Photographing the individuals

A photographer is mean to make the subject look good. This might not always mean attractive in the conventional sense, but it helps. It is possible to make the overall image look good without every subject in the image appearing to be an attractive individual, but if we can make the individuals look attractive, all the better.


Tricks, as with any art-form, need to be invisible. We should get the impression that the person looks like the image, or at least they looked like that on the day. If you do use Photoshop, use it sparingly. By all means cover up the occasional acne blemish, but not a birthmark.


Wrinkles are an issue with every person as they get older. If you photograph a wedding you will have grandparents and other relatives to appease. These people weren’t always old, and probably don’t like to think of themselves that way. Rather than Photoshop out the issue(s) try to use natural light while taking the shot. If light is directly on the face the wrinkles are less visible. Light from other angles can emphasis the shadows, and make for unflattering facial images. If you want you can augment the natural light with a flash or reflector.


Normally out brains adjusts what we see according to the context. When an image is framed as a photo a lot of context is left out of the frame and our brains does not compensate in the same way.  Looking at what is isolated in the frame is a large part of getting a good image.






Natural tooth concerns

For those living in Carlingford, dentists are available in North Rocks.

Modern society was forced to add chemical and preservative to food in order for products to survive the transportation and storage needs for modern cities. The effects of these various chemicals have been of great concern for the past generation or two. Here we will look at the impact they might have on teeth,


Fluoride: There is some controversy here, but this has to do with ingesting fluoride. It may cause health problems if we drink/eat too much, but it is good for the teeth. Apply fluoride to the teeth, but avoid swallowing it.

Fluoride has been added to tap drinking water for many decades as it has been shown to reduce dental problems. It has become less used following the trend towards bottled water. The amount consumed via tap water is fairly low.

Green Tea: This seems to have great general health benefits, but some of the catechins in green tea combat oral plaque, bacteria and bad breath. Having noticed the positive research a few companies have started to market green tea mouthwash.

Oils like Peppermint, wintergreen or powders like cinnamon will both effectively fight dental problems and give better breath.  These are natural, and seem to have been known centuries ago for their oral benefit.

Home Made toothpaste. Try mixing baking soda, sea salt, Hydrogen Peroxide, coconut oil, and some of the natural oils listed above.


Avoid any toothpaste with artificial sweeteners. This can be hidden as chemical names or numbers; you will have to do some internet research.  These just tend to be bad for health, even if not directly for teeth, and are linked to many allergies. Why toothpaste needs sweetening is questionable; presumably the sweeter product sells better.  Xylitol is a semi exception here. As small quantities appear in natural food it is not really artificial; so far it seems to be safe and healthy.8

Do not swallow toothpaste or dental treatments. Even the best products, containing useful ingredients, are harmful in any sizable quantity. Fluoride is of great benefit to teeth, but can cause health problems for the rest of the body.

Far any Carlingford Dental concerns talk to North Rocks Dentists.


Mixed Martial Art Jokes

Did you hear about the new martial art video? It’s a hit and a blockbuster.

What do martial artists drink parties? Punch, with a little kick in it.

Never interrupt a Judo expert on the phone; he’ll put you on hold.

Tai Chi was very slow in becoming popular, but that’s appropriate for Tai Chi.

What do you call a novice martial artist? A partial artist.

What do karate students and rabbits have in common? They are all karatekas (… carrot takers !!!)

What is Deju Fu? The feeling you have been attacked like this before.

Origami is a very safe martial art, provided you use paper and not people.

Of all the martial arts Karaoke is the most painful to listen to.

Enlightenment comes from discovering your weaknesses; victory from discovering you opponent’s weaknesses.

Interested in Martial art?  Google Taekwondo or tkd and see why others are interested too.

For Taekwondo in Sydney, talk to Taekwondo World.

Engagement Ring Sydney CBD

Tradition holds that the left ring finger has a vein that runs straight to the individual’s heart. There is no actual scientific foundation to this belief, but the habit caught on in some cultures. Other cultures used different fingers, and some moved the engagement ring from the left to the right hand as part of the wedding ceremony.

The tradition that connects weddings and engagements to rings may have started with the ancient Egyptians, though this is uncertain. Weddings and rings were a tradition by the time of the Romans.

The modern tradition is for a ring to be worth three months of a prospective groom’s salary (some sources say one or two months). This is not an ancient tradition, however; the link between diamonds and engagements only became strongly connected in the early to mid-20th century, part of the way diamonds were marketed. The ‘diamonds are forever’ and number of month’s salary notions were later part of the ongoing campaign. The tradition looks to have caught on, however, at least for the time being.

The most common month for a proposal is December, though the most common day is Valentine’s Day. About 60% of brides help choose their own ring.

Many Diamonds will exhibit a glow under a UV light; they glow in the dark for a few seconds after being exposed to a UV light source. Unfortunately this is an unreliable test as some not all diamonds react in the same way.

Older tradition had it that the woman kept the ring if the engagement was cancelled. This varied depending on who initiated the breakup. If the man broke off the engagement the woman had the ring as partial compensation. The woman could not keep the ring if she ended the relationship before the wedding. This as least prevented individuals exploiting the situation by accepting and then rejecting the proposal while keeping the ring.

Modern legal systems tend to view the engagement ring as a conditional gift, something which must be returned to the male irrespective of which partner called off the wedding. This is sometime contested if the ring was given on Christmas or other traditional gift giving occasion.

Your ideal engagement ring in Sydney CBD can either be bought or made from a diamond purchased wholesale. Wholesale diamonds represent the most economical way to obtain a truly high quality gemstone.

Strata Cleaning Services, Sydney

How often to clean a Strata complex?

This will depend on so many factors. A few things to consider are?

  • The Number or residents. It is a little over-simplistic to say that more resident’s means more dirt being tracked into the place, but dirt is being bought in by the residents and their occasional guests. Children might track more dirt; a few individuals hardly cause any problems. At the most you might get a cleaning in on common areas once per day. Once per day is about the upper limit, even if more traffic does come in.
  • Some strata allow pets, others do not. Cleaning and hygiene are the main issues here, though noise can also be an issue. Some pets stay in the apartment and are all but unseen, but dogs, cats and other animals that wander around unattended will require at least some cleaning.
  • Weather conditions. Rain will cause common areas to accumulate mud, and untreated areas can develop mould and other issues in the damp. Consider more frequent cleaning during wetter month. Snow and dust are almost non-existent problems for Sydney strata cleaning services, but weather will affect cleaning situations.
  • The Strata Status. If you are a prestige group the residents will expect pristine conditions every day. Don’t be fooled; if people believe they are paying for luxury they will complain if it is ever compromised. The extra cost of the luxury strata is expected to go on cleaning and upkeep.

Arranging and Planning Cleaning

It is perfectly normal to have some areas cleaned daily and some cleaned weekly. Efficient approaches look at the situation, look at the problem areas, and produce an appropriate cleaning program.

Budgets are never unlimited; find the areas that need constant attention and the areas that that only need occasional touch-ups, and arrange accordingly. Talk to the strata cleaning service who have experience in other Sydney apartment blocks. Past experience will lead to some solid advice.

Weight loss and other treatments

We were taught early in life that eating too much food causes weight gain. This gets rephrased as energy input exceeding energy exertion. But it all appears to be a half-truth at best. Other factors are affecting weight gains and loss, and while we strongly encourage exercise and healthy eating there is more that we also wish to encourage.

Carbohydrates and Processing

Carbohydrates have received a lot of bad press over the last generation; the information is misleading. There is less energy in carbs than fats, but as we eat far more carbohydrates than fat, which appears to be the real issue. The fact that the carbs are processed only makes it worse. Avoid processed food and eat carbohydrates in moderation; eat brown rice not white bread.

Exercise for weight loss

We use to be told that steady work and exercise would reduce weight over time; like the proverbial tortoise racing the hare we would get there by perseverance. These days the research tells us that alternating quick bursts of energy with short periods of rest are actually better to get the metabolism going. This apparently helps us lose weight for several hours after we finish exercising. Short amounts of exercise everyday lead to steady weight loss.

General Health and weight loss

Being unhealthy will do unpredictable things with weight loss and gain. I have seen younger men live off junk food and lose weight, but they are so unhealthy and feel so bad that the situation isn’t nearly worth it. And they seem to be the ones who are obese when they hit middle age. On the other hand, if you concentrate on being healthy you tend to not be too overweight. Eating food we know is healthy is the best start you can make.


Like anything we recommend this doesn’t do the work for you, but if it gets your body back to a healthy state you will find that the other weight loss techniques start to become more effective. Some people claim that it helps reduce appetite; others feel that there body simply got the fine tuning that it needed. Either way they steadily lost weight and kept it off.

Effective weight loss treatments tend to be complementary medicine, not a cure all. Some things seem to be miracles because they are the missing factor. Adding acupuncture to healthy eating and exercise might be the very thing we need.

Cultural differences, Japan tours, Korea Tours


  • Eating in a place not meant for eating. Restaurants or bars, is seem as very strange. Do not more about while eating.
  • Don’t blow your nose in public. It is akin to flatulence in western cultures.
  • Do not pass food with chopsticks to somebody else’s chopsticks. Use the back of the chopstick for taking food from a communal plate.
  • Never put two chopsticks upright into rice; this is a funeral sign and quite offensive.
  • Laughing with your mouth open is like chewing with your mouth open, avoid.
  • Buddhist countries, or countries with high Buddhist populations, will be offended if you touch people on the head.
  • People expect you to not open gifts they give you in front of them, and expect you to try to refuse at first.
  • Do not wear shoes in somebody’s house. There are some subtleties here, but the point is about not bringing containment in from outside.
  • Toilet slippers always used in the toilet, and absolutely never outside of it.
  • Avoid commenting on Japanese topics with even a hint of controversy, like Chines/Korean relations or WW2. Foreign media reports of these events are unreliable, and you may look foolish and offend somebody.
  • It is best to remain emotionally neutral.
  • Downplay compliments, modesty is considered a virtue.
  • Tattoos are associated with organized crime, avoid displaying these.
  • Avoid talking on phones or eating in a train. This is like talking or eating during a business meeting.
  • Don’t talk a bath until you have already showered. You are expected to be clean before, like using a public pool.
  • The number 4 is unlucky. The rules are complex here, so try to avoid the number.
  • Never litter, always recycle.


  • Having you hand in your pocket seems complacent or arrogant in some places. Avoid.
  • Don’t shake hand with only one hand, use both hands.
  • Do not blow your nose at the dinner table.
  • Do not write in red ink. This is a superstition liked to dying.
  • Do not wear shoes in the house. People eat and sleep on the floor. Keep it clean. The lowed floor at the font of the house is for shoes, the raised floor is for bare feet/sox.
  • The oldest/highest ranking person eats first. Never eat before them. And wait till they leave before you do.
  • Never pour water for yourself, check or offer water to those around you first. Koreans put a priority on sharing.
  • Do not show the soles of your shoes, this is considered unclean.
  • If you eat at somebody’s house, buy them a gift. Gift from your own culture are a good idea.

TIPPING- In Japan and Korea this is a little offensive. People do their jobs without the extra incentive. If you feel you must give something, bring something from your culture and give that instead.

North Korean Tours are different and have their own rules, which will be covered separately.

Music School

We can approach anything in life as either a means to an end or as an end in itself. Or we might not feel we need to make this distinction and decide that some things are both. It has been demonstrated that music has cognitive benefits; people who learn an instrument have at least a little improvement in brain function. But most people pursue music for the sake of pursuing music. Any cognitive improvement is a welcome side effect.


It seems that ‘music training does for brain what exercise does for body fitness’ [1]. But we might do well to look at the specifics here. If we exercise only one type muscle in the body we might only achieve one type of improvement. Similarly, if we exercise our brain through music we might expect that only find our musical ability will improving. But this is not the case. The sections of the brain used for music are the sections that develop the most,   but these also benefit other areas of thinking life. Speech, Language, general auditory processing and emotion are improved, and these serve to benefit other areas.

Auditory learning requires effective sound–to–meaning correlations. This connects to thinking skills that connect sensory input (what we hear and see) with memory and manipulating thoughts. In other words, music helps memory and processing of thought, at least to some extent.

Some studies are a little vague about an obvious question – is it listening to music or learning music that improves cognition? The answer appears to be both, but that music lessons give the far greater advantage. After some time learning at music school the students were better at picking up information in normal speech, formal lessons and in watching film. They also appeared to have an advantage in learning any foreign language, especially if the foreign language contained components different to their native speech. Music students were better at picking up glides and other sound not already familiar with the language they spoke.


Music lessons seem to increase IQ results, at least to some degree. This does not make musicians smarter than non-musicians, but it makes individuals smarter than what they would be if they were not musicians. Lessons conducted as part of the regular school curriculum may have some benefit, but the studies conducted so far have used students from a separate music school.

A serious question here is the time take. Learning an instrument by years of music lessons is quite time consuming. It appears to confer benefits, but is the amount of time spent worth it for the cognitive results achieved? Learning a foreign language also improves cognition; for some individuals a foreign language might be more beneficial. Then again, if a person enjoys the process of learning the time spent is not really a problem, and any benefits are just a bonus.