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LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

Moving out checklist for tenants

A new job in a different city, or maybe your term’s up, and you don’t want to renew your lease. Either way, time to pack your things and go. And that’s the kind of change that can be really difficult if you’re not prepared for it.

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In a world that is dynamic and ever-changing, we have been taught to embrace it and roll with the proverbial dice. Of course, human nature is hard-wired to not go so gently into that good night, and we fight the mere idea of change with claws and teeth. And when it comes to home, that haven away from the big bad world, change is even harder.

But, hey, we don’t blame you. Sometimes it’s just the way things are. A new job in a different city, or maybe your term’s up, and you don’t want to renew your lease. Either way, time to pack your things and go. And that’s the kind of change that can be really difficult if you’re not prepared for it.

That’s where we come in. With a few tips and the right checklist, moving out doesn’t have to be a hassle or as nerve-wracking and heartbreaking as you might think.

Get Your Papers in Order

The first thing you want to do before moving out is making sure all the paperwork is in order. Here are a few things we believe you should keep in mind.

  • Make sure you inform all the right people of your changing address. These include your insurance, bank, doctors, your workplace, and of course, friends and family (unless you’re making a run for it). Of course, you’ll need to leave a forwarding address if you’re not going to your new place right away.
  • Contact your utility suppliers and make sure all your bills are paid and provide the last meter readings so you can close off your account. This goes for water, sewage, gas, electricity, phone lines, internet, cable, etc. 
  • Revise your lease contract and make sure you reacquaint yourself with all the terms in it. These include inspection dates, time of notice, terms involving your insurance deposit, and others.
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Give it Back the Way You Got It

If you have a smart landlord, you’ve probably been given an inventory of everything that was in your home before you moved in. If the landlord is creative, there are probably pictures there as well. This would be the perfect time to do your own inspection before your landlord comes in for the agreed-upon end-of-lease inspection.

  • Check every room for general conditions that might be a cause for concern. Make sure the walls are clean, that your little ones haven’t painted their Picasso-inspired artwork anywhere, and that there are no cracks or chipped areas. The same goes for the ceiling and floors, especially if the floor is hardwood or MDF.
  • Check all doors and windows. Make sure they open and close properly, that the hinges are fine, there are no cracks in the glass or chipped wood, and that the knobs are in good condition.
  • When it comes to electricity, be vigorous. Every light fixture, every socket, every wire. Check them all, because your landlord will. Check all appliances, including refrigerators, heaters, AC’s, stove and oven, etc.
  • Bathrooms can be tricky. Check for broken tiles hidden behind the toilet or under the sink. Check all the faucets, make sure cold and hot water are running, the toilet flushes normally, and that there are no clogged drains. The same applies to the kitchen. An extra thing you want to do here is check washing machines and dishwashers for mold, which is a clear indicator that the pipes are faulty.
  • Clean, clean, clean. We can’t stress this enough. Chances are, you were delivered a clean home, and your landlord will want it back. If you don’t have the time to do it yourself, hire professionals. All major cities have a multitude of companies to choose from, and living in a metropolis like New York or London is no longer an excuse to skip this step. On the contrary, your landlord will appreciate that you’ve hired the right end of tenancy cleaning London professionals the city has to offer, or that you’ve scoured the New York yellow pages for the right people to get the job done.
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An Easy Escape

When it comes to moving, don’t diddle-daddle on the help you can get to ease a lot of the hassle that comes with moving day. Here are a few tips you need to keep in mind, though.

  • If you’re hiring a moving company, make sure you book in advance. Take your time with the research and ask friends and family for advice. 
  • Find friends or family who can help you move some the more breakable and urgent things you’ll need in your new home. Movers are professionals, but you can never be too careful.
  • Look up tips to help you with the packing and unpacking process. There are multiple ways to do this right, and advice is never scarce. A few tips we can give you here is to make sure you label all your boxes clearly, pack according to importance (things you don’t need right away at the bottom of the box, important utensils on the top), pack while planning how you’ll be unpacking in your new home, and if there’s an overlap in time, move your boxes and valuables one room at a time. The key takeaway here: Be organized. It’ll make a world of difference.
  • Try to find a sitter for your children or pets on moving day if possible. It’ll help you stay focused on the actual move, and they won’t get in the way while you and the movers are carrying things back and forth.

That’s pretty much it. With the tips in this article and the checklist we’ve provided, moving day won’t be the daunting experience everyone worries about. At the end of the day, the stress of change is more than enough to make your head spin, and you don’t need the added stress to make the day unbearable. The most important things you can do is be prepared, be organized, and remain calm throughout the whole process. After all, you are supposedly moving to greener pastures… why make the journey feel like hell?

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Technology

Tinder is a waste of time for most people

Female Tinder users are, on average, more interested in finding long-term relationships than men are. This also applies to encounters without using dating apps.

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Photo by Marjan Grabowski from Unsplash.com

“For people who don’t pull off one-night stands without using Tinder, Tinder doesn’t offer much in the way of new opportunities,” says postdoc Trond Viggo Grøntvedt, from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology’s (NTNU) Department of Psychology.

He is the first author of a new article – titled “Hook, Line and Sinker: Do Tinder Matches and Meet Ups Lead to One-Night Stands?” – that appeared in Evolutionary Psychological Science to deal with the use of Tinder. If you’re failing outside Tinder, then you don’t have much to gain from using Tinder, either.

Other authors include: Mons Bendixen, Ernst O. Botnen and Leif Edward Ottesen Kennair

“For people who actually have sexual relations outside Tinder, Tinder use only provides a limited increase in the number of one-night stands,” Grøntvedt says.

“Most of the people who succeed on Tinder have casual sex and hook-ups otherwise, too,” says Kennair at the Department of Psychology at NTNU.

The researchers have previously found that Tinder use did not lead to an increase in one-night stands.

“We have found little reason to claim that dating apps lead to more short-term sexual relationships than before,” says Bendixen, also in NTNU’s Department of Psychology.

There is thus no reason for any moral outrage from anyone.

Swiping

Tinder is one of several match-making apps. It uses location services to find other users nearby and then tries to match users with each other.

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Selecting someone is simple and effective: candidates pop up with a picture and some information on the screen. Swiping to the left means you’re not interested in a meet-up. Swiping to the right means you would like to meet the person. If two people swipe right on each other, the app can help them meet.

But sweeping and searching on Tinder has very limited effectiveness for the vast majority of users, who will probably succeed just as well by meeting live people instead.

Lots of hits needed

A lot of hits are needed on Tinder before any lead to a meeting. And even more hits are required before any kind of relationship can happen, whether we’re talking about a one-night stand or a meeting a partner with the aim of having a long-term committed relationship.

Men and women tend to use Tinder and other dating apps differently. Most women take more time to evaluate potential matches and are more often looking for a relationship, whereas most men are quicker in their assessments and swipe to the right far more often in the hope that a high enough number will result in at least one hit.

About 20 per cent of users had one-night stands after using Tinder. The vast majority of them had only experienced this once. Thus, eight of ten users never have sex after using the app.

“Tinder may offer new sexual opportunities, but these appear to be very limited,” says Kennair.

Only a tiny group of seven people, between two and three per cent of the study participants, had one-night stands exclusively after meeting someone through Tinder. The rest achieved this by traditional dating methods as well.

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Participants were asked to evaluate how physically attractive they found themselves to be. How physically attractive users are can predict the extent to which they succeed in having short-term sex when using Tinder.

“But this also applies when you’re not using dating apps. Some people get a lot, and a lot get none,” says Kennair.

“Both age and attitudes towards casual sex affect how often you actually achieve a one-night stand after using Tinder. But these are the same factors that play in elsewhere as well,” Grøntvedt says.

If you are more comfortable with casual sex, you’ll also have it more often.

“But there’s also a connection between a high interest in short-term sex encounters and less chance of meeting someone interested in a long-term relationship through the use of the dating app,” says Bendixen.

Female Tinder users are, on average, more interested in finding long-term relationships than men are. This also applies to encounters without using dating apps.

But according to this and previous studies, Tinder is not a very effective way to meet a long-term partner, either.

Ernst Olav Botnen had the idea for this study. He is currently a clinical psychologist at Lovisenberg Diakonale Hospital in Oslo.

“It’s interesting to see how the behaviour we see in other arenas, like bars and nightclubs, is reflected in dating apps,” says Botnen.

Of the 269 study participants who were active or former Tinder users, 62 per cent were women.

“Since the participants in our selection are university students in their early 20s, it will be interesting to see if our findings apply to other groups and age ranges in future research,” Botnen says.

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Travel

Cry freedom

#Buffalo may (just) be a sleepy city in Upstate #NewYork in the US. But it does have surprises – e.g. The Freedom Wall, which celebrates the nation’s historic and ongoing struggles for political and social equality.

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Chicken lovers may know the story – i.e. that the Buffalo wing was allegedly invented by Teressa Bellissimo in 1964 at Anchor Bar in the sleepy city of Buffalo in the state of New York.

The thing though, is, sans the spiced fried chicken, Buffalo has other surprises – e.g. The Freedom Wall.

Located at the corner of Michigan Avenue and East Ferry Street, The Freedom Wall was built in 2017 by John Baker, Julia Bottoms, Chuck Tingley and Edreys Wajed.

It was commissioned by the Albright-Knox Art Gallery Public Art Initiative, in partnership with the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA).

It was developed in collaboration with the Michigan Street African-American Heritage Corridor and neighborhood stakeholders.

From the get-go, the intention was always clear: The Freedom Wall eyes to celebrate the nation’s historic and ongoing struggles for political and social equality.

The large concrete wall surrounding NFTA’s Cold Spring Bus Maintenance Depot now has portraits of 28 civil rights leaders.

Some of the subjects depicted include:
Rosa Parks
Mama Charlene Caver Miller
William Wells Brown
King Peterson
Angela Davis
Bill Gaiter
Malcolm X
W. E. B. Du Bois
Frank Merriweather
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Mary B. Talbert
Thurgood Marshall
Minnie Gillette
Harriet Tubman

Now, The Freedom Wall continues to encourage conversations about the scope of the long journey toward equality and freedom.

And that a lot of effort still needs to be done to bring about a just and equitable world.

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LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

Do’s & dont’s for better sex using toys

If it works for you, that’s great, but talking things through before springing anything on (or into) your partner is more than just manners, it’s consent, and you’ll need it before you try anything new, no matter how much you just know they’re “…going to love it.”

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New to the world of sex toys? Perhaps you’ve played solo for years and have finally found or have decided to share the joy with your partner. Either way, there’s some crucial data to take on board when sharing the buzz or maybe the harness with your bedfellows. 

Always ask

Seems straightforward, even mandatory for most of us, but even in the heat of the moment (which might just be your own), consider your partner’s feelings and wishes above all else. If it works for you, that’s great, but talking things through before springing anything on (or into) your partner is more than just manners, it’s consent, and you’ll need it before you try anything new, no matter how much you just know they’re “…going to love it.”

Use lubricant

At the risk of sounding naive, it’s astonishing how many toy owners complain, and then wonder why/how their partner can’t be into it, when they thrust the dry probe or over-sized phallus into what’s usually their partner’s hottest pleasure center. Whatever the toy, if it has any part that sits close to, or penetrates, even a fraction of an inch, use a high quality water-based lubricant, and check before using other kinds, they might just damage/degrade materials like silicone and some newer polymers. It’s easy enough to forget, so make sure you have a steady and ready supply, which leads us to the next point:

Be prepared

If you have a first time toy experience or even a regular date night buzz planned with your partner, plan for it. Make it special, romantic or as fun and crazy as you guys enjoy whatever it is you do, but be prepared. Have plenty of lube, towels and wipes, toy cleaner and condoms; everything that you wouldn’t want to have missing in the heat of the moment. Many a romantic interlude or passionate embrace has been interrupted or ruined with the fateful words like, “You did bring a rubber, right?” or “Hand me some lube, honey.”

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Being prepared incorporates personal and physical hygiene, so…

Be sure and get clean before you get down and dirty

This is especially the case for anyone using anal toys, plugs, vibrators, or pumps. Anything that’s going anywhere near your tushie needs to be clean itself, and you want your rear end to be so clean you could… well, clean enough to do whatever you’re going to do ‘back there.’

Anal douching, even enemas are the unadvertised necessity when it comes to anal play, and it isn’t always spelled out for you on the box. If you or your partner are new to or want to explore anal play, start by exploring the fascinating (and sexy for some) world of cleaning yourself before anal sex.

It’s the same for any kind of sex; for any gender. If you’re sharing yourself (and your toys), you need to make sure both they and their intended users are clean. Guys, it’s your responsibility to clean your manhood as much as it is for any partner to make themselves fresh and appealing for you too.

It’s the same as body parts, never share toys between partners without sterilizing, and be mindful too, because some materials are porous and need a condom fitted to avoid risk of infection/cross-contamination.

Keep it fun and light-hearted

If either partner is new to toys, keep it fun and don’t bring out the biggest, most intimidating toy in the box. Start slow and explore boundaries. They’re there for a reason, and not all partner’s boundaries or preferences/choices need to be overcome. Always only do what feels right for both of you.

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Time and place

If you’re staying over or having a partner stay, consider the toy/s you have in mind. Some people lose control when they have a buzz-induced orgasm, real screamers. Also, consider the type/style and volume/requirements of your toys. Do they make a lot of noise? And if they do, is it appropriate to use them on the day/night. Do they need batteries or power? Refer back to being prepared, but consider how practical and fun what you want to use really is, and you may do this by considering all factors of the intended experience.

Despite what some people think, or the online descriptions suggest, it is not always fine to take your dildo or vibrator to work. It can be fun, but it could also be super awkward for your coworkers or boss if you’re found doing something you shouldn’t be at work. Keep work and play separate. Use your own discernment and common sense as a necessity.

Pleasure your partner first

Unless you have a standing order, if you’re the more experienced toy user, or if the toy is specific to your partner’s needs, focus attention on them first. Making it all about your partner is a secret to most problems that arise from the bedroom in relationships. If you make it about them, your own sense of fulfillment is greatly enhanced, and for guys, it’s a sure way to last longer overall, as well as being what he/she really wants… someone who thinks about them instead of themselves all of the time.

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Make it personal

Familiar users of toys can personalize their experience. Gifting your partner a toy which suits their personality, preferred position or style of pleasure, even if it’s just their favorite color, is a truly great way to customize the toy-based experience.

Don’t depend on toys every time you have sex/climax

It maybe blasphemy for some, but use toys as they are intended, and add accessories to heighten and enhance the natural and intimate sensuality of partnered/solo sexual encounters. Sometimes training your body to climax to artificial stimulation might make the natural response more difficult over time. 

Enjoy toys, by all means, and delight in the intensity of their power, feel and sensations that you can share and enjoy with or without your partner, but keep it real. Like anything fun, if it becomes an obsession, or is keeping you from performing in your non-toy life, it could become a problem rather than a pleasure. Use your own discernment here.

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LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

Homophobia and transphobia still a problem in sport

One third of those active in sport conceal their sexual orientation or gender identity within the context of their sporting activities. More than a third of those questioned were unable to name a single organization or individual they could contact in the event of a negative experience or incidence.

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Photo from Pexels.com

The overwhelming majority of people perceive homophobia and transphobia to be a problem in sport; with homophobic and transphobic language remaining widespread, especially in team sports. 

This is according to analysis coming out of Europe, where a Europe-wide project was done to develop strategies and training measures in the field of sport in order to counter discrimination and violence related to sexual orientation or gender identity. In the first study, an online survey was used in which more than 5,500 LGBTI from all 28 EU states were asked about their experiences in sport. In the second study, representatives of 15 sports associations, sports federations and umbrella organizations from the five project countries were interviewed about their strategies for combating homo-/transphobic discrimination in sport.

As stated, the overwhelming majority of respondents notes homophobia and transphobia to be a problem in sport. Homophobic and transphobic language was also noted to be widespread, especially in team sports. As a result, one third of those active in sport conceal their sexual orientation or gender identity within the context of their sporting activities. More than a third of those questioned were unable to name a single organization or individual they could contact in the event of a negative experience or incidence.

“Discrimination against LGBTI is a problem facing society as a whole,” says Professor Ilse Hartmann-Tews, Director of Studies at the German Sports University, “which is why each one of us should feel responsible for creating a culture of respect.”

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In the area of organized sport, the study recommends an open and proactive attitude towards questions of sexual and gender diversity on the part of all men and women active at every level of clubs, associations and sports federations. This is because, the ideal is for participation in sport at all levels to be made easier for lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender persons and intersexual people.

Homophobic and transphobic language was also noted to be widespread, especially in team sports.
PHOTO FROM PEXELS.COM

The collaboration of five European project countries lasted three years and will end on 31 December. Results were presented and discussed at various levels, including the final conference of OUTSPORT held in Budapest, an international conference on the situation of LGBTI in sport in Barcelona, the sports committee of the NRW state parliament in Düsseldorf and the Federal Network Conference of Queer Sports Clubs (BuNT) in Hamburg.

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Technology

4 Best apps and tools that have made our lives easier

If you are here to learn about the best apps and tools that can actually make your daily tasks more manageable, then you have come to the right place.

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Photo by Neil Soni from Unsplash.com

We are always looking for tools and software that will make our daily grind a bit easier. Fortunately, every day, different tools and apps are launched in the market to facilitate our daily tasks. However, with an overwhelming number of applications available out there, sometimes it can become tough to choose a few that are really helpful for you.

But don’t worry, we have got you covered. If you are here to learn about the best apps and tools that can actually make your daily tasks more manageable, then you have come to the right place. Below in this article, we’ve mentioned our tops picks that you need to know about too. So, to learn about these amazing tools and apps, be sure to read this article till the end! 

Grammarly

Whether you are a student, entrepreneur, or a professional writer, you want to make sure that your writing is easy to read and error-free, right? Let’s be real, despite being English our native language sometimes we make silly grammatical and spelling mistakes. An online grammar checker and free Chrome plug-in help you fix punctuation, critical grammar, and spelling errors. With Grammarly’s premium version, you can even check for plagiarism, wordiness, and much more. The premium version costs between $11.66 and $29.95 per month, depending on how you pay. 

Soda PDF

Soda PDF is software that offers users both an online and desktop PDF solution with a range of useful PDF tools. When it comes to the online version of the soda pdf, it enables you to use features on any web browser and device. The desktop version, on the other hand, let you work on your files online by allowing you to download the application. Whether you’re a student or running a business, this application will enable you to convert, create, edit, split, merge, secure, review, and sign your PDFs on any of your devices. 

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Boomerang for Gmail

This email tool was much needed and is very convenient for all who have their Gmail accounts. Before this Gmail update, we always wished to have a tool that allows us to schedule our mails. Well, it seems likes our wish came true. Boomerang for Gmail will enable you to schedule your emails for a future time and date. Plus, it also keeps your inbox more manageable by scheduling an email to disappear and come back later at a scheduled time and date. Amazing! Right? Now you do not have to worry about your email replies anymore because boomerang for Gmail has got you covered. 

Glympse

This fantastic free GPS locator application is helping friends and family all over the world check in with each other. This application goes far beyond static “check-ins” or a simple map showing your location. It allows both Android and iPhone users to update their status quickly so they can let their online friends know about their real-time movements on this dynamic map, but for a set period. Now your spouse can know what time you are expected to get back home from your work. Moreover, you can also request the location of your teenager kid without invading their privacy. 

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Technology

Gay social network Blued highlights U=U in #WAD2019 campaign

Blued has set out to combat stigma and discrimination of people living with HIV by highlighting the advocacy’s most revolutionary message to date: U=U.

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For this year’s World AIDS Day, the world’s leading gay social app Blued has set out to combat stigma and discrimination of people living with HIV by highlighting the advocacy’s most revolutionary message to date: U=U (Undetectable equals Untransmittable).

Presented in 2018 during the 22nd International AIDS Conference, in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, the PARTNER (Partners of People on ART: a New Evaluation of the Risks) 2 study, which tracked 783 gay male couples for 8 years, discovered that “no HIV-positive partner with an undetectable viral load infected his HIV-negative sex mate through 77,000 episodes of anal sex without condoms”.  

The report further discusses:

“The analysis involved 783 gay couples at 55 clinics in 14 European countries; 89% of initially HIV-negative men were white. When they entered the study, HIV-negative men had a median age of 38 years and had practiced condomless sex for a median of 1 year. During 1.6 years of follow-up, these men had a median of 43 condomless sex acts per year and an estimated total 76,940 sexual encounters without condoms. Initially HIV-positive men had a median baseline age of 40 years, had taken ART for a median of 4 years, and 98% reported at least 90% antiretroviral adherence. Only 2% of HIV-positive men said they missed ART for more than four consecutive days.”

This message continues to be relevant in the Philippines, with new infections exploding by 208% from 2010 to 2018, versus the global decline by 18%. The most vulnerable demographic are men who have sex with men, aged between 15-34. 

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With a lack of access to HIV resources and testing facilities, coupled with miseducation and stigma, the numbers to continue to rise among this segment of the population.

Blued is the world’s largest gay social network with more than 40 million users around the globe and over one million users in the Philippines. Blued positions itself as a social media mobile application that allows the LGBTQI community to discover and share geo-localized content (friends, events, news, talent shows, et cetera). Blued eyes to improve the quality of life of the community around the world through its strength in mobile technologies. 

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