When arrogance and a self serving attitude steal moments from others.

I really don’t like to give Kanye West more attention than he is already getting, because, let’s face it, he doesn’t need any more attention, but I read yet another story about him tonight and I have to share my thoughts.

First, I want to go on record of saying I am an HUGE fan of the Kardashians.  I’m not here to dispute the pros and cons of the family.  I admire their family togetherness, being from a large family myself, I understand how they can be mad at each other one minute and then band together the next minute when one of them is going through something.  Love them or hate them, I think it is clear, to anyone who has watched more than one episode, they are truly a family first and foremost.

Kanye West is not a Kardashian.  He married a Kardashian.  Just because he married one doesn’t mean I automatically have to like him.  I’m not a huge fan of Kim’s anyway, so it’s easy to not like him.

Here is my issue.  I really do not like self-absorbed people.  I know it is easy to sometimes get so caught up in our own feelings and life that anyone of us can come across as self-centered, self-absorbed from time to time, but he takes it to a level I cannot even comprehend.

Tonight the news is all abuzz about him tweeting an apology to Beck.  Isn’t that nice?  He tweeted an apology.  So big of him.  Are you kidding me?  So he tweets an apology and everything is all good and happy with the world again?  Does he truly think that is all it takes?

Let’s look back to the VMAs back in 2009.  Taylor Swift was announced as a winner for best female video.  It was clear she was truly honored and excited to win this award.  Here was a young artist making her move from country to pop, accepting an award she was EXCITED about and out comes Kanye West, interrupting her acceptance speech with bad English “Imma let you finish” and then went on to say Beyoncé had the best video of all time.  How dare he?  How dare he believe he had the RIGHT and the AUTHORITY to take away something so precious to Taylor Swift just because he felt she should not have won?  Who does he think he is? Moments are to be treasured, and he stomped on Taylor Swift’s moment.  Yes, she wins awards, yes she wins lots of awards, but it doesn’t matter.  What mattered on that day back in 2009 was her getting to say thank you and he interrupted it.  He hands the microphone back to her and walks off.  She is silent.  What is she supposed to say?  What did he THINK she would say?    Her moment is dashed by a pompous, arrogant jerk.  Beyoncé tried to make it better by giving Taylor some time when she was given an award, which was sweet, but doesn’t give a moment back. What I find ironic is he takes to his blog shortly after “apologizing” to her in the most in sincerest way possible.  He says he is sorry, then goes on to say Beyoncé’s video was the best of the decade!  Are you kidding me?  How do you call that an apology?  It wasn’t.  It was just a way to save face.  And to bring his mother into it, saying she would have corrected him.  He should have apologized for the horrible apology, but that wouldn’t be sincere either, so why does he even bother to waste his breath?

Kanye West has been a jerk prior to this event, in Europe at an MTV awards event.  Clearly he is a poor loser, even when the loss isn’t directly related to him.

Fast forward to this year.  The Grammys…..West, once again, thinking he is better than EVERYONE else in the room, interrupts Becks Acceptance speech for Album of the Year.  West then plays it off like he’s just joking and walks back off the stage.  Now, before we even talk about what happened in post interviews, let’s talk about this moment.  It was BECK’S MOMENT, not Kanye West’s.  Kanye West has no respect for anyone but himself.  You don’t take away someone’s moment with the thought, “Oh, I can just apologize later and make it better”.  To have such a level of disrespect for others and such a high sense of self is truly disgusting.

Beck was a perfect gentleman and handled it gracefully, but he should not have been put in the position in the first place.

In the post-show interviews, West went on to, surprise surprise, talk about Beyoncé again, saying she should have won.

I just know that the Grammys, if they want real artists to keep coming back, they need to stop playing with us. We ain’t gonna play with them no more. And Beck needs to respect artistry and he should’ve given his award to Beyoncé.

I find it interesting he uses the word respect yet has no idea what the word means.  What is his love affair with Beyoncé?  If I was Jay Z (Beyoncé’s husband) I would be so mad.  It is clear West has an obsession with Beyoncé.  Then the truth comes out he hadn’t even HEARD the album by Beck.  So, he had nothing to compare it to, yet felt he could open his mouth?  Why do they let this man continue to come to award shows?   In my opinion, they should ban him for a whole year from all of the awards and tell him when he grows up and can be respectful of others, he’ll be allowed to attend the shows again.

Of course, now it’s coming out he’s apologizing.  He’s stating he’s going to record with Taylor Swift.  He’s saying how great of an artist Beck is, etc.  All this is saying is he realizes he was, yet again, a disrespectful jerk and has to play nice to pretend he really cares about others.  At some point, when are people going to realize he’s just a jerk?  He’s not going to change.  He’ll act out like a child, then apologize when a parent tells him to, until he does it again.  It also shows how much of an adult Taylor Swift is, trying to put the past behind them and move on.

Of course, West doesn’t stop his attacks on just other artists.   He thinks so highly of himself to believe he has the RIGHT to MAKE concert goers stand up when he commands them to.  At a concert in Australia in 2014, he is filmed saying everyone has to stand up unless they are handicapped.  Then, when two people don’t stand up, he doesn’t just keep going, oh no, he has to send his security team to make sure they were, indeed, handicapped.  News Flash jerk….not every disability is visible!   How about you don’t draw attention to people who probably have unwanted attention drawn on them every day anyway?  Oh that’s right, he doesn’t care about other people’s feelings, only his own.  It was sweet of his wife to stand by her man saying that he qualified who didn’t have to stand up.   Really???  Come on!  If someone wants to pay unbelievable amounts of money to see a pompous jerk, then they have the right to stay seated if they want to.  As much as he want’s people to believe, he isn’t a god.  He doesn’t control other humans.

We have to stop rewarding bad behavior people!   We have to stop allowing these celebrities set the tone for disrespect. The question is WHY do we keep saying it’s ok?  Why do we shrug off the bad behavior when it so blatantly steals another person’s moment(s).

We need to start focusing on respect and truly understanding what the word means, then start showing it as an example, not an exception.

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Pet theme continues; dog food, breeders, and breeds – HaliPawz

Picking the right food for your new fur baby can be daunting.  There are so many things to consider.  Over the last few years of having multiple dogs, multiple breeds in my home, I have learned a lot and wanted to share.  Some of the information I discovered, I wish would have all been in one spot. Since it wasn’t, I’m doing it.  Another thing I discovered is, for every thing I found positive about something, I could also often find something negative.  My best advice, consider the source.

I say consider the source often.  Even as you read this, consider the source (me) as not being an expert.  I do not have a degree in animal nutrition. I’m just someone who likes to investigate things until I am able to draw my best conclusion.

As I mentioned, there are factors that go into picking the best food for your fur babies.  These are in no particular order.

Price. For some, price is a HUGE factor, for others, they want the best no matter what the cost.  I, personally, am more on the latter, I would rather spend more on healthy food for my pets but I also recognized the most expensive does not mean the best for every breed! Do the research before dropping a lot of money.

If price is a factor, then determine how much you can budget before you pick the food.  You may also want to consider the pet you are purchasing.  For example, a Great Dane can go through a 30lb bag of food in two weeks, a Jack Russell may take two months on a 15lb bag.  You may want to scale down and get a medium size dog over a large dog if you are not going to be able to feed them properly.  Remember, dogs are a 7-14+ year commitment and the food bill grows as they grow.  It’s easy to feed a puppy, think about adult size, senior, special diet, etc.

Ingredients.  Look at the ingredients! If the dog food has a lot of dye in it, stay away from it! Yes, I know it makes it look pretty and you feel bad about giving your baby bland dog food, but if you go back and research, almost every recalled dog food has some sort of dye (usually red) listed in the ingredients.  When I saw the most recent recall, Beneful Recall, I was saddened.  First, because I know a lot of people feed it. Second, because it is a Purina brand and, even though I don’t feed their dog food, I do use their horse feed and I believe they are a good company overall for pet food products.  They are a large company manufacturing a variety of pet food products the consumers want.  The last reason I was bothered by it is the red dye in it.  It just solidified my belief about red dye being a problem.

Full disclaimer…I don’t stay away from red dye completely….my dogs do, on occasion, get treats which have red dye in them, such a Beggin Strips, but I am very aware of it and minimize how much; unless Zipper, my JRT, gets into the bag while I’m gone and eats half of it at once! Not saying that happened or anything! (My tweet about it). Of course, I actually try to stay away from red dye in foods myself.  I don’t know why but I remember reading something years ago about it and just stay away. Except red velvet cake. Hey, my dogs get their Beggin Strips, I get my Red Velvet cupcakes.  Moderation!

Continuing with ingredients, as most people know, the first three ingredients are the most prominent items in the dog food.  The more natural the ingredients, the healthier for your pet.  The first three should be a real meat source, not a by-product.  Do not be fooled by the name! There are tricks to confuse you.  If the name clearly states a meat, such as beef, make sure there is no descriptive words with it, such as dinner or meal.  Those are code words for different percentages.  For example, if it says “Beef” and nothing else, then beef has to make up 95% of the main ingredients, if it says “beef dinner or beef meal” then beef only has to make up 25%.  Huge difference! Always look at the ingredients.  It is also important to look at the ingredients because they sometimes use different meats to make up the protein and your pet may be allergic to one and not the other.  I have learned my JRT will eat anything but seems to appreciate red meat more than lamb.  My mastiff has a pickier stomach and was on lamb and did ok, but seems to prefer poultry or red meat as well.

Crude analysis is another important factor.  I used to think the higher protein is always better.  Over time & extensive research, I have learned this is not true.  KNOW YOUR BREED! Understand their needs.  Understand their activity and growth.  I’m going to start with Zipper.  His name says it all.  He flies everywhere.  I’m not sure there is a slow speed on him.  Even walking across the room he does a little prance instead of a slow walk. He is high energy and, at 18lbs, considered a medium size dog.  He goes between Orijen and Acana Ranchland.  Orijen owns Acana, it is just slightly cheaper. His primary food is Acana Ranchlands.  It is 31% protein and 17% crude fat.  The ingredients are a long list of protein rich foods.  He does great on it.

I felt bad not feeding Bella, my mastiff, Acana, but I just couldn’t afford it.  After doing research, I learned Zipper’s food is a little too high in protein for her.  I was feeding her Earthborn Holistic Great Plains Feast and she did well on it, but I would notice she would be stiff at night after playing at the dog park.  I almost switched her to a different food based on a friend’s suggestion of breeder recommended, which I will discuss in a minute.   I did not switch her brand, just her type.  I switched her to Earthborn Holistic Large Breed and I am happy I did!  It is 26% protein, which is 1% higher than recommended for her breed but she is extremely athletic, so the 1% will not affect her at all and 13% crude fat. Well within the recommended percentage.  In addition, it has Glucosomine & Chondroitin in it!  Within two weeks of the switch, I saw a huge difference in her stiffness! The friend I mentioned earlier? He has switched to it as well. I still give her a supplement of Glucosomine & Chondroitin as well, but she gets the majority from her food.

If you have a giant breed or large breed, there is a lot of information floating around the Internet.  People get passionate about their way being the best way.  This is where I say to use some common sense as well.  In my opinion, when I read WHY Great Dane puppies should not have as much protein because of how fast they grow, it MADE SENSE to me.  At the same time, you have to be aware of when to switch them from puppy food to adult food.  Some Great Danes grow until 3 years, that doesn’t mean they should be on puppy food for 3 years.  Do your research.  Read a few REPUTABLE articles.  Consider the source.  Are they getting a kickback? Do they have a vested interest in a particular product.  Also consider their activity level.  As I mentioned, my mastiff is more active than a typical mastiff.  She will play for hours at the dog park with male dogs half her age.  She will go to the barn and run around.  She is ACTIVE so more protein is good for her.  She even gets a half cup of Zipper’s food mixed in with hers from time to time.  She loves it.

Now I want to talk about breeder recommendations.  Breeders are in a business, especially large breeders.  When their reputation goes up, they become a target.  They will be approached by companies to promote their product, in return, they usually get the product for free or at cost.  Think about it; you’re feeding a lot of dogs for FREE and you are selling the puppies for profit? Of COURSE you’ll consider it.  Most of the time, the product is good, it would be considered upper middle of the road.  Affordable for most people.  It happens in every industry.   I’m not saying the product is bad, but just keep in mind, there is usually some sort of kickback.

***I do want to put my plug-in here for ADOPT over breeders.  You can get purebred dogs / puppies from shelters and rescues.  Unless you need a breed for a specific reason, job, or you plan to show them, please consider adoption from a local rescue or shelter. ***

There are great tools available to help you sort through the details.  One great resource is DogFoodAdvisor.com where it rates the different brands. Please note, they can only rate one or two types per brand, so I would also suggest looking at the company website if your flavor is not reviewed.  It is important to also read the review, not just the visible rating.  You will see key areas of concern or items they were not able to evaluate because the company didn’t make it available.  That could be important.  If the company won’t disclose key nutrient information then you may not want to feed it! There is the flip side as well, sometimes the product may be better than 5 stars, but they only rate on a 5 star tier so all 5 stars are not equal.

So, now for some money-saving tips.

If you decide to feed a premium dog food, most of them participate in a rewards program.  Both Acana and Earthborn do.  For every 12 bags I purchase, I get the 13th free.  All I have to do is save the UPC. Ask your local pet store if they participate.  Three locations in Kansas City sell Bella’s food, K9 Closet, Brookside Barkery & Bath, and Blue Parkway Bait & Pet Supplies.  Blue Parkway does not sell Zipper’s food.  All three locations participate in the 12 bags / 1 free program.  Usually big box pet stores, like PetSmart and Petco do not sell the brands that participate.

Get on an email list for both the food and the  store you end up purchasing from or join their social media page(s).  I receive a $3 coupon off Earthborn every 4-6 weeks.  I know it’s not a lot, but it helps.  If you are at a dog friendly event in town and they have a booth, ask the rep for coupons.  Let them know you currently feed and how much you love it.  You’ll be surprised.  I know this post is about dog food, but I can say I have received coupons for a whole bag of horse feed just by asking! I have also received free small bags of Orijen and Acana just because I asked.  The food is expensive! They know it!  I won’t say it works all the time, but it does sometimes.

If you’re staying in the mid range, visit your wholesale clubs like Sam’s Club or Costco.  Find out which brands they carry, then look them up on Dog Food Advisor.  I know at one time, Sam’s Club had a four star rated food for a great price! Not sure if they still do. Another location to look at for dog food is Tractor Supply.  They have started carrying grain free dog food at a reasonable price and many people do not think about them.

I hope this helps you in determine the right dog food for your baby.  Remember to consider each dog is different, each breed is different, and each need is different.  What’s right for YOU is what is important!

This article was written purely for information.  I received no kickback or request to write it. It all started because I posted something about red dye on the Beneful recall I saw on Facebook.

If you enjoyed this article, please follow me on Twitter @HaliPawz or like me on Facebook HaliPawz

Traveling with pets? My go to hotel is LaQuinta when available – HaliPawz

I love travelling with my two dogs.  They are part of my everyday life, so it only makes sense I enjoy them when I am on the road as well.  When I moved from Michigan to Missouri eleven years ago, I learned how to travel better with my one dog, Jake, because I was on the road so much for work.  Even traveling home for a visit, I had to plan accordingly because it wasn’t always easy to find a place to stop if I drove.  When I flew, Jake had to be in a travel carrier and travel as cargo.  I hated it.  I was always worried something would happen to him.  It caused me to choose car as a way of traveling instead.  A thirteen hour drive without stopping can make for a long trip, especially when I was traveling after working all day.

Then I discovered the LaQuinta hotel chain!  They quickly became my go to hotel chain of choice.

Let’s discuss the reasons why:

LaQuinta currently operates over 830 locations throughout the US, Mexico, and Canada.  I know they have grown quite a bit over the last few years, so they are becoming easier and easier to find in a location I am traveling to.  Of course, I have emailed them more than once to open one up in my home town of Port Huron, Michigan so I can stay there when I go home to visit family.  Maybe one day!  They may not always be in the prime spot in the city, so if you are hoping for an ocean view room, or a location right in the heart of the city you are traveling to, then you may want to consider a different hotel, but they are usually within a close proximity of where I want to be.

LaQuinta is affordable!  Yes, cost is a huge factor for me when I travel.  I try to find the best priced location when I travel and I have found LaQuinta to participate in many of the travel discounts available.  This is an important side note, LOOK FOR DISCOUNTS!!!!  You should NEVER pay full price for any hotel.  Don’t always assume the discount option you chose the last time is the cheapest option this time.  I will write another blog about traveling on a budget later.

The rooms are nice.  Now, I do want to put in a disclaimer.  If I am not familiar with the location, I will call them to find out if they are a corporate location or a franchise.  If they are a corporate location, I will book with them in a heartbeat.  If they are a franchise location, I will first look to see if there is another location within the same proximity.  If there isn’t, I will go and look for reviews, study the pictures, and I will have to consider if I still want to book at the location.  Not every franchise location is bad, but there has consistently been a difference in the quality of the rooms between the franchise locations and the corporate locations.  The corporate locations have been redesigned.  The rooms are nice, the colors are cheery, the staff always seem to be friendly.

Speaking of staff, the staff is another reason I like to choose the LaQuinta hotels when I travel with my dogs.  With the exception of one location in Georgie, I NEVER feel like traveling with my dogs is a pain to them.  I never feel like I have to hide the fact my dogs are with me.  The staff seem genuinely happy to see them.  They greet them.  They smile when they see them.

All of their locations, with three exceptions, are dog friendly in the US.  I have never travelled outside of the US with my pets, so I can not speak for their Mexico and Canada locations.  I was told the reason the three do not is because of where they are built, there is no grass for the dogs to be taken outside, so they cannot be welcoming of pets.

They have a great rewards program.  If you do any traveling, always look into the hotels rewards program, but I can attest to LaQuinta’s being great.  It is so easy to earn free nights or turning the points into gift cards, airline miles, charitable donations, magazines, or even luxury resort partnerships.  I use mine for free nights except one time I turned it in for a gift card.  Redeeming for a free night is extremely easy.  You can do it on their website or by making a phone call.  I have never had a problem redeeming points, even at midnight ten minutes before I arrived at the hotel because I was driving overnight and got tired.

Their rewards program is on a tiered system, where the more you stay, the quicker it is for you to earn points towards a free night.  I have been at the Platinum level every year except this year.  I am not traveling as much so I am not staying in any hotel as much as I used to.  Another nice thing about their rewards program is you usually receive a follow up survey about your stay.  While you do not earn any points for filling it out, I can speak from personal experience someone DOES indeed read them and follow up.  On the rare occasion I have had a bad experience, I receive follow up rather quickly and even received a partial refund on my stay because of the situation. I can probably count on one hand how many times I have had a bad experience, so when it does happen, it doesn’t deter me from the brand, just that location.

One of the best reasons for choosing LaQuinta when traveling with pets is because they do not have a breed restriction, a size restriction, or a number’s restriction.  They are just as happy to see my 100lb Neapolitan Mastiff Bella as they are to see my lovable, Jack Russell Terrier Zipper.  Of course, Zipper wins them over because he constantly tries to jump up on the counter (a bad habit he was taught at a LaQuinta we frequented often shortly after I adopted him).  There are a few locations that ask you to fill out a pet release where you include your cell phone number.  There are some that state the animal can not be left in the room unattended.  I find these are usually at the franchise locations.  I have never had a problem at a corporate location.

Most of the corporate locations have designated areas to walk your dog, including pick up bags.  The property is usually well maintained, so you don’t have to worry about stepping in messes left from lazy dog owners.  The dogs are not allowed in the breakfast area, for obvious reasons.  They do not want dogs in the area where food is served.  They are usually welcomed in the lobby area provided they are behaving and leashed.  Again, the only exception I have ever had is the location in Georgia where I was clearly informed they were not allowed in the lobby and I had to remove them.  It stunk because I was with a large group, my entire family was staying there, so I would have preferred to have my dog with me instead of locked up in the room, but I respected their wishes.

Speaking of breakfast areas, they have a decent continental breakfast.  There are always waffles, one of their signature items, but then, depending on the location, they may have biscuits and gravy or hard boiled eggs, in addition to the traditional continental breakfast items.

So, the next time you are getting ready to plan a trip and your fur babies are going with you, consider staying at a LaQuinta if one is available in you area of travel.  You can visit their site, which is easy to navigate, at LQ.com.  It is important to remember, as pet owners, you are responsible for your pet.  If they have an accident on the floor, CLEAN it up.  If they are chewers on doors, don’t leave them unattended.  Even if your dog is well behaved off leash, when you are staying at a hotel, USE A LEASH!  Not only is it probably a requirement where you are, but you also don’t know what other dogs are going to be traveling.  Just because a dog travels, doesn’t mean they are dog friendly.  My Jack Russell is not dog friendly.  More than once, I have had to tell a dog owner to recall their dog because it comes running up to mine off leash.  I am always quick to say he isn’t dog friendly from a distance but too many owners say, “Oh, my dog gets along with everyone.”  Those are the owners who ruin it for everyone else.

I want to note I wrote this blog completely to help other owners.  LaQuinta was not aware of this blog at all.  I do want to say a special thank you to one LaQuinta.  I never formally thanked the La Quinta Inn Little Rock at Rodney Parham Rd  1010 Breckenridge Dr., Little Rock, AR for their amazing support towards me and my late Rat Terrier Jake.  Jake was suffering with cancer and our last trip was to Little Rock.  We had been there many times, so the staff knew him and me very well.  I am sure the same staff is not there as this was back in 2008, but his last couple of days here, he lost control of his bowels.  He stopped eating.  He, sadly, had a horrible accident in the hotel room.  I knew the end was near.  I took him to a veterinary down there and they were able to get him rehydrated and we took the chance of getting him home to Kansas City, to his cancer specialist.  When I told the staff about the accident and offered to pay extra for cleaning, not only did they tell me to not worry about it, but they were genuinely concerned about him and me.  When I notified them of his passing, many of them I had encountered throughout my stays signed a card and mailed it to me.  I have never forgotten how wonderful they were.  I had ever made a collage for them to hang up, but circumstances happened and I wasn’t able to return for a couple years.  By then, they had a new manager and it didn’t seem fitting to give them the collage.  Even with new staff, that particular location will always hold a special place in my heart.

Zipper in Little Rock.

Zipper in Little Rock.

I hope this helps the readers the next time they are getting ready to travel with their pet(s).

 

If you like this article and other articles I’ve written, please follow me on twitter @HaliPawz and like me on Facebook.com/HaliPawz

Why are all the good ones taken? – HaliPawz

Well, I finally met the man of my dreams, only to find out he already has a woman! Oh well, it happens sometimes! Oh, did I mention, he’s fictional?

Hot, Rich, and Fictional; Two out of three isn’t bad is it?

Life is interesting sometimes.  One minute you are living your life, fitting eyeglasses, talking to someone about contacts, the next minute you are looking up a comic book reference at 4:30am. Wait a minute….WHAT????

No, I am not losing my mind, at least not today, I hope. I’ll skip all the boring stuff and fast forward to today.  As a member of Randomocity, I realize I am clueless about life’s important things, you know, comic books, superheroes, Star Wars, etc. I sent Frank, aka Beefcake, aka my boss a text the other day confirming “May The Force Be With You” and “Light Sabers” are both, indeed, from Star Wars. Yes, I sent it.  Yes, I’m sure he just shook his head. More than once. I’m sure as he reads this, he will be.  I will be teased about it AGAIN.  It’s OK, I know they are just teasing me in fun and it is funny how clueless I am sometimes when it comes to comics.

I’m an intelligent woman by most standards; high IQ, well spoken.  I have a Think Geek account which I use.  I have always had a love of math and science.  All of that goes out the window because I don’t know my superheroes and villains!  I am now the silly blond chick around the guys.  I think they secretly wonder why they added me! They entertain the listeners, I entertain them with my lack of knowledge of the important [to them] stuff; it’s a win win!

As I was perusing social media, I came across an @UberFacts tweet that caught my attention.

IMG_2103

I recognized Marvel, I recognized DC Comics….who the heck is Black Panther? How is he the richest? Of course, I read the re-tweets and the replies and I see quite a few saying Bat Man / Bruce Wayne is.  Hmm, I love a good debate, even when I am not familiar about both parties involved!

IMG_2105

Thank you comicvine.com for the perfect picture to go with my story!

I decide to dig a little deeper about this debate.  If there is nothing I have not learned already, BEFORE I share something “Comic” related, I need to do my research or I will be teased mercilessly!  It’s borderline abuse I tell you! Ok, maybe not, but my investigative mind wants to know more.  I find an interesting article about the Black Panther character.  He owns his own country which has the world’s only deposit of the most precious metal: Vibranium. He’s rich. $500B rich.  Richer than Bruce Wayne, who, according to Forbes is only worth $9.2B (he went up $3B in one year).

This led me to my next question; why hasn’t Black Panther made the Forbes list if he’s worth more than all of the other ones listed?  You would think $500B would be enough to get noticed.

I’m sure there are a lot of explanations and I’m curios what my Randomocity counterparts will have to say about it, but since it is only 5:30am, I decided to share my story rather than wait for their answers.

Of course, the only question I REALLY should be asking myself is….why am I researching fictional character’s net worth at any time of the day and how do I meet the Black Panther because, well, he’s hot AND rich!

http://www.randomocitypodcast.com/#!Hot-Rich-and-Fictional-Two-out-of-three-isnt-bad-is-it/c1oqh/1C5CBAAD-1EED-4FAF-A97C-C30CF055DC3B

Internet Safety Tutorial #3; Internet Explorer Pop Up Dangers – HaliPawz

I realize it has been a while since I have done one of my “internet safety” blogs and this one is long overdue.  This blog is not for the computer savvy for more for those who play with their computer, using it mostly to connect to family and friends, look items up, mostly using it for fun.  You may not realize how easy it is to get fooled into clicking something which could put dangerous spyware; (to learn more about spyware, click here) on your computer.  Those attempting to infiltrate your computer to get your information are getting better.  Think about a criminal in general, the more they perfect their craft, the better they are.  Well over time, that is what those trying to put spyware on your computer are doing…each and every day.

This tutorial is more for those using desktop or laptop computers.  First, I can not stress enough how important it is to have some type of anti-spyware, anti-virus software on your computer.  There are a variety of good ones.  I am not an expert on them, so I will turn to the experts.  PCMag wrote an article on the best ones for 2015.  It is definitely worth the read.

Today I am sharing a very common problem you will see on a lot of desktop and laptop computers running on Windows.

Have you ever seen a notice like this pop up on a screen when you have internet explore (the internet) open?

Media Player HD Spam

The first thing to notice is it looks legit.  Before you click anything, take a minute and think; Did I request anything that would open my media player (in case you don’t know, your media player is what plays songs, videos, etc.)

The next thing to do is to look at the URL and see where it is from.  The URL is the area at the top of your screen that you type in the .com you are going to.

Internet Safety Tutorial Feb 2015

As you can see, this one says “ad120” so it is a clear guess it is some type of advertisement or spyware, but they are not always this clear.

Another example of attempted spyware:

20150219_181021213_iOS

Just because you have an alert does not mean it is from your computer!  It does not mean your computer is outdated.  Again, make sure to look at the URL.

Internet Safety Tutorial Feb 2015 2

If you are not sure, CLOSE the screen.  Run a computer check if you feel you need to.  Run a virus check.  Bottom line, don’t take a chance, you don’t need to give a hacker access to your computer.

Staying safe when on the internet isn’t difficult, you just have to take a minute and THINK about what you are seeing on your screen before clicking “ok”. Use this thought before clicking on anything on the internet, not just on internet explorer but on social media links and emails.

Criminal on your bucket list? FOCUS on the movie for instructions A Randomocity Submission

I find myself at the Alamo Drafthouse Theater again for a movie premier. Tonight I saw Focus starring Will Smith and Margot Robbie.

This is the first time I have ever been upstairs at the Alamo. (To read my previous review on the Alamo Theater, click here)  There is a table shared between two chairs instead of the solid table in front of the row like I am used to. It wouldn’t be bad if you were sharing a table with someone you know, but a single ticket had been given for seat one, so everyone was off a seat, resulting in trying to share a little table with someone you don’t know. While not horrible, you were more aware of your actions.  I was trying to be courteous throughout the movie.

I actually watched the trailer earlier today so I would have an idea what it was about. I was happy to see it was about a woman learning how to be a better criminal. I have always fancied myself as able to commit the perfect crime if I was inclined to do so.

To read my movie review in its entirety, visit Randomocity Podcast Network.

Follow your dreams, when you hit a fork, don’t be afraid to explore

Sometimes moments happen to us that we don’t always understand but we need to embrace them, cherish them, and grow as a person from them.  I stepped away from my safe job about a year ago to take a chance on myself.  I had three goals:  Start my own business, Finish my book(s), and Blog my personal ideas and thoughts, separate from the business writing.  Of course, the overall goal is to be successful at all of it.

I made mistakes when I first started out.  I thought it was all about making a quick dollar and I forgot about where my passion lied within the network of the business.  Then fear set in.  Fear I had made a mistake.  Fear I wouldn’t be successful.  Almost to the point where I didn’t even want to continue with my business endeavors.

Then it all started kicking in.  I needed to go back to the root of WHY I wanted to start the business.  I needed to be reminded WHY I was writing my book(s), I needed to remember WHY I wanted to share my voice with whomever would read my blogs.  I made changes.  I put the focus where it needed to be.

Almost a year later, here is where I am.  My business concept has taken a completely different turn in more ways than one.  I love to make people laugh, I love to make people think, I love to help people.  How do I turn that all into something successful?  I don’t know yet.  What I do know is it is important to look at the paths you go down, the paths you cross and not let uncertainty or fear cause you to miss out on an amazing opportunity.

I’m not where I want to be yet fiscally with my business.  Surprisingly, my personal writing has been getting more attention then I thought it would and I have been told I have a gift to write, so I decided to venture out and see if I could supplement my income with my writing.  I stumbled upon an intern position for Randomocity Podcast Network.  Intern position at my age?  No thank you.  I moved on.  Wait, it was for a podcast.  Let me go back and read it again.  I think I read the job description about five or six times.  Something kept telling me to apply.  I argued with myself; it’s an INTERN position!  I needed something to SUPPLEMENT my income, not take more time away.

Randomocity Logo

I applied with the thought, I’ll keep looking for something else, but it doesn’t hurt to see what they have to say.  I heard back and they liked my writing.  Yay!  I submitted something else for them, which I discussed in the blog “Deflated Balls in your Face…”  and set up the interview.  I wasn’t sure why I was going.  Looking at their social media interaction, they didn’t have a strong impact.  I kept saying it was a good way to get my writing and name out there, but if their social media numbers were any indication, was it really going to help me?  Yes, it was a podcast and for some reason, I had been intrigued by the concept for a while now.  The only problem was, every indication from them was they really just wanted me as a blogger, not on the podcast.  I was disappointed about it, but thought, I’m in it this far, just go and see what they have to say.

I can honestly say it was the best interview I have ever been on.  I was so excited!  Not only was I going to get to write for them, but they were also going to consider me for the podcast!  There was something about this business I was drawn to from the beginning and the excitement of being involved wasn’t going away, it was only getting stronger.  Not to mention the fact their social media numbers did not, in any way, reflect their listener base, which made me extremely happy.

I made a huge mistake and listened to a bunch of podcasts over the course of a few days.  No, it wasn’t a mistake!  I’m joking about that, but it was a mistake in the sense panic set in.  I’m not this funny.  These guys are hilarious!  I could not stop laughing from the minute they started to the minute they ended.  What was I getting myself into?  I love to laugh, yes, I make others laugh from time to time, but I had also been reminded over the years of how “unfunny” I was from people I had known.  I think the thing I was truly drawn to with the podcasts is, from time to time, they would discuss something I had no interest in or no knowledge of, but I would still listen, I would still laugh, and yes, at times, I would be curious about what they were discussing.  When anyone can get my attention about a subject I have no interest in, I’m sold!  They would do it time and time again AND I was going to be a part of it.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  I’m NOT funny!  I was devastated.  Then, through conversation with the owner, he reminded me I might not make it into the podcast.  They had to test me on the mic to see how I did.  My heart sank.  I don’t know how to explain it, but I felt like my excited emotional moment came crashing to a harsh stop.  I already knew I wasn’t funny.  They would do the test with me and discover it for them themselves and my heart would be broken.  I considered saving myself, and them, the trouble, and just telling them it wasn’t for me. I couldn’t.  I REALLY wanted this.  I really felt drawn to this company.  No matter how many times I tried to convince myself why I shouldn’t, my heart won.  I felt led to this and I was going to take a chance on myself!

I was a bundle of nerves the first day I went to record.  I had so much nervous energy, I swept and mopped my floors, I baked cookies, I did laundry.  Looking at the cookies cooling, I thought, “hey, why not take some to them?” I sure didn’t want them all in my house to eat.  I’m trying to lose weight, not gain!  I got dressed, packed up some cookies, and headed out the door.

Within minutes, I was at ease.  While I didn’t get to meet the whole team at once, it was clear I was in a comfortable setting. The guys appreciated the cookies, score one for the new girl! Of course, now I’m thinking I will have to bake often because they are going to expect more cookies, but I’m ok with it.  The little voice in the back of my mind kept telling me, “You might still suck on mic, don’t get too excited” and “You aren’t funny!” but I refused to listen.  We hit a few snags getting started, which you will hear about in the podcast, but it was all handled with fun and laughter.

Laughter.  Laughter is something you can never get enough of and it is something I do non stop when I am around these guys.  I also realized when you are around people who truly appreciate you for you, who genuinely have a gift of comedy, and are just overall great people, it is easy to be funny around them.  Yes, I am funny when I am with them!  What???  I get to be myself and help make others laugh? Am I dreaming?

I have since met all three guys.  I know I am the luckiest woman right now.  I have an opportunity to work with some of the most intelligent, funny,  down to earth guys, you could ever meet; doing something I truly enjoy.  All because I kept fear away and took a chance on something I wanted to try.

I am blessed.

The show IS so good, it ended up being split into two parts. Please take some time and listen.  I am sure you won’t regret it.  As you can hear from my laughter, I laughed throughout the whole thing and then laughed again when I listened to it.  I really need to work on laughing quieter, I know!

Randomocity #15 The VD Special Volume 1

Randomocity #15.2 The VD Special Episode 2  

Of course, after you listen to it, you will understand the following, but I have to make sure to put this social media plug in as well.

If you are on Facebook, please LIKE them at Facebook.com/RandomocityPodcast

On Twitter, Follow them @RadomocityPod

On Instagram: RandomocityPodcastNetwork

The quicker their count gets to 1000, the quicker you all get to hear sound bites of men screeming in pain!  Who doesn’t want that?

Follow your dreams, invest in yourself, believe in yourself!  There is no limit when you are your own cheerleader!