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What Are Freemium (or, Free to Play) Games?

If you have been living under a rock for the past several years, like me, you may not be up to date on the popular format of games these days: freemium. (Also knows as “free to play” or “f2p”)

What is this “freemium” game format?

A LOUSY RIPOFF, is what it is.

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Kobe Beef in America – NO SUCH THING!

Agh!!!!!! I just read this article the other day: Food’s Biggest Scam, The Great Kobe Beef Lie (Forbes)


No, not really. It was semi-shocking and also not. Shocking because it’s so ingrained and people do throw that word around like they are talking about colors. “Orange Carrot, Red Tomato, Kobe Beef” Only it’s NOT Kobe Beef. There’s no such thing (in America).

It’s illegal in America.

It also isn’t “Kobe” beef because the cow’s been massaged by some poor cow-masseuse. I mean, it’s not even about cow-massage, although that does help to fuel the American interest in the specially labeled meat. It’s Kobe because of strict Japanese regulations and cows being from Kobe, the capital of the Hyogo prefecture, in Japan. But there are no cow massages. This makes me sort of sad. Yes, I’m an idiot.

And according to the article, Kobe beef isn’t even the supreme quality beef that we regard it as in America. In America this is deemed the top of the line beef, best you could ever have. Delicacy. In Japan, there is actually beef that they consider higher quality beef than Kobe. Agh! Life-ruining information.

If you want a much better explanation from someone who knows much more about Kobe beef than I do, read the article. And when I say “read the article” I don’t mean “read the headlines and skim over the rest”. I mean actually read the article.  I normally wouldn’t care except that the author, Mr. Larry Olmstead, wrote a detailed and, at times, almost repetitive article explaining key points about why Kobe beef is not available in America and even how Wagyu beef, as we know it, is not even a thing. (Wagyu actually just means “Japanese Cattle” – meaning this includes all qualities of Japanese cows)

This isn’t just about respecting the author’s writing – it’s about the fact that the poor guy wound up repeating himself so many times it got to be overwhelming. Not in a poorly-written sense but in a “really driving this point home” sense. He wrote a three part article and planned to stop it there except that he got so many emails he wound up having to write a fourth part just to clarify things and answer some reader’s questions.

What was he clarifying? It wasn’t about cow massages – it was reiterating the same exact points from the other three parts of the article!

So when you are paying for a good ol’ Kobe steak, you better be in Japan. And you better be paying a very pretty penny! I have a friend who moved to Japan and is planning to go try some real Kobe steak. She showed me this website. A Kobe steak at the shown restaurant is 2,980 yen ($38 USD) – and that’s in Japan.

An even more depressing part of this article was finding out things I should have known. Naively believing what has been shown to me for the past all-the-years-of-my-life without ever questioning. That is, I had no idea that “Champagne” does not simply mean “sparkling wine”. I thought Champagne was its own beverage, a totally different (but similar) product. A vast array of “wine” exists but I only seem to see “Champagne” or everything that isn’t Champagne.

I had no idea it was a place in France that was famous for their sparkling wine and the name implied it came from there.

Likewise, I didn’t know “Burgundy”, “Chianti”, “Sherry”, and many other popular wines aren’t just referring to a flavor or style but the name implies that it came from a specific place. You see store-brand bottles labeled “Burgundy” and “Sherry” at the local grocery store for $3 each! Parmigiano-Reggiano I also thought was merely a type of cheese. Even Cheddar does not merely mean a flavor of cheese. AGH! Life re-ruined.

Yes, I really am an idiot.

On a complete side note, this makes me sad. If you type in “Kobe Japan Steakhouse” – the entire first page of results is filled with different locations of teppanyaki/hibachi places (similar to Benihana). If you haven’t been to one of these places, you get some stir-fried vegetables, fried rice, and steak, shrimp or chicken. They will usually start you out with clear soup and a small salad with a ginger dressing. Think “onion volcano”.

This is not Japanese food.

I’m not saying they never eat this stuff in Japan, and the cooking style is apparently authentic Japanese, but all Japanese food does not fit into these two or three categories (teppanyaki-cooked, teriyaki, and sushi). I have heard numerous people where I’m at complain about not liking “Japanese food” and I always want to scream “YOU HAVEN’T TRIED IT THOUGH!”

That’s enough of my ranting. Go read the article and let your life be ruined too.

Don’t Buy a Computer From QVC or HSN

I can understand the “computer illiterate” person, even though I’m a techie myself. My sister actually calls herself that, even though she frequently understands more than the average bear. So when I see people try to screw the unknowing over, it typically irks me. Enter home shopping channels.

What better way to screw people out of their money than on television? Gotta love it.

The other day, my boyfriend and I caught this being advertised on QVC – and I apologize, but yes this is a photo of the television.

QVC Overpriced Computer Scam Sale

They look nice, but don't let them fool you.

The first thing is that they claim the retail price is $1,099. No, it’s not.

For $1,099 at say, Best Buy – you can get a brand new Toshiba, Asus, or for about $50 more a Dell – ALL with significantly better all-around specs than those presented above. And even though they are offering free S&H, there is none to begin with if you walk into Best Buy and pick it up, plus there’s the benefit of instant gratification. 🙂

So, what about our special “one-time only” sale price of $679?

QVC Overpriced Laptop Sale

Really, get something better for less from somewhere else.

Forget that “4 years of McAfee”. That shouldn’t be a company’s prime selling point to justify such an exaggerated price.

For $679 (again, just using Best Buy as a comparison), you can get a laptop with a better processor and up to a couple gigs more RAM, even with equivalent or larger screen size.

What about the actual laptop they were selling?

Going with a Dell, just to make it simple, you can get the same thing at Best Buy (with a bit better processor and another gig of RAM, actually), for $429.

I chuckle to myself every time that QVC advertises a computer. I’m not trying to diss QVC – maybe their kitchen equipment or jewelery is fabulous. Their computer deals, however, are not.

Ever bought a computer from QVC or HSN and later found the same or something similar for less? What about their other products? Tell me about your experience in the comments.

Make Money by Giving Stuff Away – Is a Scam?

Can you really get an iPad for free?

Can you really get Apple's ever popular iPad for free?

I’m sure you’ve heard the commercials for at some point. They’re odd and don’t have much context to them, with some hilariously bad acting. But a business isn’t worth shunning based on a bad commercial.

Is the free iPad offer a scam?

Or is there some company out there just waiting to offer you a popular and expensive electronic device in exchange for your opinion?

There are probably several variations on the ads, but the ones I’ve heard go something like this… (paraphrasing based on what I remember of it)

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Thrifty Traveler’s Advantage – Is it a scam?

Thrifty Car Rental – Blue Chip Membership

I am planning to travel, take a trip back home, in a few months. I have almost everything arranged except the rental car.

I called Thrifty Car Rental just a few days ago to ask a question about the shuttle service since I’d never had to use a shuttle service at a car rental before. The woman I initially talked to was a regular english speaking woman with no accent whatsoever and was generally helpful.

She invited me to save an additional so much for reserving my rental car over the phone. I wasn’t trying to place the reservation so I kind of avoided that topic. Before hanging up she said “You don’t want to be transferred to find out about the additional savings and $20 in free gas?”

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