Monday, January 31, 2011

Day 15: You Spin Me Right Round Baby Right Round

I WON $55.50 TODAY!
$50 Gift card MyWeather.com for a second place win in their photo contest
$5.50 from WorldWinner.com for Wheel of Fortune game play
2011 Total Winnings so far:  $1,680.50

After a final marathon campaign of getting votes for my entry "Jazzhands the Snowman"in the MyWeather.com winter photo contest (thank you to all who voted, especially those from Mrs. Archie’s kindergarten class that I reached out to after 26 years on Facebook), I placed second behind Jessica Ice-Bergmann Lettuce’s: Michigan IceSkapades photo.  It was a tight race all day, but some how La Lettuce harvested an additional 50 votes right at the end.  Final score  Jazzhands:274  IceSkapades: 316. We both get $50 gift cards, but La Lettuce gets the green and the glurry. 


Today’s 2 contests:
World Winner.com “Wheel of Fortune”
American Express' Season of Surprises Sweepstakes (I like saying that phrase with a lot of swishy syllabant s’s)
Prizes: 
Wheel of Fortune: $631.80 jackpot
Am Ex:  $100,000
Rules:  Both involved entering standard personal info and then getting the chance to play an interactive game.  I reeeeally got into this. 
Wheel of Fotune had me spin a virtual wheel for $$$.   And the Am Ex game had me pull a slot machine lever for a chance at an instant win (which I instantly lost) but also included me in the running for a $100,000 prize.

Winnings:  On the Wheel of Fortune game I got to spin 3 times for free.  I actually won $5.50, though I am a little suspish if I’ll ever see it.

WorldWinner.com hosts Wheel of Fortune and a number of other online Game Show contests.  They getcha hooked on one for free the first time and then they make you pay for the rest….like someone who deals coke…blow, snow, yay-yo, Bolivian marching powder, the white horse, Aunt Nora (whuuut?) Stardust, CC (my playmaaate come out and play with meeee, climb up my apple treeeee, la la la la LA lahhhhh)....

 Playing the games online was super fun and super satisfying.  It made the contests interactive and worthwhile.  I love a good game/gameshow/board game.  I got hooked when I was a kid. Between $25,000 Pyramid, Press Your Luck, and Let’s Make a Deal, I would fake strep throat all the time in order to stay home to watch.

We also played a lot of games as a family.  I became a master at Boggle when I was little, by playing with a mother who crushed us by finding words like roe and tern.  She didn’t let her children win just so they could feel good about themselves. She was a competitive former English Major and didn’t care that you were just 11.   “You didn’t get “ire”?...Really?  Oh, ok…well that’s a point for me.”
A typical game looked like this:

Hmmmm.....
If you waaaaaant, we could actually do a kinda online contest and play a round of Bogs right now.  You game?  You can use this uber-dramatically underscored 3 minute Weakest Link timer:


I’m really actually going to play.  If you want to get a pen & paper totally do it, I’ll put my words at the bottom, and we can compare. And trust and believe that my mom will too and she'll post her words, cuz she reads this blog, and she is armed with pen and paper as. we. speak. You can check back against mine and hers (she'll beat us both…belieeeeeve…).  The words have to be at least 3 letters.
(my words will be below under the totally random orange square)

Ready?  Set ? Bogs!




My words:
Tar Tart Nab Slab
Slate Stare Dare
Date Rate Tab
Band Glare Slant Tan
Bats Tale Rant Gland
Bar Brat List  
Set Dart Rad Tad  
Dab Silt  List Shear Set Sister 

“Oh mom, you didn’t get sister?  Really?  Hmmmm…well I guess that’s a point for me.”


Sunday, January 30, 2011

Day 14: Let's Get Ready to Rumbuuuuul!






2011 Earnings so far: $1,625
Toady’s contest:  Caribbean Travel and Life Magazine: St. Lucia Vacation
Prize:  A vacay to the Jade Mountain resort in St. Lucia
Rules:  Enter a brief one liner about why you need to put down your smart phone and leave your laptop go to on this getaway.   There are no TVs or phones in the rooms of this resort.    Instead what you look at is the ocean and mountains.  In fact there is a completely missing wall so you're fully immersed in the environment. It's spectacular.  
Onto the Main event  
(ding ding ding)


  Jazzhands The Snowman              VS                  The Michigan Ice Storm








  
This is the ultimate winter photo contest showdown between  my snowman and the Ansel Adams-esque Michigan Icescape submitted by Jessica Ice-Bergmann Lettuce (that's her clever on-line vegetable screen name)  Well I am ready to fight for this title belt and Salad Shooter down.  
Over the last 36 hours, I have been feverishly trying to collect votes to win this  photo contest on Facebook (luckily I don't have a husband and can order in food, so I didn't have to leave the house and there was no one to comment that I should probably step away from the computer)


 Up until yesterday, Ms. Lettuce had a strong lead with 88 votes.  Jazzhands slid past that in the wee hours of the night.  Lettuce woke to a surprise that someone had skidded by her ice patch.  That’s when she started picking up steam.  Since this afternoon, she has upped her votes to 144.  I’m close behind with 133.  There’s 24 hours left to go.  She’s fierce and on a mission to win.  But two can play at this game.  Lettuce see who’s fiercerrrrr….

So I still need help voting.  It’s super easy to do on Facebook. Here’s how:

2 easy steps:
#1. You must 'Like': http://www.facebook.com/myweather?ref=ts.
then.....

If I get second place I’ll be totally bummed.  Then I'll like go to second place party with a bunch of second place people and have to hang around with...

American Idol Runner Up Justin Guarini



Olympic Silver Medalist Nancy Kerrigan


And 2000 Republican Presidential Candidate George W. Bush

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Day 13: She's a Small Wonder

2011 Earnings so far: $1,625

Rules:   They were looking for a sassy 250 word entry that talked about why you need this furniture make over and how this new modern living room would help you live a chic and fabulous life.  I spoke of my outcast state as a gay man in his mid-30's late 20's, still using furniture from my college years. I titled my entry, “Help this queen get his throne.”

Beyond this contest, I entered a slew of super vague, brand-un-specifc, “win some cash and a vacay from us” sweepstakes.

But what really got me into marathon mode was finding a niche of Facebook pages where people can vote for each others’ unrelated contests. I used this to my advantage for the one ongoing contest I have….
Specifically, for my picture entry I've titled, “Jazzhands The Snowman” in the MyWeather.com photo contest: 




I'm in the top 10  & I need your vote. 
You too can vote, in just 2 easy steps:

#1. You've got to 'Like': http://www.facebook.com/myweather?ref=ts.
THEN CLOSE THAT WINDOW.  THENNNNN.....

So, ok,  just real quick I gotta get this next part out before my eyes literally fall out of my head and into my Basil TofuThe people on these websites trade votes.  So they vote for me, and I vote for them.   There are no allegiances, and no one cares what they're voting for actually, as long as they get votes.  It all feels very shady & corrupt and like we’re lobbyists on capital hill or something.   Looooooved iiiiiiit!!!! I got over 50 votes for my snowman pic in only 6 hours…ummmm…I honestly don’t know which part of that last sentence is the saddest.I voted for contests all over the world.  The “Paint on a Volkswagon” contest in France, a dress contest in India (pictured above...total flawless fireceness),  and an endless conveyer belt of “Vote for my precious baby” modeling contests.
Oddly, there were about a bazillion Filipino ad contests.  Companies are working overtime in the online contest front down in Manilla.  My fave to vote for was The Ultimate Faces of Nursing Model Search.  There are alot of Filipino nurses.  And there are a lot cute Filipinos.  Put those two things together, and you've got a fierce Florence Nightengale/ Imelda Marcos Showdown.     
                                                                                                                                             
Heaven Sent...and ready to raise Hell.....


Friday, January 28, 2011

Day 12: It's Payback Time

2011 Earnings so far: $1,625


Today's contest:  MyLifetime.com Clean Start Challenge 2011 Sweepstakes
Prize:   $5,000
Rules:  Fill out an online entry form.  They are asking for phone numbers.  I acquiesced, as much as I'm now beyooooond worried that I'm going to have to exponentially up my Verizon minute plan because of the army of telemarketers that are going to have access to my phone now.


Paid in Full:
Through all the blogging, searching for contests, and looking for pics & videos, I kinda maybe sorta lost sight of the reason I was entering contests to begin with, which is to get out of debt.  I'm happy to say that with my first round of contests earnings, I paid off one of my credit cards in full.  It was the Visa with the Vincent Van Gogh design "Starry Starry Night"




To honor the moment, I did the traditional 'cutting of the card'.  To claim the moment truly as my own, I cut it into the shape of a unicorn.   Neyyyyyyyy...



Thursday, January 27, 2011

Day 11: And the Toni goes to...

2011 Earnings so far:  $1,625

Today’s Contest: Women’s Day/United States of Tara Season 2 DVD Giveaway
Prize:  The DVDs
Rules: Online Info Submission

As much as I said I was going to wait to write again....
I can't not write SOMETHING when I am entering a contest for a set of DVDs starring Toni Collette (but I will be brief, if only to get to bed before 2 am)
I love and live for Toni C.  She's ab fab and gets a thumbs up from me for just about everything she does.

Background:

In this show Toni plays Tara Gregson, a woman who has multiple personalities.   She won a Golden Globe for the role back in 2009.   Toni busted (quite literally) onto the scene as her care-free, shrunken clothes wearing, yet totally akward Muriel in Muriel’s Wedding.   I fell in love with this movie at first sight.  The plot of a young woman realizing her dreams & making them happen undesrscored by an ABBA soundtrack, felt like watching my future play out on screen.  

I totes want to be like Muriel in this pic: giving facial realness and looking like a true original clad in leopard, but if I'm being honest with myself, I'm more of a hotpink bridesmaid.


Other notable Tonis:
Toni Braxton

Toni Morrison

Toni Basil

Ton(y) Danza

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Day 10: Blog update





Today's Contest:  Dollar General $5 Million Dollar Giveaway

Prize:  5 million $$$  grand Prize

I've decided to switch the format on here a little.  For now, I'll still update my contest entries and winnings on here on a daily basis, but only do a weekly recap with all the bells, whistles and pictures that you've come to expect.   As much as I'm trying to get out of corporate America, I'm still very much entrenched in there, and am going a little bonkers trying to learn how to balance that with this new blog.

I'm so excited for your excitement about this adventure and am so grateful that you've been reading.
I appreciate your patience as  I learn to get my bearings with this.

Thanks,
Matthew




Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Day 9: Neuteronomy

CONTEST UPDATE:
I am a finalist in the MyWeather Photo contest (which I blogged about on Day 4: Weather or Not).  Now the 2 pics with the top votes get $50.  I need your help.  Please go to the MyWeather Facebook page and vote for my City Snowman.  You’ll need to “like” the MyWeather page…and then you can “like” my pic. Thanks!!  http://www.facebook.com/myweather
2011 Earnings so far:  $1,625
Today’s Contest:   ASPCA Spay Day Online Pet Photo Contest
Rules:  Submit the cutest pic you have of your li’l pet on their website. A panel of professional animal photographers will judge on the winners                                                                                          Prizes:  Different prizes are awarded for pics that place in the top 10.  The Grand Prize is a Trip to LA to attend the Genesis Awards:  A ceremony that pays tribute to those in news and entertainment for producing outstanding works raising awareness of animal issues.  You also get a custom painting of your pet, and a $500 gift card for pet supplies


Background: 
The ASPCA works to fight animal cruelty, advocates passing humane laws for our furry friends, and helps shelters nationwide.
As a fundraising awareness campaign they are having people submit pics of their little critters in a all out-no holds barred on line cuteness pageant.  This might prove to be as intense as people who submit pictures of their babies on line for Gap contests and then get LIVIIIIIIID when no one gives a thumbs up on facebook…I’ve seen it…it’s ugly….I meant the contest...not your baby...(welllll....)

Who will be crowned ASPCA Spay Day Anamalista of 2011? I submitted a pic of my own little pageant diva.  Ladies and Gentlemen, our next contestant MacGregor Fletcher……

Hi, my name’s MacGregor Fletcher, I'm from the great state of New York, home of the original alley cat.   I’m a full time sleeper who loves a loose string and my talent is staring at the back of the sofa for hours on end.

Animal Awareness is ever growing as more and more people switch to being veggie, vegan and not wear animal products.  Helping to usher the movement along are people of note from various fronts….in entertainment, Natlie Portman and Oliver Stone.  In fashion, Stealla McCartney, and in politics Dennis Kuccinch. It’s certainly not a new movement.  Figures like Buddha, Leonardo Davinci and some say even Jesus, were veggies, and animal lovers.  One of the most visible activists of our time is actress, Betty White who has been advocating animal rights for over  135 years.      

Lisa Simpson:  Perhaps it's her vegetarian diet that has kept her 
from aging at all for over 20 years now



Mr. Rogers didn't eat big birds


Spock'(s) Vulcan grip was chicken finger free


But even though we are progressing, we still have such a long way to go.  We are using animals for our entertainment in cruel thoughtless ways.


These are the innocent. The unprotected.  Please if we can put a stop to this, let it be today.

 One of the worst offenses of animal cruelty, on so many levels, is still perpetuated on a nightly basis, all over the country.  It's horrifying and awful, and after years and years people line up to see it.  It needs to stop.  It’s a single word that send chills down my spine.  Cats.










Monday, January 24, 2011

Day 8: MasterDater

2011 Contest Winnings so far:  $1,625

Today’s Contest:  Truth-about-dating.com Sweepstakes
Prizes:  A menagerie of odds and ends …I’m specifically entering for the Diamondback Recoil Full Suspension Mountain Bike. 
How To enter:  It's yet another sweepstakes.  So, ya just go to their website and plug in your info.

                                                                                         
Background:
Truth-about-dating.com is a website which offers “Everything you need to know about dating”.  Upon further inspection, this statement is very debatable.  They have tips on how to get yourself a man, keep him interested, marry him and how to save that marriage when you clearly didn’t pay good enough attention to the ‘keeping him interested’ part. 

I'm suspicious of tip # 9 on how to attract a guy:
Develop a fun and vibrant personality. With a personality such as this, it is easy for you to stand out in a crowd and enable guys to notice you.

What does this mean exactly?  Like get a Julia Roberts laugh and sparkle like a Liza Minnelli pants suit?



I wouldn't mind this so much, oh Truth-about-dating.com, IF it wasn't in direct conflict with your #1 tip:
There is probably nothing that attracts a guy towards a girl more than her genuine self.

What am I supposed to do here?  With this kind of conflicting information, a lady like me is libel to go through her entire closet, asking
 "Who am I anyway?????" and find NOTHING that fits/feels right/isn't old/she likes...and end up canceling the date, and instead watch TV and eat a pint of Haagen Dazs.

Equally as bizzaro as their advice are the prizes that they are giving away.



Like the bike I chose to win.  Just one? Not a pair?  
But if I had two I could take my date on a bike ride.  
I guess having just one is good for the future in those moments when you're like "It's not that I need time away from YOU, I just need time with ME."







PTSD (Post Traumatic Serial Dating)
There’s a whole slew of dating sites.  I’m on a couple.   Haven’t had too much success.  They have everything from the ‘cast a wide net’ ones like Match.com and Spark.com to the more specific like JDate, MillionaireMate.com. And Women Behind Bars.com...yup.  


My mom is getting married in June to a man named Larry.  We like him.  She met him on Match.com…the news of her engagement prompted the single women in my office to windsprint from my desk like a pack of Jackie Joyner Kersees to go sign up on that site.


Tradish-UUUUUUUUUN!
It’s going to be a Jewish wedding.   We’re not Jewish, but Larry is, so no biggie, whatevs.  I happened to be raised in Glencoe, Illinois which is like little Israel.  I went to every Bar & Bat Mitzvah in town, and all of my friends growing up either had a color in their name (Silver, Gold, Green) or a Stein..or both..heyyy Joanne Greenstein...Shalomskiiis.  And yet with all this.. I have never attended a full on Jewish wedding.  



My mom asked if I would want to sing.  I don’t know what one sings at a Jewish wedding.  But,  since it’s probably a little scandalous that Larry’s marrying a shiksa (ie my mom), I’ll echo that sentiment and be a little untradish myself.   The cermony ends, they step on the napkin covered glass, and I come out in bobbed wig, white mink and several costume changes....






What’s new Pussycat?  
On Another wedding note, today at Ollie’s Place, a no-kill shelter on East 26th street, they held the first same sex marriage between two male casts…Solomon and Bruno.  They did it so that the two fellas wouldn’t be split up between homes.  Awwwww....My heart goes out to the happy couple.  They are accepting gifts on their wedding registry page:

Meow-zel Tov!


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Day 7: I'll have Naan of it

2011 Contest Winnings:  $1,625

Today’s Contest:  The Journey to India contest sponsored by Kitchens of India
Prize:  One winner receives a round trip for 2 to New Delhi
How to enter: Submit standard contact info on the Kitchens of India website

Background:  ITC is a big ol' conglomerate in India.  They own hotels, retails chains and agriculture companies.  One thing that marries all of these industries nicely together for them is a food line that they have called Kitchens of India.  It's ruuul good stuff (apparently Bill Clinton went off his diet to have some).  It emulates the gourmet restaurants they have in their hotels.  I mean I live for a Tikka Masala, or a Chana Saag dish.  Throw in some naan bread and forget it.  I'm done.  It's over.  I love it.   C'mon.  Ya know?  So they are hosting this online contest to bring American awareness to this line of food products.



Some After (I eat all of my naan, have a bite of yours and then order seconds) Thoughts:
India is totally hot right now.  Not in Fahrenheit terms like, "Girl, I am sweating something fierce in this Ashram."  But like hot, as in the culture-du-jour.  After the success of Slum dog Millionaire (loved it, thank you Danny Boyle), there seemed to be an avalanche of Indian influenced media.  I’m still totally captivated by that movie.  Dreams, hope, destiny, and an incredible Bollywood dance sequence in a train station at the end.  I duh-reeeeeaaam-uh of the 1 train platform exploding into something like that. 



Can this please happen tomorrow on my commute?  
And can I please have that outrageously long yellow scarf?


BOOKS




Eat Pray Love made traveling to India and beyond the thing to do for dissatisfied 37-year-old women with enormous bank accounts.  





Since I couldn't afford the escape plan Elizabeth Gilbert did in her memoir, I read the book while soaking in multiple baths over a couple days.  Calgon take me away.   I know some people kinda turned their noses up at that book.  I totally loved it.  But then they made the unfortunate movie version.  Holy Krishna...


HEALTH

Yoga is everywhere now.   I myself practice regularly.  It totally helps me with my breathing and mindfulness but more than that...it also gives me flexibility for real life situations..like flushing a public toilet with my foot.  Nama-steyyyy.




TV
“Outsourced” is the NBC show about an outsource call center in India.  Haven’t seen it.  Seen a couple promos.  Kinda looks like a rip off of the Office.  Which was a rip off of…well, actually The Office.





ADVERTISING
Those  Metro PCS Tech N Talk guys have taken over my TV. They are on every commercial break.  Please let me win a DVR. I can't watch them anymore.  Can't. watch. any. more.


American media does this all the time.  They take a culture and turn it into a fad to make music, videos, movies, books, and TV shows out of it.  
Before this Indian (re)incarnation, they did it with the gays.  There was Will and Grace,  Queer Eye for the straight guy, & Boy meets Boy (a totally bad gay dating show...that I was furious I didn't get on).



And back in the early 2000’s America's fascination with all things Latin was ushered in as Ricky Martin Vida-Loca’d his way into the hearts of American girls, and the pants of American boys.  Followed closely behind by Marc Anthony who followed closely behind J-Lo's behind


Next up....
I actually think the next  cultural wave is going to be of a more supernatural variety.
Zombies
There are already books, tv shows, even an smart phone app.
At least with zombies, if we take their culture and totally commercialize it, they won't want to kill us any more than they already do.