Three Easy Ideas For Sustainable Outdoor Design

A fluctuating economy and a heightened awareness of the need to save our planet have prompted houseowners to make practical and enjoyable use of their outdoor spaces with designs that are environment friendly and low maintenance. This is confirmed in a 2013 survey of Americans by the American Society of Landscape Architects which showed that 93 to 94.4 percent of houseowners preferred garden/landscaped areas and low maintenance landscapes in their residences.

Use eco-friendly outdoor lighting.

Outdoor lights at night can be decorative and functional. They illuminate your front and backyard to prevent accidents and discourage robbers.

LED and solar lights are not harmful to the environment. They don’t use up a lot of electricity, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions. LED lights are low wattage, have a longer life span and brighter lighting. Solar lights are powered by the sun at daytime to give light at night.

There are stylish designs for porch and patio lights, and landscape lighting fixtures.

Shift to a low maintenance lawn.

A low maintenance lawn does not need the help of insecticides to keep it weed- and insect-free. Here’s how to do it:

Keep your soil healthy by maintaining a pH of 6.5 – 7.0, which is the ideal for a slightly acidic soil.

Choose turf grass best suited to your locality. It will be easier to tend. Ask a gardener which type of grass is best for your area.

Water deeply but don’t overdo it. An inch of water once a week keeps the grass healthy. First, water half an inch and wait an hour before watering the second half. Do it early the morning to reduce evaporation.

Mow regularly but don’t keep it too short. Keep your lawn mower in good condition. Change worn blades and tires as needed. Dixie chopper tires can be purchased online or in physical stores.

Grow a kitchen garden.

A kitchen garden promotes a sustainable and organic way of living as well as adds beauty to the exterior of the house. It gives you a fresh supply of fruits, herbs and vegetables at no cost and the plants

Choose an area that gets sunshine, has good drainage and a great view from inside the house and outdoors.

Opt for raised beds to plant your herbs and vegetables in. Raised beds shield the plants from gophers and other animals, allow you to choose fertile soil, improve drainage, and protect your back from too much bending.

Choose plants that get along well side by side and plants that keep off insects and pests. Do your research or ask the local garden store about it.

Posted in NewsComments Off on Three Easy Ideas For Sustainable Outdoor Design

Top 5 Most Crowded Concerts Ever

AP840424016The Bruno Mars concert schedule for this year features concerts all over the world in the Philippines, Thailand, New Zealand, China, and other countries. Katy Perry is on tour, too, and for us history junkies this abundance of concerts everywhere naturally arises to the question of which concerts were the most attended ever in history. These are the answers:

5. Steve Wozniak’s 1983 US Festival (1983)

Attendees: 670,000 people

This was perhaps one of the most extravagant concerts ever in history. The Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak craved for a platform that will fuse music and technology, and the normal response of a millionaire is to pay for the construction of a huge open-air field and a temporary stage at San Bernardino, California. The enormous crowd flocked to witness the epic performances of Quiet Riot, Ozzy Osbourne, Triumph, and Van Halen. Fun fact, Van Halen was paid $1.5 million upfront.

4. Garth Brooks in Central Park (1997)

Attendees: 750,000 people

Garth Brooks was a huge country music star and his 1997 concert in New York gathered thousands of “cowboys” to sing with him as he belted out “Friends in Low Places” and “The Dance”.

3. New York Philharmonic in Central Park (1986)

Attendees: 800,000 people

This symphony orchestra formed in 1842 is one of the most popular in the world. The concert in New York was for the rededication of the Statue of Liberty. It held its 14,000th concert in December 2004. That’s how old the orchestra is.

2. Jean Michel Jarre,Oxygen, Moscow (1997)

Attendees: 3,500,000 people

This French musician performed for the 850th anniversary of Moscow in 1997. He is a pioneer of New Age genre featuring electronic and ambient elements in his music. His other biggest concerts were the 1995 concert for UNESCO’s 50th birthday and the 1990 celebration of the 200th anniversary of the French Revolution. This attendance equaled that of Rod Stewart’s in 1994. Which brings us to…

1. Rod Stewart at Copacabana Beach (1994)

Attendees: 3,500,000 people

The British rock star Rod Stewart was the first in the world ever to gather 3.5 million people to hear him sing his hit singles “Forever Young” and “My Heart Can’t Tell You No”.

Posted in CultureComments Off on Top 5 Most Crowded Concerts Ever

The Grandeur of Roman Amphitheaters

Colosseum-interior.01I was browsing through Blake Shelton concert tour schedule and saw that he’s going to perform at Austin360 Amphitheatre on June this year. What a lovely word, “amphitheater”. It sounds so ancient and mysterious. It got me wondering about the very first Amphitheatre in the world.

While there are no certain records of the very first amphitheater, it is certain that the tradition of building these open-air venues to host entertainment events started in ancient Rome. Who among those who watched The Gladiator will ever forget how majestic those circular structures seemed? Pliny the Elder, an ancient historian, claimed that the amphitheater was constructed in the era of Gaius Scribonius Curio in 52 BC. This early form of amphitheater consisted of two wooden semicircular theaters faced toward each other to form one large circular theater.

Jean-Claude Golvin states that the earliest stone amphitheaters, built towards the end of the second century BC, are in Campania, Capua, Cumae and Liternum. The next oldest amphitheater is the Theater of Pompey, built after 70 BC. It was dedicated by Pompey the Great, Julius Caesar’s rival. It was a gigantic structure, capable of holding 20,000 spectators. It was meant as a victory monument to celebrate Pompey’s military victories.

Activities in the Amphitheaters

Ancient Romans loved entertainment so much that they built enormous buildings for this sole purpose. They held religious rites in the amphitheaters, and also stage plays, athletic competitions, chariot races, gladiatorial combats, and other wild beast shows. These events are hosted by sociopolitical elites to promote themselves and their authority over the land.

Gladiatorial combats are the main events in amphitheaters, no questions asked. Ancient scholars record that gladiatorial combats were first introduced to Rome in 264 B.C during the funeral for an elite person named D. Iunius Brutus Pera. Since then, gladiatorial combats were regularly held during state-sponsored festivals (ludi). It has been a popular route for emperors and leaders to gain public favor.

Since the fall of Rome, the wonders of amphitheaters spread throughout the world. Amphitheaters are scattered throughout the United States of America, Europe, and even Asia. As other ancient Roman culture, the art of building amphitheaters is not to be lost any time soon.

Posted in NewsComments Off on The Grandeur of Roman Amphitheaters

The Origins of Country Music

justin-moore2-600We’re all fond of the charming beat and groove of country music. When we hear it we’re reminded of old times when happy people in a happy neighborhood sat back in relaxed contentment. We visualize a stately man with his cowboy boots and hat, strumming away with his guitar.

Where It All Started

Country music in its earliest form first materialized in the folk culture of the British Isles. As immigrants and African slaves came, the elements of the British fiddles mixed with gospel hymns and ethnic sounds. These reached the Southern Appalachian region and were widely played with fiddles and homemade banjos since then.

The 1920s saw the spread of country music throughout America. The first ever radio performance of country musicians aired in 1922. In the same year, Victor Records released the first commercial country record by Eck Robertson. The first national country hit, the “Wreck of the Old ‘97” by Vernon Dalhart, stunned America in 1924.

The 1930s was a difficult time for America. With the Dust Bowl and Great Depression, country music was an escape into the good old Wild West. World War II turned things for the worse and people of the America needed the country music’s comfort all the more.

In 1927, Victor Records signed what turned out to be the two most influential country acts ever – Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family. This era marked the permanent entrenchment of country music as one of the most loved music genre.

Jimmie Rodgers is widely referred as the “Father of Country Music”, bets remembered by his million-selling hit “Blue Yodel #1”. The Carter Family was the first country music group, composed of A.P. Carter, his wife Sara Doughtery Carter, and his sister-in-law Maybelle Addington Carter. Their hits “Keep on the Sunny Side” and “Wildwood Flower” are still listened by many up to this day.

Modern Innovations

Since its early formative years, country music evolved into a genre with influences from jazz and blues and sounds of modern instruments like electric guitars. What remains is the laid-back and relaxing feel. With acts like country singer Justin Moore and the likes, country music definitely has a long way to go.

Posted in CultureComments Off on The Origins of Country Music

Experiencing Modern Architecture and Music: a Double Treat

contemporary_art_wallpaperModern architecture has found its niche in many newly developed cities these days. Observably, modern and state of the art structures are found in emerging cities such as those in the Middle East and southeastern part of Asia. Note that the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building and most modern building in the world is located in Dubai. Also, Singapore has its famous and mind-blowing Marina Sands that sports a superstructure design. There are many more wonderful architecture pieces such as those in Malaysia and China, all of which bear the latest trends in building designs.

Appreciating modern designs

Many of us have been so used to traditional architecture. Although modern buildings look great to the eyes, a number of people still feel intimidated with these types of structures. They usually find the designs and concepts to be somewhat incompatible to certain engineering functions. One can overcome this setback by trying to expand his horizon through wide reading and travel. It also helps if one maintains an open mind about the evolving trends in the arts and architectonics. After all, this is the age of innovation, transformation and reinvention.

Merging the old and new

Although most modern buildings are situated in newly developed cities, older cities still manage to have room for new designs. San Francisco for instance, is known for its historic edifices and yet now some new structures have found their way in its landscape. If you look at the city from a high place, you will note how the old and new have merged and blended beautifully together.

Modern architecture in musical shows

Modern architecture concepts are often employed in musical shows. If you are fond of watching concerts such as that of Florida Georgia line concert Florida, you will note that in many of these performances, the set and stage are a mix-match of different architectural designs. In some of the shows, they even make use of a whole stylish staircase that winds from bottom to top where the artists do their numbers. Such spectacle is a double treat to music and art lovers because they get to witness and experience the best of both fields.

Posted in Architecture, NewsComments Off on Experiencing Modern Architecture and Music: a Double Treat