Why Your Computer Crime Attorney Needs to Understand Computer Forensics

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When you are charged with a computer crime, you want an attorney that will do everything he or she can to defend you. Staying out of prison, avoiding a criminal record and protecting your family is important to you. Then why would you hire an attorney for a computer crime if that attorney does not know anything about computer forensics?

As an attorney, we have to be experts in everything. That's what makes this job so fun. While we can not be experts in everything all of the time, we need to have a basic understanding of the issues that we will face. Its the same reason why the days of the general practitioner are pretty much dead. There is just too much out there to know. So, I do not expect that many attorneys will become a computer forensics expert, they should have a basic understanding of what it is and how to use it to craft a defense. However, most do not because many lawyers went to law school before the modern computer became common place. Thus, many still have a fear of computers and technology in general. Even though this attorney may be great in other areas, selecting this same attorney to defend you in your computer crimes case could lead to disaster.

Computer forensics is the art and science of applying computer science to aid the legal process. It is a vast subject area that first requires a deep knowledge of computers and networks which is why many lawyers do not even bother learning it. Thus, it is impossible to even tough on the most basic concepts of computer forensics in this article. Instead, I will highlight how and why it is important for the lawyer to understand computer forensics when defending computer crime cases.

In just about every case, the State will have a computer crime expert who will discuss computer forensics. Thus, you may need an expert as well. If you have one, he or she can help you make sense out of their expert's reports and testimony. However, this person is not a lawyer. Relying solely on their input essentially turns the defense of the case over to a non-lawyer. Would you want a surgeon to operate on you based upon the advice of someone who is not a doctor? Furthermore, you may not always be fortunate enough to have a client that can afford an expert. Thus, you need to be able to understand what their expert is saying both in their reports and testimony.

This will also prevent the "deer in a headlights" look that experts often create when they "teach" the defense lawyer. As the defense lawyer, you should be doing the teaching, not the State's expert. However, I have seen defense lawyers ask open ended questions in an attempt to understand the expert's testimony. The expert winds up doing more damage that they did on direct as the expert is teaching everyone, including the jury and the defense lawyer on cross examination. This leads to sloppy, almost non-existent cross examination. Quite often, the case may be lost right then and there as the jury may wind up totally believing the expert. And after all, without anything to really impeach the expert's testimony, why would not they?

Experts are not always experts but they sure think that they are. Quite often, they have been trained on how to testify. Some almost seem to have a script. If you do not know what you are talking about, they will walk all over you. If you can talk the talk, you'll not only get their respect, but you'll also see them. Your cross can be much tighter and focused. More importantly, you can more easily take them off script by using their terms and by knowing their methods and policies. Your job is to know more than they do on the key issues in your case. You have the benefit of having everything you want right in front of you while they are on the witness stand with nothing. I have been able to impeach expert witnesses with their own policy manuals. I ask open ended questions where the answer can not hurt me to test their knowledge. An "I do not know answer" is not very damaging but a wrong answer is. As soon as you get the wrong answer, you can use their own materials to impeach them. Nothing takes the wind out of the State's case faster than to show that the emperor (the witness) has no clothes.

During trial issues, a defense lawyer can not make sense out of the discovery without a working knowledge of computer forensics. Again, while a defense expert can help, they should not be relied upon to interpret the entire case. In my cases, I rarely need my expert to tell me what the defenses are. Instead, I need the expert to testify as I can not.

Just about every computer crime case involves some degree of computer forensics. If the defense attorney just assures that police are correct, then the attorney is not properly defending the client. Computer forensics involves the collection, preservation, filtering and presentation of digital evidence. In each stage of this process, something can go seriously wrong that could make it seem like the client is guilty when they are in fact, innocent.

Collection of digital evidence is when artifacts considered to be evidentiary value are identified and collected. They can take the forms of external disks, computers, phones, video game consoles, servers and any other device capable of recording data. The large number of storage devices and their ever decreasing size present a big problem for law enforcement. For defense attorneys, who collects this evidence and how is very important to the case especially when non-law enforcement people collect evidence.

Closely related to collection, is the preservation of digital evidence. In order for digital evidence to be reliable, the evidence needs to be complete, accurate and verifiable. Any alterations in the data can lead to a number of defense arguments. While most law enforcement labs have systems in place to prevent this from ever becoming an issue, lay people such as store employees or corporate security can completely alter the original data. Of course, only a defense attorney that understands computer forensics can pick up on this and make an issue out of it.

The filtering process is where the analysis is done. Evidentiary / suspect files are extracted and non-suspect files are filtered out. Due to the increasing size of hard drives and the lack of staff, this process can take many months. The computer crime defense lawyer must have a good punishment on exactly what the examiner is doing and why. Quite often, the examiner will rely upon automated tools to speed up the filtering process. While this allows them to "cut to the chase" pretty quickly, it may also present one side of the story. Defense lawyers can not rely upon their own experts to know what to look for when crafting a defense. Instead, they must have a grasp of everything the examiner could have done but chose not to for whatever reason. What files were not examined? What settings were used with the automated tools? As a result, what files were ignored and why? What do those files show? What could they have shown? To be effective, the state must nail down everything. When they do not, they hand the defense a blank slate to which the defense attorney can write down and present to the jury, just about anything.

Presentation of the suspect of the evidentiary data normally starts with the examiner extracting the artifacts and organizing them onto a form of media such as a DVD. In addition to the media that the data is saved on, reports and testimony are also a part of the presentation. In just about every case, the examiner will use some type of computer forensic software which will generate a report. The defense must understand how this program works and how to read and make use of the report. As previously indicated, sometimes what is most important in a case is not just what is included in a report but what is left out. Nailing the examiner down to the reports and then exploiting the gaps in them can only be done if the defense attorney has a good understanding of the entire computer forensics process.

As you can see, there is a lot to know when it comes to computer forensics. Even if you can not afford an expert, if your computer crimes defense attorney has a working knowledge of computer forensics and the prosecutor does not, you will have a leg up when it comes to plea negotations, motors and trials. When the case is in court, your lawyer is either trying to each the judge, the jury or both. If your lawyer does not understand the material, how can he or she be expected to teach anyone anything? Instead, the State's expert will do the teaching and they will teach the jury that you are guilty and that your defense attorney is clueless.

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Source by Jef Henninger

Famous Interior Designers and Their Styles in Interior Design – Part 1

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Introduction

This series of 4 articles takes a brief but informative look at 21 of the most famous and Interior Designers, from the earliest pioneers right through to the most celebrated modern day designers.

The Pioneers of Interior Design

Jean-Henri Jansen (1854-1928)

Dutch designer, Jean-Henri Jansen, launched one of the first ever international interior design companies 'Maison Jansen' (House of Jansen) in 1880, which became renamed for designing and creating exceptionally beautiful and high quality furniture which would be utilized in a multitude of interior decoration projects. House of Jansen opened branches in 8 of the major cities of the world. Jansen worked closely with the talented interior designer Stephane Boudin who made the director of the company. The clients of House of Jansen included Royalty and the rich and famous.

Elsie de Wolfe (1865-1950)

The first lady of interior decoration, Elsie de Wolfe considered herself an 'ugly child'. This Victorian stage actress was a rebel of her times and was credited by many to be the inventor of the modern profession of interior design, even though there were already established interior designers in her time. Elsie disliked Victorian tastes altogether, her designs were previously generally made up of light and bright colors, contrast to the drab and gloomy Victorian décor coupled with unnecessary excesses such as heavy velvet draperies. This was a pioneering departure from the contemporary designs of the time. Elsie's influence continues to be felt in the modern world of interior design.

Ogden Codman (1863-1951)

American interior decorator and architect, Ogden Codman spent his childhood in his birthplace of Boston before heading to France in his youth for a period of time. Codman had two uncles who influenced him tremendously – architect John Hubbard and decorator Richard Ogden. Some of Ogden Codman's works include Edith Wharton's Newport home, Land's End, the Rockefeller family estate of New York client John D. Rockefeller, Jr. and the Newport summer home of Cornelius Vanderbilt II. Along with novelist Edith Wharton, Codman co-authored a guidepost of American interior design, 'The Decoration of Houses' in 1897.

Frances Elkins (1888-1953)

Born in Milwaukee, Frances Adler Elkins was one of the most predominant interior decorator and designer of the previous century. Sister of the accused Chicago architect David Adler, Elkins was known for her futuristic designs that brought together different styles and elements from various periods. They included country French styles, chinoiserie and art deco. The furnishings featured in her designs included designers such as Jean-Michel Frank and Alberto Giacometti. The career of Elkins that spanned over three decades is glittered with many high profile missions in Hawaii, the Midwest and northern and southern California, none more interesting than the restoration of the 1830s structure, Casa Amesti in Monterrey, California.

Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959)

Frank Lloyd Wright was an interior designer and architect who skilled included more than 1000 projects, 500 of them that have been complete. Wright was known for his promotion of organic architecture, an example of which is Fallingwater. The Robie House is an example of Wright's leadership of the Prairie School architectural movement, while the Rosenbaum House depicts Wright's Usonian home concept. Wright also had refreshing ideas for every kind of building, be it church, office, school, hotel or museum. Along with excellent architectural renderings, Wright also designed much of the interiors of his buildings including the Décor, layout and furniture.

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Source by Innis Desborough

The Distinctive Aspects of Leonardo Da Vinci's Work or His Inventions

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Leonardo da Vinci (15 April, 1452 – 2 May, 1519) was an Italian Resurgence man: inventor, painter, engineer, musician, sculptor, mathematician, architect, cartographer, anatomist, geologist, writer, and botanist. His genius, possibly more than any other, exemplified the Renaissance humanist epitome. He often was labeled as the prime example of the Resurgence man, a person of "unquenchable inquisitiveness" as well as "enthusiastically inventive mind". He is broadly regarded as one of the best painters and perhaps the most distinctly talented person to ever have lived. According to Helen Gardner an art historian, the depth and scope of his likings were without practice and "his personality and mind appeared superhuman, the man himself remote and mysterious." In addition, it is claimed that despite the various assumptions about Da Vinci, his world vision was basically logical rather than enigmatic, and that the experiential methods he engaged in were rare during his time.

Da Vinci was born out of marriage to a lawyer, and a laborer woman, Caterina, in Vinci within the Florence region, Leonardo got his education in a studio of the well-known Florentine painter Verrocchio. Most of his early working life was done in Milan with the guidance of Ludovico IL Moro. He later on went to work in Bologna, Venice and Rome, and spent his remaining years in France.

Leonardo is, and was well-known mainly as a painter. Amongst works, including the Mona Lisa painting of which is the most well-known and most imitated painting, as well as The Last Supper of which is the most religiously reproduced painting ever, with their prominence coming close to only Michelangelo's Adam Creation. Da Vinci's painting of the Man of Vitruvian is also considered as a cultural icon that has been reproduced on several items such as textbooks, the euro coin, and T-shirts. There are about fifteen of Leonardo's paintings that have lived because of his continuous, and regularly catastrophic, experiences with new methods, and his prolonged postponement. However, several of these works as well as his notebooks, which contained scientific diagrams, drawings, and his views on the method of painting, influenced artists of later generations matched by only that of his existing, Michelangelo.

Da Vinci is accredited for his technological inventiveness. He conceptualized a tank, flying machines, concentrated solar power, the double hull, and the calculator; he also outlined the theory of rudimentary plate tectonics. Comparatively few of his designs were made during his lifetime, but several of his smaller inventions, like the automated bobbin winder as well as the testing machine for the stretchable wire strength, entered the manufacturing world unheralded. Leonardo made significant discoveries in civil engineering, anatomy, optics, as well as hydrodynamics, but failed to publish any of his findings of which had no direct impact on later science.

In conclusion, Leonardo Da Vinci, although he made tireless efforts in teaching himself and becoming knowledgeable in natural sciences, languages, philosophy, history, and mathematics, as a mere listing of the comprehensive contents of his library reveals, he stayed an empiricist of pictorial observation. But then again – thanks to his brilliance – he established his own "theory of knowledge," distinctive in its nature, whereby science and art form a synthesis. In the overall face of Leonardo Da Vinci's achievements of creative brilliance, the question of how much he completed or did not complete becomes meaningless. The heart of the matter is his intellectual force – independent and characteristic in every one of his creations. This force has stayed consistently operational to the present day.

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Source by Eric Mwebe

Top 7 Types of Architectural Styles

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Architecture is defined as an art of building designer architectures in the form of buildings and other physical structures like homes, offices, hotels, resorts, and commercial buildings. This incredible art also involves the use of science and technical knowledge n order to give a form and structure to creativity and imagination. This mixture of art and science implement a design that transforms into a functional and aesthetically pleasing architecture.

1. Adirondack Architecture: This type of architecture gives a rugged finish to the structure design. This outstanding craftsmanship is mainly used for structures like rustic cabins, boathouses, custom homes, and log cabins. The architectural style introduced by William West Durant dates back to the 1880s that spread through the Adirondack Mountains, eventually to throughout the mountainous areas from the Appalachians and the Rocky Mountains.

2. Adam Style: The Adam style is named after a renowned British architect Robert Adam. The design was originated from the Neoclassical design in the eighteenth century that revolutionized the industry with a fresh and graceful design. The design is more popular in England and America, most evident during the structural buildings constructed between 1790s to the 1830s.

3. Art Nouveau Style: Art Nouveau is a French term for ‘New Style’ and was introduced as an outcome of the efforts put in by known European artists who held a revolt against formal and classical design. This innovative design style was originated in Pairs in the eighteenth century. The design of the buildings often has asymmetrical shapes, arches, mosaics, stained glass, Japanese motifs, and decorative surfaces like curving, floral motifs and plant-like embellishments.

4. Indian Architecture: Indian architectural designs reflect the diverse culture and religious tradition of the country. This style of design has its own uniqueness and significance in the form of structure, design, and decorative surfaces. Ancient Indian Architecture was influenced by the western design form, especially from the Buddhist stupa to the Colonial Era. The style is simple, distinctive, and flowing in design.

5. Islamic Architecture: Islamic architecture mainly includes structure design like the tombs, mosques, and forts. The typical design includes domes, geometric shapes, towers, and Islamic calligraphy.

6. Ottonian Architecture: Ottonian architecture was evolved in the 10th century during the reign of Emperor Otto. It took its inspiration from various existing structure design mainly from the Carolingian and Byzantine architecture.

7. Victorian Architecture: Victorian architecture is a style of architecture that was popularly used in Britain during the reign of Queen Victoria. It was characterized by massive construction, decorative surfaces, simplicity, and fluidity. Balloon framing freed buildings, timber-framed box forms, odd corners, overhangs, and irregular floor plans are some of the characteristic features of the Victorian architecture.

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Source by Jennie Kakkad

Handcrafted From Bali: 4 Types of Wood Commonly Used in Indonesian Furniture and Wood Art

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When an artist decides to create a new piece, one of the first decisions he makes is what material he will use? We see intricate designs and patterns weaved and chipped into wood and stone. Bali, being the main source for wood carvings, does a lot of chipping. They chip away at a wood block tirelessly to create the beautiful creations we have today. One of the first items they have to get is the materials. More often than not, they use materials that are cheap in cost. Usually, trees as they are abundant on the Island. Which trees are they reaching for? Which trees are they using to create their art? Let’s take a brief look at 4 major trees that are frequently used in Balinese wood carvings an, see some of their unique properties, and the benefits of carving with these different types of trees.

The first tree has the most commonly used wood for carvings in Bali. It is known by the locals as the ‘Albesia’ or ‘Belalu.’ (Albizia Falcata) It is a white, soft wood. There are numerous reasons why it is used so frequently. It is native to Indonesia. As such, it grows considerably well to a staggering 130 feet tall. Now that isn’t anything too special. Some redwoods have been found that are 380 feet tall, but when you consider how fast the Albesia grows, it becomes quite evident why it is the favored species in plantations in Indonesia. It can grow 30 feet high in just 2 years. That is astronomical! It holds the official title as “the fastest growing tree in the world.” Because it is such a fast grower, Indonesian farmers have been able to make a living off of this tree alone, planting them anywhere they can. The core wood is used to make furniture, doors, and plywood. It is also termite- resistant. At Golden Sun, we did a test with one of our pieces and left it near a termite bed for a week, and surprisingly it was not damaged by the termites. For these reasons, majority of our carvings are made of the almighty Albesia wood.

The next tree is known as the “Crocodile” or Satin Wood. (Zanthoxylum Rhetsa) You can see why it is called crocodile wood. Some villagers have been spooked before by crocodile wood floating downstream, as it looks like the back of a crocodile. Kind of funny! =) It is a white, relatively hard wood. Carving with this wood gives a very smooth finish. So smooth that it looks like ivory.

Moving right along, we have the “Suar” or Rain Tree. (Albizia Saman) This tree has a brown, hard wood. It a wide- canopied tree with a large symmetrical spread. It is known as the rain tree because its leaves fold in the rain and when the sun sets. It reaches a height of 82 feet and nearly 120 feet in diameter. The wood is quite heavy, making it an ideal choice for house supports. Bali wood carvings that use this wood are dark in color and have substantial weight to them. It is a favored wood of importers outside the tropics because its crisscrossed interlocking grain prevents the wood from cracking when put in drier climates. If you live in the desert or Texas, you should choose this wood.

Lastly, we have the “Waru” or Grey Hibiscus. (Hibiscus Tiliaceus) The wood is white blended with light grey. This wood often makes distinctive two- tone carvings. As it ages the grey turns green giving it an earthy look. These trees are very short, getting to a paltry 32 feet in height. The outside bark of this tree has tough fibers used to make rope. It has the unique property of being stronger when wet. That is why it is commonly used to caulk ships. It is the go-to high quality furniture wood. If you want have your piece outside, I’d recommend getting “waru” wood. That way you don’t have to worry about moisture in the air.

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Source by Suzanne Aronson

How to Make a Woodcut Print With Or Without a Printing Press In 5 Easy Steps

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The art of the woodcut print has a long tradition particularly in the Chinese and Japanese cultures. Woodcut printing is capable of a wide range of effects from the subtle, poetic, multicolor, detailed prints of the Oriental artists to the bold, expressive, graphic, black and white prints of the German Expressionist artists in the early twentieth century.

Making a woodcut print is simple, does not require expensive material and can even be done without a printing press.

Materials required for creating a woodcut print are as follows:

o Block printing ink – either water based or oil based

o Wood block – soft wood like pine or linoleum

o Ink roller – rubber

o Woodcutting tools – V-shaped, U-shaped and straight edged

o Printmaking paper – acid free printmaking paper – either standard white or handmade papers of any type

o Wood spoon or printing press – large wood spoon with a broad flat back surface or an etching press

o White pencil – conti or pastel pencil

STEP 1. Preparing the Block

Once you have your wood block and your cutting tools, you are ready to begin the creative process. One important factor to keep in mind when you begin is that the print will be a mirror image of the image you cave into your block. You should sketch out your idea on paper first, then coat your block with a thin layer of black ink using your ink roller and some black printing ink. Let the ink dry and then draw your image on the plate with a white pencil or a white ink pen. The coating of black ink on the block will make your image more visible while you are carving the image into the block.

STEP 2. Carving the Image

Using your carving tools, carve the image into the wood. If you want an expressive image, then cut and carve the wood aggressively using a broad cutting tool and don’t worry about the details and, conversely, if you want a more realistic detailed image using a smaller V-shaped tool, slowly and carefully cut your image into the block.

STEP 3. Proofing the Image

At any point during the carving process you can make a proof of your image so that you can evaluate the way your pr8int will look and so that you can adjust your process if necessary. You should be aware that proofing will make the lighter carved out areas of your block darker when you clean your block after proofing. This may be something you do not want because it will change the way you visualize your image on the block.

STEP 4. Inking the Block

Ok, you have carved your image and it looks awesome! You are now ready to print your masterpiece. Squeeze some ink onto a smooth flat, non-absorbent surface like glass, and using your roller, roll out a very thin layer of ink. Do not use a back and forth motion with the roller; roll the ink one say, lift up the roller and roll it the same way repeatedly until you have a thin layer of ink on your roller. Several layers of thin ink is what you are striving for on your block. Too much ink on the block will overflow into the carved out areas and your image will not print correctly, and conversely, too little ink on your block will make for a splotchy print and the edges of your image will not be sharp and crisp. You will have to experiment through trial and error to find the right inking technique.

STEP 5. Printing the Block

If you have access to a printing press, this is the best and easiest way to print your block. Ink your plate, place it on the press, cover the block with your print paper cover the paper with the press blanket, adjust the roller pressure and slowly roll the block through the press. Carefully lift the paper off the block and there you have it, your woodblock print masterpiece. Set it aside in a safe place to dry. Limit your edition to about 50 pints because the image quality will deteriorate after about that many prints. If you do not have access to a printing press, you can use a wooden spoon or similar tool to make your print. Ink your block, place your paper on top of your block and using a flat wooden surface, rub the paper against the block in a consistent circular motion until you feel the ink has been transferred to the paper. If in doubt, peel back the paper on one corner and judge your technique and make adjustments in pressure if necessary. Obviously, effectiveness of this technique is more suited to smaller block prints.

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Source by George McKim

Techniques For Acrylic Painting – How to Paint People – Painting Closed Lips and Mouths

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Learning how to paint people is exciting, and sometimes challenging. There are some tips and techniques that can help you as you begin your portrait painting journey.

Start with an accurate drawing of the subject you plan on painting.

Some artist use the grid method, while others free hand the initial drawing. One hint that you need to take to heart is this; If you don’t have an accurate drawing, do not attempt to paint the person. You more than likely will not achieve a likeness if you don’t have a likeness first in pencil.

Painting the closed mouth is fairly easy with practice. Painting the open mouth is more difficult and requires lots of practice. This is because you not only have to paint the lips, but the gums and teeth and sometimes the tongue. The mouth is the facial feature which most expresses the subjects’ mood. The mouth and lips can make or break a portrait. They can make an otherwise realistic portrait look unlike the person or even cartoonish if you do not get it close to exact. To paint closed lips make sure that the pencil drawing is accurate. You will need to step back and view the drawing to make sure that it looks like the subject.

Using the correct color for the lips.

When you are satisfied that the drawing is correct, use a color that matches the persons flesh tone and create the outline of the mouth and the line between the lips. The color that you will use for the lip outline is flesh tone with some burnt umber and alizarin crimson added to it. Be careful not to make the lips look too pink or red, unless there is lip stick on the subject. Lips are really just a little pinker or reder than the flesh color. The outline color should be slightly darker than the actual lip color. Think of this stage as a coloring book. For the outline of the lips you are just painting over your drawn lip lines.

After you have painted the outline color, use the same color but a little lighter and paint in the upper lip. The upper lip will be darker than the bottom lip. Now, paint in the bottom lip with a slightly lighter lip color.

Highlight the lips

Now highlight both lips. The upper lip will have a touch of very light lip color or even white right along the very top center portion. The lower lip will have quite a large area of highlight along the “puffy” center of the lip. The highlight gives the illusion that the puffy portion of lip is rounded and closer to the viewer if you will. When you add the light or whitened highlights to the bottom lip do so in vertical strokes. You should leave a few stroke lines to indicate lines in the skin that make up the lips.

If your subject is a person wearing lip stick you could be done with the lips because lipstick sometimes shows a defined line. But if the subjects’ lips are natural, you should gently blend the lip color into the flesh color of the face so that a hard edge does not exist where there is none.

Final Touches

The last thing to do with a closed mouth is to add shadows directly above the top lip where the crease under the nose is, and directly under the bottom lip and in the chin area. Painting people accurately is an art that requires much practice and patience. You should purchase literature for acrylic painting techniques that demonstrates these methods.

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Source by Julie Shoemaker

Humor – Basic Joke Construction

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I highly recommend that you read the first article in this series before continuing, for obvious reasons.

In the last article we talked about the key ingredient in humor – the element of surprise – and how creating humor doesn’t start with finding the funny in life, but rather finding the truth in life. Today we are going to start there and travel down the road of joke construction.

Finding the truth

Humor starts with the things we find to be true about life. At this stage of the game we aren’t looking to get a laugh. We are looking for the things we find to be true of life that other people can relate to. That’s a broad topic. So let me make it easier and tell you to look for those things in life that you think are weird, hard, scary or stupid. These are attitude words and I’m not the first or the last to use them. Just find a topic and ask yourself what you find to be weird, hard, scary, or stupid about that topic.

For example: What’s hard about marriage?

If you’re married, I would imagine that several things come to mind.

How about: What’s scary about drinking and driving?

Or: What’s weird about television commercials?

Let me remind you that the goal is not to think funny, but to think truth. The funny will come later. Stick to your attitude words. I recommend that you get a spiral notebook to start collecting all these random thoughts because you will do a great bit of writing before you hit on something you’ll want to keep. When I sit down to write, I like to think of a topic and just let the creative process go. Sometimes I write about what it was like being an overweight teenager – what was weird, hard, scary or stupid. Sometimes I write about being the oldest kid, or being an older parent.

Two things to help you when you go through this process:

1. Think of things other people will relate to. They don’t have to have gone through that exact situation, but you want to find something they can sympathize with. You might not want to talk about what is hard about growing up owning a camel because chances are good nobody in your audience can relate to that. But they can relate to losing a pet, or wanting some kind of strange animal as a pet.

2. The more specific you get your topic, the better. Instead of talking about dating, why not talk about internet dating. Instead of using the topic of parenthood, why not talk about what it’s like to be a lazy parent. When you pick a general topic, keep in mind that hundreds of other comedians are falling on that same general topic. To be unique (which is key in comedy) you need to get more specific.

I have found that some of the best topics are those that make you annoyed, irritated, angry, etc. Chances are good that you’re not alone in that way of thinking. Again, pick the topics that most people will have experienced.

This is actually the topic for the next article, so let’s leave this and jump into joke construction and later we’ll go back to the process of finding topics, which is better done once you’ve learned to craft a standard joke.

Basic joke construction

Let me begin by saying there is no standard joke. There are many different formulas floating around out there created by different people as they explain their own creative path to joke construction. Find the ones that work best for you. Read the books. I recommend Judy Carter’s The Comedy Bible for starters. Then get Greg Dean’s book on Standup Comedy. Those are two of my favorites, but you have a lot to choose from. Study. Practice. And WRITE!

Jokes are told and delivered in millions of different ways – almost as unique as the individual creating the joke. But if you peel it all away, you will find that every joke consists of two parts: the setup and the punch. You will hear it called different things by different people. But it still means the same thing – two parts, the setup and the punch.

The setup is the serious part of the joke. This is where you set your audience up. This is where you force them to make an assumption. Many comedians will mistakenly try to make their setup funny. Don’t. Make it true.

For example:

I lost fifty pounds.

There is nothing funny about this statement.

Here’s the punch:

Oh, not all at once. I lost ten, gained twenty….lost five, gained two….

Okay, so it’s not the best joke in the world, but it’s an example of how a joke has two parts. And, by the way, the setup can be one line or a whole paragraph. Whatever it takes.

The punch is the second part of the joke where you surprise your audience. Remember in the first article where I talked about shattering expectations? Well, here you go. The punch is where you say what they didn’t expect you to say. This is the funny part. And there is more than one way to surprise your audience.

And that’s it. I know, sounds too easy to be true. Trust me, it is anything but easy. It takes work and a lot of writing. It takes writing twenty bad jokes to get to one good one. But if you continue to work through the process, you will get better at it. So let me leave so you can get to work.

But before I go, here are some quick jokes that I’m constructing right here on the spot, simply by creating a setup and then adding a punch. Keep in mind that some won’t seem as funny on paper as they would be delivered on a stage.

My boyfriend and I have been together three years.

Oh, he doesn’t know it yet.

I bought a cream that was guaranteed to get rid of unwanted bulges.

I put it on my husband.

I finally got my son to sleep in his own bed.

About time…..the kid’s fifteen!

Okay, I know I said I was leaving, but one more helpful hint before I go. Write a setup (any setup) and then stop (before you try to think of funny things) and think about what we assume to be true of this setup. When I said above that my boyfriend and I have been together for three years, you assume that he knows it.

The more you start writing setups and punches, the more you will start to see ways that you can tweak your setup to create a better or different surprise. Find words that have double meanings. If you’re a pun man, then start playing with your puns.

Here’s an old old old joke. I can’t remember who wrote it, but it wasn’t me. And I’ve heard many people do it.

The doctor told me I had two weeks to live. I said, “Doctor I want a second opinion.” He said, “Fine. You’re also ugly.”

Okay, I’m really going now. At the count of three. One….two…

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Source by Kelly Swanson

Removing Your Stretched Painting From Gator Board

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These simple instructions will allow you to remove your stretched painting from Gator Board and leave your board without any damage:

Ensure your painting is bone dry first.

Take a look around your tape to see if you can find an area where there may be a slight lift/air space in the area where the tape meets the watercolor paper? I use a kitchen knife that has a strong but thin blade. Holding a knife at an angle to ensure you don’t pierce the board too – simply pierce a small hole so you can gently slide the knife underneath the watercolor paper. Ensure your knife is held as flat to the board as possible so you don’t disturb the surface of the board – of course.

Once you have the point of the knife underneath the w/c paper – you simply slide the knife around the edges of the watercolor paper (I like to hold the knife reasonably low and flat to the board. It is just like opening an envelope with an envelope knife.

Voila! Now your painting is separate from the board!

Do I remove the tape on the edge of the painting?

You have some choices:

You have taken your painting from your board and this will leave part of the stretching tape still adhered to the white margin of your painting. (I always ensure I have an inch or more white margin around my painting).

You can cut the tape off if you don’t like it. Or leave it on the edge of your painting for stability. The decision whether to leave your tape on your paper is a choice for you.

One thing to consider

Is the tape you use archival? This will influence your decision.

If you use Lukas Wet Adhesive Tape

The Lukas tape I use is archival so it should not be a problem to leave it on the edge of the painting.

If you use Brown Gummed Tape

I know the brown gummed tape I used to use is also archival. (But unfortunately the tape does not have a brand name or identifiable markings so I am not able to recommend a brown gummed tape).

Because I can’t speak for the numerous brown gummed tapes available – I would recommend you cut the tape off the edge of your white margin around your painting.

How to remove the tape from your Gator Board

The remainder tape is of course still on your Gator Board. I throw my Gator Board in the bath with the taped side of the board facing downward. I leave it 10 minutes or so and then simply pull the last of the tape off. Sometimes I may need to use a blunt knife to get the stubborn pieces off – but generally it comes off without much effort at all.

Remember to wipe around the area where the tape had been to ensure you have wiped off any remaining gum. We don’t want your next painting to stick to the board.

This sounds involved but in fact it is very straight forward and easy to do. I have explained it in fine detail to help you understand every scenario. Once you have tried these suggestions you will find it all very logical and easy to do.

Now your board is fresh and clean and ready for your next painting. If you look after your Gator Board it will give you years of service. It is a fabulous product.

Happy painting!

Susan

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Source by Susan Harrison-Tustain

Chinese Herbal Formulas to Treat Brain Symptoms and Disease

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Quantum Brain Healing uses Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) along with other therapies to heal the brain. TCM utilizes both acupuncture and herbal medicine to treat disease. Modern medicine of the future looks to enhance brain function and intellect as well as treat existing diseases. Family history of certain brain diseases like senile dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s will be treated with herbal medicine prior to the disease’s onset to prevent or diminish the severity of the disease. Quantum Brain Healing hopes to have diagnostic testing that can do cellular testing of herbs in a laboratory to pinpoint which herbs and herbal formulas will best treat the patient’s disease.

Quantum Brain Healing often uses TCM herbal formulas for treating brain related symptoms and diseases. Below are several of the Chinese herbal formulas that may be used to treat and prevent brain diseases. The formulas are not intended to be purchased by a patient. These formulas are meant to expose people to the unique symptoms and diseases which can be treated or improved with TCM and direct patients into seeking an appointment with a TCM or alternative medicine doctor to receive the correct formula for their individual diagnosis. The Chinese formula descriptions are based on classic Chinese disease patterns. As patients take formulas, their symptoms will morph and formulas will be altered to these changes. It is possible that person’s chronic illness will require the same herbal formula for an extended time period, but one should not assume this to be the case.

Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang He Sheng Mai San Jia Jian (Blue Poppy) is an antiaging formula which can treat stress, dizziness, fatigue, stimulate the immune system, and increase brain circulation to enhance the memory. The Chinese diagnosis for this formula is that it boosts the qi, enriches yin, and arouses the brain, but, because it upbears the clear and disinhibits the qi mechanism, it supplements without stagnating. In particular, this formula supports the organs that provide energy to the body which are the lungs, spleen, and kidneys. It boosts immunity, improves both physical and mental performance, and improves adaptation to stress. It is indicated for the treatment of qi and yin dual vacuity resulting in fatigue, lowered immunity, and aging. Immortal Qi can also be used as a sports performance-enhancing supplement as well as for the prevention and treatment of altitude sickness

Chai Hu Long Gu Mu Li Tang (Plum Flower or Blue Poppy) treats complaints such as stress, anxiety, irritability, insomnia, irritability, anger, nicotine withdrawal, drug withdrawal, alcohol withdrawal, frustration and schizophrenia. The Chinese diagnosis for this formula is liver-spleen disharmony with depressive heat, phlegm dampness, and disquieted heart spirit.

Jie Yu Ding Mian Fang or Resolve Depression & Stabilize Sleep (Blue Poppy) treats insomnia with irritability or emotional depression. The Chinese diagnosis for this formula is insomnia lasting for longer than three months and where patients may not sleep at all or sleep for one to two hours per night. Patient has a combination of liver depression qi stagnation with possible depressive heat and blood stasis with malnourishment and disquietude of the heart spirit.

Modified Eleven Flavors Warm the Gallbladder (Blue Poppy) treats symptoms of insomnia, anxiety, depression, PMS, and perimenopausal syndrome. The Chinese diagnosis includes heart-gallbladder qi timidity with depressive heat in the heart, liver, and possibly stomach and intestines. Heart-gallbladder qi timidity is the shorthand name for a more complex pattern. The entire disease pattern is based on the liver and spleen being out of balance with one another. This is liver depression and spleen qi vacuity with depressive heat and phlegm harassing the heart spirit. It also includes heart qi and blood vacuity due to enduring spleen vacuity.

Suan Zao Ren (Plum Flower) treats stress symptoms including migraine headaches, dizziness, insomnia, and mental agitation. The Chinese diagnosis for this formula includes nourishing the blood, clearing excess heat and calming the spirit

Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan (Plum Flower) or Emperors Teapills treat mild to moderate cases of anxiety, irritable, concentration problems, senile dementia, memory problems, restlessness, and occasional insomnia. The Chinese diagnosis for this formula is that it nourishes Yin & blood, tonifies Heart & calms spirit.

Xiao Yao Wan (Blue Poppy) treats symptoms of neurosis, insomnia, irritation, panic, vertigo, anxiety, stress, dizziness, and depression. The Chinese diagnosis for this formula includes liver depression and spleen vacuity with blood vacuity and possible dampness.

Yi Nao Jiao Nang treats brain complaints of neurasthenia, insomnia, poor memory, profuse dreaming, brain arteriosclerosis and dizziness. The Chinese Diagnosis for this formula includes qi and blood deficiency with deficiency of kidney essence and liver and kidney yin.

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Source by R Stone