Wednesday, December 30, 2009

March Showers Bring...Mayweather

mayweather.jpgI was hearing about Floyd Mayweather, Jr., in the news again. First I heard that he dumped his dad as his trainer. Then, the father finds another rising star to train. The family resemblance is remarkable, and he discovers that the new boxer is actually a son he didn't know about. Apparently, Floyd, Sr., was popular with the ladies. I think father and son...and son...are back together now, but the whole thing reads like a soap opera. Actually, its more like a Jerry Springer episode because there are fist fights.

Mayweather is making his next appearance on March 13, 2009 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The tickets to Mayweather vs Pacquiao fight are already on sale. Tickets range from $1,099 to $24,995! Holy smokes! Someone like me is definitely not going to be making it, but I suppose that the fight would make for some extreme celebrity sighting.


Sunday, December 27, 2009

Fuzzy Math is Clear Now

It is widely believed that we, as a nation, are lagging behind in math skills as far as the K-12 grade level goes. There are two very divided schools of thought. One side wants to continue to have universities be very stringent, only allowing students who have not only passed, but have mastered Algebra 2 and Geometry.

The other school of thought is to teach kids practical math. If they find an application where they can actually use what they have learned, or need to acquire the new skill to be able to do the activity, they will be more motivated to learn it. In other words, sitting to solve math word problems that a child will never ever encounter in life outside of math class is dumped in favor of learning other subjects, and then the math that applies.

No matter what opinion matches yours, it is going to be a long time before things change. In the meantime, or even if it changes, kids are still going to need Algebra help.

There is a an online tutoring site called Tutor Vista which is available 24 hours a day to help with math skills. One can get help there from elementary school math all the way up to math answers for college.

There is a package, where for $99.99 a month, you can receive help for all subjects, as many times as you want at the K-12 level. $34.99 covers one week. You can also get help and just pay for the number of questions you have that you want a tutor to help you solve. You can go to the site and ask a question for free just to try it out if you like. First time users always get a free demo.

I am wondering sometimes if the site is less for the kids and more for the parents helping them. I know there are times when I am a bit rusty, and don't want to confuse a child by starting out a problem the wrong way.

Have you tried online tutoring? If so, what did you think?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

DirecTV: Set It and Forget It

I am amazed how integrated technology is these days. I can check my email from my phone. I can call my home phone and listen through my answering machine to see if the dogs are behaving. I can start my car with a click of a button while I sit inside the house. Now, I can program my DVR from my phone, too. What would Thomas Edison think of all this?

There is a Directv application that enables me to tell my DVR what to have ready for me when I get home. You may say that it is redundant with the frequency that shows and movies sometimes repeat on Direct TV, and it doesn't justify a download to my phone. However, what happens if I am not home for ANY of those times? I could be on the road or be having fun in the snow, when a neighbor or a colleague talks about a must see show.

Right now, there are specials on DirectTv, where you get a fantastic super duper low price, under $30 per month, for a Total Choice, all the way until 2011 hits us. Of course, the price adjusts then, but for what you save throughout the year, you can put away for a fancy new phone to have conversations with your DVR through.

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Myrtle Beach: Swing, Swing, Swing!

antquegolfer.jpgMyrtle Beach once seemed to be exclusively a spring break destination. Did you know that Myrtle Beach Golf Vacations were even more popular? Because of the mild weather and the amenities, golfers flock to the area almost year round.

There is now a website,, that offers the inside scoop on Myrtle Beach Golf. You can use the site to check out the amenities at the various golf courses. After you choose your course, you can find out if the property is offering any specials or promotions.

In other words, you can create the perfect Myrtle Beach Golf packages that fits all of your specifications. In fact, you don't have to limit yourself to just one course and just one day. There are special packages that allow you to play at a variety of courses. You can walk in the footsteps of legendary golfers, or you can go for a package that highlights the most beautiful golf courses as far as natural features and foliage.

Whatever you decide, it is sure to be a memorable trip when you golf Myrtle Beach.


Monday, December 21, 2009

Last Minute Gift: What About Event Tickets?

celticwoman.jpgThe Christmas shopping is almost complete. The only ones I have left to buy for are Mom and Dad. They are so hard to buy for because they have so many knickknacks that it is getting a little ridiculous. They are moving to a new home, yet I counted 127 snowman figurines. I have no clue where they are going to put them all.

The idea for their gift hit me when they were sitting on the sofa watching television. They really like a couple of performers that are shown on PBS. I thought that the idea of Celtic Woman Tickets would be perfect. It is something they can't possibly already have, and they won't have to dust it.

While I was perusing selections online, I found that had a variety of tickets to not just concert hall type of events, but I also found that they have all the other concerts American Airlines Center Tickets as well. Some close friends of mine live in the Dallas area, and it is easy to buy tickets to local shows for them online.

In fact, I also considered buying some Calgary Flames Tickets for my hockey loving friends. I at first considered gift certificates to the site, but considered that with a certificate, they may never really go. They may forget about the gift until its too late. This way, they can't weasel out of having a good time.


Never Too Late to Fix Your Credit

It is so important to do a little health check on your finances at the end of each year. Summer is actually an even better time. It is equally important for people who have had a major change in their life such as a divorce, or a marriage. For me, this year marks a year of "starting over." There is so much debt that I have that is from the mere restructuring of my life. I just had no idea how a life change could affect you.

There are a few things you can do in the way of credit repair, such as pulling your credit reports and examining them carefully. Check the items that may be wrongly listed on your credit report, and try to make amends to some that you in truth have defaulted on or have forgotten about. You can file a credit dispute if you find something that does not seem quite right, such as a debt of a person with a similar name, or a credit inquiry that you did not authorize.

While it does take seven years to fix credit in most cases, as some negative marks hang on that long, there are a number of ways that you can make major improvements in spite of that. Pay all current bills on time, of course, to create a new track record. Creditors may give you a break if you made mistakes in the past but your recent history is good. Do not give up hope. You can do it, even if it takes consolidating or cutting back. However, most bad credit is generating with missing payments for reasons of mismanagement rather than not having the funds.

Not everyone was blessed with clean credit, but with some diligence, you can get yourself a lot closer to the reality of complete credit repair.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Garden Benches: Rest Awhile and Reflect

The weather outside, in some places anyhow, is frightful. However, some folks are already thinking about spring time. More specifically, they are thinking about rolling out the product lines for garden supplies to introduce as soon as Christmas is over. In fact, I received a flier in the mail about stone benches and patio furniture.

It may seem a little soon, but I have thought of many other great uses for stone garden benches. They create a focal point, whether your garden is vast or just a little corner where the house jogs. It can provide a place to rest or to reflect. In public gardens, where there is little space for every statue for every single thing people want to commemorate, a bench can be a considerate addition to guests. That is why sometimes they are used as memorial benches.

Memorial benches are not just for cemeteries. They can be used to remind students at a college of the generosity of living donors, or to commemorate an event that happened on a specific spot. In an area that is steeped in history, having a bench as a historical marker gives folks a place to take a break and learn something at the same time.

Friday, December 11, 2009

One More Tool In Your Chest: IT Certification

There are many programs that offer certificate programs and degrees online. They range from general studies to certification in computer science, online study courses to support attendance in a traditional university, and even Master's Degrees. The main point of contention is that you can only learn so much from a book. To really grasp a concept that prepares you for working in the field is to actually have some interaction with classmates and hands on instruction.

When the Network Learning Institute was founded, it was tailored to that very concern. Application of the knowledge gained online and through correspondence has little value if one can't "transform those facts into useful application-level knowledge that you can rely on day-in, day-out.”

The Institute was developed with top CCIE® and MCSE certified professionals, so you can be assured that you won't be learning anything superfluous or irrelevant. Courses and certifications include CISCO, Microsoft and Ethical Hacking. While it doesn't replace a Bachelor's Degree in some cases, it enhances the degree you have to help you get a real world job, and also rates your skills. Some individuals without a degree are using the certifications to get a step up in their field. Where a company may downsize and shed its administrative staff, an administrative assistant who can set up or maintain the company's computer network or can write or fix programs because infinitely more indispensable.

If you have recently become unemployed and can't decide where to turn, a certification may help you reenter the workforce armed with valuable skills.

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Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Moving: Your TV is Ready

In my moves, I have come full circle. Actually, for those who are sticklers for geometry, I have come full triangle. I have lived in several states and if you connect the dots, it forms a giant isoceles triangle. The biggest pain about moving were my utilities. It was easy to transfer when I moved to the other side of the same town, but sometimes when I moved to a completely different area and had no experience with the particular company, I had to place a hefty deposit on the table.

The utility that was the easiest was my Directv service. All I had to do was call them and let them know where I was moving to. I kept my box, left my satellite, and another one was at my new house shortly. I would imagine the old satellite was not left behind for convenience, but perhaps to encourage the new tennants to sign up for Direct TV. After all, they already had the equipment and that was half the battle.

When I moved last time, my parents seemed to think that I was moving to another country, but I assured them that there was water, stop signs and Direct TV in Florida. I know. It was very difficult for them to believe until they visited and saw for themselves.

What made things even easier was that satellite TV keeps the same number on the dial for a channel no matter where you are in the country. You don't have to sit with a list of channels next to you, or taped onto the clicker.

Hopefully, knowing that you can set up your TV at your new place easy will make your move a bit more smooth this time.

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Holiday Travel Plans Up In the Air? Better Hurry.

The race is on for last minutes holiday travel plans. In fact, two of my friends have not gone through the motions of purchasing airline tickets yet. You would think that my friends would have made reservations months ago. After all, it is not like the date for Christmas is up in the air, and a committee decides on December 1st when it will be. It has been pretty set in stone for a very long time.

Truth be told, we all procrastinate in one way or another. At least they have a bit more of a valid excuse than I do. They have relatives who are very sick and they are not sure if they will need to go to their home state sooner than the holidays, or if they will be required to stay for several weeks after. If their families decide to do something else entirely, considering the situation, that is another variable.

At this point, their ability to obtain reasonable airfare is negligible. In fact, at this time of year, the concept of what cheap tickets are is wildly subjective. At other times of the year, $300-400 would seem like highway robbery, but for some reason, when you are in a pinch, it seems suddenly reasonable. I am not sure what they are going to do. They also have to procure a dog sitter and other what not and of course, the clock is ticking. Next year, I would propose that they just make plans regardless of what everyone else is doing. If holiday travel involves going to an alternate location, like a sunny destination and leaving relative behind, or booking a trip home and staying at a hotel if relatives are unable to host them, so be it.

Are you stuck in the last minute scramble for decisions, seats and tickets? If so, how are you faring? Will we ever learn?


Poker: A Bit Like Russian Roulette

My late uncle used to be obsessed with online games. He used to be tapping away way into the night, playing online games with his brother, son, best friend, and sister-in-law from across the miles. It was kind of neat to be able to connect in that way. His son, my cousin, was more into checking out poker tools. Of course, his relatives discouraged it. It was okay for him to write software for it, but they didn't want him playing it because of the habits that it could create. After all, sometimes the poker odds chart tells the story about the value of putting a $5.00 bill in your piggy bank versus setting it out on a bet.

He proved everyone wrong. He ended up winning big in a poker tournament after years of playing online. He was considering filming some poker videos before, but feared that his mom or other folks would see him and recognize him. Now, of course, he has nothing to worry about.

I do caution everyone to strongly think about what they are doing if they are participating in online poker. Not everyone hits the jackpot. Also, my cousin spent long hours online. Friends dropped off rapidly because he was up all night playing online and was asleep whenever they called for him to do something.

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Monday, December 07, 2009

The Channel Shuffle

Periodically, the channels on Direct TV shuffle around. Occasionally, they change locations. A channel might move up the street to a new channel number. Recently, one of my favorite channels slightly changed is name. The Scifi channel changed its name to Syfy. Why? It had to do with image and market share. As far me, I will continue to tune in to shows on DirectTV that I enjoy. I just hope they are not all phased out. It used to be a curse I had. If I liked a new show, it is very likely to be canceled.

I guess I really don't care what is done, as long as my favorite channels don't get bumped up into another channel package. It sometimes figures that the one channel I watch the most adds an extra twenty dollars to the package because it belongs to an additional tier. There is a package that fits my preferences that includes Syfy and Discovery Directv. Luckily at, it is only $29.99 per month for the first year. The price increases after that, but by the time that occurs, you will have saved quite a bit of money.

Some things to consider when looking for a packages is to think about the channels you actually watch. If you think about what you "might" watch, you end up spending a lot of extra money. Some may say its cheaper to get premium channels than to go to the movies, but at least you have a choice to go to the movies or not, where with satellite TV, you receive a monthly bill whether using it or not. Still, when you consider that movie tickets are creeping up to ten dollars, it doesn't seem so bad ordering a few more channels. A night at the movies for two can give you premium channels to watch every night.