Dear PuppetFest MidWest Attendees and other interested parties,

        The Board of the Rumpelstiltskin Society and Festival Directors Debbie and Peter Allen would like to Thank You for your support of PuppetFest MidWest over the last 10 years.

                 
        2012 was definitely the last year that Peter and Debbie will organize PuppetFest MidWest at North Central Missouri College in Trenton, Missouri. The terrific Trenton trifecta (a college with affordable dorms and classrooms, at least two performance spaces and a late night gathering spot all within walking distance) that started this whole process is no more.


        With the departure of Residence Life/Conference Coordinator Paula Czirr from the college 6 years ago, we lost the immediate contact, caring and concern that we needed to run this festival.  Peter and Debbie are frustrated and exhausted from dealing with a college that doesn’t want to be bothered with PuppetFest MidWest. The closing of the Main Street Theatre several years ago left us lacking a late night performance space. With the closing of the downtown Wild Onion Cafe we lost that nearby late night place for fun. The only thing left is the Grundy County Jewett Norris LIbrary Hoover Theater which is still wonderful (as is the library staff), but not enough to make up for the loss of all the rest.


        We will keep you posted as we search for a new venue for 2014 and beyond.

Thank you,
Peter and Debbie Allen, Directors
PuppetFest MidWest

Blog

The Importance of Having Regular Car Maintenance

Any car trouble can turn into a hassle, especially if you’re in a hurry or if your drive brings you some place far from any car servicing shops. In order to avoid ending up in such desperate situations, it is important for you to regularly keep track of your car maintenance duties. Getting regular maintenance sessions with your dealer can easily save you from dealing with frustrating mechanical breakdowns.

The importance of regular car maintenance cannot be stressed enough. In purchasing a vehicle, whether new or used, it must be considered a big investment on your part — hence it becomes a duty to follow a maintenance schedule to protect the asset from costly breakdowns and repairs. Not only does a constant check-up help you get the best performance your car can offer, but it also increases the machine’s life span.

In general, car repair is a broad subject composed of many aspects. It can range from a simple part inspection or maintenance to a vehicle’s complete overhaul. The repairs and condition vary with each car, which is why it is important to get your vehicle personally checked by a best car servicing in Singapore specialist.

Consequences

While there are a number of people in Singapore with too heavy work schedule or tight budget to even bring their vehicle in for a consultation, poorly maintained cars can actually put their life at risk. Cars which fail to get a routine general maintenance check-up tend to act up and cause problems out of the blue, endangering the life of the driver and passengers with potential car collisions.

It also goes without saying that improper car maintenance prompts you to spend a thousand more dollars over repairs and surgeries. With that, it is greatly advised for any car owner to always consider the importance of having a regular car repair. There are many shops offering car servicing in Singapore which can help you ensure that your vehicle is not only safe but also at its peak condition.

Several car servicing measures must be observed to keep your car running efficiently and extend its mechanical lifespan. These measures must be undertaken routinely, instead of putting it off for a few months after a single consultation

You can check with your owner manual for a quick guide and run-through about the overall process. However, personally taking your car to a car workshop is still highly encouraged so it can be thoroughly checked by a mechanic. There might be issues you won’t spot at one glance, or existing technical problems that isn’t written down in the pages of your manual.

Tire check

The pressure of your tires must be checked every time you head out to avoid any related problems while on the road. This includes the spare tires you keep in your trunk, which generally often goes overlooked. Remember that the weight of your car is carried by your tires, thus they must be sturdy and strong in order to ensure its overall performance doesn’t disappoint.

This is one aspect to car servicing you can also opt to do yourself with the use of a tire gauge. It is important to point out any faulty issues, such as having an under inflated tire, for it can make your driving experience perilous as you hit the brakes. Tire maintenance also involves tire rotation to keep them wear evenly. This results to increased consistency and overall safety.

Brakes

Having your brakes checked regularly is also essential for a safer driving experience. For one, the brakes are considered as the most critical component of your vehicle. Although they are often overlooked by many, car servicing centers in Singapore never fail to remind car owners of how important it is to get regular brake check-ups.

Thanks to the many advancements in technology, new cars now have improved brake features — but still, that doesn’t spare them from the need of undergoing routine inspection and maintenance checks. Operational issues must be prioritized as soon as possible to avoid machine failure and additional costly repairs.

Oil and filter change

Car maintenance also requires having your car’s oil and filter changed every once in a while. This is actually considered as one of the most common requirements to keep your vehicle’s performance at its peak. To keep things short, regular oil change is crucial since it becomes invaluable to your engine’s life. It effectively reduces wear and friction as well as directs heat away from rather critical areas. In turn, it makes engine parts run cooler.

Having a regular oil and filter change also prevents the accumulation of rust and corrosion and helps in reducing engine noise at the same time. This is one aspect to a good vehicle maintenance check that is recommended by most mechanics in Singapore since it serves as a key to a long and hassle-free machine life.

Other services

Apart from the key maintenance aspects presented above, there are also other services you must take into consideration to maintain a well-performing vehicle. Coolant levels must be kept filled to the correct level to prevent destructive engine wear and tear. Wiper blades should be checked and replaced (if worn). Additionally, batteries must also be checked thoroughly— keeping in mind that they generally last for a good 3-5 years.

Belts and hoses must also be checked regularly, inspecting if there are any leaks or cracks that needs immediate tending. Old spark plugs should also be checked, if not replaced.

Common Plumbing Problems and Mistakes

Usually the most common plumbing problems we have at home are clogged drains. Some problems however can be more than just simple drainpipe blockages. What are the common plumbing problems and what should we do? When do we call a reliable plumber for help? The following is a list of common problems and mistakes and the steps to keep your plumbing at home working perfectly.

Clogged drains. Most drain cleaners don’t do the work. Some are even harmful when used often. Clog removers can sometimes eat away at the drainpipes regardless of the material it’s made of (usually pipes are made of PVC or metal). The best way is to prevent clogging from happening is to keep the drains clear. Avoid placing small items near the drain to prevent blockage. Make sure to clean the strainers or stoppers from time to time. Ask your local plumbing contractor for options if you want these. Keeping your clogs clean however sometimes does not do the job. Reliable plumbing services in Singapore offer cleaning of waste pipes, bathtubs, and toilet bowls. You may also opt for a scheduled maintenance of your plumbing works.

Running toilets waste a lot of water and can add up to your bill. This usually happens when the flapper valve does not fit properly. The flapper valve allows the water to pass from the tank to the bowl. If fixing this is beyond your skills, it would only worsen the problem. Call a reliable plumber.

If you are planning a renovation and engaging a good plumbing services from Singapore or remodeling of your bathroom, make sure that there is enough space around the toilets. This will not only prevent small objects from accidentally dropping into the bowl, but there will be enough leg room as well. If you do not have this option or the budget to fix the placement of the toilet, make sure to avoid placing objects near it.

Dripping faucets. This is usually caused by the deteriorating washer made of rubber or silicone. When this happens the washer does not prevent enough water from pushing its way through the pipes. Ignoring this problem, no matter how common, can rack up your water bills. Replacing the washer will need specialized tools. It’s best to consult a reliable plumber if the problem has been going on for a long time. Otherwise, you can do the job yourself.

Silent leaks. Some issues cannot be seen right away until you notice that your water bill has gone up. Schedule an appointment with a plumber for maintenance and check-ups. Low water pressure can also be a sign that the pipes leading to your home have a leakage. Ignoring this problem might cause damages to your property.

Low water pressure. The most common cause is a blockage of deposits in the faucet aerators. Some faucets have aerators that can be removed for cleaning. If no changes occur even when you do this, the problem might be even more serious. A pipe may have a leakage that you could not see. It could also be due to problems in your local water supply system.

Leaky pipes. Usually leaks occur at U-joints in pipes. If you notice a water build-up in pipes leading to your house, there is a possibility that a line is broken. Some leaks however are not noticed immediately. Fixing leaks can be easy but if you do not want the mess that goes with it, call plumbing services or a 24 hours plumber.

Lack of traps or vents in the drains. The S-shaped pipe under your sink is an example of a trap. If you need to make sure your home’s plumbing has enough traps and vents, ask a reliable plumber about it.

Water heaters have pressure and temperature relief valves. The valves have to be placed correctly for them to work. The installation of water heaters should be done by a licensed plumber to avoid problems.

Fast-fixes that go wrong. Sometimes the problem seems minimal that we tend to come up with easy and fast solutions. If it is beyond your repairing skills, do not try to do it yourself. Call a 24 hours plumber if a problem occurs at night.

Poor installation. It is good to invest in quality plumbing. When planning to move into a house or building a new one, consult a plumbing contractor. This will save you money, time and effort. The fewer problems in the future, the less worries for your family. Most plumbing contractors have websites if you need more detailed information on the services they provide. One common mistake is that drainpipes do not have enough slope. The wastewater will travel slower and there is a tendency for waste materials and debris to accumulate.

For fuel gas piping, Singapore has laws for the supply, installation and fitting of gas pipes. It is important that you know your rights for your safety.

Mismatched pipes. This can also be avoided if proper installation is done. Sometimes we overestimate our plumbing skills and consequently cause bigger problems in the future. Pay attention to the pipe size, material and fitting. Better yet, ask a plumber to replace the pipes for you.

Finding local plumbers can also be a hassle. Luckily, Singapore has licensed quality plumbing services providers for every plumbing needs. Determine your problem first. Knowing the cause beforehand will make the job or repairs easier. Keep your budget and time constraints in mind as well especially if you need a quick repair at home. Keep a list of numbers of your reliable plumber or the nearest plumbing services center. Lastly, make sure that the plumber is licensed and qualified for the task.

How to Use Your VoIP Service

Voice over Internet Protocol or VoIP is a cost-efficient and safe way to transmit messages no matter where you are in the world. In Singapore, the hosted VoIP system is the most preferred method of communication by businesses, especially companies that send their employees overseas or have offices outside the country.

Get to know the different trends in VoIP services before selecting which hosted VoIP system or cloud VoIP works best for your company.

How Does VoIP Work?

In the past two decades, companies have been slowly switching from public switched telephone network (or PTSN) to VoIP because it costs less, has advanced features, safer, and includes other perks. VoIP has evolved over the years because of the demands in business and communication. To better understand how it works, let’s look at the meaning of the terms used in VoIP.

VoIP is the successor to the time-division multiplexing system, but it has been around for some time in the business sector until it became available recently to the public with the use of applications that support VoIP. IP, an offspring of the web, refers to the standards needed for data to travel in a common network. The “IP” in VoIP is the modern Internet protocol which is the means of supporting a combination of the voice delivered through the TDM or time-division multiplexing telephony and the web-based data streams.

VoIP evolved because there was a need to combine the Web-based data streams and the closed-circuit TDM telephony at a low cost. TDM used to run on a voice network separate from the IP; therefore, VoIP is the intersection of the Internet and telephony, where the latter is the medium for the voice while the former is the channel.

TDM operates in a closed circuit or a dedicated connection, which is safer than VoIP, but does not allow for sharing of the data. This is where the high cost of traditional telephony comes from. In voip ip pbx from Singapore the voice codes are converted into digital codes in a process called packetization and travel through the web using the most efficient path so that it uses minimal network resource. As a result, there is little to no traffic at all and it is also easier to manage data.

How Do I Choose a VoIP Vendor?

Choosing the correct VoIP vendor in Singapore means that you should also understand how this voice technology is supposed to work. Upgrading the company’s telephone system to VoIP will boost overall productivity as well as provide an entry point for other companies that want to upgrade their telephony systems.

When purchasing VoIP services, there are always two factors involved: the service and the phone system. Most hosted VoIP system services in Singapore include both and do not require integration because they will provide the company with IP-enabled hardware. However, for companies that choose to upgrade their existing telephony systems, the analog or digital phones must be converted so that they can work in a dedicated voice network but not in an IP network. To convert the phones, they will need either an Analog Telephone Adapter or something similar.

Businesses with an existing telephony system can choose to upgrade because it will not cost much, but for establishments which do not have a telephony system yet, a full VoIP service using IP phones is more practical.
Businesses in Singapore are slowly switching to VoIP services such as the IP PBX telephone system and cloud VoIP not only because they cost less, but also for the network convergence and the consolidation of the media streams. Network convergence is the porting of the voice traffic to the company’s data network so that it becomes easier to maintain because the business needs only one network for everything. The hosted VoIP system also includes features and applications that are not possible with traditional telephony.

What is Cloud VoIP?

Cloud VoIP uses cloud technology to store and move data in the Internet instead of storing files in the hardware or computer. It has been around for decades, but has been popular ever since consumer-based cloud technology has become available. The name “cloud” represents the Internet, where the company can access data and other services using different devices if there is a connection.

There is a variation of cloud VoIP called cloud PBX, which includes all the features of a public branch exchange system without the need of PBX technology. PBX refers to the hardware that has to be installed and operated to route calls in the company. Cloud VoIP is ideal for small businesses that do not need several phones. Ask your VoIP vendor about cloud VoIP and all its features.

What is Hosted PBX?

The PBX phone system nowadays no longer need an operator to function or to have their own VoIP system within the company. It is cheaper to lease equipment and services from a host company through a system called hosted PBX. You don’t have to worry about upgrading, maintaining, and repairing all the hardware and software because most hosts that can do hosted PBX already provide a complete package.

What is a PBX Phone System?

For companies that have multiple phones and several employees, the PBX phone system is the most ideal setup. You might also hear the name IP PBX telephone system, which is a setup that allows employees to switch from VoIP to traditional phones and vice versa, and to switch from VoIP on local lines and the sharing of external phone lines.

Companies used to have the traditional PBX which has separate networks for data and voice communication even within the office. An IP PBX telephone system on the other hand, integrates both data and voice lines so that the employees can have access to the Internet, VoIP, and all traditional communication systems.

Taking Your Pet to a Groomer for the First Time

The first time you bathe your pet, you should expect that it’s not going to be a pleasant experience at all. That will also probably give you an idea about your pet’s first trip to a pet grooming services in Singapore.

 

How do you prepare your dog for its first experience with pet grooming? And what services can you expect at the groomer?

 

Find the Right Groomer

You need to find the right pet groomer for your pet in Singapore to make the experience pleasant. You can ask your veterinarian for advice or your friends for some feedback and experiences with the different groomers. The pet groomer should be experienced with the different dog breeds, coats, and grooming techniques. Once you find the right one for your dog, book an appointment with an allowance of a few days to prepare.

 

Take the Vaccination Records

If you want to groom pet, some groomers in Singapore will ask for a record of your pet’s latest shots, such as rabies vaccinations to protect your pet and the groomer from the virus. You should also tell your veterinarian about your plans, if you haven’t already, if it’s still a puppy. Most veterinarians will recommend that a puppy should be taken to a groomer within 16 weeks after its second round of puppy vaccinations.

 

The Right Age for Grooming

The dog should be taken to a pet grooming in Singapore service as young as possible after the second set of vaccinations have been completed. Puppies are less anxious around strangers than older dogs that have not been socialized with humans and other dogs. If you got a slightly older rescued dog, it’s important that the dog gets socialized first before taking it to a groomer to make it easier for it to adjust to strange noises and objects. Don’t forget to take some treats, too, while your dog is still getting used to pet grooming.

Train Your Dog

Socialization is important not just to prepare a dog for pet grooming, but also for its overall physical and psychological health. Dogs who are exposed to humans and other animals will find it easier to adapt to different situations, such as being handled by a stranger during pet grooming. A few days before the set appointment, train your dog to get used to being placed on a raised surface, such as a table, to lessen the fear.

 

Research About Proper Grooming

By now you have already learned how to bathe and brush your dog at home, but you should also research about the proper pet grooming methods based on the type of coat. Not all dog coats should be treated the same way, because some are more prone to matting and tangling than others. Not all dogs can also use the same shampoo, conditioner, and brush or comb.

Observe and Assist

During the pet grooming session, you should be present to restrain your dog from biting or running away. Assist the groomer while he/she is trying to settle down your dog, so that the next trip will be easier. Reward good behavior and firmly object against whining and complaints. If you have already trained your dog before the trip to the groomer, this part will be much easier.

 

Dog Grooming Services

A complete dog grooming service in Singapore should consist of the following:  washing, drying, brushing or combing, trimming, nail cleaning, butt cleaning (anal glands), ear inspection and cleaning, and dental cleaning.