Dark Ride

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The oiled, iron track clicks and groans,
divining the path of my gondola painted carnival red and circus gold.
With a hollow, wooden clap, we burst through loose swinging doors
to a richer darkness speckled with black-lit manifestations
of otherworldly beings
cultured to shock and terrify
at every creaky, unnatural turn.
Against the rules, I lift the cold chrome safety bar from across my lap,
not frightened by the glowing ghouls boasting wagging tongues and invading arms,
whose shrieks, to me, are alma maters, drinking songs.
I step out of my cart and they welcome me
because I’m home.
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Music. It Loves Me — Open Thought Vortex

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Thank you, Open Though Vortex and Shareen Ayoub for publishing my latest.

A few weeks ago, a friend told me music kept him alive. I knew what he meant.

Via Open Thought Vortex

TV Movies For Women: Why Hallmark is Better Than Lifetime

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Photo by Pam Menegakis on Unsplash

Lifetime movies are enticing in the same way multi-day marathons of Law & Order (LMNOP, etc.) on a single cable station can be. You accidentally catch five minutes of it while you’re walking around brushing your teeth and before the first DINK DINK, you can’t look away. In a Lifetime Movie, what grabs you is the initial 2-minute glimpse of a life just above the one you may be wishing you have, until the camera angle turns voyeuristic in a way rivaling some of the best awkward camera angles since Columbo episodes of the early 70’s.

Except for the occasional “The [Real Life Heroine Name] Story,” Lifetime Movies leave you with doubt. Is your sister plotting to steal your ferret and your cookie business? Is your recently reappeared high school boyfriend plotting to steal your sister? Why do you even have a cookie business when customers can be cheap bastards and perfectly good refrigerated cookie dough exists and a person can make their own cookie gift package with pretty boxes and tissue paper from the Dollar Tree. If they manage to not eat the cookie dough before making cookies to fill the pretty boxes, that is. I’ve heard it tastes good raw. Someone told me.

Hallmark Movies, on the other hand, are a cheap, happy, cozy trip to a universe where it’s always almost Christmas or G-rated Halloween. Both the man the protagonist desires and Guy B who quietly desires the protagonist from across the room are affable enough to do well as sexy, hip Home Shopping hosts. Not only that, but by the end of the movie, all three of them will share the same shabby chic table at the twinkly mom-and-pop coffee house on the town square, enjoying pumpkin lattes and seasonal victuals together. The whole room’s still talking about last weekend’s barn dance that saved the horse therapy farm. And, oh, look at that, there’s a pretty new girl in town and it seems she’s got flirty eyes for Guy B.

To wrap it up (Although I won’t tl;dr. This is way too important.), Hallmark is clearly the winner in this race. Lifetime movies can leave you wondering what even happened for the past two hours. By the end of a Hallmark Movie, you may not even care, but you’ll go to bed with a smile.

 

Doors Should Be Tough: Burglar-Proofing Tips

burglar-bars-home-house-440777Keeping your home up-to-date can be one of the most exciting and satisfying things about homeownership. The list of things you could do to make your home all you want it to be can be endless, but there’s one thing that should take priority over all other projects: your home’s security.

According to the Electronic Security Association, a burglary is estimated to occur once every 15 seconds. Another recent estimate tells us at least 34% of burglars will break into homes through a door. In fact, in most homes and offices, doors and door locks are the main focal point of a burglar’s attacks. These attacks can take several forms:

Brute Force Attack

In this most common form of front door attack. the burglar kicks down or rams in the front door, hoping to overcome its structural integrity. Their success here depends upon the door’s material, its hinge locations, and the quality of the lock.

Solution:

A door made of solid wood, or with a solid wood core is your best protection from this kind of assault. Reinforced steel is another great option, but requires a little more maintenance over time to prevent rust.

Drilling Attack

A drilling attack is like a more focused brute force attack with the burglar using a common drill to destroy the lock’s cylinder, disabling its intended function.

Solution:

Don’t skimp on a deadbolt for your door, and make sure the bolt goes deep enough into the side of the door to provide adequate protection from this kind of attack.

Garage Door Safety

A garage attached to your home provides one more convenient avenue for unwanted visitors to enter your home. Luckily, there are measures you can take in securing your garage door to keep control in your hands and burglars at bay.

Windows? Frost Them!

Eyes are the windows to the soul, but windows can be the view into an empty garage, a telltale sign that the homeowners are away. If your garage door has windows, consider frosting or otherwise treating them to prevent strangers from noticing when you and your family are gone and your house is empty and vulnerable.

Lock the Interior Door

Many homeowners will secure their garage door but neglect to lock the door leading from the inside of the garage to the interior of their home. It’s easy to do and it costs nothing, so make a habit and a house rule of it. When you’re leaving, lock that door!

Light it Up

Keep your garage door area well-lit so no thief would even consider spending time trying to gain entry for fear of being spotted. Motion lights are even better, not only exposing the thief but alerting anyone around that something is indeed going on outside.

Your Garage Remote

Old garage remotes are easy to hack, leaving you vulnerable even with your door lit and locked. Replacing your old garage door is your best solution and can happen swiftly and easily WITH BRISBANE GARAGE DOOR PROVIDERS.

You’ve worked hard to be where you are, and in your home are your most precious possessions. Secure doors mean a good night’s sleep and the peace of mind to enjoy your home and family worry-free.

Reduce Arm Flab With These Effective Workout Hacks

man-2037255_1920.jpgThe top reasons for working out seem to be evenly split between looking good and staying strong. If looking good is your goal, remember that one of the first muscle groups that people notice are your forearms. And as for strength, who doesn’t want to be the guy (or girl) who hasn’t met a pickle jar they can’t open with minimal effort using their bare hands? If the rest of you is well developed but your forearms are not, you’ve still got a long way to go. But take heart because the following FOREARM EXERCISE GUIDE will have you at the top your forearm muscle game in no time.

No Equipment? No Problem!

Squeeze

Start with a simple, gear-free warm up to wake up your intended muscle group. You can work both arms at the same time. Ball up your fists, then squeeze and hold for a count of 10 and then release. Pause briefly and repeat for 8-12 reps. For this move to be effective, really focus on maximizing the effort put into your squeeze. If you feel it, you know it’s working. If you’re slacking, it ain’t hacking.

Stretch

Move to position yourself on your hands and knees with your palms and fingers facing back towards the rest of your body. Keeping your palms perfectly flat, lean back until you feel the stretch in your forearms, then stop. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds. Repeat 8-12 times. This move not only works your forearms but the surrounding muscles as well.

Curl

With your forearms parallel to the floor, bend your wrists so they are “curled” upward. Making a fist with the hand you’re working and press downward on it with your other hand. Do three sets of 8-10 reps for each arm. You can choose the level difficulty of this exercise by adjusting the intensity you apply with your pressing hand.

Get Your Gear

Pull

Update your pull-up game by using a 3-foot rope thrown over a pull-up bar. Using a rope that is about 1 inch thick, grip securely and pull up. Hold and then lower. Repeat for 8-12 reps.

Curl

Grab your dumbbells and position your arms at a 90º angle. Keep your elbows tucked near your body with your thumbs pointing upward. Slowly pull your thumbs in the direction of your arms, then return to starting position. Follow this move by pushing your thumbs away with your wrists bent slightly down. Work to keep your arms directly in front of your body, not moving to the right or left as you repeat these motions for 12 to 16 repetitions.

To score the maximum benefit from these moves, remember to maintain your focus as you work. Be conscious of each move and notice the way your forearm muscles and the rest of your body feels as you perform every rep of each exercise. Stay motivated with a picture in your mind’s eye of what you want these moves to do for you and let that image last until it matches the one you see in your own mirror. Keep at it, using these moves 3-5 times a week and you’ll be looking and feeling stronger and more confident in no time.

Renting a Car in France

car-2184905_1920Whether you’re there for business or for pleasure, driving through France can leave you with great memories. Because it offers you the freedom to come and go as you choose, auto rental may be your best option for transportation while you’re there. Here are some tips if you want to rent a car in France.

Booking a Rental Car

Booking your French rental vehicle ahead of time offers significant savings, although this requires you to pay in advance. Most travelers will find that worthwhile nevertheless.

Minimum and Maximum Age Requirements

Some French auto rental agencies require the driver to be 25 years old, while others will rent at 21. Some agencies require the driver to have a driver’s license for at least a year. Check with the agency. Also, remember to bring your auto insurance documentation with you.

There is no maximum age requirement for car rental in France.

Automatic vs. Manual Car

Renting a car with automatic transmission will cost you more than renting a car with manual transmission. Automatics are less readily available as well, so make sure you know what kind your renting and book as quickly as possible if automatic is what you’re after.

Driving Rules

The challenge of driving on the “wrong side of the road” may take some getting used to. French police are known to be stringent on road rules. Seatbelts are required for the driver and all passengers. Also, remember French limits for DUI are lower than the limits in the US, so save the vino for when you’re not behind the wheel.
Speed

Obey posted speed limits. French police won’t pull you over if you’re caught speeding but will send a bill to your rental agency. Don’t be that renter.
Road Signs in France

When driving in France, you’ll recognize the stop sign and yield sign as they look much like our own. When yielding, it is not necessary to stop is traffic is not coming from either the left or the right. A stickier situation might be the priority signs. Drive France has a great primer on their procedures here.
How to Avoid Ripoffs at the Rental Desk

Best and Worst Car Companies

Sticking with the most well-known car rental agencies in France will up your chances of being satisfied with your entire car rental transaction from reservation to final billing. The best-reviewed agencies include Renault, Sixt, Autoescape. Europcar was named the worst.

Avoiding Hard Selling at the Rental Desk

Watch out for upgrade offers of a larger car when checking in. There’s a reason locals drive small cars: gas is not cheap and a larger car will make a big difference in your final rental cost when gas is included.
Insurance

Your own insurance is always your best option. Before you leave, make sure you’re covered for foreign car rental. But remember that if you do use your own insurance, the rental agency may still place a hold on your credit card.

Planning well is always your best course of action for a journey overseas. A little mental footwork is the best way to ensure your experience renting an automobile in France is the least memorable part of your jaunt, leaving room in your mind for the priceless souvenir of a great overall experience during your stay.