June 22, 2015

How to Buy Quality and Save

I  am on the lower income scale, being new to the work your own hours world.  Today I'd like to focus on how to save money and buy quality.

As you may have found out, buying cheap is not always the best.  Buying furniture at Goodwill may last, but comes with perils of insects and bed bugs (think fleas).  You save money, but at what cost?  Cheap food (Top Ramen) will definitely leave some green in your pocket, but the health care costs come very quickly on that diet.  Now, used clothing can be a good deal, but eventually you will want something new.  And all my shoes are new (and not cheap, since I have plantar fasciitis).

There are some benefits to using cash back cards with your shopping.  For instance, Discover It offers 5% cash back this quarter on Amazon.  They also have Discover Deals, which offers 5% cash back on Wal-Mart Online.  Using various shopping portals, one can discover the best price for the quality one needs.  I can tell you that Wal-Mart Sheets last about one month, while I have had very good luck with Amazon Sheet sets (see Pinzon Sheet Set).

My first comparison example is for Cat Lovers. (The late Siberia and the live Jimmy, they are next to Amazon Box :-)


I can pick up Tidy Cat at Safeway, when on sale, for 6.99 20 lbs.  Living in Seattle, I don't own a car, so I use public transportation and a cart (Kennedy Home Collections Folding Shopping Cart).  The two carts I have now, I purchased from Amazon.  But alas, one has been discontinued.  Tidy Cat is a great deal, yet its dusty and doesn't clump that well.  I prefer cat litter that lists specially designed cat friendly litter, 99% dust free.  And then, we have choices.  A not inexpensive item is Tidy Cats Brand Breeze Cat Litter.  I personally don't prefer pellets, and my cats prefer the dirt feel (so clay litter it is).  I usually purchase (Precious Cat Ultra Premium Clumping Cat Litter).  This litter not as dusty, its well reviewed, and for a few dollars more, is better than Tidy Cat at Safeway.  By the way, Precious Cat Ultra Premium is made by the same folks as Cat Attract Problem Cat Training Litter (40 lb Bag).  The litters made by Precious Cat are better than litters from Wal-Mart and Tidy Cat (from a review stand point).

My second example is also for Cat Lovers, the cat scratcher.  My favorites were the Kong Recyclables from Reber Ranch.  However, I can't get there without a car, and cab fare negates any savings.  The kind I buy are not available on Amazon, so I soon found some kitty favorites.  Again, highly rated, well reviewed, and at the top of the search list, PetFusion Ultimate Cat Scratcher Lounge (Condo Style, Walnut Brown).  That is a little spendy for my taste, though something I might put on Wish List.  I've found a great deal, some lasting power, and kitty heaven with Catit Style Scratcher with Catnip (Jungle Strip Lounge) and/or Catit Scratcher with Catnip (Wide).  When these scratchers are not add on items, I just buy them separately.  When they are add ons (like now), and since I have multiple cats, I usually buy one Litter, 2 of the :Lounges, and one Wide Scratcher (for the bedroom)..

I hope these examples demonstrate how starting with the high quality items, then narrowing down to cheaper, yet better quality items, saves money and provides the things you need without having scratchers fall apart within two weeks (trust me, the wide scratcher is around a year old).  And, you won't find quality this cheap at Wal-Mart, nor do you wish to buy these items at Goodwill. Any Questions? :-)

June 21, 2015

For Some Strange Reason, This Item was Discontinued.

Live Cat Toy - One Live House Fly (Large)


While I have been doing recent reviews for credit cards via Amazon, I decided a change of pace was required.  I had adopted a two year old kitty from Paws. He needed some toys (so did Jimmy).  This product was third on this list for relevance when searching Cat Toys.  HHHMMM.


So, I thought I would point out the obvious, there are cheaper alternatives.  I believe the original price was 1.25, but I can't remember, might have been 5.25, or 7.25.  I suggested the fruit fly technique, and even how to propagate more, since one needs additional supplies when the kitty eats the flies.

Alas, folks seemed to not find this review helpful.  Pointing out the obvious cheaper, do-it-yourself solution, while keeping the planet green for all (especially the flies), should prompt a few chuckles.  Somehow, I lack the humor gene?

As we move on from that review, I continued my search for kitty toys.  I decided to pick up OurPets Original Play-N-Squeak MouseHunter Interactive Cat Toy.  Since this was an add on Item, I purchased a replacement for my nearly five year old simplehuman Plastic Compact Dishrack.  Chose the black color this time.  The kitties still like the squeaky toys, they have lasted a month.

If you don't need a dish rack, you might add some cat litter to the mix.  Or anything you might need that adds up to $25.  I prefer this brand, Precious Cat Ultra Premium Clumping Cat Litter, since 40 lbs is much better delivered to your door, the cat litter is minimized dust bucket, and the price is definitely right.  However, if you need some socks, cat food, anything, just add to the cart, and good kitty toys are on the way.  Guess you can't buy the Fly any more. :-)



Original Reviews Completed:

Seriously, much cheaper and better alternative

Best Dish Rack Ever Owned in this Hard Water Apartment

Other items haven't been reviewed yet.

October 19, 2012

My Latest Reads - Kindlelized of course:

Favorite Books: Recent Reads

       

Stung is great, mixing economics, biography, manipulation, addiction, and humor.

11/22/63?  What can I say (I paid more than the offer now)

If you pick up Liar's Poker (KOLL selection), I suggest the follow up:

Michael Lewis, The Big Short



Tis also available as a Lending book (I already have it for when I finish Liar's Poker).

The Cat Years is by a writer with Cats (hhhmmm).  Reading is meh.

April 9, 2011

Three Short Stories that Deliver, Not What If, But What will? – 5 Star Review, Where Has this Author Been?

The Human Condition, Niven buries the reader in three stories that grip from beginning to end.

I just happened to stumble on this book through Facebook. Decided for .99 cents, a download and review were not that expensive. I just have to say, this author needs some more love (marketing, that is).

So may I present:

Twilight Candleflies: 3 Tales of Speculative Fiction


Niven uses three different styles and plots to present the moral dilemmas of our times in depressing future conditions.  What unites these tales are the qualities, or lack of qualities, in the humans coping within their environment.  Let me give you some snippets to ponder:

Last School of Humanities:

Random vs. Order: have the rules changed because a world changed?  One is focused on preservation, survival and hope for the future.  Another is focused on trying to fix a mistake he created. A Loner is delighted to have a world in which he can do anything he wants, and he wants to destroy. Niven presents an effectual, yet troubling read of survival in the worst conditions imaginable, with the biggest stake – the Human Condition.

Niven introduces the world via post-war University scenery. He then effectively introduces the viewpoint of Jana. As the anxiety develops, Niven continues to develop his social commentary through the dialogue of Hero vs. Villain. The reader easily follows and becomes engaged.  Niven does an excellent job of presenting the nuances and subtleties to the quandary of human nature.  "Because if you put two equal forces on a battlefield, chaos and order, who do you think will win?"

This is Not Your Mother’s Earth:

Bill loves women.  And at 18, he’s very good at it. Lexie loves Bill, but knows that as his assistant, she can’t have him.  A love story set in the future, without the love, until it’s time to eat the Licorice. Niven, through a quickie short, questions moral codes for the equality of men and women.

This story reads like a well scripted play from The Twilight Zone. “The twenty by twenty windowless chamber contained the standard items issued to a man of eighteen: queen-sized floor cushion, toilet, set of free weights, and a bookshelf full of the latest bestsellers, novels by Paula Ryton, Julia James, Mary Higgins Clark, and Beverly Moonwater.”  A single building in the future and the New World Government set the stage for a light but metaphorically correct narrative.  The style brings to fore the human condition. "I'm a hero. They all said so. A World Hero."

Five Minutes for the World:

Life is beyond routine and mundane, when your only excitement is the Viewing, and Mate Day every 354 days.  At 40, Gates had accepted this lifestyle, until a mating with Moxy dropped some seeds in his brain.  And after the most dreaded experience on ship happened to Gates – a Bad Viewing, Moxy’s seeds sprouted into that eternal question: Is There More?

“So many beautiful ships, motoring along preplanned skyways, carrying an entire race of people who could no longer set foot on the Earth they had poisoned.” And thus we see the Hindenburg through the eyes of Gates. Gates is very human in this world of mechanics. “And each life aboard the ship sparkled brilliantly at birth, then fizzled as the invariability of existence became an overbearing reality.”  Rich scenes and Gate’s thoughts lead the reader on another path, Niven’s vision of self-discovery.

Overall:


Character/Plot: 5 stars
Writing Style: 5 Stars
Formatting: 5 Stars

This book rings of professional writing. The language is light, but there are non-graphic adult scenes of both sex and violence, recommend 18+.  Formatting/grammar was near perfection (think I only underlined one sentence). Recommend you download for a weekend read, or add to your Sci-Fi collection.



About the Author:

Scott's been writing in one form or another for over 25 years. His short stories have appeared in various publications, including the literary journal Pembroke Magazine. He was also a finalist in the prestigious L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest.

When Scott grows up, he hopes to become an astronaut. If that doesn't work out, his fallback dream is to make a living writing.

April 6, 2011

On Book Reviews, Analysis and Critique vs. Controversy

When I dedicated myself to reviewing (it can be fun, watching the stats change on Amazon), I realized I would need to improve in order to compete with the Big Boys.  However, this isn't my first blog - I actually ran a rather successful Poker Blog awhile back - number 5 on the return list in Google Search.

That, of course, was before (or rather during the evolution of) the full Social Media explosion,  Now, in order to present my topics and reviews - I must tweet, I need fans, and one book espouses on the use of You Tube Videos (sorry, I'm just not going there - but many blog owners DO interviews, podcasts, etc.)

Our Medium of data exchange has changed - along with the advent of eBooks and Streaming Wireless Video. And, I'm not opposed to learning new tools which, not only enhance my abilities, but also expose me to avenues of exploration.  In the interim, signing up and learning to Tweet is best not done on the day the site goes down.

My little essay has a purpose, that as a reviewer - gone are the days I would sit with that book, and either read to enjoy the content, or drop it into the archives - well, because - Yuck.  Finding time for pleasure reading, not to mention those streaming HD Movies, has become an arduous task.  And, those pleasure moments must turn off the analysis, critique, and Social Networking required during Review Mode.

Which brings me to the other topic at hand, when I shouldn't review a book?  While my genres and Author selection have widened through the Review Medium, when should a reviewer just say No?  If I can't review a book that elicits a Strong Emotional Response, than HAVE I really separated myself from the Content of the Book, and can I be trusted to give an HONEST review?  Am I giving Honest Reviews to genres I'm Still attached to?

Study of Fair and Impartial reviewing has definitely improved my credentials in regards to my above quandary.  However, one of Today's Free eBooks just begs for an Emotional Response.  It hits close to home for many of us - and I can't find myself stepping back with the emotional and analytical detachment I would need to review, AND  - I also don't see myself downloading for a Pleasure read.

The reviews for this book are not truly impartial and fair, since the comments reflect the emotional responses and political leanings of the reviewers.  As more reviews are added for this recent #19 in the free Kindle eBook category, I envision more comments and controversy amongst the reviewers (especially since 2012 is approaching fast).

So I give you, while its free:

Climate of Corruption: Politics and Power Behind The Global Warming Hoax


Climate of Corruption: Politics and Power Behind The Global Warming Hoax

I personally will not be downloading, nor will I be reviewing.  But by all means, let yourselves be the guides on your own responses, reading pleasure, and books you choose to review.