BMW i8

BMW i8

Just in case anybody hasn’t seen it yet, check out BMW’s beautiful new prototype – the i8. Revealed in a car show only recently, the i8 is a new step forward in the trend of mass-produced carbon fiber vehicles. BMW designed this beauty from the ground up, unlike their other models which are usually just improvements on previous versions. The car is low to the ground and has an aerodynamic futuristic design. Specs for the car have not yet been released but are likely to be as impressive as the design considering the ultra-lightweight makeup of the car.

The i8 weighs 3,285 lbs – a true featherweight amongst its peers. BMW is clearly hoping to get get an early advantage with carbon fiber in mass-production. The idea of a hybrid with all of these features made with the BMW name is highly appealing, though at over $135k, this is not a car that will be for everyone. Look out Tesla, BMW is on your tail.

Living Life to the Cheapest

There’s no better feeling in this world (except maybe Q-tipping) than scoring a great deal. In today’s consumerist lifestyle, shopping is just what we do. Necessities, desires, and all the strange in-betweens are more or less what life is built around today, so if you can find a way to do what everybody else is doing, but to do it cheaper, you will be ahead of the game. Easy as that. Over the years, I have collected a number of resources that I use to make my shopping life cheaper and I would like to share some of them with you. The key to these websites / tools isn’t just that they help you find cheap deals, it’s that they are CONVENIENT. I’m not gonna sit here and tell you you should be buying your underwear on eBay because, yes, while you may find it for cheap well, the repercussions seem obvious.

  1. DealsPlus – It’s price-shopping online meets social bookmarking. This isn’t just about you finding the best deals, it’s about EVERYBODY finding the best deals and then sharing that with friends.
  2. DealPly Browser Add-On – This great little add-on follows you around wherever you shop online and, every time it sees you shopping for something, if it can find you a better price for the exact same product elsewhere on the internet, it shows you the better price and where you can get it.
  3. Pricegrabber – This should be on everyone’s list. Whenever you are going to buy anything at all online, stop here first, search for it, and tell me you don’t find it for cheaper.

Use these three things in your online shopping, and you will save money. I guarantee it. It’s as easy as that.

Going Against The Flow

Against the FlowI like to say that in life, you can’t “go against the flow.” You may be able to stay in the stream for a while if you swim real hard. If you’re intense you may even be able to get a little bit further upstream than where you started, but in the end you’ll get tired and flow downstream just like everyone else. There are endless examples in daily life of people trying to go against the flow. Historically it was people fighting to keep slavery alive or to keep women from having the vote. More recently it’s the music and TV industries trying to keep people from streaming or downloading media. It’s gay rights in the United States. It’s all around you – people swimming as hard as they can against the stream and trying to carry everyone else with them. It never has worked, it isn’t working, and it won’t ever work.

More importantly (at least to this article) than people trying to stop the flow, is the fact that, overall, the flow tends to be a very good thing. Alternative energy, freedoms, equality – most of the things the future brings along with it are on the whole better. Now there will be many who contest this and talk about the horrible things the future has brought – and it’s true. New technology and science and movements bring about terrible things. Climate change, for instance, was brought about by technological advances that were just part of the flow. But, I argue, that on the whole – these are just bumps in the road towards a continuously better place.

I read an article on Yahoo recently about online shoppers using their phones to find discounts. In the past, different retailers could price the same good according to how much they thought you would pay for it. QR codes and bar code scanners have changed that reality entirely. Now when I walk into a store to buy a Dyson Vacuum (the one in the link is the one I bought – it’s AWESOME for anybody who is curious), I can instantly check the prices of that same vacuum in 500 different stores in my area and online. The retailer can no longer charge me what he feels like because of my assumed ignorance. I would be highly intrigued to see a study of global retail prices over the last few years (if anyone has something like that, please feel free to comment).

Now retailers are understandably upset about this. More knowledgeable consumers means stronger competition and lowered prices. But, in the end, it all serves to even out the global playing field. Though there were bumps in the road, the result over all, in the end, is always a stronger place than where we were before.

How to Treat Flea Bites

 Fleas in the Home?
If the setup where you live is similar to the setup where I live, there is a very clearly defined order of superiority. In my house, it goes roughly – Cat, Wife, Kids, Plants, Me. Now don’t get me wrong, I love cats and dogs just as much as the next person. They’re nice, they’re fluffy, and you never have to explain to them why you didn’t pay the electricity bill because you just felt like playing video games. That being said, however, pets most certainly have their annoying things too. You have to walk the dog, the cat wakes you up in the middle of the nights, cleaning litter trays, and the list goes one. One of the potentially less discussed, but very real, downsides of furry pets is fleas. My dog brought in fleas from the park last week and we have had a real nightmare getting them out of here. Fleas are a nightmare and the best thing to do is to not let them into your house at all. But – if you wake up in the morning with flea bites and it’s clearly too late for that, what do you do?

Dealing with Flea Bites

Flea bites are not unlike mosquito bites. They are red bumps that are super itchy. If you have lots of bites in big open areas of skin (like you stomach and thighs) then there’s a good chance you’re dealing with fleas. Fleas are parasites that feed off the blood of people (more on that – here). The redness and the itchiness comes from the fact that people are allergic to fleas’ saliva (again, much like with mosquitoes). The bites can leave rashes which can stick around for a week to a week and a half. Since you already have them, you will want to deal with the itchiness and other symptoms. Following are some options:

  • Put ice on the bites as soon as you notice them. Restricting the blood flow to the area will ease the redness.
  • Wash off the area with soapy water. Don’t let the skin get dry because it will make the itching worse.
  • OTC products like hydrocortisone are great for itches. If that’s no helping enough, take an allergy pill.

Homeopathic Solutions

Homeopathy nut? There are no end to the home remedies to flea bites on the market. You have to make sure you research any you are about to use very well though. Just because it’s online doesn’t mean it’s true! Except for this article of course. Having gotten that little disclaimer out of the way, there are many home remedies that can help in this situation.

  • Dip a teabag in hot water and then hold it against the bites.
  • Take an oatmeal bath.
  • Put aloe on the bites.

Anyways, no matter what you do, get those fleas OUT!

To Write or Not to Write

D**N It’s Good to be a Writer

Being self-employed and bringing in cash while doing what you feel like doing – well, there’s nothing better. The first time you get paid for something you have made, the feeling is sublime. Authors who have been writing for a while wind up having great routines with tons of time off and, with the right mix of skill and tenacity, you can make yourself a great salary. The second one of your posts goes viral, or even just reading positive feedback and comments left on one of your posts can make your day.

There’s Nothing Worse than Being a Writer

Those comments that are so great to read? Well – turns out they’re not always that great. Oh and your mom, don’t expect her to be thrilled that this is what you’re doing instead of studying to be a doctor. Until you catch your first break, you’ll be frustrated, tired, and living from paycheck to paycheck. Your friends will think you’re crazy and when you tell people what you do at parties, well let’s just say your lawyer friends are going to get better responses. Rejection is a bummer to say the least and with every article you write, you’re walking in front of a firing squad. Did I mention the paycheck to paycheck? Oh, and working for yourself doesn’t come with health insurance, dental, or paid vacations.

“The freelance writer is a man who is paid per piece or per word or perhaps.”

It’s 2 PM and I’m Still in my Underwear

The title here kind of says it all. When you write for a living, you live on your own deadlines and on your own motivation. You have no bosses to yell at you when something isn’t on time or when you wake up late. This can be a great benefit. Need to go to the bank? Sick? Want to go to the beach? You got it. Motivated writers make their schedules, stick to them, and succeed. On the other hand, flexibility can kill you. Working on your own schedule, it is all too easy to decide that another episode of Dexter is way more important than that dumb paper the client wanted done by the end of the day.

The Bottom Line

So is it worth it? Is it a life of luxury and happiness or of sorrow and hunger? Well, the bottom line is it’s really up to you. Are you good? Do you love doing it? There’s no end to the things that need to be written in the world. Blog posts, books, websites, brochures – the world is your oyster. So, if you think it’s for you, attack it with all you’ve got. Join groups, talk to everyone, and don’t stop till you’ve reached the top.

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