Home improvement projects where “look-alikes” are better

first_img Please enter your comment! Mama Mia You have entered an incorrect email address! Please enter your email address here Reply Please enter your name here Free webinar for job seekers on best interview answers, hosted by Goodwill June 11 Using Porcelain Instead of Marble Marble has been used for centuries in homes and even seen as a sign of wealth at one time. Today, marble is making a comeback with multi-installation uses for bathrooms, kitchens, and flooring. Installation cost of marble ranges from $100-$300 square foot.Disadvantages of marble -it is very porous stone. For example, if you spill red wine on a marble countertop you could end up with a stain.  Acidic items like lemons can etch the stone as well. The same is true for certain lotions or hair dyes when marble is installed in a bathroom. Marble also contains minerals, which are buried deep in the stone, and exposure to heat and humidity can cause it to rust.Porcelain tiles are made to give the look of marble but with far less maintenance. With installation prices ranging from $4-$10 a square foot.Properties of porcelain tile that make it more attractive include thicker, less absorbent properties, which means they are far less likely to stain. Caring for porcelain tiles is easy, as few cleaning solutions will harm them.Using Luxury Vinyl Flooring Instead of HardwoodHardwood floors for homes have been the standard for years. They are considered timeless with many colors and style options.But much like marble, hardwood floors can have maintenance issues. Any type of water that touches hardwood floors can damage the floors causing future issues. Consistent exposure to water will cause warping, color change and a myriad of other issues.Vinyl plank flooring gives you the best of both worlds- the look of hardwood without the worry. Think of vinyl plank flooring as a photographic image of hardwood flooring.With the change in technology, it’s becoming more difficult to tell the difference between hardwood and vinyl plank flooring. Often homeowners can’t tell the difference by sight or touch until they are told which is vinyl and which is actual hardwood.Using Carpet for Rug Designs Our recommendation for finding the perfect area rug? Find a wall to wall (or broadloom) carpet you love and have it cut and bound to your ideal dimensions. Insider tip: Depending on the size you’re looking for, you may be able to utilize a carpet remnant, saving yourself even more money. By getting a wall to wall carpet customized for you, you can get the perfect size instead of only being able to select from standard sizes. 1 COMMENT Share on Facebook Tweet on Twitter TAGSHome Improvement Previous articleMaking Next Year’s Taxes Less PainfulNext articleThe Sheep and The Goats: A message for today Denise Connell RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR LEAVE A REPLY Cancel reply  When considering new projects for your home this year, there are ways to shave costs without sacrificing great design. When looking at ways to cut your budget, you might consider these alternative options, which offer a “look-alike” product that not only costs less but might actually be better for your home. April 24, 2017 at 10:15 pm Support conservation and fish with NEW Florida specialty license plate Again, no window coverings in the kitchen……. The Anatomy of Fear Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.last_img read more

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Where might we find evidence of a Last Interglacial West Antarctic ice sheet collapse in Antarctic ice core records?

first_imgAbundant indirect evidence suggests that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) reduced in size during the LastInterglacial (LIG) compared to the Holocene. This study explores this possibility by comparing, for the firsttime, ice core stable isotope records for the LIG with output from a glacio-isostatic adjustment (GIA)model. The results show that ice core records from East Antarctica are remarkably insensitive to verticalmovement of the solid land motion driven by a simulated hypothetical collapse of the WAIS. However,new and so far unexplored sites are identified which are sensitive to the isostatic signal associated withWAIS collapse and so ice core proxy data from these sites would be effective in testing this hypothesis further.last_img

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Hurry! There are tickets still available for Chamber Celebration to be held Thursday, Jan. 31 at Theurers

first_imgby Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — Tickets are still on sale for the annual Wellington Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Celebration to be held at Theurer’s this year.The Celebration is called “Unmasking the Possibilities.” It will be held Thursday, Jan. 31 at 6 p.m. at the Theurer Marketing Center, 802 E. 16th Street. The celebration will include the unveiling of the Distinguish Service Award to the deserving recipient(s). Last year’s winners were Perry and Sherry Wiley.Tickets are on sale for $25 per person for chamber members and $30 for non-chamber members.Please RSVP to the Chamber at 620-326-7466 or [email protected]last_img

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NJSIAA Keeps Hope Alive for a Spring High School Sports Season

first_imgCoaches may interact virtually with their student-athletes, including providing workouts or training materials. However, such virtual contact – as well as any activity that may result from it – must strictly conform to all directives in effect related to the coronavirus out- break and social distancing guidelines. In addition, any virtual contact and resultant activities must be entirely in keeping with all NJSIAA in-and off-season protocols. With the doors shut on high schools, the spring sports season is on hold. Many athletes and coaches fear there could be no sports played for the remainder of the school year, but the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJ-SIAA) is keeping the door open to the possibility of some sort of spring sports season, if schools reopen. The NJSIAA executive committee held a teleconference April 1 and released the following statement: No, the NJSIAA Scholar Athlete Luncheon, originally scheduled for Sunday, May 17, has been canceled. NJSIAA is continuing to solicit nominations from each member school and will send each honoree a certificate and gift. Monetary scholarships, however, will not be awarded this year. While the return-to-school date will play a significant role in determining the length of the regular season, NJSIAA staff will also discuss options with officers of each league and conference. Important factors in determining the potential length of the regular season will be feedback from these officers related to the status of various county or conference tournaments, as well as plans for abridged divisional and/or inter-con-ference schedules. By Rich Chrampanis What is the status of NJ-SIAA championship tournaments? Here are the NJSIAA’s answers to some frequently asked questions, as of March 25: This article originally appeared in the April 2nd, 2020 print edition of The Two River Times. During the governor’s statewide shutdown of all schools, no practices, scrimmages, or games may be held. This includes any event organized by a parent, captain, or other student-athlete. RICH CHRAMPANIS Pitcher Shane Panzini looked to lead RBC as the defending Shore Conference champions. All spring sports are side- lined during the quarantine from the coronavirus pandemic center_img No, during the governor’s statewide shutdown of all schools, no NJSIAA member school, school district, or coach may conduct practices, scrimmages, or games (which includes all official interscholastic contests). This is a mandatory period of no in-person contact between coaches and their student-athletes. Are coaches allowedto have in-person contactwith student-athletes whileschools are shut down? When schools are able toreopen, how will NJSIAAdetermine the length of theregular season? “While a return-to-school date and related public health guidelines will determine the viability of a spring sports season, NJSIAA is committed to doing whatever is possible to provide New Jersey’s student-athletes with some type of spring season. We have not given up on spring sports and will continue holding teleconferences and virtual meetings with leaders of our various leagues and conferences to assess options. To be clear, any effort to arrange for scholastic competition outside the traditional academic calendar would require support and approval beyond our office.” As stated in the previous FAQ, all dates, locations and qualification requirements per each sport’s tournament will be subject to change. As soon as a return-to-school date is made official, NJ-SIAA staff will work directly with key tournament staff for each sport to structure championship tournaments. Also, NJSIAA staff will work together to ensure that all sports will, as much as is feasible, provide consistent opportunities for participation and championship play. These restrictions are in place to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in accordance with restrictions imposed by the governor and recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the New Jersey Department of Health. These restrictions relate to all sports, not just spring sports. Will NJSIAA host its annual Scholar Athlete Luncheon? last_img read more

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UNDFEATED DORTMUND LOOMS STANDOUT AMONG FIELD OF 10 SOPHOMORES IN GRADE II, $400,000 SAN FELIPE STAKES ON SATURDAY; COLT BY BIG BROWN AMONG ELITE PROSPECTS FOR KENTUCKY DERBY

first_imgARCADIA, Calif. (March 4, 2015)–Undefeated Dortmund, fresh off an improbable triumph in his most recent start, heads a field of 10 Derby hopefuls in Saturday’s Grade II, 1 1/16 miles San Felipe Stakes, an important steppingstone to the Grade I, $1 million Santa Anita Derby on April 4.A winner of four consecutive races, the Bob Baffert-trained Dortmund appeared beaten with a furlong to run in the Grade III, 1 1/16 miles Robert B. Lewis Stakes on Feb. 7, but to the astonishment of thousands, he re-rallied at the rail under Martin Garcia and overcame a one length disadvantage to win going away by a head over talented Firing Line, who was ridden by Gary Stevens.Although improbable, the Lewis tally was consistent with his ultra-game win in the Grade I,         1 1/16 miles Los Alamitos Futurity Dec. 20, wherein he prevailed by a head in a three horse photo. A dazzling 4 ¾ length first-out maiden winner Nov. 2 going 6 ½ furlongs, he shipped to Churchill Downs for his second start on Nov. 29 and aired by 7 ¾ lengths in a one mile allowance test.Owned by Kaleem Shah, Inc., Dortmund, a strapping chestnut colt by 2008 Kentucky Derby winner Big Brown, has earnings of $449,400, and he already has 20 Kentucky Derby qualifying points. With a win in the San Felipe, he would pick another up 50 qualifying points, which would virtually assure him a berth in the Run for the Roses May 2.Trainer Jim Cassidy’s undefeated Ocho Ocho Ocho enters the San Felipe off a game nose win in the Grade III, 1 1/16 miles Delta Downs Jackpot on Nov. 22 and will face much tougher competition while retaining the highly coveted services of Mike Smith. Owned by DP Racing, LLC, the Kentucky-bred colt by Street Sense is perfect in three starts and has a pair of bullet six furlong works on his Santa Anita work tab. A $200,000 2-year-old in training sale purchase last April, he’s banked $693,600.An eye-catching 5 ¼ length allowance winner going one mile on Jan. 30, the Clifford Sise-conditioned Prospect Park held veteran race watchers spellbound by the ease in which he accomplished the win. A Kentucky-bred colt by Tapit, Prospect Park is owned by his breeders, Pam and Martin Wygod and he appears more than ready to try stakes company for the first time. Although he’s been based at San Louis Rey Downs, his most recent work, a five furlong move in 1:00.80, was executed at Santa Anita last Friday.Bob Baffert, who along with the late Charlie Whittingham, has won a record four San Felipe’s, will be represented by Lord Nelson, who won the Grade II, seven furlong San Vicente Stakes by a neck over Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Texas Red on Feb. 1. Well beaten following a troubled start as the 7-5 favorite two starts back in the Grade II, 1 1/16 miles Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes Nov. 29 at Churchill Downs, the chestnut colt by Pulpit is winless in two starts at the distance. Owned by Peachtree Stable, he has three wins from five starts and earnings of $249,571.Trainer Brian Koriner’s Sir Samson, who was third, beaten a length by Lord Nelson in the seven furlong San Vicente, will try two turns for the first time in the San Felipe, which will be his fourth career start. Owned and bred in Kentucky by Legacy Ranch and Team MacPherson, the chestnut colt by Smart Strike is very quick from the gate and could well be on the early lead Saturday. He has one win and a third place finish from three starts and will be ridden back by Joe Talamo.Although he’s never run on dirt, trainer Carla Gaines’ Bolo was very impressive in winning the one mile turf Eddie Logan Stakes by 4 ½ lengths on Dec. 27 and has an abundance of natural speed. A   2 ¾ length one mile turf maiden winner two starts back on Nov. 29 at Del Mar, Bolo will be ridden for the first time by Victor Espinoza on Saturday. Owned by Golden Pegasus Racing, Inc., and Earle Mack, the Kentucky-bred colt by Temple City will be making his fourth start.The complete field for the Grade II San Felipe, to be run as the seventh race on an 11-race program Saturday, with jockeys and weights in post position order: Lord Nelson, Rafael Bejarano, 118; Ocho Ocho Ocho, Mike Smith, 120; Dortmund, Martin Garcia, 123; The Gomper, Tyler Baze, 118; Kenjisstorm, Agapito Delgadillo, 118; Prospect Park, Kent Desormeaux, 118; Bolo, Victor Espinoza, 118; Pulmarack, Drayden Van Dyke, 118; Sir Samson, Joe Talamo, 118, and Pain and Misery, Flavien Prat, 118.                With 50 Kentucky Derby qualifying points awarded to the winner, the second, third and fourth place San Felipe finishers will receive 20, 10 and five points, respectively. First post time on Saturday, Santa Anita Handicap Day, is at 12 noon. Admission gates will open at 10 a.m. RUN AT 1 1/16 MILES, SAN FELIPE TO AWARD 50 KENTUCKY DERBY QUALIFYING POINTS TO WINNER –30–last_img read more

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BAFFERT’S FIVE PALMS MUCH BEST IN COMEBACK, IDLE SINCE DEC. 2013, HE WINS $60,000 ALOWANCE BY 4 ½ LENGTHS WHILE GETTING SEVEN FURLONGS IN 1:22.29 UNDER GARCIA

first_img–30– ARCADIA, Calif. (March 26, 2015)–Comebacking Five Palms returned to action in style on Thursday, as he took command mid-way around the far turn and sped to an impressive 4 ½ length win under Martin Garcia while covering seven furlongs in 1:22.29. Trained by Bob Baffert, the 5-year-old horse by Unbridled’s Song had been idle since winning a first condition allowance at Santa Anita on Dec. 26, 2013.“Fifteen months off, he attacked and he ran strong today,” said Baffert assistant Jim Barnes. “We can do it. If anybody can bring a horse back after that kind of a layoff, we can.”Indeed they can. Off at even money in a field of seven older horses, Five Palms paid $4.00, $3.40 and $2.40. Owned by Karl Watson, Mike Pegram and Paul Weitman, Five Palms notched his third win from four starts and with the winner’s share of $36,000, increased his earnings to $100,680.“He was really hot in the post parade, but once we got over to the backside, he was really relaxed,” said Garcia. “I just sat chilly and when Raised a Secret (ridden by Agapito Delgadillo) got close to me at the quarter pole, I asked my horse to go and he just took off. He’s a really good horse.”Raised a Secret, who sat third behind early pacesetter Macro Access and Five Palms, was no match for the winner the final eighth of a mile and finished second, one length in front of Airfoil. Off at 9-2, Raised a Secret paid $4.60 and $3.40.Ridden by Tyler Baze, Airfoil closed from well off the pace to finish third, 4 ½ lengths in front of Solid Wager. Off at 9-2, Airfoil paid $2.40 to show.First post time at Santa Anita on Friday is at 1 p.m. Admission gates open at 11 a.m.last_img read more

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Warriors’ Klay Thompson finally honored for his defense

first_imgKlay Thompson, lauded for his defense throughout his eight-year NBA career, was finally honored for it Wednesday by landing on the All-Defensive team for the first time.The Warriors’ five-time All-Star guard was voted onto the All-Defensive second team, where he was joined by teammate Draymond Green, who made the prestigious team for the fifth time in his career.Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jazz center Rudy Gobert and Thunder forward Paul George, the three finalists for the NBA …last_img

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March Moon Madness Arrives Early

first_imgSome of the most interesting bodies in the solar system are the objects not big enough to be called planets.  Moons, asteroids and comets continue to yield their secrets and surprises.  Here’s a quick rundown on recent findings.    Why do some asteroids look so fresh?  It’s because they get a facelift, Space.com reported last month.  As some asteroids wander close to earth, the tides can produce tremors and landslides.  “This process could explain why many space rocks orbiting nearby appear pristine, as if they were covered in a new and clean surface, researchers said.”  Normally, space weathering would redden the surfaces.  Like humans, though, it would seem asteroids can only get a facelift a finite number of times.  Clark Chapman at Nature News and Views indicated that this is only the latest suggestion to explain youthful surfaces on some near-earth asteroids (NEAs).  “Our perceptions of NEAs are rapidly changing,” he said.  “Perhaps soon, robotic or piloted docking missions to some of these NEA rubble piles will reveal the beautiful complexity of their evolving behaviour.”    Pluto belongs in this entry because it is no longer a planet, but a plutoid, or a minor planet, or a dwarf planet, or the IAU’s term du jour.  It made the news recently for its seasonal changes.  BBC News shows Hubble pictures of a mottled surface that has changed in just a few years as the angle of sunlight migrates.  The article says that some astronomers have expressed “shock” at the observations.  “It’s a little bit of a surprise to see these changes happening so big and so fast,”said Marc Buie, of the Southwest Research Institute.  “This is unprecedented.”    The Cassini team, invigorated by the approval of its 7-year solstice mission (see Feb 3 press release from JPL), continues to explore the Saturn system with zest.  The little moon Mimas, barely visible in an image released Feb 15, was a prime target for a Feb 13 flyby.  The unprocessed images are now posted at the Imaging Team site.  They show good views of its 140-km Herschel crater with its Everest-height central peak.  Prometheus, one of the F-ring shepherd moons, gave Cassini its best-ever portrait last month.    The active moon Enceladus continues to be a newsmaker.  Space.com repeated last month’s suggestion that the eruptive periods are episodic over billions of years (see 01/11/2010).  Latest findings of negative ions in its geyser plumes (see JPL press release) strengthen the case for liquid water under its surface.  Some scientists cannot resist the knee-jerk reaction of associating water with life.  Science Daily made that angle its centerpiece; Space.com was only slightly more reserved.  The water-means-life equation was presented ad nauseum in a new planet TV series from National Geographic, The Traveler’s Guide to the Planets, which aired beginning Feb 14.  The visually-rich series includes new dazzling animations of the spacecraft and the best of the Cassini images, despite the obsession with evidence-free astrobiology.    Speaking of astrobiology, the BBC News declared that the Murchison meteorite that landed in Australia in 1969 contains an “organic molecular feast.”  A new analysis by a German team counted 14,000 organic molecules so far; they estimate millions may exist in the rock’s innards.  They think the rock predates the sun itself and picked up organics from the molecular clouds that became the sun.  Somehow it titillates the astrobiological sense: “Where did we come from and what happened before?  We all have that question inside us,” the lead researcher commented.    The biggest moons of the solar system made news recently.  Some scientists think they have figured out the surface differences between Jupiter’s Ganymede and Callisto, reported Science Daily.  The theory brings in the “Late Heavy Bombardment” hypothesis (LHB) and sees Ganymede getting the brunt of the energy by being closer to Jupiter’s gravity well.  The extra energy led to Ganymede melting and getting a differentiated interior while Callisto just got pummeled on the surface.    It’s not clear if the theory explains Io and Europa also, which are smaller and have very few craters due to internal activity.  Richard Kerr at Science News of the Week for Jan. 29 quoted a Caltech astronomer calling this “an interesting idea” that’s “promising.”  The Late Heavy Bombardment seems to be being employed as both an assumption and an explanation: Kerr said, “to the extent that it proves to be an attractive explanation of the dichotomy, it also lends support to the reality of the LHB.”    Titan, Saturn’s titanic moon, continues to get radar-scanned five years after the historic landing of the Huygens probe (see JPL feature story).  The landing was dramatically animated in the National Geographic series mentioned earlier.  Science Daily echoed a JPL press release showing strange grooved hills in the latest swath.  PhysOrg and Space.com reported on work to reproduce the strange organic chemistry that produces flows, cryovolcanos and rivers on Titan’s surface.  It’s hard to find stories about Titan without the L-word close at hand: “This study could also tell us about the chemistry that led to the origin of life on early Earth.”  Three major papers on Titan’s atmosphere and surface appeared in this month’s Icarus; they will be reported here if time permits.  Titanophiles will be glad to know a major hardback science book, Titan from Cassini-Huygens, has been released and is available from Amazon.com.  It’s a companion of another book summarizing all of Cassini’s scientific results about Saturn, the rings, and the icy satellites (especially Enceladus), also available at Amazon.com, Saturn from Cassini-Huygens.  Written by the Cassini scientists themselves, these two books contain the most current and authoritative information to date on the Saturn system.Observations and hypotheses these days are so intertwined it becomes hard to separate them.  Consider the suggestion that the Late Heavy Bombardment explains the Ganymede-Callisto dichotomy.  One has to assume the LHB and the long ages.  And consider the idea that tidal landslides explain the youthful surfaces of asteroids.  How many times in 4 billion years can this occur before there is no more youthful skin underneath the rubble to expose?  There is essentially no way to test these ideas without assuming the long ages of the consensus secular view of the solar system.  Science will never establish the long ages this way.  That’s the problem with assumptions.  They are assumed, not demonstrated.  Because the long ages are never allowed to become vulnerable to falsification, they become part of a self-perpetuating belief system that sometimes requires improbable contortions to maintain.  The talk about life every time water is mentioned is fact-free speculation.  It’s logic-free, too, because it would be just as corny to go off on tangents about life every time protons are found, because they also are building blocks of life.  In the TV series, Chris McKay waxed eloquent about all the ingredients for life that exist at Enceladus: a heat source, organics, and water.  We challenge him to put water, ammonia, ethane and carbon dioxide in a very cold sterile refrigerator, stir it occasionally, and wait for a very long time.  At least he could give us some experimental evidence to back up his rhetoric.  As long as one can filter out the speculative fluff in scientific stories, the rich discoveries about such varied and interesting worlds should be a delight to all who maintain a spirit of exploration.(Visited 14 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

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CNBC Africa launches in SA

first_img29 May 2007Sub-Saharan Africa’s first international business news channel, CNBC Africa, starts broadcasting from Johannesburg on 1 June, with an hour-long interview with South African President Thabo Mbeki as its first programme.The Saturday Star reported on the weekend that the interview, scheduled for 7pm, will feature 70 audience members who will ask the questions.According to the paper, prominent South African journalists – Bronwyn Nielsen, Leigh Roberts, Lerato Mbele, Nikiwe Bikitsha, Mandlakazi Mpahlwa and Peter Ndoro among them – have joined the business news channel.CNBC’s Cape Town bureau chief, Debbie Sharwood, told Saturday Star that the channel would broadcast nine hours of local business programming, while cutting across to its international affiliates throughout the day for market updates and breaking news.The channel will broadcast using feeds from bureaux in Abuja, Cape Town, Lagos, London and Nairobi. According to the paper, the channel required about US$20-million in start-up costs and has state-of-the-art equipment.Sherwood said the focus would be on business and finance, but that there would also be interactive debates as well as lifestyle programming looking at real estate, personal finance, business leaders, entertainment and sport.“We will be looking at some of the more positive stories making headlines in Africa, without painting a rose-tinted picture,” she told Saturday Star.According to the paper, CNBC Africa is a franchise of NBC Universal, which is majority owned by US conglomerate General Electric. The channel will be available to DStv subscribers on channel 54, as well as free-to-air across Africa on the Sentech “Vivid” platform.A milestone in African TVSpeaking to journalists in Johannesburg in November, CNBC Africa chairman Zafar Siddiqi described the launch as “a milestone in African television broadcasting”.“CNBC Africa will bring African business closer to the decision-makers of other parts of the world,” Siddiqi said.“By focusing on the financial, business and economic news of the region, we aim to provide a platform to an ongoing inter-African discussion on globalisation, employment, career, business and investment opportunities, living standards, infrastructure development and other relevant issues.”Evening viewers will be given something “appealing, lighter and exciting” related to education and entertainment. Later at night, the channel will cross live to New York, Tokyo and Singapore before returning to Africa in the early hours of the morning.Also speaking at the launch in November, Gauteng premier Mbhazima Shilowa said that CNBC was following in the steps of “a host of other multi-national corporations” who had chosen the province as a home for their corporate headquarters.“The political stability we have experienced in the province since 1994 counts among the reasons why big companies are choosing to relocate their continental head offices here,” Shilowa said.Gauteng, he said, was also a crucial air transportation hub in the southern African region, and a “major determinant and contributor of economic and social development in the continent.“It is classified as Africa’s fourth largest economy – after South Africa, Egypt and Algeria – and as the economic hub of the sub-continent.”SAinfo reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

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Emotional connection the core of Mashika’s music

first_imgZethu Mashika is one of the youngest film composers in South Africa. A self-taught musician, Mashika’s sounds prompt listeners to meet him halfway and interpret the message in their own way. (Image: Shamin Chibba) • Zethu Mashika Film composer +27 72 386 0981 [email protected] • Songbird Abigail Kubeka remembers songs for Mandela • McGregor’s music captures the African village • Blake and friends bring pop-classical mix to stage • Voodoo Funk: Ambassador of Afrobeat • Goema music goes classicalShamin ChibbaZethu Mashika looks like any young man walking around Melville in Johannesburg. He wears faded jeans, an old T-shirt and Converse All Star sneakers. And on a cold winter’s morning, he covers his head with an oversized beanie. The only thing that gives away his age is the beard that trails his jawline; without it, he would look like a boy just out of school.Judging by his attire, no-one would guess the 30-year-old is a film composer with an ear for all sounds from classical music to hip-hop. Mashika follows in the footsteps of black composers from the past including Jonas Gwangwa, Mbongeni Ngema, Joseph Shabalala and Caiphus Semenya and he is quickly becoming a regular in the country’s film industry. His music has been the emotional pivot for South African films such as Zama Zama and Skyf.The self-taught artist has won the best score award two years in a row in the 48 Hours Film Project, a festival that challenges filmmakers to create a film in just two days. And currently, he is working on two major films, a sex comedy called Working for Willy and South Africa’s first dance flick, Hear Me Move, which promises to be a blockbuster.For Mashika, music is his entire being. It determines his mood and directs his life. “Sometimes when I’m really upset I need to listen to music to calm down. It really has that effect on everything I do. I can’t function without it,” he explains.Success, however, did not come overnight. It took Mashika almost 10 years before he got the recognition he needed to break into the industry.Watch the ‘Zama Zama’ trailer, in which Mashika’s music features It all started with an old pianoAs a schoolboy at Benoni High, Mashika had always found pleasure in singing, rapping and beat boxing. But he only really discovered his love for music when he came across an old piano inside the school’s gym. Whenever he had the chance – between classes, during break and even after school – he would go to the gym and play. “Even though I couldn’t play I would just carry on and teach myself certain songs.”He has received no formal music training apart from bits of advice from other pianists. “I would ask them ‘how do you play this?’ They would show me and I would repetitively do that over and over.”His love of harmony, which features so regularly in his compositions, came from his time in the school’s choir. “I joined the choir in matric just to keep my voice in check and I got a little bit more than that. Right now I harmonise everything.”After matriculating he went on to study electro-mechanical engineering at Tshwane University of Technology in 2003. It was here that he got access to a friend’s computer and a sequencing programme called Fruity Loops. He started making about 25 songs a week. “I was a machine. I was exploring all these ideas I had and it was exploding.”At first, he wanted to produce commercial music and become famous. But, he says, he grew up and wanted something more challenging. Then, in 2009, he found his calling when he met Mfundo Mkhize, a film director who became a good friend. It was a Friday night when a friend asked Mashika to score a student film. He jumped at the chance. He was collected and taken to the studio where he met Mkhize, the student trying to make the film. Mashika scored it in one night. He realised film composing was the challenge for which he was looking. “It was at that very moment that I decided I was a film composer.”LISTEN: ‘Facing the Rock’ composed by Mashika for the ‘Zama Zama’ original soundtrackBig breakBut when Mashika started hunting for work he did not expect it to be as tough as it was. He was staying on his own, broke and desperate. Going back to his parents’ home, however, was not an option. He kept at it for two years until his big break came.He was sitting in a coffee shop on Melville’s Seventh Avenue when he overheard two men at the next table talking about shooting a film. “In my head I was thinking, I could be polite and keep minding my own business, which wouldn’t get me anywhere. Or I could just speak to them and ask them politely. The worst that could happen would be that they would tell me to butt out of their conversation. Or I could get my first feature film.”He introduced himself as a film composer and asked to pitch to their director. It was a gutsy move that paid off because two days later, filmmaker Vickus Strijdom called him and set up a meeting. Mashika gathered all the material he had for his presentation. “I went into the meeting with a crappy laptop, and crappy earphones. I told him I hadn’t scored a feature before but I was studying it by myself.”Mashika asked for a chance and Strijdom gave it to him. “He said ‘I want you to create something organic. A sound the way you’ll see it.’ He gave me two weeks.”And so he started writing the music for Strijdom’s Zama Zama, a film set in the gold mines of Gauteng. The night before he began composing the music, Mashika lost his voice while out partying. “It turned out to be perfect for the song I was doing. The texture of my voice came out coarse.”He invited Strydom to a friend’s garage studio where he could listen to the sample. After hearing it, the director said: “Welcome to the project; we are taking you in.”Watch the ‘Skyf’ trailer, which features Mashika’s music Music a spiritual endeavourThe first thing one sees when entering Mashika’s Melville flat is the studio on the right. With three computer monitors, two mounted speakers, a keyboard and electronic drum set all placed on the table, it is clear that he is most comfortable exploring his ideas at home.He says film scoring forces him to feel the music, and at times he is so overcome by emotion, he tears up. The score he wrote for Zama Zama was particularly painful. “The emotion takes over me while I’m composing. I have to feel it before I can make anyone else feel it too.”This is the sort of sensation he looks to project to audiences through his music. He also adds vocals to some of his compositions, often using his own singing voice. In the process he creates his own language, one that does not exist, he says. “I want you to hear a human voice that you can connect to. And once you connect to it, I don’t want you to understand what I’m saying but feel what I’m saying.”Words, he believes, are a weaker form of communication as people remember what they feel more than what they hear or read. “Nothing works better than music, or something visual. Once you remove words [from] the equation, you rely on spiritual communication.”LISTEN: ‘Run’ composed by Mashika for the ‘Zama Zama’ original soundtrack Being a young black composer a blessing and curseThe New Age and the Goethe Institute have called Mashika the youngest black composer in South Africa. While this may be considered a compliment, it has also posed a problem. “Within the industry right now, the perception of film composers from directors is that they are old white men. But when they see the direct opposite – a young black man – it creates the Great Wall of China between me and them, even before they even have the chance to listen to my music.”It took a lot for him to break through that wall, but judging by his success, he has managed to tear it down.Mashika is one of the few South African film composers working in the country. There are not enough of them to render the art form an industry. He speaks of Philip Miller, for example, who scored the film The Bang Bang Club and the television series Yizo Yizo.As for black South African musicians who have worked in film, Mashika can only think of Lebo Morake. He arranged and performed the music for Disney’s The Lion King. Even then, Mashika points out, Morake did not score the film. That was left up to Hans Zimmer. With this in mind, Mashika opted out of this year’s 48 Hour Film Project. He says if he won the best film score award again, it would mean there had been no growth in South African film composition. Always looking to improveHe is constantly striving to improve himself, taking on projects that push his creativity to the limit. Dance movie Hear Me Move was one of those that saw him go beyond himself. “After seeing the first cut I knew the music was going to make or break it. That is awesome for me because I don’t want to stay at the same place. I want to have something that will push me to become better.”In the coming year he will be scoring Working for Willy as well as a television series. And again, he will be using the small studio in his flat to create the big sounds that move audiences. He says composing music electronically makes more financial sense to him and that it is the quickest way to get a song from his head to reality. “It’s only recently [that I have been] hiring software, otherwise I always had to use the cheapest and the best ways. It doesn’t matter what you use. It just matters that you have an idea and how you execute it.”Mashika believes that he has found his life’s path in film composing, and he has a bit of advice for those who wish to find their own way. “Whatever you choose to do for the rest of your life shouldn’t be done just to express yourself. It should be a way of life. Then it means more to the person who is going to receive it.”Being a film composer is his core and is an essential part of his existence. “I’m a film composer on a spiritual basis. I know I’m never going to retire. I know I’m going to be in the middle of a score when I pass out.” – This article was updated on 1 August 2014.last_img read more

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