How to Save Money – The 60-40 Rule

I have been living on the 60/40 budgeting rule for more than three years now. I had read on this subject in a magazine article and in a conversation with a colleague, I found out a simple system in which my colleague has been using for years.

The Rule (60%)

The 60/40 rule simply says that 60% of your gross income should go to Committed or Fixed expenses. These expenses are your Overhead expenses, meaning the basic things you need to pay to survive. They include:

• Basic food and clothing needs.

• Rent or Mortgage

• Utilities (electricity, water, internet, cable subscription etc.)

• Insurance premiums.

• Charitable contributions.

• Taxes.

It looks simple enough but in my experience putting all committed expenses into 60% of my income was a tough thing to do. But don’t give up as it is very possible to achieve this.

The Rule (40%)

The other half of the equation is the 40% which is divided into four 10% categories.

• Retirement: Money set aside into your IRA or 401(k) plans.

• Long-term savings: Money set aside for car purchases, major home repairs, or to pay down debts such as credit cards, mortgages, etc.

• Irregular expenses: Vacations, car repairs, new appliances, etc.

• Fun money: The great part! Do anything you want with this money! Just be sure that this category applies to your whole family such as dining out, a day in the mall shopping, your hobbies etc. But also remember that having fun with your friends, children and family does not have to be costly!

What to Ask Yourself

• Are you renting a place or have a mortgage that you cannot afford? Is it worth it move to a smaller place or farther place to save up? How much money will you save if you do so?

• Are your car payments too high? How is the fuel consumption of your car?

• Do you have too many paid subscriptions that you don’t really use? (Satellite TV, club memberships etc.)

• What is your lifestyle like? How much do you spend in a week, eating out, going on trips etc?

• Do you wear designer clothes? Where do you shop?

• Can you afford to get your coffee or lunch at a cheaper place?

Source by August Inaki

Pump Maintenance and Repair for Pressure Washers

If you have a pressure washer business you will eventually need to change out or repair the pump. There are a few things you should know to make such change outs easy. You may also need to study up on preventative maintenance so that you do not have to worry about pump failure. Your pressure washer probably has one of two different pumps if it is industrial grade. Either a Cat Pump or a General pump; both are industry standards. General is the leader in the industry for sales and many prefer Cat as it sucks better from plastic water tanks.

Your pump is powered by two parallel belts connected to your engine. You should make sure not to starve your pump from water. When the water tank is empty turn off the engine. Starving a pump will burn it out in about thirty-five minutes. The manufacturer says five to ten minutes, but that’s not life threatening. Your pump has a safety feature whereby when you are not spraying the water, it will automatically by pass into the tank provided there is enough water for the complete loop. Thank you. We also thought it was one of our great ideas. You should change the oil in the pump every month. Make sure your pressure washer rig is on level ground and fill the pump to the red dot on the center of the eyeglass. Over filling is a really bad idea.

On your pump you will notice six large bolts. Inside of the holes are check valves with springs. After 300-500 hours you should change them. You can do this yourself. The valve kits are $60.000. It’s very easy:

Unscrew bolts

Remove old valve

Replace valve

Make sure to seat the valve evenly

Screw the bolt back in by hand

Make sure the O-ring on the bolt is snug

Tighten with wrench pretty tight

Inspecting The Pump

If you drain the oil and it’s got bubbles in it or has turned white, then you have a blown seal and water is getting into the oil because: It overheated due to water starvation; The casing cracked because of vibration; You forgot to change the oil, dummy ($600 mistake and one lost day’s work if you can get the parts that fast).

Check to see if the belts are tight. If not tighten them. Look for water drips. A slow drip on the exit side of the pump could cost you as much as 150 PSI at the nozzle. A fast drip (two to three drops per second) could be a 250-300 PSI loss at the nozzle. A steady drip stream might be a 500 plus PSI loss. When you see water leaking, fix the leak ASAP. Be sure to use ample Teflon tape when re-tightening fittings. This will stop future leaks, prevent rust and make fittings easy to separate in the future.

A hole in a hose or leak on the inlet side of the pump causes air to get in. The pump will act as if it’s starving for water. It might even pulsate. When the water level in your tank reaches a point below the leak in the hose, air will replace the water and you’ll get zero pressure. That makes it very hard to wash anything.

Low pressure in the pump can be caused by a number of things; these are by far the most common, but this is not a complete list, generally if you go through this list the problem will be solved, check the easiest things first such as water supply:

Faulty pressure gauge (Replace)

Out of water (Fill up tank)

Old or worn out tip at gun nozzle (Replace)

Incorrect tip (Remove and replace)

Belt slippage (Tighten belt)

Hose leaks (Fix leaks)

Faulty unloader (Replace)

Mis-adjusted unloader (Re-adjust)

Worn packing in pump (Take it to dealer)

Inline filter clogged with dirt (Clean it)

Obstruction in spray nozzle tip (Remove it)

Chemical metering valve sucking air (Turn it off)

Slow engine rpm (Check engine)

If you have a pulsating issue at the gun or the machine is Fluctuating pressure, this is a completely different problem than low pressure. You should check for: Worn piston packing (Call dealer). Pump sucking air (Fix hole), Blockage in valve (Remove, check valves and take out blockage). If it is fluctuating and very noisy or if your pump is only noisy check for:

Air in suction line (Check water supply and connections)

Broken or weak inlet or discharge valve springs (Call dealer)

Excessive matter in valves (Check and clean if necessary)

Worn bearings (Check and replace. If necessary, call dealer)

Vibrations from mounting (Tighten it. If unable, call dealer)

If you find the presence of water in the pump oil, it could be caused by: Blown pump head seals, High humidity in air (Change oil more often) or Piston packing worn then call your dealer. If water or oil drips from the bottom of the pump this could be a number of things such as Piston packing worn, the O-ring plunger retainer is worn, Oil seal worn, Pump head seal shot or Crack in pump head. If any of these call the dealer and see if they have the parts in stock, you may be able to fix it yourself if you feel confident, if not you will need to leave your machines with the dealer for repairs.

Pump lubrication should be done every three months or 500 hours, which ever comes first. Use SAE 40 weight oil or equivalent for Cat pumps. Use 20/30 weight non-detergent oil for General pumps. It should be hydraulic oil with anti-wear and rust inhibitor additives. The oil level should be checked by looking in the window on the side of the pump. Only fill oil half way to the red dot.

As a pressure washing contractor you must understand how to maintain and repair your equipment, think about it.

Source by Lance Winslow

Moving to a New Home Might Mean a Vacation

Moving into a new home can be very stressful. Even if you currently live in an apartment or with your parents, there are a lot of details to take care of. There is the money aspect of it, including saving up a down payment, securing financing, and paying for closing costs. And that doesn’t even get in to all the logistical things like figuring out how to move all your belongings, purchasing new furniture and appliances, and deciding whether to recruit friends or paying a moving company to actually haul all your stuff. The planning alone can be a huge deal, so it’s no surprise that you can feel like you need to go off to a Curacao all inclusive resort before you even take ownership of the new place. You can be so stressed out that only a sandy beach, warm sun, and an umbrella drink seems like it can calm your nerves again. Sure, once you get moved in and settled things usually start to slow down, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still use a vacation!

Of course, if you have a home to sell in addition to one you are buying, things can be even more hectic. There is usually a lot of cleaning, fixing, and decluttering in the old house, which can be a real pain. And you will likely be showing your home in an attempt to sell it, so you need to keep it looking nice virtually every day. You may feel pretty tired, and really don’t want to mow the lawn, but you have to make sure that looks nice and neat too. You never know when the perfect buyer may come by and need to be wowed by your beautiful yard! If all of this makes you want to book a trip to inclusive resorts Jamaica style, that would make sense-it is a lot of work. But do not despair, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

That light at the end of the tunnel is when you actually find a new house that you want to buy. And you shouldn’t settle on a home until you actually find one that you absolutely love, because it is out there. You may not think it is after seeing five homes in a row that look like they are straight out of a 1970s interior design   magazine , but they are out there. And once you find it, maybe it is time to book that vacation to Trelawny Beach to celebrate!

Source by Alice Lane

Albert Einstein’s Fame

At the time of his death on the 18th April 1955, Albert Einstein was one of the most famous and popular men in the world. His very name was synonymous with genius and his humanity had earlier been recognised with an offer of the presidency of Israel. A cartoon by Herblock published in the Washington post some days after his death neatly highlighted his fame – it shows the earth with a sign pinned to it saying “Albert Einstein lived here”.

Since his death, Einstein’s fame has deepened and he is now an icon to rival any pop hero. He stares at us from any number of tee-shirts,   magazines  and posters. Time  magazine  named him the man of the twentieth Century and there is a small industry producing books to explain both his theories and life.

Why is he so famous? After all, fame in our age is rarely a reward for achievement or genius. If it were, then the answer to such a question would be an easy one. There is no doubting Einstein’s genius and his achievements were great. Much of what marks our modern world as distinct from past ages is touched or influenced by his work. Quantum theory, for which he was a founding father, has given us the gifts of our electronics and computing revolutions. The television and the laser, with its myriad of social and medical applications, not to mention its contribution to the telecommunications industry, are directly derived from his work. Relativity, his master work, has given us the big bang, black holes and a famous little equation that explains how our sun works and lies at the heart of our most destructive weapon.

Scientists continue to marvel at his work and creativity. What might once have been thought of as small morsels of Einstein’s larger works are now independent areas of research and are earning Nobel prizes for the scientists who investigate them.

However, for most of us, it remains a forlorn attempt to truly understand his theories, despite all the books on the market that attempt to explain them in simplistic terms. So his fame does not depend on our appreciation and understanding of his work. For the most part we are told of its importance and we accept the message.

Perhaps though, it is within the complexity and difficulty of his work that the answer to Einstein’s fame is found. We may not understand the theories, but we know they contain something of the mystery of life. At the time he published his revolutionary works, physics had become dominated by the practical application; Einstein turned everyone’s eyes to the heavens again. When he hit the public’s attention, with the verification of his General Theory of Relativity by the eclipse of 1919, the slaughter of the First World War had just ended. The world and its war weary population were ready for the transcendence that lay at the heart of Relativity.

We all feel the majesty of the universe when we look at the stars on a dark night. We all wonder and speculate what is there; what might be just beyond our site. Albert Einstein took the mystery of such questions out of the sky and brought them down to earth and he even provided some of the answers. It is little wonder then that we have feted him. Einstein’s fame rests on the simple fact that he put a little piece of magic in our lives.

Source by Alan Goodwin

Consumers Abused by Default Choices

At some point the business sector realized the best way to take advantage of consumers was to use default options that make them spend money. A default option works because it creates an automatic decision by the consumer doing nothing. And doing nothing is the path of least resistance for time-poor consumers struggling to balance the many difficult responsibilities associated with work, family, maintaining financial security, and coping with stresses on their health.

Consider, for example, the endless advertisements that offer a free sample or trial for a product, such as some nonprescription medication or vitamin supplement. It may be a free week’s or month’s worth of product. But the find print is that you will automatically be enrolled in a program that mails you a monthly supply and bills your credit card. There probably will be some opportunity for you to cancel or opt out of this program, but doing so will require some significant effort by mail or phone that most consumers will not find the time or energy to execute. No, the easy way is to just let the default option control your cost, even if you were not especially impressed with the trial use of the product. The same thing often happens with free trials for a magazine or some email publication.

If consumers were given a truly free choice they would have the opportunity to explicitly decide to buy a product that they tried or do nothing and have no future cost. This is the way it used to be before companies discovered the tyranny of coercive default options. Even today, when you are in a store and take a sample of food or some other product you have the freedom to walk away with no future cost or to decide to buy the product. Not so, however, with almost all “free” offers coming by way of newspaper and magazine ads, or the mail or Internet.

We should be sensitive to the ugly reality that there are many consumers who simply do not comprehend all the consequences of product default options. The principal example being elderly and ill Americans that may have some reduced intellectual or cognitive capabilities. Younger consumers and overly busy ones can also fail to appreciate default options. Millions of people are vulnerable to slick “free” offers that cleverly hide or disguise costly default options.

Governments can also use default options. The power of default options was recently illustrated by a study of how the rates of organ donation consent vary among nations. In the US where the default option is a negative decision (you must positively declare your organ donation consent), the rate is 28 percent and is somewhat similar in other countries using that default option, including 17 percent in the United Kingdom and 12 percent in Germany. But in nations where the default option is a positive decision for organ donation the rates are consistently very high, including nearly 100 percent in France, Austria and Hungry. This huge national difference was explained by University of Chicago behavioral economist Richard Thaler: “God made us lazy and busy and prone to inertia.”

Another example pertains to employers. When new workers are told that retirement accounts will automatically be started for them, unless they intentionally opt out (a positive default option), most gladly sign up. In contrast, if new hires are informed that such accounts will not be started unless they opt in (a negative default option), most do not sign up.

These two examples show the positive use of default options for the good of people and society.

This is not the case for consumer products.

People should always question “free” offers. Always ask yourself “Is there a costly default choice that will hit me?” Such a default choice is really no choice at all. Companies should not be free to deny us of real free choice when it comes to purchases.

I would like to see a federal consumer protection law that makes it illegal for all companies to use no-action default options that obligate consumers for future purchase. And so should you.

Source by Joel Hirschhorn

Personal Budget – 7 Guidelines That Will Help You Plan a Working Budget

Setting up your personal budget requires a hands-on approach. The following guidelines will help you plan a working budget to undertake this journey.

1. Gather all your financial details. That will include all of your bank accounts, credit cards and insurances papers – anything to do with your personal finances. These details will be needed to start your budget.

2. List all sources of income. This includes salary, rental income and regular dividends and interest.

3. Categorise your expenses starting with your commitments – list each item under headings such as:

  • Home: mortgage or rent.
  • Association and professional fees.
  • Insurance: health, motor vehicle, home, contents and life
  • Education costs
  • Day care and child care
  • Loans: car loan, student loan, bank fees and interest
  • Land tax or rates.
  • Other payments required as a commitment: motor vehicle licensing.
  • Investment – yes commit to your future and pay yourself!

4. List necessities – again list each item under headings:

  • Food, groceries, gas (petrol), home maintenance, security.
  • Utilities: gas, water, electricity, rubbish disposal, phone costs
  • School lunches, household supplies, car maintenance, internet service, dry cleaning, monthly parking.

5. Other expenses. Personal everyday expenses covering: lunch at work, snacks, coffee, drinks, newspapers, magazines, batteries, postage. Family and personal allowances: parties, entertainment, weekend outings, movies, concerts, other entertainment and events, home improvements and decorating, magazine and other subscriptions, dining out and fast food. Also include: clothing, hobbies, personal recreation, books, CD’s, manicures, hair care, alterations, shoe repair, personal and family gifts, gardening, film processing, video rentals, sports and gym, donations, computer software and other related items.

6. Once you have all your expenses listed add the total expenses and deduct these from your income. You will need to convert everything to monthly or weekly. This means that bills that are paid once a year must be divided by 12 to get the monthly figure. Convert quarterly payments to an annual figure then convert this to monthly. It is important that you include bills that are paid other than monthly to ensure that the money is available when the bill is due. Place the money in an interest bearing account.

7. Do you need to tweak your budget? When you deducted the expenses from your income was there any money left or did you find your expenses were more than your income? If your situation is the latter you will need to do some tweaking. The commitments cannot change. As for necessities you may be able to cut down on food expenses and find cheaper providers of utilities or try to save costs by being conscious of switching off lights etc. But it is the other expenses category that has the most capacity for tweaking as many of them are not needed and can be reduced or cut out. Review your budget regularly to make sure it is still working for you.

The time to start a personal budget is now and these guidelines are designed to make sure that your budget is truly a working budget — one that works for you!

Source by Lyn Bell

Culture Shock: When Moving From an Urban to a Rural Area

Rural Real Estate is popular. But, Think ahead and don’t open yourself up for; Culture Shock; An Unnecessary Evil, when moving to a rural area. Anyone CAN prevent some of the Culture Shock that may occur when they move to a rural neighborhood!

Before you move to a rural property — get to know the folks there and seek to learn the culture of the area — the existing culture — NOT the one you are accustomed to and not the one you want to make it into.

Our company just recently sold one of the most perfect Homestead Properties I’ve ever seen, at a very low price! Why? Because the new owner made himself so unwelcome in his new environment and so terribly alienated the neighbors that they eventually made him unbearably uncomfortable. Thus, he no longer wanted to live there.

He is an impolite environmentalist and decided to move from the city to a rural community where many of the families go back 400 years on the same land. He was a city boy with a degree in forestry, biology and ecology and had not a wit of people sense. His applied religion was based on watching Walt Disney movies; where the trees talk and man is evil and animals and plants are perfect.

He didn’t want his new neighbors to hunt deer, to farm the fields early in the morning, to use agricultural chemicals or artificial fertilizers on the crops. He didn’t like the airplanes that sprayed the killer bugs early in the morning. He didn’t like the smell of chicken and pig manure spread on the fields either. He spoke out constantly, loudly and aggressively. He made enemies of nearly all his neighbors. He’s gone now and I hope the new purchaser, also from the city, will not repeat his social errors.

Most of the folks that live here are great and realize they are in a new place and seek to become a part and work within our cultural, social and economic structures. Most of our new arrivals are wonderful and we have many as the population here in southern Delaware is doubling about every 6 years!

There is a tiny noisy scat of people, only a tiny few, who come and hate it here. Yet they left where they were to come have a better life in this area. We see it all the time. The locals call them environmental whackos, tree huggers, bug kissers and much worse. These are the people who have learned all about nature from Walt Disney, Nature Channel, Discovery Channel and Sierra magazine. And yes they often have college degrees. They are not aware that reality is different from their movies, readings, classes and dreams. Thus too many of them flee the city and then seek to enforce their ignorance and miseducation on those in the community they have joined. They try to bully others and try to get them to agree with the rules, regulations, concepts and philosophy they left behind in the city. NOT a good plan if they want to have a pleasant place to live. Many of these folks think they know more about nature, trees, plants, animals, the earth and everything else; than those whose families have lived in harmony with earth’s life forms for decades or even centuries here. Hopefully my strong language above has impressed you to read and learn here, rather than at the eventually harsh hands of a rural community if you don’t pay attention to what is here.

It is wise to visit the area you plan to live several times before you move there. Join the church, support the Volunteer Fire Department, buy gas at the closest gas station, purchase your beer or wine at the local liquor store, become familiar with every public area and visit the community centers and philanthropic groups in the area. Most of all chat with folks and tell them you are considering a move into the area and ask them for advice. Visit the Lions Club, Sertoma, Elks, Rotary, Red Men, etc., and seek to learn instead of teaching. Listen instead of talking. Ask, don’t tell.

There is little, if anything, the newcomer can teach the locals about local things. If you must try to teach the locals something; if you try to teach them about your expertise where you came from, what you were paid to do in the past, about the job and area you fled (if you can find anyone who cares) – you are on a wrong course and will shorely wreck.

Obviously, if you are one of those people who left all that urban stuff, you are one who doesn’t really find it all that valuable either. Otherwise you should have stayed there. And you can bet that is exactly what your neighbors will be thinking if you move into a rural area and take a know-it-all and I’m-so-much-smarter-because-I-come-from-the-city attitude. They may be quiet, or even polite in your presence for a while, but that sort of an attitude will cause only animosity in those around you. And, they will talk about you, briefly to each other and your bad attitude will precede you and be nearly impossible to correct later.

Find out what the community needs and wants from new or prospective members, such as yourself; really find out, don’t guess or assume and leave pre-judgement out of the picture. We’ve had numerous folks who have moved here to be marketing experts or PR experts or Graphic Design experts. Not one of the several dozen I’ve met over the last 30 years is still in

business and none of them are even still here as far as I know. The service they were hoping to charge big money for was not wanted at any price, not even free.

One of my customers from some twenty five years ago — moved from San Francisco into a “small (pop. 800) unspoiled, rural, quaint, picturesque town — populated with salt-of-the-earth and down-to-earth folks” as she spoke of them at first. The couple I speak of had gelded their son, actually they had a surgeon do it, so that his voice would not change with age – all so he could sing in a world famous choir.

They wanted to start training the locals to build a “Boy’s Choir”. They were infuriated that the local school district would not support a boy’s choir that they were certain could be the envy of the world, if they could just show everyone how to do everything. A year later they spoke of “the nasty little town full of stupid irritable ignorant slobs, shanties, shacks, old trucks, fat toothless men, red necks, gossipy women, uneducated Rubes and inbred hicks whose idea of culture was a beer and burger in a pickup truck.”. The San Franciscans are gone now too. Their name seldom comes up, and when it does, it is not in a good humor or a good vein.

I am in the business of selling rural land, forests and homes. I love the people who already live in the several areas where I work. I love the customers I do business with. MOST of the time, the newcomers fit in well with the preexisting community. Some, very few, of my customers move in and spoil the area for themselves and for a little while, for those already here. The only reason is that they have not learned of the REALITY of rural, country life in the particular community before they purchase there.

It is often, in fact usually, not possible to rent before buying in a particular area; so it is very, very wise to look well before you leap into a rural community if you did not grow up there. Even if you did grow up in a rural area and then did not stay in touch with family and friends there since, you may find you no longer fit in. But you can relearn those customs you left behind, if you really want to “return to your roots”. And if you’ve never lived in the area, you can learn the ethnicity, the customs, and learn to be a good neighbor.

IF you seek to fit in and contribute to the community, according to what IS really needed and wanted in that particular community — you may well enjoy a type of heaven-on-earth in your new home.

One fellow comes to mind who came, loved and was well loved. He was a military radio expert who had traveled the world, made tons of money, lived in DC and Northern Virginia for decades. Attended the finest, fastest, and most expensive functions in the area and after retirement decided to move to our rural resort area. He moved here at the height of the CB craze, when almost everyone of the rural folks had a CB and wanted it to work better or needed one properly installed in their home or car. He did it all free of charge for anyone who asked. He was after all retired. Every time I visited him he’d load up my Wagoneer with eggs, fruits and vegetables from the farms, orchards and gardens of those he’d helped. I helped him with making the contacts he wanted to make and with getting permissions to private “fishing holes” away from everything. He was a catch and release fisherman and would always clean up any and all trash around the fishing hole, before he even started fishing there.

One neighbor kept this gentleman’s grass cut and told him he get a good cussing if he wastefully bought a lawnmower. Another neighbor wouldn’t take a nickel for changing the brakes on his car. Another neighbor fixed his roof for free. Several of the ladies in the neighborhood would cook some extra dinner for him, two or three times a week, and bring it over. He was invited to dine somewhere in the surrounding community almost every night. And, he was asked for stories of his world travels and the fancy parties he went to. He was fit, and actually fairly wealthy as he lived simply, had been paid well and invested well during his working years.

He could have afforded an expensive home but he chose instead to live simply and well within his means. His car broke down, it was about 8 years old, one time and he pulled over, got out and planned to walk a couple of miles to get some help. He told me three cars stopped to give him a ride in the space of a few minutes and one of them, in a pickup truck hooked up his car and towed it to another friends house where it was fixed for free.

He later sold the car at a very reasonable price to a lady in the neighborhood who really needed some help. He sold it to her for $1,000 — about what the dealership would have given him and a couple of thousand less than one would have cost her. He paid cash for another car three years old. He could have afforded a new Mercedes, if he wanted one. He was constantly telling me how great his neighbors where. Why? Because he was a good neighbor to everyone else!

He passed away, we don’t know why, and there were hundreds at his funeral, more than most natives would have and none were family… He left a nice inheritance to the local volunteer fire department, for new equipment and asked that instead of flowers, folks plant a tree. We use him as an example of a GREAT newcomer and he set a high standard for us all as neighbors!

Copyright ©2004 Jody Hudson [] and
[email protected]

Source by Jody Hudson

Otaku Nation: Anime’s Effect on American Pop Culture

The modern age of Anime arrive in Japan in the 1960s, and over the course of the next decade or so boomed into the giant robot, space battle genre bender that we would soon recognize as the anime of today.

Evolving over the next 30 years or so, it reached a peak where it could begin to overtake and become an integral part of other cultures, much like the Hollywood of the 1930s quickly grew to encompass the rest of the world and inform their pop culture. In the same manner, American pop culture becomes increasingly informed by the trends and cult response to anime.

Anime first appeared in the US market in the 60s with shows like Kimba the White Lion and Astroboy. However, the national consciousness as to where these shows came from as well as the poor marketing of the shows made them forgettable and rather than a jumping in point, they act as a nostalgic reminder.

When Speed Racer arrived, the beginnings of a true consciousness that Japan was creating something new and exciting began to set in. The popularity of Speed Racer was never that of its American contemporaries, but it created in a set fanbase the willingness to devour newer offerings later on in Starblazers and Robotech (a convoluted perversion of multiple animes, but still a relative success in the states). Still, the affect was mostly underground.

In the 1980s, the introduction of Beta and VHS made it possible to join together with friends and watch more varying forms of anime. Truly it was the technological revolutions of the coming years that would make it truly possible for anime to perforate the American entertainment bubble. When Akira arrived in 1989, the effect was palpable. Receiving only a limited American screen release, few saw it in initial release, but the copying of VHS tapes and word of mouth made it something of a cult sensation. Those that knew of Akira were fans for life, eagerly awaiting their chance to partake more and more of the growing trends out of Japan.

For Japan’s part, this era was a period of major expansion, a veritable boom in the business. The 1980s saw the success of shows like Gundam and Dragon Ball overgrow the national consciousness and become runaway sensations. The explosion of the manga industry before hand, with serializations of works by Akira Toriyama and Katsuhiro Otomo in the early 80s simmered in the youth of Japan and finally seeing the commercial possibilities of these works, creating in the process a major conglomerate of companies in the Akira Committee to bring the massive budget of Akira to fruition.

By the 90s anime was the mainstream in Japan, and the result was the ramping up of production and increased output of shows. In part because of the simple, streamlined art style, multiple artist were able to work on a single project and create on episode a week for years at a time, resulting in monumental runs such as the case of Dragonball (156 episodes) and Dragonball Z (276 episodes). The ability to serialize and turn a story into something that millions of youths would tune into each and every week made companies billions (of yen) and secured the kinds of commercial sponsorships and funding necessary to undertake incredible projects that would require vast sums of money to complete.

Back in America, a few executives were beginning to see the effect these shows were having in Japan. Slowly and very carefully they began taking the most popular, Dragonball Z and Sailormoon for example and finding timeslots very early in the day, before the daily retinue of American cartoons, testing the waters of marketability. In 1995, the trickle of anime into the states was just that, a relative trickle. Sailormoon aired every morning in syndication, but chopped up and missing key seasons to relate the endings of important storylines. Dragonball Z ran an equally mild run early on Saturdays in syndication that was abruptly cut when the rights to the show were lost by the initial company and purchased by Funimation.

All the while, works from Japanese masters like Hayao Miyazaki were being overlooked, passing unnoticed through limited release in the states, while making him a God of his craft in Japan. All the while companies like Manga, Funimation, and Viz were buying up licenses and releasing little known, untraceable shows that no one knew the origin of. The shows were treated poorly, often dubbed and cut up to match American audiences. Viz even launched the first Anime magazine in 1993 with Animerica, primarily reviewing their own products but still giving a view of the culture that no one knew anything about.

But, in 1995, the release of the shows in America along with the premiere and rave reviews of Neon Genesis Evangelion in Japan, Otaku interest abroad began to spike. Otaku is a bid of a misnomer as it’s a bit of an insult in Japan, a mean spirited way to call someone a nerd. Here though, it generally means a purveyor of Japanese pop-culture and with the Otaku so in style right now it’s less of an insult than a clique. The import and fan subbing of shows began in earnest via VHS editing software that few if anyone had access to. The early 90s was a time of massive growth of interest in the little known import of Anime though, and the American marketplace wasn’t slow to react.

In 1997, television networks made broad sweeping moves to bring shows to the mainstream. The Sci-Fi channel had always had a small niche in its latenight line up for cult classics like Vampire Hunter D, but Warner Bros finally brought the genre to primetime. Funimation finally got their licensing figured out and Dragonball Z saw its triumphant return to the Cartoon Network, with new episodes to follow a year and a half later. And in 1998, a little known video game for the Game Boy exploded in the American market, bringing along with it its entire arsenal of marketing ploys, including the overwhelmingly childish, but enormously popular Pokemon anime. Finally, children across the nation were gluing themselves to the television set as earnestly as their Japanese counterparts had for nearly a decade before hand.

Miyazaki’s new film played to better reception, receiving a proper release via Miramax. Princess Mononoke was a success in the terms of the time, even receiving the coveted two thumbs up (let alone a review at all) from Siskel and Ebert. Films began to arrive in America more liberally, still finding limited release, but release at least. And the shows began to pour in. At the time, the fansub scene was more or less the only way to get access to some of the more obscure titles being released in Japan. But as the market boomed, so did the licensing by major companies, and it actually started to become illegal to fansub certain shows because they might be released by a company eventually.

Thus began the final and full assimilation of Japanese pop culture into American. The DVD format sped up the process, as more episodes of a show could be packed into a disc than a VHS and production costs plummeted, removing a lot of the financial risk of an untested foreign product in the American marketplace. Cartoon Network debuted its Toonami afternoon cartoon slot, in which they featured anime that had been around for a little while, but managed to appeal to a much larger demographic and spread the word about these great story driven cartoons from across the ocean. An entire generation grew into the growing popularity and became entranced by the epic storylines, amazing storytelling and ability to show in a cartoon what many considered adult themes and much more mature perspectives on things like competition and personal success. The Japanese ability to cross genre and the extremely high production values that started to go into shows made in the late 90s and beyond meant amazing shows that appealed not just to children but to adults and beyond.

What started as a crossover, slowly began to actually change the way in which American’s marketed their television to children. Shows with more adult content appeared, and in some cases emulated the Japanese format. The writers at Pixar crafted brilliant, more maturely themed cartoons without the silly musicals of Disney past, and Disney even dissolved their tried format in favor of more mature, complete stories. The devolution of American quality in cartoons though as they attempted to match the output meant even more Japanese entries in the market. Now, if you turn on Fox kids in the morning you’ll find over half of the shows on are animes. And Cartoon Network still presents multiple entries themselves, with more mature offerings in their Adult Swim block late at night. Spirited Away won the Oscar for best animation in 2003 and South Park, the quintessential American barometer of cultural trends at first knocked the trend with their Chinpokemon episode, later to embrace it (while still mocking it) via changing their own art style in the Weapons episode just a couple years ago.

Nowadays, you’ll find anime oriented t-shirts everywhere, an entire aisle devoted to DVD releases in Best Buy (compared to the one row only seven years ago) and the success of the Anime Network, a channel solely devoted to Anime programming. Magazines like Newtype, a Japanese trade magazine for the Anime industry is now translated and released in America every month with previews of new shows, and American directors like James Cameron are looking to direct live action versions of manga like Battle Angel Alita.

Now, we see new releases from Japan within six months, and the fansub community has to scramble to keep up with what’s legal and what’s not legal to offer via their online services. The internet itself has made it a huge community, where a show can be recorded on Japanese television, ripped and subbed, then uploaded within a couple hours for the world to view. There’s no lay over, and new shows are immediately available. And it’s evident in the universities too. Japanese is one of the most sought after languages, filling up immediately with a yard long waiting list every year, and more sections being added every year.

Japanese pop culture managed to tap a certain perspective that American counterparts were unable to do themselves and in so doing, cornered and grew in a market that few thought existed in America.

Source by Anthony Chatfield

Joining Male Fitness Model Agency – How And Why

Entering the fashion and modeling world is the dream of many people but, is it always possible for every male to enter the fashion world and display brand items on the runway? The answer is probably no because there are tough requirements for walking between the photographers and showing off different clothes and accessories. For those males who have good muscular bodies but still fall short for the harsh requirements of fashion modeling, joining male fitness model agency could be your magical gate to   magazine  covers.

A good male fitness model agency will get you the needed exposure on  magazine  covers and in related commercials published inside. Most of those who enter this niche are fitness trainers who are keen to gain more credentials and make their trainee believe more in them. Getting this level of exposure will give you this advantage.

How to join a male fitness model agency is not chemistry but, it is a systematic process that you need to apply accurately in order to achieve your goal. The best way to do this is through getting in contact with fitness photographers who are working constantly with fitness  magazines . All you need to do is to make an impressive portfolio of different poses of your body and send it to these photographers. If you have a good muscular body with well toned abs then you can rest assured that you will get a call from one of them very soon.

The market is in a constant demand for male models with bulging six packs and well chiseled bodies to display fitness accessories and swim suits. If you are enjoying a muscular body then joining a male fitness model agency could be your best choice, all what you need to do is to contact the right photographer and your photo will appear quickly on  magazine  covers.

Listen carefully to the instructions of your photographer because it is the only guaranteed way to join a decent male fitness model agency. If your photographer asked you to send a shot for a particular part of your body then do what he exactly said. Do not plunge your face in every picture or your muscles will look smaller.

When it comes to joining a male fitness model agency, think about the benefits you will yield before thinking of the financial reward as it may not be as large as fashion modeling but, it will give you the opportunity to appear on  magazine  covers.

Source by Dermound Becker

Succession Planning

Transferring a business to the next generation requires not only financial arrangements but also customer goodwill and employee cooperation. This 1996 article was published in Nation’s Business Magazine.

Most of us equate business succession planning with working out the financial details following the death of the owner. In fact, through the use of various life-insurance techniques, I’m continually showing business-owner clients ways to do just that – to prepare for making a smooth and cost-effective transfer of their business to the next generation.

If I learned anything the time I joined my father’s business at age 22, and then purchasing it from him at 28 in 1997, it is that succession planning doesn’t end with an estate plan and life-insurance policies. Protecting the financial aspects of any business is just the beginning; real succession planning involves developing a strategy for transferring the trust, respect, and the goodwill built by one generation to the next.

Although we actively planned the transfer of the business for three years, Dad started building bonds of trust between us as soon as I came on board. In the years between my joining the firm and becoming its president, I joined Dad each time he met with a client. With each passing year, I started handling more of his accounts and by the time he retired, I had taken over most of his clients. Still, being my father’s son was not going to be enough for me to retain the trust of those longtime customers; they had signed up with my father’s firm, not mine.

I started applying what I called “the power of doing the unnecessary.” This involved sending his clients notes, stopping by, and calling – not to sell anything, just to keep in touch. If I read an article that I thought would interest a client or that was related to a policy they held, I would send a copy. The point was to let them know they were on my mind and that, although it was Dad’s business, I was going to serve them in my own way. This approach helped solidify my clients’ trust and confidence in me.

Similarly, the succession plan recognized that I needed to develop relationships with our employees. Early on I took over both the training and sales functions because I felt that with the sales force behind me and with my own “team” in place, I could weather any storm. As with our clients, my expanding role meant paying attention to the details, in this case whether the staff was happy and had the support, technology, and other necessities to maximize their productivity.

Fostering both client and employee confidence and trust also meant letting people know the exact date Dad would retire, a year in advance. When the big day came, Dad actually left the office -an important step because it forced people to deal with me.

While no one likes letting employees go, I wasn’t afraid to move out individuals who didn’t want to be part of my team. I also held to my plan of minimal growth in the first couple of years after the transition. Choosing not to expand our client base or staff right away not only eliminated the unneeded pressure but also gave people time to feel comfortable with the change in ownership.

Years of planning paid off with a smooth succession, eliminating most of the bumps on a path that many small firms eventually must take. I bought the business over the first 48 months after my father left, giving him the liquidity he needed for his retirement years.

The company has grown from eight full-time agents in 1987 to 36 today. We earned $3.5 million in commissions in 1995, and we have increased our client base to nearly 8,000 people. Perhaps the best testament to our success is that we continue to attract quality salespeople. My father, at age 69, became our “newest” associate last year, rejoining the firm as a salesman after he found he missed being in the business world.

Source by Andrew S Bluestone