The Savvy Tech Buyer: How to Find Great Deals on Electronics


We live in a tech-centric world, and for those of us with limited resources at our disposal, it can be expensive to keep up with tech trends. Technology has become entrenched in our everyday experience, and our spending habits reflect this — the American Institute of CPAs reports that 4 in 10 American adults purchase digital media, and that the average American spends the equivalent of 17 percent of their rent or mortgage expenses on digital services. It can be hard to keep a balanced budget and keep up with your favorite tech items, but these tips can help you save big on gadgets and devices.

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Movie Review: “We Are Your Friends”

Zac Efron, Emily Ratajkowski, Wes Bentley, Jonny Weston, Shiloh Fernandez, Alex Shaffer, Jon Bernthal
Max Joseph

For the first third of the movie, “We Are Your Friends” suffers from the exact same problem as its protagonist: it’s trying to combine too many disparate ideas, and is a disjointed mess. When it (thankfully) jettisons the “Entourage” angle of the story, along with the Denis Leary-narrated Ford F 150-style graphics (yep, every word spoken appears on screen, multiple characters do it, and it never works), the movie finally finds its, ahem, rhythm. It turns out, “We Are Your Friends” is “Magic Mike” with turntables, right down to the party scenes oozing with so much potential disease transmission that I wanted a shot of penicillin afterwards, and I’m allergic to penicillin.

Cole (Zac Efron) is an aspiring DJ, playing early sets in the club that his friends promote in exchange for cash, free drinks and, if they play their cards right, women. One night, he opens for popular DJ James Reed (Wes Bentley), and the two wind up partying together. James sees Cole’s potential, and pushes him to come up with a track that will make his name, offering him excellent advice (and free studio time) on how he can find his voice. Cole is grateful for all of this, but it does not stop him from developing feelings for James’ much younger, live-in romantic assistant Sophie (Emily Ratajkowski), even though he knows it could jeopardize his best shot at getting to the next level. Cole is also starting to realize how unambitious his friends are, but struggles with cutting the ties.

Emily Ratajkowski has been a model since she was 14 years old, so she’s presumably seen and heard it all, but even she had to have paused for a second or two when director and co-screenwriter Max Joseph may or may not have said to her, “I’m going to shoot a couple of slow-mo bits of you dancing, and the camera is going to be focused on nothing but your rack. You’re cool with that, right?” Clearly, she was cool with that, as the scenes are here (said rack received similar attention in “Gone Girl”), but it has to be disheartening as an actress when you’re trying to build a body of work, and the director spends a substantial amount of time not focusing on your face.

One of the things “We Are Your Friends” gets right is that most kids going out into the world, especially ones that have to fend for themselves right out of high school (the audience only meets one of the boys’ parents, so they are presumably on their own), are hopelessly naïve. Any adult can anticipate 90% of the film’s plot, because they’ve been there before. Cole, on the other hand, hasn’t been there before, and Efron does a nice job of portraying that lack of experience. Unfortunately, what that makes this film is the story of a kid making mistake after mistake until he figures it out. Even the party scenes have a sadness to them, as Cole and his mates remain those immature dopes who take unspeakable jobs for cash (working for a very well-cast Jon Bernthal) so they can continue Living the Lifestyle. They’re pathetic, and that’s the point, but they’re still pathetic.

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Weak at the Knees: The Chemistry of Love

couple kissing under blankets

Falling in love has been associated to many poetic notions, yet aside from the sonnets and song ballads, there is a bit of science involved in the felt emotions. For instance, you’ve heard about the feeling of going ‘weak in the knees,’ yet do our muscles actually go numb or experience an atrophy due to deep feelings? Below, discover scientific excuses for the way we believe we naturally feel.

Addicted to Love

Gambling is an addiction. Due to the brain’s release of dopamine, a ‘feel good’ chemical, gamblers get a rush whenever money is on the line and stakes are high. It’s the reason that, despite the odds being incredibly stacked against them, regular gamblers continue to invest in the enterprise. The forced release of dopamine is also responsible for a number of drug addictions; the ‘high’ is due to an surplus of dopamine in the system, so addicts constantly crave to return to that state of well being.

The release of dopamine can also be present in the early stages of courtship and throughout a long-term romance. The urge to return to the state of zen is a goal oriented behavior, and the reason some can liken the object of affection as an addiction.

The Cuddling Chemical

Have you chosen to stay at home with a movie and love mate instead of going out to a party or mainstream event? You’re not alone, and it may be due to chemicals rather than subjective decisions. Oxytocin promotes intimacy; as one professor explains, “It’s what hugging, kissing, and cuddling are made of.” Oxytocin levels rise during a mother’s milk production, necessary to nourish and bond with newborn babies.

If you feel like you can’t get enough of cuddling with your loved one, it’s likely that an influx of oxytocin is responsible.

Sex Hormone

Testosterone is commonly labeled a male hormone, yet it exists in both sexes and responsible for feeling ‘hot’ for another. Actually, men are known to have traces of testosterone in their saliva, and since lovers transfer saliva when kissing, it could be the reason kissing usually leads to more intimate behavior.

The exchange of testosterone can increase the sexual desire in the female partner too.

Stuttered Speech and Pitter Patter of Heart

Have you gotten nervous around a potential love interest? Do you feel like you’re ‘off your game,’ and a bit tongue tied? Norepineprine increases one’s heart rate and could be the reason people feel flustered around crushes. It’s also responsible for the feeling of butterflies in your stomach, sweaty palms, and a loss for words.

If your love makes your heart go pitter patter, norepineprine is preying on your nervous system.

Opposites Attract

A set of genes, MHC, control cell-surface molecules, released through sweat, saliva, and odor. Those in close relation have similar MHC structures, and we can ‘pick up’ on MHC levels in other people. It’s believed the more you differ in MHC, the stronger a sexual attraction can become.

It’s believed that opposites attract; Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet feature young lovers from separate families and Billy Joel’s song, Uptown Girl, is about a love interest from a different social stratum. Perhaps there’s more to attraction aside from crossed stars and geographic distance.

Smells Like Love

It’s likely you’ve heard of love at first sight but the sense of smell is also involved. Insects use smell for a number of behaviors, and it’s theorized that humans do the same. Girlfriends often maintain a bottle of their boyfriend’s cologne and men have been known to well remember the scent worn by their lovers. So, though you’ve only been on one date via Meet Bae, the smell of your date can linger in your memory for a long time.

Animalistic Tendencies

The notion of ‘animal attraction’ connotes a primal urge of lust between two people. However, such lustful sentiments are shared by animals. The prairie vole, a small, furry animal, engages in a lot more sex than needed for reproduction, which is also necessary for long-term bonding. Doctors believe oxytocin, discussed above, is responsible as well as another chemical, vasopressin.

It’s Getting Hot in Here

As discussed, a love interest can affect a nervous system, making one stutter and causing sweaty palms, yet pheromones are also found in sweat, and may be responsible for specific attractions. For example, rats detect pheromones via the urine of potential mates, and researchers found that humans also respond to pheromones. Rats avoid partners with similar immune systems, so offspring has a better chance of survival.

So, if you have an unexplained attraction to another, it may be pheromones helping you select a well suited partner for eventual mating.


Drink of the Week: The Black Ginger

The Black Ginger.In the world of higher end hard liquor, it seems as if whiskey is the big man on campus these days. I say that because the relative new kids in the world of super premium booze — tequila and rum — often try to emulate whiskey just a little. I am not opposed. While it might be less than advisable for Richie Cunningham to go around in a leather jacket like the Fonz, many of these whiskeyish expressions are actually pretty interesting cross pollinations, retaining enough of their own essential character to be interesting.

So it is with Hornitos Black Barrel, this week’s intriguing free-booze-I-got-in-the-mail. It’s been aged in wooden barrels to give it a more woody and very slightly sweet flavor that will likely remind you of a decent rye or bourbon, while also making you think even more of a pretty good tequila. It works nicely in an Old Fashioned, which is always my test for just about any booze, but especially one that has whiskey aspirations.

As for this week’s recipe offered by the Hornitos people, it’s not the flat-out cocktail home run they offered for my July 4th post a few weeks back to promote their perfectly-good plata, but it’ll do if you like sweet, refreshing drinks with a small dash of complexity.

The Black Ginger

1 1/2 ounces Hornitos Black Barrel Tequila
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
ginger beer (to top off)
1/2 ounce simple syrup or roughly or 2 1/2 teaspoons superfine sugar
1 sprig of fresh rosemary

Get a collins or highball glass and place your sprig of rosemary in it. Muddle it gently — think of it as a love tap — to get a bit more of the flavor into your glass. Next, combine all the remaining ingredients, except for the ginger beer, in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain into your glass, to which you have added fresh ice. Top off with the ginger beer of your choice.


As I mentioned above, this drink is definitely not one for sweet phobics, but it’s not at all bad if you get one of the tangier ginger beers and use enough of it. Due to some confusion, I first tried this in a smaller rocks/old fashioned glass, and it wasn’t as good. Lesson learned.

The Black Ginger reminds me somewhat of a better than average tiki drink, minus a little exoticism, with the rosemary being a nicely subtle alternative to the mint you find more often in cocktails. (If mint’s totally your thing, by the way, the Hornitos folks are also promulgating their own version of a Mint Julep…which could be the perfect thing to have during one of the many years when Derby Day and Cinco de Mayo coincide.)

I tried the Black Ginger with a couple of different brands of ginger beer, which both worked fine. However, my first night out, I used some Verner’s ginger ale — which I thought might be fine because it’s the most-gingery of the well known commercial ginger ales. It wasn’t. I know that ginger beer, which is always non-alcoholic, is comparable in price to actual beer, but you need it for this drink. Proper cocktailing is not the cheapest hobby.


Buyers Guide: What You Should Look for in Your New TV

Are you in the market for a new television? It’s the golden age for purchasing new sets, because the technology continues to evolve each year. Since the widespread adoption of HDTV, picking the right unit has become quite the challenge. Here’s a buyer’s guide to help you understand what to look for in a new television.

Size Matters


The size issue applies in both directions. If you buy a large unit for a smaller room, you may discover that you don’t enjoy a perfect view of the entire set. If you place the HDTV five feet from your view area, any unit larger than 40” will cause this problem. Conversely, in a larger room, where you’ll position the television seven feet or farther away, you’ll want at least a 56” HDTV. Check a distance chart to verify the appropriate size for your needs.

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