Recent News

Amusement Parks Safer Than You Think

Posted by mandy on October 13th, 2010

Whenever there’s an accident at an amusement park, such as Disney World in Florida, it tends to get a lot of publicity — especially if multiple people are injured or there is a fatality. With the rise of online video sharing , there are even websites devoted to “caught on film” incidents at theme parks, designed to showcase the worst accidents, or the funniest.

The reality is that with over 300 million individual visits to theme parks every year, the rate of incidents is actually quite small. The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions estimates that the odds of getting injured while at a permanent park is about 1 in 9 million. In Orlando, where there are dozens of major theme parks, there have only been seven lawsuits filed due to guest injured between 2004 and 2009.

Disney World accident s, and those at any theme park in general are usually placed in one of four major categories. Act of God, guest negligence, guest health issues, and park negligence. Only the latter can result in lawsuits. Most accidents fall into the category of guest negligence, those who fail or blatantly refuse to follow safety instructions, or guest health issues, such as visitors failing to take into consider heart conditions and not takin precautions against heat-related illness. This includes health issues that the guest is unaware of prior to the incident.

Get Your DVD to iPad

Posted by mandy on September 4th, 2010

Did you run out and get the latest in Apple technology with the new iPad? Do you have a large collection of books, videos and music on your computer that you want to have downloaded onto your new iPad  ? Well it is all possible these days with some amazing software that will help you convert your favorite DVD to iPad .

The software that is out there these days is really powerful and easy to use. Users don’t have to be experts on the subject to get the job done.

With the right software, users can get the data from a DVD, convert it into another digital format and then have it downloaded onto their iPad. Now they can take their entertainment on the road. No more having to wait for the airlines to pull up a movie that you don’t want to see anyway. Now, users can watch all kinds of things they are interested in.

They can also use the same software to get audio files onto their iPad. It can also convert multiple files from ones computer at the same time and very quickly. The user has a choice of they way they want to save their digital data from resolution size to specific sections of their digital data. There are those people out there who only want to download the one liners.

Costume Fiascos

Posted by mandy on July 22nd, 2010

After several tries of making your own costume, it might come the time to admit that costume rental is the right choice for you. Most people have had the experience, when young, of deciding on the perfect thing for Halloween. This is followed by a lot of planning, drawing sketches on notebook paper, and talking it up with friends. Eventually, there comes the moment when all the supplies are gathered together, and the work gets under way. Then comes another telling moment, and the turning point for many people, when you discover that it’s impossible to glue cloth together .

Even an elementary knowledge of sewing can help make things right, and kids will usually find an adult to help. After a few tries, and some success in getting the pieces together in just the right way, it’s obvious that the original plan didn’t come close to the finished product. For the moments where it really matters, it’s a good idea to get to the costume shop and get exactly what you’re looking for. It happens in stage work, too, where last minute fiascos lead the costume crew to the rental store, because the costumes there have been tested, and they do look like they’re supposed to. There’s always time later to try it again on your own, and let this night be as special as it’s supposed to be.

Thian Hock Keng Temple in Singapore

Posted by mandy on March 3rd, 2010

Sought-out sights in the world have always included the architecture inspired by spirituality, such as great cathedrals of Europe and ancient temples in China.  In the case of the island city-state of Singapore, you’ll find the oldest and most prominent is the Thian Hock Keng or the Temple of Heavenly Bliss.   Built in 1839, around twenty years after Sir Stamford Raffles founded Singapore as a simple trading post on the Singapore River and about one hundred and seventy-one years from today, this Hokkien Temple was constructed to honor the Chinese Sea Goddess Mazu or Mat-Su.

The story behind Mazu is a fascinating one, in which a girl is transformed into a goddess.  There is history about this girl contained in immensely old edicts from the government, from court documents, and even shipping logs, as well as Taoist scriptures, that describes Mazu as a young girl and the goddess she became.  Even to this day, she has fifteen hundred operating temples and about a hundred million followers.  Folk tradition for Mazu describes how in times of trouble if you call upon her by name, Mazu, she will come to your aid; however, if you address her in a more formal manner, such as the Empress of Heaven, then your rescue will be postponed as this means she must delay in order to put on more formal attire.  The goddess is based on a woman named Lin Mo Niang to which people attribute miracles during her brief lifetime.  She knew Chinese medicine and came to be known as a healer; some of the miracles, though, were about stopping seastorms, and this established her as a protector of sailors and travelers.

The temple’s history is contained in granite tablets which reside on the wall of the Entrance Hall; there’s an inscribed plaque also inside which Emperor Guang Xu of the Qing Dynasty from 1907 gave to the temple, a sign of how important people considered this site.  The plaque reads, Bo Jing Nan Ming, which means Gentle Waves over the South Seas.  The building is composed in from the traditional form of Southern Chinese architecture.   There were no nails used in its construction, and is considered a masterwork of architecture which uses tiles and wood, stones, statues of dragons and phoenixes, and intricate carvings and sculptures amidst the columns.

This temple is only one of many sights available to a traveler in Singapore.  All one need do is to arrange for a flight and to stay in one the hotels in Singapore, and begin exploring.  If you go to Singapore, be sure not to miss this building, which has been declared a national monument of Singapore for the last  thirty-seven years.

Waiting in Indian Restaurants

Posted by mandy on February 27th, 2010

Here I am sitting and waiting, because this is what I do.  I wait at the beginning of a century, and at the end of a long metaphor, because I have been a metaphor for so many years.  It is easy to get confused, but when I remember for whom I am waiting, then there is no question.  The only good questions here are about what they might wear, and how they will smell, because there has always been the smell of sandalwood and coffee at the beginning of every meeting.  It is easier to wait in an Indian restaurant than anywhere else, because the smells here serve as a potent reminder.

For first meetings, there should always be food, and for the meetings in between beginnings and endings, also food.  It is a comfort, and it is a metaphor that always continues to unfold in multiple directions, like the growth of a plant, whose roots are always much more complex than the fruit.  Between the root and the fruit, there is infinite possibility for discovery.  In between is a waiting of different kinds and different faces, but the waiting is always larger than  the things that I count in my head in the morning when I wake up alone.

This morning I woke up wondering about them again, and it was an old story, and one that I don’t want to repeat, but I know I will.  As long as there is desire, this story will be filled with doubts and jealousies that gather in the corners of the room, dust that wants to make me wonder if the things that are impossible to weigh are true.  Waiting is a truth that has no weight, and longing is a story that has no ending, and in between there is only a long seven-course meal, where we remember everything that we are.

Sharks in Atlanta

Posted by mandy on February 8th, 2010

The truth is that there are few cities like Atlanta, Georgia in the world.  It’s a place of unique sights and engaging people; here, you’ll find Atlanta filled with luxury and comfort and hotels that anyone would be happy to make their home (however temporary), while viewing the sights, including the Georgia Aquarium.

The Georgia Aquarium is the world’s largest with over eight million gallons of water.  Right now, this marine life museum is presenting an exhibit called, Planet Shark: Predator or Prey.  Scarily enough, this is billed as an interactive experience.  The Aquarium already exhibits fourteen species of sharks in its present collection, but this special exhibit goes way beyond what you might find in any other place.

Planet Shark will allow you to see models at full-scale of sharks.  You’ll see one such model of a Great White Shark; this creature was eighteen feet long, giving the shark in Jaws a run for its money.   Speaking of which, you’ll be able to see items and shark cages from the movie, Jaws, as well as numerous artifacts of shark jaws and teeth.  You’ll see fossils that can be dated as far back as three hundred and fifty million years ago.

The idea of this exhibit is to give the aquarium’s guests facts which can foster a more complete understanding of the shark.  There’s a number of myths that build up around these amazing animals, and the aquarium is ready to dispel these myths.  You’ll hear stories, too, about actual encounters people have had with sharks, told not only by the experts, but by the survivors of these incidents.  You’ll learn, too, about how sharks behave and about what relationships they form.  There’s also a display that features an actual Bluefin tuna (700 pounds of it!) and an actual Mako shark, its predator.  Both creatures are frozen, giving an opportunity to see what an encounter between this predator and prey might be like.  The Georgia Aquarium is an absolute must on any trip to Atlanta.

Rocking the South African Daisies (and Gardens!)

Posted by mandy on September 27th, 2009

South Africa is one of the world’s most spectacular countries.  With an extremely rich history, diverse population, and stunning landscapes, there is something for everyone here.  Guests of all ages can find something enormously pleasing here, and in every city.  Whether the taste is for street fairs and festivals, historical museums that cover the complicated and fascinating history here, a lively night life with acoustic instruments or electronica, there are many choices for each of these.  And there’s always so much more.  It’s a country that’s unable to stand still, offering the best cuisine, the best culture, and the best hotels.  South Africa understands hospitality, and guests here are treated to a fantastically luxurious treatment.

After some delicious rest, and a mouth-watering meal, it’s a good time to explore what South Africa has to offer.  For festivals, there are always plenty of events on the menu in most cities, and two of the finest music festivals of recent years are the Rocking the Daisies festival in Cape Town and Rocking the Gardens in Johannesburg.  The Daisies festival has been underway for awhile, and is a three-day festival, where The Gardens is still one-day only, but is sure to turn into a longer event.  These are both extremely well-organized and publicized celebrations of music and lifestyle, and the emphasis here is on eco-friendliness.

They’ve partnered with some lofty and worthy partners, like Food and Trees for Africa to help promote an environmentally-conscious and eco-aware audience, but it’s not only for a good cause, it’s enormous fun.  Food and drink booths keep you well-stocked and belly full, and there are also nannies present at the grounds for childcare.  There are lots of interesting performers, including bits of theatre and stand-up comedy, but the focus is the music.  Both festivals have the power to attract an absolutely stunning line-up, and it’s a fabulous way to get to know South Africa, through its musicians and the audiences.

Japanese Bathing Customs and Your Portable Hot Tub

Posted by mandy on September 21st, 2009

Having your own hot tub opens up a world of possibilities in your own backyard.  There are many benefits of ownership, and the most easy to see, perhaps, is the social benefit.  Friends and neighbors are easily drawn to the idea of soaking in hot water with luxurious streaming jets, just as you are.  It will be a snap to entertain, and hot tub parties are also very easy to plan for.  Simple gatherings with friends, special themed parties with groups, and charming intimate evenings just for two, are all at your disposal with your own portable hot tub.  There are also all the wonderful health benefits that come with hot tubs.

The pleasure of soaking in water has an elemental appeal that probably originates somewhere before birth, when the water in the womb was everyone’s home.  The attraction to the pull of the tides, along with the effects of the moon on our moods, can probably be attributed to the fact that we are mostly water, and it’s very natural that water appeals to our deepest natures.  Historically and culturally, the mystique of water and the benefit of bathing crosses many spheres.  Bathing as a custom has prehistoric origins, most certainly, but also has interesting patterns historically.  Some cultural bathing customs in contemporary times have ancient origins.  The Japanese custom of taking a public bath after you’ve already washed is a fantastic way to maintain cleanliness as well as having a beautiful social function as well.

Historically, the Japanese had a reputation for bathing.  Chinese and European travelers commented on their cleanliness from early times, and the bathing houses connected to Buddhist temples are legendary.  The tradition of soaking baths in Japan can possibly be attributed to the geography.  Because of the location between volcanic belts, Japan has an abundance of natural hot springs, and this is very likely where the origins of bathing here began.  In Buddhist philosophy, bathing purifies the body as well as opening the doors for luck, and it’s gorgeous for the contemporary world that the tradition has continued to our times, and to our doorsteps.

Nikotin Rocks Dubai

Posted by mandy on September 3rd, 2009

When it comes to five-star hotels, Dubai might have some of the best selections in the world.  With a splendid talent for combining both innovation and tradition, featuring high-tech amenities and luxurious hospitality, Dubai knows how to take care of travelers.  Our hotels are no exception, and are carefully selected from this already-magnificent selection, to provide you with the best of the best when it comes to excellence in accommodations.  Dubai is a very exciting place, and there are reasons why it is one of the world’s hottest spots for travelers.  After a stay in our lodgings, it will be plainly simple to understand why.  With gorgeous rooms decorated by our designers to showcase the best of international and local splendor, and meals prepared by top chefs trained in all the intricacies of world cuisine, you will be ready to have your own Dubai adventure.
Dubai is growing by leaps and bounds, seeing unprecedented development.  It has some of the finest shopping malls in the world, where ostentatiousness is embraced to demonstrate an unmistakable sense of material plenty.  There are a fantastic number of new galleries opening every year, taking part in Dubai’s rise in reputation in the international art world.  It attracts new generations of artists all year, looking to be part of the next scene, and doing a terrific job of creating one.  The new alternative rock band Nikotin is a fine example of this.  They are part of a local music scene that is rather stunning, with a large number of festivals taking place in Dubai every year.  Add to this a number of tours that come through, and countless local music events that happen in the city every night.  Things are happening here.
Nikotin started, it might be said, at the right place at the right time.  The guitarist and lead drummer, Mr. P. and Psycho that is, met in 2005 at a music shop.  It was a watershed year, as the two hungry youth started talking about mutual interests, and soon found themselves practicing together.  This was the formation of Nikotin a band of five young men, from Dubai and the U.S., who are causing heads (and ears) to turn in the UAE.  Their sound is a pretty solid and crisp classic rock, mixed with some alternative music sensibilities, to make for a sonic experience that touches roots.  They’ve been playing locally at all the right haunts, with their driving rhythms and solid vocals, including even some acoustic sets, to the delight of local fans, and international audiences who are just starting to catch on.

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