Online Surveys and the Like

May. 25th, 2017 07:24 pm
settiai: (Pike -- settiai)
[personal profile] settiai
I've mentioned before that I do online surveys and such very regularly, that I can then trade in for things like airline miles (enough for a free flight almost every year), Amazon gift cards, cash, and the like. Several people have asked me about them, so I thought that I'd type up a post for anyone who might be interested.

First is the National Consumer Panel, which is run by Nielsen. The way it works is that whenever you go grocery shopping, once you're done you scan the barcodes on your groceries using an app on your phone. (There are also some surveys you can do from time to time as well.) It's fairly quick and easy, and once you get used to it then it adds maybe an extra minute or two to unpacking groceries and putting them away.

They have a variety of rewards you can trade in points for, including Amazon gift cards (which is a big one for me). They also have random drawings throughout the year for prepaid Visa cards of varying amounts. I've won those several times without doing anything special.

Another that I really like is e-Rewards, which is solely taking online surveys, but unfortunately it's rather difficult to sign up with them as they're invite only. You have to get an invitation from one of their partners in order to join. That's the site that I get my airline miles from, so it's very much worth it if you can get in with them. If it helps any, I got my original invite to join their site by signing up for e-mails from Pizza Hut.

InBoxDollars is another site that I use. It's not as profitable as the others, but they pay cash. I usually earn $50 or so a year from them, but I also only visit their site sporadically each week. I'm sure if I were to spend more time there, it would be more profitable. And I can verify that they do actually pay you, as I've gotten several checks from them.

Last but not least is Swagbucks. It's another one that you can trade in for all sorts of things, including Amazon gift cards or even cash. In my opinion it's more time-consuming than the others, but it's definitely possible to make decent money on their site if you're willing to spend time attempting every survey and such that they offer.

They also have the option to get money back from online shopping, so it can help if you get in the habit of going through their referral link when ordering things online. For example, I used their site the last time I ordered a computer from Dell, and I ended up getting something like 15% back - which is a fairly decent amount of money on large purchases like that.

I've used others in the past, but those four are the ones that I've found to be most profitable and therefore the ones that I've stuck with. If you have questions about any of them, let me know.

Garden addition

May. 25th, 2017 06:21 pm
nanila: nellie kim is awesome (purple nellie)
[personal profile] nanila
Back story: The garden behind our house is a very peculiar shape. It is quite wide at the back of the house for about 10 metres, then narrows abruptly to a very skinny path alongside the canal towpath hedge. It goes along like this for about 5 metres and then ends in a round, fenced-in patch about 4 metres in diameter. The round patch has a concrete pavement in a pretty circular pattern.

We’ve been trying to work out what to do with this odd space since we moved in. It’s a fair way from the house and not visible from the back door. Jacuzzi? Too much maintenance, plus it’s too far to trek on a horrible winter night. Bike shed? Functional but boring, and also bike sheds are ugly. This is a pretty space, ringed by climbing roses and vines.

A few weeks ago we went to the garden centre and found a display of cute playhouses with trimmed roofs and windows, and an interior upper floor reached by a child-sized ladder. The 6’x6’ models were on sale. As we had to carry the children away from them, literally, we thought, perhaps this is the optimal use for that round patch.

Thus far, we have been proved entirely correct, and the expense has been justified. Since it’s been installed, both children come home from nursery, dash through the house and out the back door into the playhouse to draw, play on the tablet or just run up and down the steps and in and out the doors. (There’s an adorable toddler-sized door out the side in addition to the larger front door.) The only things that brings them back to the house in 15-20 minutes are the requests for drinks and fruity snacks, which are then carried back up to the playhouse.

tl;dr version We got the kids a playhouse for the garden. Photos below!

20170523_184119
[Keiki on a wooden chair outside the playhouse. “Oi* shut da door on moi sister!”]

+3 )

* The Black Country is strong with this one.
** There is a whole separate post brewing about how I simply do not understand Danger Mouse.

years ago and far away

May. 25th, 2017 12:34 pm
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
Forty years ago, and a week, I graduated from undergrad, on a Saturday. The first Saturday after that, my boyfriend called and said he'd gotten advance tickets to this new movie that was coming out; did I want to see it with him? The theatre was across town, new, this was the first movie they were showing.

We sat halfway down, not quite on the aisle.

The yellow letters on the screen said, 'Long ago, in a galaxy far far away...' (None of this Episode 4 business; that was Lucas's recut and redubbing and messing with it later.)

And when the big triangular star-destroyer ship filled the 70-mm screen, I ducked. So did everyone else. We'd been focusing on the screen so tightly that it felt as if the thing was overhead or in our laps. (Good thing 3D movies hadn't been invented yet...)

When we came out of the theatre nearly two hours later, the world had changed. There were new things in it - Jedi and Wookies and a kick-ass princess and a sarcastic smuggler and an idealistic farmer and light sabers and music we couldn't get out of our heads and scenes we couldn't forget.

The world is still changing, and they are still in it. Wherever they are, they are still in it.

Lena, alone; day 60

May. 25th, 2017 09:14 am
solarbird: (tracer)
[personal profile] solarbird

5:30am. Lena Oxton awoke just before sunrise. Day 60, she thought to herself. Or maybe day ten.

Quietly, so not to wake her hostel bunkmates, she went to her locker, pulled out her bag, and slipped silently to the common washroom, where she brushed her teeth and hair and prepped for her morning run. Nightshirt, brushes, back into the bag, and back to the locker; beacon with her, as always, in the special strap she'd built just for it.

6:00am. Lena Oxton ran. It wasn't a jog, it was a run, an all-out two-minute-mile run, jinks coming in bursts between buildings where she wouldn't be seen, not even by CCTV. She'd memorised the route that guaranteed least surveillance, and took it without fail, twice, every morning.

Then, a more typical endurance run. An hour at a more recognisable speed, one the best-trained fully-human runners might manage - certainly nothing anyone would find too impossible, out of context. But she nonetheless slowed whenever police happened near by.

7:00am. Back to the hostel, for the allotted four minute shower. Re-up her bunk on the way in. She tried to think of it as boot camp, or aircraft carrier duty. It felt more like prison.

7:15am. Into her best outfit. If you're going to war with records, best to look like you've got some standing - even if you've been had so many doors slammed in your face that you've developed a ranking system.

7:30am. Breakfast. A century-old cafe tucked into a still-older building on the border between Westminster and Pimlico, high density, high fat, but low cost and they don't skimp on the bangers. She loved it the first three weeks, liked it the next three. This was week nine.

8am. The library. The librarians knew her well at this point, and were kind, assuming without saying that she was some sort of homeless, and probably undocumented, passport or no passport. Electronic refiling of the same sets of requests and documentation that somehow just kept going missing. (Sorry, miss, there's just no sign of it. Why don't you submit it again? ) Research, trying to find something, any case like hers, that might get her a day in court - anything that might get her heard.

Noon. Lunch. A second workout - it's Wednesday, so the corporate-sponsored free weights session; next one would be Friday. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, it's Parks Fitness. Mondays and Saturdays, anything she could find online. Sundays, parkour out on the east end, no one she could really talk to, but the closest she'd found to friends so far.

13:30. Another attempt at her should-be MP's office; barred at the door, as usual. Another attempt at Council - more forgiving, but nothing they can do - "not if it's a military matter, sorry luv." She knew better at this point to show up at a Forces station. One office visit followed another followed another, all about the same, one too-familiar blur after another.

16:45. Immigrant rights groups, free legal aid meeting, round six. Sincere, but - she's not an immigrant. And their legal assistance team are as confused as she was until ten days ago, when she ran into Imogen again, Imogen, who picked her up by the collar and slammed her against the wall and said in a low but deadly voice, "are you following me? are you following me? i don't know what you think you want but the word has gone out, you are a poison and i will not lose my career being seen with you. i don't know you. i never did. never get near me again" before storming away, diving into the nearest cab that would take her, gone almost before even Tracer could think, ...what just happened?

17:30. Dinner. Week nine. Not out of money yet, but no dessert. She missed dessert.

18:30. A long walk around town, playing her favourite new game, "spot the new CCTVs."

Now it's 19:45, as Tracer climbs up onto the hostel's rooftop to try and get a signal to Winston if the surveillance isn't too obvious, but, of course, it is. She heads back down to the common room; it's Wednesday, quiet, and there's been another incident, emergency response in Tunisia, the reporters are wondering if it's Talon and Lena wants to laugh and cry at the same time, as if her beloved spider would ever be so indiscriminate, so inelegant, so wretchedly, terribly sloppy with death.

But sloppily or not, people are still dying, and as she studies the action on screen, she thinks, We could've done something about this. Her hands tighten into angry fists. Overwatch could've, if they hadn't shut us down. I feel so useless. If... She follows the footage, overhead views, and realises she's tracking critical actors. There, she thinks, coolly. That one. Take that one person down, the whole plan falls apart. One shot...

She shakes her head, and closes her eyes. She can still see the target, clear and sharp in her mind's eye, as though through a scope, as though through her scope, as though... Hindsight, she tells herself, is always so clear. Opening her eyes, she realises no one else is even paying attention, and so she reaches up, and changes the channel.

Early to bed. Tomorrow's another day. It'll be different, right? Surely. It has to be.

Maybe I'll just sleep in.