Kevin Ayers, Montaulieau and Montolieau

I have been a fan of Kevin Ayers and his music since the 70s. Kevin came over to the states on a tour with Soft Machine in 1968. Although most people in the US probably have no idea who these people are, you will certainly be aware of the main act that Soft Machine were supporting – Jimi Hendrix! I’m still not quite sure how all this happened, I think it was something to do with Kevin hanging about in Mallorca in the 60s. Soft Machine consisted of Kevin Ayers, Robert Wyatt and Mike Ratledge and they were all friends with the Robert Graves family who lived in Deya up on the north rugged coast of Mallorca. Robert Graves, the poet and author, was as you would expect rather well connected to influential people. I believe one such person was an american business man who Kevin persuaded to finance the Soft Machine US Tour with Jimi Hendrix. I might not have these facts totally straight, so if anybody wants to correct me – feel free.

Sadly last year Kevin Ayers died on February 18th 2013 at his home in Montolieau. When I read this news I was incredibly sad, I was a little confused too. I always knew that Kevin had spent a lot of time in the early 70s at the ‘Gong House’ in Montaulieau, which is in the Drôme department in southeastern France. So Montolieau was that a mis-spelling? No it wasn’t, in fact Montolieu is a commune in the Aude department in southern France. Montolieu  is sometimes referred to as “Village of Books”, Montolieu has lots of bookshops and there is a book market on the third Sunday of every month. Well I certainly feel like I need to visit both Montolieau and Montaulieu now as a kind of pilgrimage to the late Kevin Ayers. i did some digging around on the internet and this is when my thoughts about my vacation plans changed. I found out more about Kevin Ayers from a Facebook Page and it turned out that the guy who runs it is also a motorhome enthusiast and runs a website called ‘Motorhome Freedom’ that you can find by clicking here. Being a Kevin Ayers fan he has advised me places to stay, visit and just experience in these amazing parts of France.

So that’s it…next weekend I fly from L.A. to London Heathrow, pick up a motorhome from a motorhome hire depot near Heathrow Airport, then it’s off to Dover. There’s a real quick and cheap car ferry run by DFDS that takes me to Dunkirk in Northern France and then it’s a very pretty drive down towards the Alps and beyond. I absolutely cannot wait, I just wish Kevin was still here and I was going to ‘accidently’ bump into him in a bar in Montolieu. Unfortunately I am one year and two months too late. I might have to go and play ‘Champagne and Valium’ now.

Dude Ranch Vacations Are The Perfect Get Away

If you are the type of person who has always been interested in learning more about the country life, you may consider taking a top dude ranch vacations.  Basically, this is a vacation where you can go and spend some time on a real life ranch.  You will have total interaction with the animals and the country lifestyle.  This is the perfect vacation for those who have children who are interested in learning more about country living.  Depending on the ranch where you stay, you may be able to have a hand in helping to take care of the animals.  This is the perfect way for you to forget about the cares of your everyday life and enjoy some peace and quiet for a change.  Dude ranch vacations are becoming very popular because we are all getting tired of the noise that comes from living in the city.  Between cell phones and traffic, life can be very noisy.

dude ranchThe amount of time that you will be spending on your vacation is up to you.  There are a number of ranches that are available for you to stay at.  In fact, nearly all of the Western states have a vacation ranch where you and your family can stay.  Because this is becoming a popular way to vacation, it will be up to you to make your reservations as soon as you have an exact date.  Talk with the ranch to find out more about what you can expect while you are staying there.  Of course, they are not going to force you to do any chores that you don’t want to do.  However, there will be certain chores that you can do if you like.  You will be given the opportunity to learn more about nature when you are gathering eggs for your morning breakfast.  Maybe you aren’t interested in doing work on the ranch.  Maybe you are just looking for dude ranch vacations.  If this were the case, you could find out more about horseback riding.  This is a great way to relieve your stress at the end of the day.

Forget about the expense that comes from taking your kids to expensive theme parks.  When you think about it, this is not something that is going to benefit them in the long run.  Instead, take the entire family for dude ranch vacation.  Even though the kids may not be very excited about it in the beginning, it is something that they are not going to want to leave when it’s time to go home.  It’s generally best to visit a ranch when the weather is warmer.  This way, you can watch the animals when they are most active.  After you have experienced this way of living, you may decide that you don’t want to go back to anything else.  You will really love the quiet that comes from spending time in the country.  You will also notice that the workers at the ranch are a different type of people.  Find out for yourself and book your next vacation today.


The Truth About Ferrets

Ferrets are the third most popular pets in the US, although they are still banned in some states. More and more states are coming to the realization that ferrets are a domesticated species and not wild animals, as described in some states. Did you know that they have been domesticated thousands of years ago? They have even been found portrayed in ancient Egypt.

Ferrets are carnivores, but many people still mistake them for rodents; if you look at their teeth, it becomes evident that they really are carnivores though. They have long fangs, just like your cat or dog. Males, also called hobs, are larger than females, who are called jills. If the females are spayed, they are also referred to as sprites, and neutered males are referred to as gibs. The babies are called kits.

Ferrets tend to sleep for quite long periods, and sleep from 14 to 18 hours a day. Sometimes they may fall into “dead sleep” – they won’t wake up if nudged or shaken, and many owners tend to panic if they find their ferret in such state, as they really appear dead. If you ever find your ferret not waking up and being completely limp, check his breathing before bursting into tears – he’s just sleeping very tightly. Baby ferrets are born without hair and they develop their coat and coloring at 3 weeks of age. There’s a multitude of colors, the most common one being sable, albino, chocolate, cinnamon, dark eyed white and champagne.

Ferrets have quite a distinct, musky odor about them, but it’s not offensive nor overpowering. This smell is due to the skin glands, not their scent glands. Spayed and neutered ferrets keep their sweet, musky smell as well. They are great pets and are very intelligent, so before getting one, you should read up on ferret-proofing your home, or they might steal half of it and drag it under your bed.

Why JBL Make The Best Spearguns

Regarding the different sections of a spear-gun, the most important things you need to be aware of are the shafts, points, rubbers, shooting line, muzzle types and rigging. The shafts or the spears, range in size from 6 to 9 mm and are can be made from stainless steel, spring-hardened stainless steel or galvanized steel. This is due to the fact that stainless steel is resistant to rust. Galvanised steel has got healthier strength, but is prone to corrosion, which makes hardened stainless steel an ideal alternate option as it can be buffed to look shiny.

The JBL D5 speargun is not a conventional firearm, but a handy tool with a trigger mechanism that fires a harpoon, which is used for hunting marine fishes. In defining the use of this tool we will here limit the definition to spear guns used while swimming under the water while holding one’s breath. Today, tools are basically divided into those using compressed air (pneumatic) and others designed for the use of slings (power band).

In general, smaller air-powered guns can be loaded quickly and easily, but larger ones may be both difficult to load and require special loading tools. In both cases, the diver using a pneumatic spear gun needs a loader at all times.
Some air powered spear guns have a Hi-Lo power actuator. This devise can shut off the main reservoir of air and allows for close-range shots, easy loading for larger guns with higher pressure, and trouble-free discharging of the gun before exiting the water.

A newbie to the spear gun family, this type is popularly used in South Africa and Australia. It uses shafts of 7 to 8 mm with a single barb, with a barrel that has thicker walls. And because the shaft is guided by the gun’s namesake rail, it ensures the shaft is launched perfectly straight which makes for very accurate shots. Rail guns also have a plastic muzzle that will accommodate one to three bands that wrap around the openings on the muzzle, and band thickness depends on the number of bands, but a gun with double bands will accommodate 16 to 18mm bands, and single-band guns will take one 20mm band. The thicker shaft lengths are ideal for targeting bigger, pelagic fish.
Accuracy and firing distance are determined by the length of the speargun in question. Paradoxically, it is the size of the frogman that can help determine the proper size of the speargun, in lieu of the size of the envisaged subaqueous target. Generally speaking, you need to acquire the largest gun you can handle for visibility, with the exception being when hunting in kelp or caves.

Online shopping – Do’s and Don’ts

If you asked people if they shop online only a decade ago, most of them would say that they don’t. If you asked the same question today, you would get a very different reply. A majority of people shops online today, or has done so at least once. You can buy almost everything online and most shops have their online stores nowadays. There are still those who prefer to go to the actual store and see the merchandise for themselves, but many prefer to order stuff with just a few clicks. There is some stuff you should be careful about when shopping online, though.

Here’s are some quick tips on what you should and what you shouldn’t do:

1. Always shop over a secure network. Never use public wifi to shop as you will have to log into your account and give your credit card numbers. Doing so over public wifi makes you an easy target for information and credit card thefts.

2. Check your credit card bills and online shopping accounts regularly. By reviewing your accounts regularly, you will quickly see if there were any unauthorized purchases and you will be able to act on time.

3. If the deal is too good to be true, it’s not true. There are many pages on social networking websites that have great deals. There are also many of them who will give you awful merchandise. Shop smart. Check the reviews and always check what others are writing about the page. If the page is relatively new, be even more careful.

4. When you pay with your tablet or smartphone, make sure to carefully read what kind of access the app you are paying through needs; if you don’t agree with permissions, don’t use it.

5. Always give your real name when making accounts. If you feel uncomfortable about it, it’s best you don’t shop online at all. If you give a fake name and your account is compromised, you won’t be able to retrieve it.

How to Be a Good Conversationalist at Parties

Ever wondered how some people become good conversationalists and have their audience enthralled at parties? The secret to having a good conversation is simple: Be interested in the other person(s). People who talk about themselves all the time are terribly boring. But how do you start a conversation without talking about yourself?

First, you can find something that you can compliment. If you are a party guest and you are talking to the host, compliment the host for the food, the furniture, or the home. If you’re talking to another guest, particularly a woman, you can compliment her on her dress or on her hairstyle. A compliment is always a great conversation starter. People usually light up when they are praised. However, be sure that your compliment is sincere.

However, you can’t always find something to compliment about. At times, giving a compliment can be awkward. The next best thing you can do is ask people about their hobbies. If you can find someone who has the same hobby as you do, you can trade tips and secrets. If the person’s hobby is unfamiliar to you, try to be interested and ask questions.

Travel is another favorite conversation topic at parties. If someone has been to a vacation recently, you can ask the person about the places he or she has been to. You can ask about the best places to go and the sights to see.

Avoid hot-button topics such as politics and religion. Many conversations become heated arguments because of these. Never talk about family troubles and other private issues. There’s no place for drama at parties. Money is another subject that can make a person uncomfortable, so never initiate a conversation about money. It is also in bad taste to talk about anybody’s weight especially when there is a lot of food at the party. Don’t be a party pooper!

Making the other person feel good is the key to a good conversation. Think less about yourself and more about the other person. You have to be interested to be interesting. This guy’s got a good video on the subject:

Eating More to Gain More Muscle

If you are a bit chubby and want to develop a lean, muscular physique, you might be wondering if dieting would help when you are trying to sculpt your body. You need to get rid of your body fat so that your muscles would become well-defined.

One of the ways to get rid of your body fat is by decreasing your caloric intake. This might seem to be the right thing to do. However, the opposite may be true. Your muscles need calories to grow bigger.

Weight lifting promotes muscle gain and the calories you take in will boost your body’s energy and support the growth of muscle tissues. Muscle growth requires energy and our body gets energy from calories. Thus, it goes without saying that too much dieting will make you lose muscle mass. It will simply make you thin, but not muscular.

The key to developing a lean, muscular body is not eating less, but eating right. A good diet for body builders consists of 40% carbohydrates, 40% protein and 20% good fats. Body builders consume complex carbohydrates and they steer clear of refined carbs such as white sugar and white flour. They eat small and frequent meals. To keep their metabolism from getting used to a certain caloric level, their caloric intake is cycled which means there are days when they have a high-calorie diet and days when they eat less calories.

So if you want to go from chunky to hunky, decreasing your caloric intake may not always be a good idea especially when you lift heavy weights. Your body needs calories to grow muscles. You may not need to eat less; you simply need to eat the proper food in proper amounts at the proper time.

Planning and Hosting a Baby Shower

Planning a baby shower isn’t really hard when you know exactly what you need to do. But first, let us discuss who should host the party. Traditionally, anybody can throw a baby shower except the baby’s parents and their close relatives. Why? Because when someone close to the baby throws a shower, it looks as though that person is asking for gifts. However, it’s really up to you and your social circle. You can ditch tradition if no one really cares about it.

Of course, baby showers are held after the conception and before the child is born. However, it’s always prudent to hold the baby shower toward the end of the pregnancy. Pregnancies aren’t usually announced until the first trimester is over. Four to six weeks before the due date is fine. Besides, a baby shower seems more real when the mother’s baby bump is already conspicuous.

Baby showers are traditionally for women only. However, nowadays, the dads are now included. The father as well as the uncles and other male relatives are happily anticipating the coming of the baby, so why not include them as well?

When planning to consider a baby shower, you need to choose theme. Although it’s not really a strict requirement, it will make it easier for you to decide on the decorations and other elements of the party. Plus, it can be fun for guests.

You also need to serve some food. Consider the time of the day, the budget, and how formal or informal you want the party to be.

Baby showers should be fun and entertaining. You can arrange games and fun activities at the party. For instance, you can provide squares of fabric so that your guests can sew a quilt together during the shower. The guests can write their messages for the baby on their respective squares.

A baby shower isn’t complete without gifts. However, the guests might end up giving the same gifts to the expectant mother. Having a baby shower registry can be a good idea. Some people are concerned that this could make the baby shower look like an occasion to ask for gifts. You can remedy this by keeping the registry information out of the printed invitation and simply letting the guests know about the registry when they RSVP.