Saturday, August 22, 2015

Swagbucks Updated

So the Swagbucks site recently updated and that has caused a lot of pandemonia for many who have been using the site.  In other words, many seem to be experiencing this:

But change, especially THIS change, is nothing to be that concerned about.  Most things are still on the site, and work exactly as they had before.  The only things that are really that different are the layouts and how to earn with watching videos.  So here are all the ins and outs of the NEW face of Swagbucks (as well as the old) and how I earn about $75+ a month.


It took me a long time to figure out the ins and outs of the site on my own.  And there's still more to learn!  But these are some basics that will send you on your way and a step ahead of the rest.

The best/fastest ways I find I earn are...

1. Video Playlists in the "watch" tab

      This is found to the left on your homescreen under "EARN"

      -Every set of videos you watch will give you 1-3 swag bucks (depending on the length of the set.)
      -You don't have to watch each of the videos in full.  You can either click on a set and let it autoplay and complete the list itself, or you can keep an eye on the tab and click to the next video in the set a little faster.
      -Either way, Multitask while doing this!  Open a new tab for the other tasks that follow, and splitting screens also helps.  Don't waste the time these videos are playing.  Complete other tasks in the meantime!
       -Come back to this tab at the end of the last video to select a new playset.

2.  Play/Games
        Again, this is found to the left on your homescreen under "EARN"

             -Find the game called "Swag Jump."  You will be awarded 2 swagbucks for every second game you play no matter how high or low you score.  Just grab about five icons in the game and you'll be good.      -Swagjump is the fastest that you can play and "lose on purpose" without consequences.  Ie. you still earn.      -There's a limit of 10 swagbucks per day for games. (In other words, 10 games earn 10 SB.)      -It helps to let the game "rest" between rounds.  Give the computer about 20 seconds or so before starting the next game so it knows that you completed the last round and thus should be credited the next.  I've found if you play too many too fast the computer will think you're still on your first round.

3.   Search 

      (located at the top of your homepage, in the box that says "web" and has light gray lettering "search the web &earn SB.")  

      -It's just like you do with Google search.  I usually sit back and just type in random words in the Swagbuck Search Bar. It doesn't matter what you type in to search.  It all works the same.      -Every so often it will reward me with anywhere from 5 to 30 swagbucks.  Since the update I've been getting 12-15 SB pretty consistently.  

      -SUPER easy but to make sure I don't go "too fast" or disqualify myself from the service I usually only let myself win once per day and give it a few seconds between each search.  (though I think they allow up to 3 wins per day?)

4.   "Most Popular Ways to Earn" is at the top of the main section of the home page.  

      -Here you will find 3 amazingly simple ways to earn.  NGAGE, JUNGROUP, or DISCOVER/Watch and Earn.  In short... look for these guys:

      -I keep these ways to earn up on half of the screen with the "watch" videos open on the other half.  Resize the windows to whatever fits your needs.  You can pretty much hide the secondary windows (the windows that pop up after clicking next, altogether.)  Just make those as small as you can on the screen so they don't annoy you. My desktop usually is laid out like this:

And while I'm sure this looks overwhelming at first, it's REALLY simple after you make an attempt the first time or two.  Then I sit back, watch tv or play a video game, and just wait for the buttons to turn green to click "Next" and earn effortlessly.
      -You will either have to sample watch a few seconds of each video, or one commercial then click it to "interact" with an add to earn 2-3 swagbucks.  This can make your earnings add up SUPER FAST when your doing all the tasks at once!

5    Swag CODES

      -There is a little "gear" icon at the top of your homepage where you enter it for free swagbucks.  (Usually 3 or 4 each code.)

      -Sometimes codes are exclusive to certain countries, and some can only be redeemed through the mobile app, or the toolbar extension.  But really a swag code is the easiest way to grab some pennies.  Just copy and paste.
      -I find my swag codes through  as it tells you where to enter it, who can redeem it, and when it expires.

6    Shop.
      -If you're going to shop at,,, etc.  You get cash back by letting Swagbucks refer you to those sites.
      -Installing the swagbucks toolbar extension for your browser helps to never miss one of these cash back opportunities too.  Nearly everytime I visit a site that qualifies it asks me if I want to activate swagbucks shop and earn rewards before purchasing!  YAY!

7    SMARTPHONE TV APPS      (after downloading to your phone just sign in with your swagbucks sign in info.  It automatically connects it to reward you.)

     SBMobile TV app

          -REALLY fast (use the skip feature) to earn 2 swagbucks every 5 videos.
          -Unfortunately, this is only good if you have a smartphone with free wifi connection and has a limit of 36 swagbucks per day.

      EntertaiNow TV app
           -This is similar to EntertaiNow, but has a daily limit that can change from day to day.
           -A little slower, as you have to complete 14 videos instead of 5, but there are fewer commercials
           -Limit of 12 SB per day

     There's also LifeStylz TV app and Sportly...  and...  really there are a lot.  You could probably earn your daily goal easily off these alone!

8    Special Offers
     Again to the left of the screen there will be a tab that says "Discover" under "Earn"

     -Here is where you'll find a lot of videos and slideshows that are worth a swagbuck or two just for clicking on them.  EASY BUCKS!!!  (I like the "Radium One" tab in this feature.)  You want to pay attention to the details of how to earn on each one before clicking though.  Look for things that say "slideshow" or "video" in them.
      -The easiest earnings come from the videos, slideshows, and quizzes designed to help you "learn" about diabetes, or MS, or ADHD, or....  whatever.  They're paid for by the pharmaceutical companies that run adds on those "educational"       -While yes, there are other "better paying" offers here too PROCEED WITH CAUTION.  I really can't stress that you shouldn't fall into that trap, enough.     -Remember never enter a telephone number or credit card number unless REALLY MEANING TO.  Even for "trial offers"  They usually don't cancel on their own and you'll get a bunch of telemarketers calling your number if you aren't careful.  Just remember this is not Swagbucks collecting that info, but the advertisers Hiring Swagbucks to connect them to you.


    -Pay attention to your "daily goal" meter at the top of the homepage.  (Hover the mouse over it and it will reveal what your goal is for the day and track your progress towards it.)

          *This is where the REAL bucks come in. If you meet your goal every day for 7 days, you will not only get your daily bonus but a winning streak bonus too.
          *Bonuses are credited to your account on the 5th of every month.  So anything you earn the rest of this month will be credited by or on the 5th of next.
              *You only need to reach your first goal to have it count towards your winning streak, BUT, I recommend going for the second amount.  The more you win the higher the goal becomes, and the higher the goal becomes the more your bonus will be.  For a while I was at a second rung goal of 230 swagbucks a day, and that got me an extra 25 swagbucks a day.  Doing the math, that was a bonus of 750 swagbucks a month, not counting winning streak.
           *Completing winning streaks are important.
                  7 days= 25sb
                14 days= 100sb

                21 days= 200sb
         a full month= 300sb

   -Stay away from the surveys!  They are often pointless, really long, and usually "disqualify you" at the last second anyway.  SUPER FRUSTRATING!  This is the biggest complaint people have on this site.
    -Watch for CONTESTS.  (Usually seen as an icon at the top left of your home screen.)
          *You have to "sign up" or agree to be assigned a team.  But in one of the last contests I got a bonus 100 swagbucks for being on the LOSING team. (The winning team got 500 I think.)

    -NEVER ENTER CREDIT CARD info!----unless you're really meaning to buy something through the "Shop and Earn" feature.  (I stay away from all the "special offers" things, as they can be very spammy.)  Don't waste the money you're earning buy signing up for useless services!

    -Redeeming for gift cards can seem tricky the first time and takes about a week to credit, so it's natural to be nervous.  But just give them time to "process" your request.  You'll get your money!  And I will help you with all of that when you get there too!

some FAQ

How do you get paid?: 
 In "gift cards," or so they're called.  But I usually select the PayPal gift card option, which deposits to my bank account after verifying with PayPal.  It takes about 10 days for this processing to go through but it's never failed me yet.

Is it a scam?:
No, I have been paid every time I've requested my rewards and I've been doing this for a couple years now.  (But you do have to be patient for processing sometimes.  Remember they have THOUSANDS of prizes to process every day.)

How can they afford to pay people?: 
Think of it this way--Have you noticed all the ads on facebook lately?  Do you realize how much money Facebook is making off of that?  Well, Swagbucks is a lot like Facebook, but without "friends" (or as much drama.)  It's a social hub that advertisers are paying for space on, and Swagbucks is giving you a cut of that money as a reward for clicking on links, or shopping at certain stores.  Swagbucks isn't really paying you, the advertisers are!

Do I have to enter a credit card or anything like that?: 
 NO!  AND DON'T EVER DO THAT!  (See sections about Special Offers and Shopping)

How much are Swagbucks "worth?":

Every 100 Swagbucks is about 1 dollar.  So it's a slow build, but think of it like putting change in a piggy bank every day.  It adds up FAST.  I average $75 a month.  (That's an extra $900 a year for doing practically nothing!)

How do I sign up?: 
Easy.  You can even connect it to your facebook account so you don't have a pesky login screen to type in each time.  But if you could do my a HUGE favor, let me refer you!  It will help us BOTH out in the long run.  (Referrals earn 1 cent for every 10 cents you make outside of bonuses and similar earnings.)  All it takes is you signing up via this link:

If you have more questions please leave them as comments.  My referrals will have priority in Q&A of course.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

To Breathe or... Dammit, Wisconsin!

This sculpture by Isaac Cordal pretty much sums up how many feel about the state of politics. Politics in the U.S. arena has become an American football game; everybody seems to love what's at the heart of it, but at the end of the day it's mostly about penalties, flags, replays, challenges, sponsorships, and watching the clock run down to the end of the quarter.  And of course, on occasion you get some a-hole cheating by deflating the game ball, or pumping steroids.  Point is, politics have become a game in this country, and nothing more.  Many love the underdog but the rich kids with the best sponsors score the most often.

But this sculpture is directed at a pretty specific subject hitting the political walls; climate change. And I think the statement the artist is making with this sculpture entitled, "Politicians Discussing Climate Change," is hitting things a bit on the nose this week.

Recently the U.S. took a pretty small step in the direction of, well not "fixing" the problem, but maybe slowing it down a little.  We have a new "plan" taking effect soon to limit carbon emissions from fossil fuel power plants.  This plan has a deadline of a whopping 15 years.

To see the announcement of this plan, you can watch this video...  Just bear in mind that there will be a lot of videos in this post for full comprehension:

If you want to fully understand what climate change is, why it's a problem, how we know it's happening, and the science behind it,  I highly recommend watching this video.  However it's an hour long, so if you have to save it for later and come back to it, just keep reading for now.

Here's a very condensed version.  Long story short, this is happening:

Now, why am I giving you the chance to educate yourself about all of this? And why now?  Because for some unknown reason, Wisconsin Governor, and now Presidential Candidate, Walker, has decided the correct way to react is by joining a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency.  Yeah... For citizens of WI this shouldn't come as that much of a shock to those who know about his history with the Department of Natural Resources in WI--though it's still something alarming.

While the EPA's Clean Air Plan is being considered "innovative" as it is the first federal requirement, it is NOT the first plan in the United States.  In fact there was a suit not too long ago (in 2004) in which 8 states sued major power companies to reduce their air pollution, during which, not one of the defendants denied that climate change is occurring.  In fact, many power companies have already begun reductions, and have come up with plans for doing more for "clean energy" in the future. (You kind find all this information in that PBS documentary shown above.

The point is, there is very little argument on that end--which leaves me very confused about presidential candidate Walker's response and joining a lawsuit against this plan of action:

“Yet again, President Obama is taking unilateral action and overstepping the limits of his authority to pursue a political agenda.  The Obama Administration ignored the significant, overriding issues that will increase costs for Wisconsin ratepayers by up to $13 billion, unnecessarily harming families and killing manufacturing jobs.We will examine the final plan in detail, but clearly Wisconsin’s extensive, constructive comments to the EPA have fallen on deaf ears in Washington.Wisconsin has taken every opportunity to express that the Obama Administration is not only exceeding its authority by issuing the EPA’s final rule, but is pursuing the least efficient way to make environmental gains.Today, I am asking the Attorney General to take immediate action to protect Wisconsin ratepayers and workers from the devastating impacts of the Obama Administration’s actions.In addition, I am directing the Department of Natural Resources to work with the Public Service Commission to evaluate the financial impact of the final rule.”    
*Source --
So let me calm a few feelings you may be experiencing from that statement down before you keep reading.

1. Yes there may be a small increase in some costs while we adjust to the new plan, but that will not be anywhere near the the number Walker made up in this statement. It will not cost WI 13 billion, and nor will it destroy jobs. People want to live and work in a place that they can also breathe.  If anything, the formerly pristine state would draw more to it for it's environmental hospitality. And our individual health care costs will decrease. (Again watch the PBS video to find out why allergies and asthma are becoming more of a problem)

2. It's a joke that Walker wants anyone to take his comment about working with the DNR seriously. He fired half of the DNR scientific staff on April 22nd of 2015. (Earth Day.)

3. Walker doesn't just "seem to think" but he KNOWS without a doubt that if he uses language that associates this EPA plan with President Obama, the people who already hate Obama will automatically side with Walker without giving it much more thought. Don't fall for that. You're better than that. Take the issue out of the political realm and simply decide if breathing clean air is something you want for you and your children.

And 4. We have 15 years to take action with implementing a plan of choosing for each state.  That's right, each state is being allowed the flexibility and a large degree of autonomy in this "plan" so the states can do what is right for them and their citizens.  Think about this.  15 years ago, a CD walkman with "no skip" feature was the height of personal tech.  Now we have phones that can email, take and edit photos, show our faces while talking to a person, and store thousands of songs and videos for our entertainment in our pockets.  Imagine the technology that can come along in that time!  15 years is a long time to work on low cost and efficient energy tech.

But it's simple really.  We NEED to keep our air clean! I like breathing, and not getting cancer for doing so. I find it funny that the state I live in banned smoking in all public buildings, but is joining a lawsuit against keeping these other harmful emissions under control.  It's the future, here and now, and there are alternatives to power sources that are cleaner and wiser. And if you want to make this an "economy" justification let me stop you right there and explain how this lawsuit will HURT not help our economy for YOU.

Besides a good economy is a scapegoat, BS, buzzword catch-all, political entity anyhow.  I mean... China has a booming economy, right? Always lending us money? Okay. I'll go with that for now. However, that doesn't mean that the people of China are well off. The average pay in 2012 (most updated figure found) was the equivalent of 4,755 dollars. And yes, limiting pollution and such out there has been known to have some negative effect on the "economy" overall. But as pointed out, a good economy doesn't equate to decent living wages or conditions. I encourage you to take a look at the article I'm posting as the first comment on this to see what it's like in China. Pay attention to #1 in that article. They have a FAKE SKYLINE for tourists to take pictures with because their air pollution is SO BAD you can't see it properly.

The economy doesn't have to hurt as a result here. We have skilled workers such as laborers, scientists, technicians, etc... to build, run and maintain new solar plants, and wind farms. It's an opportunity to create new jobs in place of the old ones. No one looked at the automobile and said, "But what are the people that make horse buggies going to do now!? Stop the popularity of the automobile!" No, people adapted and so did the workforce around it.

The bottom line is, I want to be able to swim in lakes, go for a run, eat picnics, and see the stars! And those things are priceless to me!  Tell Walker, and the other 4 Governors in this lawsuit that are trying to stop progress, that you don't support what they are doing. Not supporting a single decision they make doesn't have to mean you don't support THEM, but let them know what you care about so they can too. Tell them that you don't want your tax dollars going to waste paying for a lawsuit that will only prolong the inevitable. More efficient and cleaner power will happen eventually.  Let's not leave our states having to play catch up with the rest.

Tell them that you like to breathe.

Also, for the science about the ozone layer and how cfc's affect it, you can try and wrap your head around this (which is college freshmen level intro to chemistry btw.)

Monday, July 13, 2015

The "Semi-Colon" and Tattoos

I've been reading a lot of controversy lately about the Semi Colon Tattoo.  People hate it, people love it, and people are fighting over it.  For me, possibly the most ironic thing realized while reading the slew of hateful internet comments about the punctuation mark tat, is that the grammar and spelling in those comments are so atrocious that I can't believe that any of these individuals would know what a semicolon is or how to properly use it in a sentence anyway.

For those of you who don't understand grammar rules surrounding the semicolon, I'll just leave this here:    Explore at your own pace.


So, here is the reason for the controversy. (For those of you who are in need of playing catch up.)  This hated-by-college-professors-everywhere punctuation mark is being caught in a tug of war struggle between two main factions.  First there are those who have lost a portion of their colon (the organ) due to any disease, (though mostly cancer or crohn's victims.)  This is a quite literal and clever play on the symbol's name: semi-colon.  Ha!  Get it?  Because they, or someone they love, don't have a whole, functioning....  ah, nevermind...
The other faction trying to stake a claim on the mark is all about suicide prevention and mental health, and thus they are emphasizing the metaphoric rule of the semicolon: where you thought a sentence would have ended it continues anew.  It wasn't the end at all!  Surprise!  Just like you thought you were gonna...  um, well...  yeah...

Now let me say right now that BOTH are worthy causes, and worthy of claiming the mark.  (Even if you don't understand how to use it in an actual sentence.)  I have lost friends and loved ones to suicide.  I have lost friends and loved ones to colon cancer.  It doesn't matter who had "claimed" the mark first.  There is room for BOTH factions.  After all that's what a semicolon does, you idiots!  It takes two separate clauses and joins them together showing they are related though stand on their own.  Members of both factions have faced hardships and have overcome, or continue to struggle to overcome, them.  It is so insanely silly that people who have been through hell and back would point fingers at the other party and say, "how dare you use the same symbol I use."  Especially when it could be seen as something beautiful that brings these individuals together.  Surviving, or battling darker days.

So, here are a few rules and tips I'm putting into place for a better, and more peaceful understanding of all this commotion.

1.       How to tell the difference.
A person who has a missing portion of their colon will likely place the tattoo on a shoulder, or arm, or stomach, or just about anywhere, really.  Meanwhile a person raising awareness for suicide prevention often has the mark across their wrist.  It’s something easily visible to them when reaching for a razor blade or bottle of pills, hopefully stopping them—savvy?

2.       Don't get one of these tats if you can't handle questions about it!  Or at least get it in a discreet place that won’t prompt unwanted questions.  People are going to be curious about any tattoo.  It’s natural to ask, and getting affronted is not going to help anyone.  Unless if they are being jerks about it, look at it as an opportunity to educate others and raise awareness for your cause.  (Which is why many people are getting the tattoos in the first place. Duh!  Raising awareness!)

3.       Don't assume you know what it means.  If you haven’t caught on by now, (then I don’t know what you’ve been reading this whole time,) but two very different factions are at war over claiming this symbol at the moment.  If you see a person with this symbol tattooed on their person, it could be for either thing.  Or maybe they just like grammar.  Who knows!?  Ask if you really must!

4.      And Lastly, don't hate on someone for putting a visual reminder of a hardship they lived through on their body. I already explained that there is room for both groups in this.  The symbol can join them, and keep them separate at the same time.  But that’s not what this rule/tip is about.  This is for all the haters out there who are saying this is a horrible “attention seeking” tattoo—especially for those facing suicidal thoughts.  Raising awareness, is not the same as "attention seeking," and neither is reminding yourself of the potential for better days ahead.

I read so many comments like this one responding to an article about suicide awareness/prevention, (I left the bad grammar intact of course):

“Can do it without a tattoo. Don't need to come part of a fashion and show off the fact you had something hard to deal with in your life and just like the attention of it. Grow up. People love drama. Just get on with it. You ent the only ones how have problems. Shit happens. Deal with it and move on. Having this tat means you keep that shitty past with you forever.”

To this ignorant comment I had the pleasure of responding: 

“Or it's a reminder that whatever happened before, wasn't the end.  There is always more to be said.  A happier life to move forward to.  I find it funny that the tattoo is supposed to represent exactly what you're saying.  'Move on with your story.'  Some people just need to remind themselves that.  Everyday.  If YOU can do it without a tattoo, then bully for you.  Why tear down others that need a little help, or reminding?

“Oh, and just FYI...  one of the demographics that have the highest statistics for suicide rate?  Veterans.  1 takes his or her own life every 65 minutes.  Way to be a dick and tell people to "just get over" the suffering they did on YOUR behalf.”

The long of short of it is…  If you are an individual who has been lucky enough to not deal with either of these issues, suicide or surgery, then shut up.  You don’t know what you’re talking about, and hopefully never will. You may be right, “everyone has problems.”  There’s just no need to add on to someone else’s pile, okay?  Don’t be a dick.  And if you’re an individual that falls into one of the demographics using this symbol as a tattooed reminder, remember that there is room for everyone.  You, of all people, should know that life is far too short to be petty and angry over a tiny little mark that so few know how to properly use in a sentence to begin with.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Financial Responsibility, Special Needs, and Politics.

For those of you who don't know what I do for a living right now (putting myself through school) it's teaching/tutoring students with disabilities. This ranges from visual impairments, hearing impairments, autism spectrum, down syndrome... you get the idea... UWW Whitewater is one of the most accessible schools in the country for students with disabilities. We have a champion wheelchair basketball team, 15 miles of sidewalk to assist mobility, and more. I'm proud of where I work and what I do. It's hard, stressful, and pays hardly more than minimum wage after years of working there and becoming the lead of my department, but that's okay. I do it because I know I'm damn good at it, and these kids need me. I've been told time and time again by my students that I'm the best tutor they've ever had and I'm the most requested tutor for CSD. So yes, damn proud.
Now here's what's bothering me right now... There are rumors. So far, they are just rumors, yet to be confirmed, but circulating none the less, that the 300 million dollar budget cuts are going to effect Students with Disabilities most. Why? Because currently the standards for accessibility laws are somewhat lacking. In other words, all we do at our campus to make our students feel comfortable and give them an equal chance at education is considered "excessive." And since we've already cut and stripped every other area of campus to bare minimum over the past few years, this is one of the only area left to take a hard hit. But I'll say again, this is a "rumor" at present, unconfirmed. Unfortunately a very likely to be true one. But rumor or not, my students are coming to me for answers in a panic, which makes focusing on their studies all the more difficult. And even if I did have answers, I am strictly forbidden from discussing the budget, or politics with any of them per regulations of our department.
So, I am discussing this here, raising my voice so all can understand the impact of certain actions. I know this may alienate me from some of you, and know many of you may want to end your friendship with me after this. I know some of you will want to believe none of this is true and listen to commercials and political sound bytes that make you feel warm and cozy about this travesty instead of hearing out someone directly reporting as an eyewitness. That's up to you. And I can't blame you. Ignorance is bliss. If I could turn a blind eye and live in a world of make-believe, maybe temptation would get the best of me to do exactly that. But I can't.
Bottom line is, we want our cake and to eat it too. And our governor has promised both. And it's true, property taxes have lowered as a result of these budget cuts. A whole five dollars. A future is being stolen from many students so the average property tax holder can afford one more meal at a fast food restaurant. That's what was voted for, but it doesn't have to be this way.
Now I'm not proposing that anyone go out and march and make attempts at recalls. That costs everyone time, energy, and money that we just don't have. What I am proposing is, if this is really a matter of just 5 dollars a person, that means we can save our university system without all that fuss.
Currently, the Whitewater campus is in desperate need of repairs. Particularly in the building that house the English, Math, and Language courses, as well as the Library, but these are far from the only buildings in desperate need. In fact the only two buildings on campus in a range of good to excellent condition are the University Center and Hyland (the building dedicated to accounting and business) which are both soon to suffer along with the rest as well, I'm sure. By donating directly to the UW schools, we can fix this, together.
But please, more than anything, keep all of this in mind when the next vote comes around. Don't let our nation go in the same direction that our state is slipping. Right now the Governor is giving more attention to his potential bid at the presidency than the job he's being payed for--but that's politics and not surprising. If you type in the words "donate to" on Google the top suggested result is currently "Scott Walker." Please, consider what is more important to dedicate your money to, and who is responsible for the need in the first place when the next election comes around.