Review: Hot Tub Time Machine

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Time for another review... this time it is a movie rather than an actual product.

A few months ago, I saw so many ads and trailers for a new movie coming out called "Hot Tub Time Machine". I was immediately put off from watching it because I figured it was just going to be another Hollywood-stoner type movie full of nothing but lame jokes and unnecessary toilet humor. I told myself that this would probably end up being on the last movies I ever watched.

Last week, on one of my days off, I was bored and decided I wanted to watch a movie. I wanted something new though- and funny- I am a stickler for comedies. I was sick of all the movies in my collection.. I'd seen 'em all a hundred times. So I began to scour the net, reading reviews for films that have been released over the past year. Most of the movies I kept running across seemed lame, and I was starting to think that perhaps this past year was bad for Hollywood- in terms of comedies anyway. But I kept seeing positive reviews for one film in particular.... yup, you guessed it.

I rolled my eyes reading the reviews- how could people enjoy this movie? Of all people, it had Rob Corddry in it... and I can't say I really find him all that funny. I'm sure some people think he's just downright hilarious- but for me, I dunno. I'm just not crazy about him.

I relented and decided I'd be open-minded and give the movie a shot. Worst case scenario- I'd hate it. After all, it's what I was expecting.

I loved it. I absolutely, down-right loved this movie. If you have put off watching this because you think it's full of lame toilet humor and off-beat jokes... I suggest watching it now (or the next time you feel like watching a movie). Yes- there are some moments that I'm not too fond of- like Chevy Chase farting for one. The movie could have gone without that. But the movie has far more golden moments that outshine the unnecessary toilet humor. For example the "It must be some kind of..... hot tub time machine" that deadpans into the camera is priceless. Or the scene where Adam is feeling low after his girlfriend dumps him and Jacob (John Cusack and Clark Duke respectively) walks in on him smoking pot, drinking, eating shrooms and doing blow... or the scene where Rob Corddry tries to masturbate Jacob ("You've got get at least half a chub going!"- priceless!).

Yes, the movie is full of raunchy toilet humor, but the way in which it's executed is just phenomenal and the cast that was chosen for the film is perfect. John Cusack, as always, is never bad to look at. It was funny seeing him in this kind of role, because one usually pegs him as the romantic comedy kind of guy... this role is much different for him. Rob Corddry- I really like him in this role. I'm thinking that I could be wrong about him, and I'm willing to watch other films of his in the future. Craig Robinson was hilarious as well, but my favorite scenes with him are the ones where he's singing "Jesse's Girl" and "Let's Get the Party Started". He's got an amazing voice. Clark Duke played your typical "emo"/"nerd" kid who lives in his uncle Adam's (John Cusack) basement, and does nothing but play video games. The soundtrack is also incredible.. I'm a big fan of 80's metal, and the inclusion of Motley Crue helped to seal the deal for me.

I don't want to give too much more away, I just wanted to write about how much I loved this movie. Feel free to check it out on Amazon- I have provided a link below. You can either order the DVD or you can watch it online for just $3.99. Trust me... you'll be glad you watched it :-)






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DIY Mini Site

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Well, life certainly has a knack for popping up when you least expect it. I have been so exhausted these past couple weeks.. maybe it's the humidity... maybe I'm just working too much. Whatever it is, it needs to go away; fast. I want to resume normal living.
I ran across this website the other day- DIY Mini Site- and I was interested right away. There are both free and paid accounts available; the free ones are great just as they are. There's tons and tons of video tutorials on how to create a great mini-site; he even tells you how to get a great mini-site up and running in just 30 minutes. There's also a template gallery where you can download, well, templates to get yourself started. And that's just in the free section :-)

The paid section offers more in-depth videos and training, as well as more hi-quality templates. This normally would sell for around $1,400.00, but he's offering this out today for just $67. What you get is a set of 51 videos in 11 different topics ... this will turn you from a web design idiot to a web design pro! Very much worth the investment if you ask me. Make sure you take him up on this when he offers it- it's a one-time offer. If you try to go back at a later date, you won't be able to get it at the same price.

Check out the site here... http://tinyurl.com/2ba66kj

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Without further ado... the DSG!

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I apologize for being MIA this past week or so. I have been very hard at work on a new project...

A couple years ago, I took to the task of designing a forum for those feeling lost and helpless- basically anybody who was depressed and wanted a safe place to talk. I was a member of another forum at the time and so the DSG had a decent following from members of that community. Sadly though, life happens and I ended up abandoning the boards completely. Truth-be-told, I was still going through the ups-and-downs of depression myself and while I wanted to help others, I wasn't ready to; I couldn't even help myself.

Looking to build links...

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So I've had this blog online for a couple weeks now, and while I know it can take a little time to build a steady flow of traffic (ie, thousands of visitors per month).. I want to get a jumpstart on that. Currently, I only about about 200 hits to date- which will equal out to about 400 hits/month- which is OK, but I want more! ;-)

Does anybody out there own their own blog? Would it be possible for to advertise with you for a low monthly price (ie, $5 or $10/mo)? I am also interested in link exchanging, where I put your ad on my website and in exchange, you place my ad on yours.

If you're able to help out in some fashion or another, please feel free to comment below or RT. Anything you can offer would be greatly appreciated!




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Free Guide: Best Ways to Make Money Online

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Intro


I wrote up a guide the other day with tips and information on how to make money online. These methods are by no means a guarantee, but they have worked for others in the past. It is not a way to "get rich quick", rather it serves to illustrate how one can bring in a few extra bucks each month. Whether it's just $50 or so for groceries, or a couple hundred to help with bills, it's at least a little something. Like with anything else in life, the more effort you put into working online, the more of a return you'll see.

Anyhow, I was originally offering this guide for just $1, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized- why am I charging people for this information? After all, all the tips I included aren't really secrets at all. They can be easily found all over the internet. To better help you, I have compiled all this information into one, easy to find spot.

I hope this helps you, and even answers any questions you have about making money online. If you still have questions, please feel free to comment below and I will do my absolute best to help out!


Enjoy!



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Blogging

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Blogging


I saved the best for last! Blogging is probably the most popular- and profitable- way to generate a steady income stream. It doesn't matter what the nature of your blog is- you can make money from it. All you have to do is post entries containing your affiliate links and watch the money roll in. Now of course, just as with everything else, it's not quite as easy as that.

When it comes to blogging, the most important factor (aside from content) is traffic. If you don't have any visitors coming to your blog, how are you going to make any money? You need to promote your site so that you can start to gather a some loyal followers. There are a few ways you can do this, which I will explain in more detail a little later on.



How to get started

So you have an idea for a blog or website, but you're not sure where to get started. That's OK because I want to help.

First, I suggest visiting Blogger. With Blogger, everything is generated automatically, which means you can get your site up and running in just a matter minutes. Initially your site will have link in the format of http://yoursitename.blogspot.com.

Second, I suggest picking out a domain name for your blog. This makes it easier for visitors to get your site because they don't have to type in “blahblahblah.blogspot.com”. Having a simple, easy to remember address will encourage people to visit your site. For example, when I first started out my blog, the address for it was http://blogsoupforthesoul.blogspot.com- a tad long if you ask me. So, I went go GoDaddy (I always suggest using GoDaddy when it comes to registering a domain name), grabbed my domain, and voila! Now my address is simply http://www.blogsoupforthesoul.com.

Don't want to blog? That's fine! You don't have to. If you're up for it, you can even create your own website. I suggest checking out Hostgator. In fact, you can purchase space from them for as little as $0.01. (Simply click this link, and choose their Hatchling plan. Make sure to enter coupon code SUMMER10FUN or you will not receive your discount.) I have done this many times with my websites (I currently host 4 different websites with Hostgator).

Need to learn some basic HTML and CSS to get your site off the ground? There's tons and tons of free sites out there to help you- Lissa Explains, HTML Goodies and W3Schools (powered by the W3C) just to name a few. I have used- and still continue to use- all three of those websites. However, if you're in the mood for a little more interactivity and “hands on” learning, I highly recommend checking out Lynda.com. Lynda boasts an incredible array of software video tutorials. I first ran across Lynda.com about 3 ½ years ago on a visit to San Francisco. I went on a trip with one of my college classes to the MacWorld expo. Amongst the vendors at the expo was Lynda.com and the person hosting the course, Michael Ninness, told his audience, “Anybody who brings me back a Red Bull after lunch will get a free 30 day trial to the website.” I did just that- I bought his Red Bull and a few days later my account was activated. I have been a loyal member ever since.



Traffic

Once you have your blog or website up and running, it's time to start generating some traffic! How can you do that? Here are just a few examples of how you can start bringing free traffic to your website:

Signatures- Are you member of any forums? Put the link to your site or blog in your forum signature. You can even do this with your email. Maybe say something like “Hey! Check out my new blog! I offer great tips and advice on [subject here].” or it can even be just as simple as, “Click here to visit my blog.” It really doesn't matter what you say though, as long as the visitors are coming in, that is all that matters

Advertise- Search around for places that offer free advertising or low-cost advertising. My favorite such website is USFreeAds. I love Craigslist, but unfortunately they don't allow advertisement of websites. I tried it once and my ad got deleted. USFreeAds on the other hand is a lot more lenient with this kind of thing. You can sign up for a free account, however the features are limited. You can't place links or images anything like that. I personally subscribe to their monthly plan for only $10. The exposure I get is incredible, and I almost always get visitors right away. It is very much worth the price. Also, try partnering with other sites. This method, known ad cross promoting, allows you to put your ad up on other reputable that already generate a steady flow of traffic. A lot of work-at-home bloggers offer out advertising space as a means of generating more income. Their prices are generally quite reasonable. Place your ad on their site for a month or two, and if you don't see an increase in traffic, then all you have to do is remove your link.

Traffic Swarm- Traffic Swarm is an incredible free traffic exchange program. A traffic exchange enables members to swap links and visits. In simplest terms, you agree to check out sites belonging to fellow members and in return they send you traffic. Each time you click on a member’s site you earn “credits”. These credits earn you the right to have your link posted on the Traffic Swarm network, thereby generating a veritable SWARM of traffic to your site. (definition borrowed from the Traffic Swarm home page). In short, Traffic Swarm (and other like-minded traffic exchange programs) can generate huge amounts of traffic in just a short period of time. I have listed so many of my own sites with them over the years, and I can't believe the amount of free traffic I have received in return.

Recommended reading:




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And there you have it my friend! Wasn't that painless? Hopefully my guide helped you- even if only just a little bit. If you enjoyed reading this or it helped you, please feel free to leave a comment below.




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Surveys, Freelancing, Odd Jobs & eBay

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Surveys, Freelancing, Odd Jobs & eBay

There are many different ways of making money online that don't require you to promote products or build websites....



Get Paid to Take Surveys

One of the oldest ways to make some easy cash online is by taking part in surveys. Surveys are necessary in the world of marketing because companies want to know more about the people they are targeting. One of the first surveys I even took had to deal with a re-design of the IBM logo. I was asked to describe what my first impressions were, how familiar I was with the product, if I'd recommend it to a friend, etc. In order for companies to improve their products they need to know what their users are thinking, and that is why these companies will pay so much for your opinion.

Websites that pay for taking surveys: Paid Surveys at Home, Quick Paid Surveys, Surveys4Checks, Earn Online, Paid Surveys Etc., Express Paid Surveys



Freelancing

Do you have any special skills? Do you write really well? Are you an artist or designer?

If so, then you can offer out your services in return for payment. I, for example, am a web designer and graphic designer and I have offered out my services many, many times. I charge different amounts depending on the nature and complexity of the job but I keep my prices low and reasonable so that even the poorest of folk can afford me! Just because I am a designer though, doesn't mean I can only make money designing. I have tutored people on how to use Photoshop, Dreamweaver, and how to code in HTML & CSS.

You can even make money with freelance writing jobs. Many individuals and companies alike, don't have the time nor the necessary skill to write up articles, reports, reviews, product descriptions, etc., so they turn to people like you to do all this for them.

Freelance websites: Freelancer.com, Freelance Riches



Odd Jobs

Take on odd jobs in your neighborhood. Babysit, watch over people's animals (pet sitting), start a dog-walking service (this is not only a great form of exercise, but you earn money at the same time, too!), rent out your parking spot (when you're not using it, of course), rent out a room in your home/apartment (just make sure to draw up a contract deeming your temporary tenant responsible for and damages, lost or stolen property.



eBay and Craigslist

No longer using those text-books from your first semester of college? Sell them on websites like eBay, Craigslist and Amazon. Many students (such as myself) can't always afford the $300 price tag for brand new books, so we look to these kinds of sites to get us what we need at a fraction of the cost. It doesn't matter if there's notes in the margins or highlighted areas.. as long as the content is readable and the book isn't literally falling apart at the seams, you'll most likely be able to sell it.

Books aren't the only thing you can sell... you can sell virtually anything: clothes, dishes, movies, video games, video game systems, old computers, jewelry, crafts, automobiles, knick-knacks...



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Affiliate Marketing

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Affiliate Marketing

     There are many different ways that you can make money harnessing the power of the internet, but the most common way has to be through affiliate marketing. Most of you already know what that is, however for the few who might not understand it all that well, let me break it down for you: affiliate marketing is the ability to refer others to products or services you have tried in exchange for some kind of reward. In most cases the reward is cash, however there are a many sites that don't offer cash, instead they reward you with points or credits that you can use to enter into sweepstakes and such.

Here's an example of affiliate marketing: let's say you just found a website with killer deals on automobile insurance. Their prices were unbeatable and the customer service team was friendly and helpful. As you're talking with your friends and fellow co-workers, you mention your find and suggest they check the company out. Nothing wrong with spreading a little good news to help others, right? The thing is, when you refer people and they sign up- you don't get a single dime in return. The company you referred them to makes all the money. The thing is, companies thrive on of new customers, and they're always looking for more. So what if you could get paid to refer new customers?

That, my friend, is affiliate marketing. You get paid to refer new customers to any company that has an affiliate or referral program.

There are literally thousands of companies out there that participate in these kinds of programs. It is their way of saying “Thank you” for spreading the word about their business. All kinds of companies have referral programs... GoDaddy. Amazon. eBay. WalMart. Yes, even WalMart has an affiliate program! How many times a day do you find yourself telling people “So I want to WalMart last night, and they are having an incredible sale on [movies, TVs, clothes, pet food... you name it].”

To get started, I highly suggest checking out any of the books below. You can even perform a Google search for more great tips on affiliate marketing:







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Incentivized Freebie Websites

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Incentivized Freebie Websites (IFWs)

     Incentivized freebie websites (or simply, IFWs) are amongst the latest craze in money-making ventures. IFWs offer people cash and/or other prizes for completing sponsor offers. Many of these sponsor offers cost little to nothing to you, so it is very possible to make quite a bit without spending very much.

We've all seen the ads- almost every website has them: “Congratulations! You've just won a free iPod Shuffle!” or “Enter your email address to receive a free $500 Target gift card!”. Contrary to popular belief, these kinds of programs are not scams at all. They just aren't very honest in their approach. Honest or not, however, these programs are thriving. There's thousands of them out there, and new programs are popping up every single day. Let's take a closer look at how these programs actually work, shall we?

Take for instance the very popular iPod Shuffle. Looking at prices in the Apple store, the average Shuffle goes for anywhere from $59-$79 (this price does not include any shipping or handling charges). Now, visit any IFW site and they will give you several options of gifts to choose from.

Now, the website might claim “3 easy steps! Sign up, Refer, Receive!”, but it's not exactly that easy. Each person you refer (in this case you would need to refer 2 people) has to complete a series of sponsor offers, as I mentioned before. These offers can range anywhere from free product trials, to discount book/movie club subscriptions, credit card offers... you name it. Each prize also has a credit value associated with it. In this case, the iPod Shuffle has a credit value of 1.00. Each sponsor offer you (or in this case your referrals) are required to complete also has a credit value associated with it. These values can range anywhere from 0.05 credits, up to 1.00, 2.00 or higher.

So what does all that mean? That means, if you want to receive your “free” iPod Shuffle, you need to refer 2 people who must complete 1.00 credits each. Now, they can complete twenty 0.05 credit offers, two 0.5 credit offers, four 0.25 credit offers... it doesn't matter. So long as the required number of credits has been fulfilled, you will receive your prize.

I tried this a few times just to see if it actually worked, and it does. Trying to work it by yourself, though is very difficult. There are many websites and forums out there dedicated specifically to helping people make money using IFWs. Anything4Free (A4F) is the forum I am registered at. These forums are chock full of people looking to pay you to complete these sponsor offers for them. The most common reward is cash, because it is the easiest thing to hand off. I have completed a few sponsor offers for people and netted myself a couple hundred bucks for doing so.

Another great example of an IFW is Project Payday (PPD). Now on the surface, this website looks like the kind of website typically associated with spam and scams. On the contrary. Project Payday is a huge resource for those looking to make money online. They have tons of useful videos and training programs, and it's all free. In fact, it was through PPD that I came across A4F All they require of you is for you to enter your email address. And in case you're wondering... no, they do not spam. They might send out the occasional newsletter, but they absolutely do no spam you with useless offers and other such junk.



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Niche Marketing

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Niche Marketing

     So I'm sure you've heard this phrase at least once or twice as you've surfed the web. Maybe you saw it pop up in a Google search. You've probably even received spam from marketing gurus praising "niche marketing". But what is niche marketing exactly?

     The term “niche market” can be difficult to define, so please allow me to use this excerpt from About.com:



A niche market is a focused, targetable portion of a market.

By definition, then, a business that focuses on a niche market is addressing a need for a product or service that is not being addressed by mainstream providers. You can think of a niche market as a narrowly defined group of potential customers.

For instance, instead of offering cleaning services, a business might establish a niche market by specializing in blind cleaning services.

Why should you bother to establish a niche market? Because of the great advantage of being alone there; other small businesses may not be aware of your particular niche market, and large businesses won't want to bother with it.

The trick to capitalizing on a niche market is to find or develop a market niche that has customers who are accessible, that is growing fast enough, and that is not owned by one established vendor already.



    Depending on the market you choose, niche markets can be very hard or very easy to break into. General topics such as dieting, health and fitness, loans and credit cards, relationships/dating (the list goes on and on) are very hard to break into because the market is absolutely saturated. In other words, you have so many competitors that trying to meet or surpass them is virtually impossible. Dieting is a fairly easy reference because it is probably the most common niche out there. If you wanted to break into the dieting market, you would be facing competitors such as Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, South Beach and Nutri-Slim just to name a few.

    Imagine that a niche (and you can pick any one, it doesn't matter) is a pie. The more saturated the market is (the more competition there is), the less pie you get. In other words, if there is a lot of competition, you won't receive very much in return- you won't be able to make as much money. However, if you target a more specialized niche (niche market), say for instance “tips for keeping in shape for people over 50”, you are more likely to receive a bigger slice of pie. These kinds of markets don't have very much competition, and therefore are much easier to break into.


Suggested link:

Niche Profit Classroom- I don't even remember how I ran across Niche Profit Classrom, and I suppose it doesn't really matter. All that does matter, is that I did. I payed just $1 for a 14-day free trial of the program and all I can say is that $1 was worth it! I learned so much about what niches are, which niches to and not to break into, how to generate steady cash flow from a website... and so much more. I really do suggest checking this site out. $1 is all it will cost for you to get your business off the ground and start making some money. (Not to mention, the founder of NPC, Adam Short has a very relaxing and soothing voice. I've put his videos on as background noise before when I wanted to relax! OK- so maybe that makes me sound just a wee bit crazy...)

Suggested reading:

Kindle Edition Paperback



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    I'm rather shy at first, but once you get to know me I'm a pretty open person. I'm honest and don't believe in lying. I'm a dedicated, loyal and hard working individual, and I am just as dedicated and loyal to be lazy! haha I am also a very dedicated and loyal friend; I would do anything for my friends. I wouldn't exactly call myself an optimist, but I do try to look on the bright side of things rather than dwell on the dark side- such as things you have no control over and can't change. I'm also very independent. I prefer a night in with my cat to a night at the bar. It's not that I don't enjoy my friends' company, I'm just not a publicly social person.

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