Satsuma Vases

In the very late 16th century, himazu Yoshihiro, the current lord of the Satsuma region returned from Korea bringing with him a collection of potters who would go on to produce the pottery that the region is now so famous for. Although these Koreans were brought against their will to work in Japan, they arrived with tools and equipment to begin the production of the pottery.

Using local brown clay, the potters began to produce a style of pottery that was somewhere between the properties of being earthenware and porcelain. Cooked in a slow kiln, they perfected this style which was later mass produced and distributed all over the world. The Satsuma pottery is also famous for its intricate and unique artwork, enameling and designs that adorn the faces and surfaces of each piece.

Two types of Satsuma pottery are available, black or white. The white pottery is a creamy or off white color and is the most common, but there is also a black version which was used by the lower classes of people. The potters making the white pottery had to seek authorization from the local lords before making any of the pottery, such was it’s value then.

Satsuma Vases are often sold in pairs and can measure up to 1 meter in height although it is more common for the vases to be smaller – approximately 30 to 40 inches. The vases also come in a variety of shapes and widths too, with some being smaller and of a more squat design.

As with all of the other Japanese Satsuma pottery from the same region and the same time period, the satsuma vases were highly decorated and feature some of the best artwork on pottery the world has ever seen. The images depict the life and times of Japan in the 18th to 19th century, showing people, places, flowers, animals, plants or landscapes – all in glorious detail and immaculate imagery. The detailed hand painting that went into making these objects must have taken the artisans many hours to complete. The designs on the vases are definitely one of the things that makes them so popular all over the world.

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Source by Tao Schencks

Cleaning Your Gorham Flatware

If you have Gorham flatware you might not use it every day. Like a lot of people, you may only choose to take out your special flatware for those special occasions when it will be admired and loved. On such occasions you may need to take out your flatware ahead of time and clean it. While Gorham is generally resistant to staining and rusting, you always want it to look its best when it is on the table.

The best thing you can do with your Gorham flatware is wash it by hand in a mild dish detergent. You can also wash it in the dishwasher, but you need to be sure that it is separated from all other silverware to avoid problems with the mixings of metal. After washing you may want to inspect each piece to ensure that it looks its best. There are some simple sterling silver remedies that will help you keep your flatware looking its best at all times.

If you find that there are streaks on your flatware you can use a bit of olive oil. Simply rub the flatware with a bit of olive oil and you’ll likely see the streaks disappear. Rinse and dry. You can also use vinegar to clean and polish your Gorham flatware, especially if you have not used it in some time. Just moisten a cloth with white vinegar and wipe the flatware clean. You can also use the vinegar to remove heat stains. Club soda is another excellent tool to help you keep your Gorham flatware looking its best. Simply rub a small amount of club soda on streaks or heat stains and watch them disappear. Rinse and dry and you’re ready to use the flatware and appreciate its full beauty.

These are some simple ways in which you can keep your Gorham flatware looking its best. Because it is such an investment, you’ll want to try to keep your flatware clean and looking its best at all times. Cleaning regularly will keep your investment looking it’s best for years to come!

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Source by Alice Douglas

Modern Home Decor – A Fashion Statement

Modern decor for your home simply means renewing your house interiors along with the emerging fashion trends. It is the most significant aspect of housekeeping. The modern home not only reveals your attitude and taste; but also the value and aesthetic sense attached to it by you.

People are quite used to adapt the criteria’s of modern home decor. There are a number of sources available to renew and keep your knowledge updated regarding the modern trends ongoing.. Architects, internet, niche magazines, home decorators, catalogues, and stores of home decorator are some of the best sources to keep in contact with.

There do exist a number of contributions to modern home decor. These include:

  • Modern furniture- tables, book shelves, sofas, window furnishings, cases, bedroom furniture, chairs,
  • Accessories such as clocks, art decor, picture frames, home office, vases, mirrors, wall sculptures
  • Textiles and rugs- carpet tiles, throw pillows, rugs
  • Entertainment accessories- bowls, serving trays, candle holders, placemats, pepper and salt shakers
  • Bar accessories-
  • Bedding and bathroom accessories-
  • Kitchen products such as cake server, cutting boards, bowls, dustpan, broom, coffee cup
  • Outdoor accessories- doormats
  • Fun accessories- gourmet bags, pet bowls

The list is endless; you can go on adding and adding to this list. However, this list is based on what you wish to have in your house. Because, having all these products and accessories of modern home decor would unnecessarily clutter your house.

Home decorating can be divided into a number of categories based on the preferences of the home owner. It could be antique, traditional, contemporary, trendy, etc. Nevertheless; many people have a tendency to go for the modern look for there are available in a range of different accessories and products and are at the same time affordable, too. Selecting a modern home look can renew your home according to the international standards. At the same time, the traditional or antique home decor would be something of more customized type and that too, very costly.

You can get a modern home look available at reasonable rates. Check for these offers on the internet or visit the stores to get more information.

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Source by Amy Wells

How to Suggestive Sell Your Gift Certificates

Gift Certificates can be a great revenue producer during the entire year, but your purchases will really increase around Birthdays and Holidays especially prior to Christmas. It is a great idea to feature this gift certificate sale right after Thanksgiving.

December can be the busiest month of the year if you effectively handle gift certificates. Let me tell you about a good promotion.

If you purchase a minimum increment of a $100.00 in gift certificates between Thanksgiving and the first of the year, you will receive a $20.00 “Bonus” Guest Certificate FREE. This twenty dollar bonus is a great way to boost your December sales. Some restrictions apply to the Bonus Guest Certificates. The Bonus Guest Certificates are only good from January 1st until March 31st and cannot be redeemed for cash. This is designed to drive your business on the first three months of the year which are traditionally three slow months. This promotion brings business in during this slow time and it encourages and drives the sales of gift certificates during December and a minimum of $100.00 increases the transaction size. Those Customers who used to spend $50.00 or $75.00 on gift certificates now spend $100.00 and then get $120.00 / $20.00 of which must be spent after the first of the year and before March 31st.

You may think that this is a big discount, giving a $20.00 ADDED Bonus Guest Certificate. But, you need to understand that ultimately 50% of the Guest Certificates do not get redeemed. The 16.66% discount amounts to only about 8% because not all of these Guest Certificates get used. The sales results will be very impressive.

You can promote the sale of gift certificates through your newsletter and through posters tastefully done in the Restaurant and on your website. If you have 10,000 customers and only 1% participated in the purchase of gift certificates at the minimum purchase of $100.00, this would be $12,000 in purchases. If you could enjoy a 10% return, it would be $120,000.

Putting a dedicated table in the entryway of the Restaurant would make it an easy way for your Guests to purchase the gift certificates and take the job away from an already busy staff. The sole responsibility of this Employee would be to sell the gift certificates. This would be a great temptation for your Guests to purchase while they are visiting your Restaurant. You would put the gift certificates in a nice gift envelope for the Customers, according to the dominations they want (i.e. $20.00).

The key to increasing and pushing the sales of Gift Certificates is through outstanding dining experiences.

If the Guest “feels good” about their dining experience and they see a table display sign like the one below, sales of gift certificates will soar during December.

One Restaurant location, after putting in the dedicated table, increased their Gift Certificate business by 37% for the first year and then an additional 6% the very next year. This has been a big boost to gift certificate sales. This has also dramatically increased the sales for the first quarter of the next year through the Guest Certificate.

The redemption on the “bonus” Guest certificates was only about 50% which puts your discount of 16.66% to 8.33%. If the Gift Certificates were given in $20.00 amounts it means that you would bring in five parties from the $100.00 sale.

Bonus Discount – The “Bonus” Guest Certificate only has a three month life. This is a very simple promotion and it works. By and large, the people who buy the gift certificates are loyal Customers and it gives you the opportunity to “reward” their patronage. The “Bonus” Guest Gift Certificate is a different size and color than the regular Gift Certificate. Regular Gift Certificates can be $20/$25/$50/$75 or $100.00 amounts. If the Guest did not have a preference, I would give them 5 – $20.00 Gift Certificates for $100.00 and 1 – $20.00 Guest Certificate . Any denominations can be combined to make the $100.00 special and then receive $120.00 worth of value. The redemption rate on regular gift certificates are about 80%, therefore 20% are not redeemed, while only 50% of the Guest Certificates are redeemed and they must be redeemed before 31st March the next year.

Gift certificates are the perfect solution for any special occasion. From celebrating birthdays, graduations and weddings to inspiring higher business performance, gift certificates are always a delight to receive. If you are unsure what to get for a person but you know what restaurant they like then Gift Certificates is the way to go.

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Source by Ron Wilkinson

Christmas Gift Exchange Ideas

Christmas gift exchanges are wonderful ways to spend time together during the holidays. Gift exchanges are a great way of bringing family members together.

The challenge comes with setting the theme or focus for your Christmas gift exchange. If you do the same thing each year, people will get bored and stop participating. Without changing things up every few years, the gift exchanges become gift card exchanges, which are not so fun, well in my opinion anyway. So one person must come up with the theme idea.

At my wife’s big family get together last year, we all brought a one-pound gift. The gifts were distributed. Then the story featuring Mr. Right who left the room and went right to bed (well, you get the idea) was read to the exchange of the gifts. People were laughing and joking as people attempted to remember which was their right and left hand as the gifts were passed in the circle. It worked wonderfully. It was really fun to see the creativity in the gift giving. One person gave a pound of pennies, while another gave a one pound piece of money. Another gave a bag of chips and salsa. Talk about variety. And not to forget, my special gift, which was one pound of spam. Of course, everyone secretly wished they had received that gift.

So to help your Christmas season be a season of joy and not stress, I have gathered some Christmas exchange ideas for you.

1. The One pound gift is a real favorite of mine

2. $3 funny card (you could set any dollar amount)

3. $5 dollar store or goodwill purchase

One year a person found a heated toilet seat in this themed exchange.

4. Dinner in a dish where the person brings a recipe with the majority of the ingredients to make the dish

5. Ornament exchange with a dollar amount

6. Entertainment theme – books, cds, movies

7. Set a letter of the alphabet that the gift has to start with (We have not done this exchange yet but I think it would be very fun.)

8. Charity exchange where each person would put in his or her favorite charity with the contact information. The person who drew the slip of paper would be expected to give a donation to the charity. Another version of the charity idea is something my wife’s family as done. Her sister died young due to colon cancer. The family started a scholarship fund in her sister’s memory. There is an envelope under the tree each year for family member to add to the scholarship fund.

So whether you decide to go with a more meaningful gift or more to the wacky and fun, have fun with your Christmas exchange this year. The real importance is to have fun with those that are important to you.

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Source by Rodney Grubbs

Preparing For Disaster Recovery

Disasters can happen any time and anywhere. Chemical spillage from overturned truck, power outages, brownouts or surges, windstorms, tornadoes and earthquakes can affect your business adversely. Prepare your employees and clients to respond to any possible disaster in advance by providing training and safety information. No business should operate without a disaster plan or back-up systems. Develop risk or contingency management plans, considering, human resources, physical resources and business continuity.

Building a Plan:

o Keep phone lists of key employees and customers handy with copies of the same to key staff members.

o Designate and provide one remote number on your office voice mail system to record messages for employees.

o Have programmed call forwarding for main business lines. If you cannot get to office, call in and reprogram phones to ring elsewhere.

o Install emergency lights that turn on in case of power outage.

o Make sure the employees can leave the premises without a key and do not get locked in.

o Use UL-listed surge protectors and battery back-up systems to protect sensitive equipment and help prevent computer crash due to power blackout.

o Keep NOAA Weather Radio with a tone alert feature for early severe weather warning so protective actions can be taken.

o Stock a minimum supply of goods, material or equipment for business continuity, even through disaster.

o Protect valuable property and equipments with insurance.

o In case of unexpected confinement at your business, keep emergency supplies like first aid kit, tools, flashlights, food and water to tide over crisis.

Reducing Potential Damage to Property:

o Prevent or reduce damage in your work area by taking a few precautions.

o Bolt tall bookcases or display cases to wall studs.

o Keep large objects secured on lower shelves to prevent fall and resulting injury.

o Fasten breakable objects with hook and loop fasteners on stands.

o Keep drawers and cabinets latched to prevent flying open and spilling contents.

o Secure framed pictures and mirrors to the wall with closed screw eyes.

o Install flexible connectors to appliances fuelled by natural gas.

o Have shutters to close windows against severe storms or hurricanes.

o Install automatic fire sprinklers.

Protecting the Business, Employees and Customers – A Business Continuation Plan

A disaster plan for your business should aim to achieve the minimum dislocation and have the business up and running with a minimum loss of time and resources. Some suggested measures are:

o Appoint a second in command who has full authority to take decisions in your absence.

o All members of should be clear about their responsibilities.

o Have “hot” standby for your main computer. Back-up copies of data should be kept at a different site. Critical paper records should be well protected.

o Designate and train one staff member in each work shift as safety coordinator. He should contact owner and operator in times of emergency.

o Contact your local Red Cross Chapter to teach preparation against disaster.

Being prepared at all times for an event that cannot be predicted requires careful forethought and detailed planning. You will reap handsome dividends if you map out and implement a disaster recovery plan for your business. Do take all employees on board about details of the plan and the various roles they are required to perform. Rehearsals or mock drills should also be carried out to test the efficacy of your plan.

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Source by Alexander Gordon

Women’s Fashion – Trendy Handbags For Your Spring Wardrobe

Every woman knows that no wardrobe is complete without the perfect purse. Shopping for a purse can be exhausting. Going from store to store in search of the perfect one to carry your important possessions around can be time consuming and frustrating. From the simple to the outrageous there is a bag out there to please even the pickiest of purse buyers. If you’re planning on hitting the stores in search of the the handbag to complete your spring wardrobe here is a look at what’s hot this this season.

  • Exotic Reptiles: If you’re a fan of fashion inspired by snakes and crocodiles you’re in luck. This season’s exotic reptile skin purses are extremely popular. Ranging from classic snake skins to iridescent crocodile hides you should be able to find a hobo or a clutch in a bold pattern that reflects your love for the wild side.
  • Bright and Bold: This spring’s collection of purses have been referred to as candy. This sweet title comes from the bold and bright colors that are filling stores everywhere. Gone are the muted colors of winter, replaced by the bright hues that make spring so fun. Pick your spirits up while you brighten up your wardrobe with a flashy orange or multi-colored handbag. The bright colors turn your purse into a terrific arm accessory bring flair to simple outfits.
  • Heavy Metal: While fashion as a whole has seemed to make a quick stop in the 70’s, purses are taking a that approach to a new level. Rock N’ Roll is a great way to describe the latest purses. This seasons handbags are into heavy metal with large gold, silver, and black chains and other loud embellishments. Look for purses made using patent leather and metallic materials.
  • Super Sized: Tired of trying to balance between a clutch and bags resembling luggage all the while staying fashionable? This season over sized is in especially when it comes to the hobo. The trend in purses this season make it possible to bring everything you need without carrying a duffel bag on your shoulder or worrying about whether your zipper is going to break under pressure. For an added bonus look for a over sized handbag inspired by 60’s and 70’s vintage wear.
  • Simple Sophistication: While a large majority of the purses out there this season will leave your head spinning there are a few that use simplicity as their claim fame. If sophistication is a must for your purse of choice, then you will definitely be able to find one that fits your requirements. Spring is full of simple yet stylish purses in timeless color combinations like black and white or brown and tan. Details are kept to a minimum and there is a return to feminine chic that hasn’t been seen in awhile.

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Source by Jennifer Wasilewski

Review of Guy Gets Girl by Tiffany Taylor For Tip on How to Talk to Girls

This is the review of one of the better guide for dating women… Guy Gets Girl by Tiffany Taylor. First of all, who is Tiffany Taylor? I’ll tell you who she is NOT… she isn’t that famous (or infamous) porn actress that goes by the same name. If porn is what you are interested in, you are in the wrong place and you will always be alone at night. If you are interested in sharing the evening with an attractive woman that is absolutely into you… then keep on reading.

However, Tiffany Taylor IS hot! And she is extremely attractive… and she spills the beans on women in her ultimate guide for dating other hot women like her. Now, why would you want a book written by a woman? Well, obviously you do because she has “insider” knowledge about what it takes to get a woman like her to count the spots on your bedroom ceiling.

And yeah… she gets angry emails from women trying to get her book banned because they don’t want guys to have the sexual choice…

But too bad!

For several reasons… #1 society has placed the responsibility of the man to ask the woman out for a date… to be in charge. And many guys cannot do it because quite frankly, nobody told them how to do it… and #2 women don’t have any respect for men who are cowards or with low self esteem.

And this is where having the knowledge of what turns a woman on and what turns her off comes into play. You see, if you knew exactly how women are biologically hardwired to be attracted to a certain kind of male… you my friend, would have the keys to the kingdom… of gorgeous females!

Sounds good? Let me spell it out differently, if you know how to give a woman what she wants… a confident man that understands her emotionally… she will fulfill your sexual fantasies!

And this is where Tiffany Taylor’s book comes into play. She will give you simple step-by-steps how to meet and seduce a woman of your dreams. And yes, she does have something to say about how a man looks, how much money he has, and whether he is famous…

IT DOESN’T MATTER!

That’s right… it doesn’t matter… women put more emphasis on confidence… and this dating guide will give you that.

My recommendation is that you get this dating guide for men that truly understands women and puts the odds heavily in your favor to successfully approaching and seducing them.

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Makler Heidelberg

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Source by John Garret

A Guide to Wine

Coming upon the long wall of wines at your local grocery store can be an intimidating experience. With so many different choices within so many different wine categories, how can you possibly choose the perfect wine to serve with your meal? Perhaps more importantly, without knowing what all these wine terms mean, how do you choose a wine that you and possibly others will enjoy? To be quite frank, unless you sit down with every bottle and taste it with the meal (not recommended), you will never know exactly what wines will go perfectly with that meal. Wine and food pairing is not a perfect science that you can learn. Instead, Recipe4Living would like to offer some general guidelines for success in pairing wine with food and several do’s and don’t for the beginner’s enjoyment of wine. This article will outline the most popular wine varieties and how they differ. In no time, you’ll feel comfortable schmoozing with the biggest wine snobs.

Enjoying Wine

* Let go of your wine assumptions, especially the belief that wine is expensive. You can easily get a great bottle of wine for under $10. As with cooking, the key to good wine is all about balance and not necessarily the rarest grapes.

* Have fun! Experiment! Enjoying wine is about what you like, not about what you are supposed to like according to the experts. When you find a wine you really like, simply note the winery and the variety. As you gain more experience with wine, you can include descriptions of different elements in the wine. Better yet, act the sophisticate and host wine tasting parties with friends and discuss different wines.

* Look for the increasingly popular screw-cap, as opposed to the cork. The problem with natural corks is that a moldy spoilage can occur in the wine (in 3-5% of natural corked bottles!) because of a reaction that sometimes occurs in the cork. Synthetic corks have attempted to solve this problem, but they are much harder to remove and cannot be used to re-seal the bottles. Old habits die hard, but more and more wineries are switching to the screw-cap.

* Certain wines are better at certain temperatures. For example, a freezing cold Chardonnay will lose much of its taste. Keep these guidelines in mind:

– Whites should be served cold between 43°F and 53°F. This can be done by chilling the bottle in ice for an hour before serving. You do not want to keep a glass of white wine in the refrigerator for long periods of time.

– Sparkling wines and champagnes should be served cooler, around 45°F.

– Although room temperature is ok, red wines should really be served between 55°F and 65°F, or cellar temperature.

* Despite its reputation for pretension, invest in some quality stemware if you want to truly enjoy wine. The right glass will truly enhance the flavor of the wine and your appreciation of it. Wine glasses need to have a large cup or “bowl” to allow the wine to breathe, because the interaction with the air releases all the wines aromas and flavors.

Removing Red Wine Stains– Truly essential information in the enjoyment of wine.

* White wine- Ironically the best stain-fighter for red wine, white wine will neutralize the wine and make it easier to remove. Simply pour some on the stain and blot gently with a rag. Don’t rub or you will force the stain deeper into the clothing or carpet fibers. After blotting up most of the wine, simply clean with your favorite carpet cleaner or stain-fighter as normal.

* Club Soda- The carbonation in club soda helps to lift the wine from the fibers.

* Salt- Salt acts as a buffer to keep the stain from setting while you look for other cleaning options.

White Wines

Chardonnay- A very drinkable white wine differentiated from other varieties by a special aging and fermentation process in oak barrels. The special oak barrels give the wine its unique aromas ranging from nutty to creamy. This wine can include tastes of vanilla, pear, lemon, pineapple, peach and more. Chardonnay is usually regarded as the white table wine.

Muscat/Moscato- This low-alcohol wine has an intensely perfumed aroma and a distinctive musky taste, and is often used as a dessert wine. The aroma of the wine can include gardenia and honey and the taste includes elements of citrus and tropical fruits.

Pinot Grigio- More colorful than other white wines, Pinot Grigio is soft and delicately perfumed. The acidity of the wine gives it a nice crispness. The wine’s elements can include flowers, subtle spices, pear, and citrus.

Riesling- This lower-alcohol wine comes from the most famous of German grapes and is characterized by a unique fruit and acid balance. Unlike many other wines, Riesling is rarely prepared in oak barrels, making it more adaptable to many types of food, including hot and spicy choices. Riesling is usually a dry wine, with sweet elements of peach and honeysuckle.

Sauvignon Blanc- One of the most aromatic wines with fragrances of grass and citrus, Sauvignon Blanc is spicier than the Chardonnay varieties. The taste can have hints of melon, gooseberry, and black currant. New Zealand produces some of the finest Sauvignon Blanc.

Red Wines

Barberra- This deep red wine comes most successfully from the Piedmont of Italy, and is heavily planted in the Central Valley of California because of its ability to withstand high temperatures. A full body, luscious berry flavors and crispness from the high acidity characterize this wine.

Cabernet Sauvignon- These full bodied, intensely flavored red wines tend to improve with aging, often spending 15 to 30 months aging in oak barrels. Such aging gives the wine toasted vanilla and cedar tastes, while the wine also features plum, black cherry, and spice elements. Now the most widely planted grape in the world, the Cabernet Sauvignon grape actually come from a cross between two French varieties: Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc.

Merlot- A softer and much less intense red wine than cabernet that is ready to drink sooner. The dry smoothness of the wine makes it a popular choice in restaurants. Merlot is often mixed with cabernet to soften its acidity. Descriptions of the wine’s tastes include many of the same as cabernet and green olive, herbs, and chocolate. The Merlot grape responds well to cooler climates making it very versatile.

Pinot Noir- Widely regarded as the most difficult grape to grow, this delicate wine is logically one of the most sought after varieties of wine, originating in the Burgundy region of France. This elegant wine can include elements of raisin, black cherry, and strawberry.

Sangiovese- This dry red wine is characterized by a smooth texture, medium-bodied spice flavors, and an earthy aroma. Made from a grape native to Northern Italy, Sangiovese is often used for Italian Chianti wines.

Syrah- This flavorful wine originates in the Rhone region in France and has many raspberry, pepper and spice aromas and flavors. In addition to France, the grape for Syrah is now also very successful in Australia.

Zinfandel- Although much of Zinfandel is turned into a sweet blush wine called White Zinfandel, Zinfandel is a red wine made from the most popularly grown grape in California. The hearty grape is very adaptable to a producer’s manipulation, making it very versatile. Zinfandel is very fruity, with raspberry, cherry, and plum tastes.

Blush Wines- Blush wines or rosé wine, which have a lighter pink color, are made by removing the skins of red grapes early in the fermentation process. This technique also lightens the flavor of the red grapes, creating a more delicate wine. White Zinfandel is actually produced as the product of “bleeding” regular Zinfandel, or removing some of the juice to heighten certain flavors and color in the wine. The juice is then fermented separately.

Sparking Wine & Champagne- Carbon dioxide resulting from natural fermentation of the grapes makes these wines bubbly. Although often used interchangeable, laws in many countries dictate that champagne can only refer to wine produce in the Champagne region of France. The major varietals used to make French champagne include Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. American producers of sparkling wine use the same nomenclature as European producers. Ironically, on a scale from driest to sweetest, sparking wine or champagne is labeled thus:

Natural (Brut Nature)- Driest

Brut

Extra Dry

Dry (Sec)

Semi-Dry (Demi-Sec)

Sweet (Doux)

Wine and Food Pairings– Traditional wisdom on pairing wine with food dictates that white wine pairs well with white meats and red wine with red meats. In recent years, more creative sommeliers (the person in charge of wines at a restaurant) have shown that this rule is not always necessary or even correct. The sauce and the preparation of the food are most important to wine pairing, and many different wines may work well with a certain dish. In general though, the best rule of thumb is to try and match more delicate flavors with lighter wine like Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc, hearty cream flavors with medium bodied wines like Chardonnay and Merlot, and thicker meaty or spicy flavors with fuller wines like Syrah. When reading through these suggestions of wine and food pairings, keep in mind that there are no set rules.

Zinfandel- roast beefs

Syrah- beef stews, barbecue

Cabernet Sauvignon- steak

CheeseRiesling- most cheeses

Sauvignon Blanc- earthier cheeses

Chocolate

Cabernet Sauvignon- dark chocolate

Dessert

Muscat/Moscato- sweeter desserts

Riesling- most desserts

Fish and Seafood

Pinot Grigio

Sauvignon Blanc

Chardonnay- Richer seafood dishes and most shellfish

Lamb

Cabernet Sauvignon- roast lamb

Syrah- stews

Pinot Noir- chops

Pasta

Sangiovese- great for most pasta dishes

Barberra- especially good with lasagna

Pizza

Barberra- most tomato sauces

Syrah- spiced meats and sausages on pizza

Poultry

Chardonnay- grilled chicken and cream sauce chickens

Pinot Grigio- turkey

Merlot- grilled chicken, barbecue

Syrah- Duck or other fowl

Pork

Merlot- chops

Pinot Noir- tenderloin, sausage

Zinfandel- roast pork and garlicky dishes

Salads/Vegetables

Sauvignon Blanc

White Zinfandel

Pinot Grigio- for salads and vegetables with creamy sauces or dressings

Copyright © 2006 Ampere Media LLC

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Makler Heidelberg

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Source by Caley Walsh

RPG: Table and Computer

It’s not a secret that table RPG games are not so popular as they used to be. However a certain number of amateurs are still fond of them. What is so particular about a pasteboard box or a book with rules? It seems that all the advantages have their ” younger computer brothers”: no manual calculations, no bricks ( the number of which is from one to almost 20). In general, no additional efforts are needed- just relax, play and don’t worry. But nothing of the kind- groups of maniacs with burning eyes run to the special shop( if there is any), buy another book, and having met in some dark place in the evening, start to crunch with pens and tinkle the dice.

Why are these poor things so attracted by this desperately ancient way of entertainment?

Let’s try to answer this question by displaying the most similar and different features of table and computer RPG.

Firstly, any RPG is a Role Paying Game, which is supposed to have a character, and a system of his development. This feature is typical for both the “brothers”. The character as the player’s realization in the created RPG world is very important. Your playing capabilities depend on his features.

Secondly, any decent RPG is based on some world (sometimes, realistic but more often-fantastic one). The depth of the world ( The card details, atmosphere entirety, detailed development of the world components) and , so to say, the mood (optimistic and colorful or destructive and gloomy, funny or extremely rigid, strict),- all this taken together defines the audience of the game.

These two points have a great meaning, they allow the player to associate himself with a certain character and being in his shoes to go through the situations which are impossible in ordinary life.

All this is very good but let’s return to our muttons: to the difference between computer and table RPG.

Probably, trite comparison of books and films will be to the place here. The former make us use our brains and imagination, the latter give us everything ready-made. The peculiarity of table RPG, its strong and at the same time weak point is hope for player’s imagination.. In the classical table RPG you’ll find a text, some illustrations and… all the rest you should imagine yourself. It’s true, that during the gaming process everything depends on the leader (Dungeon Master, Game Master, etc.) and on the players. The leader explains the situation, describes the characters and the events orally (yes, he does it with the help of words!!!) and the players perceive this information judging from their abilities. What are the advantages of such a game play? They are quite evident: everyone perceives the game in his own way (with the help of his imagination), but at the same time, if the game is rather good, a special “field” of common perception and mood is formed. It’s not an allegation as the author has great experience of playing table RPG and so he knows all ins and outs. When the game has a success, the players seem to be in the same “information field” and sometimes they don’t even perceive the events in real life. It’s just like reading a thrilling book. But sometimes such beauty turns into a terrible thing. What is so horrible about it? The trouble is, the game may be a complete failure if it’s leaded by a talentless and not very experienced master, or if the players turn out to be so-so (that is less critical). In such a case the game fails no matter how beautiful the original RPG world is. Everything gets wrong when after each word the master utters: “well, eh, oh…” and it takes the players 10 minutes to think over each further act. The game reaches a deadlock, a perfect illusion is breaking into the small pieces of separate sentences.

I must admit, sometimes it’s all RPG developers ‘fault that such failures take place, especially when the rules of the game aren’t logical or overcharged with unnecessary details. May the fans forgive me, but the last time the author had to play AD&D, there was such a situation:

-Player:” I want to kill that Gobline!”

-Master: “throw the dice for marksmanship. Uph, you shoot in the darkness-that means, the fine should be taken into account. Well.. have you got the bonus? Aha…I’ll find it, wait a bit… Oh…

throw these three bricks on D-20,…Hmmm…where is that table? OK, we are going to count all the damages and take into account his armor and the spell and that’s all!”

I don’t say everything was exactly so, but on the whole-just the way I described. What absorption into fantastic world can we talk about if you have to remember 20 figures and throw the dice dozen times for each act! But not all the table games have such a disadvantage. Besides, we may ignore too “hard” rules.

Now let’s analyze what we have in computer RPG.

From the first look everyt5hing is just the same-the game system, characters, the game world. But all these things are already made, you can see the picture with your eyes. Is it good or bad?

It depends. By all means, it’s pleasant to see “visual” character, a charming landscape, fire from shots, etc. But your own brains don’t work any longer since there’s no necessity in it. Besides, we won’t see “our own world”. We perceive things as they should be from the game developers’ point of view. Their way of perception becomes ours as well. You will never be able to see the world with your own eyes and make the character really yours, no matter how hard the developers tried to improve the game. Such a situation has two consequences:

1) Tragic one: your imagination is completely blocked and you don’t like the others’ vision.( such a situation is typical for the most of projects).

2) Pleasant one: some painters and designers create real masterpieces and we can’t but admire their world vision ( here you perfectly understand the difference between your plain brains and a talented professional’s work).

But are there many games like that in the second point? Frankly speaking, I know only one-Fallout. And I appreciate not the graphics but amazing style, exact place of every button, picture, character.

Let’s also mention incontestable advantage of computer RPG. It deals with those calculations which make so many table RPG boring. Computer will calculate all the fines, bonuses and character’s features in a flash. Strange as it may seem but computer games are based just on the table systems and the developers of the former ones don’t aim to overcharge machines with numerous correlations and parameters.

At last we’ve come to a very sensitive problem of the computer RPG- opportunities provided in the game. Sometimes playing RPG on the computer you may suddenly want to act the way not offered by the plot of the game. ( to look into the hatch which is pictured on the background or to take the car you are not allowed to). I am sure that such things are familiar to every gamer. It’s great if the plot and the locations are well considered. And what if they are not ( as it happens more often)? We must admit that the developers of computer games are constantly improving the gamer’s opportunities in the installed worlds. But if the direction is not perfect, the game turns into hard work and it makes the player take advantage of all the improvements (even if he is not willing to).

Table RPG is another matter: the action there is equal to one word, no talks linearity ( you can communicate with the leader the way you like), no plot linearity ( you can do what you like until you are killed). Full freedom of the decisions and actions provided by table RPG will never be substituted by any perfect program. Here you can act as you like.

Besides, the standard of the game can be easily changed. For example, I can tell you from my own experience that once I started the game as a guard (pure RPG adventure) and finished as an emperor (RPG+tactics+strategy).

That’s it.

It’s for you to judge what is better. What and how to play is also for you. But I’d like to say (from my own experience again) that table RPG develop our brains while computer ones don’t.

A friend of mine being an active table player suddenly began reading books( he didn’t use to do it since his childhood). He started to read not classical masterpieces or since fiction. That was fantasy. But anyway he began READING, and that’s the point.

Another my friend got used to computer and became a real fan and gamer. Now I constantly see black areas under his eyes and our communication is bothered by a turned on PC.

Of course, these are separate examples and the author must admit, he is addicted to computer RPG . But nevertheless it’s table RPG which gives us the opportunity to communicate and improve. That ‘s what all the author’s life experience tells about.

P.S. I’m ready to an open discussion of the topic. You are free to write your thoughts to me.

By the way, an interesting question: does anybody see the opportunity to combine the two kinds of RPG described above? What if there is the golden mean? What if there is?

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

Schnell, zuverlässig und kompetent


Source by Peter Efimov

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