Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Home is Whenever I'm with You

I recently found a new great song.  It is "Home" by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.  I found it through a viral video of a guy who documented his journey walking across the USA.  Just when you think the end has come for good music, a song like this comes along and restores hope.  Goosebumps.

 

Master Chef: How many cooking shows do we need?

I watched the premiere of Gordon Ramsay's new show Master Chef last night.  I wasn't looking forward to it, but it was on after Hell's Kitchen which I watch, so I decided to check it out.  I'm surprised at how many cooking shows there are on tv.  I mean this is at least the 4 different Gordon Ramsay cooking show that has aired in the last few years, and there are a lot of other cooking shows out there.  Is America really that into cooking shows? 

Anyway, so I watched it.  It was pretty good.  They have regular people trying out to be the next great chef as decided by Gordon and a couple other judges.  About the judges, one guy has bright white glasses and he seems like a pretty nice guy.  The other judge seems like a jerk.  He thinks he is hot stuff but no one knows who he is.  I'm not a big fan of his personality, but it will make for good tv.  I'll probably watch it next week unless something better is on.   If you like Gorden Ramsay and competition shows, you will probably like Master Chef. 

Moe's Southwest Grill Review

I recently tried a new restaurant called Moe's Southwest Grill.  I found it randomly through the internet while doing research.  After studying up on it, it seemed to be very similar to Chipotle which is one of my favorite places to eat.  There was a Moe's location not to far away, so I decided to give it a try.

I went there around 5:00 pm on a week day.  I was expecting it to be somewhat busy, but when I got there, the place was empty.  There might have been maybe 2 customers in the whole place.  Anyway, I knew what I was going to get ahead of time so I went right to the counter.  The process was very much like Chipotle.  I got a burrito and customized it how I wanted it.  I believe it was suppose to come with free chips and salsa.  I got the chips, but they didn't give me salsa.

Some things didn't happen that I thought would happen.  I heard they are suppose to say "welcome to Moe's" when you walk in, but they didn't.  I heard they play music from only musicians who have passed away.  I don't recall hearing any music while I was there.

So how was the food?  Overall pretty good.  The burrito was similar to Chipotle.  The most noticeable difference is the rice.  At Chipotle it is bright white, but at Moe's it is more brown like fried rice.  They offer a lot of options for things to put in the burritos and tacos which is nice.  They also offer different sizes of burritos which is a nice option.  Overall I was satisfied with the food.

Would I go back?  Probably, but it's not something I would go out of my way for.  If you like Chipotle, you will probably like Moe's because it is almost the same thing.  Basically, when you get tired of Chipotle, but you still like burritos and tacos, go to Moe's Southwest Grill.

Update:
Upon further visits I learned that there is actually a salsa bar where you can go and pick out the salsas that you want for your chips.  Also, sign up for the Moe's email and get a free burrito on your birthday!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Money, Greed, and Business

Is money the root of all evil? I don't know if that is true, but what I do know is that money causes people to do bad things.  People are willing to be dishonest, deceitful, and immoral in order to get financial gain.  I see this with individuals and with companies all the time.  Examples:

An online company I used to work with recently changed up their business model and in turn took away money that myself and fellow employees were promised.  It was money that was supposed to be paid to us over time for work done in the past.  But instead, the company decided not to honor the former agreement so now the employees are out of luck and the money that was suppose to go to us, is now going to the company.

A credit card I signed up for about a year ago promised 3% cash back on spending.  While this was great for a while, recently they changed their policy and now they only give 1% cash back.  Companies like this get customers with an attractive deal, making you think it will always be like that.  Then once you are signed up and committed to them, they switch it up and all of a sudden, the deal is not that great.

Banks do this all the time.  I have gone through several different banks and accounts.  They start by offering a competitive interest rate to get people to sign up.  Then slowly over time the interest rate drops and you can't do anything about it.  Banks, pick a rate and stick with it!  Stop sucking people in with a nice rate only to drop it a few months later.

It is like this with mortgage rates too in the opposite way.  You see ads in the paper for low rates on mortgages.  You contact them thinking you will get the rate you see in the paper. Guess what?  You  won't.  They will have all these restrictions and stipulations and before you know it, they end up offering you a rate that is not nearly as good as the one advertised in the paper.

I recently had some work done in my house.  I was under the impression that it would be about $150 to do the job.  The worker ended up using extra time by going back and forth to his van, and going to the hardware store to pick up parts.  Mean while he is still charging me the high hourly rate.  I ended up paying $230.  Plus I found out later he over charged me a bit for the parts and took with him some of the parts that should have been mine.

It's not just other people who are greedy when it comes to money.  I too may have fallen victim to this issue with money.  I work part time on the internet to make money and while I do provide a service, it is not always to benefit the customer, but also to benefit my own financial gain through advertisements and affiliate programs. 

In another example, I used to own an online company and had a group of people who worked with me.  I did most of the work, but there was a small community that were part of it.  When I decided to close down the business, I kept the left over profits.  It was not a lot by any means, and given the fact that it was my company and I did most of the work, I felt it belonged to me.  Those who contributed to the company over the years got their promised share of the revenue for their contributions.  What was left, I considered to be my share considering I was never paid over the years the business was run.  In the end though, several of the other members felt I was wrong by taking the money for myself.  Everything was ironed out, but still, money caused problems.

So is money the root of all evil?  I don't think it is the root of all evil, but it certainly is the root of a lot of evil.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

How can I stand here with you and not be moved by you?

Here's a song you might have heard before, "Everything" by Lifehouse.  It is very emotional, great for couples.  Lifehouse is good at these ballad type songs.  Listen. 

Liberty Mutual Insurance Claim Review

I recently had some water damage to my property due to a leak from my upstairs neighbor.  According to the coverage on my homeowners insurance plan, the damage should have been covered.  First, I sent them an email to make sure it was covered.  A couple days later, they reply and tell me I have to file a claim to get this information.  Ok, so I file a claim.  A few days later I get a call to discuss the damage.  I am instructed to take pictures of the damage and send it in.  I do this.  A couple days later they call me up and tell me it will not be covered because they think it is long term damage based on the pictures.  I explained that it just happened recently and how it was from a cause covered in the contract.  They would not change their mind.  I really tried to make my case, but they would not have it.  So basically, they refused to cover anything even though I believe it should have been covered based on what the plan covers.

I ended up repairing the damage myself at my own expense.  Overall I am not very please with Liberty Mutual after this experience.  I'm not very pleased with insurance in general.  These companies do not exist to help people in need.  They exist to make money. And because of this, the consumer will never come out ahead or even.  The consumer will always lose money.  This is frustrating because insurance is required on things like cars and homes with a mortgage.

There is an option to file a complaint to the Department of Insurance.  I seriously was considering this, but given the fact that my deductible is $500 and the cost to fix the damage probably wouldn't be much more than that, it didn't seem worth the effort.  Still I am not very pleased with my experience and I would not recommend this insurance company.

UPDATE: 7-28-12
So each year my renewal statement comes along, the premium inevitability goes up.  I decided to call them up to get an explanation and try to get it back down to where it was.  After being on hold for about 10 minutes I finally get to talk to someone. They guy was nice and answered my questions, but he wasn't able to lower my premium without making significant drops in coverage amounts so I ended up keeping it as is.  Still I am not happy with this company.  I plan on shopping around today to get some quotes from other companies.

Update 8-5-13
Once again they raised my rates on my insurance for the new year.  This time I decided to get some quotes from other companies.  I ended up getting a better rate from State Farm for similar coverage.  I thought if I mentioned that I was canceling my insurance the Liberty Mutual might try to match the quote. They did review the policy but could not match it so I ended up canceling and switching to get the better rate.  

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Funny Videos: KassemG, Nice Peter, Xtranormal

I have been a fan of musician/comedian Nice Peter for a few years now and recently he has started to gain a lot of new fans.  I'm glad because he is so funny and talented and more people should get to see his videos and hear his songs.  Anyway, this first video is him and another Youtube comedian named KassemG.  They walk around and make little improv songs about the people they see on the street.


I found KassemG through Nice Peter and after watching some of his videos, he is very funny too!  He does interviews of people in the "industry" and they are always fun to watch.  Check out this one with Faye Reagan & Dane Cross:


There is a software that lets you create animated movies by inputting text and programing characters.  The program is called Xtranormal and people have been using it to make funny videos on Youtube.  Here is one of my favorites.  Gotta love the pronunciation and dance moves.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Best Online Dating Site: eHarmony or Match.com?

Thinking about joining one of those online dating sites but don't know which one?  Here is an in-depth article comparing these 2 leading dating sites: eHarmony vs. Match.com.  The article goes though each step from the sign up process to the features to actually communicating with matches.  See a side by side price comparison and learn how to get discounts on subscriptions such as 20% off.  You perfect match could be out there right now!  Check out this guide to see which online dating service is right for you.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Lovely Ladies: Cat Deeley and Megan McCormick

I just wanted to make a post about a couple of ladies on tv who I adore.  Both of them are hosts on television programs and thy have fantastic personalities. 

Cat Deeley is the host of So You Think You Can Dance.  She has a beautiful accent and of course is easy on the eyes, but what I love about her most is her personality.  She is so nice and just brings joy to every show.



The other lovely lady is Megan McCormick who is a travel host on the show GlobeTrekkers.  Like Cat, she has a wonderful personality and makes travel shows fun!  I love watching her adventures as she goes to far off countries and discovered the people and their cultures.  It would  be amazing to me a girl like Cat or Megan in real life, but for now getting to see them on tv is still a pleasure.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Writing Website: Hub Pages

So I recently joined a new writing website called Hub Pages. You get to write articles on just about everything and have the chance to earn a percentage of any revenue that is generated from your pages or hubs as they call it. So far I am really enjoying it. I find the website to be very user friendly and it offers a lot of freedom to the writer when it comes to content. The community is lively and supportive. I have already written some new hubs on some topics I am familiar with.It's too early to tell how well the pages will perform, but I am optimistic!

Update: 1-23-14
So Hubpages was good for a while and the article were making decent money off the ad revenue.  However about a year or so ago, Google altered their search algorithm and the traffic and revenue took a big hit.  I no longer write new articles there but it is still a good website and I still have my articles published there.  

What Sounds Good Right Now: Our Lady Peace and M.I.A.

I just listened to this song I remembered from back in the 90's when there was all that good alternative rock. The song is Clumsy by Our Lady Peace. From the beautiful intro, to the pre-chorus that is good enough to be a chorus, to the powerful chorus itself, this song is just right.


This one is fairly new. It's by M.I.A. the one who brought you Paper Planes. This song is called XXXO and it is pretty catchy. I like the subtle imperfections of the song mixed with the catchy hooky. This version has Jay Z on it to switch it up a bit.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

How To Treat Acne and Oily Skin

Here is a topic I have experience with and I know a lot of others out there struggle with every day. That topic is acne and oily skin. I have written a new article with 10 tips on how to deal with this skin problem. These tips are all from personal experience. Some are common, but others might be new to you. If you are looking for a way to get rid of pimples and stop oily skin, check out this guide with 10 steps on how to do it: http://hubpages.com/hub/10-Tips-for-Treating-Acne-and-Oily-Skin

Monday, July 5, 2010

FL Studio Discount (Music Making Software)

Want to make your own music? You can with the music program called FL Studio.  FL Studio is one of the top music making programs for the PC. It lets you create your own original, professional sounding music right from home. You can download the demo from their site to try it out.

FL Studio offers a promotional discount of 10% off for new customers. If you like the demo and decide to get the full version, here is the direct link to the official store with the discount applied:
https://support.image-line.com/jshop/shop.php?offer=Default&promo=EDAJCI416

This promotion can be used on any FL Studio and Image Line products. Orders must be over $89 to qualify. All versions of FL Studio come with free lifetime updates so whenever a new version comes out, you get to upgrade for free.

To learn more about getting FL Studio cheap, check out:
http://www.flstudiosale.com/

Learn how to use FL Studio with this tutorial video from Image Line:

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Music Suggestions July: Asher Roth and Katy Perry?

Going through my list of new music, I realized I have not been acquiring many new songs as of late. This seems to be a continuing trend, but anyway, here are a couple songs to check out.

First one is Asher Roth - G.R.I.N.D. Asher had a hit a while back with "I Love College". I thought he was ok. He sounds a lot like the old Eminem; the old Eminem, Slim Shady style, not the new angry style Eminem. By the way, Em's new songs are pretty good, lyrically at least. Back to Asher. This new song has a positive message and had a catchy chorus. I've had this stuck in my head a lot as of late. Check it out. PS, dj's stop talking over songs and giving shout outs to people no one cares about. Luckily I found a version here without the dj ruining it.


So you probably know Katy Perry has a new song out called California Girls. I'm not a big fan of Katy's but she has a few decent songs. This new one I disliked right away, mainly because of the inappropriate video. Katy Perry thinks she is hot stuff, but she is not as good as she thinks. That is one thing I don't like, when people are over confident. Anyway, the new song is catchy after a while. The lyrics are unimpressive. I did a little research on Katy and found that she had a nice upbringing from parents who were pastors. Sheesh, what happened? Watch the new video and you will see what I mean.

Wipeout Review

Wipeout is a fun light-hearted show about everyday people going through crazy physical obstacles trying to avoid "wiping out". The winner at the end get $50,000. Now that I think of it, that seems like a lot for a show lie this. Anyway, it's fun to watch for a short amount of time, but after about 30 minutes, the wipeouts become repetitive. I find that the beginning is actually the best part because that is when they have all the contestants that really should be there and they wipe out the best. As it goes along, the better contestants are left and they don't wipe out as much.

Highlights of the show include John Anderson and John Henson (sorry if those are misspelled) commentating and making jokes along the way. I like how they personalize each contestant and kind of go with a running theme for each one. Also on the team is Jill Wagner who does reporting on the scene. She is great, but I just get the feeling, she doesn't really want to be there, or that she knows she should be doing something better. Still it is nice to have her on the show.

Overall it is a pretty entertaining show. I would like to see them mix it up a little bit here and there. Some people mentioned the possibility of Celebrity Wipeout. I think that would be a hit for sure!