can’t seem to ride it out.

LAAPFF 2015: OPENING NIGHT WITH EVERYTHING BEFORE US

The 31st edition of the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF) kicked off last night with Everything Before Us.

The first feature film by Wong Fu Productions, co-directed and co-written by Wesley Chan and Philip Wang, along with co-writer Chris Dinh, Everything Before Us is set in a quasi-future California (USA?) where everyone has an Emotional Intelligence score.

In short, Emotional Intelligence scores are based one’s ability to maintain a monogamous relationship. These scores not only affect who is available for romance, they can also effect one’s ability to get into college, get into a nightclub, receive a loan or land a job.

It is an interesting premise — which would make for a dystopian future where status, power, reproductive rights and liberties could be based on one’s EI score — but inEverything Before Us the EI score is used in the form of comedy and romance.

Ben (Aaron Yoo) is still suffering from the end of his relationship with Sara (Brittany Ishibashi). Thanks to his role in their breakup, Ben’s score is too low to get the job he wants (and deserves). So, after years apart, he reaches out to Sara to help rectify the situation.

Thanks to Sara’s cooperation, Ben lands the new job, which also results in a new girlfriend, Anna (Joanna Sotomura). However, there is tension in the air as Ben and Sara still pine for one another.

Meanwhie, Seth (Brandon Soo Hoo) and Haley (Victoria Park) are young Los Angelinos madly in love with one another.  When Haley gets accepted to college in San Francisco, their love is put to the test. Determined to beat the formidable odds of young lovers sticking together “forever,” the two agree to register as a couple with the Department of Emotional Intelligence (deliciously portrayed like the DMV) and maintain a long distance relationship.

Despite the rude behavior of some of the film’s filmmakers whipping out their phones during the screening to text and go online (dimming the phone light does not cut it),Everything Before Us proved to be a highly enjoyable, smart, very funny, well written story about young people in love. While the narratives of the leads takes a more serious tone, albeit not too serious, there is plenty of comic relief provided by the supporting characters like Anna, along with Ben’s friend, Henry (Chris Reidell), Henry’s wife, Sandy (Katie Savoy), Haley’s dweeby colleague, Taylor (Edward Gelbinovich), and Randall (Randall Park), the DEI representative.

Moreover and more importantly, is here you have an entertaining film where Asian Americans take front and center in the mise-en-scène. Although Asian Americans only make up five percent of the U.S. population they are nearly invisible when it comes to film and television. And, with few exceptions — John Cho, Lucy Liu, Fresh Off the Boat and the short-lived All American Girl immediately come to mind, when Asian Americans are seen in American film and television, they are often relegated to supporting roles.

This underscores the importance of LAAPFF and good films like Everything Before Us.

LAAPFF 2015: THE CHINESE MAYOR

Geng Yanbo, the newly-elected mayor of Datong, China wants to transform the city into a tourist-attracting cultural center. Datong, the most polluted city in China, thanks to its coal mining history, has a massive ancient city wall that Geng envisions containing museums and meeting spaces. The problem is that at least 30 percent of the residents of Datong, many of them poor and their housing illegal, live around that city wall. These residents must be relocated and their dwellings demolished in order for Geng’s reconstruction of the city to take place.

Despite the fact that demolition and construction are very slow and behind schedule, the government wants the residents out. But there is no place for many of them to go. People who cannot afford to move are told that they can apply for low-rent housing, but they know the reality is that there is a long waiting period. Some residents protest by simply not leaving their abodes or by blocking the heavy machinery. A few residents who refuse to move face forcible demolition and threaten suicide.

We follow Geng, in Zhou Hao’s The Chinese Mayor, as he inspects the progress of destruction and construction throughout the city, as he attends meetings in his official capacity, and as he is scolded by his wife who thinks he is working himself to death. He appears tough when he deals with contractors who have put in sub-par paving, taken other shortcuts or are not performing their jobs to his satisfaction. But when the affected residents appeal directly to Geng, he is sympathetic and tries to right the wrongs — helping folks find housing, ensuring the children of rural residents who gave up their farmland for development have access to the city schools, and even trying to move a woman from her 6th floor apartment to one on the ground floor as she can no longer walk up the stairs (what the hell happened to the elevator anyway?).

Geng wants to leave the reinvented and revitalized Datong as his legacy. Will he be able to oversee all of the construction through to completion before his mayoral term is up? Is he simply a megalomaniac bankrupting a city for his own status? Director Zhou does a masterful job of not getting in the way of the story. Clearly the residents are the one’s suffering in this scenario, but Geng is not without sympathetic sensibilities. He believes so strongly in “cultural industry” that even if he cannot bring his vision to fruition in Datong, the viewer gets the sense that that will not stop him. He will give this city, or any other, his masterful cultural makeover. Even if it kills him.

FILM REVIEW: TALES OF THE GRIM SLEEPER

In the latest documentary by Nick Broomfield (Kurt & Courtney; Biggie & Tupac; the Aileen Wuornos docs), grave injustices against poor African-American women of South Los Angeles — from within the community and those sworn to protect them — are revealed in depth.

Between 1985-2007 at least 10 African-American females between the ages of 15-36 were murdered. Arrested in 2010 and yet to see trial, their alleged killer is Lonnie David Franklin Jr., of 81st Street, Los Angeles. Most of them, if not all of them, were likely raped and tortured before their deaths. A repeated felon, Franklin never supplied his DNA so there was no way to link him to the victims.

Beyond waiting for the matching data “and the murder weapon to come walking into a police precinct” the LAPD and Sheriff’s office barely lifted an investigative finger to catch a serial killer. There were opportunites to catch the man. Instead the murders continued.

Perhaps because the victims were “NHI” poor, black women, the local law enforcement did not see serial killing in the community as an urgency. It certainly was not a priority for over two decades. If people of the community suspected anything (even the ones violently victimized) they did not see informing the authorities as a viable option (certainly not a pleasent one).

The disconnect between the LAPD and the poor black community of South Los Angeles is a staggering disgrace to the city.

In fact, law enforcement never really paid attention to the multiple murders until Christine Pelisek broke the story in the LA Weekly. Members of the community had formed theBlack Coalition Fighting Back Serial Murders back in the 1980s to address these crimes yet their pleas fell on indifferent ears in law enforcement and in the media.

(Law enforcement even borrowed the moniker “Grim Sleeper” from the LA Weekly article, thus displaying their decades-long indifference.)

Some of the family’s victims did not find out about the fate of their loved ones until years later.

It also does not help matters when too many male members of the community who take the serial killing anything less than dead serious. At least three of Franklin’s aquaintances get a chuckle out of Franklin’s alleged crimes. There was also this photo exchanging business going on where women are used as photo props — a sort of simulcrum of possession.

By going into the community and talking to family, friends, foes, victims and advocates of Franklin, Broomfield’s excellent documentary reveals how violence toward poor black women works in collusion between the personal and the political silence of members in the community who see the degradation of women as acceptable and the law enforcement and city hall officials who act as if it were permissible.

Smooth Sensational Hair Removal

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Keep the Kids Entertained While Shopping

You might not think it, but a great way to keep the kids entertained while shopping is to drop them off at Sears. In addition to carrying a fantastic array of household items, like beds, kitchen appliances, furnishings for your living and dining rooms, and much more, Sears also has a wide range of electronics items in each department store.

If you want to go shopping but need to keep the kids happy and playing while you shop, Sears is the perfect place to go. With so many huge televisions and computer screens to play with, the kids can watch a movie or compare models and think about future purchases while you and your partner go shopping for the real purchases of the day. Your kids will love being involved in the shopping process in the electronics department because they will feel like your expert consultants on the subject matter.

Sears has a number of fantastic deals you can take advantage of while you keep your kids busy watching a movie in the television area of the electronics department. But, you’ll always score better if you take advantage of online deals rather than in-store paper coupons.

Some of the best deals on the market today come from Sears’ new partnership with Groupon. Thanks to this new partnership, you and your kids will benefit from great coupons and discounts like an extra 20% off, $10 off, 15% off in-store, $50 off plus free delivery on appliance orders, and even 50% off on clearance sales. If you really want to see the kids go berserk, send them into the clearance sale with instructions to each pick out one item they think mommy would love to buy. If the kids pick well, maybe you could even get one! With 50% off, it’s hard to say no to a high quality item from Sears.

Of course, you can’t keep the kids entertained shopping forever. However, the quality electronics department and great deals at Sears can certainly keep even the most difficult and antsy kids busy for at least as long as you need to finish shopping.

How can you teach wedding dance to someone

There are certain different stages of your life when you want to look the best for that one important day. It can be the first day of high school, your prom, your graduation day etc. However, we all can agree that the most precious day for a woman is her wedding day. From the venue of the wedding to the decoration, the dress, the food, the catering, the music and the dancing, everything has to be perfect. There are many food tastings, flower and décor selection, pre-rehearsals for dancing that take place. The wedding couple takes the stage to initiate the first dance at the wedding. Most people hire a wedding planner for their wedding to help with the different arrangements and in organizing the wedding more efficiently. A professional wedding dancer is also hired for the sole purpose to train the couple in perfecting their dance moves. The dancing styles vary and mostly depend on the choice of the couple. Sometimes, the choice is left to the professional. Most of the times, the wedding dance routine is not that hard to carry out. Do not be harsh on yourself if you find the moves hard to learn at first. If you are teaching it, be patient with your students.

Step by step:

You have to do that step by step. Remember that no one can learn anything in one day, so don’t impose your learning on someone so much that it forces them to leave the class. A Wedding is a big decision and may be the stress of it has been hindering their talent. To deal with couples, you have to be very patient and kind. Understand them and remember, you are the one who knows everything and they are here to learn stuff from you. So don’t treat them as your partner but students. Try to make them learn, easy steps first. Once they learn them, it would be easy for them to learn the complicated steps as well.

No matter what kind of dance you want to learn or teach, the soul of any dance is flexibility. Once you get your body that flexible, you can do any type of dance, But that flexibility is not that easy to achieve. You have to suffer from muscular spasm and body aches in the beginning. In order to save your students from that you have to teach them firmly. There is no rush. Just make them that much able so that they could dance properly in their wedding. You have to keep that in mind that they don’t want it as a profession; they just want to learn it to look good in their wedding, so don’t stress them up and try to make it a more fun activity so they can learn it more easily. Ask them if they exercise daily, if they do, it won’t be a huge task for them to learn dance. Exercise makes your body flexible, which will help you learn to dance easily. Wedding Dance Classes are not difficult, so don’t make them for you and others.

More Money in your Pocket with Old Navy

If you have not heard of Old Navy, it is probably because you either are not informed about the latest trends, or have never been in a situation where you need a little help with your shopping. Whatever the reason or excuse it, the good news is that today is your day, for lack of a better word; of salvation. It is the day you get to learn about something so great that you will wonder how you have survived for this long without it. I remember the first time I shopped at Old Navy, all the time I was thinking how the store makes its money or profit with their prices so low. However, with all the time I have been spending shopping there, I have realized that Old Navy is all about giving back to its customers as opposed to making profit. Unlike other stores that out profits first, Old Navy puts its customers first and this is evident in things like Old Navy online coupons and the Old Navy 2015 promotion code.

Though this might be the first time that you are learning about the Old Navy sale, you need to be aware of the fact that many other people know about these discounts and many compete to have a chance at them. Therefore, it should go without saying that if you want to benefit from these discounts, you need to act fast and think quickly. Thinking quickly means that you need to think proactively and think of ways through which you could get coupons faster than many other people. In other words, you need not wait for the coupons to be advertised, but rather aim at being one of the first people to learn about them. One of the ways that you can make sure of this is by signing up for the Old Navy Newsletter. The newsletter is the one thing that will notify you of any new offers and promotions directly into your email or wherever you prefer. Therefore, by signing up for the newsletter, you are guaranteed of notifications of offers that you might be interested in. Additionally, the newsletter will allow you to eliminate some of the competition, thus, allowing you to get the best out of the offers.

Notable is that Old Navy is constantly releasing new discounts and coupons, so whenever you are the point of redeeming your coupon, you need to make sure that it is still viable. It is often recommended that you check the store’s clearance section to find out which items are being cleared, which will automatically mean that new items will come on sale. All in all, Old Navy is definitely the place to shop for trendy, affordable items. It is the place to be if you want more money n your pocket every time you do your shopping.

Why Movie promotion is very important

Movie promotion is actually an act of promotion particularly in the movie business, and ordinarily happens as coordination with the methodology of movie distribution. Known as press junket or movie junket, movie promotion usually incorporates press releases, advertising campaigns, promoting and media, and meetings with the key individuals included with the making of the movie, similar to on-screen actors and directors. As with all business it is an imperative part of any release in light of the inborn high money related danger; movie studios will put resources into extravagant advertising campaigns to maximize income right on time in the release cycle. Advertising spending plans have a tendency to equal about a large portion of the creation spending plan.

Online networking gives the individual the flexibility to opinionate about a movie. Nowadays, Directors organize polls and also quizzes to consult their fans what sort of posters would they need for a specific movie or to recommend them a suitable title for their movie. The work of the audience is no more to sit back and watch; actually they pick and choose the menu on their platter themselves! Along these lines, is there much else to clarify! A movie promotion needs a fan page and the feelings of its eventual group of onlookers to be made their direction, along these lines serving them fitting!

Tamil movie promotion can assume a big role in no matter movie gets the green light. Audience research is a important factor deciding the capacity of a movie to sell in theaters, which is at last how movies profit. As a feature of a movie’s marketing technique, group of onlooker’s examination comes into record as makers make special materials. These limited time materials reliably change and advance as an immediate result of crowd research up until the movie opens in theater.

10 fun things to do in Stockholm, Sweden when traveling with kids

I might be biased since I grew up in Sweden, but I think it can be a great place to visit when you’re traveling with kids.

View of Stockholm on our last visit: a very rainy day.

Of course, it is not the cheapest place to go, but it does have other things going for it. English-speaking visitors will find that lots of people here speak and understand English. Sweden is also a kid-friendly country overall with lots of playgrounds, kids’ menus at many restaurants, lots of attractions for children, and there are often change tables and other baby-friendly facilities in public bathrooms.

Stockholm is the place most foreign visitors to Sweden end up going to, and there are lots of things to do for kids as well as adults in this city. Just get yourself a good map and explore! Stockholm is small enough to easily get around on foot, by bus or subway, or by boat.

Here, listed in no particular order, are 10 great destinations in and around Stockholm when you’re traveling with kids:

Gröna Lund.

1. Gröna Lund
This is a big fairground with tons of rides, games, and activities. Gröna Lund is located right on the waterfront on Djurgården island, and you can reach it easily by bus, tram or ferry. It is open for business May-September, and offers special deals on passes for smaller kids.

For a fairground treat, try one of the many varieties of Swedish ice cream, sockervadd (cotton candy), or varmkorv (hot dogs) either served on a bun or on a bed of mashed potatoes.

2. The Wasa Museum
This museum is the home of the royal ship Wasa, which sunk on its maiden voyage in 1628 and was raised from the water outside Stockholm in 1961. There are lots of kid-friendly interactive exhibits here, and lots of  things to look at including the bronze cannons the ship was equipped with.

The ship sank because the king of Sweden insisted on putting too many cannons on it, a fact that makes my Canadian husband laugh every time the Wasa ship is mentioned. Why all this national pride in an artifact that shows off flawed shipbuilding technique and royal idiocy? he wonders. Fair enough, but the ship itself is a pretty cool sight, preserved here in all its massive glory, if lacking the gold leaf and scarlet paint it was decorated with when it first set sail.

3. Skansen
Skansen is a must-see if you’re traveling with kids to Stockholm. It has a small amusement park for kids, pony rides, a petting zoo, and a “big” zoo featuring wild animals, mainly those native to Sweden, and farm animals.

There is also a tropical exhibit, called Skansen Akvariet, with monkeys, lemurs, snakes, spiders, insects, fish, and lots of other creatures. (My children were fascinated by the rat exhibit last time we were there, maybe because they had just watched Pixar’s Ratatouille.) The pygmy marmosets are way cuter though.

Skansen is also an “outdoor museum” with lots of traditional Swedish buildings where various traditional crafts are made and displayed, for example the glass work shop where you can see glassblowers at work. 

4. Naturhistoriska Museet/Museum of Natural History
This museum has Sweden’s only IMAX theatre, called Cosmonova, and can definitely be a good place to go with kids if there’s a rainy or snow day you want to spend inside. This is also the place to go with kids who love dinosaurs with lots of dino skeletons and replicas. Other exhibits focus on life in the Polar regions, the human body, and human evolution. 

5. Tekniska Museet
This is Stockholm’s “Museum of Technology”, and it is a great museum for kids because they are actually allowed and even encouraged to touch and interact with many of the exhibits. There’s a 4D cinema, and in the Teknorama exhibit kids get to play and try out a large variety of scientific activities and experiments.

A much more relaxing place for parents than many other museums where you spend much of your visit reminding the kids not to talk too loud or touch anything.

 

6. Gamla Stan/Old Town
The Old Town is a must-see if you’re in Stockholm.

This part of the city essentially looks exactly like it did in medieval times, with many of the same churches, buildings and narrow, winding cobble-stoned alleys. It’s a good place for a walk, though somewhat bumpy for strollers, and there are lots of little shops to keep the whole family busy.

If your kids are not interested in the souvenir shops, or if you start feeling slightly queasy after over-dosing on all the trolls, knit sweaters, dalahästar, silver jewelry, Swedish flags, and cheesy viking knick-knacks, there are plenty of places to stop for ice cream, sandwiches, coffee and pastries, or a nice meal.

There are also many candy shops. Candy shops are very common in Sweden, including in Gamla Stan. In these shops you will find a never-ending supply of different kinds of candy (“godis” in Swedish), including Swedish specialties like salty licorice, polkagrisar (striped red and white pepper-mint candy), kokosbollar (similar to a big, creamy marshmallow dipped in chocolate and shredded coconut), and gigantic striped lollipops. 

7. Visit a park
I love parks, just can’t help it. I find them really relaxing, especially when you’re traveling with children. Any big city I visit, I will look for a good park to go for a walk with my kids. There are lots of parks around Stockholm, and they can be a great place for kids to just run around or fall asleep in the stroller while you’re going for a walk or stopping for a snack or coffee. Kungsträdgården is located right in the middle of Stockholm, and there is also lots of park-land in the Djurgården area, close to Skansen and Gröna Lund.

Rainy Stockholm.

8. Take a boat trip
There is lots of water in Stockholm, and much of the city is built on 14 different islands, connected by bridges, the subway, and ferries. Taking the ferry to or from Djurgården is a nice trip with kids, and there are also lots of sightseeing trips you can do by boat around the city. I highly recommend these boat trips if you want to do a sightseeing tour: in my opinion it’s more fun for kids and adults to see the city by boat than by bus.

Check current schedules and pricing with your hotel or the tourist information office. You can also take a ferry to explore the archipelago outside Stockholm, which is a beautiful trip to do, especially in summer. 

Pippi Longstocking -The TV Series9. Junibacken
Junibacken is sort of a Swedish, small-scale version of Disneyland. It’s the place to go to meet the characters from the famous and extremely popular Swedish author Astrid Lindgren’s books. Outside of Sweden, she’s probably mostly known for Pippi Longstocking, but she wrote many, many wonderful books for children and here they’re all put on display in real life. There’s Storybook Square, where many of the characters from Lindgren’s books live, there’s a guided train tour, and you can visit Villa Villekulla, Pippi’s house. 

10. Aquaria
This is one place I have not been to myself, so I’m not sure how good it is, but it looks rather impressive on the website (which is unfortunately all in Swedish…). It’s located on Djurgården, right next to Gröna Lund where the ferry comes in from downtown Stockholm, so it’s very easy to get to. Aquaria’s website says that they have exhibits featuring the tropical rain forest, tropical ocean environments, and Nordic aquatic life.

Dasoudi Park

Hello everybody,

Even if Cyprus is surrounded by the sea and playgrounds by the sea are Kids Fun in Cyprus favorite places for children when it is to hot and we are looking for more shadowed parks Dasoudi Park in Paphos is one special place. Situated in the heart of Paphos old city, close by Lidl and Carrefour supermarkets, the playground is the perfect getaway for a relaxing afternoon maybe even after or before shopping.

Dasoudi Park is a perfect size place to take with you the bicycles and to be prepared to stay there enough time to spend the kids energy as there are plenty of nice shadowed pathways. The park has its own parking for cars making it easier taking the strollers and children out of the cars.

The playground can make a busy day for children of any ages with three slides, swings for babies and bigger kids, climbing areas, ride ones and see saws. Parents can relax on the many benches found in the park. The park is covered with pebbles witch will help big kids stay clean and give to the funny toddler one more entertaining activity. Under the swings there are rubber tiles to keep the children safe.

The park is also a good place for anybody willing to try their new roller skates or scooters but do not forget to bring with you the safety equipment !


Dasoudi Park

Address: Cross road of Alexandrou Ipsilanti Str. and Hellados Ave.,  Paphos, Cyprus

LAAPFF 2015: MARGARITA, WITH A STRAW

It’s not often that a movie depicts a female protagonist exploring her sexuality the way she wants to and learning what she wants from life. We do not usually see women in charge of their own sexual agency portrayed in a positive manner. Fortunately, that just what happens in director Shonali Bose’s film, Margarita, With a Straw.

Laila (Kalki Koechlin) loves her friends at Delhi University and the band for which she writes lyrics and composes. Sadly, she loves the lead singer, Nima (Tenzing Dalha), more than he loves her. When her feelings are rebuffed, the shame of rejection is too much for her to return to classes. Fortunately, a scholarship and acceptance letter from New York University arrives and she soon has other plans for her higher education.

Leaving her middle class Delhi neighborhood, Laila and her mother (Revathi) head to New York where Laila goes about settling into her new collegiate life, under her mother’s watchful, but trusting eye. Laila’s broken heart is soon mended, or at least distracted, when she meets Jared (William Moseley), a blond Brit assigned to help her with her classwork. She also meets activist Khanum (Sayani Gupta), who happens to be blind, at a local protest and the two become fast friends. The two young woman quickly become more than friends and explore their new home city — and each other’s bodies — with cautious excitement.

Did I mention that Laila is wheelchair-bound due to her Cerebral Palsy? If not, it is because Laila does not allow herself to be restricted. She does not see herself as someone “less” than an able-bodied person, and rightfully so. Unfortunately, not everyone else feels the same way.

The color palate utilized in Margarita, With a Strawheightens both the sensuality and the sweetness of the movie and the acting is fantastic. The family dynamic between Laila and her mother is wonderfully touching. Though the ending feels a bit rushed (especially considering the pacing of the first act), Bose does a lovely job hitting the right notes and not pandering to stereotypes or social “norms.” Laila falters and fumbles through her sexual awakening, just like every other young woman learning to love herself.

SEEFEST 2015: OPENING NIGHT WITH JAPANESE DOG

By Ed Rampell

From April 30 through May 7, the 10th annual South East European Film Festival is putting features, shorts, animation and documentaries that are primarily shot and/or set in Southeastern Europe in the limelight. As such, SEEFest provides a beachhead for cinema from this part of the world, giving foreign films entrée to moviedom’s world capital, Hollywood. It also presents avid filmgoers undaunted by subtitles with the opportunity to view works they may not otherwise get the opportunity to see, especially on the big screen. In addition to screenings at several L.A. venues , SEEFest co-presented its 7th Annual Business of Film Conference, “Connecting South East Europe and Hollywood,” on May 2 at the Goethe-Institut, which, among other things, dealt with the complex issue of distribution in the lucrative, if insular, U.S. marketplace, followed by a networking luncheon.

The April 30th gala at the Writers Guild Theater in Beverly Hills was well-attended by filmmakers, moviegoers and dignitaries, such as a representative of the L.A. City Council and the Swiss Consul-General, Jean-Francois Lichtenstern. The office of L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti and L.A. City Council presented proclamations expressing appreciation to SEEFest and its artistic director, Vera Mijojlic, plus to actor-dancer George Chakiris, who scored a Best Actor Oscar for 1961’sWest Side Story. Mijojlic also presented Chakiris, who is of Greek ancestry, with SEEFest’s inaugural Legacy Award. 82-year-old Romanian actor Victor Rebengiuc was given SEEFest’s inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award in absentia.

However, Tudor Cristian Jurgiu flew to L.A. for SEEFest, accepting the award on behalf of Rebengiuc. Their film, the oddly named The Japanese Dog, then kicked off the Festival’s screenings, followed by a Q&A with Jurgiu conducted on the stage of the Writers Guild Theater by Mijojlic, along with questions from the audience, which then enjoyed a feast of Eastern European cuisine in the lobby festooned with posters of classic movies, many of them with texts in various languages.

No Reservoir Dogs, The Japanese Dog could also be entitled “The Anti-Avengers Film.” Typical Tinseltown escapist mass entertainment equates drama with action — the more violent, the more “dramatic”, rendered through head spinning rapid cutting by no talent, harebrained sociopathic dimwits like Michael Bay appears to be. Of course, this is an expression of a sick society suffused with and suffocating in violence, where youths get their necks broken for the new thought crime of “looking while black”; the national pastime is a sport causing concussions, brain damage, etc.; and far away countries get shocked, awed, droned and attacked at the drop of a hat. Hollywood’s over-reliance on violence to peddle tickets is also a reflection of extremely bad writing by screenwriters incapable of subtlety and expressing conflict without bombardments, AK-47s, vehicular homicide, ad nauseam.

These screenwriters, directors, producers, et al, are unable to express deep human truths, whereas films such as the enigmatically named The Japanese Dog do, represent the drama of everyday life — all without a single, solitary screeching car chase, explosion, shooting and the like. (There is, however, a sort of robot — so maybe there’s hope for transforming Bay after all?)

The protagonist of The Japanese Dog is the antithesis of the Hollywood hero — 80-year-old widower Costache (Rebengiuc) lives alone in a flood ravaged, dirt poor Romanian village. Costache’s estranged son, Ticu (Serban Pavlu), who has emigrated overseas, returns to Romania, along with his foreign wife, Hiroku (Kana Hashimoto), and their young son, Koji (Toma Hashimoto).

Costache and Ticu are faced with the conflict of resolving their estrangement and reestablishing that Turgenev-ian relationship between fathers and sons. And Costache must decide whether familial or national bonds are more important to him.

By La-La-Land escapist standards, Romania’s latest Oscar-entry for Best Film in a Foreign Language (it did not make the cut) is excruciatingly slow moving (a pejorative in Hollywood), thoughtful and always deeply human, with heartfelt acting by an Eastern European master and the supporting cast. But Jurgiu’s 85-minute directorial debut feature has more humanity than all those dreadfulTransformers movies put together. And The Japanese Dogdoes it without firing a single shot. Imagine that!

As for why this Romanian movie is mysteriously named The Japanese Dog — well, you’ll just have to see it yourself, Dear Reader. And thanks to SEEFest, American audiences got that opportunity — as well as a shot at breaking into the American movie market. It may not be as action-packed as Marvel’s The Avengers, but The Japanese Dog is marvelous in its own way.

“The Rock” Filming Causing A Stir in Panama City

This time it was the Amador Causeway that was used as the backdrop to record another of the scenes from the reality show being produced by the actor and wrestler Dwayne Johnson, better known as “The Rock.”

Extreme sports, cars and other accessories were part of the scene which took place during the afternoon of Thursday.

On Wednesday, The Rock was on 50th Street, also in the filming of the television program “The Hero” where helicopters were present.

This reality show will be premiering in July 2013.

After the shooting on the Causeway they went to enjoy a Panamanian dish at one of the restaurants in town. (Telemetro)

Catch One Of The Best Young Talents Around – Ariana Grande

Ariana Grande first rose to fame through appearing in popular Nickelodeon programmes Victorious (as Cat Valentine) and consequent spin-off Sam & Cat, but she was soon quickly noticed for her incredible singing voice. This was noticed on the soundtrack to one of the shows, and it was impressive enough for Republic Records to sign her up. It has been a very sharp rise to fame for the 21 year old from Boca Raton since then, as her debut record debuted at number 1 on the US Billboard 200. This album, titled Yours Truly, features popular songs including “The Way”, “Baby I” and “Right There”, with the latter track featuring vocals from rapper Big Sean.

This album was praised heavily by critics who were amazed by Grande’s vocal range, but this was just an early sign of things to come. Her sophomore effort, My Everything, was released in 2014 and would reach number 1 on the Billboard chart yet again. She was invited to sing at the White House Concert and then invited by Barak and Michelle Obama to again perform at the White House for the Easter Egg Roll event. Singles from My Everything include “Problem”, which features Iggy Azalea and debuted at number 1 on the UK charts, “Break Free” and “Love Me Harder”. The future is looking very bright for Ariana Grande, who has managed to shed her Nickelodeon performer label and she has instead established herself as a highly talented, creative singer-songwriter with a powerful voice. In her short career she has already been nominated for 2 Grammy Awards, won an American Music Award and an MTV Video Music Award.

In order to really appreciate Ariana Grande’s fantastic talent it is best to see her perform live. Here you can really appreciate her vocal range, and she also knows how to put on a brilliant live show too. You can get your Ariana Grande tickets now for her highly anticipated tour, and now is a great time to see the young talent as her future certainly looks very bright. Her tour includes places all around the world, with a handful of UK dates set for June in some of the best venues around.

There is something special about Ariana Grande, and the incredible success she has enjoyed since her debut record is a testament to that. It is difficult for young stars to establish themselves and stand out from the crowd, but with such a powerful voice and catchy songs it makes it very difficult to ignore her talent. Her rise to fame has been incredibly quick too, with Grande having the most top 10 singles in 2014 which have firmly established her as a strong presence in the pop/R&B genre. 2015 looks set to be another incredible year for the young singer, and you can now catch her in action as she embarks on a huge tour that will no doubt only boost her reputation as one of the best pop acts on the planet right now.

Resource:

Ariana and Big Sean are one of my fav couples and as Sean’s mom has recently acknowledged her as a good girl, I can’t wait for more! Meanwhile, you enjoy her latest and upcoming concerts by sourcing tickets from Bigticketshop.

ACODECO Chief (Unknowingly) Recommends XXX Movie Theaters For Poor People

The Spanish writer Baltasar Gracian said: “The first step of ignorance is to presume to know.” We say this because last week the Director of the National Authority for Consumer Protection and Competition (ACODECO) Pedro Meilan, while speaking on the program “Defend Your Rights” on Telemetro, said Panamanians should be aware of the entertainment they can afford, and he even recommended movie theaters in Calidonia and Santa Ana.

During the interview the reporter Aracelis Leoteau questioned Meilan about the rising costs of living in the country, saying not only are the costs for basic food items increasing, but the increases also extend to other areas such as the cost for cell phone service and entertainment. Regarding the recreational facilities of Panama, such as cinemas, Meilan replied: “There are cheaper cinemas … There are cinemas in Calidonia, Santa Ana, maybe you dont know because you have not gone over there (referring to the journalist Aracelis), but that is reality, there are movie theaters where people have access … There is the ‘Variety’, which is in Santa Ana.” Meilan ended by saying Panamanians should make adjustments to pay for the entertainment their pockets can afford or consume.

So, we toured the movie theaters in Calidonia and Calle 17. One afternoon, a team from “Mi Diario” was given the task of touring the different movie theaters Meilán recommended to Panamanians as the cheaper options he deemed fit to attend.

The first one we went to was the “Apollo Cinema” located in Calidonia, in the neighborhood of San Miguel, what we saw outside on the door of this theater was a sign saying “Adults Only” and all of the films being shown were “triple X”. The person in charge of this movie theater blocked access, saying they did not allow access to the press, so they would not “disdain” the contents of the movies they were showing.

Given this refusal we then went to the “Teatro Tropical”, located close to the Office of the Social Security on Calle 17 in Santa Ana. There we were able to enter the “lobby” of the premises where there was “musty” smell and something else that was there to greet us. We also saw some men who were walking around the area as if they were waiting for something. In this theater also we found that all of the posters promoting movies both inside and outside had sexual content with titles like “Nympho,” “In your dreams,” and “carnal attraction” to name a few.

We also went to the Santa Ana park and there we saw that the movie theaters “El Dorado,” “Amador,” and “Variety” were all closed and no longer operating. Another aspect to report is that the only two theaters still standing in these sectors, the “Apollo” in Calidonia and the “Tropical” in Santa Ana are located in areas with a high degree of exposure to theft.

Our question is – Do the poor families of the country only deserve access to these types of movie theaters? (Mi Diario)

Editor’s Comment: Whoops. A “musty smell” and guys standing around the lobby like they’re waiting for something? Well, that’s my definition of wholesome affordable family entertainment, by golly! But seriously, folks. There are no good movie theaters in the areas of Calidonia or Santa Ana. These smaller local movie theaters that were built 70 years ago can no longer compete with the huge “multi-plex” 12 screen jobs at the malls. I see this as a great opportunity for the government to step in, buy a couple of these old theaters, fix them up, and run them basically as a non-profit service for the poorer communities. Animated films for the kids on Sunday afternoon, cheap popcorn, that sort of thing. In my hometown the old theater where my parents took me to see Disney movies when I was a kid, is now known as the “Paramount Theatre, one of the areas finest examples of community support for restoration of a Downtown Landmark, and for the extensive cultural development of the City and the area.” The theater went out of business at the end of the 70’s, the building was taken over for back taxes, the municipal city government ran if for awhile, and now it’s become profitable as a venue for stage productions and live bands. Anyway, this kind of thing has happened at many small town or local movie theaters around the world. I think Panama as an opportunity to do something good with these properties.

Canadian Sculptors

The work of Canadian sculptors is an institution in Canada. For those looking to purchase or commission a sculpture, there are many points of consideration that should be taken into account, such as;

  • unique bronze art sculpturesLocation – where will the sculpture be located and what type of elements will it need to endure?
  • Material – both the durability of the material and the ability of the material to convey meaning should be endured.
  • Logistics – how big will the piece be and how will it travel from the point of creation to point of display?
  • Artist – who will help conceptualize and ultimately craft the sculpture?

An experienced local artist of international acclaim can help. Brett Davis stands out among Canadian sculptors as a master in his craft. With over 30 years of experience and artwork residing all over the word, including North America, Europe and Asia, Brett Davis can offer an outstanding experience in purchasing or commissioning sculpture.

bronze art concept for minimalistic modern style

Brett Davis chose to specialize in bronze sculpture due to its unique characteristics. Bronze is a metal that encompasses sturdiness while maintaining its elegant look. Bronze sculptures are timeless and can age the same way a fine wine might. It is able to express a wide range of colours to cater to specific requirements, which also allows for expansion of representation.

As a master bronze sculptor, Brett is able to cater towards a client’s specific requirements for theme and taste. For example, large-scale works should be site-specific, meaning they should be designed to fit into the architecture or landscape of the very space that it will occupy. This allows the art to become a centrepiece which enhances the atmosphere of the surrounding space.

 

Whether as an individual, or as part of an organization, corporation or government, commissioning a bronze sculpture from Canadian sculptors will allow the purchaser to obtain a work of art that will command a significant presence by providing a poignant association or representing the essence of the community.

 

Learn more about Brett Davis at www.ageofbronze.ca.

Make Your Baby Smart with Baby Games Online

For parents, the time their baby starts to understand and experience the world around them in all its glory is a wonderful time. This is also the time that is most crucial for the mental and intellectual development of the baby. It is a learning experience not only for the baby but the parents too. In the digital age that we live today, the earlier you introduce your baby to responsible gadget use the better. Your child will inevitably fidget with your phone or tablet. Soon enough they will even learn to unlock and use it to play games. However, not all parents know how to let their kids play and not get addicted to games or any other distractions on their gadgets. There is a thin line between fun and game addiction that could prove detrimental to the child’s development. Playing baby games online should not be just for fun and frolic but should also involve an element of education and cognitive skill development.

The question that arises is what is the best age to introduce your child to baby games and other digital mediums? Every parent knows their kids abilities and grasping capacity best so the right time is when you think that your child is ready to discover the wonderful uses of an electronic gadget. Experts agree that two and a half is an ideal average age at which kids can quickly pick up on gadget use, with the exception of those who take more time. Many parents today use games on phones and tablets as a distraction for their kids. However, there are many games downloadable games that are perfect for cognitive development as well. These provide a complete learning experience along with keeping your little ones impressed and entertained.

Many critics believe that games have more cons than pros. They discourage physical activity, increase distress and encourage instant gratification. Even though this may be true to some extent, it can be easily countered by being strict with the time allowance to play games. Do not let virtual games substitute the time spent playing outdoors. It is also imperative that you reduce time on the screen. With tons of baby games online available, how do you choose the right ones for your kid? A game that contains graphics that are easy on the eye and a concept that encourages learning and development would be ideal. Here are some points you should remember while selecting the right game:

Always think about amusement first. An entertained kid is a happy kid and there are more chances that they will fully engage into the learning part of the game.

Choose multi-player games so that you and your child can enjoy together.

A game that is interactive and challenging at the same time in the age group it targets is perfect for your child.

Online access should be restrictive and controlled.

Games are indeed a fun way to give your child a diverse environment to grow in. Do not let the worry of addiction stop your child from having fun and learning at the same time.

Jacky is the author of this article on Baby Games. Find more information, about Baby Games Online here

Add Magic To Your Kid’s Room With Kid’s Wall Murals

“Studies have shown that colours can stimulate creativity in a child’s uncomplicated mind. This is the reason why the interior of kid rooms is done in bright colours and beautiful shapes. A very popular and appealing way to decorate your kid’s room is with the use of kids wall murals. With the help of mural painting you can cover a wall with a distinctive scene with which your young one can relate to. You should always keep in mind a few aspects while getting a wall mural done in your children’s bedroom. Let us look into these handy tips:
• Themes: The options for kid’s mural theme are huge. For young ladies some popular themes are princess, Cinderella, flowers, castles, Barbie, Snow White, Sleeping beauty, little mermaid, etc. Popular themes for young boys are cars, planes, robot, outer space, superman, spiderman, avengers, hulk, batman, etc. You can also choose from inspirational themes that can be used for both girls and boys room like jungle, beaches, underwater world, number world, alphabet world, etc.

• Type of Paint: There are different types of wall murals paints available these days. For kids room non-toxic paint is a popular choice. Another in demand paint is the glow in the dark paint. The use of glow in the dark paint gives a special touch to the paint. Kids are excited about having an artwork that they can see even when the lights are turned off. This small twist can bring a smile on the face of your young one.

• Finding Wall Mural Artist: A quick internet search can help you get the contacts of many talented wall mural artists in your area. It is advisable to opt for artists who have experience in doing kids’ room. They can bring in their expertise and better your vision to get the best wall mural painted on your children’s room. Always check the time frame and the budget of the project before you hire any artists. Also view their past work to get a better idea about their work quality.

Wall murals are the perfect way to set an exciting mood in your young one’s room. Children are sensitive creatures. A beautifully done wall mural can influence them and also bring out their creativity. The best thing about wall murals is that it takes the kids into their fantasy world. Gift your child a wall mural that will be etched in her/his memory for years to come!”

Amazing Party Themes: Essential Tips to Organise a Party

Organising a party will require you much time in planning. Indeed planning a party ahead of time will help you make it a very special one. Learning the following some party tips will surely help you save time in organising a party.

Determine Your Party Theme

Make sure that you choose a theme that will best reflect your personality. If you want to throw a formal cocktail party, you may select a theme that is something like a refined retro theme or Hollywood theme. However, If you want to have a party that will require you to dance all night then you may choose a 1970’s disco theme. Never be afraid of becoming adventurous to your party theme.

Get Your Invites Out Early

Sending your invites early will give your guests all the time to look for their party costumes especially when they have trouble in dressing up. Hence, they can look for the best dress to wear on your party without being in a hurry.

Appreciate Your Guests’ Costumes

Make your guests feel that their effort in looking for the best dress for your party is appreciated. You may create a simple contest perhaps that will allow your guests to showcase their outfit in front and award the most lovely outfit of the night.

Do Not Forget the Party Giveaways

Your guests will surely appreciate and treasure anything that they will receive during the party. A simple keepsake will do. Make sure that your giveaways will speak about your party theme that every time one of your guests sees it, he or she will surely remember the fun and excitement that they have experience during that day.

To lessen your burden in planning your party, choose to buy your party stuff at Party KingdomParty Kingdom provides you a with wide array of online party supplies to choose from. They offer party costume, caterings, giveaways, party decorations, party balloons and a lot more!

Should you wish to purchase any of their offered online party supplies, call Party Kingdom at (02) 4722-3793 Email : Sales at partykingdom.com.au or log on to http://www.partykingdom.com.au/

Kids Party Ideas That You And Your Children Will Love

Incredible parties are what you want when you plan for your kids’ birthdays. This is a very special day that they look forward every year because they get to mingle with other children and have fun with different surprise birthday games.

Planning for birthday parties is not easy, you all know that, but with the help of the internet, you can now simply search for birthday party ideas that your kids may love. The first thing you want to consider is what your kids love, do they have favourite cartoon characters on TV? a superhero in movies? These questions may come up when you start planning and most of you get confused to what should really be the best party idea for your kids.

Here are a few suggestions that this article have for different kids theme party for their birthdays.

Barbie, Birthday Princess and Disney Princess Themes

Girls will surely love these kind of themes as they will surely have fun to dress like their favourite barbie characters and be their own princesses. You can have them bring their tiaras and also their princes for the party. Not only kids will have fun because you can also encourage your adult guests to dress up like kings and queens so that you can have a royal birthday party for your kids. These kind of birthday themes will surely create a beautiful memory to your kids.

Superheroes, Sports and Animals Themes

These themes will truly excite your little boy as you will let him and other kids be their favourite superhero in movies. You can let them play their own Batman and Robin, Superman and many other legendary superheroes. On the other hand, if your kids are very fond of his pet, you can have an animal theme party and invite guests who have their own kind of pets. Some of you may like to have a sports theme party for your boys or even for girls.

These are only few of the many available ideas for birthday themes, but what is important in choosing a birthday party idea is to consider what your child loves. You can never make a mistake when you know what makes your child smile.

In addition, you can have a thorough search in the internet for more birthday party themes which both you and your child will love.

Arranging a Tribute Show at Ease

When a group of people arrange for a social gathering in the memory of one of their beloved friends, relatives or an important personality it is called a tribute. There are various ways through which one can pay homage to a great person. If the occasion is arranged after the demise of that person then it would be known as a memorial tribute. However, whether it is a memorial Tribute show or not, there are certain things that would need to be taken care of while arranging for such an auspicious event. It is essential to inform here in this context that making entire arrangement single handedly is not possible and hence it is better to do the same in a group or taking expertise help.

Steps that Should be Followed

Few points that should be taken under consideration while arranging for a tribute show are:

· First of all, to start with it is important to make a list of the guests whom you would need to invite for the show. If the person for whom you have arranged such a show is a renowned man and so his friends and loved ones are then calling them up in advance would be advisable. If you inform them within a short notice then they might find it difficult to join the show due to their busy planned schedules. Also it is not a good idea to think about this show without inviting those who can make the event more special for the person whom you are honoring.

· Secondly, when the guest list is finalized the next thing is making plan for decoration and the entertaining activities that would take place. Decorating the place keeping in mind the choice of that great personality would be a prudent decision.

· If the person loves music, art and other fun-filled activities then one can even thing about calling up a famous band for the show.

A Band that can Make Your Show Memorable and Colorful

When it comes to contact a great musical band then one name that comes first in the mind is the Take that tribute band. This band has gained immense popularity within a very short span of time because of their rocking performances and heart touching presentation. One of the greatest bands, Take that Tribute Band was first formed in the year of 2009. This band is always appreciated by people of all ages due to their sense of timing and tastes, standard of the performances and talents of course.

For more information on Dirty dancing tribute, check out the info available online; these will help you learn to find the Take that tribute band!

Importance of Painting and Painters Service in Brisbane

Many people have the wrong notion that they are just as good as professional painters in Brisbane. Such people usually take up painting in Brisbane as a do-it-yourself project after watching half a dozen YouTube videos. To their surprise, a painting job turns out to be more difficult and tricky than they ever thought it could be. Slapping a coat of black or blue paint on the wall does seem like a damn easy thing to do at times. However, there is a lot more to painting a house than just applying a quick coat.

Read on to know why it is important to hire professional painters in Brisbane to execute a painting job instead of doing it on your own!

 

Cost-effectiveness

A professional painter can execute a painting job in a cost-effective manner. They are aware of the different types of paints that can actually protect the house in the long term from deterioration.

Get the Lowest Possible Estimate

It is up to you to contact different companies operational in Brisbane and request quotes. While some companies offer a free on-site consultation, few others provide a free quote online after taking some basic inputs from you. Few painters in Brisbane can even help you to compare quotes if they do not sell such materials.

Since technicians and consultants with hands-on job experience in executing or supervising painting jobs have a clear idea of different types of materials and their costs, they can guide you well and help you to get the best estimate possible.

Warranties

In order to protect customers’ interests and assure them about the quality of work, reputed painters in Brisbane provide several guarantees. For example, if the warranty period is 7 years, the service provider will be responsible for carrying out all repairs free of cost for that duration. It is, however, important to completely understand the exact cover provided by a painting service provider.

Insurance

All painting service providers operating in Brisbane are legally required to have insurance cover. In extreme cases, if you suffer a loss due to the painter or any other crew member, your financial interest are protected by the insurance company.

Little or no maintenance is required

When your house is painted by a professional, you’ll need little or no maintenance for several years at a stretch. In other words, your maintenance costs are significantly reduced by first making a small investment on hiring a reliable company that has a team of experienced painters, technicians and design consultants.

 

The quality of work done by an expert painter is always better than an amateur or first timer. Only expert knows how to really control the paintbrush and add life to walls inside your home. Painting service providers always provide a clear time and cost estimate to their customers. Therefore, you can just let them know about your ideas, specific requirements and wait for expert painters to finish the job in record time or before that.

Find a Senior Date in Melbourne with CitySeniorDating.com

Technology has made the search for a perfect life partner easier by giving birth to online dating websites. However, most online dating sites were only meant for young people until a year ago. Fortunately, the nation agreed upon that the people in their 50s, who become single again – require a senior partner more than anyone and this led to senior match sites, where people will search and discover their partners and go for over 50s dating.

CitySeniorDating.com is here to introduce over 50s dating a lot easier than ever, with its packed features that will help you to meet your partner within your place. The website contains various city specific domains and you just need to click on your city name to narrow down the search. So if you are looking for a senior partner in Melbourne – just visit http://melbourne.cityseniordating.com and look for your senior partner.  Chances are huge to finding out one within Melbourne who fully meets your expectations. So like other dating websites, you no longer required to input your selected city name, age criteria etc. each time to look for your desired partner, because CitySeniorDating.com has already done that for you.

All the profiles you find at http://www.cityseniordating.com/belong to people over 50s alone, so no more of hitches while approaching a profile you like. These are not the only features with CitySeniorDating.com, since you will have real time chat facility, a dedicated 24/7 customer support line and what more, a 100% free access to the site and the profiles.

Packed with rich features that can’t be found anywhere else, CitySeniorDates.com can make your dating dreams become a reality.

About City Senior Dating

CitySeniorDating.com strives to eliminate the foremost aggravating issue in any online dating website –  i.e. fake identities. With its strong customer service and live chatting facility, CitySeniorDating.com assures you that the persons you meet up and chat are real. With its unrestricted free access and city-wise listing, seniors can meet up senior singles within their city and in their preferred place.

Audio Mastering Services in Toronto

Audio Mastering services Toronto
Audio mastering services in Toronto provide musicians and artists with an experienced set of ears to make the final changes to studio recordings. Professionals in the industry working in the most advanced and effective mastering studios are able to take a good song and make it great. The best in the business will also have an in-house team able to help with graphics and packaging, as well as creating the final disc package. It’s the last stop in the transformation from a ditty in an artist’s head into a beautifully constructed masterpiece ready for audiences and store shelves.

Mastering

The studio work is done, the tracks have been laid out, and it’s ready for production. Before burning off a bunch of copies, it can be extremely beneficial to have an outside set of ears take a listen. A listener who isn’t too close to the project may be able to identify issues and correct them before the big run. Simple things like changing the mixer levels, changing track order, fading in and out of tracks, and eliminating the buzz on the chorus can change an album in surprising ways.

Professional

Audio mastering requires a talented ear and experience with the equipment and tools available in a well-equipped studio. The ability to pick up on subtle sounds and reduce background noise can’t be done by an untrained ear. Duplium works with professional audio experts in the industry who are able to work in any music genre and have decades of experience with audio mastering. The final step in the process of writing, developing, and recording an album should be a couple of sessions with an audio mastering specialist.

Packaging and Duplication

The finest professionals in the industry provide more than just audio mastering. When the time comes, a strong in-house team of designers can help with album artwork and graphics, and prepare them for printing. There are several options available in terms of inserts, each made with the best paper and board stock available. They use industry standard sizes and high quality materials to ensure that the album being duplicated looks as professional as anything created by the big labels.
When it comes to disc duplication, there are a few options. Short runs are typically duplicated onto CDs, while larger runs are replicated with state of the art equipment. Limited runs and special editions can be created quickly and for a reasonable price.
Audio mastering services in Toronto should be able to make the subtle changes in an album that perfect the recordings and make them into the true works of art that the artist envisioned prior to recording. The service provided by the most dependable experts in the business shouldn’t end with mastering. When the album is done, the convenience of in-house design, packaging and printing takes the headache out of sourcing from several smaller companies. When the studio work is done, complete the album with one simple stop at the most experienced and advanced audio mastering studio with an in-house team that can get the CD shelf-ready at a fair price.

Canadian Artists

The definition of an artist is wide-ranging and covers a broad spectrum of activities inclusive of forming, practicing or demonstrating a creative work. The word “art,” derived from the Latin “ars,” means “skill, method, technique, or craft,” is understood not in the functional aspect of the object created, but in its beauty. During the Middle Ages, the idea of the artist already existed in some European countries, but the meaning was something resembling craftsman for both the utility of the objects and their attractiveness. An artist was considered someone who was able to do a given work better than others, so the skill at the activity was underlined, rather than the activity itself.

 

In present day, the word “artist” is a descriptive term applied to a person who engages in an activity deemed to be an art, such as sculpture. An artist can also be defined as, “a person who expresses themselves through a medium,” such as bronze. The word “artist” has a qualitative meaning – in the sense that people who use imagination, talent, or skill to create works with real aesthetic value are artists.

 

Art historians and critics define artists as those who produce art within a recognized or recognizable discipline; these disciplines are extensive and include forms such as dance, painting, or even bronze sculpture.

 

Artists are often associated with particular societies and their cultures. In Canadian culture, artists enhance and define the value of the country they live in and are held in esteem as national symbols of greatness. The presence of the works of “great masters” in museums all over the world helps nations to further their influence. In this sense, all the works of these artists will become “public” within their nationality. Recognized Canadian artists uphold a certain status and are considered ambassadors. Examples of famous modern Canadian artists include:

  • AA Bronson (mixed media)
  • Ken Danby (painter)
  • Nina Raginsky (photographer), and
  • Brett Davis (sculptor)

These are but a few stellar examples of modern artists who will join other renowned artists such as the Group of Seven, Alice Munro, Margaret Atwood, Frances Loring, and Walter Seymour Allward in their Canadian iconic status in the annals of time.

 

In the case of Brett Davis, his uniqueness comes from his understanding and mastery of the bronze medium. He understands the importance of art within the community and has worked to integrate site-specific bronze sculptures and bronze water features into the landscape designs. His art is also displayed in the form of public monuments to immortalize a significant person, family or historic event; monuments that have become landmarks in the community and have been key in the promotion of culture and tourism. He is a Canadian artist who you can further explore on his main website at www.ageofbronze.ca.

A Different Kind of Entertainment

Almost three months ago, I received an e-mail out-of-the-blue from a sweet woman named Joy. Joy “knew” me from my blog, and she said she had an oak entertainment armoire she was willing to give me if I thought I could do something with it (she had been unable to sell it).

Umm…free furniture? Yes, please!

CWTS

Yep, that was three months ago. Even though I knew almost immediately what I wanted to do with it, it was a BIG project (the armoire is over 7 feet tall), and it took alot to get me motivated to tackle it (enter Crafting with the Stars, Round 2).

Of course, the reason these entertainment centers are virtually unsaleable is that the new TVs don’t fit in the same spaces. So here you have a perfectly good piece of solid wood furniture with beautiful moldings, lights, and leaded glass panels, and no one wants it.

Well, I thought, what if it housed a different kind of entertainment?

I envisioned this armoire repurposed as a sewing cabinet, or maybe one which would house a computer (those are two of my favorite forms of entertainment at least).

The first step was to build a big box that would fill the open space in the armoire. I had a friend help me (OK, it was really the other way around…WAY around) with this part. The idea was to have a pull-out shelf at working height, so all the other measurements were secondary to that.

CWTS2

Look, it fits! Always such a relief.

The other “building” part of the project involved the top drawer. See all those nice plastic dividers? They were meant to hold VHS tapes—remember those?

baby 010

There were no sides for the drawer, so some spare plywood was used to create the sides and a back.

Next step was to remove the leaded glass. I wasn’t a big fan of the brassy gold trim, so I used Rub n Buff in pewter and black to stain the metal. (And my fingers.)

CWTS3

Then—I removed all the hardware for sanding, priming, and painting! Did I mention this armoire is HUGE? And I couldn’t ignore the inside of this piece. EVERY SURFACE had to be painted. That’s in addition to EVERY SURFACE of the insert!

CWTS1

The exception was the crown and base molding. My friend suggested that those be sanded down and stained dark, and of course this is a look I love. It was a MAJOR ORDEAL to sand it all down! …but I did it.

CWTS4

You may notice that I had already primed before I tackled the moldings. I covered them with plastic wrap and painter’s tape to protect them during painting.

The upper display cabinet was backed by a mirror, but Emily from Décor Chicksuggested that I cover it with beadboard to cut down on funky reflections. Since I had already planned on backing the main cabinet with beadboard, it sounded great to me! Especially since then I could ignore trying to keep the mirror clean (I would never have succeeded anyway).

SewingArmoire 017

I used Liquid Nails to adhere the beadboard directly to the mirror. It helps to use a spatula tool to spread a thin, even layer over the whole back of the beadboard.

SewingArmoire 018

Then I balanced precariously on a chair and held it in place and prayed and held it in place and taped it and held it in place and prayed some more. Sorry, no pictures of that…my photographers have to go to school sometime!

I also thought a “working” armoire needed a chair to go along with it. I have three chairs in my garage that were a curbside find—would you believe they actually match my kitchen chairs??—except they’re pretty well thrashed (mine are only a little bit thrashed). But hey, that means less sanding for me!

SewingArmoire 019

I painted a chair first green (to match the insert), and then in the same creamy white as the armoire. To give the chair a little more pizzazz, I used my tried-and-true overhead projector method to paint a vintage French advertisement that says something about corsets (it appealed to my sense of humor). I got the graphic fromThe Graphics Fairy.

I distressed the chair to show some of the green underneath, and glazed the whole thing.

Whew! So are you ready to see the end product?

collage1Wr

Two functioning drawers, lined with a pretty botanical paper…

SewingArmoire 027

A completely extendable shelf (we used this slide from Rockler).

SewingArmoire 032

Chalkboard cupboard doors (these actually retract into the cabinet so you don’t get claustrophobic while you’re sewing/blogging). One side will be a magnet board when I can get some sheet metal cut for it.

SewingArmoire 048

A beautiful lighted display cabinet (that was fun to stage)…

SewingArmoire 035

An integrated work light and a power strip (found at Lowe’s)…

CWTS5

And of course the chair.

SewingArmoire 038

So, what do you think?

collage2

Would this be your kind of entertainment center?

IMG_3152v_1

 

Dresser to Entertainment Center

Hi all!  I know I have been a bad blogger this month with only 1-2 posts a week and I am sorry for that but I have been busy working in the shop on furniture makeovers.  The blog is the first thing that gets neglected when I get busy with work.  My house cleaning duties are second…we won’t talk about the laundry that sat on the end of my bed for more than a few days.  This week will be better!  The house is clean and blog posts are already written!

Today, I have a quick look at a dresser I turned into an entertainment center.

A repeat customer found an amazing Thomasville, solid wood, 9 drawer dresser and wanted it turned into an entertaiment center.  I love projects like this.

Here is the before shot.  And yes, I know this is a bad picture.  And yes, its the only one I have.  Again, bad blogger.

Here is the after.  The client is getting new knobs for the top drawers and doors.  I’ll get her to take a picture when the entertainment center is set up and I’ll update this post.

 

So pretty.  I love this color and can’t wait to see it in it’s new home.

I hope everyone has a great Monday!  Safe travels and shopping to everyone getting out today.

Entertainment Center Furniture

Some Products pages may be in the process of being updated & any items pictured usually represent only a small fraction of the inventory available at our warehouse, so contact us at 917-776-5743 or 718-567-0155 for more product options
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#CCC1 – 700280 TV Stand
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#CCC2 –  700281 TV Stand
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#CCC3 – 700290 TV Stand
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#CCC4 – 700291 TV Stand
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#CCC5 – 700321 Dark Brown TV Console
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#CCC6 – 700609 Transitional Media Console with Doors and Shelves
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#CCC7 – 700610 Transitional Media Console with Doors and Shelves
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#CCC8 – 700611 Contemporary Metal and Glass Media Console
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#CCC9 – 700612 Contemporary Metal and Glass Media Console
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#CCC10 – 700615 Casual Contemporary Media Console with Bracket
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#CCC11 – 700617 Casual Contemporary Metal Media Console with Bracket
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#CCC12 – 700619 Transitional Media Cosole with Doors and Shelves
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#CCC13 – 700636 Classic Media Console with Doors and Shelves
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#CCC14 – 700644 Contemporary Media Console with Shelves and Drawers
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#CCC15 – 700645 Contemporary Media Console with Shelves and Drawers
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#CCC16 – 700647 Contemporary Media Console with Glass Doors
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#CCC17 – 700649 Contemporary Media Console with Shelves and Drawers
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#CCC18 – 700112 Modern TV Console
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#CCC19 – 700113 Modern TV Console
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#CCC20 – 700133 Mission Style Media Console with Doors and Drawers
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#CCC21 – 700231 TV Console with Doors and Shelves
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#CCC22 – 700650 Contemporary TV Console with CONNECT-IT Power Drawer-RTA
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#CCC23 – 700649 Contemporary Media Console with Shelves and Drawers
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#CCC24 – 700656 Transitional Media Console with Glass Doors
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#CCC25 – 700657 Transitional Media Console with Glass Door
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#CCC26 – 700658 Fullerton Transitional Corner Media Unit with Glass Doors
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#CCC27 – 700659 Transitional Media Console with Glass Doors and Shelves
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#CCC28 – 700664 Contemporary Metal and Glass Media Console

Kids’ Kitchen Entertainment Center

I was surfing some craft site that let people show off their crafts when I stumbled upon the best idea for reusing an old entertainment center(See here for the project that inspired me). When I moved to the new house, I no longer needed my entertainment center, so I worked on converting it to a child’s play kitchen.

My mother bought the cheapest store-bought play kitchen she could find for my nieces for Christmas for $80, but most are more than $150! Pretty pricey! I spent $6.22 for mine. (If you don’t have a stockpile of screws and such and an old entertainment center, it might cost a bit more. I would ask on freecycle or look in used furniture stores or garage sales for a TV center.)

First, I marked off the areas that I wanted to paint white. I painted the sink, stove, fridge and oven door area white. I used masking tape to keep the paint from straying off onto areas I did not want painted. Paint was leftover house paint from the previously owned house. I then took a peice of scrap drywall (Could use plywood or cardboard) and nailed it into the back of the unit so there was no hole and a place to put my “window” and painted that white as well.

Paint job – $0

Then I had to find a faucet. The cheapest at Lowe’s was $15, didn’t want to pay that much; found a sink and faucet at a thrift store for $2.oo. Later when I bought my new house I had extra faucets galore. Now, I would probably ask on freecycle first. I bought a small steel mixing bowl at the thrift store for $.25 for the sink. I got out my hubby’s jigsaw and cut a circle just slightly smaller than the bowl to let the bowl lip sit on the wood and then used my hubby’s cordless screwdriver and hole saw bits to make three holes for the faucet pipes to sit through and used the nut to fasten on the faucet. I bought an old dish drainer at a thrift store for $.25. Leftover washed soap container and scrubbie that I got for Christmas went to complete the sink.

Sink with real turning faucet- $2.50

Next was the stove. This was a bit tricky. Stove knobs were pricey too. So I went to a place that sold used appliances and asked if they had any old stove knobs. They did; they were pretty bent from whoever tried to pry them off and one knob of the set was missing, but they gave them to me for free. The burners are four Folgers Coffee Lids that I cut small “burner hole strips” to make it resemble an electric element burner. Underneath where I attached them with a screw to the TV center, I painted the surface red to make it look like it was on fire. My hubby drilled a hole through the top of the knobs and attached them to the TV center with a screw. Then he filed off the tip so there was no sharp edge projecting below the stove. Bought a tiny skillet from thrift store for $.25.

Stove with turning knobs – $.25

 

For the Window/Wall area, I took some leftover wall paper trim and glued it behind the sink. For the Stove Console, I painted it black. When it dried, I painted on a green digital clock. For the window, I had a broken mirror frame left over from the previous tenants that I used to make the window frame. For the outdoor scene, I used tempera paints and my imagination. To make the cross hatches for the window panes, I first layed out masking tape in the area, painted the whole scene and then tore off the masking tape to take away the paint “behind” the window frame. I made curtains out of an old Victoria Secret nightgown just by cutting the gown into two rectangles and straight sewing a hem at the top which I threaded through with yarn. I attached the yarn to the top edge of the picture frame so that the curtains could slide open and closed. I placed two nails at the top right and top left of the painted window and hung the window frame on it.
For the Towel Ring, I found this one at the dollar store. It was adhesive, so I just stuck it on there. I bought some $.97 adhesive hooks to hang up my pot holders. I found the potholders in the After Easter Walmart Clearance aisle for $1.00. I tore one apart and made it into a miniature pot holder mitten with my sewing machine. The matching towel was $.50.

Window Area with working curtains – $3.47

For the oven, I moved the hinges to the bottom, so the door would open down. I made a new hole for the doorknob at the top of the oven door. I filled the old doorknob hole with paint. All accomplished by a screwdriver and drill bits.

Oven – $0

For the sides, I hung one of the adhesive hooks to hold an apronthat I fashioned from an old skirt. And on the “pantry” side, I used ice cream buckets to organize kitchen accessories and attached a phone that I got from a thrift store on free day. I kept all my used spice containers and kitchen containers to help stock up the pantry.

Pantry with phone and apron – $0

One happy make-believe chef – Priceless

Paint Your Laminate Furniture

Thank you to Kirsten from 6th Street Design School for linking our library bookshelves on her blog yesterday. She is one talented designer and it was an honor to be on her blog!

When my husband and I were newlyweds we went to a furniture store and paid good money for our entertainment center which had cardboard backing with big holes in the back for wires. We were thrilled just to own furniture and I hadn’t been properly introduced into the world of thrift stores and seeing how furniture with a bit of paint or refinishing can make an older piece new again. However, the cardboard backing of the entertainment center always bothered me.The armoire in the middle hides away technology when you don’t want to see it, which is something I like. We decided to fix up what we had instead of go out to buy something new.

BEFORE: Fake blonde and cardboard

AFTER: A real looker!

 

 

Now there are no holes in the back that you can see since my husband and I put a bead board backing and drilled small holes in hide away spots.We also changed the hardware, which helped give it an updated look as well.


TUTORIAL ON PAINTING LAMINATE:
You really can paint laminate! Here’s what I did:

1. Lightly sand all surfaces.
2. Patch any area that might need it. We used patch to fill all the side holes, which makes the bookshelf look seamless. You’ll need to sand the area you work on if you do need to fill holes.

2. Use an oil based primer so it can really adhere to your laminate. This is the key to painting laminated wood. You will need to paint outdoors, or a well-ventilated area (this is the stinky stuff). I would use a paint brush of not great quality so that you could throw it away after the priming. Also, a spray primer is great if you are doing a smaller piece of furniture.  Jenny recently talked about a new BIN Zinsser primer that she used on an Ikea closet which had a lot of shellac. This is helpful information if you are painting anything from IKEA.The great thing about using an oil based primer is that once it dries you could start painting. You don’t need it to “cure” for a while like a water based primer.
3. Paint! Use any color your heart desires. Plan for about two coats of paint, making sure you leave time for it to dry. I used Creamy by Shermin Williams. The paint on the bead board is a mix of  colors we had in our paint supply store in the basement.
4. Poly coat it to make it scratch resistant and ready to stand up to the world.
5. Sit down and marvel at what you accomplished. Trust me- you’ll be thrilled with how some effort and paint can change the whole look of your out-dated furniture.

Our Painted Entertainment Center Reveal and How To!

Earlier this week I shared my favorite paint supplies, which was all in preparation for today’s post {and entertainment center reveal}.  I know there are a lot of friends out there that are looking to makeover a piece of thrifted or outdated piece of furniture, and are just having a hard time taking the plunge.  I think the first piece I ever painted, I did ALL wrong.  No primer.  Brush streaks and drips… but, I learned.  I learned that the next time I better do my research, lol.  And as much as I have done research on painting, I still feel like I grow a little more each time I do it. {If you are wondering how we painted our trim, cabinets and doors, you can check out that post here.}

For this project, this crazy big lovely Craigslist find was my victim.

We started out by taking everything off, removing shelves and cabinet doors…

And finding dust, Legos and Lincoln logs under and behind the piece that has been sitting for a year without being moved…

Step one is to wipe everything down to ensure there is no dust on the piece.

Because the piece itself was in great shape, I opted to skip the sanding step.  However, if you have a piece that has rough patches or imperfections, sanding is a good step to include.

I went straight to priming.  I really like Zinsser Cover Stain Oil Based Primer {and no, I didn’t get a dented can discount, I tried…}:

I use inexpensive brushes with the oil based primers, since they aren’t all that easy {or fun} to clean, and after a couple of uses, they typically end up being discarded.

Thin, even coats are key.  I start with the outside frame….

And then use a small foam roller for the larger, smooth surfaces:

Don’t panic when you prime and see brush marks.  This is OK with primer.  The photo above is a picture of our piece all finished up and drying the recommended time before we began coating with paint.

A quick sanding with a fine grit wedge in-between coats will also help with any imperfections you find {not sure which grit to use?  This will help you}.

For this project, I just ran to the local Ace Hardware and picked up some of their wall and trim paint:

I like to paint furniture in a satin finish and always use a latex enamel.  Again, just follow the instructions on the can as far as how often you can re-coat.

Speaking of, I did two coats on this project.  Nice, thin, even coats…

Coat 1:

Still streaky, but those streaks were completely M.I.A. after the second coat:

When it came to the cabinet doors, I forgot to photograph that process, but I did it just like I did with our kitchen cabinets…

Lay out drop cloths, place cabinet doors on 2×4’s and prime, sand and paint just like you do the other parts of the furniture piece.  Wait for the coats to cure before flipping and repeating on the other side.

In the photo above, you could see how I used the painters tape to tape out the new blue backdrop, which took not one…

Home Entertainment with Glade

Thank you Glade for sponsoring this post. Feel Glade’s Blooming Peony & Cherry and scents from the Limited Edition Spring Collection, Poppy Groove and Hello Spring!

Recently one of my girlfriends hosted a baby ‘sprinkle’ at our house with just a few of our closest friends in Florida. We made it a couples shower because I wanted to make sure Ryan and Braydon were fully involved with the celebrations! As you have seen on instagram we are doing a modern woodsy nursery. I will be posting pictures of the nursery next week, btw! We went with an outdoors theme for the nursery as well! Lots of owls, pinecones and greenery! I love how it turned out and my girlfriend did such a good job putting it all together! That being said, hosting a party in your house can be a little stressful trying to get the house spotless-just for people to come over and make a mess- as my husband would say but no one likes to have people into their home when they aren’t prepared. One of the things I did to prepare was place Glade candles and wax melts around the house to make sure it smelt fresh anywhere people went! We used the Hello Spring and Poppy Grove scents due to it being an outdoor theme and I wanted it to smell fresh, playful and green.

Film Distribution and Home Entertainment in 2015

There have been some very interesting articles recently predicting how consumers will be entertaining themselves five years from now.  The implications are significant.  Let me give you some highlights, and then make some quick comments.

– Displaybank, a consumer electronics research group predicts that sales of 3D televisions will grow by 91% this year, making up 3% of the world televisions by the end of the year.  The study projects there will be 83 million 3D displays in homes by the end of 2014.  That represents 31% of the world market.  Those are really huge numbers.

– GigaOM Pro is predicting that by 2015, 60% of the TV’s sold will have a direct internet connection.  This year, 3.7 million applications designed to be run on televisions will be downloaded.  However, by 2015, that number will grow to almost 1 billion!  That is an enormous number!

– The Los Angeles Times reports that Google is about ready to launch its Smart TV software that will allow consumers to navigate between TV, streaming content, home videos and any other number of media formats and sources.

– Last week, Hollywood studios won a ruling from the FCC that clears the way for streaming first run movies directly to consumers on the same day that they are opening in theaters.  (Businessweek’s coverage of the implications of that ruling is pretty good.)

You can see the trend here.  Conventional wisdom in 2010 says that within 5 years consumers will be fully connected and entertained without leaving their favorite chair.  The implications for our collective physical fitness are frightening.  But aside from that, what does it mean for the entertainment business?

Are theaters wasting money installing digital 3D systems and amazing sound?  Are consumers just going to buy a giant 3D TV and 7.1 surround system and watch everything at home?  Click the Domino’s app in the corner of their screens and have their favorite pizza show up in 30 minutes or less — for a fraction of the cost of popcorn and Coke at the cineplex?

Despite these projections, I don’t believe that the theater business is dead — but it is definitely facing some challenges.  On the one hand, I believe consumers experience a palpable excitement when watching a film in a dark room with a few hundred strangers, on a giant screen with seat-shaking sound.  And I think people will always want to get out of their house and “do something” other than watch TV.  Going to a movie is the primary way they fill that need.  But I also think that theaters have to work hard to continue to deliver a high-quality experience at the right price.

The problem is that the distributors who already take the bulk of the ticket price from the theaters may soon become direct competitors.  If the distributors make more money piping the film directly to consumers’ living rooms, then they have no incentive to help theater owners fill their seats.  That makes it very hard for theater owners to deliver a superior product at a reasonable price.

For the next few years. there will be a real wrestling match between theater owners and distributors and consumer electronics companies.  I think  Sony wins either way as it will continue to sell TV’s and distribute films.  But Regal and AMC are facing a much bigger challenge that might even result in another round of downsizing for those major chains.

I welcome some comments and other points of view.

Home entertainment system monitoring and auto switch off

I have few devices which are creating my home entertainment system:

  • NEC monitor (sometimes good monitor is better then TV)
  • Yamaha HTR-4065
  • PC Zotac
  • Evolveo DaulCoder DVB-T
  • XBOX 360

All those are connected to network via ethernet and there is some way to monitor or even to remotely control, lets start one by one:

DVB-T and PC

As you might know one of the easiest way to check if device is up or down would be to ping it, however in case of audio/video systems it’s bit hard because if they are in Standby mode they will answer to the ping.
In some cases I don’t even give the device permanent IP(DVB-T and PC). However there is the way to discover them via UPnP.

There is linux utility gssdp-discovery which use ssdp to discover UPnP capable device and as far as each device have unique identificator uuid we can check if device is running by checking if device is responding to ssdp discovery.

Below is small script which check based on uuid if device is running, which IP it was assigned and on which port UPnP is listening and record this to sqlite database.

#! /bin/bash

#test if device can be discovered using SSDP
#IMPORTANT return true if device is down
testUPnP()
{
  return `gssdp-discover -n 10 -t uuid:$1 | grep "resource available" | wc -l`
}

HFILE='/var/www/monitoring/device_upnp.list'
DBFILE='/var/www/judo.db'

if [[ -z $HFILE ]]
then
  echo "$HFILE doesn't exist"
  exit 1
fi

while read line
do
  uuid=$(echo "$line" | cut -d, -f5)
  mac=$(echo "$line" | cut -d, -f4)
  new_polls=1
  prev_status_polls=$(sqlite3 $DBFILE "SELECT cur_state,polls_in_state FROM dev_status WHERE mac = '$mac';")
  prev_status=$(echo "$prev_status_polls" | cut -d| -f1)
  prev_polls=$(echo "$prev_status_polls" | cut -d| -f2)

  #remeber testUPnP returns true if device is down
  if `testUPnP $uuid`
  then
    new_status="Down"
    if [ "$prev_status" == "Up" ]
    then
      sqlite3 $DBFILE "UPDATE devices SET ip = NULL, upnp_port = NULL WHERE mac = '$mac';"
    fi
  else
    new_status="Up"
    if [ "$prev_status" == "Down" ]
    then
      location=`gssdp-discover -n 10 -t uuid:$uuid | grep "Location:" | sed 's/ *Location: http:////g'| cut -d/ -f1 | sed 's////g'`
      echo "$location"
      ip=$(echo "$location" | cut -d: -f1)
      upnp_port=$(echo "$location" | cut -d: -f2)
      echo "$ip:$upnp_port"
      sqlite3 $DBFILE "UPDATE devices SET ip = '$ip', upnp_port = '$upnp_port' WHERE mac = '$mac';"
    fi
  fi

  if [ "$prev_status" == "$new_status" ]
  then
    new_polls=$((prev_polls + 1))
  fi
  sqlite3 $DBFILE "UPDATE dev_status SET cur_state = '$new_status', polls_in_state = '$new_polls' WHERE mac = '$mac';"
  echo "$uuid,$mac,$new_status,$prev_status,$new_polls"
done < ${HFILE}

 

Yamaha HTR-4065

Even though Yamaha have UPnP we will rather use YNC to get the status, because we also want to know which input is actually active. Below is python script which finds the status and input and store that in sqlite database.

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#! /usr/bin/python
import sqlite3
import sys
import httplib, urllib
import re
from xml.dom import minidom
from xml.parsers.expat import ExpatError
conn = httplib.HTTPConnection("10.0.0.36:80")
xml_req_power = '<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?><YAMAHA_AV cmd="GET"><Main_Zone><Power_Control><Power>GetParam</Power></Power_Control></Main_Zone></YAMAHA_AV>'
xml_req_input = '<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?><YAMAHA_AV cmd="GET"><Main_Zone><Input><Input_Sel>GetParam</Input_Sel></Input></Main_Zone></YAMAHA_AV>'
params = urllib.urlencode({'q': 'set'})
headers = { 'Content-Type': 'application/xml', "Content-Length": "%d" % len(xml_req_power)}
conn.request("POST", "/YamahaRemoteControl/ctrl", "", headers)
conn.send(xml_req_power)
xmldoc = minidom.parseString(conn.getresponse().read())
xml_input_element = xmldoc.getElementsByTagName('Power')
#print xml_input_element[0]
for node in xml_input_element:
  power_status = node.firstChild.nodeValue
conn.close()
#=================================
#Geting input
headers = { 'Content-Type': 'application/xml', "Content-Length": "%d" % len(xml_req_input)}
conn.request("POST", "/YamahaRemoteControl/ctrl", "", headers)
conn.send(xml_req_input)
#response = conn.getresponse()
#print response.status, response.reason
#response_data = response.read()
#print response_data
xmldoc = minidom.parse(conn.getresponse())
xml_input_element = xmldoc.getElementsByTagName('Input_Sel')
for node in xml_input_element:
  av_input = node.firstChild.nodeValue
conn.close()
print "StatusttAV Input"
print power_status + "tt" + av_input
select_query = "SELECT cur_state,polls_in_state,input FROM dev_status WHERE mac = '00:a0:de:92:6b:78';"
#print update_query
new_polls=1
judodb = sqlite3.connect('/var/www/judo.db')
cur = judodb.cursor()
rows = cur.execute(select_query)
for row in rows:
  prev_state = row[0]
  prev_polls = row[1]
  prev_input = row[2]
if prev_state == power_status and prev_input == av_input:
  new_polls = prev_polls + 1
print prev_state + "tt" + str(new_polls)
update_query = "UPDATE dev_status SET input = '" + av_input + "', cur_state = '" + power_status + "', polls_in_state = " + str(new_polls)  + " WHERE mac = '00:a0:de:92:6b:78'"
cur.execute(update_query)
judodb.commit()
judodb.close()

 

NEC

NEC responds to ping in Standby and of course don’t have UPnP, however the NEC remote control over ethernet let us find out the actual status.
Below python script check the status and store it in sqlite database.

?
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#! /usr/bin/python
import sys
import socket
import sqlite3
monitor_ip = '10.0.0.35'
port = 7142
buffer_size = 2048
data_on = 'x01x30x41x30x41x30x36x02x30x31x44x36x03x74x0d'
new = socket.socket(socket.AF_INET, socket.SOCK_STREAM)
new.connect((monitor_ip, port))
new.send(data_on)
data = ''
#message is split over several packets so need to get all content, message we expect have 25bytes
packet = new.recv(buffer_size)
data += packet
while len(data) < 25 or not packet:
   packet = new.recv(buffer_size)
   data += packet
new.close()
#Reponse OFF
#00AB120200D60000040004q
#Response ON
#00AB120200D60000040001t
off_response = b'x30x30x41x42x31x32x30x32x30x30x44x36x30x30x30x30x30x34x30x30x30x34'
on_response = bytes("x30x30x41x42x31x32x30x32x30x30x44x36x30x30x30x30x30x34x30x30x30x31")
#there seems to be some not printable chars because of packet fragmentation
#using index is dirty hack but don't care
if data[23] == off_response[21]:
  power_status = "Off"
elif data[23] == on_response[21]:
  power_status = "On"
else:
  power_status = "Unknown"
#Now we need to update sqlite with status
select_query = "SELECT cur_state,polls_in_state FROM dev_status WHERE mac = '00:25:5c:2e:36:39';"
#print update_query
new_polls=1
judodb = sqlite3.connect('/var/www/judo.db')
cur = judodb.cursor()
rows = cur.execute(select_query)
for row in rows:
  prev_state = row[0]
  prev_polls = row[1]
if prev_state == power_status:
  new_polls = prev_polls + 1
print prev_state + "tt" + str(new_polls)
update_query = "UPDATE dev_status SET cur_state = '" + power_status + "', polls_in_state = " + str(new_polls)  + " WHERE mac = '00:25:5c:2e:36:39'"
cur.execute(update_query)
judodb.commit()
judodb.close()

 

XBOX 360

For monitoring of XBOX 360 I’ve have to use arping and UPnP, because of limitation of XBOX 360 OS more can be find here including the script.

Automatic Switch Off

Now as we have ways of getting status we just use crontab to run the scripts each 10 minutes and to get the status and store it in to sqlite database. We are storing also how many time we see it consecutively in current status. (polls_in_state column in table below)

sqlite> .schema dev_status
CREATE TABLE dev_status(mac TEXT, cur_state TEXT, polls_in_state NUM, input TEXT);
sqlite> select * from dev_status;
00:25:5c:2e:36:39|On|3|unknown
00:a0:de:92:6b:78|On|3|HDMI1
00:ce:39:b5:48:9e|Up|4|unknown
7c:1e:52:c2:6c:a7|Up|3|unknown
00:01:2e:3a:a3:b2|Down|1214|unknown

Last thing we have to do is set crontab to run script, which check status based on the status of devices finds what is running and if no device coresponding to AV receiver input is running, (means that AV receiver is running for nothing) it will switch it off. Same for NEC.

crontab -l

#Monitoring of home network
*/10 * * * * /var/www/monitoring/judo_icmp_monitoring &> /dev/null
*/10 * * * * /var/www/monitoring/judo_upnp_monitoring &> /dev/null
*/10 * * * * /var/www/monitoring/HTR-4065_State.py &> /dev/null
*/10 * * * * /var/www/monitoring/NECStatus.py &> /dev/null
*/10 * * * * /var/www/monitoring/XBOX360Status.sh &> /dev/null

5,15,25,35,45,55 * * * * /var/www/monitoring/autostop >> /media/nas/public/autostop.log

autostop script

#! /bin/bash

HTR_MAC='00:a0:de:92:6b:78'
NEC_MAC='58:C2:32:97:3A:48'
Evolve_MAC='00:ce:39:b5:48:9e'
XBOX_MAC='7c:1e:52:c2:6c:a7'
Zotac_MAC='00:01:2e:3a:a3:b2'

CGIDIR='/var/www/cgi-bin'
DBFILE='/var/www/judo.db'

getDeviceStatus(){
  SQLQUERY="SELECT cur_state,polls_in_state,input FROM dev_status WHERE mac = '$1';"
  SQLRESULT=`sqlite3 $DBFILE "$SQLQUERY" | sed 's/|/ /g;'`
  echo "$SQLRESULT"
}


ACTION='No action'

echo -n ""

read HTR_STATUS HTR_POLLS_IN_STATUS HTR_INPUT <<< `getDeviceStatus $HTR_MAC`
echo -n "$HTR_STATUS $HTR_POLLS_IN_STATUS $HTR_INPUT"

#Example of output
#00:a0:de:92:6b:78|On|51|HDMI1

if [[ $HTR_STATUS == "On" && $HTR_POLLS_IN_STATUS -gt 3 ]]
then
  case $HTR_INPUT in
    "HDMI1")
       #echo "Check Evolve status"
       read Evolve_STATUS Evolve_POLLS_IN_STATUS Evolve_INPUT <<< `getDeviceStatus $Evolve_MAC`
       echo -n "$Evolve_STATUS $Evolve_POLLS_IN_STATUS $Evolve_INPUT"
       if [[ $Evolve_STATUS == "Down" && $Evolve_POLLS_IN_STATUS -gt 3 ]]
       then
         $CGIDIR/NECOff.py
         $CGIDIR/HTR-4065_Off.py
         ACTION="Switching HTR-4065 and NEC off"
       fi
       ;;
    "HDMI2")
       #echo "Check XBOX 360 status"
       read XBOX_STATUS XBOX_POLLS_IN_STATUS XBOX_INPUT <<< `getDeviceStatus $XBOX_MAC`
       echo -n "$XBOX_STATUS $XBOX_POLLS_IN_STATUS $XBOX_INPUT"
       if [[ $XBOX_STATUS == "Down" && $XBOX_POLLS_IN_STATUS -gt 3 ]]
       then
         $CGIDIR/NECOff.py
         $CGIDIR/HTR-4065_Off.py
         ACTION="Switching HTR-4065 and NEC off"
       fi
       ;;
    "HDMI3")
       #echo "Checking PC Zotac Status"
       read Zotac_STATUS Zotac_POLLS_IN_STATUS Zotac_INPUT <<< `getDeviceStatus $Zotac_MAC`
       echo -n "$Zotac_STATUS $Zotac_POLLS_IN_STATUS $Zotac_INPUT"
       if [[ $Zotac_STATUS == "Down" && $Zotac_POLLS_IN_STATUS -gt 3 ]]
       then
         $CGIDIR/NECOff.py
         $CGIDIR/HTR-4065_Off.py
         ACTION="Switching HTR-4065 and NEC off"
       fi
       ;;
  esac
else
  #AV reciever is Standby for more then hour and NEC is On for
  if [[ ! $HTR_STATUS == "On" ]]
  then
    read NEC_STATUS NEC_POLLS_IN_STATUS NEC_INPUT <<< `getDeviceStatus $NEC_MAC`
    echo -n "$NEC_STATUS $NEC_POLLS_IN_STATUS $NEC_INPUT"

    if [[ $HTR_POLLS_IN_STATE -gt 6 && $NEC_STATUS == "On" && $NEC_POLLS_IN_STATUS -gt 3 ]]
    then
      $CGIDIR/NECoff.py
      ACTION="Switching NEC Off"
    fi
  fi
fi

echo -n "$ACTION"
echo ""
#HTR-4065 HDMI1 : Evolve Down,3 => OFF: NEC, HTR-4065
#HTR-4065 HDMI2 : XBOX_360 Down,3 => OFF: NEC, HTR-4065
#HTR-4065 HDMI3 : PC_Zotac Down,3 => OFF: NEC, HTR-4065
#HTR-4065 HDMI4 : Not Assigned

 

A Rumination on Home Entertainment

The most important thing to keep in mind when hooking together an entertainment center, I have found, is that drunk people watch a lot of movies.

People who are sitting down to watch TV do not want to get up six or seven times to move plugs around, solve a switch puzzle, and place three crests, two engraved tiles, and a keyed crank in accordance with the instructions in a creepy antique nursery rhyme, in order to make their goddamn movie show up. This is an entertainment center, not lab equipment for the Umbrella Corporation. A lot of these people are going to be tired, inebriated, or both. In an ideal world, I’d be able to design a setup where you could get the input you wanted with one button press in a dark room without getting off the sofa or putting your beer down.

I haven’t quite gotten there yet, but I’m trying.

Jazmin was given a new laptop for Christmas, and since the two main features of the old one are a busted screen and a working HDMI port, it now lives on the entertainment center, permanently tethered to the TV. Quite literally its only two jobs these days are to run a torrent client and decode MPEG/Flash media to output to the television, and as long as it can rub its head and pat its belly at the same time, any leftover brain power can be used for any old frivolous thing. I got Jazmin to give it a segregated account for the networked media stuff, and now it’s got a load of players and converters and DreamScene installed, because if you’re going for pretty blinky lights, you might as well go all the way.

[Windows Vista and later have the native capacity to use a video loop as the desktop background. Microsoft just decided to take the option out of Control Panel so they could sell it to you later as part of a desktop enhancement pack. DreamScene is just a tiny program that flips the hidden switch for you. Their English is a wee bit questionable, but it does exactly what it says on the tin. You can get a lot of animated.wmv clips on that site; I’m partial to the abstract PS3-ish ones. The TV is now showing Multicolor as its backdrop, and my computer is running Digital Rain.]

The main problem with using a computer to drive most of the entertainment in the house is that it violates a number of the complaints I outline above — you have to get up to feed it media if the file isn’t on the internal HDD, it wants to be worked by someone physically sitting at the keyboard, etc.

The very first thing I did was hook everything Windows-driven to the same Homegroup. Homegroups are like Workgroups, except for people who don’t have an IT department to prevent them from doing stupid things like touching mystery settings in the Control Panel and naïvely resetting their domain password to a string of eight asterisks. Any computer on the Homegroup can opt to share all its Libraries with all the other computers on the Homegroup, and Libraries can point to any combination of local, removable, and mapped network drives and/or folders. There is now about a terabyte of storage piled up next to the TV, and the Acer can play media that’s physically written to the internal hard drives in my and Jazmin’s Windows laptops, so we can stop constantly performing the traditional Dance of The Swapping Devices that used to happen whenever I couldn’t remember which disk I’d put the newest Doctor Who on. I’m pretty sure that if I’m clever with samba I can leapfrog through my Win7 machine into the Ubuntu laptop, which all told probably gives us another 1-1.5TB pf spare space to slosh into if (when) we manage to fill up what we’ve got.

The other problems (flipping switches, dark room, putting down beer) I think I can solve with a combination of apps and the rampant internet addiction Jazmin and I share. We each have a tablet now, and we never put the damnable things down. I’ve gone right back to walking everywhere with a book held in front of my face, only now it also lights up and makes noises, and I sometimes reach up to poke-type things on it. I’m kiting all the data around via Magic Internet Rays — my previous magna opera have mostly involved loops of cables and stacked switch boxes; technology has just now finally caught up with the way I think everything should map out — so I figured someone has probably made a remote control that works via Magic Internet Rays as well.

The nice folks at AIO Remote seem to have done exactly that. They have receiver apps for Win/Lin/Mac and remote control apps for Android, BlackBerry 10/BlackBerry PlayBook, and Kindle tablets. The phone apps work via Bluetooth and the tablets work via wifi. Right now I just have the PlayBook set up as a remote trackpad for the Acer, but when I get less lazy I can look up all the hotkeys for VLC and Winamp and program a proper remote with buttons on it.

[ETA: HAHAHAHAHAHAHA It has presets for common media players. I have a generic remote for Winamp/VLC now. I NEVER HAVE TO GET OFF THE SOFA AGAIN.]

[ETA2: Since the PC/TV combo is now functionally equivalent to the stereo system, that also means I can control the music from the kitchen. Yay!

[ETA3: You can use graphical backgrounds and images for buttons on this thing. I am having flashbacks to making Winamp3 skins in Paint Shop Pro in college. Not that this will stop me. Conveniently, I think that the PlayBook and Jazmin’s Kindle Fire both run at 1024 x 600.]

Applehead- Applehead de Applehead (Pre-Cert Home Entertainment, 2011)

 

Applehead- Applehead de Applehead (Pre-Cert Home Entertainment, 2011)

*Second limited edition transmission from this Demdike Stare / Andy Votel orchestrated boutique imprint. 400 copies for the world*Pre-Cert Home Entertainment return from the vinyl pits of Manchester and much further abroad to present a compendium of clues exploring the semi-fictitious and quasi-symbolic qualities of Applehead. With sublime references to Roman Catholicism, Politics & Agriculture, corruption, fairy-tales, Horrotica, Post-war European Surrealism and fumetti/giallo crime fiction Applehead’s first LP is presented within the aesthetic context of cold modernist-pop and Italian and Spanish horror film music featuring randomized spoken word segments and concrete compact tape experiments. It’s a seriously absorbing trip. Their sonic seed trails lead to seemingly dead ends which turn out to have secret trapdoors into yet more catacombs of references to the belgian surrealism movement, the films of Lucio Fulci, the outrageous prog ideals of Franco Battiato and a hive of sounds homaging Carpenter, Oram, Massiera, Simonetti and Besombes among them. By the end of the record, when the miasma begins to recede you’ll be clearer as to the essence of Applehead’s macabre mediterranean folklore and his connections to the industrial North West. Until then, you’re in the dark. Album features subtly disturbed artwork from Anworth Kirk and vinyl was cut at Berlin’s D&M. Limited to 500 copies and highly recommended. (Boomkat)

Cinematic synth-driven esoterica with a creeped-out library/kosmische stream-of-consciousness flair. 2 tracks / 2 sides. An extremely limited sold-out style 2011 LP release from Mr Andy Votel & Co. Those cats are making big noise, friends….

Warner Home Entertainment Puts Spotlight on Batman vs. Robin, Batman Unlimited: Animal Instincts, Two Warner Archive Collection Panels April 3-5 at WonderCon/Anaheim

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment (WBHE) and Warner Archive Collection (WAC) take the spotlight for all three days of WonderCon in Anaheim, April 3-5, with World Premieres of the highly anticipated animated films Batman vs. Robin and Batman Unlimited: Animal Instincts, and a pair of WAC panels highlighted by the first-ever sing-along with the “Mayhem of the Music Meister” episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold and a salute to super hero “sidekicks.”

Batman vs. Robin panelists will also be autographing WonderCon-exclusive mini-posters on Friday from 3:45-4:30pm at Booth 233.

Here are the complete panel descriptions, including all confirmed panelists for Warner Bros. Home Entertainment & Warner Archive Collection at WonderCon:

Friday, 4/3/15
6:00–8:00pm World Premiere: Batman vs. Robin – Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Animation welcome WonderCon attendees to the World Premiere of Batman vs. Robin, the latest entry in the ongoing series of DC Universe Original Movies. In the film, Damian Wayne, now bearing the mantle of Robin, blazes a headstrong and sometimes reckless trail alongside his father, Batman. While investigating a crime scene, Robin encounters a mysterious figure, Talon, who leads him on a life-altering course through the depths of Gotham’s secret society, known as The Court of Owls. It’s a dangerous journey that will force Batman and Robin to face their most dangerous adversary – each other! Be among the first to see this new film, then stay for a star-studded panel led by the voices of Batman, Robin and Nightwing – Jason O’Mara (Terra Nova, Complications), Stuart Allan (Son of Batman) and Sean Maher (Firefly/Serenity, Much Ado About Nothing), respectively – alongside producer James Tucker (Justice League: Throne of Atlantis), director Jay Oliva (Batman: Assault on Arkham), Eisner Award-winning writer J.M. DeMatteis (Justice League, Teen Titans Go!), character designer Phil Bourassa (Justice League: Throne of Atlantis), dialogue director Andrea Romano (Batman: The Dark Knight Returns) and some potential special guests. DC All-Access host Tiffany Smith will moderate the fun, including the awarding of a few exclusive prizes. Inspired by the storyline from the best-selling graphic novel, Batman: Court of Owls, Batman vs. Robin arrives April 14, 2015 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment on Blu-Ray™ Combo Pack, DVD and Digital HD. Arena

Saturday, 4/4/15
5:45–6:45pm Toonstock II: Warner Archive Collection’s Music Meister Sing-Along – Once more, with feeling! You’re invited to the second annual toe-tapping, floor-stomping celebration of great cartoon music, this year featuring the first-ever WonderCon exclusive sing-along with the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode, “Mayhem of the Music Meister.” Join composers Kristopher Carter, Michael McCuistion and Lolita Ritmanis, BTBATB producers James Tucker & Michael Jelenic, Warner Archive Collection podcast hosts Matt Patterson and DW Ferranti and a few possible surprise guests for an entertaining, interactive look/listen at some of the great cartoon music of the past 50+ years. Moderator Gary Miereanu might even hand out a few cool prizes! Room 300DE.

Sunday, 4/5/15
11:30am–1:00pm World Premiere of Batman Unlimited: Animal Instincts – Another storm is brewing in Gotham and it’s not only raining cats and dogs but evil Cyber Animals! Be among the first to see how Batman and his team of super heroes meets the challenge in the World Premiere of Batman Unlimited: Animal Instincts. When the city is plagued by a slew of bizarre crimes committed by an animal-inspired villain squad known as the Animilitia – comprised of Silverback, Cheetah, Killer Croc and Man-Bat – Batman must swing into action to investigate. These animalistic villains bring new and exciting challenges for the hero of Gotham, and Batman must find a way to bring these criminal creatures to a halt! But could the Animilitia be working for powerful businessman Oswald Cobblepot a.k.a. The Penguin? How does The Penguin’s new invention of robotic Cyber Animals fit into the mix? In the end, it’ll the combined forces of Batman, Flash, Green Arrow, Nightwing and Red Robin to combat these Animal Instincts. Catch this all new flick, then stay for an entertaining panel featuring the voices of Batman and Red Robin, Roger Craig Smith (Batman: Arkham Origins) and Yuri Lowenthal (Ben 10 franchise, Naruto) with screenwriter Heath Corson; and surprise guests. Batman Unlimited: Animal Instincts arrives May 12, 2015 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment on Blu-Ray™ Combo Pack, DVD and Digital HD. Room 300AB

Sunday, 4/5/15
1:00–2:00pm Warner Archive Collection’s More Than Sidekicks! – Super Heroes may get the glory, but it’s their “sidekicks” that do all the real heavy lifting … and steal your heart. Join the definitive voice of Robin, Loren Lester (Batman: The Animated Series) , legendary super hero animation producer Alan Burnett, Eisner Award-winning writer J.M. DeMatteis, Young Justice producer Greg Weisman, Warner Archive Collection podcasters DW Ferranti and Matthew Patterson for an engaging look at some of the most endearing sidekicks to grace the popular DC-based TV series, from Burt Ward in the 1966 Batman series and Legends of the Superheroes TV special and the early TV toon incarnations of Teen Titans and Batman & Robin to modern high-def presentations of Young Justice, Batman: The Brave and the Bold and the popular Teen Titans Go!  Moderator Gary Miereanu will keep the festivities light, as always will have some cool autographed goodies from the Warner Archive Collection to award lucky fans. Room 300AB

Building a Home Theater Room

We have a lot to catch up on with this one!

While I’ve been focusing on the upstairs (the kitchen, my studio, and our bedroom specifically), Brad has been working non-stop downstairs on our home theater room. This is something he has always wanted and insisted upon when we bought our house.
The room we decided to use for this space is this awkward, narrow side room off of the main downstairs area (on the left):

It wasn’t the ideal layout,  but the best option we had.
I figured it was something we’d get around to later this year, but Brad is so anxious to get it done, he’s been there nearly every single day working on it.
When it comes to remodeling, I’m almost always the one in charge, but this is the first time I’ve left it 100% up to him. Aside from asking my opinion on a few things, he’s doing everything from the layout to electronics to managing the subcontractors, even choosing the paint colors and carpeting. This is entirely his project, and he loves it!
Let’s get up to speed on how this is all playing out… (you’ll have to excuse the cell phone photos, we left our SLR at home during most of the construction)
First, Brad decided it would be best to separate the theater room from the main area by adding walls. There would be a door in the center with new walls on either side.
There’s going to be two rows of seating in the back (one on each “level”), and instead of a giant TV, he’s getting a projector which will be displayed on this wall:
Here’s contractor Doug getting started by removing the plywood faces from the platforms:
And beginning to frame it in…
The framing went in really quickly:
The view from inside:
Next was the drywall:
And then came the first hiccup. Brad decided afterwards that the entrance would open right onto where the lower couch is going to be, so it had to be relocated to the front of the room (next to the screen wall).
Here’s the new entrance location:
View from the back right of the room…
And from the outside.
There was one other issue to deal with—the AC vent and thermostat were right in the middle of the projector wall. We actually ended up having to completely redo the AC downstairs anyway (sellers never disclosed that it was broken), so we had Doug re-route the vent out to the main room, and run another one to the home theater room through the other side. The thermostat was an easy fix—Brad just reran the wires to the outside wall.
Now for the all the electrical stuff…
Brad is a bit obsessed with electronics, lighting and audio/video (he works in IT so it makes sense). He went with a 7.1 surround system and these fancy color changing LED bulbs in the ceiling:
The entire room is going to be black/dark gray, so he made sure to paint the speaker grills and lip so they would blend in with the walls and ceiling:
Then he cut all of the speaker holes using the provided templates:
And finally, hooked them up to the wiring he had run earlier:
Here are the speakers and lights coming together…
In total there are 7 speakers (two backs, two sides, three fronts), a subwoofer and three recessed lights.
After all the speakers and lights were installed, it was time for paint! It’s actually a really dark gray but reads as black under certain lighting.
The big hole in the lower center of the room is for the subwoofer. We discovered a couple feet of empty space on that side of the room so Brad decided to recess the sub into the wall so it wouldn’t take up any floor space inside.
Here’s the housing built for the sub:
And Brad wiring it up:
Instead of having the electronics out in the open, he was able to hide them in the adjacent closet…

Bangkok With Kids: 5 Fun Things To Do On A Budget

Bangkok is an amazing, vibrant city that blends first- world cosmopolitan perks like air-conditioned shopping centres with the ancient cultures of Asia featuring centuries-old temples and monuments.  But what’s there to do with the kids and on a budget??

The answer is:  more than you think!

Here are our Top 5 Favourite Affordable Things To Do With Kids in Bangkok:


KIDZANIA

Have you had the ‘KidZania’ experience yet?  Bangkok is it’s newest location (it’s 11th worldwide) opening just in March 2013. First conceived in Mexico in 1999, its concept is as a children’s indoor theme park/entertainment centre whose goal is to offer not only ‘a safe and unique place for children aged 4-14yrs to play’, but to make it educational as well.  To do achieve that, each centre is set up as a city (complete with enclosed fake sky), built to scale, featuring individual buildings such as hospitals, fire stations, and shops, complete with paved roads, street lighting and even the occasional vehicle such as ambulance and fire truck rolling by.

The hospital complex has about 4 different positions on offer; however most are not viewable to the parents who must wait outside.

While the adults must wait outside ‘on the street'(or think ‘in the mall as you wait for your other half who is in the shop’), the children roll-play the different activities featured in these premises.  Each activity has a specific time duration and number of children it can accommodate at one time.  For example some groups had a capacity of 15 kids while others were only 6. Typically, the activities lasted  approximately 20min, so if one group is full, you must wait this time for the next session or check out other activities that don’t have a wait.  (It’s a bit like waiting for the Roller Coaster at an amusement park–each ride can accommodate ‘x’ number of children, then you have to wait for the coaster to return before the next group can get on.)  Each activity is structured and the children are fully guided and supervised by the staff and also must wear the corresponding uniforms such as lab coats at the vets and in the hospital and fireman coats and hats that go with each position.  Some activities are viewable from outside by the parents, but others are not.

Depending on the nature of the role, the children are either ‘paid’ in Kidzania currency for their job or if it’s an activity, the children have to ‘pay’ in Kidzania currency to do it.  At the end of the day, the children can spend whatever currency they have left in the special gift shop.  Interestingly many of the ‘businesses’ were sponsored and branded by large corporate companies, such as AirAsia that had a mock plane and had pilot flight simulation training, flight attendant role-playing, as well as flight navigator roles.  The number of roles and activities available were overwhelming and although we were there from 10:30am (shortly after it opened) until it closed at 5pm, we still were not able to experience all that was on offer.  Although it doesn’t exactly fit into the budget category, KidZania is truly a unique experience
that the kiddies will LOVE and it’s educational too.

Info:  Kidzania is located on level 5 of the Siam Paragon shopping complex; however to located it inside is a bit tricky.  Try to enter the complex via the main atrium that features the wall of living plants then make your way upwards.  Kidzania is open Mon-Friday from 10am to 5pm and weekends from 10am to 3pm then 4pm to 9pm (you can only attend 1 session on weekends).  It gets busy there—weekdays are probably better but you may encounter school groups (as we did).  I’ve been told that you would be wise to pre-book your session too as sometimes they do sell-out.  Admission fees are not cheap: Adults (yes, they have to pay to stand around) are 400B($13.30 US) each and kids are 650B ($21.60 US) but if you spend the whole day there as we did, you get your money’s worth.  There is a special area for children aged 2-4yrs (and they are charged accordingly) but at the time of our visit, this area did not seem fully functioning. There are no in/out privileges nor is outside food permitted but there are restaurant/eateries inside for food purchase as well as a parents’ lounge and free Wi-Fi access.  Also note that not all staff could speak English so at times, especially for older children, this was a bit of a hinderance.


FANTASIA LAGOON

This was the most unique water park that we had ever been to.  Why?  It was set on the rooftop of a 6-storey suburban shopping complex!  While Fantasia Lagoon didn’t feature the biggest or best assortment of waterslides that we’ve ever been to, its 2 large corkscrew slides, 2 tube slides, 1 slide ‘ride’ (extra charge, so we didn’t try), 25m swimming pool plus 3 water play areas with kiddie slides for the little ones were very sufficient for us and our 6 & 7yr olds—so much so that we spent 7hrs there!  There’s also a ‘lazy river’ that where you could drift effortlessly around through parts of the park while perched on a tube.

We went on a weekday and practically had the place to ourselves with no line-ups at all for the slides although we were told that it was a different story on the weekends where it was very popular with the Thai locals as well as expats living nearby.

Having been recently refurbished, the facilities were faultless:  the change rooms were large, modern and clean, with toilets, private shower cubicles, and lockers.  There were many lifeguards on hand too.

Oh—and not only could you bring your own food inside, but you could also leave temporarily to have lunch/dinner in the food court on the bottom level of the shopping centre or even bring the food back in and eat poolside at the many shaded tables available.

Coupled with the fact that it only cost 100B ($3.30 US) each adult to enter and kids 80B, Fantasia Lagoon is a terrific day out and a refreshing respite from the heat, and hustle and bustle of Bangkok.  Now if only they could improve their musical selection—they played the same (Thai) song over and over again!

Info:  Fantasia Lagoon is open from 10am until 8pm (?).  It’s located at ‘The Mall Bang Khae’, which is west and slightly south of central Bangkok.  To get there, we took the BTS to the end of the line (which is currently Wong Wan Yai, which is past Taksin), then hopped on a taxi for 20 min for 111B ($3.70US).  Once at the shopping complex, take the glass elevator at the centre to the 7th floor, where you will find the cinemas.  There is another ‘grand staircase’ located here that takes you to the entrance of the Lagoon.

Also note that although admission is 100B each, there is a separate charge for locker rental (40B with 50B refundable deposit), towel rental if required, tube rental (40B with 50B refundable deposit), and bathing cap rental if required (bathing caps are mandatory for everyone, even if you are bald!).

DUSIT ZOO

Situated next to Parliament House, Dusit Zoo was once the private garden of King Rama V.  Now it’s run by the state and is home to over 1600 species of animals, including a vast assortment of monkeys, birds and reptiles.  The enclosures seem sufficient for the larger animals such as the giraffes, zebras and the hippos and the signage are particularly informative and very educational.  On our recent visit in July 2013, we also noticed the presence of some signage in braille.  The grounds are well laid out with an abundance of leafy trees to give much needed shade and respite from the heat and sun. There’s also a lagoon in the centre where you can rent paddle boats and there’s a small children’s playground near the bird aviaries.  There is a semi-enclosed stadium where they hold seal shows (3-4 shows per day on a set schedule).  Nearby there is also a food court where you can eat Thai food very economically.   A great day out.

Info:  The Dusit Zoo is open 7 days a week, from 8am to 6pm.  Admission for foreigners is adults @ 100B ($3.30 US) and children 50B ($1.75 US)—quite a bargain!

 LUMPHINI PARK

This huge (142 acres) park is set in the Silom district of Bangkok and features a large man-made lake at its centre surrounded by leafy trees, green grass and lots of walking tracks. You’ll also find picnic tables, clean toilet facilities and the occasional lizard roaming around too.  And best of all, there is a large playground area for the kiddies.

Info:  Entrance is free and there’s a MRT station across the street.

 WAT ARUN (THE TEMPLE OF DAWN)

Wat Arun is a Buddhist temple dating back to the 17thC situated on the banks of the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok.  It’s a distinctive landmark, especially when seen in the early morning when it reflects the sun on its porcelain-tiled mosaic surface or at night when it is lit up.  Its central tower is in the Khmer style like some of that found at Angkor Wat so for the kids (and adults), this means fun climbing the steps on the exterior.  But remember:  while it’s fun to climb up, you must eventually come back down!  Tip:  don’t look down when doing this but just focus on placing your feet firmly on the narrow steps and you’ll be alright!

Info:  Wat Arun is open from 8am-5pm.  Entrance fee for foreigners is 80B (kids under 100cm are free, as for most things in Thailand).  Best accessed via Chao Phraya Express Boat (need to change boat to cross river).

So there you have it.  We would really recommend that you allow lots of time for each of these.  With the exception of Wat Arun and Lumpini Park, we spent a full day at each of the activities.  Get there as close to opening time as you can too and try not to visit Kidzania or Fantasia Lagoon on a weekend.  Have fun!

Fun Things to do with Kids in Penang

“What are we going to do today?” How many times have you heard that one from your children? Here’s a collection of ideas for fun activities to entertain your kids. Some of these would be great for kids birthday parties in Penang, too.

I’m still working my way through doing everything on this list, but I wanted to get it out there so you don’t have to wait on me to blog about each place. Penang really does have so much family fun to offer. Do you have anything to add? Let me know in the Comments.

* indicates birthday party package available

Adventure Zone

Free is Good

  • 5 Fun and Free Things to Do: Visit the Youth Park, Hunt for Street Art, Visit a Temple, Hit the Beach, Trek the National Park

Swimming beats the Heat

  • * Hard Rock Hotel: Yearly memberships, foam parties, birthday parties
  • * ParkRoyal Resort Hotel: Day passes and birthday parties

Outdoor Adventures

  • * ESCAPE Eco-Adventure Park: Ropes course, climbing, innertube slides, and birthday parties
  • Ride bikes and scooters: Traffic Garden, Youth Park, Straits Quay, car-free George Town, Air Itam dam
  • Penang Hill: Ride the funicular up and enjoy the activities or just hike around at the top; if you want to hike up from the bottom, trails are not marked so go with someone familiar with the hike
  • National Park: hike, canopy walk, take a boat back from the beach, Turtle sanctuary, and camping
  • Countryside Stables in Balik Pulau: Ride ponies and feed the horses and donkeys
  • Wet World Wild Adventure Park: A Wipeout-style obstacle course floating in the waters of Moonlight Bah; recommended for teens and adults
  • Kayaking at Straits Quay; Fridays after 3 p.m. and Weekends 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; See Marina Office
  • Playground at Straits Green with Water Sprayground activated from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.; Access road is at Quayside condos next door to Straits Quay; Note: No good shade
  • * Soccer Experience: tot lessons, youth league, and birthday parties
  • Jerejak Daytripper Package: This little island by the bridge has tons of outdoor activities for kids ages 10 years and older; contact fanjerejak@gmail.com for more information.
  • Paintball: 6 paintball fields in Penang; recommended for teens and adults

Explore Nature

  • Penang Butterfly Farm: Not just butterflies — insects, reptiles, and amphibians, too
  • Penang Bird Park: On the mainland; daily shows and photo sessions
  • Botanical Gardens: Popular with runners and joggers; stroller friendly; fun hill to roll down
  • * Tropical Spice Garden: Snakes and Ladders playground, garden tour, kids events, birthday parties
  • Toy Museum and Heritage Garden: Before it moved, it was a look-don’t-touch museum; new location has added an outdoor garden
  • Forest Recreation Park and Museum: forestry museum, playground, hiking trails, and wading pools
  • Tropical Fruit Farm: Take the 45 minute tour, buy a fruit tasting plate and (book ahead) have BBQ
  • Happy Goats Farm: Tour this dairy farm, feed the goats, and try your hand at milking them

Stay Cool Indoors

  • * Top Picks for Indoor Fun: Adventure Zone (birthday parties), Mega Kiddie World, Cartoon World, KidLand, video game arcades and movies
  • Made in Penang Interactive Museum: Bring your camera for some photo fun
  • *Kidland Penang: Play at the pretend firehouse, hospital, music studio, greenhouse, cooking school, art gallery, airplane pilot training and more; Prangin Mall, Level 4.
  • *Urban Playground inflatable jump houses, slides, obstacle courses and climbing walls in Times Square Mall
  • JumpStreet: Huge room covered in trampolines. Dodge ball arena and foam pits, too. Atrium of D’Piazza Mall in Bandar Baru.
  • Urban Playz climbing walls on Level 7 of Gurney Paragon Mall
  • Archery: 1st floor of Komtar Walk; recommended for teens and adults
  • Bowling: Penang Bowl near the E&O; Premium Lanes in Sunshine Square; Classic Bowl in Prangin Mall
  • Break the Code: Solve the puzzles in time to escape the room or be trapped inside forever; for tweens and older

Arts and Crafts and Cooking, too

  • Hammer Out a Pewter Bowl: Royal Selangor in Straits Quay
  • *Batik Painting: Rozana’s Batik or Craft Batik
  • *Kids Cooking Class at Makers Shakers Bakers in Tanjung Bungah Hillside

Take a Day Trip

  • Carnivall Water Park at Cinta Sayang: 1 hour from Penang; water slides, lazy river, and a spray playground for non-swimmers
  • Bukit Merah Laketown Resort: 90-minutes from Penang; orangutan sanctuary, eco park, water park
  • Taiping Zoo: 1 hour 45 minutes from Penang; becomes a night zoo in the evenings
  • Lost World of Tambun Water Park: near Ipoh
  • Gua Temperung Caves: near Ipoh; even preschoolers can walk Tours 1 & 2
  • White Water Rafting: near Ipoh; must be at least 10 years old

Hire an Activity Organizer

  • * Birthday Castle: I’ve been to a couple parties they’ve organized, and the kids have always had a blast.
  • Spiral Synergy: During school holidays, they often hold special events for children. Email them for a schedule.

10 fun things to do in Stockholm, Sweden when traveling with kids

I might be biased since I grew up in Sweden, but I think it can be a great place to visit when you’re traveling with kids.

View of Stockholm on our last visit: a very rainy day.

Of course, it is not the cheapest place to go, but it does have other things going for it. English-speaking visitors will find that lots of people here speak and understand English. Sweden is also a kid-friendly country overall with lots of playgrounds, kids’ menus at many restaurants, lots of attractions for children, and there are often change tables and other baby-friendly facilities in public bathrooms.

Stockholm is the place most foreign visitors to Sweden end up going to, and there are lots of things to do for kids as well as adults in this city. Just get yourself a good map and explore! Stockholm is small enough to easily get around on foot, by bus or subway, or by boat.

Here, listed in no particular order, are 10 great destinations in and around Stockholm when you’re traveling with kids:

Gröna Lund.

1. Gröna Lund
This is a big fairground with tons of rides, games, and activities. Gröna Lund is located right on the waterfront on Djurgården island, and you can reach it easily by bus, tram or ferry. It is open for business May-September, and offers special deals on passes for smaller kids.

For a fairground treat, try one of the many varieties of Swedish ice cream, sockervadd (cotton candy), or varmkorv (hot dogs) either served on a bun or on a bed of mashed potatoes.

2. The Wasa Museum
This museum is the home of the royal ship Wasa, which sunk on its maiden voyage in 1628 and was raised from the water outside Stockholm in 1961. There are lots of kid-friendly interactive exhibits here, and lots of  things to look at including the bronze cannons the ship was equipped with.

The ship sank because the king of Sweden insisted on putting too many cannons on it, a fact that makes my Canadian husband laugh every time the Wasa ship is mentioned. Why all this national pride in an artifact that shows off flawed shipbuilding technique and royal idiocy? he wonders. Fair enough, but the ship itself is a pretty cool sight, preserved here in all its massive glory, if lacking the gold leaf and scarlet paint it was decorated with when it first set sail.

3. Skansen
Skansen is a must-see if you’re traveling with kids to Stockholm. It has a small amusement park for kids, pony rides, a petting zoo, and a “big” zoo featuring wild animals, mainly those native to Sweden, and farm animals.

There is also a tropical exhibit, called Skansen Akvariet, with monkeys, lemurs, snakes, spiders, insects, fish, and lots of other creatures. (My children were fascinated by the rat exhibit last time we were there, maybe because they had just watched Pixar’s Ratatouille.) The pygmy marmosets are way cuter though.

Skansen is also an “outdoor museum” with lots of traditional Swedish buildings where various traditional crafts are made and displayed, for example the glass work shop where you can see glassblowers at work. 

4. Naturhistoriska Museet/Museum of Natural History
This museum has Sweden’s only IMAX theatre, called Cosmonova, and can definitely be a good place to go with kids if there’s a rainy or snow day you want to spend inside. This is also the place to go with kids who love dinosaurs with lots of dino skeletons and replicas. Other exhibits focus on life in the Polar regions, the human body, and human evolution. 

5. Tekniska Museet
This is Stockholm’s “Museum of Technology”, and it is a great museum for kids because they are actually allowed and even encouraged to touch and interact with many of the exhibits. There’s a 4D cinema, and in the Teknorama exhibit kids get to play and try out a large variety of scientific activities and experiments.

A much more relaxing place for parents than many other museums where you spend much of your visit reminding the kids not to talk too loud or touch anything.

 

6. Gamla Stan/Old Town
The Old Town is a must-see if you’re in Stockholm.

This part of the city essentially looks exactly like it did in medieval times, with many of the same churches, buildings and narrow, winding cobble-stoned alleys. It’s a good place for a walk, though somewhat bumpy for strollers, and there are lots of little shops to keep the whole family busy.

If your kids are not interested in the souvenir shops, or if you start feeling slightly queasy after over-dosing on all the trolls, knit sweaters, dalahästar, silver jewelry, Swedish flags, and cheesy viking knick-knacks, there are plenty of places to stop for ice cream, sandwiches, coffee and pastries, or a nice meal.

There are also many candy shops. Candy shops are very common in Sweden, including in Gamla Stan. In these shops you will find a never-ending supply of different kinds of candy (“godis” in Swedish), including Swedish specialties like salty licorice, polkagrisar (striped red and white pepper-mint candy), kokosbollar (similar to a big, creamy marshmallow dipped in chocolate and shredded coconut), and gigantic striped lollipops. 

7. Visit a park
I love parks, just can’t help it. I find them really relaxing, especially when you’re traveling with children. Any big city I visit, I will look for a good park to go for a walk with my kids. There are lots of parks around Stockholm, and they can be a great place for kids to just run around or fall asleep in the stroller while you’re going for a walk or stopping for a snack or coffee. Kungsträdgården is located right in the middle of Stockholm, and there is also lots of park-land in the Djurgården area, close to Skansen and Gröna Lund.

Rainy Stockholm.

8. Take a boat trip
There is lots of water in Stockholm, and much of the city is built on 14 different islands, connected by bridges, the subway, and ferries. Taking the ferry to or from Djurgården is a nice trip with kids, and there are also lots of sightseeing trips you can do by boat around the city. I highly recommend these boat trips if you want to do a sightseeing tour: in my opinion it’s more fun for kids and adults to see the city by boat than by bus.

Check current schedules and pricing with your hotel or the tourist information office. You can also take a ferry to explore the archipelago outside Stockholm, which is a beautiful trip to do, especially in summer. 

Pippi Longstocking -The TV Series9. Junibacken
Junibacken is sort of a Swedish, small-scale version of Disneyland. It’s the place to go to meet the characters from the famous and extremely popular Swedish author Astrid Lindgren’s books. Outside of Sweden, she’s probably mostly known for Pippi Longstocking, but she wrote many, many wonderful books for children and here they’re all put on display in real life. There’s Storybook Square, where many of the characters from Lindgren’s books live, there’s a guided train tour, and you can visit Villa Villekulla, Pippi’s house. 

10. Aquaria
This is one place I have not been to myself, so I’m not sure how good it is, but it looks rather impressive on the website (which is unfortunately all in Swedish…). It’s located on Djurgården, right next to Gröna Lund where the ferry comes in from downtown Stockholm, so it’s very easy to get to. Aquaria’s website says that they have exhibits featuring the tropical rain forest, tropical ocean environments, and Nordic aquatic life.

Jobs: Movie Review

Cast: Ashton Kutcher, Dermot Mulroney, Josh Gad, Matthew Modine, JK Simmons, Lukas Haas
Director: Joshua Michael Stern

So, the first Steve Jobs cab off the rank is this biopic, which will no doubt be forgotten once West Wing writer Aaron Sorkin’s version hits the cinema.

Kutcher plays Jobs in this film which starts with the unveiling of the iPod in 2001 and scoots back to the college years and Jobs’ first foray into the world of computers, before his eventual getting chucked from Apple and re-instating as the messiah of the electronics world.

And that’s really all that happens in this piece, which proffers up little insight into what inspired or drove the man, both on a professional and personal level. Prone to outbursts which seem rude and abrasive when it came to his colleagues, I’m guessing it was his vision, passion and drive which led him to these explosions. I say guessing because there’s little evidence on screen or hints over what fuelled this fire at all.
In fact, there’s scant passion in any of this formulaic and dull biopic, which fails to come even close to revealing Jobs’ motivation. You’re more likely to learn about the inner workings of the Apple company, the fight between Apple and IBM, the boardroom politics and corporate manoeuvring  than anything else in this sketchy piece. It also skates over his appalling treatment of his daughter and completely ignores his health issues and subsequent death, which you could argue were vital to the man.

Kutcher initially appears to personify Jobs and has his physicality down to a tee, but that’s about all. There’s nothing inherently wrong with the performance, (even if it does simply lapse into wistful lip pursing and staring) but it just fails to be engaging at all thanks to lacklustre source material. Even Jobs’ colleagues, and long term collaborator Steve Wozniak have little insight into their relationships which appear to have lasted years.

Stern prefers to save his direction for copious over-use of musical montages and swirling camera shots which start to really grate as the two hours drag on.

Formulaic and forgettable, this first Jobs biopic barely scratches the surface of the man and it certainly doesn’t inspire on any level. It’s nowhere near a definitive piece or peek at the man and feels like a slightly dull volume one of a novel.

Los Angeles Entertainment Jobs

The importance of the entertainment business to the city has led many celebrities to call City of Los Angeles and its surrounding suburbs home. In January 2010 many of the aerospace firms with operations in Los Angeles County are relatively small compared to the larger corporations.

Many people are wanted to become celebrities or popular to the world, and Los Angeles is the city that can realize that for you. But become celebrities or famous people aren’t easy, it needed some kind of dignity and passion for it, also the right job steps career will helping you a career that you dream of. On Hound.com all of that can be realized, you will find Los Angeles Entertainment Jobs from the employer websites and career pages, Hound.com is the largest website for online jobs search section. You will be provided with a good job that are suits either for your personalities or skills you had, and with a good prospect career up ahead that will made you success through both of entertainment or ordinary job industries. Hound.com is simply unique and works differently than Los Angeles Times whose only providing people with job listings everyday but not focused on career developing for their users, they are just local media providing good information.

Entertainment Jobs

EntertainmentCrossing has so many ways to search for the perfect Entertainment jobs from employer sites. I received job alerts in my email daily and was able to conduct my search through multiple cities.

I have been in the job search field for a lengthy time (more than a decade) and I have discovered and residential a way to look for jobs that is more effective than any other method I know of.
• It is like comparing sending a letter to making a phone call
• It is like comparing flying in an airplane to taking the train
• It is like comparing a horse drawn carriage with a car
• It is like comparing going to the bathroom in an outhouse to using a toilet indoors.
There are some developments and things out there that are complete “paradigm changers,” and change how we look at the world and the events and things within it. This is what EntertainmentCrossing.com does. Here you will get all kids of jobs like ‘actor jobs’, ‘actress jobs’, ‘editing jobs’, ‘entertainment jobs’, ‘entertainmentcrossing’, ‘entertainmentcrossing.com’ and ‘film jobs’ etc.
I hated looking for a job. It is the worst experience possible. You are either unemployed and need a job now, or you are in a job you dislike and want out. Coming to work and not liking where you work stinks. Telling people you are unemployed at parties stinks. Knowing you might lose your job any moment stinks.
I’ve been there, and it was no fun at all. In fact, it was one of the worst experiences of my life.
Something I disliked even more was going into interviews where the employer did not even have a real job. Sometime employers seem to be just bringing people in for no reason at all. It has massive database and the most recent “model jobs” posted. EntertainmentCrossing.com is a job board that provides employment opportunities that are currently accessible on the market like “modeling careers”, “movie extras jobs”, “pictures jobs” we can find “studio jobs” in this site more time and again.
Then there were the times I was waiting for an answer of whether or not I was going to be chosen among several other people competing for the job. I had interviewed, but needed to wait and see what happened. That was a nightmare.
Screwing around on job boards really pissed me off. There were so many job boards out there it is hard to believe. I could spend a few hours on one site and only find a few jobs. Most of the resumes I would send would elicit very little response. I advise Entertainment Crossing to anyone searching for employment. It is a very straight forward website that provided me with many unadvertised options in the job market.

Entertainment,jobs,real estate,finance,fitness,dating…earn money instantly

Kangen Alkaline Water has been acquiring a lot of attention around the world. Numerous people say they feel a great deal much better since they started to drink it. The evidence points to it being a extremely wholesome way to obtain pure drinking water.
Water is the absolutely most important thing that you consume on a daily basis. That is hardly surprising whenever you consider that your entire body is made up of so very much of it. For your physique to be able to function normally and at its very best, you have to drink much more than 2 liters per day.
In many areas, folks drink bottled or filtered water since they usually do not like the taste of their tap water or they usually do not want all the chlorine in it. In other places, the tap H2O contains damaging germs and other microbes. You have got a lot of alternatives if you need to clean your own tap water.
Treating your water with the Kangen method, though, provides you with even better health benefits than the other techniques. That is due to the fact it doesn’t just remove damaging bacteria and chemicals. It also makes your normal water a lot more alkaline.
Additional and far more research is showing the dangers of having a body that is certainly as well acidic. Merely put, your human body functions properly within a particular pH range. When the pH becomes far too acidic, your human body has to do more work to clear those acids from your system. Cells that need to function in an environment that is as well acidic start to undergo very unhealthy changes.
You can find numerous things that contribute to acidity inside the entire body such as the foods we eat, alcohol, cigarette smoking and even the each and every day stresses. These all cause free radicals to build up inside entire body which in turn make the physique more acidic. Studies are showing the relationship between this and many different diseases at the same time as premature aging.
The Kangen process works by ionizing the H2O which removes the free radicals from it. It also creates active hydrogen inside water. The free radicals are then removed from the system too by drinking this mineral water. Basically, Kangen Alkaline Water is one of the ideal antioxidants you possibly can take.
Look into Kangen Alkaline Water and discover out much more about how it is being viewed as a miracle H2O. Pure h2o truly can be a miracle of life. And the Kangen process creates some of the most natural and healthiest drinking water you are able to find anywhere.
Make yourself free from acne

One of the most common cause of acne is a surge in hormonal activity in your body during puberty. While a lot of people get mild or occasional acne, some people can get really severe acne. Such acne is usually a difficult to treat with the help of home remedies and spots creams. Treating severe acne requires much more than that.
Top 3 Ways to Treat Severe Acne
1. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is an excellent source to clean your pores and remove dirt or grime from your skin pores. It is a great antibacterial and germicidal and one of its most properties is that it does not make your skin dry like soap. One of the most common mistake people do when trying to cure acne is that they tend to wash their face too often. This can strip your skin of its natural oil barrier which can make it produce more oil.
A face wash containing tea tree oil is the best ways to cleanse your face and clam down pimples. Not just this, it can also moisturize your skin without making it oily.
2. Try Witch Hazel
Witch hazel is one of the best treatments for acne. It is a natural astringent and is far better than those that contain chemicals. Once you have cleaned your pores it is important to have them closed with the help of an astringent and witch hazel proves to be an excellent astringent. Not only this, it also makes your skin smooth and destroys free radicals.
3. Green Tea
Green tea is great for your overall health and body but it can be equally effective in curing acne as well. This is because it is rich in antioxidants that flush out toxins from your system.
There are some brands of green tea that are specifically aimed at treating acne. They blend chysanthemum, licorice root and peppermint with green tea formulate a high quality anti acne tea.
Acne is basically an inflammation and such an acne tea tends to serve as a great anti-inflammatory agent. Licorice root can be extremely effective in curing acne since it helps eliminate bacteria that causes acne. Peppermint, on the other hand, prevents future flare ups.
When all of the three are used in a combination, they can cure even the most stubborn pimples or sever acne and make your face acne free.

E Entertainment Jobs

E Entertainment Jobs Details
E! Entertainment Television Network is a satellite television network owned by NBCUniversal. Originally launched in 1987 as Movie Time, E! Entertainment was renamed in 1990. E! Entertainment specializes in reality programming, feature films, and entertainment-related programming. E! Entertainment has an audience of over 88 million cable viewers in the U.S. and 600 million homes internationally. E! Entertainment is one of the few cable channels that broadcast a daily news program that is focused on entertainment and celebrity news called E! News. E! Entertainment has original programming related to award shows, reality programs, and comedy programs. E! Entertainment is headquartered in Los Angeles, California. In the past, E! Entertainment has offered positions that feature telecommuting work flexibility.

Entertainment,jobs,real estate,finance,loans 

Companies looking for IT managed services should always broaden their search so that they can land on the best provider. It is therefore, quite necessary for them to ensure that they assess the strong and weak points of the technologies used in their contact services center. Paying attention to the following guidelines is one way through which one can get the best firm that will meet their needs at all times.
The first important aspect is control. This is because business enterprises are always looking for control over logic and business applications so as to help them respond to arising business challenges. It also puts them in a position to report what is happening on the network. Having effective control of outsourced services is always a key business aspect. The service providers should also give the company the opportunity to take advantage of the current infrastructure so that they can be integrated with the newest apps instead of replacing them with the new ones. For the business to take full advantage of this, the contact centers should have the proper scaling so that companies are able to bring on board new applications. It is always important for businesses to establish a Service Level Agreement so that they have the capability to meet the needs and offer good standards of performance and other benefits. The one that has proved to be quite effective is that which is able to institute a penalty when performance is below standards to ensure that the services providers do not sleep on the job. The outsourcing company should have the capacity for the deployment of systems with admirable excellence. What this simply means is that they should have systems that are able to perform the simplest of the functions. This includes call direction and being able to deftly handle all the complicated capabilities such as service assistance every time this is necessary.
The sourcing firm should be one that is in a position to incorporate open technology and have the capacity for close integration of a wide variety of current networks and other applications as well. For the simplification of the entire process it is good to look for a foot hold that is able to offer support for various contact center applications that are already in existence. This is very helpful when it comes to the integration of the current applications managing the integration of configurations, web and voice integrations and finally Intelligent Network Integration.
The major premise of the managed services is to offer excellent customer service. As a result of this, the company should be on the look out for providers who have the capability to provide businesses with service applications as well as intelligent routing of networks. A company does not only stand to benefit from self service but the truth of the matter is that it becomes quite effective when it comes to routing of calls that need to be attended to by an agent.
The growing economy together with the latest development in technology has really revolutionized the way businesses can utilize it managed services. Businesses are now able to remain in charge of their daily operations, to bring down investment capital so that they can fully participate in enhancing productivity
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Jobs for Teens in Amusement, Theme, Water and Entertainment Parks

Teens4Hire.org’s Editorially Selected Places that traditionally hire teens among
Amusement, Theme, Water and Entertainment Parks

Minimum age for employment: Generally starts at 14+

California
Adventure City
Balboa Fun Zone
Belmont Park
Boomers/Camelot/Family Fun Centers
Castle Amusement Park
Children’s Fairyland
Disneyland/Disney’s California Adventure
Fairytale Town
Funderland
Gilroy Gardens Theme Park
Great America
Knott’s Berry Farm
Legoland
Mountasia Family Fun Center
Nut Tree Family ParkPacific Park
Pharaohs Lost Kingdom
Pier 39
Pixie Woods
Pixieland Amusement Park
Rotary Storyland & Playland
Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
Scandia Amusement Park
SeaWorld
Six Flags Discovery Kingdom
Six Flags Magic Mountain
Sonoma Traintown
Studio Park Hollywood
Trees of Mystery
Universal Studios Hollywood

Florida
Adventure Island
Adventure Landing
Aquatica
Big Kahuna’s
Boomers
Busch Gardens, Tampa Bay
Cypress Gardens
Dinosaur World
Fun Spot Action Park
The Holyland Experience
Lion Country Safari
Marineland
Old Town
Rapids Water Park
Sam’s Fun City
SeaWorld Orlando
Shipwreck Island
Silver Springs
Sun Splash Water Park
Universal Orlando
Walt Disney World
Wannado City
Weeki Wachee Springs
Wet ‘n Wild
Wild Waters

Illinois
Blackberry Farm’s Pioneer Village
Donley’s Wild West Town
Hurricane Harbor
Kiddieland
Knight’s Caribbean Water Adventure
Magic Waters
Six Flags Great America

New Jersey
Bowcraft Amusement Park
Clementon Amusement Park
Fantasy Island
Funtown Amusement Pier
Gillian’s Wonderland Pier
Jenkinson’s Boardwalk
Keansburg Amusement Park
Land of Make Believe & Pirate’s Cove
Morey’s Piers
Mountain Creek Waterpark
Pirate’s Cove
Playland’s Castaway Cove
Raging Waters/Ocean Oasis
Runaway Rapids Waterpark
Six Flags Great Adventure
Steel Pier
Storybook Land
Thundering Surf Waterpark
Wild West City

Texas
Castaway Cove
Joyland Amusement Park
Kemah Boardwalk
Kiddie Acres
Kiddie Park
NRH2O
Sandy Lake Amusement Park
Schlitterbahn
SeaWorld Adventure Park
Six Flags Fiesta Texas
Six Flags Hurricane Harbor
Six Flags Over Texas
SplashTown
Western Playland
Wonderland Park
Wonder World Park