December 26, 2016

Published December 26, 2016 by with 0 comment

How to Make a Black Tooth Grin Cocktail Drink

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The Black Tooth Grin is an alcoholic beverage containing Crown Royal, Seagram's 7, and cola. The drink was made popular by heavy metal guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott of the heavy metal group Pantera. Tragically, Abbott's life was cut short on December 8, 2004 when he was shot on stage by a deranged fan in Columbus, Ohio. The popularity of the drink remains, and it is often prepared as a salute to one of heavy metal's greatest guitarists.

The ingredients of the Black Tooth Grin are simple, two equal sized portions of Crown Royal and Seagram's 7 whiskey along with a splash of dark Cola. Crown Royal is a popular Canadian whiskey containing 40% alcohol by volume. Seagram's 7 (Seagram's Seven Crown) is American whiskey containing the same alcohol content as Crown Royal. Some versions of the Black Tooth Grin call for either Crown Royal or Seagram's 7 combined with cola, but the more traditional version of the drink notes that both whiskeys are used.

History of the Black Tooth Grin

As mentioned above, the driving force behind the popularity of the Black Tooth Grin was Pantera guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott. The drink's name was derived from the lyrics in Megadeth's song "Sweating Bullets":

Well, me ... It's nice talking to myself
A credit to dementia
Some day you too will know my pain
And smile its blacktooth grin
If the war inside my head
Won't take a day off I'll be dead
My icy fingers claw your back
Here I come again

Dimebag Darrell's life ended on December 8, 2004 as he was playing a show in Columbus, Ohio with the group Damageplan. During the show, Nathan Gale climbed onstage and started firing shots hitting Abbott three times in the process. Abbott left behind his legacy as one of the greatest guitarists of his genre and a drink that millions still enjoy today, the Black Tooth Grin.

Making the Black Tooth Grin

Ingredients

  • 2 shots Crown Royal whiskey
  • 2 shots Seagram's 7 whiskey
  • a splash of Cola

Instructions

  1. Pour two shots of Crown Royal whiskey into a glass.
  2. Pour two shots of Seagram's 7 whiskey into the glass.
  3. Add a splash of cola to the drink until it turns darker.
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December 22, 2016

Published December 22, 2016 by with 0 comment

The Book That Every Duke Basketball Hater Should Own

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“The best thing about hating Duke University is that you never have to explain yourself.” - Ian Williams

March 31, 1986.

That was the date the last time I ever cheered for the Duke University Men’s Basketball team to win a basketball game. They played against the Louisville Cardinals in the NCAA championship game that day and ended up losing, but I was cheering for them all the way. Pervis “Never Nervous” Ellison ended up having the game of a lifetime for Louisville, and I was actually bummed that Duke lost.

I’m not sure what happened since that day, but there are only two other sports programs that I hate as much as Duke now…the Los Angeles Lakers and the New York Yankees. I once told my sister that I hate Duke so much that it makes me physically ill to watch them play on television. My heart rate increases and my stomach starts to feel nauseous as I hear the announcers gush over how good they are and as the refs give them every call during the game.

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what it is about them that drives me crazy because virtually everything about them drives me crazy. Their fans come across as overly-entitled. The players always seem to get the benefit of the referees’ whistles. Coach K is simply obnoxious. And the television networks seem to think everyone wants to watch 95% of their games on national television.

No matter what the reason is, it simply comes down to the fact that I hate Duke.

A few years ago, my sister sent me a package not long after March Madness was over. I opened it and pulled out a copy of Duke Sucks. I remember calling her and telling her that I loved the book…and this was before I’d even read a page of it.

Once I finally got around to reading it, I couldn’t stop. It was as if the authors of the book had been in my head at some point. They pulled out every reason a person could possibly hate the Duke basketball team, and tried to back it up with as much evidence as they could. Reading it was like a dream come true.

Some of the arguments put forth for disliking the team range from Wojo’s annoying floor slap to the Blue Devils’ notoriously easy non-conference schedule. Sprinkled in are some funny stories that only a true Duke hater (or UNC fan) could appreciate. One of my personal favorite chapters was titled “Charge #17: Duke Gets More Calls Than a Mumbai Customer Service Center”.

Ultimately, I finished the book in less than a day. I found myself nodding in agreement through the majority of it. There were a few spots that were a little cheesy, but it was still fun to see how much research was put into it. And when I used to struggle to put into words why I hated the team so much, now all I have to do is hold up a copy of Duke Sucks and it does all the work for me.
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December 19, 2016

Published December 19, 2016 by with 0 comment

Foolproof Customer Service Tips for Call Center Employees

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Are you employed in a customer service occupation and looking for ways to improve your performance? Are you the owner of a company trying to become better at interacting with your clients? Below you will find a few basic steps that can allow you or your employees to enjoy more success the next time a customer has a problem.

In today's world, every job has a customer service component to it because everyone wants to make sure that the patrons of their business walk away happy. Whether it be a dentist ensuring a patient comes back for future check-ups or a tech support analyst offering resolutions for a computer issue, we are surrounded by situations that require good customer service.

Consider the steps below the next time you interact with a client, and success will not be far behind!

Be Courteous

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It seems like such an easy thing to do especially if you work in customer service, but the number one rule is to be as nice as possible to the customer. Customer service professionals are often the face and voice of a company, so many people will base their impressions of a business off how they were treated by the customer service department. Treat someone badly and the likelihood of there being negative publicity is high.

No matter how rough the day may be, there is no excuse for being rude to the people you are trying to help. You should speak to them with respect, and try to envision what you would expect if you were in their shoes. Another thing to keep in mind is that the customer may be upset, angry, or even embarrassed by even having to ask for help. Try your best not to make that feeling any worse than it already is.

Finally, be sure to wipe the slate clean after each interaction with a customer. There will definitely be moments where you may need to take a deep breath before helping someone else. Just make sure that you do not take out a prior bad experience on someone else who had nothing to do with it.

Listen and Understand

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Have you ever asked someone for help, and they ended up not even addressing your problem? Just how frustrated did you feel after they gave you an answer to what they assumed you were going to ask?

When someone comes to you for help, make sure that you listen to their problem and the solution they are expecting to occur afterwards. After they finish telling you the problem, make sure that you can re-word the problem and say it back to the customer.This will show the person that you understand what they are saying, and also allow you to get more details about the problem.

If someone is upset, it is best to let them vent first before trying to offer any suggestions about how they can address the problem. Allow people to have a chance to tell their story, and then let them know what you can do to help them out in the long run. In most cases, people will realize just how upset they sound as you sit back and allow them to speak.

Use Your Resources

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One of the most dangerous things you can do as a customer service professional is give someone an answer that you are not sure is the right answer. If it turns out to be false, your credibility and that of the company are in jeopardy.

The way to avoid putting yourself in this position is to use your resources as best as you can before giving someone a definite answer. Your resources can be anything from company documents to memos to training manuals to the co-workers around you. At no point should you be ashamed to ask someone else a question if it means getting the customer the right answer.

Set Realistic Expectations/Time-frames

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This is possibly one of the most important aspects of quality customer service. Sometimes there are situations where you just cannot provide an answer right away without researching it, or you may need time to develop a solution. It just is not realistic to expect everyone to be able to solve every problem the minute they find out about it.

With that being said, if you do need to take time to do more research for someone, make sure you give that person a reasonable time-frame for when they can expect an answer. Even if you are unable to find the answer by the end of the first deadline, make sure that you contact your client to let them know your status and how much longer it will take.

If you fail to keep your customer in the loop, they will eventually start to get angry with you because they may feel that you have forgotten about their problem. They may also begin to question your professionalism, and ultimately seek a solution from someone else. In most cases that I know of, people are more than happy to wait as long as they know what you are doing and when they can expect to hear back from you.

Make Sure the Problem Is Solved

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Ok, so you understand what the problem is and you have researched an answer. None of this means anything if you do not take the time to make sure the answer given actually solved the problem at hand.

Take a moment to follow up with your customer to make sure that everything has been taken care of to their satisfaction. You would be amazed how happy people are to know that you took the time out of your day to make sure they are OK. And if the problem still remains, it gives you a chance to stay on top of it and work towards an alternative solution.

Go Above and Beyond

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It is one thing to give somebody an answer to a problem they may be having. It is another thing to answer their question, tell them why it happened in the first place, and also provide them with tips to keep it from happening in the future. Good customer service workers answer the problem at hand. Great customer service workers find solutions and check to see what else may impact the customer as a result of the solution.

One of the best ways to go above and beyond is to look for alternative solutions. Nothing saves a company more time and makes a customer happier than being able to provide an answer as well as two or three alternative solutions in case the original answer did not work for them. This will allow the client to work down a list of possibilities rather than having to call back or visit the company each time a solution fails.

Take Responsibility for Each Customer


Have you ever checked up on a situation and had someone tell you that it was not their problem because they did not do it? Nothing angers a customer more than someone trying to blame another person or department for a problematic situation. In most cases, people just want their problem resolved without going through an internal blame game.

The best thing that a customer service representative can do in a situation like this is to acknowledge the problem at hand and immediately take responsibility towards finding an answer. Whether that means getting the client to the correct department or just resolving the entire situation yourself, you should always look towards moving the situation to a positive ending without blaming another person.
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December 15, 2016

Published December 15, 2016 by with 0 comment

How to Make Your Dorm Room Look Better

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Going away to college for the first time can be an exciting yet intimidating time in a person's life. There is so much planning that goes into selecting a college and making sure that finances are in good shape that one often forgets about the actual room they will be living in for the next year. Yes, the college dorm room is not only the center of studying, but also the den of social interaction. At one moment you may be using it to cram for your history exam, and the next you will be using it to host a party with some of your closest friends.
While everyone knows about the basic items needed for a college dorm room, such as microwaves and refrigerators, there are plenty of things that can add some extra flavor to your new home. Do you want your space to be the talk of the campus? Do you want the rest of your floor to be envious of you and your roommate? Try a few of the following, and you'll be amazed how you can maximize your space while also giving your room some additional flair.

Add Color to Walls with Photos and Posters

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When I was in college, the first thing that stood out to us as we moved in was how barren the walls of our room were. In some colleges, you may end up with white-colored cinder block walls. In others, you may be lucky enough to have insulated walls with a better paint job. In any case, one of the first things you will want to do after unpacking your bags is to get some photos or posters up on the walls.

Before taking this step, be sure that you identify your college's rules on how to hang pictures and posters. Some schools are pretty strict on not allowing nails or tacks in order to hang things up. In many cases, you may be forced to use a special type of putty that will hold the poster/photo in place. The goal is to decorate the walls without damaging the walls because trust me you will end up paying for damages later.

When it comes to photos, I found that having a good selection of photos from home were good conversation starters with my new friends in college. You don't want to post anything too juvenile because you're beyond that now, but you do want to put up things that will help people understand more about you. The photos can also lead people to want to ask more about your background. Feel free to get creative with the layout around the room. Some people create photo collages and hang them around the room, while others stick with traditional frames spaced around their desk.

Another easy way to spice up the dorm room is to locate posters and hang them up around the room. I've always been partial to framed posters because they give off a more refined look and they keep the edges of the poster from tearing over time. However, if you don't have the time or money to frame them, feel free to hang them up any way possible.

Your posters should be something interesting that will make your room memorable. A poster of the latest Playmate might look cool to the other guys on your floor, but is that really going to impress the women that you bring back to your room? And that latest Star Wars movie poster? Is it attracting visitors or pushing them away? Figure out what works best for you, and find something original. Nobody wants their walls to look exactly the same as everyone else in their dorm.

Maximize Your Space with Lofts and Crates

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No matter what college you go to, your dorm room is most likely going to be a lot smaller than the room you left at home. Chances are you are still going to try bringing way more stuff than you should during your freshman year. In order to make your dorm room as comfortable as possible, you are going to have to find ways to maximize the limited space that you have.

One way of doing this is by using a bed loft frame. Not every college allows this, but they are great space savers if you are able to use them. I have to admit, I haven't seen many guys that have these, but times may be changing. If not, then make it work for you the best way you know how. The frames themselves help to raise the bed mattress further off the floor so that there is extra storage space underneath your bed. If you have the right kinds of plastic storage bins, you can store some of your clothes comfortably underneath your bed leaving your closet free from clutter.

Another object that I found useful was an empty milk crate. Usually the local stores would have a few sitting outside waiting to be disposed of, or the store owners would gladly give them away if asked politely. They may take a little bit of spray paint to match the rest of your decor, but they end up being great stackable storage for everything from clothes to books.

Relax Your Eyes With Natural Lighting

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Lighting is another huge adjustment that you will have to make when you move into your dorm room. Many of the halls have overhead florescent lighting which over time can lead to head aches and eye strain. Nothing is worse than a fluorescent light that continually flickers when you are trying to do something important. Not to mention, some nights you may just want to relax with your lights dimmed instead of on full blast.

For times like these, I suggest having at least one lamp capable of giving off some natural light. The lamp can either have one setting or have a built in dimmer whichever fits your preference. Halogen lamps used to be popular for this type of lights, but became dangerous due to the amount of heat they gave off in the process. Don't be surprised if your college bans the use of halogens on campus. Keep this in mind before you spend money on them at the store before the school year starts.

Lamps are another thing that can demonstrate your personality. There are a variety of colors, shapes, and lamp shades to choose from. Pick the one that sets you apart from the crowd and starts conversation. It's the little things that show off how unique you are compared to the rest of the college crowd. It may seem awkward in the beginning to be different, but by the time you graduate you'll be glad that you set yourself apart.

Bring the Noise With a Sound System

The final piece of the puzzle is the sound system. A room just isn't a room without some way of producing some music. Whether you are studying or just hanging out with friends, you are going to want some way of playing music in the background.

I found that the shelf systems produced the best sounds without taking too much space within the room. Nowadays most of them are equipped so that Ipods, smartphones, and other MP3 players can be plugged into them eliminating the need to burn CDs. Find something with a remote so that you can lay back in bed at night and control your tunes without having to get up.

All in all, it doesn't take a ton to make your dorm room come to life. Start with those areas and work from there. Check out what your friends have done and find ways to work your own flavor into it. By the time the year ends, you'll be sad to take down all of your hard work.
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December 12, 2016

Published December 12, 2016 by with 0 comment

5 Common Sense Reasons Not to Procrastinate When Applying for College

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Applying for college is an exciting, but stressful time for many students. For many it is the culmination of four years of hard work in high school. For others, it is another step towards their goal of working in a certain profession. However for procrastinators, preparing for college can be the ultimate test of survival.

The list of things that must be done before a college even decides if you are a good fit is pretty long. They have to evaluate your application, review your test scores, read through your recommendations, and decide if you qualify for financial aid. Each of these these items has its own deadline that must be met, and failure to do so could result in you missing out on the college of your choice.

Colleges Have Admissions Deadlines

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One big reason for not waiting until the last minute to plan for college is that most schools have an admissions deadline. This means that in order to be considered for admission into the college for the upcoming semester, your application and supporting materials must be received by a certain date. Delaying your planning increases the chance that you will miss the deadline and have to re-apply for the next semester or possibly the next school year.

There are also colleges that accept applications on a rolling basis. This means that there is no firm admission deadline. The schools evaluate applications as they come in, and continue to issue acceptances until the incoming class is full.

The danger of waiting too long to apply to these types of schools is that you do not know how many acceptances the college has already issued. By procrastinating, you could end up in a situation where a school has already accepted its maximum number of students for the semester. Therefore, even without a firm deadline you could still end up missing out on the college of your choice.

Letters of Recommendation Take Time

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During the admissions process, colleges need as much information as possible in order to evaluate all of their potential students. One way they accomplish this is by requesting letters of recommendation written by teachers, family members, or community leaders. The recommendations often give admission counselors a better idea of who each applicant is, and what their character is like.

Recommendations can also be a sore spot for students who wait too late to apply to school. The difficulty is that you will definitely not be the only student needing a recommendation to submit with your application. Not only does it take time to select who you want to write your letter, but that person may also have to write letters for other students.

Starting your planning process early will allow you to get the proper recommendation forms to the person you ask, and give them the time they need in order to write a proper letter for you.

Standardized Tests Have Limited Seating


Another means of comparing applicants is to compare standardized test scores from exams like the SAT and ACT. These tests are set up to determine a person's aptitude for learning at the college level. Normally they are scheduled a few times a year at specific testing locations across the country.

With concerns to standardized testing, procrastination can be dangerous for two major reasons. The first is that the tests are not easy to prepare for. Although they are not designed so that you can cram all of the information into your head, there are still review materials available that can help with vocabulary and math strategies. Putting off preparation for the test increases the chance that your test performance may struggle, and your scores may suffer as well.

The second issue is that there are a limited number of seats available to take the test at a given location. Waiting until the last minute to sign up for the test puts you at risk of either having to travel a long distance to the next available testing site or not being able to take the test at all. Depending on whether or not there is an alternate testing date available, you could end up in a situation where the next test date falls after your admissions deadline.

Financial Aid Gets Used Quickly

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Another reason that students should act quickly when preparing for college is that financial aid opportunities are limited. Although there are a vast number of scholarships and loans available to students, you must consider how many people are applying for them every year. Some scholarship competitions are open not only to incoming freshmen but also to upperclassmen, and certain loan programs only allow schools to give out a set amount of loan funding every year.

Just like the application deadline mentioned above, schools often have a cut off date with regards to financial aid applications as well. The financial aid application is usually necessary to find out if a student qualifies for any aid-based loans, grants, or scholarships. Lack of preparation could result in you missing this deadline and having to come up with alternative ways to fund your college education.

These deadlines also come into play with outside scholarship programs. They usually set due dates for all materials to be submitted for consideration. Waiting too late could impact your ability to get the scholarship application completed in time. As a result, you could end up giving away a chance at free money towards your college tuition.

Choosing a College Is a Big Decision

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Selecting the right college is not as easy as it may sound. You have to consider the location, price, academic programs, and overall level of comfort. Basically, it is not a choice that should be made in a rush. Procrastinating during the early part of the college planning process will only take away important time that you need to make this decision.

In many cases, students need time to research what types of majors and academic programs are available at certain schools. They may also want to take a chance to schedule a campus visit in order to get a better feel for a potential college. By waiting too late to address those issues, you risk the chance of ending up at a college you do not enjoy and does not have the programs you are interested in studying.

Rather than holding off and making a rush decision, you should allow yourself time to get as much information as possible before making one of the biggest decisions of your life. Take time to get organized, schedule tests and campus visits, ask for recommendations, and apply for financial aid in advance of all deadlines. Not only will you enjoy the admissions process more, but your stress level will be more manageable as well.
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