The “Coming Out” Of Social Media

We live in a world of 24-hour coverage of news. On a bad news day, we sometimes cringe at what is being reported due to the banality of it. But we are also overwhelmed with politics, weather, celebrity rumors, traffic, the list goes on and on. Some affiliates are politically slanted one way or another, which means we’re also getting an opinion on where that particular newscaster stands on a situation. This can fill our brain with information that isn’t necessarily true and we have no way of disseminating which is truth and fiction.

Thankfully, social media has changed all that. Sites like Facebook and Twitter are open forums that can give us up-to-the-minute news. Other sites set up chat groups where a person can have real-time commentary with others having the same questions.

One particular area that has been given a lot of attention recently is homosexuality in professional sports. The movement for equal rights has made great strides forward, especially in the last ten years. There are states that allow for same sex marriage. The military has repealed the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy and the definition of marriage is currently under review. However, until recently, the professional sports arena has maintained a silence on the issue. There had been athletes in other sports that had”come out”, but nobody in the NHL, NFL, NBA or MLB had ever announced they were gay. That has all changed in the last seven months.

A professional basketball player announced he was gay, followed by a college football player that is expected to be drafted in the NFL this spring. They announced this on their own terms. They used open forums to bring the discussion to the general public and stated it in their own words. They engaged in real-time commentary that announced that, although it could be seen as a big deal, it really wasn’t a big deal. This is who they are and hey, it shouldn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. The traditional media venues didn’t have time to “spin” the subject as these athletes did this on their own terms.

Social media, interactive discussions and real-time commentary allow regular people to get a new kind of “scoop” on what is going on in the world. The influence that a newspaper or television channel has it not quite as wide-ranging as it used to be. To be able to sit down with others and engage in conversation on a topic that interests you has allowed us to open our minds and get the big picture. These announcements these athletes made? Barely a ripple was made as many people thought, “So what.” I’d say that some great strides were made.

Private Villas in Bali Offer Better Holidays Than Hotels

It’s something of an open secret that budget-focused holidaymakers can rent a luxury villa on the hugely popular tropical island of Bali, Indonesia, rather than restricting themselves to booking a hotel.

A common travellers’ misconception is that villas are more expensive than hotels when this is not necessarily the case.

Many people come to this view because they believe villas to be imposing or pretentious residences, maintained as retreats by wealthy people and hence out of reach of the everyday traveller.

Perhaps because the major hotel chains spend large sums of money on marketing and promotion, current official statistics show that some 70% of tourists who travel to Bali, choose to stay in hotels, compared to just 16.4% who rent villas for their holiday.

But there are many good reasons why renting a luxury Bali villa is better value and more cost-effective than staying in a hotel, which, for most people, involves renting just one room.

Hotels are often part of multi-national chains, owned by big corporations, whereas villas are likely to be privately-owned by individuals very keen to ensure that there guests have an enjoyable stay.

Private villas in Bali can sleep up to eight people, meaning that if the overall nightly rental rate is shared, it can translate to much less, per person, than for a hotel room generally occupied by just two people. For example, a villa may charge US$340.00 per night, which appears expensive, but, if this is divided up amongst eight people (four couples) it would cost just US$42.50 per head.

Villas are ideal for events and holidays such as family reunions, getting together with close friends, corporate planning sessions, or club holidays, which could involve eight people. In such cases the expense of staying in a hotel would be much more expensive. Group holidays can be enormously enjoyable and great fun.

Some villas offer further rental discounts if you book a holiday of a week or longer, so, if you are able to do this, it is well worth asking.

And cheaper per-head rental rates are just the start of the benefits that come with booking a luxury Bali villa for a holiday. Other villa advantages include more living space, on-site helpers who provide greater personal service, private facilities like swimming pools where you will not be disturbed by crowds of other tourists, lush tropical gardens with plenty of places to hide and relax, and, of course, amazing ocean and/or mountain valley views.

The fact is that privately owned Bali villas are generally built away from busy tourist areas for the very reason that some guests prefer privacy and natural surroundings. Some villas, particularly in north Bali, which has some fantastic features, well worth visiting, are even built in the middle of clove fields, so guests can enjoy the pleasant aroma of cloves wafting over them.

Private villa owners love to build their houses to actually live in themselves, which they often do when they are not rented out. This means villas are generally more warm, friendly and atmospheric than your average hotel.

Villas also generally come with their own on-site staff, employed from nearby villages, who are renowned for their warmth and friendliness. Many guests say they form good friendships with local villa staff and can’t speak highly enough of their personal service.

Bali luxury villas give their guest plenty of variety regarding meals. The help staff can cook meals to your personal specifications and use the freshest local produce. They know all the good local recipes so you can sample real Balinese food. You can eat whenever you like, so long as you give the helpers enough advance warning. And don’t think the help staff will always be underfoot and getting in your way. If you prefer they stay in the background, we can let them know.

Luxury Bali villa help staff are coordinated by a villa manager, who is on call around the clock, with a special hotline, to promptly handle any issues that may arise. Of course, the manager comes from the local area too and knows all the attractions, some not even in the guidebooks, that can be recommended.

For example, in north Bali, villa managers would know all about the Menjangan National Park, with its world-class SCUBA diving and snorkeling, plus its unique small deer (Menjangan means ‘deer’ in bahasa Indonesia). They are also full of information about other northern attractions you can visit, such as the turtle farm, pearl farm, hot springs, wild waterfalls, early morning markets, morning dolphin boat rides and even golfing in the caldera of a volcano.

So, if you choose a Bali villa instead of a boring hotel, you will likely be away from the bothersome crowd, but also close to many natural attractions and local culture that make a Balinese holiday very special. You will discover why private villas in Bali offer better holidays than hotels.

There is the question you must answer. Why not experience the unforgettable holiday experience offered by staying in a Bali villa? Many people who make this choice say they will never go back to a hotel.

Feel Happier, Work Active As a Level 2 Fitness Instructor

If you’re unhappy in your job, and fed up with sitting at a desk all day, you might be looking for a career change which allows you to be a little bit more active. You’ll be happy to hear that there’s loads out there, and many of them also come with a bit more flexibility than your usual office job. From postman to level 2 fitness instructor, there’s a wide variety of both inside and outdoors careers which can allow you a bit of movement while bringing in the money.

There’s a lot of people out there who aren’t happy in their current role, and for many they might not realise that their lethargy is down to their sedentary life style rather than lack of sleep or anything else. When you spend all day in an office and then go home and watch television you’re just not getting any exercise at all. Even a gym visit in the morning or the evening isn’t going to cancel it out.

But how do you get started in one of these more active jobs?

For lots of careers you might not need any skills at all – although these are likely to be entry level, and as a result you might need to take a bit of a pay cut from your current salary. If you’d like to come in to a more senior position, you’ll need to choose something which really interests you, and then take a course in order to become qualified in that area.

For example, in a gym there will be some jobs available, but without the right skills and training you’re likely to be stuck behind a desk again – so you’ll not be able to get any more exercise into your work as you were previously. Instead, you could train and become a level 2 fitness instructor. Not only will you be able to move as part of your job, your very role as a level 2 fitness instructor is to motivate other people in their fitness, so you’ll need to exercise as well.

Making the change

There’s lots of level 2 fitness instructor courses out there, and because many are available as online and distance education you’ll be able to keep your current job while you’re studying and avoid losing out on income. You’ll also need to work on your own fitness, because it will become such an intrinsic part of your role.

By becoming a level 2 fitness instructor you’ll find that you actually have a lot more energy than you thought possible. Another benefit is that you’ll have access to all the gym equipment you could want on a regular basis, so you’ll be saving yourself money on a gym membership every month. Furthermore, because you’re getting your exercise during the working day, you’ll have more free time of an evening as you won’t need to squeeze in a little gym session after work.

There’s so many reasons why active work lives are more beneficial than sedentary ones, so consider making the change today.

Table Tennis – Selecting the Right Equipment – The Table!

Buying a Table Tennis Table

I have many fond memories of when I first played table tennis. It was in the shed of my best friends house when I was 12 years old. We used to play for hours and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. However, playing in that old shed had its pitfalls. It was also used for storage and a workshop space for my friends father, so it was pretty cluttered and we would often spend a lot of time hunting a lost ball. Not to mention the work bench behind the unlucky player at one particular end of the table. Changing ends was always welcome for one of us. Adding to that was the condition of the table tennis table. It had a warped top and sat on three trestles, so it was never quite level and would partially topple if one of us nudged it too hard. The net was never as taught as it should be, but being two young lads full of enthusiasm and energy, none of the hazards really bothered us. They just contributed to the fun.

Table tennis hasn’t changed too much since I was 12 and I still enjoy the benefits of playing now. The main changes to the game have been in the standard and variety of equipment we have now. The choices are endless, both in the amount of equipment available and in its quality. This series of articles is designed to eliminate some of the confusion and help people make an informed choice, and today we look at tables…

Do you have the space to leave a table permanently erected?

If you do that’s fantastic but many of you won’t have that luxury. Don’t worry as there are choices.

In my opinion the best table to own if you need to pack it away is one with a wheeled undercarriage. They can be put up and taken down easily by one person. Their only disadvantage is the wheels make them taller when stored. The other option is a model that has the legs fixed to the underside but is still able to be folded away. Some of these incorporate wheels hidden in the center of the table but they will always need two people to handle them.

Both the wheelaway and attached frame designs can often be used in the practice position for playing alone and many can also be split in two halves while erected. Very handy when extra table space is needed at a family BBQ.

Another option if you can’t leave a table permanently erected is the conversion top table. These are easily stored away and will fit over a dining or pool table. These are also an ideal solution if you use the table infrequently.

How much room do I need?

How much room you will need depends on a few variables. If you are playing at ITTF competition level the minimum requirement is a rectangular space of 14M long, 7M wide and 5M high. For home use it will depend on your intended use as well. Beginners and children tend to play closer to the table and for them the bare minimum would be 17Ft x 11Ft. For an intermediate player I would suggest a minimum space of 22Ft long by 11Ft wide. Even then you will be restricted in your shot choices so that is an absolute minimum for a full sized table.

Of course these recommendations are for full sized tables and there are undersized and junior tables available as well. Some junior tables even have a setting where the ends of the table tilt up slightly to form a valley in the centre of the table. This allows a child to get the ball over the net easier so they have a chance of having a decent rally now and then.

Indoors or outdoors?

Table technology has now improved so much you can purchase models made specifically for outdoor use. These are made in waterproof materials to handle the weather. One fine example is the Killerspin 363-03 MyT-O outdoor table, which uses a plasticised aluminum surface. The only disadvantages with such tables is the ball doesn’t bounce quite as much as it would on an indoor table, but you soon adjust to the difference and of course play in windy conditions is all but impossible.

I hope this article has helped you understand the choices you have in table tennis tables. Choosing the right table for your particular needs when there are so many variables can be tricky but at least now you are not going in blind.

How to Get Ideal Services Like Photo Booth

If you think getting services such as photo booth, are easy to get and always result oriented, think again. You may not be right if you take things for granted while hiding the services of booths for photography at your party. You need to keep certain things strictly in order to get the maximum out of this service.

First of all, understand that all booths are not equally created. There are differences in price, quality, service and many other factors which will affect your choice of services such as photo booth.

Appearance

If you have never had the experience of getting booth services before, know that they are boxes, booths, tents, drapes and pipe, etc which you will have as the choice. If you are not careful with your choice of the service provider, you may end up having a photographer who is unable to produce quality and attract the onlookers towards the booth. You must know what the impression of the booth will be like at your reception. You definitely don’t want to shock your guests with an awkward or unappealing appearance of the booth.

Function and Features

Several different companies have different special features and functions to stand out. But you must know what special functions and features your selected company will have along with booth. For example, whether or not the company is offering a green screen, props, video, speaking booth, scrapbooking etc. In addition to all this, you must also be sure about the number of photos that will be taken and whether the service provider gives single prints or duplicates. Know if you and your guests can have photos delivered on CD, DVD or online. You can also see the sample photos which have already been taken in the booth.

Price and Packages

If you’re looking for getting quality and affordable services such as photo booth, you must have clear and confirmed information about the price and packages which the service provider is offering. It’s very important for you to have a thorough knowledge of price and packages because that will facilitate you to make a better decision and opt for a more desirable combination of cost and quality foods.

Summary

You can get quality photo services at your parties by doing careful prior research. Once you have done your homework regarding the appearance of the booth, functions and features, and price and packages, you are definitely in a position to expect a remarkable photo booth experience.

Pursuing the Passionate Hobby of Railfanning in India

In the fast paced, extremely stressful life environment, there is always time for pursuing a hobby. One such hobby is railfanning, which revolves around everything to do with trains, stations, heritage, history, operations, yards, and much more.

In India, railway is not just another mode of transportation; it offers a window seat to view the culture and traditions from up close. Railway was first introduced in India as a transportation system in 1853 and since then, it has grown to become one of largest railway networks in the world covering 115,000 km (71,000 miles). Such a large network with deep-rooted history offers plenty of avenues for learning, photography, and traveling. Today, India has around 5,000 railfans, and the number keeps growing by the day.

Railfanning, as a hobby can be divided into several segments. Each segment has its own benefits and charm and ensures the participation of like-minded hobbyists. The different segments are:

  1. Train Spotter: A train spotter (TS) focuses on spotting specific trains and sharing the running information with other train buffs. TS is involved in documentation of arrival and departure of trains at a specific station, the type or class of locomotive hauling it, the type or class of coaching stock, primary and secondary maintenance, and rake sharing arrangements if any.
  1. Loco Fan: They are rail buffs whose primary focus is locomotives. They specialize in documenting information on type and class of locomotives used with specific train, road number of a locomotive, AC/DC, shed name, horse power, bogie type, and much more. Photography and videography of locomotives along with trains is the favorite pastime of loco fans (LF’s). For example: 12343 Darjeeling Mail was hauled by WDP-4(class of locomotive), 20066 (road number), of Siliguri (shed name).
  1. Rail Enthusiast: Known as RE’s, they are the “super heavyweights” of railfanning. RE’s participate in several activities apart from train spotting and loco fanning. Their primary activity is documentation of yard layouts, operations and signaling, railway electrification system, rolling stock, coaching trains, track maintenance, type of gauge (narrow gauge, meter gauge, broad gauge, or standard gauge), containerization, haulage, motive power, passenger stations, railway heritage, trans-shipment yards, old and new alignments, Bridges, working time tables, loco sheds, and permanent way among others. RE’s travel across various railway divisions in India and create documentation of their visit to a specific area. They also share this documentation with the Indian Railway authorities to help plan for a better future. RE’s also specialize in creating railway system and yard layout maps, as well as drawings related to trains and locomotives.
  1. Heritage Fan: They are known as HF’s and their primary focus is on different types of railway heritage. They also participate as volunteers to resurrect Indian Railway heritage locomotives. The areas of focus and participation include steam locomotives, narrow and meter gauge trains and locomotives, redundant signaling systems like upper and lower quadrant semaphore, old sections and track alignments, and historical mapping of railway network.
  1. Time-Table Specialist: This comprises of a small group of dedicated train buff’s whose primary focus is reading the time-table and using it to identify various trains they will come across at a particular station. They have the ability to identify late running and on-time trains based on their knowledge. They always carry a copy of divisional time-table during their train journeys.
  1. Speed Fan: This is a new breed of rail buffs, also known as “Speedofs” and their passion lies in taking videos of high-speed trains. They normally visit specific sections where the maximum permissible speed is 100kmph or more and record videos, which are uploaded in YouTube for public viewing.

Every rail buff knows somewhere deep down that there are several railway men involved in different roles 24×7 to ensure the safe arrival of trains at their respective destination. This single thought makes each train buff dedicate this hobby to the unsung heroes!

Marathon Nutrition and Hydration Advice When Running A Half Marathon

Marathons have become very common nowadays as more and more people have known their importance. Not only have half marathons increased, but the participants have also increased.

People participate in the marathons for two reasons: to win money or to raise money for charity. If you are going to participate in a half marathon soon, here are some nutrition and hydration tips that you should consider.

If you have been taking a balanced diet before, you don’t have to change your diet greatly. Of major importance you need to increase the number of proteins that you take in your diet.

Many marathoners tend to make the mistake of getting vitamin supplements during their training. This is wrong. The best way of going about it is getting the vitamins from whole foods.

Pre-run eating

Before you participate in a half marathon you should ensure that you are properly fueled. To be on the safe side you should eat a light meal (containing all the necessary ingredients) of about 250-300 calories.

Experts recommend that you should eat 1 ½ to 2 hours before you start running. This is to avoid cramping. Eating also ensures that you have enough energy to run.

When choosing your diet, you should choose something that is high in carbohydrates but low in fat, fiber, and protein. This is because foods rich in fats and fiber tend to bring about gastrointestinal distress which can make you very uncomfortable during the run.

Some of the excellent foods that you should take include: bagel with peanut butter, a bowl of cold cereal with a cup of milk, a banana and an energy bar.

Post-run eating

After you have completed the half marathon, you need should replenish your energy as quickly as possible. Research has shown that the body muscles are usually receptive to stored glucose stores within the first 30 minutes after exercise; therefore, if you should eat soon to reduce muscle stiffness and soreness.

Some of the best foods to eat are those rich in carbs and protein. Experts recommend that you should eat the foods in the ratio of 3 grams of carbs to 1 gram of protein.

Great options that you can go for are nutrition bars such as power bars and Luna bars. You can also go for bagel with peanut butter or a smoothie made with yogurt and fruit.

Since diet is very important when running, you should highly consider seeking the advice of your doctor before you take any food.

Actions of the Individual

Hey there, I thought I would give you all some motivation after a hard week.

Enjoy.

As Thomas Edison says “If you think you can or think you can’t, you are probably right”

Action!

I was in the park and it was a sunny gorgeous day outside. The breeze had a velvet touch as it passed by our faces. The sun had a way of reaching the back of your neck and giving you the feeling that this day would never end. It was Sunday. Moms were talking and kids were laughing as they played. There was a little boy on the swings and he was having the time of his life. He had a smile on his face and was really pumping making the swing rise higher and higher, as we all know boys love to do. His friend was coaxing him to jump off as the swing reached optimal height. As I watched, the boy got ready to jump into the unknown and land who knows how. Then I saw something in his face change.

Fear. He was scared. The swing was very high as he was pumping for all he was worth but it wasn’t the height that was scaring him, it was the risk of getting hurt or not landing on his feet. If he was scared of the height he would have stopped the pumping of the legs and would have been satisfied with mediocre speed and height, but he wasn’t. He wanted to be higher. In his mind that was being better, he was achieving more.

How many of us go through this same thing? We work hard, and strive to be better and rise higher and higher in work, relationships, fitness, health but when we get to that point of taking a risk or putting our selves out there we get scared, scared to make that commitment, what ever it might be.

Let me share something that I have learned and has been proven over and over in history, “imperfect action leads to success, inaction leads to failure.” So to put it into a simple phrase, Success is attracted to action takers.

Business, Health, Fitness, Relationships, Personal Growth, what ever it is that you desire, take action, you will either learn from your risk or you will learn and succeed. Either way you won’t regret having taken action.

By the way the little boy jumped and you should have seen the smile on his face when he landed on his feet! SUCCESS!

Here is to you action takers. May your action lead to happiness

Sports Conspiracy Theories That Still Make You Wonder

Super bowl III

In 1969 when the Baltimore Colts battled the New York Jets in super bowl III, the future of NFL was on the line. This is because if the Colts won (which seemed obvious), NFL stood to lose millions in future TV revenues.

To save the future of NFL, Jets won 16-7. According to Bubba Smith who was a player then, super Bowl III was a set up for the jets to win so that not only to save the future of NFL, but to also ensure that every team made millions of dollars in profits.

Collusion

In the mid-1980s, Major league Baseball had problems with its finances and the new commissioner, Peter Ueberroth had the solution. Ueberroth asked the owners to avoid signing any free agents.

Before the start of the 1986 and 1987 season, MLB owners refused to sign other team’s free agents which resulted to the players suing MLB owners through their union.

Although, the owners made profits from the move, they lost the cases and they were forced to pay the player’s union $280 million.

Sonny Liston threw the heavyweight title rematch against Muhammad Ali in 1965

Liston was hit by only two punches in the one round bout against Ali. Ali who had beat Liston in six rounds a year earlier delivered a quick right jab on Liston which saw Liston going down.

In the video, Liston appears to start getting up but he flops back down and waits for the referee’s count.

According to Elliott Kalb, the author of the 2009 book ‘the 30 greatest sports conspiracy theories of all time,’ Liston owed a lot of money to organized crime figures so he let himself be defeated because he didn’t want to land a lucky punch.

Although, the boxer never admitted taking a dive, his wife believed that the rematch was fixed. A slow motion video of the match shows Ali connecting with Liston; however, it’s hard to tell whether the impact of the short right was enough to knock out the former heavy weight champion. This will always remain a mystery.

The blood on Curt Schilling’s famous sock was fake

Schilling (who was recovering from an injury) received a lot of kudos for his gutty performance in Game 2 of the 2004 World Series. The admiration was even more when people discovered that he had blood on his sock.

Doug Mirabelli, Schilling’s teammate admitted that it was not real blood. Doug said that it was either paint or ketchup. Schilling vehemently denied the report and even offered a $1 million charity wager if someone proved that the blood was fake. The sock was later sold at an auction for $92,613.