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Casual Lyft Drivers Thanks to Hertz

What if you had a license, but no car and wanted to get in on the game of driving people around for money? Well thank goodness, the casual driver can now be a Lyft driver thanks to the partnership between Lyft and Hertz.

Lyft has been trying all sorts of things to keep and expand their driver fleet. They announced a new bunch of perks for their drivers including instant deposits and fuel rewards, but this one seems a bit crazy. Lyft drivers will now be able to rent cars from Hertz for discounted rates. The rates shake out to be $25 per day, $150 per week, or $540 per month for an SUV.

All in all, that’s a pretty good rate, but it’s strange that Lyft would want to enlist people who presumably have not been driving long or have not been driving much to represent their brand. If only there was accident data being reported! I understand that Lyft is trying to expand their service and get the kind of recognition that uber does, but this move might come back to bite them in the butt.

Instead, they should probably just find a target group of say, college kids, and market their career opportunities to them. Stay-at-home moms might be another good demographic, but these are people you would likely have to educate about how the service works from a driver perspective.

It is nice to see that Lyft doesn’t parade around with all of Uber’s negative press, but that’s another avenue they certainly could go down. I have already seen multiple reports of Uber drivers who sexually assaulted their passengers yet nothing from Lyft saying how they have better screening measures for their drivers (if it’s true or not is another point.)

Lastly, I wonder if there is any checks and balances kind of system in place to keep people from registering as Lyft drivers just to rent cars. It seems like even at those rates you would have to take in a lot of fares to make a living. I could see this discount being better to scam your way to a cheap vacation vehicle, but maybe that’s just me.

Men brave and generous live the best lives, seldom will they sorrow; then there are fools, afraid of everything, who grumble instead of giving.

The Horror Movies You Need to Watch on Netflix

That’s right. It’s that time of the year when watching horror movies is mandatory. While you’re planning for the best holiday of the year (Halloween duh) these are some movies that should help you get excited and maybe a bit scared. The best part? They are all on Netflix!

I’m a firm believer that the less you know about a movie before watching it the more you will enjoy it. With that in mind I’ve given a list of just titles, no spoilers and then given each movie a score of 1-5 for scariness. A rating of 1 is not scary (probably just funny) and a 5 means you should probably only watch it with a friend. You’ll probably see ghost/demon stuff rank a little higher than other scary movies because I’ll admit that’s what I find scary. I’ll also note that I’ve ranked these as if it’s your first time watching and nobody has spoiled the story for you! Hopefully that’s the case. Anyway, quit reading and get watching!

  • Sleep Hollow (3)
  • Fido (1)
  • Tucker & Dale vs Evil (1)
  • The Blair Witch Project (3)
  • The Fly (2)
  • The Grudge (4)
  • Saw (4)
  • Housebound (2)
  • Haunter (2)
  • The Awakening (4)
  • Insidious 2 (4)
  • Dark Skies (4)
  • Corpse Bride (1)
  • Pontypool (4)

We Love Rochester NY

I recently gave a quote for the site We Love Rochester NY and I thought if it wasn’t clear yet, I should state. I do love Rochester, NY. If you’re too lazy to read through that blog let me summarize the awesomeness of this city.

The People

The people are amazing. There are a lot of young people here for college which means there is a whole lot of educated young people. Who doesn’t love to be surrounded by that? And what makes it really great is the schools here are all fairly different. For instance you have U of R which tends to bring in a good number of ivy league contenders from wealthy backgrounds. Then you have RIT which tends to bring in just the opposite! Lot’s of nerdy kids from working families to add a whole mess of character to the community. And then there are the smaller liberal arts schools like Nazareth. I mean, it really does take all types.

The Size

The city isn’t big, but it’s packed with entertainment. Rock climbing, curling, outdoor ice skating, bowling, sailing, SUPing, kayaking, plays, musicals, concerts, festivals; what more could you be looking for? There is a lot here and yet, it’s not so big that you don’t get to know people in the community.

The Food

Any kind of food from anywhere in the world. Wineries, brewhouses, and more! You can eat at some high class places or just grab a garbage plate. And of course, lots of grub hub options for the less-social nights in.

The Companies

There are a lot of locally owned businesses for starters. Even the large corporations like Wegmans have an outstanding reputation though. There are so many small startups you can hardly keep track of them; everything from bakeries to game developers are working on something new and different. To top it all off, everyone is working toward being sustainable. The multinational chemical company, Rochester Midland, is known for it’s line of green chemicals and recently was recognized for creating a sustainable and safer lubricant to be used in food production. I mean, when even your chemical company is looking out for the environment you have a good thing going.

The Cost of Living

So you’d think a city this amazing should be a pricer place to live. Would you imagine that a nicer house in the suburbs only costs about $120k? You can hardly get a 2 bedroom house for that price down south, and that money wouldn’t get you a cardboard box out west!

It’s true, we really do have it made here in Rochester! If you’re visiting for any reason, don’t miss the chance to get out and explore.

Watching Great Friends Get Married

This weekend was the first of many weddings I am going to this month. The weather broke just in time and everything was simply beautiful. The speeches where heartwarming, the food fantastic, and the setting simply stunning. What more could you ask for?

In all seriousness, this was one of the happiest weddings I’ve attended. I have known the groom since I was a kid and the bride for the past few years and they are truly a perfect match. Such an inspiring union brought out the sappiness in pretty much everyone there.

The best thing about life is the people we share it with. All I hope for is that as I get older I continue to be surrounded by the amazing people I can call friends.


LinkedIn Classaction Lawsuit Over Emails (Perkins vs LinkedIn Corp)

I have been a LinkedIn member since the mid to late 2000’s. Over time it hasn’t evolved as much as say Myspace or Facebook, but the guts of the site have undergone a number of changes. One of these was and is the way in which LinkedIn gets you to connect with other people on their site.

When joining the professional social network you have to provide at least one email address. The site then prompts you to sync your contacts with their system and finds all of your friends in their network. Of course, this isn’t really that much different than any other social network. The idea behind this being that if you know more people at the party you’re more likely to stay.

The problem comes in next from how LinkedIn was using this data. When you first create the account you have the option to pick out any contacts that you want to send an invite to. If someone you select doesn’t have a LinkedIn account they would receive an email that looks like a personal request from you to join. Not ideal, but totally within your control. The next part is where it get’s dicy. See, LinkedIn then started to decide that members weren’t inviting enough of their friends to join. They took it upon themselves to automatically send emails that appear to be from you to your contacts asking them to sign up for the social network.

You may not think this is an issue, but then think back to how many emails you’ve sent from your email account. Maybe buried somewhere is a previous boss, maybe an old flame, or maybe even someone you interviewed for a job once. Any email address that you sent or received mail from would be fair game. You can see how this might be upsetting to the people who received the requests as well as those who found out they were being sent.

Enter the class action lawsuit!

So there is a handy site that explains all of this in detail. The short story is, if you’ve had a LinkedIn account between September 17, 2011 to October 31, 2014 you can submit a claim to any settlement money that will be paid out. Now, there is no guarantee that any money will be paid out, nor is there an estimated amount that will be paid out since the money is to be divided up by the number of claims submitted. If you do want to file, it just takes a few minutes and you can do so here.

…there is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things. Because the innovator has for enemies all those who have done well under the old conditions, and lukewarm defenders in those who may do well under the new. – Machiavelli

Still in Love With Loyal3

Okay, so I already did a post where I talked all about how much I love Loyal3. I felt it was time to reiterate my love for this investing platform after a few different experiences I have had with them.

Let’s start with some good events. Good stuff is always easier to talk about right? So shortly after making my last post Loyal3 updated their platform. I can now see the actual % or $ amount I have made or lost with a particular company. It’s great. It made it a lot easier to make sure I was making a profit with my sales. In fact, so far everything I have sold has been at a gain even with the delay on the transactions going through.

Another great thing I’ve noticed is the addition of investing options. I have already bought 2 IPO’s though Loyal3 and it was incredibly easy. And it’s not just small companies that have released their IPO with Loyal3. Virgin America launched their IPO with Loyal3 back in 2014. It’s pretty fantastic.

Alright, now for the rough part. I did say I hadn’t lost money on a sale, but part of that is because you just don’t sell stock at a loss right? Well, I had bought a handful of Quicksliver stock back when I was testing the waters with Loyal3. When they started to look a bit rocky I sold half of my stock for a profit, but decided to gamble with the other half. Well, as luck would have it they went bankrupt. (They can’t all be winners!) I wasn’t too worried about the monetary loss, but being still pretty new to investing I wasn’t exactly sure how bankruptcy would play out for me and my shit stock.

Loyal3 was incredibly good at communicating everything I needed to know. The first bit of information came before the bankruptcy. It was a notice that I could participate in a class action lawsuit against the company for misrepresenting their company value to stock holders. Good to know, right?

I received probably about 3 communications from Loyal3 after that. The first was an email telling me that the company had been delisted for dropping below $2 per share. Fine, I could see that was going to happen. The email went on to explain what that meant for me as well as what my options were.

After that, came the bankruptcy notifications. Just as they had done with the stock being delisted, Loyal3 went on to explain exactly what was happening, what it meant for me, and what my options were. I couldn’t have asked for more. Ultimately, even after losing some money, I’m a completely happy customer of Loyal3. How many people can say that?!

OK so this weekend I picked, cooked, and ate a wild puffball mushroom. I tried to cook it up a whole bunch of different ways because I’ll be honest, I’d never cooked one of these before. After lots of internet research and dirty dishes I came up with a few ways to try cooking it up.

Stir-fry with Coconut Oil – I’m not a huge mushroom eater so I wanted to start out with something that I figured had a low chance of being disgusting. I’ve been addicted to coconut oil the past few days and I’m a firm believer that if you add enough onion to something it will taste just fine. Sure enough, this turned out great. The mushroom didn’t taste like mushroom at all! It just tasted warm like coconut oil and onion.

Stir-fry with Olive Oil – After success with the coconut oil I wanted to see how different the stir-fry would be with olive oil. It made a huge difference. This time, while not over-powering, you could certainly taste the mushroom. I suppose this might be a good option if you want to taste mushroom, but if you’re just looking for a free and easy cooking ingredient you probably want to stick to the coconut oil.

French Toast – This was a big one. It seemed everywhere on the internet I saw people raving about how fantastic this mushroom french toast is so I made some up. I’m now convinced that this is a giant internet conspiracy to get people from cooking up puffball mushrooms. It was disgusting. Mushrooms were probably not meant to be drown in maple syrup. I wouldn’t ever make this again.

Scrambled Eggs – Not bad. It was a lot like any other mushroom being added to your eggs though. It probably would have been a bit better had I found some hot sauce, but alas, it seems I was out.

Soup – Who doesn’t like soup? After browning the mushroom up I made a kind of miso soup with it. It was completely fine, but I wasn’t that thrilled with it because it is soup after all. You could toss nearly anything in beef bullion and have it come out tasting like beef bullion.

So, I highly recommend a coconut oil stir-fry if you’re looking for a recipe to cook up that puffball in your yard. It’s pretty simple to do. I even made a quick youtube video showing what I did. You can make this up in just a few minutes if you have the ingredients on hand.

You might wonder, why all the fuss? Why go to all the work to make something out of a dirty wild mushroom. Well, mostly because I wanted to try it, but there are some great nutritional and economical reasons too! First off, that coconut oil stir-fry dish (had I cooked up the whole mushroom) could have easily feed a family of 4-6. If you figure in 2 onions, 3 peppers, the oil, and the spices you’re looking at a meal that costs about $3 per person. Probably less, because you wouldn’t even use all of the spices and oil!

As for nutrition, mushrooms are known for being high in vitamin D and B, but they also have high amounts of important minerals like Potassium, Iron and Zinc! They even have protein. I mean, it’s a lot of nutrition bang for your buck. So if you see a giant puffball around your yard you might want to try cooking it up.

And who said romance is dead? This is Old English. You know, the time period with princes and princesses, when all of those fantasy novels take place! You might recognize the song, but I’m guessing you can’t follow the lyrics. Even so, you can hear bits of German in here which is a lot of fun.

I wish their singing voices had been just a bit better, but I think their commitment to the costumes and theme more than make up for it.

Sexual, Asexual, and Demisexual People

I was discussing the topic of demisexuality and asexuality with someone the other day and I got the familiar response, “what is that?” Of course, followed by an, “that’s not a thing.” It still surprises me that people can go from knowing nothing about a topic to knowing that it doesn’t exist in about 1 min.

While it is becoming prevalent that yes, gay people exist and they are born that way, there are still other groups of people who struggle to be recognized. Two of the little-known groups are asexuals and demisexuals. It wasn’t until college that I even learned about people coming out as asexual. To my surprise they were heavily criticized. Self-proclaimed psychologists had diagnosed these people as sexually abused or oppressed and wanted them desperately to see things from a sexual person’s point of view. Didn’t anyone else see this as odd? People were upset when gay people wanted to be recognized because somehow gay acts offended their morals, but this seemed like forcing someone who doesn’t like pie to eat it anyway. Who cares if someone identifies as asexual?! Why can’t you just give that person the dignity you would give any other? As time went on I saw the asexual movement being taken more seriously, in large part thanks to a number of brave souls giving personal interviews.

A few years later I realized that there was a new label being applied to people, demisexual. What is a demisexual? Well, if you understand that your average person is sexual and an asexual person want’s nothing to do with sex, a demisexual person is somewhere in-between. They can be aroused sexually, but it’s not the same way as a sexual person. Sexual people can feel “love at first sight” where as a demisexual person cannot. They can only be romantically or sexually interested in someone after developing a deep connection over time.

The criticisms of demisexuality:

  • Aren’t ALL WOMEN demisexual then?! – No, just as there is a spectrum of sexual orientation there is a spectrum of sexual interest. Men and women can be poorly matched based on their sexual needs, however the most vocal parties have shaped stereotypes that have then been embraced by the mainstream media.
  • Couldn’t demisexuality just be a side-effect of medication? – Yes, though this is not true in all cases. There are a number of unmediated people who identify as demisexual.
  • Only straight females are demisexual. – Not true at all. There are plenty of people who identify as demisexual that are gay, bi, or straight males.
  • The label demisexual doesn’t mean anything. – It doesn’t to those who are sexual, but it’s hurtful not to recognize someone’s identity regardless of it’s importance to you.
  • Sexual people can’t date demisexual people. – False! Because a demisexual person has to learn to be sexually attracted to someone doesn’t mean they cannot be in a relationship with a sexual person. It simply means that the relationship will move at a slower pace.

All-in-all I think it’s important that people who are trying to discover and define themselves feel supported. In most cases this is all demisexual and asexual people are looking for.

The First Day of Fall

I love fall. You might think my favorite season is summer with all of the outdoor activities I enjoy, but you’d be wrong. Fall is a wonderful time of year. Most birds have flown south, worker bees are going to be homeless soon, and everything in general is dying. Happy right?

It’s the end of a lot of happy things, and that’s okay. It’s knowing that things will come to an end that makes us appreciative of them in the first place. After all do you think people who live in southern California rave about seeing the sun out when they wake up?

Fall weather is the most perfect weather. It’s just getting chilly so you want someone to be with you, but it’s not so cold that you fear for your life if you get stuck outside. You can watch as the wind blows the leaves to the ground or listen to fall showers and feel the cool air in the evening.

This month we are also lucky to have a lunar eclipse! In fact, it’s the kind of lunar eclipse that will give us a blood red moon. What could be more “fall” than that? Now, I swear I have seen a red moon on nights other than a lunar eclipse, but science tells me this is going to happen for sure on September 27th so watch out.

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