Modern Siding Options – High-Tech Solutions For Home Exteriors

Selecting siding for your home can be a confusing process, with the numerous materials available from hundreds of manufacturers. Most homeowners know right away that they do not want flimsy aluminum or high-maintenance wood for their homes. But with all of the other high-end, high-tech siding options on the market today, it's hard to know which is best for your home.

Since each type of siding has definite benefits and disadvantages, it's important to do a little research before selecting a product for your home. Even if you're planning on using a professional installer, you'll want to do some preliminary reading, just so you have a base of knowledge to build on. Once you've learned about the differences between types of siding, you can select the perfect one for your house: By picking the siding that's most compatible with your needs, you'll end up with a beautifully sided home and eliminate potential hassles down the Road.

Cement Fiber Siding

Many consumers shy away from cement fiber siding simply because it is a relatively new product that they do not know much about. However, cement fiber siding is growing in popularity because of its extreme durability and extended life span. As homeowners learn about its unique construction and benefits, more choose to have cement fiber installed on their homes. Cement fiber is actually made from compressed layers of concrete so it is tremendously strong and essentially no-maintenance. And, in addition to its resilience, cement fiber typically looks very similar to wood siding. You get the attractive appearance of wood, but cement fiber will never rot or develop insect problems. Like vinyl siding, cement fiber comes in a vast assortment of colors and finishes. When compared with vinyl, cement fiber siding is more expensive, but it is definitely more affordable than brick. And, keeping the low-maintenance and long life span of cement fiber in mind, many homeowners consider it great value!

Vinyl Siding

Originally developed in the late 1950s and popularized during the 1970s, vinyl siding has been on the market for decades. However, that does not mean that it's become a stale, stagnant product. Today's vinyl still has the same low-maintenance appeal, will not dent or rot, and will never need to be painted. In fact, it's so popular that a stunning 62% of homes in North America have vinyl siding. But it has come a long way since the '50s. Improvements in coloration and composition mean that vinyl does not have the brittleness or fading issues of the past. It is available in a wide rainbow of colors with coordinating trims and soffits for a beautiful, finished look.

Some of the most popular vinyl siding products available today are molded to look like wood: with grain lines incorporated into the vinyl, these products mimic the traditional look of wood siding. Available in both board and shake styles, this wood-look vinyl gives you the easy maintenance of vinyl and the elegant look of wood! With hot options like this, it's no wonder that American homeowners are still choosing to have vinyl siding installed on their homes .

Insulated Vinyl Siding

A step above other vinyl sidings, insulated vinyl is one of the latest trends in home exteriors. Combining the low-maintenance and attractive looks of traditional vinyl with built-in insulation, insulated vinyl siding is a solid construction panel perfect for putting the finishing touch on your home. Installing insulated vinyl siding gets you all the benefits of vinyl, plus a whole lot more! The most obvious benefit is that the added insulation decrees draftiness and reduces energy costs by increasing your home's R-factor up to 20%. Insulated vinyl also makes your home quieter by limiting the penetration of exterior noise. Finally, it is more rigid than traditional vinyl siding, increasing the impact resistance of your home and reinforcing the building!

Armed with this information, you can make a more knowledgeable decision about what type of house siding you want for your home. To find out even more about the products available in your area, visit your local home siding showroom.

Civil War Food – What Union and Confederate Soldiers Ate

The modern U.S. army has a wide array of food products available to them in base camps and in the field. There are a large number of MREs (which are actually quite tasty) and other portable foods available to them when on missions and when stationed in hostile terrain. And when posted at an established base camp, the food that is prepared is also quite good. A large part of this is of course the ready availability of large quantities of any sort of food imaginable in today’s modern environment. In fact, today’s soldiers have the best food ever made available to a fighting force.

But it wasn’t always that way.

Take the Civil War. Civil War food kept the soldiers fed and not much else. Lets take a look at the diet that comprised the typical Civil War food ration. There were several issues that affected the food that was supplied to the Civil War soldiers. These include the organization of the Commissary Department – which was tasked with the acquisition and distribution of food to the soldiers in the field, the season which determined if fresh food was available or if it was preserved in some way and the ability of the food to stay good for long term storage and transportation.

Prior to the war, the concentration of Commissaries was in the North so when the Civil War began, the North had a great advantage as they already had an existing Commissary Department that was already trained in how to acquire and transport food to soldiers in the field. Their job was to work with the troop numbers and schedules and keep a constant supply of foods going to each area where troops were stationed so that the soldiers could keep on fighting without worrying about where their next meal would be coming from. It took the Confederacy several years to develop a working Commissary so being a soldier of the South was more difficult. It required real dedication to be fighting when you didn’t know where your next meal was coming from. Because of this lack of infrastructure, the South had to do a lot of foraging for food between battles until the supply lines were up and operational.

Civil War soldier food was typically very simple fare – often consisting of meat, coffee, sugar and hardtack – a type of dried biscuit. The meat was often salted or dried so it would last a bit longer and fruits and vegetables were rarities on the battlefield. Because the soldiers were often in the field, they needed to carry rations with them. They had a special bag – called a haversack – which was made of canvas with an inner cloth bag that could be washed to get food debris cleaned out once in a while. But even with this design, the bags were often quite contaminated and foul smelling. Cleanliness was typically not high on the Civil War soldiers priority list.

Union soldiers and Confederate soldiers typically had a different mix of rations. A Union soldier might have salt pork, fresh or salted beef, coffee, sugar, salt, vinegar, dried fruit and vegetables. And if it was in season, they might have fresh carrots, onions, turnips and potatoes. A Confederate soldier typically had bacon, corn meal, tea, sugar, molasses and the very occasional fresh vegetable.

The other difference in Civil War food between the Union and Confederate armies was the type of bread product they had available to them. Confederate soldiers had something called “Johnnie Cake” that they made in the field from cornmeal, milk and a few other ingredients. The Union soldiers had hardtack, also referred to as “tooth dullers” or “sheet iron crackers”. Hardtack was manufactured in large factories in the North and was a staple food for the Union soldiers. Hardtack got its name because it was often not used until months after it was made and during that time, it hardened rock solid which is how it got its nicknames.

As you can see, food has come a long way due to the advent of technologies that allow for better preservation of a wide variety of foods. Gone are the days of weevil infested hardtack. They have been replaced with modern vacuum seal technologies that allow foods to stay fresh and tasty years after they have been packages. And since they say an army is run by its stomach, it is no surprise that the modern soldier is the best the world has ever seen.

Job Interview Dress Code for a Rainy Day

What to wear to a job interview can be a complicated decision. You want to make a great first impression at the interview and you have painstakingly planned what to wear. Problem is, mother nature didn’t get the memo that your perfect job interview outfit did not take into consideration a rainy day.

So what do you do?

Well, you still want to show up dressed for a job interview, looking sharp and ready for success. Even though the interviewers may not remember what you are wearing, they should remember that your appearance was polished and professional. In the job interview, you will be evaluated on what you are wearing as much as what you are saying.

Here is a quick “job interview clothes” guide for a rainy day:

Clothes – The default job interview dress code is conservative or business attire. Wear a pant suit or dress pants on a rainy day. You will protect your legs from getting wet and it won’t be as noticeable. Stick to darker neutral colors like navy and black because you will still look sharp even if you get a little wet. I usually recommend a dress shirt or blouse in white or a light pastel color like pink, blue and green. But for a rainy day, I recommend staying away from white because you will end up with a see-through shirt if you do get soaked.

Shoes – You should never wear open shoes or sandals to an interview and a rainy day is no exception. Wear conservative pumps and make sure you select a pair of heels that isn’t too high since you will be navigating through wet and slippery terrain. Trust me, there will be puddles everywhere and your goal will be to do everything possible not to trip and fall in the parking lot, at the entrance of the building or in the lobby.

Accessories – If it’s raining, your best accessories will be a nice umbrella and matching raincoat. It’s hard to look professional when you are holding a multicolored umbrella with polka dots and wearing a bright red raincoat. Stick to dark neutral colors like black and navy to match your job interview outfit.

Hair – Your job interview hairstyle is the first to go on a rainy day and the hardest to put back together when you have left the house. Pick a simple hairstyle that is easy to fix in the event that it’s also a windy day. It can make or break your entire look. Again, you want it to be polished, not messy and out of place when you arrive. Choose to pull your hair back in a ponytail instead letting it hang loose if you can.

Purse – You’ll have plenty to hold already with an umbrella and raincoat in your hands so keep your purse or handbag small. Stick to a leather bag or briefcase since it wipes dry easily and carries off a professional look regardless of the weather.

Your attire for job interviews even on a rainy day only needs a couple of adjustments to work. Sounds pretty simple right?

Your Las Vegas Vacation – Making it Happen (Part I)

With luck, your trip to Vegas will be smooth and uneventful, and your accommodations will be everything you hoped for. These tips will help make your stay more enjoyable. Part I deals with good prior planning. Part II speaks to what you need to do once you get here.

Prior Planning. Do not let anyone tell you that planning ahead spoils spontaneity. If anything, it gives you the flexibility to change your mind later.

Step 1: Meet with your partner or companion. Decide on the basics. How much can we spend, and what do we want to be sure to do? Make a budget. Than add as big a "fudge factor" as you comfortably can. There's no way you can predict everything you will want to spend money on once you arrive.

Step 2: Check the weather before you pack. If it's winter, ask if the pool is still open.

Step 3: Golfer? Rent clubs. They have nice ones, maybe better than yours.

Step 4: Call ahead right now for show tickets, or go on line immediately. If you know where you're staying, get in touch with the concierge. Show tickets must be purchased well in advance, sometimes months ahead of time.

Step 5: Reserve that "Must Visit" restaurant. Like the shows, some restaurants are fully booked for weeks in advance, especially around holiday times.

Step 6: Research your shopping. Obviously it will be fun to browse once you get to town, but if you know that you'll be looking for certain items, go browsing early over the Internet. Get an idea of ​​where you want to go and how much you'll probably spend. This will save time, avoid stress and sticker shock, and direct you to the shops and stores that really interest you.

Step 7: Evaluate your luggage. Is there room for what you want to take with you and also for what you might buy? Look into shipping stuff home if your plans involve a bulky or fragile purchase.

Step 8: Discuss gambling. Separate out a bankroll for each of you and agree to limit your play to it. Do not risk the egg money. Discuss how much time each of you expects to spend in the casinos. If it's out of balance, make adjustments (to avoid broken expectations).

Step 9: Practice gambling. Sign up for some on-line play. Learn what you like before showing up in Vegas. Learn the rules and the ropes.

Step 10: Find out what else is going on. Las Vegas is, of course, much more than casinos, shows, restaurants and nightclubs. Consider outings to Lake Mead, Hoover Dam, Red Rock Canyon or any of the many other sights and excursions. To make the most of your vacation time, decide in advance if you're a candidate for a side trip to some non-casino destination.

Step 11: Consciously program time for each other. If you do not, you will arrive home with the feeling you were so busy you barely had time to visit with your partner. That would be a shame. Plan a little "nothing" into your schedule.

Step 12: Learn where things are. Study the map. Many people waste time because they have the wrong idea about how close together or far apart are different points of interest.

Step 13: Pack for comfort – especially the footwear. Distances in Las Vegas can be large, especially for pedestrians, and even more so if it's hot! During the days you will be glad to have comfortable, casual clothes.

Step 14: Pack for style. You will probably want to go out to fancy places a couple of times. This may be to a restaurant or a nightclub or a show. So you want to have a couple of things in the suit for such special occasions. Be sure everything fits before laying it out for the trip. Do not waste room in the suitcase with cutoffs, baggy pants, hoodies, torn jeans and the like, which are not welcomed in most restaurants and night spots.

Step 15 Plan to spend money on taxes and other local transport. It is false economy to lay out a lot of money to be in Las Vegas and then spend most of that time on the sidewalk. Speed, efficiency and comfort require taking taxis and limos a good bit of the time, to say nothing of the pleasure of not being lost!

Step 16: Consider going "cold turkey" on electronics. Leave the Blackberry at the house. With the laptop. A couple may decide to take cell phones as a means of keeping in touch with each other, but really, if you can not leave work and emails behind for a few days, maybe you should rethink the whole idea of ​​taking a vacation.

Step 17: Remember a watch, sun block and camera. Las Vegas does not want you to know what time it is, so clocks are scarce. If that's something you'd like to know, bring your watch.

If you follow the items on this list, you'll be ready to go. Part two of this series gives you tips about what to do once you actually arrive on your vacation.