Keep Your Poinsettia After Christmas

poinsettiasIt is possible to keep your poinsettia alive into the Spring season when it can flower again for Christmas holidays the next year.

Of course, flower is the wrong word when dealing with poinsettias (Euphorbia pulcherrima, from the spurge plant family). They don’t have flower petals. Those red leaves are called bracts. The red leaves are just more leaves on the planet but they turn red as they grow from the top. The actual ‘flower’ is that knobby looking part in the centre of the plant. This is why poinsettias are propagated through grafting in commercial nurseries.

I’ve never tried growing one from seed either. I just do my best to keep my live plants going from year to year. I did have one which I kept for several years. It finally caught a white fungus during one of my moves from place to place. It couldn’t be saved that year.

The plant needs 12 hours of daylight followed by 12 hours of darkness in order to bloom – get the leaves to turn red. With some fussing, you can induce your poinsettia to bloom red again after the holiday season when the leaves usually begin to drop off and leave you with a pretty bare and barren looking plant.

How to Get Your Poinsettia to Grow Again

Prune the plant. Take off the red leaves, if there are any left. After the last of the frost is gone from outside, take it out for some fresh air. Don’t rush to get it out there. The poinsettia is not hardy for being out in the northern climate. They are native to Central America and Mexico.

You can leave the poinsettia outside all Summer. It will grow and look much healthier than it has since Christmas. Bring the poinsettia indoors in the Autumn. It really does not want to catch a chill outside. Bring it in before the first frost. Place the poinsettia in a room which you can give it darkness (complete and uninterrupted) after sunset. The plant needs those long, dark periods for at least two months if you want to get the red leaves developing in time for Christmas. Any light during this stage will set it back.

If you only have dim light, not full dark, try putting a cardboard box over the poinsettia for those 12 hours of full dark it needs. Another idea, put a tomato cage in the plant pot and cover it with a cloth/ fabric tablecloth to block out the light. Don’t use plastic, or anything else which will cut off the air as well as the light. Don’t forget to uncover the plant at dawn so it can also get the full 12 hours of light it needs. We tend to have longer nights than days in the Autumn so it will need all the daylight you can give it too, the balance of light and darkness.

Keep the poinsettia on the dry side when it comes to watering. Set the pot on a few pebbles, marbles, beads, something which will make sure it is getting good drainage rather than holding excess water inside the pot. I also pot them with a few rocks at the bottom of the pot if I give them a new container, other than the one they came in from the store. The poinsettia likes moist soil but it does not like to be sitting in water or have water poured over it. The best thing is to let it be just a bit dry and then give it a soak in a bucket (or some other container) of water. Then take it out to drain out any extra water before you put it back where you have it growing.

Poinsettia Growing Links

Buttercream Barbie: Fluffy Buttermilk Cinnamon Rolls

Fluffy Buttermilk Cinnamon Rolls

Makes 12

2 cups buttermilk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup sugar

1 tbsp active dry yeast or 1 pkg.

4 1/2 cups all purpose flour (divided)

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Filling (combine first 4 ingredients)

3/4 cup light brown sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

Pinch of table salt

1 cup chopped pecans

2 tablespoons butter, softened

  1. Mix the buttermilk, vegetable oil and sugar in a saucepan and heat on the stove until lukewarm (105-110 degrees). Remove from heat then stir in dry yeast. Let this mixture sit for a few minutes to let the yeast bloom.

  2. Add 4 (of the 4 1/2 cups) of flour to the buttermilk mixture and stir well (no need to knead, just mix well). Dough at this stage will be extremely sticky and more like a thick batter. Cover dough with plastic wrap and let it sit in a warm place for an hour.

  3. In a small, separate bowl, mix the final 1/2 cup of flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. After the sticky dough has rested/raised for an hour, stir it down and add this final half cup flour mixture. Mix until well incorporated – this just takes a minute.

  4. Turn batter (which will still be quite soft and sticky) out onto WELL-floured counter and roll the dough around a few times, coating the surface with flour so it is not so sticky. Roll (or pat) dough out into a rectangle that is about 1/2″ thick. Spread dough surface with 2 tablespoons butter then evenly spread on the filling ingredients and top with nuts (pat the nuts into the sugar a little). Roll up, jellyroll style, keeping it as tight as you can. Pinch the seam shut tightly. Cut into 1 1/2″ slices and lay them, cut side down, in a greased 9×13 baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes.

  5. Bake in pre-heated 375 degree F oven for about 20 minutes or until golden and sound hollow when you tap on them. Drizzle with a simple icing sugar/milk glaze while still warm.

via Buttercream Barbie: Fluffy Buttermilk Cinnamon Rolls.

How to Get Started Doing Parkour

Parkour is a philosophy as well as physical exercise. Parkour is running, dodging, jumping through an obstacle course, on foot and without any special equipment. Parkour is also about learning to live your life in a better way.

What Parkour Really Is: The Whole Picture

Parkour is more than physical exercise or an extreme sport. Parkour is not about buying equipment or gear. Parkour is not about performing tricks or competing or showing off. Parkour is available for any level of athlete, or non-athlete.

Parkour is a philosophy about moving within your environment (mental and physical) and dealing with the obstacles you face. Through Parkour you attempt to understand and improve yourself. Parkour helps us learn to understand and help others by giving us practical skills and the methods of using them.

Parkour teaches us to move in our environment in a way where we can gain the most ground, make real progression and learn how to manoeuvre in different variety of ways.

Parkour can take place in an urban environment. Also, in forests, deserts, any outdoor element or place where there are some obstacles and space to move around them.

Parkour practitioners are called tracuers or tracueses (for women).

One is not truly participating in Parkour without the combination of philosophy and exercise. Parkour is a physical and mental exercise to improve your body at any level of ability, to give you more confidence and change how you see and feel about the world.

How Did Parkour Start?

David Belle was influenced by his Father who grew up in Vietnam as a child soldier trained through obstacle courses known as Parcours. David Belle’s Grandfather taught him about Hebertism. Both of these merged with David’s own philosophy and experiences to become Parkour.

Getting Started: Keep Moving, That’s What Matters

Move around your personal space. Look at the objects in the room differently. Find new ways to move through the room. Take a different route. Walk backwards. Twirl while you move through the room. Skip or hop on one foot. Crawl or walk on your hands if you can. Simple movements are a start. (Don’t wreck the place, go outside to give yourself more room to move).

Remember the old kid’s games where the floor became something dangerous to step on. I used to swim in the public pool and pretend the stripes on the pool floor were giant whales side by side. I tried to avoid stepping on the dark lines between the whales – the dark space between them surely went on forever, sinking deep, down into the ocean. So, I had to swim over them to the next whale.

Important techniques for beginners are good jumping and landing techniques. The roll which limits impact and carries momentum to continue forward movement is an important beginner technique to master. Beginners also learn how to fall, because falling happens. Other beginning moves include monkey vaults and precision jumps.

Don’t start leaping from tall buildings. Find your way along at your own pace. Don’t consider Parkour only as a physical thing either. Think of ways you would like to move through your life, what is keeping you from moving? Could you find a new way to move and gain progress?

Train your mind for Parkour as well as your body. Take a look at puzzles, mazes, things that make you look at new solutions to find your way.

Getting Started: Equipment to Consider

Originally, Parkour was barefoot.

Of course, one nice feature about shoes is the protection of the feet. A tennis shoe should give better traction. Shoes for martial arts are popular for being close to being barefoot. You will want a shoe which is light, comfortable, flexible with a good grip on the ground. Consider snow, rain and sun too, Parkour goes well with the great outdoors.

You could look at wearing gloves to protect your hands. But, like shoes, Parkour doesn’t require any special gear.

You need fabric that can stretch and let your skin breathe, light, casual clothing which you can really move in and sweat in. It’s also important to avoid clothing which could get caught or snag on anything and slow you down or cause you injury.

Parkour Links

 

MathCool ASCII Art Collection: Electricity

-=[ Vidio Camera ]=-
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-=[ Camera ]=-

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 -=[ telephone ]=-
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 -=[ telephone ]=-
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  -=[ payphone ]=-
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 -=[ radio ]=-
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 -=[ TV remote ]=-
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-=[ Light Bulb ]=-
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 -=[ small light bulb ]=-

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-=[ Lamp ]=-

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 -=[ elevator ]=-
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 -=[ batteries ]=-

      .-==============-.  .-==============-.
      |    EVEREADY    |  |    DURACELL    |
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      |                |  |                |
      '-==============='  '-==============-'



 -=[ slot machine ]=-

           .-------.
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     |###################|



 -=[ gasoline pump ]=-

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           |      |//
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        [____________]



 -=[ typewriter ]=-

        .-------.
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 -=[ parking meter ]=-

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          ||
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          ||
          ||

Allen Mullen's FAQ

Allen Mullen’s FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions from my mailbox


These are some of the most frequent emails I receive.


Requests

Where can I find a picture of _____?

  • The best place to ask this question is alt.ascii-art. My web page is not designed for finding a particular picture so you are better off looking through many of the other ascii web pages listed on the links page. Sorry, but I’m not willing to find pictures for you.

Please make me a picture of _____.

  • I’ve retired from the ascii art/ascii picture world and am not making any new pictures. The best place for requests is alt.ascii-art.
Making the pictures

I know you’ve got to be using some kind of a program to make those pictures. What is it and where do I find it?

I downloaded gifscii but the ascii pictures it makes look horrible. What happened?

  • You need to edit the ascii conversion by hand. I sometimes “draw” large areas of ascii pictures by hand rather than using the conversion. Editing the .gif file with photoediting software before you convert helps too. If there isn’t much contrast in the .gif, the conversion will look like a blurry blob.

I tried editing the picture but it still doesn’t look very good.

  • Practice, practice, practice.

You’re jerking me around. Tell me how to make a nice ascii picture right now!!!

  • The way I do it is probably too elaborate for anyone else to use. I use a Wacom tablet for drawing and editing gifs. It’s hard to do significant editing of a gif with a mouse. I generally draw a gif from scratch or do major editing of a scanned image.

I limit my palette to four shades of gray: 0, 224, 243 and 255. 0 is black and 255 is white. I make line drawings with solid black lines and fill the spaces between lines with 255, 243 and 224. When converted with gifscii, 255 makes solid $$$, 243 makes solid MMM and 224 makes solid !!!. I use a word processor’s “replace” function to generate solid areas of CCC and :::.

I’ve written several macros to edit the characters around the edges of the solid areas since there are certain characters I always change in the same way. There is still a lot of hand editing left.

I don’t believe it would be practical to try to copy my methods. There’s a lot more to it than I can describe here.

Gifscii stinks

That’s not art. Those are conversions. Unless it’s done completely by hand it’s not art. Get those lousy things off the Internet you despicable, sub-human slime.

  • I call them pictures so we don’t have to debate whether it’s art.

You are still scum.

  • Take it to one of the graphics art newsgroups. You’ll find plenty of people there for this type of debate. I understand your point but it’s not something I’m interested in discussing further.

Note: Information on how I make pictures is in the preceding question. Scroll up to find the information on how I do it or try my ascii art information page for general information.

Ascii Color

How do you add color to the ascii pictures?

  • I did it years ago using Netscape Gold 2.0. These steps worked with that program. Current programs probably work similarly. In Edit Mode the steps are:
    1. highlight text
    2. select the Font Color button
    3. pick a color – the same color as the last time is still highlighted in Gold 2.0 but not 3.0.
    4. select OK, and the highlighted text is colored.

The colors that Netscape and Microsoft Internet Explorer in 256 color mode use are multiples of 51 on the RGB scale. The values are 0, 51, 102, 153, 204 or 255 for red, green and blue (which correspond to 00, 33, 66, 99, CC and FF in html code). You can define these colors if you choose “Display Custom Colors>>” after selecting the Font Color button. For example, a flesh tone I often use is red 255, green 204 and blue 153 (FFCC99). If you choose other colors outside this palette a browser in 256 color mode will select the closest available color.

I don’t see colors with my browser.

  • They should work with all modern browsers. Nobody has complained about this in years. The next paragraph is my old answer from years ago.
  • Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer allow font colors and background colors. Approximately 98% of visitors to my page are using these two browsers. The latest AOL browser also should display colors. A lot of the other browsers won’t display font and background colors so my page probably looks terrible to visitors using these browsers. I don’t know of any way to make my pictures look right with these browsers. Some versions of Netscape (mainly Gold versions) may only display 16 colors when a computer is set to display 256 colors. The pictures I’ve done in color won’t look right in anything less than 256 colors. Be sure to turn off the “overide document settings” if you are using that feature in your browser. If you are using some other browser that doesn’t support color you probably won’t enjoy my page.
Creating a web page

How do I create a web page for ascii art?

  • There are many programs that will do this for you but I find it’s easier to do this manually. You can save text and then use the paste command into a preformatted section with Netscape Gold but it seems to crash the browser frequently. I’m actually using a macro I’ve written with Word 97 rather than using the Word 97 html editor. I haven’t figured out how to get Word 97 to preformat ascii pictures properly. I’m sure more modern software works better. I haven’t tried doing this in years.

You can do this manually with a word processor or set up a macro. First make the following character replacements for four special characters used in html:

Replace All With
&

<

>

&amp;

&lt;

&gt;

&quot;

Then add

<html>
<body>
<pre>

to the beginning

and

</pre>
</body>
</html>

to the end.

You should be able to edit the page from there with html editors such as Netscape Gold.

Off line viewing

How do I look at these pictures off line?

  • You can save any page you are viewing by using the Save As command in the File menu of Netscape. The page should look just the same when you view the saved file in your computer. You can run your browser off line without being logged on to the Internet and open any file you have saved. The Open command is in the File Menu in the top left corner of your browser.

I don’t have the time to view all your web pages on-line. Please email me all your web pages in a zip file.

  • I no longer have a ftp site so I don’t have a place to store a file like this on-line. I can create a new picture in the time it would take me to zip up my web and mail it. I think my time would be better spent creating a new picture that everyone could view than fulfilling an individual request such as this.
Printing the pictures

The pictures don’t like right when I print them out.

  • There is no way to get them to print correctly so you’ll have to view them with your web browser.

They are meant to be viewed with light colored text on a dark background. Printers use dark text on a light background so they generate a negative image. You need to use dark paper and light colored inks if you want them to print properly. The standard printers everyone uses won’t do this for you. It is probably best just to view the pictures I’ve done with a web browser. You can find pictures for printing via my links page.

Use of these pictures

May I use the pictures?

  • You can generally use of modify these pictures with or without attribution as if they were public domain. I have always given permission to anyone who has asked so it is safe to use them without asking me and waiting weeks for me to reply. Please don’t imply that I am endorsing a product or issue if you include my name. Also, please don’t include my name if you use the pictures in a way that will generate a lot of hostile email for me.

If you would like to link the pictures to me I would prefer you link to my web page rather than using a mailto: link. Please link to a page with ascii pictures rather than my FAQ. The best page to link to is Ascii Pictures

How much time?

How much time do you spend doing this?

  • I was pretty fast when I did these. It took me on average about 30 minutes per picture so I could usually finish off a whole set of 8-10 pictures in a free evening. The big ones took longer. The time I spent coloring pictures varied but generally added about 10 minutes per picture. I usually have one or two free evenings a week to do frivolous things like this.
Insults I’ve deleted the insults I once included because that part of my faq generated lots of email. I get fewer insults in my email than comments about the insults that were in my faq.
Pen pals

I like your web page. I’d like to get to know you and be your friend. Lets write each other every day – or – lets do Internet Chat.

  • Thanks but I’m not the pen pal or chat type.

I try to reply to all email. If you don’t receive a reply to your question, it may be because your email didn’t have a valid return address that I can identify. I’m not on-line as much as I once was so it may take several weeks for me to respond. I may not check email for weeks at a time.

New pictures

Why aren’t you making anything new?

  • Interests change. I haven’t done much ascii since about the summer of 1996. I doubt I’ll ever do more than an occasional picture again.
Too big!!!

Your pictures are too big for me to see on my computer.

  • “Big” is my style. Most other ascii art web pages have smaller pictures so you should try them instead of mine. Internet Explorer makes it easy to resize text but different font sizes have different looks to them. Smaller font sizes often make the edges of solid areas brighter than the center.

You can see the whole picture if you set your computer to 1280 resolution.

Lynx problems

The page doesn’t look right when viewed with Lynx.

  • The pictures are in bold text for optimal viewing with graphical web browsers. This causes everything to be underlined in some versions of Lynx (a text only browser). I use <B><I> </I> in the html code to avoid underlining but this only works for the older versions of Lynx, that aren’t used much any more. Don Bertino’s web site looks good with Lynx and includes Disney pictures I’ve done.

But Lynx is the greatest browser out there. Lynx users are superior to graphical browser users. Ascii art is meant for text based viewing rather than that new fangled graphical stuff.

  • Sorry, but I’m leaving the text in bold.
Please link to my page

I’ve just opened a web page. Will you please add a link to my page from your page?

  • Please write to Joan Stark who now maintains the links page I once maintained. I no longer have a links page and do not plan to add one.
Making money

I’ve got this great idea how you can make lots of money from your pictures…

Sorry but I’m not interested.