How to stop the flood of election junk mail?

Wherever you live in the world, whether it is a Local Council, Federal, Presidential or State election, your mailbox will groan under the weight of materials aimed at winning your vote. It may be the electronic era, but it seems that a pamphlet in your letterbox is still considered the most efficient way of getting a message across.

While an informed electorate is essential to the democratic process, there appears to be a glut of over-sending of junk mail for political purposes – and no clear way on how to solve this. What’s worse, the content of most of the political flyers is simply mudslinging about their opponents with little to no intellectual substance. Is anyone else reminded of children in the playground?

How can you help stop this unnecessary waste of paper? Imagine the strain on our environment and the large volume of greenhouse gases generated from all the trees cut down, printing, electricity and transport of the materials. Grab a cup of tea or your water bottle and let’s get down to it.

We know in Australia that material deemed to be political, educational, religious and charitable is exempt from “No Junk Mail” signed letterboxes according to standards developed by the Australian Catalogue Association. So there is no way to stop it being deposited in your postbox along with the other junk mail catalogues enticing you to buy all sorts of things you don’t really need. It is likely the same in other countries.

Step 1. Incorrectly addressed political mail
A lot of of your mail may be addressed to past occupants of the house. You need to “return this to sender” with the note “no longer at this address”.

Step 2. Contact each political party or politician that is mailing you
There is no central database so you will need to call the office of each individual sender and ask to be removed from their mailing list. Remember to be polite! You catch more bees with honey than vinegar.

Step 3. National Standard to stop political junk mail
Write a letter to the Electoral Commission asking them to implement a National Standard to curb the volume of pieces each political party is allowed to put in each household’s letterbox.

Step 4. Polling day
Don’t forget to recycle any materials you are given on the day – often the Greens Party has a box at the booths for such materials on polling day!

Written by Tracey Bailey, Director of Biome Eco Stores in Brisbane, specialists in water bottles and eco friendly, reusable choices for your home, body and lifestyle.

Ten Common Mistakes To Avoid When Selling Your Home

Selling your home isn’t something that you do every day-unless you’re a real estate agent. Over the years I’ve honed my skills in learning what works when it comes to selling your home, as well as what doesn’t.

Fortunately, other people have made these mistakes so that you don’t have to!

1. Ignoring an estate agent’s style tips

We all develop personal connections to our homes, but sometimes those connections mean that it’s hard to see our home through the eyes of a potential buyer. An experienced agent should know how to present your home in a way that will maximise your home’s selling potential.

2. Underestimating the importance of street appeal

First impressions matter, and potential buyers driving past or inspecting your home will take notice of your property’s exterior. In my experience, people buy in the first five seconds and justify throughout the inspection. Make a good impression from the outset and keep up to date with the mowing and weeding!

3 Under-investing in marketing

A targeted, wide-ranging marketing campaign designed to reach as much as possible of your buying audience is essential. Buyers fall into different groups and demographics, and a high quality marketing campaign will reach out effectively to all of these.

4. Not being switched on about going online

In our office, it’s where about 90% of our buyer enquiry comes from. The more you invest here the better. Only a small percentage of buyers look beyond the first page of property search results!

5. Being afraid to commit to a sale price

Committing to a sale price isn’t an easy task, but it’s one that should be a much easier decision when you consider that almost half of all potential buyers will pass over properties with no listed price. Why? It seems too hard, or worse, they fear it will be out of their range. Take the plunge and name a figure.

6. Holding out for a better price

Though it can be tempting to wait for a better offer, the property market doesn’t play by the rules of Who Dares Wins, so think twice before rejecting that initial offer. In my experience, often the first offer is the highest we’ll receive, and almost every record price we achieve comes from an offer made within the first thirty days.

7. Taking offers personally

A low offer on your property is not a reflection on you, or even on your home. Instead, they’re representative of a willingness to commit to opening negotiations. I always encourage vendors to see a low offer as a starting point rather than a final figure.

8. Opting for appointment-only viewings

Although there is the odd exception, for the most part opening your home for inspection is essential to ensure it’s seen by as many potential buyers as possible. We get around 10 times the buyer traffic if it’s open for inspection as opposed to by appointment viewings.

9. Cutting costs when choosing a real estate agent

If you think the best agent is expensive, try hiring the second best & see how much that costs you!

10. Failing to keep up with property maintenance

It’s almost always cheaper to do it yourself than to let the buyer use it as leverage for a price reduction.

I recently sold a home in Aspley where the building and pest report identified multiple maintenance issues at an estimated repair cost of $15k! As expected, the buyer tired for a $15k price reduction. I intervened & re-quoted with a local trusted trade and they seller got the job done for $3k. Fortunately, I managed to salvage the deal without a price reduction. However this could have been avoided or worse the deal could have fallen through.

So call that plumper you’ve been avoiding! For real estate Aspley, contact Justin Watt of Watt Realty today.

Get Exciting Kids’ Entertainment With A Brisbane Childrens’ Magician

If you are organising a children’s party and want to make sure that it is full of energy, fun and the best entertainment, then you should consider hiring a talented magician for the occasion. The amazing range of tricks a magician can do inspires awe and excitement in everyone watching the show. Having a magician is the perfect way to liven up a party. Kids will absolutely love watching him make the impossible happen right before their eyes.

Johnny the Jester is a brilliant Brisbane childrens’ magician who performs magical shows for a range of kids events in venues across the greater Brisbane region. His incredible live shows are extremely popular with the kids who have a great time watching him perform awesome magic tricks or give fascinating demonstrations with live animals.

This childrens’ magician has had plenty of experience with working with kids and has done a great number of live performances. Johnny the Jester has been doing magical shows for fifteen years for various occasions and events across Australia and overseas. He has performed at many birthday parties, childcare centres, and schools. Because he is so popular, he also does live entertainment shows to huge crowds at a number of major shopping centres. With his level of experience and success at being a childrens’ magicians, he will be sure to wow at your child’s party.

His shows are filled with fun, games and excitement. Johnny the Jester’s magic show includes all sorts of marvelous tricks that will wow the kids and make them laugh. He also uses live animals in his performances such as Stewart the rabbit and Dorothy the dove, making them disappear and reappear to the childrens’ amazement. His popular magical python show is a hit with the kids. It is not only entertaining, but interactive and educational as well, teaching children about the different snake species in Brisbane.

Johnny the Jester caters for a variety of events in the Brisbane region, from birthday parties and school holiday fun to fetes. He can accommodate his shows for small groups of children to as many as 170,000 – so number is certainly not an issue. His magical shows can be performed indoors or outdoors, inside in the house or in the backyard. The shows go for a total of one hour, giving a great length of magical entertainment for the children to enjoy. Parents can sit back, relax and take pleasure in the show themselves.

Johnny the Jester is regularly entertaining and is available for bookings all days of the week. If you choose to book him for a weekday magic show, you can take advantage of the discount he offers. On weekdays he is also able to arrange free balloon figurines for children.

As you can see, getting a Brisbane childrens’ magician will add fun and enjoyment to any children’s party. And there’s no one better to do it than Johnny the Jester, a talented and experienced magician who provides interactive and highly entertaining live shows that will bring laughter and joy to all children who attend.

Styles of Yoga

Yoga originated in ancient India, and is one of the six orthodox schools of Hindu philosophy. Derived from the Sanskrit word meaning “union”, its primary goal is to help the student achieve union with the divine by way of specific poses (asanas), breath (pranayama), and meditation to achieve a state of spiritual liberation. Though yoga in the Western world focuses on health and fitness, it is important to appreciate yoga’s long history as a vital component of the Hindu philosophical and theological system.
As one of the most popular of natural therapies in the West, there are many types of yoga available for those seeking health and wellness. The following covers the more popular yoga styles in the West, and helps you have a clearer understanding of the basics of each yoga style so that you can choose one which best suits you and your needs.

Hatha
Hatha yoga is a generic title which describes any yoga style, and most yoga classes advertised in the West will be hatha yoga, unless otherwise stated. When a yoga class is advertised as hatha, it usually refers to a slow-paced and gentle introduction to yoga, incorporating basis poses and simple breathing exercises. Before attending a hatha yoga class, it is wise to ask the yoga teacher where he/she trained and what the class will consist of, e.g. yoga poses, pace, meditation and mantras etc. This will help to to decide if the yoga class will be beneficial for you.

Vinyasa
Vinyasa yoga is perhaps the most common for those wanting yoga purely for fitness. This form of yoga combines a sequence of flowing poses with rhythmic breathing, and is designed as an intense body-mind workout. As a generic term for any form of yoga that involves poses synchronised to the breath (where there is a flow as the poses run together), Vinyasa yoga is also used to describe yoga styles that have derived from it, such as Ashtanga and Power Yoga.

Ashtanga
As mentioned, Ashtanga is a form of yoga that has derived from the concept of Vinyasa yoga. It is fast-paced and based on six series of poses that increase in difficulty as each series moves through one to the next without stopping. As there is no time for adjustments, once a series of yogic poses and breathing are underway the student is encouraged to move through the series of movements without stopping, making for an ideal full body work-out that will stimulate and improve circulation and detoxification, and get that heart rate pumping!
Power Yoga
Another form of yoga derived from Vinyasa, Power yoga is a Western product based on the fundamentals of yoga tradition. More likely to be part of a gym curriculum, Power yoga weaves common yoga poses and breathe techniques to a rigorous exercise workout, designed to strengthen the body and promote flexibility. Power yoga is great as part of your training and fitness routine, but rarely addresses the philosophical aspects of yoga.

Bikram yoga
Designed by Bikram Choudhury, this form of yoga is better known for its use of sauna-like conditions to promote detoxification of the body through sweat. Bikram yoga classes are held in studios designed to replicate India’s climate, mimicking a hot and humid temperature. Here students work through a series of 26 traditional yoga poses (usually slow-paced and gentle) as they sweat and, as a result, promote fresh blood and oxygen to circulate throughout the body. This form of yoga is ideal as a detoxifying exercise to boost the immune system.

Sivananda
For those seeking a more philosophical approach to their yoga, Sivananda yoga is based on the philosophy of Swami Sivananda and his five principles:
1. Proper exercise
2. Proper breathing
3. Proper relaxation
4. Proper diet
5. Positive thinking/meditation

Sivananda yoga classes work through twelve basic poses. As a slow-paced form of yoga, the emphasis is on the full exploration of each pose so that the eventual mastering of each pose is achieved as part of an overall philosophical approach.

Iyengar
Iyengar yoga is based on the teaching of B.K.S Iyengar, one of the most influential yogis of all time. This form of yoga focuses on the subtleties of each pose, which are held much longer than traditional forms of yoga. Focussing on the physical alignment of the body in the poses, students are encouraged to attain perfect poses through consistent practice. This is based on the philosophical belief that once the body is in perfect balance by means of mastering each pose, the mind with reflect this balance. In addition, unlike other forms of yoga, Iyengar also uses props such as belts or chairs to accommodate any needs or structural imbalances in the body, which makes it a good option for those with poor mobility.
Anusara
Anusara means “to step into the current of divine will” and is a modern form of yoga created by American John Friend, with its origins derived from Iyengar yoga. Its practice focusses on three key areas:
• Attitude – by opening to grace one can awaken his/her true nature.
• Alignment – integrated awareness of the different
• Action – pose as expression of the heart and inner freedom.
This form of yoga reintroduces traditional Hindi elements of yoga, however is primary health orientated as it focuses on inner and outer body alignment.
Kundalini
Considered the most comprehensive of yogas, Kundalini is derived from the tantra yoga tradition and refers to the flow of energy and consciousness that exists within us. Incorporating poses and dynamic breathing techniques, combined with specific mantra chanting and chakra awakening, Kundalini yoga acts as a holistic philosophy that keeps the body and mind strong and flexible in times of stress and conflict. This yoga style is suited for those wanting a holistic approach to their yoga practice.

There are many other forms of yoga available, with more yoga traditions and styles being introduced into the West every year. Like all things, however, it is best to have a clear idea of what you hope to achieve from yoga and then find a style that best suits that. Happy yoga practicing from Radiant Heart Yoga Woolloongabba, Brisbane.

Can I really save fuel with a Truck Wheel Alignment?

Most heavy vehicle owners in the transport industry are asking themselves – How can I save money on my running costs? How can I save on fuel consumption? Will a truck wheel alignment help?

Research & studies conducted around the world show that around 80 percent of medium to heavy vehicles are incorrectly aligned, or have a mis-alignment. If your truck, trailer or bus has incorrectly aligned wheels & axles, you have what we call increased rolling resistance when travelling on the road. This means the engine is working harder than required to push the truck along the road, and the end result is an increase in fuel consumption. Given that fuel can account for up to 50% of the operating costs of a truck or fleet, smart operators must explore all avenues to reduce fuel consumption.
Generally speaking, correcting even slight alignment issues have been shown to result in a saving of 3 – 10 percent on fuel.

3% doesn’t sound too significant does it? Lets take a closer look – One truck runs Brisbane to Sydney (return) 3 times a week (6,000 kms). That’s 312,000 kms a year. Fuel consumption average is 1.85 litres/km. That’s 577,200 litres, current local prices are around $1.49 per litre. Fuel cost for the year – $860,028.00. If you reduced fuel consumption by 3%, you would save $25,800.84!!
Your scenario may be different, but you can see that small changes can make a big difference to the bottom line of your business. There are other areas where you can save on running costs, which will be covered in another article.

If you own one truck or one hundred, and you are not having a regular truck wheel alignment performed as part of your maintenance schedule, you really need to contact your local truck wheel alignment specialist for a chat.

Truckologist is a mobile truck wheel alignment business based in Brisbane, Australia.