While doing a remodel of my home, I wanted to do something “green” (earth-friendly) for my home. I did some of the easy things like replace my old thermostats with digital ones (this one act has saved me a buttload of money on my electric bill!), and replaced all standard light bulbs with compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs. I also made sure all of my appliances had an Energy Star rating.
A bigger ticket item was to replace two carpeted rooms with hardwood. Instead of regular hardwood, I chose bamboo. The reasons: 1. It’s a renewable resource*. 2. The cost was the same as a high-end hardwood. 3. It’s beautiful. *Bamboo grows back (very quickly) after being cut.
I wonder if my tiny part will help out future generations?
I think it's funny how upset people get when I don't capitalize. I mean, it really pisses them off. I find, however, it's usually people who spend most of their days trying to feel superior to others. Seriously. Go check. Ask someone with good self-esteem if it bothers them and then ask these grammar police. My findings are those with good grammar and good self-esteem simply don't give a fuck, whereas the pedantic ones become huffy and argumentative about the topic. go test it out and then watch my theory come to fruition.
and for what it's worth…i am somewhat of an expert in grammar. i was the managing editor for a monthly publication for two years, was in ap english, etc. so effing what if i choose to be e.e.cummingsish in my old age? so…ha!
…And here are my answers (with an important preface)…
My answers can change and I’ll do my darndest to update with any changes. The reasons my answers can change is because technology changes, needs change, companies go bad, software becomes unethical, and many more. These recommendations are only of things I own (or have owned) and although I’ve had great results your results may vary. Probably the most important difference between what I review and pro sites review, is that I don’t include the cost of the item in my consideration. Not that price shouldn’t be a concern, but if you spent 25% less on a piece of crap, you have more money in your pocket but you now lost money on a piece of crap. Save your money, google for coupons, wait for sales and then buy something quality. If I think a less expensive item works as well as (or better than) a more expensive version, then I’ll list the cheaper one. That said, here you go:
Q. What anti-virus software should I get? A. Kaspersky Anti-Virus. A cool feature for this is that you’re licensed to install on 3 different computers! Updates automatically, doesn’t hog your computer, and continually gets top ratings in all the PC Magazines I read every month.
Q. What wireless router is best? A. Linksys Wireless-N Router. This thing goes through levels of floors in a home, allows simultaneous gaming and downloading of videos on different computers at the same time without any slow-down. Even goes through my concrete walls with an outstanding ping for gaming.
Q. I’d like to make a backup copy of my music CD onto my computer, in case the CD ever gets damaged, I’d like to convert my CD’s to MP3, etc. What CD-ripping software should I use? A. Free Rip. It’s free. I’ve used it for so many years that I forked out the $20.00 for the Pro version as a “thank you” (and for the upgraded features 🙂
Q. What mouse should I buy? A. Logitech G5 Laser Mouse. It’s not cordless (I hate cordless … having to constantly charge it or replace batteries … what a nightmare that became!). I’m not real fond of the graphic design on the top but that doesn’t matter since I found the mouse is awesome and I never really look at the thing anyway.
Q. What Nintendo Wii game should we buy next? A. Wario Smooth Moves. This game is fun, unique, easy to figure out, clever, cute, and has some very challenging levels that are very funny.
Q. What Xbox 360 game should we buy next? A. Overlord. To date, this is my favorite game of all time on any video game system. You choose to be a good or evil Overlord, then gather and control minions to do your bidding and fighting. I haven’t played the online section of it, so I can’t comment on online play.
Q. What PlayStation 3 game should I get? A. Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction. Unfortunately, their game selection sucks right now (as did Xbox when they debuted), but this game has the most awesome and unique weapons I’ve ever seen.
i don’t praise a whole lot, because i’m bitter and jaded. just kidding…and you’re an awesome person for reading this! 🙂
i hate most tv shows, especially daytime tv, but i do find myself addicted to some of the cartoon shows like family guy, south park, and frisky dingo. i lose myself in them and i need that. with the exception of documentaries and a few select dramas, the rest is just crap for the empty masses. i especially detest shows that you have to keep watching every day or week to find out what happens next. give me closure, goddammit!
netflix, a dvd rental company, was a brilliant idea and i joined them in their infancy. this is where i discovered, among other brilliant dvd’s, “the west wing” tv series. i remembered aaron sorkin, the director and writer of “the west wing”, from a unique show that had a brief run called “sport’s night”. it was an eclectic show with excellent writing and a unique approach at directing, so when i saw his name on “the west wing” i gave it a whirl.
after watching a few episodes, i thought it was ok but nothing grabbed me. the first episode hit close to home (my pink one), but much immediately followed. since it was the winter of my discontent in seattle, i watched a few more episodes to give it one more chance. i’m glad i did. i’m so glad i did, that i’m going to give a praise that i don’t think i’ve given in over a decade…aaron sorkin is probably the greatest writer and director of the 21st century. the century’s just beginning, but he’s going to be hard to beat.
what a pleasure it was to watch the characters form and find their voices. i can’t help but wonder if others enjoyed watching that transpire as much as i did. then when the story development kicked in, i couldn’t stop watching. i had to make myself stop putting in the next dvd and get some sleep. absolutely brilliant.
then a strange thing happened around season four (or five?). i noticed that the passion had left, the characters became mundane and predictable, and the writing left me empty. i kept watching each episode, waiting for stella to get her groove back, but it never happened. i got up and went to the web to see if others were writing in their blogs about this and found out that sorkin had left and someone else had taken over. that’s how noticeably brilliant his writing and direction were.
he has a new show out, “studio 60”, but i’m not seeing his talent in this one yet. regardless, i strongly encourage anyone reading this to watch “the west wing” (up to when aaron leaves the show, of course 🙂 it’s very rare that i will buy a dvd, but i now own the entire west wing series.
entering sweepstakes has been a side hobby of mine for about 17 years. no, not that crappy clearing house one, but actual sweepstakes that people can (and do) win. i’ve won so many prizes to date that i couldn’t possibly list them all. trips to disney, shirts, electronics, gift cards, you name it. i wish i had the time to do more of them, as it gives me some weird thrill. sort of like the lottery, where my friends make fun of me. my favorite line was “allen, you crack me up. you genuinely believe that you’re going to win, but then you’re genuinely suprised that you didn’t”. yep.
for the sweepsatakes newbie, let me give you the easy version in case you want to take a crack at it. the cost is very minimal….just the price of an envelope, a 3×5 card, and a stamp and you’re entered! here’s how it works…
every company from pepsi to your local store seems to offer some type of sweepstakes drawing for cash and/or prizes. the cost of these things are not only promotional advertising for them but is also a tax write-off (per se) for all the incurred costs to them for the promo. all the big guys (i’ll continue to use pepsi as an example since everyone’s familiar with them) uses what’s called a “third party judging agency”. this simply means that they pay an outside company to be objective by running the sweepstakes, randomly picking the winners from all entries, and then getting the prizes out to those winners. the logic here is that the sponsoring company keeps the whole thing as objective as possible and their hands aren’t in the proverbial cookie jar.
the law is that in order to offer a sweepstakes, it’s illegal for them to require you to make a purchase of their product to enter (i’ll assume that most of you have heard the term “no purchase necessary” when a sweepstakes commercial hits the tv stations?). so…if there is no purchase necessary, then what’s the alternative to enter the sweepstakes? easy…they want you to jump through a couple of hoops to enter the sweepstakes. about 99% of the time they want you to write your name, address, phone no., and birthdate on a 3×5 card (a pack of 100 is about 60 cents) and mail to them in a stamped envelope. for every sweepstakes, there must be rules and inside of those rules is the alternate entry information on what they want specifically. or….to make it easier just do what i (and almost all other sweepstakesaholics do) and get a subscription to one of the newsletters that gives you the list of sweepstakes and entry instructions in an easy to read/understand format. one of my favorites is the “best sweepstakes newsletter“. the only real rule of thumb is to follow the rules to the letter or your entry is disqualified. nothing difficult, but they are unforgiving from what i understand.
on a side note: even those “peel n’ win” prize pieces that are on cups and fries at mcdonald’s, taco bell, etc. must have “no purchase necessary” instructions. those are usually an address to send a self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE) to and get free game pieces mailed back to you.
anyhoo…the entry arrives at the judging agency and then, when it’s time for the drawing, a random entry (or entries) are drawn. if you won something of real value, then they will notify you by certified or registered mail and request that you complete, notarize, and send back their form and affidavit. this doesn’t mean you’ve won yet, until they check you out to make sure you’re not a relative of an employee of that company, etc. if you haven’t broken any rules, they’ll send you your prize (which can take anywhere from days to months to receive). if it’s a smaller prize like i usually win, you’ll never know you won until the prize just shows up on your doorstep one day.
there are more details and caveats but that’s the foundation to get you started. if you decide to give it a try, please remember me if you hit big (and forget me if you suffer from the same addiction as the rest of us 🙂
there. i’m officially and globally out of the closet.