Brand Thunder Holiday Browser Theme Contest Results

On November 29th 2011 I wrote a sponsored blog post for Izea’s Social Spark to advertise for Brand Thunder, which is a cool website where you can create browser themes for Internet Explorer and Firefox.  One of the requirements was that I create a holiday browser theme and enter in their contest to win an iPad2.

On December 17th 2011 I found out that my browser theme was good enough to be in the top 5 browser themes eligible to win an iPad2.  I asked for votes here on my blog, and on Facebook and Twitter.  I wasn’t as successful as the 3rd and 4th holiday browser themes because not enough people voted for me, so I lost.

Well, I didn’t really lose, I was still in the top 5 so I consider that to be successful enough.  Because I was in the top 5, I won a $25 gift card for Amazon.com, and tonight I bought a new webcam for my desktop.

The webcam that I have on my desktop is a Flexic@m which at one time was acceptable, but it’s such a horrible webcam that I no longer want to use it.  I would much rather have this Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000 because it is HD 16:9 and it has a mic.  I would like to be able to call my aunts and friends with Skype, but I can’t because I don’t have a mic.  I can use the built-in webcam on my Chromebook, but it doesn’t do Skype.

I would also like to be able to do time-lapse videos to put on YouTube.  I have a time-lapse video of my Scooby Doo Chia Pet, which is not that great because of the horrible webcam.  Tonight I tried making a time-lapse video of my lava lamp, but the webcam is so horrible that you can’t see the beautiful colors of the lava. That was my motivation for choosing to buy a new webcam.

This webcam was only $24 and it was available for free shipping if I paid $25.  In order for me to get the free shipping, I had to buy something else, so I chose to buy a $5 4GB USB memory stick.  I needed a new memory stick anyway so this is perfect.  The USB memory stick I have now is only 1GB and it’s almost full, so I had planned on upgrading anyway. What I’d like to do is take all of my photos off of the 1GB stick, and put them on the 4GB stick.  I can use the 1GB stick for my book as a backup.

I wasn’t expecting to win the iPad2, and frankly I didn’t think my holiday browser theme was as good as the other ones, so I’m happy for the person who did win because they certainly deserved it.  Even though an iPad2 would have been cool, I’m happy to have a new webcam and USB memory stick.  So thank you Brand Thunder for the Amazon $25 gift card, I really do appreciate it.

*This post is not a paid advertisement for Izea‘s Social Spark or Brand Thunder.

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Reading is a Skill

I talked to one of my aunts on Facebook this morning about reading a book that she and my uncle had recommended to me in 2006.  I read the first book in the series of a million books (over-exaggerated number) and it was probably the most difficult book I had ever read.  I told her, and I was just saying this as an excuse, that reading is like a skill.  I can’t read an advanced book as a beginner, or even intermediate reader.

This was her response:

“Your analysis of reading being a skill is spot on, as the Brits say. It IS a skill, and the only way to improve that skill is to continually work at it.”

So, it is no longer just an excuse and the only way for me to be able to read those books is to continue to read my immature vampire ebooks to continue to grow as a reader lol.

I actually love reading.  I would say that I used the Harry Potter books as my beginners books and have grown from there.  The Harry Potter books were amazing because they didn’t have big words that I had never even heard in daily use, they were simple words that every person knows.

I think buying the Nook was the best investment towards my “skill” for many reasons like the built-in dictionary for example.  If I don’t know a word I can look it up by either typing the word into the Nook or by placing the cursor next to a word.  This helps me learn what those words mean for the next time I see it.  It helps me grow as a reader.

Eventually I will get to those Belgariad books.  Like I said, I read the first book and as difficult as it was to read, it was just as difficult to put it down because it was such a good story.  I’ve only read the first story and I can’t wait to get to the next one because I have to know what happens next.

I’m in the intermediate stage because the vampire books that I have read have had some pretty big words and I’ve been able to understand without having to look the words up so I feel like I’m almost there.

I was going to make up my own skill level names but I wanted some examples like beginner, intermediate, pro etc. but I actually found that there is in fact a reading level Wiki site.  Wikibooks: Reading Levels.

So here we have pre-reader which are the children’s book which I actually did read as a child until I was maybe 5.  Then there is beginner which is almost similar to children’s books but maybe without pictures.  I’m pretty sure Harry Potter is in this category.  Intermediate which are books that most adults can comprehend and I do believe that the vampire books that I read are intermediate.

The final 2 categories are advanced and professional.  I’m pretty sure the Lord of the Rings and Belgariad are both in the advanced category.  They may be somewhere in between though, I’m not quite sure.

It will take me a bit of time to get to the advanced stage because I haven’t really read that many books but I’m working on it.  The more I read the better I get at it and as long as I continue to read what I’m reading I’m pretty sure I will get up in the ranks and join the rest of the adults my age lol.

Hobby Lobby

If you live in the US you might have been to a Hobby Lobby some time in your life.  I have been there once or twice with my aunts when I visited them in Texas at Christmas time in 2006.  My aunt Louise brought me there before Christmas to buy herself some jewelry supplies then on Christmas morning my Aunt Joyce gave me a Hobby Lobby gift card which I had to spend before I came back to California because we don’t have the wonderful warehouse.

If you have never been to one, I can only describe it as a cross between Wal*mart and Michael’s.  They probably aren’t as big as a Wal*mart store but they are bigger than Michael’s and they carry more merchandise than Michael’s.

The reason this came to mind today is because last night I was watching these tutorial videos from ehow.com on how to make hemp necklaces.  The woman doing the tutorials showed all the 4 different sizes of hemp and said to get them from Hobby Lobby.  Well, Michael’s only had 2 sizes but she had all the sizes which means Hobby Lobby must carry everything when Michael’s only carries half.

I looked at the map on the Hobby Lobby website to see how many states away we are from Hobby Lobby and I was shocked to see that California and Oregon are the only 2 states on the west coast who does not have a Hobby Lobby.  That sucks big time.  I think that they need to bless California with their presence starting with Bakersfield lol.  If not, at least sell merchandise on your website!

Girlfriend Doesn’t Realize Boyfriend Is In Europe

Have you seen or heard about this?

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F2AV3cmEWX4

I had something similar happen.  I got a call from my aunt telling me that my grandmother was dying and she asked for me so I took the Amtrak bus down to Palmdale, CA and spent a week with my family until my grandmother passed away.  After she passed away I checked my email and this friend of mine had sent me a few emails just yelling at me for ignoring her.

I emailed her before I left telling her that I was going to be gone for a week and she thought I would have internet access where I was going.  My aunt had dial-up and it’s not cool to go to someones house and tie their phone line up so I just didn’t read email at all.  I had my cell phone on the whole time and I would talk to Darrin which was the most important person I needed to talk to, nobody else.

So I told her that I was visiting my aunts and that my grandmother had just died.  I think she sent me 2-4 emails and was basically very cross with me in all of them for ignoring her lol.  She ended the friendship but when I finally emailed her and told her what happened she was sorry for saying all of those things.  We’re still friends but it took a long time for her to realize that I wasn’t going away and she would have to just deal with it lol.

Cici’s Pizza

Why doesn’t California have a Cici’s Pizza yet?

When I went to visit my aunts in Texas for Christmas 2006 they took me to a Cici’s Pizza and I was in pizza heaven.  It’s a pizza buffet with I don’t know, 20 different pizzas to choose from at the bar but there are many possibilities like macaroni and cheese pizza.

If they don’t have it out you can request it, they will make it and then bring you 2 slices before putting the rest out for everyone to take.  They also have a small salad bar and a dessert bar which is really good by the way.  They have like a coffee cake in pizza shape so you take a slice of the dessert.  And as usual a soda fountain with all you can drink.

If I had the money and business degree I’d buy the rights to put one in Bakersfield.