Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Accept Your Dark Side

Do you have all the materials you desire in life, yet feel empty inside?  Are you the one who spent a lifetime earning the materialistic pleasures of life and suppressing your dark side? Yes, the dark side that we all human beings in the world have, the side that we always keep on repressing, and that ultimately conquers our mind and heart, leaving us angst and full of aversion. To attain enlightenment, you have to remain optimistic and look unto the bright side of life, but what about the bad attributes or dark qualities we all have? 

We are perfect as we are in this world, and when our dark qualities sometimes surface in our life, simultaneously, we get attracted to them. The dark side of life is that side of our inner self unconsciously touched by the divine power that controls everything in this universe. Darkness overshadows your life if you get trapped into the web of prejudices, fear of truth, corrupt values, and deadly errors. It's not easy to free oneself because we easily get attracted to these attributes. 

The way to get out of darkness is through enlightenment, and the only way to achieve it is by realizing the inner self that we discover through meditation and yoga. The four primary forms of yoga are Karma yoga, teaching that we should perform our duty selflessly without thinking about the rewards. The second form is Bhakti yoga, considered the most accessible way to attain inner peace. It means to focus on devotion and love for the divine to achieve eternal bliss. Jnana yoga implies knowledge and explains the four main ways to self-realization. Discrimination, dispassion, the virtue of tranquility, and yearning for freedom. The last one is Raja yoga that uses meditation to bring out the dark virtues prevalent in one and point to darkness as the supreme state of being. 

Don't think that darkness within you is permanent. Darkness can never overshadow light, and it's just our fear of darkness and negative traits that do not let the light enter into our life. Life has its ups and downs, and sometimes we can lose your faith while fighting to survive in today's materialist world. When you lose confidence and devotion to the universal, darkness overpowers us. Anger, hatred, aversion, sloth, lust, ignorance, to name a few, are some of the forms of this darkness.

Nevertheless, it's not eternal and goes off when we discover our true selves through enlightenment. We switch on the light in our dark inner room,  and darkness fades away. Similarly, with a positive and healthy attitude towards life, we can easily wash out our negative traits. With an optimistic approach towards life, we can make it worth living and generate positive vibes in people around us. 

However, being positive does not mean suppressing our negative thoughts. If we have a positive approach towards life but still have some grudges against someone, being positive means that we contain our anger and annoyance against them; thus, avoiding or neglecting it instead of embracing our dark side. Therefore, to lead a happy and contented life, we must accept our dark side and negative traits to change ourselves and move towards enlightenment, along with a positive attitude. To rest, ultimately, in darkness.

The Art of Drinking Whiskey

 (by my dear friend Sir Arthur Louis O'Pola)

There is no real rule to follow when drinking whiskey, but there are some things that make the experience much more enjoyable. We also emphasize that if we do not observe the general rule, there is still no reason not to enjoy this wonderful spirit. 
Never put ice in a good dose of scotch, as it kills the taste and aroma. However, some prefer it this way and do it. The glass, originally designed to accept a malt whiskey, is broad at the top and gently slopes down towards the bottom, for the very reason of not comfortably taking a bed of ice, since the beautiful tradition intends to distance itself from that practice. This type of glass is called a tumbler.

When buying excellent malt, the price, as with many other things, really reflects the quality you get, because, with scotch, you tend to have what you pay for. There are several varieties of cheap alcohol available with which you can achieve the coveted headache. However, a good scotch should be sipped and appreciated.

Good malt is not a suitable mate for a mixing party and does not look good on soda or other beverages. The taste is considerably better with plain bottled water, which is the most suitable combination. Perhaps from a mountain source, good bottled mineral water is tolerated by a large Scotch, without hesitation.

With 40 to 60% of alcohol content, whiskey is indeed a strong spirit and certainly gets the less expert's attention in drinking it. Adding a drop of mineral water softens the blow, so to speak, and calms its aggressive nature. In this way, the whiskey opens, as rightly reminded us by the famous saying, and refers to the perfume it releases when adding a little water. Thus, a few drops surely bring even the most expert malt drinker to bliss.

The wonderful thing about the barrel's strength is that at 60% alcohol volume, this is a healthy drink that, in return, allows the drinker to lower the tone to a level of alcohol suitable for personal tastes, generally 35%, making this an ideal beverage to personalize. The creators of these good spirits advise taking a small sip and keeping it in your mouth, making it turn around your tongue, giving it time to settle down. That's the only way to get the true nature of this good malt.

Finally, a closing note: after swallowing, you can get a good read on the malt's maturity by how long its taste remains in the mouth.

SlĂ inte!

And may God bless you.

Arthur

Saturday, September 5, 2020

What Is The Cost Of Having An Iguana As A Pet?

The demand for iguanas as exotic pets has increased in recent years, undoubtedly because of more available access to pet care information and relatively stable prices. Iguanas first exploded onto the exotic pet scene in the early nineties. Believe it or not, over 10 million iguanas had already been imported and sold worldwide. 

Reptiles (which include iguanas) are the fourth most popular group of pets anywhere on the planet, right after birds, cats, fish, and dogs. Some decades ago, people needed to drive to exotic pet shops and private iguana breeders to purchase these magnificent reptiles. 

But today, with the boom in online commerce, people can now buy their reptiles from the comfort of their living room. The price of an iguana is determined by three things: the iguana, the size of the reptile, and the iguana's age. 


The more exotic an iguana, the pricier it becomes. If the pet shop had to import it from Central America, the price would probably be relatively high. If you have no budget for these expensive reptiles, you may want to focus on purchasing a common iguana or a green iguana. 


Green iguanas are just as beautiful as their wild cousins imported from South or Central America. These reptiles can still grow to an impressive size – if you know how to take care of them. Young green iguanas are usually much cheaper. 


If you want a large adult (around five feet in length), no questions, you will have to spend some money on it. Now, you should note that the cost of buying an iguana doesn't reflect how much money you will be spending on ideal reptile care. 


If you want your iguana to live for more than six months or a year in captivity, you have to invest in the proper habitat and the right equipment to keep your reptile alive. 


Remember that iguanas are tropical reptiles, and, in the wild, are used to average temperatures between 95 and 104 Fahrenheit (35-40C). Iguanas also require a varied diet because, in the wild, a healthy iguana can eat plant matter from as many as fifty different plant species. 


These reptiles have no problems with balancing their dietary requirements in the wild because they are free to roam and find the plants that they need to survive. 


In captivity, iguanas are limited to what the owner can provide daily. This alone spells the difference between a healthy and happy reptile and a very sick one with many health problems. 


Unfortunately, an iguana's average lifespan in captivity is only six months because of laziness to understand what iguanas need to survive. 


Healthy adult iguanas have been known to live for as long as twenty years! If you want your iguana to enjoy a long life, you need to educate yourself on what type of food it needs, and what equipment you should add to its terrarium or habitat.




Building An Adequate Iguana Cage

Iguanas are often touted as one of the most challenging pets to take care of due to all of the reptile requirements in captivity. Before you discard the idea of owning one, you have to understand why iguanas have these requirements in the first place. The first thing to consider is that iguanas are reptiles. 

That means they are cold-blooded animals, and they are highly dependent on their immediate environment to function correctly. In the wild, an iguana will bask for two to three hours in the sun to excrete the waste generated from yesterday's meals. 


Without a consistent heat source, an iguana won't eat, digest, and excrete waste. Wild iguanas are known for spending most of their days on the branches of trees. They rarely venture down to the ground if they don't have to because they are arboreal or tree-dwelling reptiles. 


When hungry, iguanas can find as many as fifty different plants to feed on. They get all the nutrients they will ever need because if one plant lacks one particular nutrient (such as calcium), the reptile will move on to the next available plant. Tropical rainforests are incredibly abundant in plant matter; it's no wonder that iguanas of all shapes and sizes can be found in abundance in tropical territories. 


If you want to build an adequate enclosure or habitat for your iguana, there are a couple of things that you must consider: 


1. Adult iguanas grow up to six feet in length. When you take care of your iguana well, it will grow up to at least four feet in length. Your iguana habitat has to be at least twice as long as your iguana. It's alright to start with a small aquarium initially, but you will have to transfer your iguana to a larger enclosure over time. Otherwise, your reptile will end up suffering in a tiny prison where it can't move around much. There is also the risk of the iguana escaping the enclosure because it has become very cramped. 


2. A mesh enclosure is excellent when you live in a warm part of the country. If you live where temperatures are frigid (below 79 degrees Fahrenheit on most days), you have to invest in a large glass terrarium, because glass can keep the heat. Then, you need to install heating lamps to warm the reptile's body enough so it will be able to function well. Then, UVB lamps to supply the reptile with ultraviolet rays and heat. UV rays are needed for calcium-related metabolism. 


3. Iguanas are tree-dwelling reptiles and need climbing structures in the terrarium. Broad and robust enough to support your iguana. If you purchased an adult iguana around four to five feet in length, the reptile probably weighs close to five kilos.




Iguana Care

1. Iguanas, like other pets, also need the loving attention of their human owners/caregivers. Contrary to common belief, reptiles do not thrive if they are plopped into a sad cage and left until the owner remembers to visit them. 

2. Iguanas are mostly wild animals, and it is not in their nature to be friendly with humans. To iguanas, humans are just like potential predators in the forest. You have to take your time while trying to tame them (which sometimes lasts for as long as a month). 


3. If given the proper care, an iguana can grow up to six feet long and reach the old age of twenty. Unlike dogs and cats, your adult iguana may be around until you are in your thirties, forties, or fifties! 


4. Iguanas are not low-cost pets! There's a reason why they're tagged as exotic animals. It's not just because they come from the tropics. Proper care is needed. The only way you will be able to provide appropriate care is by spending a significant amount of money on constructing its habitat, buying supplements, etc. 


5. Responsible reptile owners never stop learning: they read, read, and read some more, even after gaining sufficient knowledge to keep their reptiles healthy. 


6. Iguanas need the right care from their owners, and they also need to be in constant contact with human owners if they are to be tamed more quickly. The problem that we see in many new iguana owners is that they are unwilling to study their new pet's specific needs. They tend to trust what the pet shop staff has to say. If you want to have a genuinely healthy pet, you have to seek the right information yourself. 


You have to educate yourself and compare the various references that you come across to find the best solutions to any iguana-related problems. You must be ready to communicate with professionals, such as your local veterinarian if you come across issues that research cannot solve. It's not enough to have the funds to buy stuff for your iguana. The number one requirement is that you have force yourself to be a hands-on owner. Do not leave your iguana in the garage or backyard, where it can be forgotten and isolated for days on end.




Mastering Home Staging Design

Home staging design is not as difficult as it sounds. The big difference between interior design and home staging is necessarily the goal of each activity. 

When a homeowner embarks on interior design, they want the house to reflect their personality and desires. But when a person engages in home staging, they avoid reflecting any aspect of their character so that the home has a broad and universal appeal. During home staging, each of your house changes should be done to improve your home's attractiveness to potential buyers. 

Home staging guidelines 

The home staging process might take a few weeks to complete, but the changes needed inside your home are not hard to accomplish. Here are some guidelines: 


1. If you have no funds for buying new cabinets, it's time to maximize the buyer appeal of your existing cabinetry. Remove all from your cabinets and clean the old installation spots. Repaint the room before putting the cabinets back. 

Clean the cabinets thoroughly. If the cabinets are from the kitchen, the wood's surface will have a thin grease film from all the cooking vapors you produce during your regular use. 

Remove the grease film with a wood-safe degreasing agent. Sand the cabinets and apply a generous layer of accent paint or varnish, whichever is best. 


2. You can make the best possible impression on potential buyers if you create a visual atmosphere that is young, fresh, and vibrant. No one wants to live in a house that looks, smells, and feels ten or fifteen years old. 

When a person is out to buy a house for their family or themselves, they want a property to start fresh. So it's imperative to remove all traces of occupancy, including worn countertops. 

You have several options when dealing with old countertops. The ideal choice is also the most expensive: have the old countertops removed so that granite can be put in. 

The second option produces satisfactory results (for the price) but isn't as expensive as the first option: Formica or laminate countertops. 

The third option is also the newest approach: non-invasive resurfacing. Ask your private contractor about these three options and pick the one that suits your needs and budget. 


3. Since you are already moving out after your home's sale, it won't hurt to buy new appliances. Pick nice appliances and put these in your home for showcasing. Just make sure that you tell the buyer that these are not part of the package and are just there for showcasing purposes only. 

Now, suppose you want to buy even better appliances, you may want to consider increasing the home's price to include their cost (plus interest) and buying better appliances for your new home. 


4. Take a look at your bathroom – does it look like a million dollars to you? If not, you may want to have the tiles, lighting, and bathroom fixtures removed and replaced. Adding a vanity space to your bathroom will also boost the overall value of your property. 



What Is Home Staging?

Home staging is the process of fixing a home to give it universal buyer appeal. Home staging should not be confused with decorating or interior design. 

Home staging involves all of those things and more. It's a big undertaking that requires the help of all family members. And unlike decorating, there's a deadline and real pressure to produce a top-notch interior and exterior -- because home sellers like selling their houses for higher prices. 

The extra funds from your home's sale will help you get settled in your new home, and the extra money might even make it into your emergency savings account. According to recent studies, home staging can provide up to a 300% return on investment. 

If you think about it, that's a huge return. Home staging expenses typically don't skyrocket because everything gets carefully planned from the beginning. There is absolutely no space for splurging or impulsive buying when you are staging your home because you have a budget and can't go against what you have planned initially. So as you can already imagine, home staging is the perfect choice for pressured home sellers who have to come up with ways to increase the perceived value of their properties. 

 

Quick home staging tip

Set aside a few days a week for brainstorming. If you have the funds, hire a professional stager, so you benefit from the stager's experience working on your side. DIY home staging is possible, but the whole process requires a lot of elbow grease that most working people can't handle alone.