Posts by Rafael Beck:

Rose Wine Comparisons: Sutter Home vs. Clarendelle Rose

Ever curious to learn about the wines I've come to enjoy, I wondered what made one rose (or blush) wine different from another. Eventually, I did come to realize that these wines in general tend to have less alcohol, and are popular amongst those who don't like strong cocktails. But I also learned that not all rose wines are alike. Depending upon the region, and even the way the wine is produced-one can end up with a hearty, fruity experience, or a light and airy one. I selected two rose wines, and took a closer look at how the grapes were grown and how the wine was manufactured. It was also very interesting to note how much the flavor of wine can vary depending on a few small environmental factors. See how France's Bordeaux rose wine compares to America's more popular Sutter Home White Zinfandel.

Clarendelle Rose (Bordeaux Region)

Clarendelle Rose is a bright rose-colored wine whose notes are equally bright. The intense color is a result of allowing the grapes to ferment while in contact with their red skins, for only a short time. Sophisticated palates will probably detect hints of blueberry and raspberry. Some have claimed to taste elements of blackberry as well, in this Bordeaux wine. But because of the Bordeaux region's pebbly soil, the undertone still remains very light and sandy.

Those who happen to be serving spicy Indian food are in luck if they have a bottle of Clarendelle Rose, as this wine goes well with punchy foods. And because of the wine's delicate texture, most cheeses go well with it. Desserts and entrées seasoned with ginger (carrot cake, or ginger bread) are also good pairings. The $20 price tag (give or take) makes this Bordeaux a reasonably affordable wine for entertaining.

Sutter Home White Zinfandel (Napa Valley, California)

The Zinfandel grape, typically deep red in color, is used to make Sutter Home White Zinfandel. In order to achieve the light rose color of the wine, the Zinfandel grapes are crushed, with excess juice being removed and fermented separately. It is this fermented liquid that becomes "White Zinfandel."

This wine has considerably less alcohol than other wines-and because of its lightness in texture, goes very well with a variety of foods, especially barbecued meats and most pastas. This is perhaps why it has been referred to as a "quaffing wine": wine that can be gulped rather than meagerly sipped. All in all, Sutter Home's flavor is sweet and light, without as much kick as its red and white siblings. The brand sells in most supermarkets for under $10.

SOURCES:… Read the rest

Peach Ice Tea Protein Shake

If there is one thing that is for sure about the south, people love ice tea. If you are looking for a way to make your protein shake a little more southern, then you need to try out this protein shake recipe. This peach ice tea protein shake is perfect for a meal replacement during the day or a post workout recovery shake. Plus this shake only has 226 calories and 1 gram of fat so it is great for anyone watching their weight.

8oz un-sweet tea (cold)
1- Scoop vanilla protein powder
1- Cup peach slices
1- Tbsp mango jam
4-5 Ice cubes

Preparation: Combine all ingredients in blender, mix until desired smoothness. Pour in to chilled glass. Serve and enjoy

Macronutrient Breakdown:
Total calories: 226
Carbohydrates: 31g
Fat: 1g
Protein: 27g… Read the rest

Digital Scrapbook Background and Frames Tutorial: Pink and Blue Checkers

In this tutorial I will show you how to create a pink and blue checkered background for scrapbooks and the frames to go with it. This background and frames are created in Fireworks CS3. It looks like it would take a lot of work to create the checkers, but it doesn’t. Most of the checkers are created by duplicating them. I will explain step by step how to create this background and frames. Go ahead and create you a new canvas to work on. Create the canvas the size that you need for the background.

Select your rectangle tool and draw a square on your canvas. Draw the square the size that you want the checkers to be. Change the color fill of the square to #B745CB. Duplicate that square so that the other square will be the same size. We will be doing a lot of duplicating, so to duplicate, you right click, click Edit > Duplicate. Drag the square that you just duplicated beside the first square. Change the color of this square to #3EADD2. Now continue duplicating these two checkers until you have the first row.

Once you have the first row of checkers, select the entire first row. To select all of them, hold down shift on your keyboard and click each checker. Right click on one of the checkers and duplicate the row. Drag the duplicated row below the first row. Now you will need to change the colors of the checkers to opposite of what they are now.

Now you can flatten these two rows and duplicate both rows to finish creating your background. Select all of the checkers. The easiest way to select all of the checkers is hold your mouse down and draw a box over the entire canvas. Start your box off of the canvas so that you select all of them. You can also go to the top of your window and click Select > Select All. Right click on a checker and click Flatten Selection. Now the checkers are turned into one image. You can now duplicate all the other rows that you need.

After you have your background created, you can start creating your frames. You can arrange your frames how you want them on your background. To create the frames, follow these steps. Get your rectangle tool and draw a square on your canvas. Change the color fill to none. Change the stroke fill to #B745CB. Add a drop shadow to your frame by clicking Filters > Shadow and Glow > Drop Shadow. Now you can duplicate all the other frames that you need.… Read the rest

To My Kung Fu Teacher

He is a hoary lion
with hands as hard as bricks.
His laughter is as booming
as a thunder god's dirty tricks.
His presence is robust,
not one can dismiss the man.
His kindly, aged eyes,
his skin as rough as sand.
His scars are plenty,
the life he's had to lead.
But one thing we have in common
is the frequency we bleed.
His beard is sage-like,
whipping like a bear.
His generosity and love
are as thick as his hair,
white and maniacal.
He could crush our face.
But he'd rather play with children
and include us in his grace.
He was a pauper master
without an evil thought.
I will never forget the man
or the wonderful things he taught.… Read the rest

What is in a Teachers Name

With schools beginning across the country, I decided to review some of the last names of teachers that I have come across. This is not to belittle or make fun of anyone. Ninety nine percent of these individuals were excellent educators. I just wanted to provide a flashback to the days we were in school. Feel free to add to the list in the comment section.

Mrs. English, Mrs. Crabtree, Miss Purdy, Mr. Grump, Mr. Stone, Mr. Washington, Mrs. Chalk, Mr. Lunchpale, Mr. Coffy, Mrs. Carberry, Miss Shoes, Miss Hickey, Mr. Locks, Mr. Crabaze, Mrs. Wright, Dr. Drizzle, Mrs. Stern, Miss Chief, Mr. Ruyle, Mrs. Skool, Mr Hollway, Miss Pleaze, and my favorite of all time is Miss Gititwright.

Have a nice day!… Read the rest

Online Computer Programming Degree: Learn How You Can Further Your Education

Almost every business now relies on computers and internet for their operations. As a result Computer Programming is poised to be one of the fastest growing technical professions.

Scope of computer programming

In today’s economy, computer programmers are needed in almost every business in every region of the world. There will always be a need for computer programmers making the job market very strong for those with the right skills. Computer programmers tend to work in comfortable office environments and receive competitive pay.

The Benefits of A Degree

Over 50% of computer programmers today have at least a college degree, with nearly 20% holding a graduate degree. Most employers will be looking for programmers with who are fluent in a number of programming languages and tools and have experience developing and implementing applications. With a computer programming degree you greatly increase your value to employers and chances of securing competitive jobs.

What you will gain

Whether you are a professional trying to change directions or you are ready to gain the education and recognition to get a rewarding job a degree in computer programming can help. Online colleges and universities offer associate, bachelor, and master degree programs in computer programming that will allow you to develop the skills you need. Whether you want to continue your education over a longer period by taking a few classes at a time, or you want to aggressively complete a degree there are online courses ready to fit your needs.

Students in these programs will learn a variety of skills from programming, systems analysis, and design. They will most likely learn C++ and VisualBasic as well as a number of additional programming languages that will help them designed, implement, and manage systems. The coursework will help students develop and practice the necessarily skill sets to succeed in a variety of roles that exist in the workplace. With a computer programming degree you will have to foundation to continue to expand your knowledge in skills in the ever developing field of computer technologies.… Read the rest

Green Tea & Banana Protein Shake

Are you looking for a protein shake that is not so thick or filling? Here is a great green tea & banana protein shake that is smooth & light and will not be heavy on the stomach. This green tea & banana protein shake is great for a quick breakfast if you are on the go, a mid-afternoon meal replacement shake or a post workout shake. Another great benefit to this shake is that it has less than 300 calories so it is perfect for those of us trying to lose a few extra pounds before summertime.

8oz Diet green tea with ginseng and honey
1- Scoop whey protein powder
1- Banana (126g)
1- Tsp. organic honey
4-5 Ice cubes

Preparation: Combine all ingredients in blender, mix until desired smoothness. Pour in to chilled glass. Serve and enjoy

Macronutrient Breakdown:
Total calories: 284
Carbohydrates: 49g
Fat: 1g
Protein: 26g… Read the rest

Handling an Overseas Writing Business

The great thing about being a freelance writer is that you can live virtually anywhere in the world and still do the same exact job while enjoying the benefits of becoming a world traveler. If you want to start an overseas writing business, here are a few tips.

Tip #1: Use the Buddy System

If you are planning to move for a brief period of time — one year, for example — then you will want to retain the comforts of certain things from home while still handling your writing business overseas. You can accomplish this much more effectively by using the buddy system. Find a friend or a relative who can receive your mail, deposit important checks and maintain correspondence with your “home country” clients. This will cut down on your need to send IRC’s with every letter you write and will also many it easier to maintain your finances.

Tip #2: Maintain a Local Bank Account

There are a few benefits to opening a foreign bank account when managing a writing business overseas, but it is usually much easier to have a local bank account, instead. This allows you to deposit checks in your “home country” currency and prevents you from having to incur large fees for cashing a check in a foreign country. This also works out will if you’re using the aforementioned buddy system; your friend or relative can simply deposit your checks in your local bank and you can use online banking to pay your bills.

Tip #3: Get American Express

When handling a writing business overseas, it is almost always helpful to have an American Express card at your disposal. You can hang on to the Visa and MasterCard if you’d like, but American Express is accepted in most foreign countries and is actually the preferred method of payment for Americans when traveling (or moving) internationally.

Tip #4: Sign Up for Internet Faxing

Many Internet faxing services, such as eFax ( are much easier to maintain when handling a writing business overseas than using a LAN line for your faxing needs. For one thing, international lines often interrupt facsimile transmissions; for another, you’ll probably need to fax a great deal of documents to clients and editors and the fees can be enormous.

Tip #5: Get a Local Phone Number

With the advent of telephone services like Vonage, you can make telephone calls from just about anywhere in the country but maintain a local phone number, which cuts down on the fees for international calls and will enable you to itemize your bill so that you can separate business telephone expenses from personal ones. Maintaining a writing business overseas probably will mean calling your editor(s) and clients on a weekly (if not daily) basis, and telephone calls are expensive when dialed internationally.

Tip #6: Research Tax Requirements

Maintaining a writing business overseas does not exempt you from paying U.S. taxes and may require that you pay taxes to the country in which you are living, … Read the rest