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10 Tips for Enjoying Your Wedding as a Pregnant Bride

Thu, 03/31/2011 - 06:17
Gone are the days when the pregnant bride had a rushed, quiet wedding to cover the "shame". Realism and relaxed social mores have set in and many brides are pregnant; indeed, in 2001, one London dress shop estimated that almost 20 percent of its customers were expecting.[1] Both pregnancy and marriage are occasions for celebration, so the pregnant bride has every right to stand tall and feel proud, as well as looking very radiant on her special day. Steps
  1. Understand the feelings of others around you. For some people the cultural or faith beliefs and expectations that they hold may make it hard for them to accept your willingness to be a pregnant bride. Have compassion for them because they're taking things very literally without thinking through the consequences, including that you've chosen to get married and live with your spouse and the child. Take some time to talk to them about their feelings, listen well, and then explain your own feelings to them. While you probably won't see eye-to-eye completely, avoiding hurling your anger and frustration at them will earn you their respect, even if begrudgingly.
    • Explain to people who preach woe and shame that today's attitudes are far more relaxed and compassionate.
    • Sharon Naylor, author of The Bride's Diplomacy Guide, suggests that if you're confronted with thinly veiled criticism about getting married "in that condition", respond by saying something along the lines of "We've been so blessed, and we're happy to share our wedding with our entire family."[2]
  2. Don't act ashamed. This unhealthy externally-induced emotion is one of the things that has the potential to ruin everything for you, your spouse-to-be, and for your child when he or she grows old enough to understand how the wedding was and how you felt about it. Be proud of the decisions you make in life. Pregnancy and marriage are two states to be very excited about, so stay proud!
    • Be aware that there may be a special challenge with those who were coerced into marrying young in the past because of pregnancy. They may resent the fact that you're glowing and proud to show off your bump while they had to slink around and quickly get the marriage over and done with.
    • Queen Victoria's wedding shoesDeal with the "white dress" issue. White dresses are a Victorian invention following the fact that Queen Victoria was married in white[3] (her example was always followed at the time); later, the idea of white gained a strange moral overtone that wasn't even the reason when white first became fashionable.[4] Today, white is simply viewed as a popular and traditional wedding color and not as a moral judgment. If you want to wear white, then wear it. Equally, if you'd rather wear any other color, go for that too. Don't be hampered by a social convention that is confused and out-dated!
  3. Talk to your officiant if you're planning on a church wedding. Some churches won't allow a wedding with a pregnant bride but many churches will. Ask around and again, do not be ashamed.
    • Some churches require pre-marital counseling. Ask about the requirements.
    • Some chaplains/priests/other faith officiant may expect you to "tone down" the wedding to make it a more private affair. If that doesn't suit you, then keep asking around or consider a compromise such as a private wedding and a large reception.
  4. Expect a few challenges with the dress but don't settle for anything that looks like frump with a bump. Find a good dressmaker and tell her the date of the wedding and how far pregnant you'll be on that date. Your dress will need to be alterable as you cannot predict your growth rate or dynamics; ask your dressmaker to bear this in mind when making up the dress. Look for fuller gowns rather than tight fits, small waists, and anything figure-hugging. The right style of dresses include empire line, princess line or A-line dresses.[5]
    • Place the accent on your shoulders and bust to draw the eye away from your belly zone.
    • If buying a ready-made maternity bridal gown, it's a good idea to try and leave it until much closer to the wedding date, to be sure of a comfortable fit.
    • Avoid corsets, tightly laced bodices, or any other constricting gear. Flow is the go for a woman with a growing bubs and aching joints.
  5. Changing into dance flats for the reception is one cool solutionForget the fancy high heels. Go with comfortable flats that will allow you stand for a good period of time without feeling even more achy and tired than your pregnancy is already managing to do to you.
  6. Have the usual accessories. The veil, jewelery, purse, and bouquet remain unaffected by your belly size, so enjoy all of them as much as wished.
  7. Consider having a mock wedding ring made up. Pregnancy tends to make most women swell and your fingers won't be immune to this! One neat answer is to have both your real wedding ring and a mock one, using the mock one for the wedding ceremony and then wearing your real wedding ring once your fingers are back to their usual size. If you want the real ring to be part of the ceremony, you could wear it around your neck or have it placed upon the ring cushion next to the mock ring and carefully stored after the vows are exchanged.
    • You could also consider purchasing the ring fitted to your swollen fingers and have it altered later.
  8. Plan the menu. When pregnant you cannot consume certain things, so be sure that there are suitable alternatives available for you on the menu. This doesn't mean you can't let your guests, the groom and wedding party enjoy these things, it just means you need to find alternatives for you as well. Things that you won't be able to share in include:
    • Alcohol, seafood and any raw fish, soft cheeses, and anything your doctor advises against.
  9. Plan a honeymoon that's realistic and very relaxing. You deserve double the pampering with wedding planning and baby growing contributing to your overall exhaustion. Find a place that isn't hard to get to and that doesn't require a lot of planning but that promises much peace, quiet, and pampering.
    • If flying, check that both destination and return flights are able to take you; most airlines won't let pregnant women fly after a certain period into the pregnancy unless it's an emergency.
    • Be sure that your insurance covers any pregnancy complications or even giving birth. Also know where hospitals are in case of an emergency.
    • Another way around this is to simply postpone the honeymoon until after the baby's born. You'll deserve the rest and the babysitting!
  10. Enjoy your wedding. Fatigue may be the biggest factor for you during the wedding, especially if it's long. You may need to sit more than you expected, so be sure there are chairs placed in strategic places for you to rest when needed. Talk to the chaplain/priest/celebrant about the length of vows too, in case you're worried about their length or about having a tall stool or something to lean off if need be. Try to do everything possible to ease the fatigue, including good shoes, plenty of water, and easy bathroom access. For the most part, concentrate on enjoying to occasion and shining because it's your day and you deserve to have the very best day possible.
Video Tips
  • Wedding dress designers do cater for pregnant women; it's just not something that is advertised a lot because it's not a selling point for wedding outfitters. However, don't be shy, ashamed, or afraid; just tell the fitter or dressmaker you're pregnant and work from there.
  • Disguising the fact that you're pregnant with a dress is possible early on. Go one dress size up, make the top part of your dress the elaborate feature, and carry a large bouquet.
  • Consider the length of everything - the ceremony, the reception, the speeches, etc., and think seriously of paring down where you can. And depending on your stamina, it may not be a good idea to have a reception that goes late into the evening. If your heart is set on this, simply accept that you may need to bow out earlier than the wedding party and guests, but let them enjoy the rest of the night.
  • Avoid marrying fast just because of pregnancy. This must be done for the right reasons, not because you feel it is the right thing to do by social standards. Are the two of you compatible for life? Will the stress of planning a wedding be better left off until after the baby is born? Make your choice wisely.
Things You'll Need
  • Venue
  • Maternity or larger bridal gown
  • Flat shoes
  • Suitable menu
  • Accessories
Related wikiHows Sources and Citations Article Tools

How to Understand the Physics of Portal

Thu, 03/31/2011 - 06:17
Portal, a Sci-fi puzzle-platform game released by Valve in 2007 for Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, Playstation 3 (and more recently, Mac OS X), offers a very unique approach to gaming. Instead of outwitting an enemy with sheer force and firepower, you must complete puzzle games and use your brain to win. You do this with the aid of the Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device (ASHPD, also known as a "portal gun"): a device that can create inter-spatial portals between flat planes.

While the game is designed in a way to help you understand the concept of portals, it can still be a difficult idea to grasp, as it is a completely new way of thinking that humans have never had to use before. That, perhaps, is how you ended up here.

  1. Blue and orange portals side-by-side. The feet visible in the orange portal belong to your character, Chell. More on this later. Understand that the entire game revolves around the use of two portals; one blue and one orange. From this, you should be able to grasp the following basic rules of portals:
    • There can only be one blue and one orange portal active at any given time.
    • If you have both portals active, and then you shoot another one (a blue one, perhaps), it will replace the blue one that previously existed. The orange one will remain unaffected until you shoot another orange one.
  2. Start a new game of Portal. When you begin the game, you will be in the relaxation vault. After listening to GLaDOS (the computer voice that talks to you throughout the game) talk for a minute or so, an orange portal will open in the wall of the room you are in. If you look through the glass wall to your right, you'll see a blue portal.
  3. Look through the orange portal. You will be able to see a female character in an orange jumpsuit. That's your character, Chell. Yes, you can see yourself through portals that face each other or you. The developers placed the first portals like this on purpose, to help you understand that portals do not take you into alternate dimensions. They simply allow you to move between flat surfaces, such as two walls.
  4. Walk through the orange portal. You will come out through the blue portal that you saw earlier. If you walked through the blue portal again, you would find yourself in the relaxation vault with the orange portal again.
  5. Continue playing. The room you enter after walking through that first set of portals introduces you to weighted storage cubes which become increasingly more important throughout the game, and test chamber 01 helps you become more comfortable with the idea of walking through portals.
  6. Acquire the blue portal gun in test chamber 02. Once you have managed to do that, you will be able to shoot your own blue portals (the orange portal will still be placed for you) by left-clicking the mouse. With this new power comes an awareness of a couple more rules of portals:
    • It doesn't matter which portal you enter and which one you exit. If you haven't figured this out yet, you can go either way through either color.
    • You can't shoot a portal through another portal. For instance, if you are looking through the orange portal (into the area where you shot the blue portal), you can't shoot another blue portal through the orange portal. It simply can't happen.
    • You can only shoot portals on certain surfaces. As a general rule, you can shoot portals in the gray walls, ceilings, and floors that make up most of the earlier test chambers, but you can't shoot on the bronze-colored metal. If you are unsure if you can shoot a portal somewhere, look at the indicator in the middle of your screen. If it is only an outline, you can't shoot a portal where it is pointing. However, if it is filled in with color, you can shoot a portal.
  7. Illustration of two-portal flinging. Continue playing until you reach test chamber 10. Here, you will be introduced to the way portals affect forward momentum, and a technique known as "flinging". There are two techniques for flinging, but only one will be used to get through this test chamber.
    1. Look for the portal that is already placed. It will either be on a section of movable wall above you, or on the ground in front of you (possibly below you, requiring jumping or falling to reach it).
    2. Once you determine the location of the orange portal, place a blue portal in the other location.
    3. Jump through the portal on the floor. This may be as simple as shooting one right below or in front of you and walking through it, or you may have to jump off a ledge and aim to fall through the one below you. If the blue one is the one you're jumping to, you may find it easier to shoot the blue portal below you as you're falling.
    4. If you have done this correctly, you should find that you have landed a level above where you previously were.
  8. Proceed to test chamber 11, where you will acquire the other piece of your portal gun that allows you to create orange portals by right-clicking. You are now fully in control of both portals.
  9. Illustration of three-portal flinging. Continue playing until you reach test chamber 15. Here, you become familiar with two new concepts: three-portal flinging, and a new rule of portals that you may not have realized. You will see a lot of those particle fields like the ones that have been in front of all of the elevators so far. Be aware that if you shoot a portal somewhere and then walk or fling through the particle field, the portals on the other side will disappear. As for flinging...
    1. Set up the way you would for two-portal flinging: One portal above you, the other below you. For explanation purposes, we'll say you shot the orange one above you and plan to jump through the blue one.
    2. Jump through the blue one. You will realize as you are falling back down that you did not reach the other side of the gap you are trying to bridge because you haven't achieved enough momentum yet. The only way to remedy this is to jump through another blue portal.
    3. As you are falling, shoot another blue portal in midair to fall through (or, if possible, fall through the one you fell through the first time). Assuming you don't hit the sides of the blue portal on the way in (or miss it all together), this time, you should reach your destination.
  10. Armed with your complete ability to shoot portals and new-found understand of the physics behind them, finish the game. Rumor has it that there will be cake. Good luck!
Video Tips
  • For fun (or achievements), you can knock "vital testing apparatus" (cameras) off the walls by shooting portals behind them, as long as both portals are active somewhere in the test chamber. Since there is no longer a wall for them to be attached to, they simply fall off. GLaDOS will scold you, but you suffer no penalty from doing this.
  • You can move objects through portals without having to pick them up and take them through with you. For instance, if you put an orange portal above one of the large red buttons and shoot a blue portal underneath a weighted storage cube, it will go through the orange portal and land on the button. If you're thinking with portals, this should be obvious.
  • When jumping down to reach portals for flinging, make sure you have "portal funnel" turned on in your options. This makes the game slightly easier, as the computer will be helping to guide you through the portal.
  • Don't be surprised if you shoot two portals in separate floors, go through one, and find yourself bobbing between the two in midair. You didn't do anything wrong; this is simply what happens according to portal physics. To get out of this infinite loop, just walk forward and you will end up standing on solid ground on whichever side you were on when you started walking. Keep this in mind, actually, as it can help you in solving some of the harder puzzles.
    • This can also occur if you try to portal an object between two floors, but since the object can't walk forward, you will simply have to grab it.
  • Once you become familiar with thinking with portals, it should be of no surprise to you that if you shoot one portal on the ceiling and the other one directly below it, and jump in, you will end up moving in an infinite loop. The solution to get out of this is the same as above: just walk forward. There are some times that you would actually want to do this, and you'll know when that is.
  • Turrets can shoot you through portals. Be careful. Energy balls can also go through portals, but this is usually a good thing, as long as you're not standing in front of them.
  • If you're very prone to motion sickness, you may have some trouble with Portal. Since you could be jumping through a wall and coming out of a ceiling and falling down, your sense of where "up" is is constantly messed with. This takes a lot of getting used to.
Things You'll Need
  • Portal and the relevant playing platform
Related wikiHows Article Tools

How to Cat Proof Your Computer

Thu, 03/31/2011 - 06:17
Some editing help.Many cats seem to be fascinated with computers. Maybe it's the warm place on top of the monitor, maybe it's that enticing clicking sound, or maybe it's because this thing is stealing all the attention and occupying the fingers that should be scratching behind their ears. Whatever the reason, neither the fur nor the lounging is doing your computer much good and kitty risks harming herself if she gets entangled. Steps
  1. Way too many wiresTake care of the wires. Tie and bundle all the loose wires, and, if possible, enclose them in an appropriate covering. Remove any peripheral devices you don't use and put them away. For more information on keeping the cords at bay, read wikiHow's article How to keep cats from chewing in electric cords and chargers.
    • Don't forget about laptop cords. While laptops are easy to carry about the house with you, their thin cords are an invitation to curious felines. Try to keep the cords out of sight and definitely not dangling or jiggling!
  2. Don't let your computer get this dirtyKeep the computer clean and clear of cat fur. Cat fur ends up everywhere, including inside your computer and your keyboard. If it builds up, it can present a safety hazard as with any build-up of dust and fluff. Some ideas to protect your computer include:
    • Clean the fan, vent openings, and any filters in your computer regularly. Doing this will help reduce your household's allergies and will remove any build-up of cat and other pet hair. All that fur clogging things up can overheat your computer and will make the computer work harder to keep itself cool.
    • Cover the keyboard when not in use. There are various dust and keyboard covers for sale in computer retail outlets. Alternatively, you could improvise one out of a bag. Don't cover the keyboard of a laptop while it is turned on; doing so could trap too much heat. Use your favorite search engine to help find places that will sell you custom keyboard covers.
    • Shut the laptop when not in use and put it away. Even when shut, claws can leave scratch marks on the laptop surface.
  3. Discourage your feline companions from living near the computing equipment as much as possible. Obviously, if you're the kind of person who delights in having your cat sitting alongside your keyboard while you type, this step will probably never be for you and you'll just have to minimize the risks that come with allowing puss to share your desk space, the main one being never leaving your cat there unattended; if you go out of the room, shoo the cat out as well.

    If you're a little more determined though, you might consider discouraging your cat from even considering your desk a suitable landing spot. It's a good habit for your cat to be discouraged from not jumping up on anything where there are fragile or easily damaged items. However, this is easier said than done for a cat is a determined creature who may just see forbidden places as the most enticing. In that case, it can be helpful to simply pick up your cat swiftly and place her gently back down on the floor every single time she tries to take up residence with you beside the keyboard if you don't want her landing on the desk in anticipation when you're not around. She'll soon get the message it's a boring place to be and that you'll react that way every single time.
    • Alternatively, make the desk unpleasant by having books, papers, stationery, etc. act as hurdles or barriers; just be careful though, as a pile of papers can be enticing and can easily tip over with a cat landing on it.
    • Adhesive tape can put off many cats from clambering around the desk, as they don't like stepping on the sticky side of adhesive tape; try placing double sided tape or loops of packing tape in their way to discourage them. The only downside of this is when you forget and stick yourself to the desk too!
    • Provide distinct "safe zones" for your cat, such as a basket that is located near you but not next to the computer, and it's even better if she is at eye level with you when you sit down. For example, place a comfy cat basket on top of a filing cabinet situated alongside your desk, so she knows she's allowed there and that she can still view the action, including eyeballing you when needed.
  4. Protect the keyboard from paw strokes. Cats will walk over anything in the pursuit of finding comfortable spots to sit and lie down. If your keyboard happens to be in the way, so be it, it's just another walking surface to the average cat and it might even prove comfy. Whether you're in the habit of dashing away from the keyboard while your cat is left unattended, or your cat has her own habit of pawing the keyboard, you could be in for some embarrassing edits on your favorite wiki! Worse than that is the possibility that a wandering kitty might erase work or files, or even crash computers should the wrong keys get pressed in the right sequence, so don't take the risk. Some easy solutions include:
    • Use a desk with a keyboard tray and keep the tray pushed in when not in use. Alternatively, simply remember to put your keyboard upright or tucked away somewhere else whenever you leave the desk. This is about training you, not your cat.
    • If you're forgetful or always having to dash about (perhaps you're working from home and have kids to be keeping an eye on or you're apt to wander when musing), consider using cat paw recognition software that distinguishes between cat-like typing and human typing. If it senses cat typing, this software will divert the typed-in cat wisdom into a window of its own where it will do the human species no harm.[1] Paw-typing recognition software can even make noises to annoy the cat enough to get her to leave the keyboard alone.
  5. Well you left it here, it's warm, and I'm comfortable...Repel your computer-loving cat. If your cat shows an unabated interest in your computing equipment and cords, besides cleaning the surfaces (which might be sufficient if she hates the smell of the cleaning solutions), try a cat repellent spray. There are various sprays available that are designed to smell bad to cats. These can be helpful in communicating which furnishings are off-limits, perhaps even including your desk chair if it serves as a step up to the desk for the ultra lazy cat.
    • Make sure, when using any sprays or moist repellents, that you keep any dampness away from the open or fragile areas of your computing equipment. A little ill-placed moisture is death to electronics.
  6. Cats do get curious...Keep drinks, cats, and computers well apart. If you're enjoying a hot or cold drink near the computer, use common sense and guard the drink if there is the likelihood of puss jumping up and knocking it. In fact, it's probably best in this case if you don't have your drinks near the computer.
  7. Probably not a good place for this stuff Tidy up the surrounding area of your desk space. Papers, food packaging, last night's dinner, or bottles will probably tempt your cat to jump up onto the desk. By keeping the desk area clean, you will certainly have less of a mess to clean up in case the cat does jump up and knocks it all off.
  8. An open door is an invitation to mischief...Close the door. Keeping the door to the office closed is a very easy way to keep a cat and computer separate when you're not in the room.
  9. Don't encourage your cat. While it's cute when a cat chases something on a computer screen or lies across a keyboard, allowing them to keep doing this cements the habit and encourages them to do it again. Be tough and remove your cat as soon as the activity starts, and keep doing it until she gets the point that there is no point. However, don't be mean about it; be sure to give her some toys of her own to replace the fun you've just denied her. Some fake mice, jumping things on a stick, catnip toys, etc., are all great distractions to get her interested in something more suitable than the computer. You could even dangle some things from a cardboard box cut to look the same shape as a computer but filled with fun cat things. Place it near the desk for her to play with.
    • If your cat keeps doing this but follows you if you leave the computer, this may be a sign she simply wants time with you. If so, take a break, and play with her for awhile until you've both had a good break, then get back to your computing.
Video Tips
  • Although cats are notorious independent thinkers, trying to give them another place to be can be challenging sometimes!
  • Don't keep your favorite rat, rabbit, mouse, hamster, gerbil, etc., in the same vicinity as your computing space. Your cat will be more than curious to visit and to use your desk as the launching pad.
  • If the computer noise seems to attract your cat, consider turning it off when you're just word processing, thinking, or doing anything that doesn't need sound.
  • Cats Hate aluminum foil. Consider placing a sheet over your computer keyboard when you are not there. This can be very simple to cover it every time you leave, even for just a few moments.
  • Chewed wires are a safety hazard to both humans and pets. Don't let them chew the wires in the first place and replace any that are chewed.
Things You'll Need
  • Cord covers and cord tides
  • Cat keystroke sensing software (optional)
  • Safe place to store keyboard
  • Cat distractions
Related wikiHows Sources and Citations Article Tools

How to Make Kabsa, a traditional Middle Eastern dish consisting of spices, rice, meat and vegetables

Thu, 03/31/2011 - 06:17
Kabsa is a traditional Middle Eastern dish consisting of spices, rice, meat and vegetables. It is usually made with chicken, lamb, or beef, but occasionally other meats are used. The use of pre-prepared kabsa spice available at grocery stores reduces preparation time. It is an easy and straightforward recipe to follow.

Serves 4-5. Preparation Time: 40 minutes

  • 4 chopped large yellow onions
  • 2 cups of cooked rice
  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 large red tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp kabsa spice
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp of 7 spice mixture
  • 2 pounds (907g) of chicken breast (boneless) cut into 1/2-inch (1.27cm) strips
  • 1 can (14.5oz/1.8 cups/411g) of tomato paste mixed with 1 cup water
  • 2 cups of water
  • Pistachios, pine nuts, almonds to garnish
  • 2 cups of plain yogurt
  • Salt per taste
Steps The Rice
  1. After 3 tablespoons of olive oil is warmed in the pot, add the chopped onions. Sauté till they turn golden brown.
  2. Grate the tomatoes using a cheese grater and add it to the pot along with the kabsa spice. Stir the mixture for 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. Add in the cooked rice slowly and mix well until the white rice turns slightly yellow. Set rice aside.
The Chicken:
  1. In the second pot add 2 cups of water, chicken strips and 2 tbsp olive oil and bring to a boil for 15 minutes.
  2. While the chicken is boiling, mix together 1 can tomato paste, 1 cup of water, and the 7 spice mixture in the mixing bowl.
  3. After the chicken has boiled for 15 minutes, strain the water and transfer the chicken to the bowl. Mix well until the chicken is well coated with tomato paste.
  1. Place all the nuts on a baking sheet and roast it in the oven at 275°F (135°C) for 10-15 minutes.
  2. Combine the chicken, rice and add salt to taste.
  3. Top with roasted nuts as garnish.
  4. Serve hot with cool plain yogurt.
Video Tips
  • Kabsa and 7 spice mixtures can be found at Middle Eastern markets or in the ethnic food aisle at your local grocery store.
  • If unable to find the spices mentioned, you can prepare them at home by combining: 1/2 tsp of black pepper, turmeric, coriander powder, fennel powder, allspice and ground cardamom each, to make 1 tbsp of kabsa spice.
  • To prepare 1 tbsp of 7 spice mixture, combine 1/2 tsp each of black pepper, cinnamon, allspice, cardamom, nutmeg, coriander powder and 2 cloves.
  • Ready-to-use roasted nuts available at the grocery stores can be substituted for fresh, which helps save cooking time.
  • Be cautious while handling the knives and cheese grater.
  • Do not leave the stove top unattended while cooking.
  • Use oven mitts while handling hot pots or baking sheets to avoid burning your skin.
  • Drain the chicken slowly to avoid contact with hot water.
  • When handling raw chicken be sure to clean up with plenty of soapy hot water to avoid salmonella and other types of food poisoning.
Things You'll Need
  • 2, 5 quart (4.74 liter) pots
  • 1 large mixing bowl for the chicken
  • 2 spatulas; 1 mixing spoon
  • 1 cheese grater
  • 1 baking sheet to roast the nuts
Related wikiHows Article Tools

How to Use Your Camera's Aperture Priority Mode

Thu, 03/31/2011 - 06:17

Aperture-priority mode is the favoured autoexposure mode of many photographers because of the control it gives, from people shooting vast landscapes to those photographing the smallest of insects. It's considered by many to be the mode that maps most closely onto how certain kinds of photographs demand photographers think about how they're shooting. Here's how to get yourself out of green auto and into shooting a mode that lets you control, and forces you to think about, some important aspects of your shot.

Note: This is a quick-and-dirty primer; for even more gory technical details, head over to How to Choose a Lens Aperture (F Stop), which covers a lot of things skimmed over or ignored in this article.

  1. Set your camera to aperture priority mode. This differs from maker to maker (read your manual), but here are some hints for a few common types of digital camera:
    • The mode dial on a Nikon camera (actually an F55 film camera), set to A. Most Nikon digital SLRs: You have a mode dial. Turn this to "A". Once you've done this, spinning your front control dial (on your right-hand grip, very close to the power button) will adjust your aperture. (If you have a camera without a front control dial, then your rear control dial will adjust your aperture instead.)
    • The Nikon D2H's LCD reading "A", meaning it's in aperture-priority mode. High-end Nikon digital SLRs: Hold down the "MODE" dial while turning the rear control dial until you see "A" in your top LCD. Your front control dial will then adjust your aperture.
    • The mode dial on a Canon digital SLR, set to "Av". Nearly all Canon SLRs (and some Canon point-and-shoots): Turn your mode dial to "Av". Your main control dial (next to the shutter button) will then adjust your aperture.
    • Many point-and-shoot digital cameras do have an aperture-priority mode, but you may have to work through menus to activate and adjust it. This is just a simple way to tell the computer and parts already present to work together, which shouldn't cost much extra, but shows the manufacturer has taken care to help you make the most of even an inexpensive camera.
  2. Memorise some basic terminology. You'll need it to make sense of the rest of this article:
    • f/ numbers are a ratio of the diameter of your aperture compared to your lens. Hence, a larger number is a smaller aperture. f/ numbers are your apertures. This is represented as a fraction of your lens' focal length. A smaller aperture is a larger f/number; f/32 is a much smaller aperture than f/5.6.
    • Stopping down means to use a smaller aperture than your lens' largest (smallest f/ number).
    • Wide open is the opposite of being stopped down.
    • Depth of field is, formally, "the range of object distances within which objects are imaged with acceptable sharpness". There is only one distance at which objects will be in perfect focus; the depth of field covers the subject-matter that is outside your intended area of perfect focus, but that are still close enough to being in focus so that to the viewer, all that gets captured within the depth of field appears deliberately within focus.
  3. Test your lens. All lenses are different and are better shot at different apertures for optimal performance. Get out and shoot something with lots of fine texture at different apertures and compare the shots to figure out how your lens behaves at various apertures. Here are some hints as to what to look for:
    • Nearly all lenses have lower contrast and are less sharp at their widest aperture, especially towards the corners of your image. This is especially true on 35mm and digital camera lenses. On sharpness, this is a totally separate issue from depth of field; this will happen even with a flat subject. Consequently, if you're going to have detail in the corners of your pictures that you want to keep sharp, then you'll want to use a smaller aperture. For flat subjects, f/8 is typically the sharpest aperture.
    • Falloff, which is darkening towards the edges of a picture, is common when shooting lenses wide-open. Most lenses will have some noticeable amount of light fall-off wide open. Light falloff is where the edges of the picture are slightly darker than the centre of the picture. This can be a good thing for many photographs, especially portraits; it draws attention towards the centre of the photograph, which is why many people add falloff in post production. But it's still good to know what you're getting. Falloff is usually invisible after about f/8.
    • The left shot (cropped from a boring test shot at f/8) is sharper than the second shot (shot at f/32), if you look too hard. The softening is caused by diffraction at f/32. All lenses will be softer across the frame if you stop down far enough.[1] This is an inherent physical limitation of camera lenses; forcing light through a smaller hole causes light rays to interfere with each other.
    • Zoom lenses can vary depending on how far in or out they are zoomed. Test for the above things at a few different zoom settings.
  4. Get out and shoot.
  5. Control your depth of field. It's as simple as this: a smaller aperture means more depth of field, a larger aperture means less. A larger aperture also means more background blur (which is a related, but not identical, issue to depth of field[2]). Here are some examples:
    • The left shot was done at f/2, the right shot was made at f/16. Note how the letters furthest from the camera are brought into focus by stopping down. Use a small aperture to force more depth of field.
    • Depth of field is shallower the closer you are to your subject. This shot was made at f/6.3, and depth of field is perhaps a millimeter or two.Remember that depth of field becomes shallower the closer you get. If you're doing macro photography, for example, you might want to stop down far more than you would for a landscape. Insect photographers often go way down to f/16 or smaller, and have to nuke their subjects with lots of artificial lighting.
    • Large apertures force backgrounds to be thrown out of focus; this is great for portraits, as in this shot made at f/2.Use a large aperture to force a shallow depth of field. This is great for portraits (much better than the silly automatic portrait scene modes), for example; use the largest aperture you have, lock your focus on the eyes, recompose and you'll find the background is thrown out of focus and is, consequently, made less distracting.

      Remember that opening the aperture like this will cause faster shutter speeds to be chosen. In bright daylight, make sure you aren't causing your camera to max out its fastest shutter speed (typically 1/4000 on digital SLRs). Keep your ISO low to avoid this.
    • Remember that you won't see any of this through your viewfinder (or on your screen as you're composing. Modern cameras meter with the lens at its widest aperture, and only stop down the lens to its selected aperture at the moment of exposure. What's more, viewfinders on modern digital SLRs don't even show the true depth of field even if you're shooting the lens wide-open with faster lenses (meaning ones with a larger maximum aperture).

      Many SLRs have a depth-of-field preview button on the front of the camera. If you've ever hit a button on your camera and then wondered why your viewfinder went dark, that's the one. Unfortunately, because it darkens the viewfinder, it's very difficult to gauge your depth of field this way (though it might give you some indication of how far out-of-focus distant backgrounds are, which is not the same thing). A better option on digital cameras is to simply take the picture, then play it back and zoom in on your LCD to see if the background is adequately sharp (or blurred) enough.
  6. Control your shutter speeds. Using a larger aperture means that you can use faster shutter speeds (or a lower ISO with the same shutter speed); conversely, a smaller aperture will force a longer shutter speed, or require you to kick up your ISO to grab the same one. This has several practical applications:
    • Grab the fastest shutter speed you can. If, for example, you're hand-holding your camera or trying to freeze motion in poor light, set your aperture to the largest one your lens has. Crank up the ISO as far as you dare, too (exactly how high is tolerably noisy is something with which you'll have to experiment for yourself). The camera will then grab the fastest shutter speed you can use.
    • Grab the slowest shutter speed you can. This is great if, for example, you want to blur motion (think of those dreamy flowing water pictures). Set your ISO to its lowest setting, stop down to f/16 (or smaller, if you're willing to defy the laws of physics, or at least if you're fine with diffraction kicking in). The camera will then grab the longest shutter speed that the situation permits (though typically modern cameras won't time out exposures longer than 30 seconds).
  7. This shot was taken at f/9.5, forcing a 15 second exposure, because this is where the lens used seemed to be at its sharpest; as it was shot on a tripod and as it was a mostly still subject, the longer exposure time didn't matter. Shoot for sharpness. As mentioned earlier, nearly all lenses are sharpest stopped down a little. If you've made your own tests as suggested, then use this aperture for any shot for which you think it'll give you an adequate depth of field and shutter speeds. For those of you shooting stills from a tripod, then use this aperture all the time.

    If you're too lazy to have made your own tests (and really, shooting test subjects like walls is boring), then there's plenty of wisdom embodied in the old saying: f/8 and be there. f/8 typically gives sufficient depth of field for most still subjects and it's where 35mm and digital SLR lenses are typically at their sharpest (or close to it).
  • The real world is not a boring test subject. Use any of your apertures if that's what you need. Don't worry too much about the results of your tests. Those tests will tell you how to get the sharpest results on a flat subject in ideal, tripod-mounted situations, not about the shot that real-world conditions will necessarily permit. In particular:
    • A simple "unsharp mask" in your favourite photo editor might be sufficient to plaster over the effects of diffraction, as done here; the difference between the f/8 and f/32 shot is now invisible. If you need the small apertures, use them. If you really need a lot of depth of field, don't worry about using smaller apertures, even those at which diffraction is obvious. The defocus caused by part of your subject being out of the depth of field is a very, complex thing that's impossible to correct; it's an extraordinarily complex phenomenon that differs from lens to lens, and even on the same lens depending on aperture, subject distance and focal length.

      Diffraction, on the other hand, is a relatively simple phenomenon. A simple "unsharp mask" in your favourite photo editor will often work fine.
    • Don't hesitate to shoot your lens wide-open if you need it. For example, if you're hand-holding and can't stop down a little without getting camera shake, or you want to freeze motion, then shoot wide open; a little visible fuzziness in the corners is a lot less ugly than the effects of camera shake or a blurry moving subject. The lower contrast is trivial to correct in software, too.
  • Stopping down to small apertures will give you these little sunstars. Stopping down to small apertures like f/16 will, with many lenses, turn bright points of light into "sun stars". These will either have the same number of points as your lens has aperture blades (if you have an even number of them), or twice as many (if you have an odd number of aperture blades).[3]
  • When not actively using your camera keep it ready for whatever may present itself by leaving it in fully-automated program mode, or perhaps in aperture-priority mode with a reasonable default aperture such as f/8.
  • Using a small aperture (high f/number) can also bring unwanted things into focus, such as dust on the sensor or dirt or damage on the lens. You may need to clean the sensor or lens, or go back and edit each image afterwards. If the lens has a big scratch avoid pointing it toward the sun, which would cause flare.[4] (Overzealous cleaning often causes more problems over time than a few specks of dust. If you have a cheap filter over the lens, preferably coated or multi-coated to prevent flare, clean that all you like. Sensor dust shouldn't be much of a problem if you change lenses in calm, relatively dust-free places.)
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How to Defend Yourself in an Extreme Street Fight

Thu, 03/31/2011 - 06:17
Fighting when attacked with you on the bottom may become The mounted position – so be prepared. At some point in your life, you may be in the situation of encountering an abusive person and be in the position of having to fight off one or more opponents.[1] A street fight won't follow rules or niceties; if you find yourself in this situation, you need to do as much as possible to defend yourself and to avoid getting seriously hurt. This article provides an overview of dealing with single and multiple attackers, attack strategies, and defensive strategies. Bear in mind that use of excessive force is illegal but that defending yourself is not, so keep in mind at all times that the aim is to protect yourself and get out of there.

Read the following steps thoroughly to ensure that you know how to follow through, and couple your knowledge with proper practice rather than assuming that simply knowing what to do will be sufficient because it won't be; practice and learn in a safe environment as well as learning the principles outlined here.

Contents if (window.showTocToggle) { var tocShowText = "show"; var tocHideText = "hide"; showTocToggle(); } Steps
  1. Be prepared. Your initial reaction and good mental control are essential for facing an attacker in a street context. As with any form of self-defense, prevention is the best policy. Use the usual common sense guidelines for avoiding meeting thugs in the street, such as not walking down dark streets at night, not going to unfamiliar places without being accompanied by another person, not going to places you know are dangerous at certain times of day or night, etc. Stay alert at all times, as being alert can often give you enough warning to clear out before walking into a provocative situation, and being alert is essential for protecting yourself once you're involved in a fight.
  2. Learn what you can about self-defense regardless how likely or unlikely you think it is that you might end up being attacked some day. See the self defense category for more articles on the topic.
    • This shows a powerful kick. Try to kick not too high but to the knees, groin, stomach, solar plexus, and if size or height permits, kick to the face.Make and keep yourself strong by going to the gym or dojo. Regular workouts to keep up your strength will give you confidence as well as strength. This is especially important if you are fearful of something happening to you; stop worrying and start taking control of those fears by knowing you can respond if needed.
Coping with a single attacker
  1. Walk or run away and hide, if possible. Not having to engage the assailant is your best defense.
  2. Know how to defend yourself. In the event that you can't get away and you to have to respond to protect yourself, knowing self-defense is crucial. Be aware that the rules of martial arts techniques might not help you, as sometimes even Black Belt Martial Artists can get severely injured on a tough street fight with no rules.
  3. Try to talk the assailant out of fighting.
  4. Try to stay calm. The calmer you are, the better you will be able to find the gaps to escape through and to know to seize the moment to get away.
  5. Remember that the idea that size has absolutely no connection with strength is a myth. Size does actually matter. Don't fool yourself into thinking that you can beat someone twice your size just because you have some martial arts skills.
Coping with multiple attackers

For greater detail, read: How to defend yourself in a fight at school and How to fight off multiple opponents.

  1. As with the advice for a single attacker, try to walk or run away, and stay calm.
  2. Try your best not to anger the group of assailants even more; yelling fighting words might egg them on to attack you.
  3. If possible, try to find out why they are trying to abuse you. But beware: talking too much or asking questions may anger them to attack you harder.
  4. If you're not a good fighter, put your back to a wall as it will keep you from being surrounded, and you will be able to go left or right to fight your way out through one attacker rather than a surrounding group of attackers.
Responding to an attacker

For greater detail, read: How to avoid getting beaten up by a bully.

  1. Be aware of some of the basic techniques that can be of help. The following techniques can be used in self-defense:
    • Try your best to hit the attacker on the ribs. Contrary to popular belief, it really can hurt.
    • The best place to strike is the solar plexus. Or, strike the area under the nose, or the eye sockets. Hitting the solar plexus can give you time to get away, while hitting the nose or the eye socket can knock the attacker out. Either will work.
    • Hit with your palm instead of using your fist. Punching with a fist can break your knuckles, and it hurts like heck! Strike with the palm of your hand, but be sure to curl your fingers to the top of your palm or you could break your scaphoid.
    • When the attacker punches you, turn to the side to dodge it, then grab their arm, and strike their elbow joint.
  2. If your attacker(s) attempts to choke you and take you to the wall, (still choking you), do the following. First, take your left hand, and hold one of their arms with it. Then, use your right hand to strike their elbow joint hard. After this, strike their neck hard (but not too hard), then push them to the wall, and run like the wind. If you want, you can put one of their arms behind their back too.
Using advanced tactics to attack back
  1. Use the following techniques to help to give you better odds, but recognize that sometimes you may still need more. Use these advanced tactics as a last resort.
Headlocks Headlocks can really be tough to get out of. A headlock is a great way to win a fight. But it should be used carefully, as you could break someone's neck or skull while doing this.
  1. Try to move around the attacker initially.
  2. Try to go behind the attacker. When you get a chance, wrap your left or right arm around the mid-point (about near the nose) of the head.
  3. Hold on for a while, and then release them. Be mindful that they could still attack you once you break the headlock.
  4. Some people that take karate classes have learned that to break out of a headlock, you need to step on their foot, giving them pain. If someone tries to do this to you, jump slightly backwards while still having them in a headlock. Knowing how to do this successfully though takes some practice.
  5. See below for releasing yourself from a headlock.

There are many ways of performing an armlock. One way is described here.

  1. Twist the attacker's arm backwards (not enough to dislocate it), and hold it there. It will hurt the attacker a lot and disable them long enough for you to get away.
    • If you're training in martial arts, then use the techniques you've been taught, as this is a commonplace martial arts move (Judo, Jiu Jitsu, wrestling, etc).[2]
Finding yourself in the mounted position Being in the mounted position is extremely dangerous. This position is when you're on the ground, and the attacker is on their knees above you, gaining greater control to strike while you're extremely restricted.[3] It's a very common position in a street fight.
  1. Know what to do. The key to stop this event from taking place is to block incoming strikes. If you still end up in the mounted position, an attack approach would be to kick the mounting attacker as hard as you can with both legs to the front of the hips. Then, run for your life.
    • Don't just try to launch an attack immediately. That will just make you more vulnerable, as if being on the ground wasn't bad enough!
  2. Find an escape method. Attacking might not work, so escape strategies are your best option once pinned down. Here are some suggestions:
    • Use the "back door escape". [4] Move or wriggle from under your attacker.
    • Use bridging.[5] Thrust your hips upwards and to the side.
    • Use the elbow escape.[6] Use your hands or your elbows to create space between you and the attacker, so that you can pull out one or both legs from under the attacker.
    • Rotate your body so that your face points downward.[7] In doing this, your attacker is now performing a "back mount", which is a lot less favorable to the attacker, and in turning, you may find you adequately loosen the attacker's grip over you and you can get away, by standing up and shaking off the attacker or using the "back door " escape.
Defense strategies
  1. Realize that "If you only attack, then you will be vulnerable to enemy attacks. If you only defend, then you can't win the fight."[8] This is why there is an attack and a defense section.
  2. Develop a good defense system, or chances are that you will get beaten.
  3. Expect to be able to take severe punishment in a fight without panic or giving up in the face of danger. Mental effort is required be able to maintain a physical good effort, so be prepared to psych yourself into affirming that you can survive this, all while it is happening.
Breaking out of a headlock
  1. Learn ways to break out of a headlock, as this is a common street fighting tactic.[9] Some suggested methods are listed here but your very best defense is to stay alert and not get into a headlock in the first place. Being aware that someone is approaching you can enable you to turn around and prevent it from happening.
  2. In the very initial moment where the headlock is being applied, try ducking and blocking the attacker's arms.[10] This may be enough to get you out of the attempted headlock. Note that the longer you wait, the harder it will be to remove yourself from the headlock.
  3. Protect yourself. A headlock can result in cutting off your air or blood supply. So the very first thing to do is to protect yourself:[11]
    • Tuck your chin in.
    • Turn your face toward their chest to protect your face from fists.
    • Grab their hands (held together as they perform the lock) and pull their hands downward. This will lessen the pressure immediately.
  4. Stay low. Keep your legs bent and relatively wide.[12] The aim is to maintain your stability, so that the moment you get a chance to counter-attack or free yourself, you're in a good position to do so.
  5. Use your free arms to protect your face from punches.
  6. Try some of the other following methods when seeking to get out of a headlock:
    • Step on the attacker's foot. Do it quickly and get it right first time. If executed correctly, you will cause them pain, which could be enough to make them loosen their grip, allowing you to get away.
    • Punch the upper inner thigh or groin.[13] Then pull their head up (by hair, eye sockets, whatever), and push them away from you... and run.[14]
    • Pinch your attacker. This method can make the attacker's face hurt, and give you enough precious moments to break out of the headlock.
    • Move your head up and down, fast. The aim in doing this is to confuse them; once you've done so, make a sudden forward movement. This will also cause the attacker holding you in a headlock to fall.
    • Grab the attacker's arms, and push your head under them, and break out. This requires finding a key moment when their hold is less or their focus has been distracted temporarily.
    • Use two hands against one of theirs (2v1). Focus both of your hands on one of their wrists and pull it away. It is VERY difficult to apply a good head lock or choke with just one arm so once you've removed one of their arms from the clench you should feel instance relief from the pressure.
Using jiu jitsu to escape a headlock When stuck in a headlock as seen here, if you know jiu jitsu, here is how to move yourself out of it:[15]
  1. Rotate your body. Use your shoulder to do this, and place your arm in front of the attacker's body.
  2. Place your leg behind both of the attacker's legs.
  3. Fall backwards. As you do so, trip the attacker over your leg.
  4. Get up off the ground as fast as possible. Run.
Breaking out of an armlock

Breaking out of the armlock is a very painful experience. Here are some suggested moves.

  1. Prevent the armlock from occurring by holding onto your belt, pants, skirt top, etc. before the lock is executed. Doing this will prevent the attacker from leveraging your arm and wrist backward.[16] Of course, this requires both that you are alert to what's about to happen, and that you recognize the intended armlock.
  2. Once in the armlock, try some of the following strategies:
    • Feign a punch toward them to cause the attacker to loosen their grip. Use that moment to remove yourself from the armlock.
    • Really punch or kick the attacker and use the moment when their grip loosens to get out.
  3. Try to pull your hand back as fast as you can. This may make them let go sometimes as a reaction, and give you a chance to escape.
  4. Be extra careful when trying to release yourself from an armlock, as the attempt could also lead to breakage of your arm.

Blocking in terms of fighting means to absorb the impact of an attack without getting hurt. This section details some blocking techniques you might be able to use.

Blocking punches

For more details, read How to block a punch.

  1. Blocking can be very effective. Learn to identify a punch coming. As with many attack moves, recognizing the move that's about to happen is a big part of defensive strategy. Signs to look for include:[17]
    • Formation of a fist
    • Gritting teeth, angry jaw movements
    • Shallow, forced breathing
    • Once foot suddenly shifted in front
    • Chin drops (to protect the throat)
    • Shoulder drops (this is where the power of the punch starts)
    • Body turns to side, away from you.
  2. Move. By the time a person has made a decision to punch, they've already decided where that punch is going to land and have done with their strategizing. You, on the other hand, have a split second to change where that punch lands. So if it's coming for your head, move your head just a fraction and the punch may well miss or at least have much less force than originally intended.[18]
  3. Move your hands in the same direction of the punch. Here it helps to make an educated guess as to your opponent's next moves. This is not about making a wild guess, but requires that you make a plausible and educated guess.
  4. Try blocking with your arms instead of with your palms, as it can cause your attacker's punching range to decrease and not impact the originally intended target.
Blocking or grabbing kicks
  1. Remember that blocking a kick is the hardest technique in fighting. Yet, if you successfully grab someone's leg while they attempt to kick you, you can make them fall to the ground.
  2. When blocking a kick, use your palms, instead of the area in your arms which have muscle. You could get severely injured if the attacker's kick lands on your muscles.
  3. Observe how this girl is evading that boy's kick, and getting ready to then counterattack. Evade the kicks. "Using evasion" is simply a fancy way of saying that you should rely on using an array of the following techniques to evade the kicks:
    • Dodge out of the way
    • Duck quickly
    • Jump backwards
    • Move to the side.
  4. Keep in mind that dodging kicks will be more effective when you're jumping, moving side to side, dodging, etc., than just relying on ducking all the time.
  5. Be unpredictable in how and when you duck and dodge. Don't set a pattern.
Video Tips
  • Stick with a friend or two when walking through unsafe places. This could be enough to help you to stay out of trouble.
  • Only fight as a last resort. Talking your way out and getting away are infinitely better options.
  • Play to your strengths. Use the tactics that work best for your body and physique. A thin, light person may run better and dodge easier. A big heavy person may be able to block easier than dodge and throw hard.
  • Do something unexpected and weird. If you think of something creative in the moment, try it. Surprise always helps.
  • If the attacker shows you a weapon in their pocket/hand, give them what they want to rob from you. Your life is more important than any valuables in the world! Realize that they're likely to use it if you annoy or upset them, so comply as best you can.
  • Speaking of weapons, it's always better to have one than go into a street fight against a stranger with just your fists. Even a stick, a rock, or an umbrella can make a huge difference.
  • Try to avoid looking like a victim. Stand tall and show good posture; that already makes you appear more intimidating. Walk with one hand in your pocket. Street gangs like to bully people who look like they will be easy to bother, and who display outward signs of vulnerability.
  • Try to avoid street gang areas if you can.
  • Be nice to people. Don't give others a chance to hold a grudge if you can mend fences instead. Don't act like you're scared of other people, as weakness attracts street gang members seeking to attack others.
  • Keep trying to talk them out of it calmly, confidently. Stay serene. The less fear or anger you show or feel, the less easily the opponent can control you or read you. The more angry they are, the less controlled they are. Psych them out!
  • Learn to Spy and Hide.
  • Don't try to anger an attacker intentionally as this might compel them to come forward and really attack when they may simply have been bluffing. Alternatively, if you are extremely good at bluffing, angering them might result in disorganization of their attack, the "surprise" element. However, only do this if you know how to defend yourself already; it's not really a wise tactic.
  • Concentrate; this is not for fun!
  • It would be helpful to take some Self Defense classes.
  • Do not use excessive force on opponents. Doing so could get you into trouble if you don't use self-defense in accordance with the law in the United States and other jurisdictions. If you wish to remain within the realm of self-defense as opposed to provoking a fight, it's important that you don't use excessive force, attack while your attacker is already down, or use repeated blows and such once the attacker has been subdued, etc. See warnings for more information.
  • Do not start a big fight. The more people involved, the worse the fight will be.
  • If the attackers have weapons, run away as fast as you can, and call the police.
  • Do not anger them with flaming comebacks or disses. This will make them attack you even further.
  • Despite the fact that law prohibits use of excessive force, if they did something that severely threatened your life, you may need to use as much force as needed in self-defense, and worry about the fine details with your lawyer later. What is and is not "excessive force" in the case of self-defense is subject to the context and to interpretation.
  • It is better to look like a wimp than to be injured. So don't even think about trying to fight against an experienced fighter or a group just to save "your reputation". Having your health and life intact means more than having your reputation temporarily boosted.
  • Watch out for people who may try to abduct you.
  • Real men or women (to be respected) do not start a fight for the fun of it. Make sure that you have a reason to fight. Do not be a bully that picks on people or "sucker-punches" someone for little or no reason. It is wise to have a reason when trying to do something, even if it isn't the most reasonable purpose.

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How to Respond to a Radiation Threat

Thu, 03/31/2011 - 06:17
A radioactive contamination threat, from such sources as a "dirty bomb", a "radiological dispersion device (RDD)", or radioactive contaminant leaks from a nuclear power facility can cause great concern, but reacting calmly is your number one defense. In the case of dirty bombs and RDDs, a deliberate attempt is made to set off common explosives that spread radioactive materials over a targeted area; they are not a nuclear blast because the force of the explosion and radioactive contamination will be more localized. In the case of a nuclear power plant radioactive contaminant leak, the leak will usually be triggered by an accident, and the extent of the leak will be dependent on the force behind the rupture, the weather patterns, the location of the plant, and other factors.

While a blast will be immediately obvious, the presence and extent of leaks and radiation will not be clearly defined until trained personnel with specialized equipment are on the scene. As with any radiation, you will need to try to limit your exposure immediately. In particular, it is important to avoid breathing radiological dust that may be released in the air.

  1. Understand from the outset that to limit the amount of radiation you are exposed to, you will need to focus on three things – time, distance and shielding. The effects of radiation are cumulative, so the longer you stay in an affected area, the more exposure you get.[1] To put into effect limiting your exposure, try to do the following:
    • Time: Minimize the time spent exposed to reduce your risk.
    • Distance: Get yourself away from the source. The farther away you are away from the blast and the fallout, the lower your exposure. If you can get away, then leave as soon as possible.
    • Shielding: If you have a thick shield between yourself and the radioactive materials more of the radiation will be absorbed, and you will be exposed to less.
    • In the case of a nuclear reactor accident, time is not as urgent as with the setting off a dirty bomb or RDD, although if you live within a 10 mile radius of the power plant, you should already be aware of how to respond if there is an accident at the plant.[2]
  2. If you are in a larger geographical area that has been exposed to radiation, getting away from the contaminated area must take place quickly, otherwise you will need to take other preventive measures.[3] After an explosion or a leak, if you can't get away quickly (and safely), try the following:[4]
    • If you are outside and there is an explosion or authorities warn of a radiation release nearby, cover your nose and mouth and quickly go inside a building that has not been damaged. Cover your nose and mouth with a handkerchief, your hand, or anything else you have on you (like a sweater). An undamaged building is one that appears structurally sound to you from a quick observation, namely no leaning walls, not broken or falling parts, etc.
    • Close windows and doors. Turn off air conditioners, heaters or other ventilation systems.
  3. If you are already inside, check to see if your building has been damaged but shelter in place. If your building is stable, stay where you are.
    • If you are inside and there is an explosion near where you are or you are warned of a radiation release inside your very building, cover your nose and mouth and go outside immediately. Look for a building or other shelter that has not been damaged and quickly get inside.
    • Once you are inside, close windows and doors. Turn off air conditioners, heaters or other ventilation systems. Try to make it airtight by stuffing clothing or other objects along any open areas. Do not turn on ventilation systems of any kind that draw air from outside, such as air-conditioning, dryers, etc.
    • Don't allow the inside place to overheat or vulnerable persons are liable to heat stroke, possible suffocation, and other complications. If you have to briefly turn on the air-conditioning, this may be better than dying from over-heating.[5]
    • If you are inside a car when an explosion occurs, roll up all the windows and park the car. Go into an undamaged building. If it's not possible to leave the car, keep the windows closed and do not use the air-conditioning.[6]
  4. Clean up quickly. If you think you have been exposed to radiation, take off your clothes and wash them as soon as possible. Armin Ansari advises that it is best to think of decontaminating radioactive material in the same way as getting rid of mud - be careful to think about not traipsing it indoors, not getting it all over the place, and not washing it deeper into yourself. Note that visible signs of radioactive dust, particles, or material will only be likely with a dirty bomb; contamination from a nuclear reactor accident is invisible. The steps offered next are appropriate to both scenarios, just that you won't "see" any radioactive particles with a radiation leak from a reactor.[7] To decontaminate, do the following:[8]
    • Remove your outer layer of clothing. Place this into a plastic bag and secure the bag closed. Leave this bag somewhere like your garage or car trunk for authorities to test later if needed.
    • Remove your shoes once home or at a shelter, and all other clothes. Place these into a plastic bag and seal. If you're able to do this outside your home, it's best, as it'll save tracking the radiation inside the house or shelter. Don't squeeze the bag shut or radioactive dust may float out.
    • Avoid taking off any clothes over your head. If you have no choice, then hold your mouth shut and do not breathe so that you don't inhale dust from your clothes. If you have to cut them, do so for the sake of your health. And any wounds or cuts on your body should be covered before removing clothes, to prevent the potential for dust to enter them.
    • Take a lukewarm shower. Avoid hot water and scrubbing which can help increase absorption of radioactive material. Wash your hair but only use shampoo because conditioners may actually help bind radioactive material to your hair.
    • Wash from the top down using gentle soap, or just water. Rub ears, eyes, and face clean.
    • If you don't have access to a shower, use a sink and wash as best you can. Even moist wipes can wash you down.
    • For children, prefer the shower but if they don't like it, do not immerse them as the water could be contaminated, making showering the best option, or wiping them down if they won't shower.
  5. Eat food and drink liquids that are covered. Any food or drink that has been left out in the open has potentially been exposed to radiation and may not be safe.[9] Food straight from the fridge or cupboards should be safer, as well as food from closed containers.[10]
  6. Stay where you are and keep informed. Watch TV, listen to the radio, or check the Internet for official news as it becomes available.
    • The indoor sheltering time for a dirty bomb is relatively short, about 30 minutes to a few hours, dependent on local weather conditions and other factors authorities will inform you about.[11]
  7. Take great care when evacuating. One of the major concerns is panic and when there are traffic jams and long line-ups for fuel, you won't find evacuating easy going. It won't help you any if you have a car accident and get hurt or killed, so be very careful when relocating and keep it orderly.[12]
    • Stay tuned to the authorities' advice.
    • Beware the rumor mill. It will be rampant and most of it will be completely wrong; do not base any of your decisions on rumors from anybody around you. Look for radio, TV, or online advice from authorities.
  • As with any emergency, local authorities may not be able to immediately provide information on what is happening and what you should do. However, you should watch TV, listen to the radio, or check the Internet often for official news and information as it becomes available.
  • Follow instructions provided by authorities carefully.
  • Avoid touching anyone or your mouth, nose, and eyes until you are decontaminated.[13]
  • If you have a farm near a nuclear accident or dirty bomb, your animals may be confined indefinitely if they have been exposed to radiation, particularly dairy animals.[14] If you can do so safely, try to shelter your farm animals as quickly as possible, placing them in a barn and shutting all windows, doors, etc. and covering their food source with a tarpaulin, as well as protecting their water supply.
  • Nursing mothers can still breastfeed their babies even if the mothers have been externally irradiated, as the milk will not be contaminated.[15] However, both mother and baby should have skin cleaned before feeding to prevent any possibility of transferring radioactive contamination by skin to mouth. If the mother has been irradiated internally, the breast milk will be contaminated, in which case, switch to infant formula.[16]
  • Unborn babies are safer in the womb than out of it.[17] Pregnant women should receive prioritized safe food and water.
  • The elderly and chronically sick will be more vulnerable to stress, cold, and lack of food, etc. Take special care of their needs.
  • If you must evacuate, try to take pets with you. Pets left behind have a high chance of perishing due to hunger and neglect. Try to clean contaminated pets, otherwise someone is bound to touch the pet and transfer the contamination. If you cannot clean the pet, place it indoors somewhere safe such as a garage. Pets will pick up on your anxiety, so try to keep calm around them.[18]
  • Radiation is measured in a unit called millisieverts (mSv) and absorbed dose in a body is measured in milligrays.[19] Small controlled doses are safe, whereas large doses around 5000 mSv in the entire body can lead to death and 6000 mSv exposure is fatal unless treated immediately.[20] The types of radiation sickness that can occur include leukemia, lung, thyroid, and colon cancers.[21]
  • Dosages of potassium iodine pills can help to provide the body's quota daily and prevent the absorption of radioactive iodine.[22] However, it is essential to seek administration from medical authorities, as directed by authorities.
  • When covering the mouths and noses of children and the elderly, take care not to restrict their breathing.
  • If you have to go outdoors while radiation is still probably around, cover your mouth and nose at all times, using a handkerchief, shirt tail, kitchen paper towel or toilet paper folded over, etc.
  • Anxiety and panic go hand in hand with fears about radiation. Do your best to act calmly, rationally, and with great care, following the suggestions above. Realize that the chances of surviving radioactive fallout are far greater than the stories you may have heard.
Things You'll Need
  • Cover and shielding
  • Communications access
  • Battery or solar powered radio
Sources and Citations
  • Original source of article, Ready America, Radiation Threat. Public domain resource.
  • Armin Ansari, Radiation Threats and Your Safety: A Guide to Preparation and Response for Professionals and Community, (2009), ISBN 1-4200-8-3619 – Research source
Article Tools

How to Scan a Book

Thu, 03/31/2011 - 06:17
There are numerous reasons why you might wish to scan a book. For instance, if a beloved book falls apart on you, scanning its pages will enable you to keep a permanent copy of the book in digital form. Scanned books are weightless, making them easy to carry around and there will be less clutter and less need for bookshelves. Scanned books are easier to transmit and propagate. A scanned book can also be adjusted to make the font into an easily readable size, and with a multi-monitor set up, you can word process on one monitor and read the textbook from the other monitor.

Note: This article assumes that you are using Windows and a scanner compatible with Windows.

  1. Choose a scanner, preferably a sheet feed scanner. You'll need to make a choice between a flatbed scanner and a sheet feed scanner, depending on what you can afford and what you're looking for:
    • The flatbed costs less and your scans will be precise. The benefit of this scanner is that it leaves the book intact.
    • A sheet feed scanner is able to scan both sides of the page and is much faster than a flatbed. A sheet feed scanner requires the same amount of space, as a flatbed, when storing it.
    • Look for an extended warranty offer when purchasing it. A good sheet feed scanner, even at the low end in price, is an investment, so consider getting an extended warranty from a third party. And if you'll be using your scanner a lot, get an extended warranty.
      • The well known third party warranty users like "Square Trade" cost more compared to other warranty issuers, but because such companies tend to be affiliated with well known companies, you can have more confidence in them.
      • The warranty price and length will be a bargain compared to getting an extended warranty bought locally. Weigh the costs by factoring in the costs of shipping, if any, insurance, your confidence in the warranty issuer, and your estimate of the frequency of repair.
  2. Separate the book into individual pages. This is an absolute necessity with a sheet feed scanner. With a flatbed scanner, it is a good idea to separate the pages to achieve an excellent scan and to avoid damaging your scanner because scanning a bound book requires pressing the cover on the book with some force.
  3. If there is a print shop nearby, you may be able to take the book to them and ask them to cut off the binding with the large powerful paper cutters they usually have. A box of bagels or doughnuts is often all it costs and this will save a great deal of time as it pretty much eliminates the next few steps and all your pages will be square and devoid of binding glue or stitching.
  4. Peel off the binding glue, on each page, to protect your scanner. There might be an adhesive type of glue also, remove this too - you want to avoid paper jams. When you have streaks on your scanned images you probably have some glue on the glass lens. Wipe the sticky, rubber cement glue off of the glass lens with a soft cotten cloth moistened with rubbing alcohol or glass cleaner.
  5. Pages will tear when separating them, so peel or carve off the binding glue with a sharp knife first. Clamp the book in a vise to be safe.
  6. A paper cutter is not necessary, but can save you a tiny bit of time. Use this type of cutter because it can trim thin strips of paper.A paper cutter is not essential but if you decide to purchase one, choose the old style cutter because it can cut thin strips easily. When cutting with a rotary cutter, overlap the paper, on the cutting platform, or else the paper will sink into the groove and the ends will not cut thoroughly. Additionally, to minimize uneven cutting, when using a rotary blade cutter, reduce the amount of sheets you cut. With a rotary cutter, your margins will be narrower on one side (cropping can adjust the margin width). A good scissors and a photo editing program like Windows Live is all that you need.
  7. Keep your work area neat and organize your project to give it order. Separate your book scanning project into several parts. By doing this, you will think of ways to do each part more efficiently and faster. For example, the first phase could be going through the entire book and straightening folded page corners, mending missing corners and numbering blank pages, the second phase is separating the book into individual pages, the third phase could be going through each page and removing the glue from each page, etc.
    • Organize your work with many folders - each serving a purpose for every step of the scanning process. Do not delete these files until the final product is completed and backed-up. As a last resort, go to the Recycle Bin and retrieve your deleted files.
    • Experiment as you proceed and try to improve your scanning method. Explore the different features of your scanner to optimize the scanning methods that work for your needs.
  8. Do not change the layout of the pages, especially the margins. A book that has small fonts is a good candidate for scanning, but do not crop your scans and reduce the margins (for example, because you want to make the book more readable) because margins serve a purpose. Basically, margins are like a frame on a picture, and a page looks better with margins. When reading that book, with the small fonts, later on your computer, you can easily make the fonts bigger by using the "zoom" feature. When working with books with very small print, you could crop each page a bit to make the final product a few percentage points larger and more readable.
  9. If you do not have Paper Port, purchase this software or software similar to it. Paper Port connects the scanned pages together and it also converts your scans to various file types such as PDF, tiff, JPEG, BNG, etc. PDF files are good because they cannot accidentally be altered later when reading your book on your computer. For basic scanning, PDF and tiff files are enough.
  10. Scan the book completely including the blank pages. The blank pages have a purpose – they stop the flow of thought. If you do not include blank pages, include a note of this. For example, if blank pages 95 and 96 were omitted, put a note on page 94 (write: "page 95 and 96 were blank"), because in the future it might be temporarily confusing to find those two pages missing.
  11. Use color scans for the front and back covers and for the pages with color photos. Do a few color scans with different DPI setting and check the size of each page when scanning a book totally in color. Multiply the scanned page size with the number of pages to calculate the total size of whole file. Choose the DPI considering the readability and size of the scan. Color scans use a lot of space.
  12. Use grayscale for black and white pictures. For each grayscale and color scan with picture (or photos) and text, edit the exposure so the text will be readable. Editing, here, is an absolute necessity - will be pale and editing the exposure, to make the text readable, will not affect the photo or picture.
  13. Use black and white for scanning just words.
  14. Protect your home scanner by feeding it just one page at a time. Paper jams from feeding more than a page will wear out the scanner roller area faster. Pages that were joined (stacked) by Paper Port can be separated into individual pages by Paper Port, but if you have have a batch of pages, all on one page, and made by your scanner -this file cannot be altered. If you scan your pages separately, any mistake can be deleted and replaced with a rescan of that page.
  15. Review your scanned images. Always save the scanned images as tiff files because tiff files are easy to navigate and edit. Although your ultimate file type will be PDF (Paper Port can only join PDF files), PDF files in separate pages are difficult to navigate through. For example, if you are reviewing 100 pages of tiff files, you could scroll through them, but with PDF files you have to open (and close) each file one at a time. Furthermore, PDF files cannot be edited, so if you have a PDF file of 100 pages all connected from the beginning, and there are several pages that are unsatisfactory, you cannot do anything about it. So, save your scans initially in a tiff format or some other format that can be edited, and change to PDF later.
  16. After reviewing your scanned images in the tiff format, and you are satisfied with them, save your images in the PDF form. Next, using Paper Port, join (stack) the pages into one big file. Stacked files can be unstacked, in case you find an error later. A stacked PDF file will be easy to navigate through.
  17. Take note of how your scanner assigns scan numbers:
    • If your scanner assigns each scan a counter number, then do nothing. This is ideal for inserting a missing page or a page that had to be rescanned.
    • If your scanner automatically has the date and time for a scan number, configure your job to be on a counter - which is much easier to work with.
    • When working with scans that were assigned time or date scan numbers, an option (tedious) is to change those numbers to sequential numbers. A better option, when working with time or date scan numbers is to divide your scanned pages into small batches. The pages tend to stay in sequence when working with small batches.
    • When using Paper Port, divide your work in batches. Paper Port works much faster when working with a small amount of pages versus a large amount. Instead of stacking 350 pages in one step, do it in several steps, of 60 pages per batch, and it will be much faster and less of a burden on your computer's memory.
  18. Download Windows Live image editing program - it is free. Use Windows Live to fix the irregular edges of the pages by cropping them. These irregular edges were caused from separating the book into individual pages and they could be distracting to view. Use the "straighten image" and "cropping" features in Live.
    • If you so desire, make your scanning projects technically correct. Live works well because the final product will be uniform in size without configuring (for example, with Windows Paint the images later will be uneven).
  19. Have a good backup system on your hard drive, and on an external drive, as a precaution against computer failure, mistakes and accidental deletion. If your backup system fails, restore your deleted items from the recycle bin. Scanning can get confusing and mistakes happen. Ideally, do your scanning when your mind is rested and clear, but as this might not always be the case, so use a double backup system, at the very least.
Video Tips
  • Know the rules of alphabetizing for your computer programs, scanner and Paper Port.
  • Decide up front what you want to end up with: a PDF, a word processing document or image files. It is very time and disc space consuming to scan a book for use in all of these if you really only want to end up with one.
  • If you can get a copy of Acrobat Pro, you can often scan it directly to PDF without the interim steps of Paper Port or image files.
  • If there are only a few figures or illustrations in the book, scan it all in black & white only (not grayscale)then scan the figures alone as images and insert them into the page images. Black & white only text will read much clearer on the screen, be easier to accurately OCR and will make a much smaller file size. However, with Windows Live Photo Gallery free editing program, the text on grayscale scans can be made darker and comparable in readability to black and white scans.
  • Always be thinking of ways to improve each phase of scanning and act on it. Improve the speed and ease of scanning.
  • When the binding glue is thick, the book tends to come apart easier. So when buying a book (not for scanning purposes) choose one that has a moderate (and thus flexible) amount of binding glue. By opening a book at various pages, you will be able to know how thick the binding glue is.
  • Listen to music, the radio, or turn on the TV while scanning to make the experience more enjoyable.
  • Read the owner's manual for Paper Port and your scanner. Read a book on scanning. Get ideas and help online. Ask questions of people who work in copy shops.
  • Unplug the scanner power cord between jobs to extend the life of the ac adapter (which can be very expensive to replace). Check Ebay for ac adapters.
  • Clean the inside of your scanner of paper particles, if you scanned a few books, your scanner will be filled with paper particles. Use canned air, a blower, a mini vacuum cleaner, a duster or a damp rag.
  • Always close your scanner when it is not in use and be careful when using you scanner. Close the sheet feed and retract the holder that receives the scanned pages. All this is not just to reduce dust but to keep these fragile parts from accidentally breaking - a non-commercial scanner is not as sturdy as a commercial scanner. When using your scanner, be careful not to break those parts that retract and protrude or any part of your scanner that looks easy to break.
  • Read your individual scanner's instructions! While this article provides an overview, every scanner will have its own procedures that you must be aware of before proceeding. Reading the instructions will not only help you to use the product better but will speed up your scanning experience and reduce the potential for errors.
  • Be sure to follow all copyright laws regarding printing and distribution. Look on the inside of the front cover of a book for the rules about reproducing its content. It may only be allowed for educational or for non-commercial purposes.
  • If you must destroy a book by cutting its binding and separating it into individual pages in order to scan, you must weigh the value of the book against the valued of the scanned book, making sure the latter outweighs the former before proceeding.
Things You'll Need
  • Scanner of choice
  • Books for scanning
  • Paper cutter, cutting mat or board, and craft knife (if chopping book)
Related wikiHows Article Tools

How to Tolerate the TSA As a Sex Crime Victim

Thu, 03/31/2011 - 06:17
In our modern society, certain security features have been implemented to make passengers feel safer in airplanes. One of these features in the United States is the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), best known for conducting searches in US airports.

Unfortunately, these searches have become more and more invasive in their efforts to catch persons attempting to bypass the security protocols. The search methods used can be very difficult to endure for people who have experienced traumatic incidents in their lives, particularly where those incidents were of a sexual nature. Enduring TSA screening methods in order to fly must be balanced with the need to protect your sensitivity to the search methods, and this article aims to help you tolerate the procedure better.

  1. Determine if flight is actually necessary. If the thought of a complete stranger seeing you naked or touching your body makes you uncomfortable, seek other methods of transportation. If you have found that air travel is currently your only viable means, begin preparing yourself for TSA screening.
  2. Baggage checks are the normPrepare yourself for the security check. Be aware that most security checks involve X-raying all of your baggage (including any shoes, jackets, and contents of your pockets after they have been removed) and taking a walk through a metal detector. Occasionally, people are randomly selected for a more thorough check. This will usually involve a full-body scan, strip search, handwanding, or using an advanced chemical analysis system that can detect traces of explosives.
  3. Assume a submissive demeanor. Understand that people who have been placed in a position of power over other individuals hate to have that power questioned. Many who find their own power under scrutiny will escalate the situation to prove their authority. To keep the TSA agents happy, it is best to remain non-confrontational.
  4. Recognize that searches are going to happen. When you go into the search, be aware that a strip-search is possible. Instead of panicking, use your strength of mind to make preparations for all of the possible searches. TSA staff are human, just like you. While many of them take their jobs seriously, there are some who abuse their power. Ostensibly, TSA agents just want to ensure that you aren't carrying anything dangerous onto the plane. Most likely, you will be forgotten as soon as you're through the security checkpoint, but it is best to prepare for both good and bad possibilities. However, be aware that a strip search is unlikely.
  5. Prepare everything you will need to get through security. Look up the TSA's guides for what you can and cannot carry through a security checkpoint.[1] Be sure to comply with this, as failure to do so could get you selected for additional screening. Have your identification material[2] and boarding pass ready. This will help make your processing through the security station easier.
  6. Pass through the initial security screening. Be polite , courteous, and non-confrontational. Be Patient, as this process can be the most time-consuming thing you will do at the airport. Maintain your best manners and be very cooperative, even if you are pulled aside for additional screening. This will show that you are trying to be courteous and helpful, and will likely win back a similar attitude from the TSA staff. It will also prevent the screener(s) from labeling you as a troublemaker and subjecting you to further screening and delay.
  7. Familiarize yourself with your options. If you are selected to pass through the millimeter wave scanner[3] or the backscatter machine[4], you may opt out of those in favor of an enhanced pat-down [5]. If receiving a pat-down, you have the rights to a same-gender screener, a private screening room, and a witness of your choice.
  8. Fear not to explain your situation. If you are pulled aside for additional screening, do not be afraid to explain your situation to the TSA official; the officials have no way of knowing unless you speak up.[6] Just be sure to do so in a courteous manner. They may be able to arrange for an alternative screening process that will help you feel more at ease. If they cannot do so, be prepared for the extra screening. Know that the TSA official has a job to do. The screening procedures were implemented to make sure that you are safe.
    • Before the beginning of a pat-down you can request a private area for a personal search at any time during the screening process.[7] In the unlikely event of a strip search, you will be offered a disposable paper drape for additional privacy.
    • You can have a companion, assistant, or family member accompany you and assist you during a private or public screening. After providing this assistance, the companion, assistant, or family member will need to be rescreened.[8]
  9. Understand that many people go through this process every day. People are often worried that a full body scanner will take a picture that might get out. The TSA's official position is that full body scanners do not show the image for more than a few seconds, and there is no way to save it. While extremely unlikely, leaked images may be a real risk, as there are many examples of leaked scanner images.[9] You can take comfort in the fact that a strip-search or frisking is not designed to injure you in any way, psychologically or physically. Try to keep repeating this, as it will help you understand that when you face the security checkpoint.
  10. Be prepared for physical contact. During some searches the TSA staff will give you a pat-down to ensure you do not have anything harmful. Be prepared for this, and once again, recognize that it is not a harmful act. This is done because the TSA staff cares about your safety. Do not look at it as a threat, but as a way of taking care of you.
    • You have the right to ask a security officer to change her or his gloves during the physical inspection of your accessible property, before performing a physical search (pat-down,) or any time a security officer handles your footwear.[10]
  11. Do something pleasant afterward. Go and have a favorite drink with those traveling with you, buy a treat or something read, and spend some time just breathing deeply and keeping yourself calm. It may have felt intrusive and even upsetting but carrying the sense of disturbance with you will increase your upset and it is better to center yourself and find some calm.
  12. Remember that no one else can tell you what you feel. Despite their best efforts to fire all TSA agents who act inappropriately in their positions [11] [12], the TSA may still have some disgruntled or disturbed agents. If you feel that you have been treated or handled inappropriately, contact the TSA [13] and your representatives [14] to try to prevent it from happening again.
  • Always be prepared and courteous when passing through airport security. This will help you especially if you have special needs.
  • The most important thing you have is your mind. Use it to keep yourself calm and composed. This will help you work through your anxieties and prevent a TSA search from being an overly traumatic experience.
  • If you begin to feel extremely uncomfortable, let the TSA staff know. You may have to explain your situation. The TSA tries to be as accommodating as possible, and should be able to provide you with an alternative search that isn't as invasive. Explaining may at least help to make it clear why you are behaving especially nervous, agitated, or irritable.
  • Always be compliant with the TSA staff. A non-compliant or unruly individual raises red-flags and will likely be denied access or subjected to more extensive screening.
  • Some airlines will be able to tell you upon check-in whether or not you have been selected for a full-body scan or pat-down search. Check with your airline at check-in, and in some cases, they will be able to remove you from the special search list.
  • Do not try anything illegal. This includes trying to sneak past security. Attempting something like this will only land you in more trouble with more invasive searches.
  • The fourth amendment protects Americans from unreasonable search and seizure. Airport security searches are reasonable, but the pat-down searches fall into a gray area. They are perfectly legal provided the TSA has reason to believe you are carrying something illegal. However, they are frequently done without proper cause. You have the legal right to refuse any searches, but in doing so TSA will likely not permit you access through the security checkpoint, thereby denying you access to air travel. In at least one instance, a man was threatened with a lawsuit if he left the airport after beginning, then refusing, TSA screening [15].
Related wikiHows Sources and Citations Article Tools

How to Find Yourself in 11 Important Steps

Thu, 03/31/2011 - 06:17
Finding yourself is an enlightening experience. You become self-sufficient and do things for others without expectations of something in return. You are no longer needy and become utterly grateful for all the things people have done for you in the past. Finding yourself is a time of harmony because you develop that philosophy or belief system that will carry you throughout the rest of your life. When you love yourself and who you are, you will savor and enjoy both life's pain and pleasures.

How do you know you have found yourself? When you are able to help others find themselves. Finding yourself is not easy. If you have never felt connected to who you are, and you want to find whatever makes you you, being yourself will be hard. The first step is always the hardest, but after that hill, you will be smooth sailing to discovering who you are.

  1. Create your own life's life timeline. Write down all of your major goals in your life that you feel you want to achieve. In turn, write down the events in your life that have already happened that you believe have affected you and have made you who you are now. This isn't an exercise in wallowing but one about clarification and identification of issues that might be hampering your present potential and the blossoming of your true sense of self.
    • Spend a little time writing with clarity about the past in your timeline. As much as where you're headed is important, so is making peace with the past. A timeline is an incredibly objective method for marking down past occurrences in your life that you consider to have been major. You can look at them as formation blocks and as changing experiences along your timeline without imbuing them with too much emotion (as would occur within a diary account). Keep it simple, real and condensed to the major effect or lesson learned from each past incident.
    • When analyzing negative past experiences, look to the positive learning message in it and don't dwell on the mistakes or the negatives. Everyone has these blips in their timeline but pretending they are either worse than they were or non-existent won't do you any favors. Instead, recognize that if it had not been for those past experiences you would not be where or who you are today.
  2. Prepare to recommence with a clean slate. Develop your own moral conduct and practice sticking to it. Remove vice from your life; vices are any actions or habits that curtail your true self and involve escaping having to think about the harder questions and finding your true sense of self. Smoking, over-eating, and addictive-drinking are examples of lapses or habits that will prevent you from functioning at your peak while letting you "off the hook" of the hard internal analysis as to why you use these crutches instead of finding better ways to brighten your existence. This may take some major rehabilitation for some individuals but putting it into the too-hard basket won't make it go away. Remember, you can't drive your life forward if you are always gazing through your rear-view mirror!
  3. You can't please everyoneLet go of the need to be loved by all and accept that some people still think you stink. The reality of life is that whatever you decide about forging ahead in a different way that is more focused on the person you see yourself as, some people won't be prepared to see you in a different or more forgiving light. Yet, it's important to forget about what everyone else thinks because you cannot please everyone. And while you might not want to disappoint the people close to you, they should want you to be happy. As long as you continue to exist to fulfill other people's ideas of who you should be, you'll never know your true talents, aptly summed up by Raymond Hull who once said: "He who trims himself to suit everyone will soon whittle himself away."
    • Realize that some people are jealous, afraid, or overwhelmed when a person changes their usual habits and becomes more enlightened. It's a threat of changing relationship patterns and it can sometimes cause them to have to face their own foibles that they've been trying to escape. Give these people space and compassion, and they may come around in time. If they don't, leave them be; you don't need them to shore up your sense of self.
  4. Learn to rely on yourself. At the heart of finding yourself is believing and relying on yourself. If you don't have a solid foundational sense of your self, you will be inclined to listen to what others have to say all the time and to be swayed by their insistence on what is wrong, right, and appropriate. When the self sense of others envelops your own self sense, you're caught up in the maze of otherness and you're not likely to find yourself any time soon.
    • If you have been victimized in the past, confront the issues created for you. They're not going to go away on their own account and they are probably coloring your approach to daily life now, causing you to live up to other people's expectations and not your own.
    • Start trusting your own judgment and decision-making processes. Sure, you're going to make mistakes from time to time but so does everyone else and it's through mistakes that you will find yourself growing, learning, and reaching into your real sense of self.
    • Start taking responsibility for budgeting, household matters, and planning about where you want to be in a few years time. People who lack a sense of self tend to dispense with the "details" of life with a carefree attitude that things will all sort out. But things don't sort themselves out and not taking an interest in serious planning for your future is akin to sticking your head in the sand and letting life carry you along wherever it will. Taking responsibility pulls you back from the precipice and lets you be self-reliant and self-determined, no longer carried along by the waves of fate.
  5. Sort out your career path. If you're meandering all over the place looking for the right "fit", chances are that you're not content within and are using the job-changing as an excuse for not fully realizing your true aptitudes. Finding yourself is in part about self-recognition, knowing what you're truly good at and knowing how to make the most of the talents you have. Along the way, money and prestige tend to override aptitude and can detour you from making the right choice for you.
    • Spend some time free-associating. Think about what you like and don't like and think beyond those things to associated ideas that simply occur as you're working through the likes and dislikes. Keep a record of these things. Then, come back to the career question and look at the free associations. What type of career seems to gel most with the things that excited, moved, and really energized you from the free-association exercise? As Alain de Botton says, this exercise is one in looking for "beeps of joy" amid the cacophony of must-dos, shoulds, and expectations.[1]
    • Bear in mind however, that work may not be where your "calling" is. If that is the case, you'll need to work out a work-life balance that lets you pursue your "true self" more outside the confines of the workplace, even if this means less hours and less income. And less income means facing the means to give you that freedom through better planning, budgeting, and acceptance of a frugal way of living. It is all possible, especially if it's in the pursuit of finding and sustaining your true sense of self.
  6. Immerse yourself in solitude. Give yourself some time and space to get away from the expectations, the conversations, the noise, the media, and the pressure. Take some time each day to go for a long walk and think. Plant yourself on a park bench and look. Take a long, thoughtful road trip. Whatever you do, move away from anything that distracts you from contemplating your life and where you want it to go. In solitude, you should feel independent and self-sufficient, not lonely, needy or afraid. If the banter of co-workers, parents, friends, or strangers is getting you down, solitude can restore your sense of balance and inner calm, reminding you that you have a trajectory in life mapped out and that you're marching to it, not to the worries, fears, and hearsay of other people.
    • Every person needs time out, whether you're an introvert or extrovert, single or in a relationship, young or old. Solitude is time for rejuvenation and self-talk, for utter peace and for realizing that purposeful "aloneness" is not a bad place to be but rather, a liberating part of your overall existence.
  7. Ask yourself every question in the book. Ask yourself the questions that are difficult, that dare to look at the big pictures, such as:
    • "If I had all the resources in the world - if I didn't need to make money - what would I be doing with my day to day life and why?" Perhaps you'd be painting, or writing, or farming, or exploring the Amazon rain forest. Don't hold back.
    • "What do I want to look back on in my life and say that I never regretted?" Would you regret never having traveled abroad? Would you regret never having asked that person out, even if it meant risking rejection? Would you regret not spending enough time with your family when you could? This question can be particularly difficult.
    • "If you had to choose three words to describe the kind of person I'd love to be, what would those words be? Adventurous? Loving? Open? Honest? Hilarious? Optimistic? Realistic? Motivated? Resilient? Don't be afraid to pick up a thesaurus. Don't be afraid to choose words that are considered negative because that proves you're a whole and not a lopsided amassing of only those parts you'd like to be known for. Sometimes your traits that your (or others) don't like become useful only in emergency situations (like being bossy) or are valuable to the job you're meant to perform (like being nitpicking). If you do have a truly negative trait, acknowledging it openly can give you the impetus to work on redirecting that energy to something positive. Exercising compensates for many bad habits and there are hobbies for almost every vice. Even pole dancing is becoming a hobby! Don't wash your clothes much? Try camping. Maybe you'll like it?
    • "Who am I?" This question is not static and should be one you continue to ask yourself throughout your life. A healthy person continues to reinvent themselves through life; by asking this question, it's updates your understanding and acceptance of personal change. And instead of answering who you think you ought to be, keep it focused on who you actually are, because in all likelihood that's a very good answer, warts and all.
  8. Keep a written record of your answers to the series of questions in the former step. Beyond your time spent in solitude (something that's important to indulge in regularly), it's easy for these purpose-focused thoughts to slip to the back of your mind and be forgotten. If you have them written down, then every time you reflect, you can review your notes and take it a step further, instead of answering the same questions all over again. Keep them in a notebook that's both easy to access and update wherever you happen to be; it will be a source of sustaining you and by which you can continue to measure your growth through life.
  9. Act upon your newly discovered knowledge. Do the things that you want to do! Pick up those watercolors. Write a short story. Plan a trip to Mombasa, Mt Kenya, a walk at Nairobi Safari Walk. Have dinner with a family member. Start cracking jokes. Open up. Tell the truth. Whatever it is that you've decided you want to be or do, start being and doing it now.
    • You may shake your head and come up with excuses such as "no time", "no money", "family responsibilities", etc. Instead of using these as excuses, start planning around the realities in your life. You can free up time, find money, and get a break from duties if you make time how to plan and pluck up the courage to ask for these things; sometimes, the real you is too afraid to face the practicalities because it'd mean facing up to what you've limited yourself by. Start planning what you really want to do and investigating what needs to be done to get you to that point instead of flinging final excuses at them that stop the desired activities and achievements dead in their tracks.
  10. Don't see it as a dead-end; see as a need to turn around and try againBe ready for dead ends. Finding yourself is a journey, not a destination. A lot of it is trial and error. That's the price you pay in return for the satisfaction you receive: More often than not, you hit a bump in the road, and sometimes you fall flat on your face. Be prepared to understand and accept that this is a part of the process, and commit to getting right back up and starting over. It's not going to be easy – it never has been for anybody – but if you learn to see that as a chance to prove how much you want to find yourself, then you'll find fulfillment and security in your pursuit. When you are yourself, everyone will respect you more and treat you kindly. Best of all, you will always feel good about yourself and this will reflect out onto others, making them feel even more certain about your sense of self.
  11. Serve others. Mahatma Gandhi once said that "the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others". All introspection and no reaching out to others can cause you to navel-gaze and shut yourself off from others. Service to other people, to the community, to other species and your planet is the ultimate way to find purpose and a sense of your place in the world. When you get to see how hard life can be for those in greater need than you, it's often a wake-up call that puts your own worries, concerns, and petty issues into perspective, helping you to see what you do have and the opportunities you've been able to seize through life. And that can fuel a great sense of self because suddenly things fall into place for you and you just know what really matters most. Try it. You'll like it.
Video Tips
  • You're never as bad or as good as people say.
  • Resist the urge to feel like you're the only one going through this. In Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison once summed this up well: All my life I had been looking for something, and everywhere I turned someone tried to tell me what it was. I accepted their answers too, though they were often in contradiction and even self-contradictory. I was naive. I was looking for myself and asking everyone except myself questions which I, and only I, could answer. It took me a long time and much painful boomeranging of my expectations to achieve a realization everyone else appears to have been born with: that I am nobody but myself.
  • Although it's a cliche, the term Be yourself really does count when it comes to finding yourself. Make sure no one influences who you are; by all means listen to others and learn from them but let the final choices, decisions, and acceptances be your own. If you simply capitulate to what others think, it will make finding yourself even harder since people are influencing who you think you are.
  • Don't be afraid to sleep on it. There's no hurry in making decisions, and you'll be more likely to make good ones if your mind is calm and rested.
  • Be forgiving and learn to let go.
  • Don't spread bad gossip or otherwise speak ill about other people. Knocking others down is not the path to self-knowledge. It only compromises your dignity as a human being and makes others dislike you.
  • Do not let others decide for you what you are destined to do. Their path may not be the correct path for you. What works for one person may not work for the next.
  • Don't lie to yourself and try to be someone you are not. Remember this is about being yourself. As it is important to not let family members decide, it is also important not to let society and the media push you in a certain direction, especially when it comes to your physical appearance.
  • Don't let yourself get caught up in a habit of constantly changing who you are or how you act just to fit in.
  • Don't feel you have to prove your worth to the world.
  • Be careful, you might not immediately like who you find.
  • Don't over analyze everything! Don't think about how you should act – just be yourself and the rest will come.
Related wikiHows Sources and Citations Article Tools

How to Use a Gym Ball During Pregnancy and After Childbirth

Thu, 03/31/2011 - 06:17
Exercising whilst you are pregnant is a great idea, providing you've checked with your GP about doing the right level of exercise for you. Using a gym ball for exercise during pregnancy can help you to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles in preparation for childbirth and is an easy and gentle way to keep up your fitness level.

Once you've had your six-week check after childbirth and you're okay to resume your exercises, it is also a great way to gently accustom your body to exercise again. This guide will help you get the most out of your gym ball!

Note: Always check with your doctor first before starting any exercise program during pregnancy, in case you have special requirements.

  1. Get the right size gym ball. This is important to make sure you have correct posture for your exercises.
    • If you are under five feet three inches (160cm): You need a ball that inflates to around 21.6" (55cm).
    • Between five foot three and five foot eight (160cm to 172.72cm): Then you will need a ball inflating to 25.5" (65cm).
    • Five foot eight (172.72cm) and above: The ball should inflate to 29.5" (75cm).
  2. Make sure it can take you from early pregnancy right through to late pregnancyEither get a gym ball specific for pregnancy or check the weight limit. You should aim for a ball that supports at least 250-300 pounds (113.39kg to 136kg) and it must have a feature called 'anti-burst'.
  3. Inflate the ball. Your ball should be firm to the touch, but not hard - usually about 70 percent of its size is the right amount of inflation. It is also recommended to leave the ball 24 hours after inflating before you begin using it. The firmer the ball, the less stability it has, and the harder the exercises will be for you.
  4. Sit on the ball. Make sure you have a chair or sofa nearby in case you need it to steady yourself.
    • Place your feet approximately 20-25 inches (50.8cm to 63.5cm) apart.
    • Keep your spine straight, but leaning slightly forward. This will help to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, which is something that is very important for pregnancy in order to prepare your body for an easier labour.
  5. Experience the benefit of simply sitting on the ball. In order to balance on a gym ball you have no choice but to sit correctly, keeping your back straight and pelvis aligned, which reduces backache and helps your baby into a good position. So if you're pregnant, but too tired for exercises, just sitting on your ball instead of the sofa can still help strengthen your muscles and ease pressure on your back.
  6. Begin gentle exercises, such as the following. Make sure you are supporting your bump if needed, and always stop immediately if you feel out of breath or uncomfortable at any time.
    • Rock your hips gently from side to side.
    • Rotate your hips in circles, do ten sets clockwise and ten sets anti-clockwise.
    • Rotate your pelvis in slow figures of eight.
    • Sit carefully on your ball, place both hands under your bump to support and bounce up and down. Rest after every set of 25 or less, according to your fitness level.
  7. Bring the ball to your birth. If you're able to bring your ball with you, you'll find it can also be used during the early stages of labour.
    • Rotating your pelvis in figures of eight during contractions can help ease muscle pain.
    • Kneel on the floor with a towel under your knees, hugging the gym ball to your chest. You can then lean head, shoulders and chest onto the ball, allowing your belly and lower back to relax.
    • Whilst kneeling as above, you can sway your body side to side or rest back on your heels.
  8. After childbirth, your gym ball is a great way to get your pelvic floor muscles back into shape. You can do the same exercises as whilst you were pregnant, just make sure you are not pushing your body more than you should.
  9. Try sit-ups using the ball. After childbirth, sit-ups are a great way to strengthen your abdominal muscles. Wait until you have had your 6 week checkup and that your doctor has said you are okay to resume exercising.
    • Make sure your gym ball is against the middle of your back and your feet are around 20 inches (50.8cm) apart and flat on the floor.
    • Place your hands behind your head and raise as normal.
    • Begin by resting after every set of 10, then after 25, and increase according to your fitness level. Do not rush yourself, you are still healing!
    • Combine with a cardio routine three or four times a week to see the best results.
  10. Use your gym ball for your baby.
    • You can also use your gym ball to cradle your baby, often whilst swaddled and to rock them to sleep.
    • Babies with head control may enjoy being held and bounced.
    • Older babies that can sit or stand with support may enjoy batting and playing with the gym ball on the floor.
Video Tips
  • If your baby is back to back, exercising on your gym ball regularly can help turn them into a better position for labour.
  • Many gym ball exercises can be done whilst watching TV or even reading.
  • A fussy baby can be soothed to sleep by holding them swaddled whilst rocking or bouncing on your ball.
  • When getting onto the floor to work with the gym ball, always kneel one leg down at a time.
  • Always keep your feet apart to leave room for the baby and your belly.
  • Stay well hydrated when exercising; keep water near you at all times.
  • A gym ball is also known as a fitness ball, stability ball, and exercise ball.
  • Never push your body more than it is comfortable with, especially during the latter stages of pregnancy.
  • Check with your GP before beginning an exercise routine in pregnancy, especially if you have not been exercising before.
  • Do not resume exercise after childbirth without checking with your GP first.
  • Do not do sit-ups for the first 6 weeks after childbirth, and not until your GP says you can.
  • Don't lie on your back to exercise during pregnancy in case you pinch the vessel carrying blood.
  • Always get up slowly and carefully from floorwork, to give your body time to adjust and to prevent fainting.
Things You'll Need
  • Gym ball
  • Mat or comfortable floor space
  • Comfortable clothes
  • Doctor's go-ahead
Related wikiHows Sources and Citations Article Tools

How to Make a Blue Jeans Cake

Thu, 03/31/2011 - 06:17
Keeping on top of fashion is one of the most common pursuits for kid and teen girls. What better way to help them feel they're really fashionable at their next birthday party than styling up their birthday cake as a blue jeans shaped cake? Here is how to create it. Ingredients
  • 13" x 9" (33cm x 23cm) pre-made cake, any flavor
  • 1 container of white frosting
  • Blue and yellow food coloring
  • Fruit roll-ups
  • Various candies, such as M&Ms, gum drops, etc.
  1. Prepare your frosting bowls. Add about 2/3 to 5/6 of the frosting and 2-3 drops of blue food coloring to one bowl and 1/6 to 1/3 of the frosting and 1-2 drops of yellow food coloring to another bowl. Mix thoroughly to get the desired color pigment you want for the jeans.
  2. Using a serrated knife, carefully slice off the "dome" or top of the cake. Doing this makes the cake flat. Turn the cake upside down and place it vertical in height.
  3. Cut off about an inch (2.5cm) of the side. This will become the "belt" of the cake.
  4. Prepare your cake shape. You can use a pre-made template or eyeball it. Place a toothpick about 2 inches (5cm) in the center from the top and 2 toothpicks on the bottom, 2 inches (5cm) from each side. Cut in a triangular form, using the toothpicks as guides.
    • Cut a symmetrical triangle inside the triangle wedge. These two pieces will be used to extend the bottom hems of the jeans.
  5. Put the pieces together. Trim off the belt to the size of the cake length.
  6. Use some of the frosting as an adhesive "glue" to attach all of the pieces to the cake. Cover and frost the cake evenly with half of the blue frosting. Place in the refrigerator for the frosting to harden.
  7. Use the remaining blue frosting to create another even layer.
  8. Pipe the yellow frosting into a tube. If you don't have one, you can use a sandwich baggie and make a very small hole at the bottom. Dab small indents on the cake to create pocket outlines, the zipper, and bottom hems.
  9. Use a fruit roll-up as the customized belt buckle. Tear 2 thin slices of roll-up and make tassels. Dab on yellow frosting along the buckle and lay M&Ms on top to create a stud style.
  10. Accessorize the rest of the jeans. Place a piece of fruit roll-up by the knee to create a patch and outline it with yellow frosting dots. Make up your own designs relying on your imagination.
Video Tips
  • Avoid refrigerating the frosting prior to mixing. Hard frosting is complicated to mix and won't turn out as the expected fluffy creation.
  • Placing the frosted cake in the refrigerator will not only harden it but turn the frosting color into a darker shade.
Things You'll Need
  • 2 bowls for frosting
  • Mixing implement
  • Serrated knife and clean cutting surface
  • Template (self-made from light card, optional)
  • Frosting knife or spatula
Related wikiHows Sources and Citations Article Tools

How to Spring Clean Your Skateboard

Thu, 03/31/2011 - 06:17
When spring has sprung, and the sound of skateboards is in the air, it's time to clean up the old board and get it running like new again. Here's how. Steps
  1. Gather all your tools and towels and other items. These are listed below under "Things You'll Need.
  2. Remove the grimy old wheels. The biggest part to a smooth running skateboard is clean, functional bearings, so grab your wrench, and unscrew the bolts.
  3. After you have the wheels off, you'll need to get to the bearings. There are a couple ways to get the bearings out of the wheels, but they're all pretty similar. Make the skateboard work for you – use the tip of the trucks, and carefully but firmly pry them out. You can put a lot of weight on the board that you can't get with a wrench or screwdriver.
    • Note: a little olive, sunflower, or canola oil around the outside of the bearing helps shimmy it out!
  4. Once all of the bearings are out, fill a dish with olive, sunflower, or canola oil and drop them in to soak for a little while.
    • CAUTION: If you use water or WD-40, your bearings will rust and not work for long!
    • WD-40 is only good to get parts unstuck, not to grease them up for extended use.
  5. Now that the bearings are lubed up, clean all the dirt and sand off them. Roll them around a little. Get them moving again and use a cloth or paper towel to rub them off.
    • Tapping some of the dirt out of them works a little bit too. And depending on the bearing construction, a cotton swab is a good idea to get in the groove to reach spots that a towel can't get to.
  6. Start the reassembly. The easiest way to get the bearings in the wheels again is using your skateboard. Place the bearing face down on the trucks' wheel post and then push the wheel over it, squeezing the bearing into the wheel. Do this until all the bearings are in.
    • Note: if your bearings have metal spacers make sure you put them in before you put both bearings in your wheel.
  7. Before you screw the wheels back on, if you have washers to put on the outside and inside, do that now. And clean off the posts of dirt and grease from last summer.
  8. So your skateboard is all back together. Time to readjust your trucks' King pin. This is the mega-screw in the middle of your trucks. It adjusts how stiff or loose your turning is.
    • Note: If you're new to skateboarding, try a firm setup. If it's too loose, your ride will be wobbly.
  9. Make sure you check your hardware screws too. (They're the screws that hold your deck to the trucks.) They should be nice and tight.
  10. Ride off into the sunset dude! Your wheels should be spinning much smoother and faster now.
Video Tips
  • Test the board out after setting your King pin. nothing worse then trying a new setup and getting to the park and finding out your board isn't responding how you want it to. also, bring tools along for a day at the park after setting up your skate-If you don't need to use them, I'm sure someone else there will.
Things You'll Need
  • Skateboard
  • Wrench
  • Wrench bits (1/2 and 9/16 used in this article)
  • Towel/paper towel
  • Dish/bowl
  • Cooking Oil
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How to Lead and Be Powerful in High School

Thu, 03/31/2011 - 06:17
High school is an interesting and tumultuous time where the frailty of youth clashes with the reality of the world. During this time, concepts of popularity and politics will begin to take hold and shape the young minds experiencing it. This article will seek to provide tips on how to utilise a blend of philosophy and interpersonal charisma to create a persona of power and leadership while in high school. Steps
  1. Read books about power dynamics. Reading is critical as the first step. Books that can be helpful include Machiavelli's The Prince; The 48 Laws of Power, by Robert Greene; The Art of War, by Sun Tsu; and other books that are readily available on philosophy and the human psyche. These will help broaden your understanding of certain methods of control and influence, as well as raise your apparent level of education.
  2. Learn how to balance intelligence and charm. Although a book worm might have an I.Q. of 150, if he lacks personal charisma, he will likely be ignored. Likewise, although the stereotypical jock might seem charming, if they lack the intelligence to form creative thoughts, they will seem shallow. Find a balance and middle ground in between these two traits that works for you. Get to know people, display yourself as witty and charming, with a bit of hidden intellect. It will help give you an air of mystery, enticing others to want to learn more.
  3. Joining clubs is one good method for networkingStart networking. Once you have your persona in place, begin meeting people. Ensure that you leave a positive impression. Show interest in them. Get them to talk about themselves. People love talking about themselves and by listening patiently, you will earn their trust and respect. During this you may be able to find people who can help you achieve objectives later. Remember though, that these relationships must be maintained. Stop through every so often to see how they are doing.
  4. Allow your fame to spread. If your persona and networking tactics are effective, a minority of the population will recognize you and begin to talk about you with others. This is all you need right now. Be patient and continue maintaining your networks.
  5. Make your bid for power. Once you feel your networks are in place and the time is right, make yourself out as the candidate for a leadership role. Now, this will only be effective if the position is decided by popular vote, or at least influenced by the majority's opinion of you. If you are shooting for student body president for example, this would be the time to enter your nomination for yourself.
  6. Build on your fame. Now that it is clear you are running for a position, Begin bringing the undecideds into your camp. The best way to do this is by getting your name out in the public eye. Studies have shown that in smaller elections, people are more inclined to vote for a name they recognize than someone who matches their political beliefs. Your goal is to use this statistic to your advantage. Remember, there is no such thing as bad publicity. However, keep in mind that doing juvenile or childish things can tarnish your reputation.
  7. Ride the wave of power. By now, if you have executed things correctly, you should find yourself in the position you were going for. Your name will be known to a good majority of the student body, and your networks will look up to you even more than before. Continue to maintain those networks, make them into your strongest supporters. With their assistance and your new-found political power, you should be in a position to bring into effect the changes you originally sought power to achieve. Follow through on your goals, but do not turn your back on those who brought you into power. Continue building their trust in everything you do. Do not throw anyone under the bus.
  8. By being bold to speak up for the good of the group, especially in the face of unjust authority, you will have won the "heart of the people".
Video Tips
  • The more you can read the better. It will allow you to have more informed conversations and to better voice your ideas. However, remember that people like talking more than they like listening. If all you do is rattle on about your own beliefs, you may seem like a pretentious loudmouth who many will ignore.
  • Do not stress over a minor setback. Determination is key. It doesn't matter if you fall down. What matters is that you get back up again.
  • Memorize quotes. Quoting accurately and in an appropriate context will portray you as well read and intelligent.
  • Cultivate a few influential teachers. Look for popular teachers in subjects you enjoy and do well in. Talk to them about power dynamics and how they maneuver hierarchies to their advantage - how do they get funding for their projects? How do they organize events? When you volunteer to help them out, you get relied on - and when you bring in a lot of your friends to help, the administration also sees you as a positive student leader and will bring some weight to your awards and curriculum vitae. You'll also get letters of recommendation for college entrance and gain skill in socializing with professors when you get there.
  • Play to your strengths. If you're healthy, choose a sport you genuinely enjoy and put the time in to do well at it. Team sports offer many leadership positions and sports coaches are good contacts among the faculty too. Don't go out for sports you don't have the physique for - if you're small, track may be a better option than football. If you're big, football may be a much better proposition than track.
  • Beware of manipulating others. Although it may seem like a harmless thing to do, it can create enmity in between you and those who would have been your supporters. Additionally, in the fragile emotional environment of high school, it could seriously hurt someone. Be cautious. Strive to earn people's trust and confidence.
  • Do not violate any laws or school rules in your quest for power. Doing so will likely void any chance you had for achieving your goals.
  • Do not gossip or spread any information that was given to you in confidence. This will only hurt your credibility and lead the masses into feeling that you can not be trusted.
Related wikiHows Article Tools

How to Install and Store Climbing Skins

Thu, 03/31/2011 - 06:17
Sick and tired of waiting in lift lines at resorts? Of all the fresh powder getting skied off in the blink of an eye? Using climbing skins with AT bindings is your ticket to the backcountry, where there are no lines and the fresh snow is untouched. In this article, you will learn how to properly install and store your climbing skins. Steps
  1. Once you have purchased your basic AT gear set up (skis, AT bindings, and climbing skins) the first step is to cut the skins to size.
    • To cut the skins to size, place the wire loop over the tip of the ski, tightly pull the skins down along the ski, making sure the adhesive attaches to the base smoothly.
    • Run the included razor down the skins, cutting them to the contour of your ski's edge.
    • Repeat on the other ski. Remember, some skis have different shapes from right to left, so make sure to mark your skis accordingly so they match up perfectly every time you put them on.
  2. Understand the installation process. Each time you put the skins on, put the wire over the tip and pull the skins down tightly, ensuring that the skins are sitting flat on the ski, the final step is to clamp the end of the skin down on to the tail of the ski.

  3. To store your skins, peel the adhesive off of your ski's base.
  4. Fold your skins into thirds, keeping the adhesive side inward.

  5. Roll them up and store them both together in the neoprene bag.
Video Tips
  • Each time you complete this process, it is critical that you accurately align the skins.
  • Practice makes perfect. It can be hard to get the adhesive to sit perfectly on your skins, especially in the cold and blowing wind up on the slopes. Practice at home a few times first.
  • If you don’t have the chance to store them perfectly when you are on the top of the mountain, it's okay. Do your best, and when you get home repack them.
  • Its often a good idea to take some duct tape just in case your skins aren’t fully sticking and need some help.
  • Bring proper back country gear and safety equipment.
  • Do not store you skins in hot temperatures, it can ruin the adhesive and melt them together.
Things You'll Need
  • Skis
  • AT bindings
  • Climbing skins (BlackDiamond used in this wikiHow)
Related wikiHows Article Tools

How to Wait For Your Turn in a Long Queue

Thu, 03/31/2011 - 06:17
Sometimes it becomes very boring and monotonous to keep waiting in a long queue, particularly ones that seem to move very slowly. At times, you may feel tempted to yell at the person at the counter to be a little faster, or you may simply feel like leaving the line altogether. This becomes all the more painstaking, if your feet are aching, and you're longing to sit or relax for sometime.

Here are some ways to deal with long queues, along with suggestions to help you to feel that the time spent waiting has been used productively.

  1. Keep a small, thin book handy. You can keep a book with short stories which you can quickly finish while waiting for your turn, or you can keep the paperback version of a novel that you wanted to read, or currently reading.
    • If reading stories or novels is not your cup of tea, you can keep pamphlets, brochures or even the day’s newspaper with you, so that you can catch up with the things that you had to read, but could not find the time to do so, otherwise.
    • If reading is simply not something that you're game for, then you can turn on your iPod for music, audio books, or videos, or switch to the music folders in your mobile phone and enjoy the music while moving along in the queue.
  2. Play phone games. Modern day cell phones offer a variety of interesting stuff to pass time. For example, the games in your cell phone can be a good way to keep yourself engaged during the waiting time, which you would have spent getting bored otherwise.
  3. Catch up on your phone calls. Call up your friends and relatives while waiting to go ahead. In our busy lifestyle, we hardly find the time to catch up with friends. This is the perfect time to talk to them and keep in touch.
  4. Watch TV. In many stores, doctor's waiting rooms, public service offices (such as license payment or unemployment benefits offices), airport lounges, etc., they have a TV installed near the place where they want people to queue up, to keep you entertained. Allow yourself the opportunity to just sit back and chill; you might even learn something new if it's a channel or show you'd normally never watch!
    • Equally, you may find the TV irritating. Ask the people in charge to turn down the volume if the TV is blaring at you, or hide inside your iPod again.
  5. People watching can be a fascinating part of whiling away the timePlay word games or imagination games. Look at the signs around you and think of some word or imagination games to pass the time. Some ideas include:
    • Word associations - how many associations can you make sparked by reading one sign?
    • Making words from within the words you can read on the signs. Make as many as you can!
    • Making up histories about the building from the names and information on the signs.
    • Take a small notebook and some pencils. Play tic-tac-toe or hangman with someone else in the line. You can even play mental tic tac toe if you'd like.
    • People watch – try guessing about people's backgrounds and motivations for being in the queue with you.
  6. Make friends. If mixing with new people is something that you like doing, then this is an excellent opportunity to indulge in it. You can strike up a conversation with the person behind you or in front of you.
    • Sympathize with each other on how long the wait is – this can be a good ice breaking thing to discuss. However, try to gauge if the person is game for the conversation. If you do not find them contributing much, maybe you are just intruding into their personal space.
    • Not just talking, you can also take turns with the person behind you or in front of you to keep each other’s place in the queue secured, so that you can go around again and see if you want something more or would like to exchange something, or to get a coffee or something to eat. Or, if the wait is very long, you can take turns to sit somewhere, while the other keeps the place. However, make sure that you do not upset anyone by doing this; keep a sense of humor and make it clear that it's a sharing arrangement anyone can join in.
  7. Sustenance!Bring a snack. Many times, you can forget to eat in your tightly packed schedule and if waiting is involved, you might miss the chance altogether. Use the time in the queue to eat something healthy and filling, so that you keep up with your daily nutrition requirements.
  8. Dress appropriatelyLook after your health. Queue-waiting can come with its own share of irritations and even hazards. Here are some things to keep in mind:
    • Dress for the weather. If it's cold, rug up and if it's hot, don't wear too much. Also have food and drink that keeps you warm or cool, and hydrated for a long wait.
    • If you feel a sense of panic, talk yourself through it. If you can't overcome it, ask someone in the queue to hold your place by telling them you feel sick and need take a break. Go and find a quiet spot for a bit until you feel better. If this doesn't improve things, you may need to consider going home.
    • Stretch. Standing in a queue for a long time can be tiring, so do a few stretches now and then if it's a particularly long wait.
  9. Be patient. Finally, the best thing you can do about waiting in a long queue is to accept the situation for what it is and to simply ride it out. It won't last forever even though it may feel like it at the time, and it will soon be a memory. Rely on good preparation beforehand (food, drink, appropriate clothes) and your determination to meet your mission to get you through the boredom of the wait.
  • Try to avoid the line in the first place. Do errands at times of the day which are less busy. Lunch time may be the worst time of day to go to your local post office. If so, plan to go to the post office in the morning. Better yet, bring exact change or a credit card and you may be able to use the machines in the lobby rather than waiting in line.
  • Bring a chair (or even a cushion). This may sound silly, but in some cases, you know that there is going to be a long line and that you will have no choice but to get into that long line, and then wait for several hours. If you are going to be waiting in a long line for a flu shot, for example, during a season when supplies are short, bring along a lightweight folding chair and sit in it. Stand up and move the chair along when the line starts to move.
  • Work out. Yes, believe it or not, you can actually exercise while waiting on a queue. Keep your knees close and bend one knee to lift your foot off the ground. As you try to maintain your balance, you'll be working your abdominal muscles ! Don't fall over !!
  • There is so much that you can do to make your waiting in a queue interesting and productive. All you need to do is think about possibilities. This way you can also make good utilization of your time, that you would have wasted otherwise, waiting.
  • Do not attempt to force a conversation with a person, who does not seem to be interested in talking to you. They may not choose to speak to you for many reasons, so don't take it personally.
  • Don't consume hard drinks or smoke; it can be very annoying for people around.
  • Don't talk so loudly that you might disturb everyone else. This is very important for cell phone conversations too.
Things You'll Need
  • A book
  • Food (preferably some dry food like sandwiches/ nuts)
  • A drink (juice/ milk/ soft drink)
  • A friend to give you moral support
  • Notebook and pencil/pen
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10 Tips for Green Shopping: Bring Your Own Bags!

Thu, 03/31/2011 - 06:17
"Plastic ain't my bag."By now, you have probably heard what a waste of resources most plastic bags are. You may even have some reusable bags of your own. Yet, are they going with you into the store, or are you and the store clerks where you shop still on automatic pilot, bagging in plastic? Time to refine the ways you remember to take the reusable bags with you! Steps
  1. Do you have a pile like this?Get informed and remind yourself why you want to do your part. People consume billions of plastic bags each year. This excess layer of packaging costs energy and money to produce, and bags are bound to end up in a landfill, if not as litter, sooner or later. [1] A simple place to start is to have a good look at how many you have around. Perhaps you reuse them for certain things; perhaps you recycle them or throw them away. Wouldn't it be better to skip the process entirely?
  2. A bag crocheted from reclaimed plastic bags.Have an ample supply of reusable bags. You may already own at least a handful of reusable canvas or heavier plastic bags. If not, try sewing or knitting or crocheting some. Regardless of where you get your bags, choose a size that is comfortable and a design that is sturdy and pleasing. Have at least enough for a full load of groceries.
    • Your reusable bag (or bag substitute) can be whatever is most convenient for you. It could be your backpack or panniers if you ride a bike. Choose what works and pleases you.
    • A reusable bag can also be insulated, such as a quilted or padded bag or an insulated, soft-sided cooler for your frozen goods.
    • A large basket is an excellent choice for some items, especially if you like to shop at a farmer's market. There are European made canvas collapsible shopping baskets that can be purchased from stores that sell bags or carrying items.
    • Making your own bags is a great excuse to salvage beautiful prints from clothing and other fabric items that are worn out or no longer fit but that you'd like to keep as a memento. The fabric still gets to be seen and you've got a useful item again!
  3. Put your bags where you will use them. This is key to helping you remember to use them. Put them in places such as: in the car, on the doorknob for the next time you go out, in your purse, briefcase, or backpack you usually take to go out.
    • Put a bag, or a reminder of one, where you will see it when you leave for the store and when you enter the store.
  4. As you enter a store, when you take a cart or basket, make sure you have a bag to put in it. If you haven't, make the effort to go back and get it.
    • When grocery shopping, one way of dealing with forgetting your bag is to ask for your groceries to go back into the cart; then you can either pack them into bags or boxes left in your car, or you can stack them in the trunk. You'll soon learn to remember the bags!
  5. Write it down.Write at the top of your shopping list "take bags". If you use the same notepad every time, write it on the new page as soon as you empty the last batch of bags.
    • Attach bags to your purse, your shopping list, or anything else you already take with you into stores. Some bags come with little hooks that make it easy to attach them to something else, or perhaps you could sew a hook or Velcro onto a reusable bag for such a purpose.
  6. Make it automatic. Make taking in bags a regular part of your shopping routine. Habits take a few weeks to ingrain but persevere and soon it will become second nature to take a bag whenever you leave to shop.
  7. Folded to pocket size.Use collapsible bags or reuse plastic ones. Have a couple of bags that are a thin enough material to fold or roll and store them in your purse or wallet as a backup for when you forget the usual reusable bags. Check out how to fold plastic bags to make them very compact and pocket sized.
  8. Save a few pennies for yourself or your kids.Tell the kids that it's important to take their own bags. If you have kids and you take them shopping, explain why you want to take back bags, and put them in charge of helping you remember to take them in and of helping you to remember them.
    • Many stores refund a few cents per bag. Offer to pay this amount to your kids if they remind you to take in the bags before you remember. They won't need to be asked twice!
  9. Put the bags back where they'll go with you. As soon as you empty them, put them back in the car, on the doorknob, or wherever they normally should be placed, so that they're already with you next time.
  10. Already equipped with handles.Make a point of asking for "no bag, thanks". If you already have a cart going back to your car or if you only have a few things, simply ask that your items not be bagged. You can also ask for no bags if items already have ample packaging. Milk and boxed cereal are excellent things to leave unbagged. You'll have to be quick, though – many clerks bag things automatically.
    • Put the bags in front of or on top of your order or groceries on the conveyor belt, so that baggers and checkers notice them before they have the stuff to put in them.
Video Tips
  • Reusable bags are great for groceries, but don't forget to take them to other stores, too. Remember them for clothing, hardware, drugstores, and anywhere else you shop.
  • Show your own style. Instead of carrying around the store's logo, carry around your own favorite color or design.
  • Have fun, make or pick out a special basket by the door to always keep them. It will get you excited and look good in your home.
Things You'll Need
  • Reusable bags for all occasions from shopping to visiting the beach
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How to Make a Basic Puncetto Valsesiano Stitch

Thu, 03/31/2011 - 06:17
Puncetto Valsesiano is a knotted needlelace from the Valsesia region of Italy, in the Piedmont. It is worked with only a needle and thread. Unlike many other forms of needlelace, the patterns tend to be strictly geometric. 

Puncetto Valsesiano is worked back and forth in rows (or rounds, if you are making a circular doily or working around the outside of a square piece). The work is never turned over and the same side always faces you. The needle is held pointing away from you.

Puncetto Valsesiano is not worked on the edge of a piece of fabric unless you are working an edging. Motifs and doilies usually are started with a loop of thread, but it is easier to show the back-and-forth movement of the stitches with a firm base, so this tutorial uses a folded piece of fabric.

Steps Working Left to Right
  1. Wrap the thread behind the needle, from right to left, forming a loop.
  2. Grasp the needle with your right hand and draw it through the loop. 
  3. Carefully draw the needle through the loop and tighten the knot. This forms the first stitch or knot. 
  4. Insert the needle to the right of the first stitch
  5. Loop the thread around the needle again, left to right, then behind the needle and right to left. 
  6. Repeat until you have a row of stitches. Now look carefully at the stitches. You will see loops of thread between each knot. These loops are used for working the next row of knots. 
Working Right to Left

These instructions presume that you have already worked one row from left to right. Do not turn the work.

  1.   Insert the needle under the first loop. 
  2. Wrap the thread in front of the needle, from right to left, and then behind the needle, from left to right, so that it forms a loop. 
  3. Grasp the needle with the right hand, draw the needle through the loop, and tighten the knot. 
  4. Insert the needle under the next loop of the previous row, wrap the thread around the needle, and draw the needle through the loop to form the stitch.
Video Tips
  • A “ladder” base is used for starting square and rectangular motifs.
Things You'll Need
  • Crochet thread – any smooth, mercerized cotton thread suitable for crochet can be used. Perle 8 is fine for a beginner. Later you may want to try something finer like size 30 or 50.
  • Needle – a needle with a sharp point is used in the photos included in this article, because it shows working through the edge of fabric, but a fine, blunt tapestry needle is recommended. Size 26 would work well.Just make sure that the size of the needle is proportionate to the weight of your thread. Don’t try to force a thick needle through fine stitches.
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How to Cope when Your Boyfriend Joins the Military

Thu, 03/31/2011 - 06:17
The military has always put stress on couples, and this trend seems to be even greater today. However, with the appropriate tools and planning, a relationship between a service member and civilian can be strengthened by these stresses and grow stronger through perseverance. Steps
  1. Connect before they leave. Often your significant other will receive forewarning before they must enter military service. Use this time wisely. Avoid the temptation to fight or criticize one another. Try to understand what your partner is going through. In some places, a military career is not one that is selected by choice. Do not dwell on the concept that you might lose one another. Instead enjoy the time you have together and grow closer as a couple. Work to connect on deeper emotional levels, and try to look forward to the future with optimism.
  2. Prepare for changes. When an individual enters military service they are often required to move away from their home, sometimes for several years. Be prepared for this. Work to establish plans. It may be worthwhile to create a plan and apply for jobs near where they will be stationed. Do not do this immediately though. Wait till they have reached their new base and are stabilized, otherwise the move could create undue stress for your service member while they are trying to integrate into a new unit. Talk it out and wait for their go-ahead.
  3. Prepare for changes in your partner. Nearly every Army in the world has some sort of Basic Combat Training. This is designed to take civilians and teach them how to survive in combat, while enforcing discipline and preparing them to be effective soldiers. This initial training is generally designed to be difficult and it can be a life altering experience for many recruits. Be prepared for these changes. Do not blame your partner for them; these changes often symbolize adaptations they had to make in order to survive the rigors of training for combat.
  4. Prepare for changes in yourself. When your partner leaves you will have to find a sense of independence to keep going. Just as they are having to adapt to a new environment, you will be doing so as well. It is good to have a support network here, and it definitely helps if you set this up beforehand. Try to locate mutual friends and family members that know you both well. If it was just you and your partner, things can get very lonely if you have no one to talk to. Although you may feel the urge to stray away from your partner, strive not to do so. Leaving them while they are away may make them feel abandoned and betrayed.
  5. Communicate as much as possible. Many initial training programs limit communications with loved ones in order to simulate the rigors of war. Despite this, it is important to use whatever means possible to continue communication. Openly share your feelings and try not to hide anything. This can be a very stressful time, and if it seems like something is being held back it can compound that stress, creating unnecessary fights and heartbreak. If your partner is deployed to a combat zone, be prepared for sparse communication. If letters or phone calls are sparse, it does not necessarily mean that your partner no longer cares about you. It could just be that the logistical structure required to maintain that communication is lacking.
  6. Enjoy every minute of time you have together. Occasionally, your loved one may get blocks of leave where they can return home. Enjoy the time you have with them and use it to connect as a couple. Know though, that often they will want to see family and friends as well. Do not get upset about this, because odds are they have not seen their family for the same amount of time that they've been missing you. Do take time for yourselves though. Celebrate the strength you both have found by facing this tribulation.
  7. Continue planning for the future. Always keep looking forward. Having a mutual goal can help you and your partner feel closer as a couple, and give you something to look forward to that will inspire and drive you every day. Make sure these goals are realistic, and that you discuss them with each other.
  • Communication is key. As long as you can keep open and honest lines of communication, there is very little that can drive you apart.
  • Occasionally changes can occur where couples drift apart. This is perfectly natural, and although it may seem upsetting, it is a normal part of life.
  • Do not stress yourself out that their life may be in danger. It will only cause you distress and concern that may hurt the relationship. Try to understand the facts of the situation. A report released a few years ago revealed that it was more dangerous on the streets of Washington, D.C., than it was for an American soldier on the streets of Baghdad.
  • If you feel that your partner has developed PTSD, or other issues from their experiences, do not be afraid to suggest they get help. Medical research has made amazing strides in the fields of mental health and traumatic brain injuries in the last decade.
  • Do not take your partner's departure as an opportunity to pursue a new love interest, as this will only hurt them in the long run.
  • Try not to rush into an early marriage. These sorts of things are common in the military and create a great deal of stress for both parties as they age and mature. If your partner does propose marriage, comfort them and suggest that you both wait a little while more so you can develop a stronger relationship.
  • If the relationship turns abusive, it is critical that you get out as soon as possible. You do not need to put your health and life on the line in order to 'help make it better'. Often times a departure of a loved one due to abuse will serve as a wake-up call, prompting the other person to seek professional help.
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How to Fill Out a US 1040EZ Tax Return

Thu, 03/31/2011 - 06:17
Every April that dreaded day comes along. In fact, the warning should be "Beware the ides of April" as it's the day that every American wage earner has to file taxes. The simplest return to file is known as the 1040EZ. While some of the lines on the form are somewhat out of order, filling it in is quite simple. Steps
  1. 1040 Easy Form Put your address label into the address section at the top, or simply fill it in by hand.
  2. Check the $3 dollar box for you, and your spouse if you're filing married. Federal law provides that anyone qualified by the Constitution has the right to run for president, however, the election registration process has attempted to control this by demanding excessive registration fees. The $3 pays these fees for the candidate who can't afford them. Checking this box does not increase your tax nor decrease your refund. The $3 is paid for by the government.
  3. Adding your spouse means you are filing Married Filing Jointly. Only your name means you are filing Single. You cannot file Married Filing Separately, Head of Household, or Qualifying Widow(er) on the EZ return.
  4. W-2 Wage and Tax Statement Enter your gross wages, salaries, and tips from page 1 of your W-2. Attach your W-2 Wage and Tax Statement. to the return.
    • If you are filing after February 15, and you still don't have your W-2 Wage and Tax Statement, call the IRS and give them your name, full address, SSN, dates of employment, and your employer's name, full address, and phone. If you don't receive the W-2 within a reasonable period of time, file a substitute W-2. You can print off a blank W-2 at Make sure you have figured the tax withheld, day for day, until Dec 31.
  5. Fill in your taxable interest, if any, in line 2.
  6. Fill in your unemployment compensation, if any, in line 3.
  7. Add lines 1 to 3. This is your Adjusted Gross Income.
  8. Check your personal exemption. If someone else can claim you as a dependent, you should not use the EZ return.
  9. Enter your Federal Income Tax Withheld from Line 2 on your W-2 Wage and Tax Statement.
  10. Enter your Making work pay credit from the worksheet on the back.
  11. Enter the total from the EIC, form 596. There is a worksheet for this in your EZ return instruction book.
  12. Enter the non-taxable combat pay election. If you receive the form for this election, enter it here, but do not add it into the payments and credits on line 10.
  13. Use the number from line 6 to figure your tax here using the standard tax tables, which you will find in the 1040EZ instructions.
  14. Subtract line 11 from line 10. If your line 11 is larger, this is your tax liability. If line 10 is larger, this is your refund. If you are filing jointly, and you want your refund split, include a form 8888 with your return. This includes your separate account numbers, and how much is to be deposited into each account.
  15. Enter your liability on line 13.
  16. Sign the signature lines. Include the date and your occupation. Also, include a phone number.
  • Read and fill out all of the credit and deduction forms. Leave the 1040EZ form for last. Read the 1040EZ. Fill out the forms as you go along, and put the end results on the return. When they are all done, do the math. When that's finished, the return will almost fill itself out.
  • The IRS rules are very forgiving when you look to pay the minimum tax and gaining the maximum refund, not so should you make unlawful claims.
  • All forms are searchable on the IRS Topical Index. [1]
  • Forms and Instructions are listed on the IRS Form Picklist. [2]
  • Publications are listed on the IRS Publication Picklist. [3]
  • Make sure all lines are filled in.
  • IRS Publication 17 is called the Preparer's Bible. If you have any questions about exemptions, deductions, or credits you will find all your answers here.
  • For more forms that are commonly used in personal filing see the IRS Picklist. [4]
  • Don't get Common-Law and Community Property confused.
  • Common Law marriages must be dissolved or separated in the same means as marriages in all other states.
  • The Third Party Designee line and the last 2 lines are only for professional tax preparers. Since this is about doing your own taxes, you don't need these.
  • This is not tax advice. Tax laws change from year to year. This article attempts to stay within the most common adjustments. It is intended to give you the information to do your taxes yourself. You should be able to do every kind of the most common individual taxes with the instructions and the Pub 17. However, if you run into questions that are just too confounding, don't hesitate to call the IRS help line. They don't bite. Really.
  • The IRS will pursue you if anything on your return seems fraudulent. If they bring an error to you attention, just correct it and follow it through. File a 1040X Amended form as soon as possible to correct the error. It's a correction process that's there to help you amend an error. The only thing you can really do wrong is to ignore it or run from it.
Related wikiHows Sources and Citations
  • IRS Pub 17
  • 1040EZ Instructions
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