Wednesday, April 27, 2016

A shoutout to one of my favorite blogs: Kaiju Korner

Today I just have to make a brief shout-out to one of my favorite blogs...

Kaiju Korner


Kaiju Korner!

Basically, there is no other blog like this on the net.
Andy, the owner of the blog, makes sure to photograph and attend toy festivals in Japan so those of us overseas can see the new releases and general amazingness that these festivals have to offer.
He also does write-ups on various aspects of Japanese culture, from vintage toys and memorabilia to modern customs and more!

If you want to take a peek into the world of kaiju, sofubi, and Japanese madness, please take a visit
by clicking here!
Or by just visiting kaijukorner.blogspot.com

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Microworkers: An Honest Review

Today I review a site called Microworkers, which is a site that most "beermoney" enthusiasts either love or hate.
The fees that are taken from withdrawing your money annoy a lot of people, but some swear by the site, saying it's a great way to make cash in your spare time.

PHASE #1

For my first foray into Microworkers, I chose tasks that I thought I could complete fast under the Jobs section and HG jobs section. (The HG jobs are also known as Hire Group jobs, where job posters put specifications on who can actually do the work. They're usually timed and require a certain amount of success in previous jobs, or a clean record.) These usually consisted of leaving comments on blogs, searching on Google for top hits, or following someone on Instagram/Facebook.

My Phase 1 experience:
Microworkers (new user): 5 hours of work = $9.24 = $1.85/hr
This, of course, was barely worth my time. Being a new user, a lot of jobs were closed to me, so though I grinned and beared it, I came up quite short of what I was hoping for.

PHASE #2

After my first foray into Microworkers, I saw that "PL jobs" had unlocked. Intrigued, I was faced with my nemesis: PEANUT LABS.
For some background information, Peanut Labs partners up with many "make money" sites/apps and provides surveys to do. The catch?
If you do not report your annual earnings, you will probably get disqualified from ALL the surveys you take. Living with my parents, I'm not privy to our annual earnings. 50% of the time I get disqualified as soon as I check "Prefer Not to Answer." The other 50% is for something dumb, like not having kids, not drinking/smoking, or stupid shit like that.
After a grueling 20 minutes of non-stop rejection and frustration, I just gave up. The wealth of information they manage to glean from you before rejecting your participation in a survey is insane, and it's simply not worth my time.

My Phase 2 experience:
Microworkers (Peanut Labs): 20 min = $0.00 = n/a
Peanut Labs is a joke, and I recommend staying far, far away from their surveys.

PHASE #3

With my newfound success rate, I spent approximately an hour and a half doing various tasks on the site. A lot of these were Google+ reposting, searching Google, and a survey. Frustratingly the university that held the survey deemed my answers "unreliable and too quick" which I guess is a product of me being a wizard at taking surveys. (Been at this a loooong time.)

My Phase 3 Experience:
Microworkers (user with 30+ jobs completed): 1 and a half hours of work = $4.82 = $3.21/hr
That's still a long shot from even minimum wage work, but it's better than the new user rate I was making. I also have become better at identifying easy jobs.

PHASE #4

This time around I focused mainly on jobs I knew I could complete quickly. There was a lack of Google+ post jobs, so I did a few YouTube and Google search related jobs, as well as posting a link to an app on Yahoo Answers. I meant to only spend an hour on jobs, but ended up spending around an hour and fifteen minutes.

My Phase 4 Experience:
Microworkers (user with 50+ jobs completed): 1 hour and fifteen minutes of work = $7.20 = $5.76/hr
Hooray! That's better than Georgia's minimum wage of $5.15! (Not sure how exactly that's possible when the national minimum wage is higher than that, but oh well. I never understood law jargon.)

A CONCLUSION

So, it seems that Microworkers won't ever be a real replacement for a job. Seeing that the USA's federal minimum wage is $7.25, and Connecticut (where I live) has a whopping $9.60 minimum wage, Microworkers just can't cut it as a "real job."
That being said, the more you work and the more jobs you complete, the better the jobs you receive. You also soon learn which jobs can be completed in the shortest amount of time, and for the most money.

In conclusion, Microworkers is a great website to make money in your spare time. If you have some time to kill, it's worth it to log in and check if there's a survey or some easy tasks that you can complete in a few minutes and make a buck or two from.
Sometimes you'll get lucky and get a great task that pays well.

At the end of my experiment, I have $21.26 in my account.
Withdrawing that money to PayPal cost me $1.47, leaving me with $19.66, and $0.13 left in my Microworkers account.
I think I'll bank it and save it for a new headset...

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Survey + "Beermoney" App Roundup - Which Apps Are Worthwhile, and Which Deserve a Delete

Hello everyone!
Since I'm sure this post will likely make the rounds past my original audience, I'd like to take a moment to introduce myself.

My name is Maddie, and I am a 25 year old thrift-a-holic. I love to save money, I live in the clearance rack, and I love a good bargain.
That being said, I'm a bit of a failure in life, or at least as far as society's opinion goes. I live with my parents, am still in college, and have more health conditions than I have fingers. (And I'm not talking conditions that I've brought upon myself through bad habits, either. If only, that at least would mean I could fix them!)
As you can probably assume, I can't work right now, so I've been doing what I can... Selling my artwork, selling plants (yes that's a thing!), and keeping a tight grasp on my wallet.

I used to do a lot of surveys-for-cash years ago, blogged, and made YouTube videos, but my favorite survey site closed down and the advent of AdBlock ruined any hopes of ad revenue from my other two ventures...
You can assume my surprise and joy when I discovered that there are now apps that allow you to make money through surveys! I can make money while eating breakfast! I can make money on the toilet! I can make money while hopelessly waiting for sleep to grace my insomnia-riddled brain! 
MONEY IN MY FREE TIME OMG!

But alas, not all survey apps are created equal.
That's why today I am writing up a whopping HUGE summary of my personal experience with every survey app I have downloaded.
I have used each of these apps for approximately a month.
Remember that my experiences with these apps might not be reflective of yours! Every survey has a different target audience, and while I might be rejected from every survey an app throws at me and think it sucks, you might adore it and hit bank.

ONTO THE REVIEWS!!!

#1 iPoll
iPoll has a very simple interface and while it has some claim to fame online, it falls flat as an app.

First of all, iPoll is a bit of a misnomer. There really aren't any surveys available at all. The only survey I have available to me requires a photo of my cell phone bill, which I'm not really willing to share. The "missions" are all not available in my area, though their payouts seem to be anywhere from $3-$10. 
Why are quizzes and scavenger hints greyed out? Who knows, but I wonder if it's because I haven't earned enough yet.
Final verdict: Absolutely not worth my time. I have made a total of $0.30 with this app, which isn't even enough to cash out. There are never any new "polls" to do, even though I always have "new profile questions" available. Stick to the desktop version of iPoll if that's your thing, but this app has been utterly useless to me.
Referral Link: http://bit.ly/pSgd31

#2 1Q
1Q is a bit of an odd app because despite its smart concept, the lack of questions to answer makes it a bit of a dud.

1Q operates unlike any other survey app, because it gives you instant payments straight to your PayPal account. That's right... Instant. No waiting for a certain threshold to cash out. The problem is you will never get questions other than the first two, and when you do get a new question to answer the window of opportunity is so short that if you don't answer within a few hours, it'll be gone.
Final Verdict: This app is worth downloading just so you can put the initial $1.50 in your pocket in less than 5 min. Is it worth keeping on your phone? Yes, because maybe one fine day you'll get a new question to answer and you'll notice fast enough to participate... But don't count on it. It's been weeks, but I'm holding out hope. After all, I have nothing to lose.
Referral Link: http://1q.com/SJLPd

#3 Surveys On The Go
Surveys On The Go is once again, a bit of a silly name for an app that doesn't dish out as many surveys as the name insinuates.

Surveys come up a lot more often than 1Q or iPoll, but they usually pay about $0.50 and are mainly about you and your habits. These surveys do add up though, and if you keep your notifications on you shouldn't miss any surveys. Some are time sensitive though, and I have missed quite a few because I was taking a long nap.
Final Verdict: This app is one to keep your eye on because it does seem to have more surveys to do than the previous two. Though it does have a $10 payout threshold, I have reached $4.55 so far. Payouts can come as Amazon credit, Visa rewards, or PayPal cash. The convenience of the payout options makes this app a potential keeper.

#4 Survey.com (the app!)
It's sleek, it's minimalistic, and utterly devoid of surveys. With a name like survey.com, you'd expect to be drowning in surveys.

Unfortunately, this is what you will usually be greeted with upon opening this app... Nothing. No surveys, but a promise of surveys that never seems to be fulfilled.
Final Verdict: This app is a total bummer. Though the payout threshold is low at a mere $7.50, you probably won't get there within even a month. I have amassed a mighty $1.00 off of this app, and don't expect that number to go up anytime soon. Another waste of space that I still pathetically keep on my phone... Just in case.

#5 Swagbucks
Swagbucks is something probably everyone has heard of. It started out as a search engine that rewarded you for searching, but as abuse of the system flourished they scaled down the amount of "bucks" and continued to change their business model. Though it still is a search engine, they offer other services and ways to earn "bucks" too, such as surveys.

If there is one thing that Swagbucks has an abundance of, it's surveys. The issue is these surveys are tough to qualify for (you'll usually get disqualified halfway) and they don't pay a lot of bucks. With 1 SB = $0.01, you're very likely to only make a few dollars a day... If you're lucky. Still, the daily poll, profile questions, and large range of surveys available each day can potentially man you a good amount of money over time.
Final Verdict: They say the more you hear about an app or program, the more likely it's worth a try. Though being disqualified for surveys is infuriating at times, the satisfaction of completing a survey worth nearly a dollar is great. Though I don't mess around with cash-back offers and such (after all, I'm looking to MAKE money, not spend it) there are some interesting offers that under the right circumstances, may be beneficial to you. I've amassed 1760SB ($17.60) but a good portion of that was from before I downloaded the app itself. I'd say at least $6.00 of that is stuff I've earned in the past month. With lots of giftcard payout opinions, this app is a keeper and worth checking out daily. Just don't throw your phone at the wall of you get disqualified from a string of surveys.

#6 CheckPoints
Alright, so this isn't exactly a survey app, but it's pretty similar in concept. You can watch videos for credits, check into stores for credits, scan barcodes for credits, and all that random stuff.
I'm going to be honest, I haven't really used this app much. I don't go shopping very often, and I rarely have time to just leave my phone on to let some random videos play. It seems like it has potential though for shopaholics.
Final Verdict: I'm keeping this one around for one reason only: mall trips and holiday shopping. Those are times where I am scrambling in every store, tight on money, and I'd be more than happy to scan barcodes if it means I can nab myself some Amazon gift cards. Speaking of gift cards, there are more choices that you can shake a stick at, so if you shop and have some time to just leave your phone plugged in and run a bunch of videos to farm credits... DO IT.
Referral Code: hellointerloper

#7 Acorn Hunt
Another app that is very similar to CheckPoints, except this one includes two interesting things: Reddit exclusive codes weekly, and surveys.
Acorns are an odd form of "currency" because unlike Swagbucks, which are equal to cents, one acorn actually equals $0.025. That means 4 acorns = $0.01, making conversion a bit silly. Being said, between the offers, surveys, Reddit exclusive codes, and daily poll, you can start slowly collecting acorns.
Final Verdict: While the pay is a big subpar, the biggest downfall with this app is the fact that the survey company they have partnered with is Peanut Labs. They are notorious for disqualifying you in the middle of a 10 minute survey and leaving you angry and empty-handed. I only have amassed a grand total of 720 Acorns ($1.80) but to be honest, I don't put in a lot of effort into this app. While it may be worthwhile to those who have the time to run videos and do offers, and those in niche demographics that surveys are looking for, this app just doesn't cut it for me. It also has a minimum withdrawal threshold of $10, so I don't see myself being able to cash out very soon.
Referral Code: MLAMEDICA

#8 QuickThoughts
QuickThoughts completely lives up to it's name by giving you the quickest surveys with prequalifying questions before the actual survey itself. This means a lot less disqualifications, and if you are disqualified you still earn $0.10. Yes, that's right... You get paid if you get disqualified.
This app gets everything right. A sleek interface, surveys formatted perfectly for mobile, and new surveys almost every day.
Final Verdict: Out of all the survey apps I've used, this one has been by far the least frustrating and fair one out there. The sting of being disqualified is softened by the $0.10 consolation prize, and the surveys are usually so short and worth one dollar that you can get it done on the toilet. Yes, you can make a buck while you poop. As you can see from my screencaps, I've made $7.70 so far and the threshold for payment is $10, so I'm almost there. This is definitely one app that I check daily and is so pleasantly simple to use that I recommend it with full confidence.

#9 Inbox Dollars
If I had to humanize Inbox Dollars, I would describe it as an abusive boyfriend. It screws you over again and again and yet you keep coming back.
InboxDollars works like this: you do offers (which usually means submitting your information and getting spammed to death by emails and inundated by telemarketers) or watch videos, do surveys, and enter sweepstakes for a buck or two. The problem is you will likely get disqualified from every survey minutes in, giving you a chance to "spin the wheel of prizes," if you can even call it that. You'll most of the time win nothing or get a "sweep" which is a sweepstakes entry, and you're probably not going to win the sweepstakes anyway so it's an empty prize. You can also confirm you've read an email for $0.02 each, which is pretty much as useful as searching your couch for change.
Final Verdict: This app reels you in with an amazing $5 survey, then lets you down with impossible-to-qualify surveys and general douchery. Many of the surveys will send you in endless circles of "you didn't qualify, but you can qualify for this longer survey!" ...and even then, you'll likely get nothing. I managed to collect $7.03 so far (remember, that's the guaranteed $5 survey included) and you need a whopping $30.00 to cash out. In other words, this app blows chunks.

Well, I hope this review write-up helped you determine which survey and money-making apps are worth your time and which to avoid.

Cheers and happy hunting!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Movie Night With Maddie: Inside Out + Afflicted

As usual, I find myself awake for no good reason and I'm too tired to do anything else but sit on my ass and watch some TV.

A few nights ago I was bored and started looking through the premium channels' movie listings, and I actually was surprised to see quite a few that looked interesting.

First off:
Inside Out

I've heard a lot of good stuff about this movie, and heck, it's Pixar... What could go wrong? To be honest, nothing. It was a pretty fascinating movie especially since I'm taking General Psychology this semester. Pixar's portrayal of different aspects of personality, memory, and the brain's functions were quite humorous and clever.
That being said, I do believe it is one of Pixar's weakest films. I know a lot of people may disagree with me, but I found the plot to be somewhat lacking. Rather than being a movie that followed a strong story arc, I felt like I was rather watching a series of events unfold. 
I also felt like there wasn't enough emphasis on the conflict between Joy and Sadness. It's insinuated that they are a bit at odds, but it never really coalesced into an actual conflict. When they do have their differences put aside, it isn't quite as cathartic as it could have been. Joy is just too rigid a character to get upset at Sadness.
I guess that's one issue with the movie... Every character is so tightly locked into a role that certain interactions aren't possible.
That being said, it was still and enjoyable movie that had me thinking for a few days... And especially wondering why my imaginary friends weren't as interesting as BingBong.
(Mine were cats. Just... Cats.)

Moving on to...
Afflicted!

Now here's a movie that truly caught me off guard. When I read the description and saw "found-footage," I cringed. I almost just passed over it, but plugged it into good ol' Rotten Tomatoes and was surprised to see a positive consensus. That intrigued me enough to press play.
I was relieved to find out that this wasn't a "Paranormal Activity"-like movie where grainy footage and jump-scares were the norm. Think more in the direction of "American Werewolf in London" with Go-Pros. Two friends go on an around-the-world adventure, document their stops in Europe, and... Bam, a one-night stand at a bar turns into a strange assault that leaves one of the pals, Derrek, out cold and bloodied. His behavior begins to change, he can't keep down any food, but he insists he's fine. He shows off crazy feats of strength as proof, running past motorcycles, breaking rocks in two, and insisting that he's at the peak of health. That doesn't last long though, and as his condition deteriorates, it isn't long before both he and his friend figure out what is going on: he has become a vampire, and his need to feed is growing.
I won't spoil the rest of the plot line, but this movie does a great job at keeping vampires in the realm of horror, and not the sparkly romantic bullshit Twilight so elegantly crapped on top of Hollywood. It humanizes Derrek's suffering and his downward spiral into madness and isolation, to the point where you can't fault him for anything he does. 
This movie isn't about the boogeyman, and that's why I enjoyed it. It's not about evil. It's about an affliction. (Hohoho see, that's the title!)


So that's a wrap!
I'll probably post more opinions on movies I watch as time goes on.

I'm so bad at this

Seriously, I don't know how everyone keeps up with all their social media.
Guess I need to get back to writing and stuff, though.
I'll actually ATTEMPT to keep up with this blog starting now. 
If I don't succeed, forgive me... I just have other things going on.