An American Who Watches Eurovision? You Don’t Say (repost)

NEW: You can listen to the blog post here

Apparently, the older post redirects to my old blog, so if you’re trying to read it here, I got you

Originally posted on my Blogspot site, but reposting it here for better viewing…

via eurovisionworld.com

Yes, as the title suggests, I am an American and watch Eurovision yearly. Since 2009, in fact, when I stumbled on it by accident. Now, I may not be as prolific as some Eurovision fans are (at least from the ones I got to follow over the years on Twitter), but I try to keep up with the contest year round.

In the past 13 years, I followed along with the latest news concerning the pan-European contest, including national finals, internal selections, hosting bids, politics, cancellations (hello COVID), rehearsals, and the actual contest. I could go on, but I want to give my thoughts on the events from the past month

For starters, Ukraine nabbed their 3rd victory this past May with “Stefania” performed by Kalush Orchestra. Typically, the winning country gets to host the next contest, but since Ukraine went to war with (read: was invaded by) Russia, it was considered impossible to host Eurovision next May. As such, the United Kingdom, which placed 2nd, stepped up to host the contest. Eurovision also announced in their tweet thread that Ukraine will get an automatic spot, and I’m glad they did that because I believe that if a country wins the contest and can’t host, at least give them an automatic qualifier spot.

While various cities in the United Kingdom bid to host the 67th contest, Israel jumped in and selected 21-year-old Noa Kirel to represent the country next May. Based on what I have read about her, I feel that she’s gonna bring a kickass song, and from my personal experience, things I like are disliked by the community, so take what you will

Noa Kirel to Eurovision 2023

Also, I gotta mention Olivia Newton-John. While everyone around me knew her from Grease, Heart Attack, and Physical, many people don’t know that she participated in Eurovision in 1974, where she finished joint 4th. May she rest in peace and may her memory be a blessing (gosh, this is what happens when you watch Wolf Blitzer during the COVID pandemic)

Olivia Newton-John dies at 73 following long-time battle against breast cancer (via Wiwibloggs)

Eurovision 2022 wasn’t the only thing that happened this year. In fact, earlier this year, and I still can’t believe this happened, NBC aired the first edition of the American Song Contest. Of course, it’s based on Eurovision instead it’s state vs state vs district vs territory. All 50 states, DC, and the 5 territories took part in the 8-week competition to find the best new song in the country. Being an ESC fan for 13 years, it’s surreal to me that it actually happened. Yeah, we probably cracked a few jokes (and dealt with the naysayers), but when March 21st came (which also happened to be my birthday, so it’s extra crazy), I was super nervous, but in the end, it was all good.

For those that did watch American Song Contest, which songs were your favorite? Among my favorites were Massachusetts, Georgia, Arizona, Oklahoma, Texas, and my home state Florida.

And the expansion doesn’t stop there as Canada and Latin America are having their own editions. I might have to figure out how to watch them tho. Maybe I should use my Opera built-in VPN (yes, because I live in the United States, I have to watch Eurovision with a VPN. Go figure, right). And I’m still holding out hope for a second season of the American Song Contest. I may do a blog with my thoughts on how to improve the show because it needs improvements.

For now, my attention is now focused on the Junior Eurovision Song Contest, which I also discovered by accident in 2009. I just watched the 2003 edition over the weekend, and I’m planning to watch the remaining editions every Saturday before the 2022 edition on December 11.

That’s my two cents on Eurovision. Let me know what you think and how you got into the contest.

The Best Diet is to Not Starve Yourself

Photo by Valeria Boltneva on Pexels.com
NEW: You can listen to this blog post here

Exercising is also a must, as anyone working in the health industry would tell you, but this post is only about my diet journey

I switched up my diet 6 months ago from eating meat 24/7 to eating only meat at dinner time and eating plant-based versions of my favorite food items for breakfast and lunch. My mother switched up her diet due to her lactose intolerance and introduced me to a “plant-based” diet. So far, I have lost 25 pounds and I’m actually feeling great.

So why did I decide to change my diet? First off, I was close to 300 pounds. 296.4 pounds, to be exact. My height of 5’10” might have dwarfed that, but to me, it’s an indication that I needed to change. Another reason was how the meat industry process the meat coming into their butcher shops, and it’s more gruesome than you think. I won’t go into details, so I’ll leave you at that.

Note: I am not a dietician nor a nutritionist or a personal trainer. If you’re looking for a specific plan, go to someone who has these credentials. What you’re about to read should not be taken as absolute advice, I’m only telling you what has helped me in making the switch.

Back to my diet, my biggest change came at breakfast time. Before I changed my diet, whatever I ate before 10am was breakfast. Last night’s pasta, a chicken patty, donuts, it didn’t matter. Now, I grew fond of cooking breakfast. I used to cook breakfast all the time when I was little, but for high school and college and even into adulthood, I would only cook breakfast maybe twice a year, but now I do it several times a week. Some days I would eat a waffle, other days it’s toast with scrambled eggs. This morning, I had a Just Egg patty with a vegan sausage sandwiched by two pieces of buttered toast. The bread gets buttered before I put them in the toaster. 10/10 would totally recommend. Now, of course, you don’t have to cook breakfast every morning — a bowl of cereal is sufficient.

For lunch, I usually go to a vegan version of my favorite snacks and meals… among them, tuna fish sandwiches, Gardein hamburgers and fish fillets, and Morning Star veggie pizza rolls, vegan corn dogs, vegan hot dogs, vegan patties, and vegan chicken strips. On some days, I would heat up last night’s dinner and call it a meal. Dinner is always a toss-up for me and remains my only unchanged meal.

I have also switched up my snacking habits. I still snack at night, but one thing I did not have was a cut-off period. Before, I would eat a bit a time before midnight. Now, my cut-off is 9pm. Any snack would do — chips, cookies, ice cream, donuts, you name it. Just have a cut-off period a few hours before bedtime.

And, no, you don’t have to completely give up the soda, but I started drinking more water than usual and only have soda on the weekends. The myth that you have to drink 8 gallons a day is just that… a myth. So is the “drinking half your weight in water” myth.

Eating plant-based food during the day has led me to a discovery — a lot of the foods I have eaten were considered “plant-based”. One example is Macaroni Salad. I LOVE macaroni salad. My mother makes the best macaroni salad. Between the noodles, mixed vegetables, and mayo… it’s just perfect. Another “plant-based” meal is rice and beans. I am Puerto Rican, Haitian, and American, and rice is prominent in both Puerto Rican and Haitian culture. I cannot cook rice the regular way for the life of me (because too many steps lol) so instead, I do 5-minute instant rice. I usually pair it up with red beans, but pink beans, butter beans, black beans, and chickpeas are also great options.

So, this has been my plant-based journey so far. However, I’m not going all vegan, but it has helped me in a way to moderate my food intake. Whether or not you’re all vegan, let me know your thoughts on dieting (if you ask me, dieting is 🤮 because of how people market it and overall, it just creates more harm than good).

20 Became 7

via eurovision.tv
NEW: You can listen to this blog post here

I could not come up with a better title for this post, but it’ll do.

Earlier this week, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) announced the names of 7 cities in the United Kingdom that have been shortlisted to host next year’s contest. They are:

  • Glasgow
  • Manchester
  • Liverpool
  • Birmingham
  • Newcastle
  • Leeds
  • Sheffield

From what I have gathered, Birmingham and Glasgow are front-runners to host the 67th contest. Personally, I would want Glasgow to host the contest, but before I tell you why, I’ll tell you how we got here

2023 will mark the 9th time the United Kingdom hosts the Eurovision Song Contest. The only reason why they are chosen to host is because the 2022 winners, Ukraine, could not host due to the Russian invasion, and also the UK came second and therefore, was second in line to step into the hosting duties. The country has hosted 8 times before:

  • London: 1960 (Royal Festival Hall), 1963 (BBC Television Centre), 1968 (Royal Albert Hall), 1977 (Wembley Conference Centre)
  • Edinburgh: 1972 (Usher Hall)
  • Brighton: 1974 (Brighton Dome)
  • Harrowgate: 1982 (Harrowgate International Centre)
  • Birmingham: 1998 (National Indoor Arena)

4 of the hosting gigs came from their victories in 1967, 1976, 1981, and 1997 (they also won in 1969, but it was a 4-way tie with France, Netherlands, and Spain). 2023 will mark the 5th time the UK gets hosting duties via appointment, for a better word.

Here’s more info about the next steps in the bidding process

Okay, so among the 7 shortlisted cities, my personal choice is Glasgow. For starters, Scotland has hosted Eurovision once (Edinburgh in 1972). Second, the venue, OVO Hydro Arena, has ties to the Netflix movie Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga. It had recently hosted COP26, which the meeting itself is an issue for another time. If not Glasgow, I would be down for Birmingham, which has hosted 25 years ago as of next year. They are using another venue tho, so it won’t be the National Indoor Arena, it will be the Resorts World Arena. Liverpool’s Sefton Park would be my third choice as a lot of musical stars got their beginnings in the city.

Full breakdown of each city’s bid

Eurovision fans, where do you stand on this? Let me know in the comments below

No, I’m Not Sponsored by Rocketbook, Thanks For Asking

via bicworld.com
NEW: You can listen to this blog post here

That doesn’t mean I can’t talk about how useful the product is tho

Note: This is a general review of the two notebooks I currently have and therefore, not doing a specific review of each product. I might do that once I get my hands on the Multi-Subject Notebook

I currently own 2 Rocketbooks: Rocketbook Core (formerly Everlast) and Rocketbook Fusion. I got my Rocketbook Core Notebook back in 2018 from my mom who bought it from Amazon a year earlier just to try it out. She liked it at first, but then she gave it to me along with the Pilot Frixion pens that came with it.

This notebook was, at the time, one at a kind because you can write down your notes and then upload them to a cloud via a special Rocketbook app where you can send them to your email, your Google Drive, or your Microsoft OneDrive, or wherever it’s supported using the symbols at the bottom of each page via a QR code.

I immediately fell in love with it because I used to buy regular college-ruled notebooks like crazy and Rocketbook Core, and later Rocketbook Fusion, serve such a purpose that I don’t need to waste paper. There’s also the obligatory “this also saves the environment” tag, which I’m on board with.

Then in 2019, I found out about Rocketbook Fusion, which came with 7 different page styles. Among them are a task list, weekly and monthly calendars, a goal template, an ideas list, the usual dot-grid pages that came with the Rocketbook Core and Rocketbook Wave, and lined pages. The lined pages were the selling point for me. By the beginning of 2020, I received my second Rocketbook. I also bought new pens and a microfiber cloth that you can erase the pages with. I didn’t buy the spray bottles, so I used my empty perfume bottle to spray water onto the pages to wipe the pages clean.

Rocketbook Fusion is still my favorite notebook in this series, but now, 2 years later, my eyes are set on other Rocketbook items. The storefront on Amazon, as well as on their own website, has a variety of products, like Orbit, Flip, Matrix, Mini, Multi-Subject, Academic Planner, Panda Planner, Teacher Planner, Cloud Cards, beacons for your whiteboard, and filler paper. You can also buy Pilot Frixion pens and dry erase markers, spray bottles, and ink refills. I am planning to buy the Multi-Subject Notebook later this year. It comes with dividers so you can place them however you wish, but I don’t think I will be using them since I’m not in school (however, I write down things, so this is a plus)

In the past 8 years, Rocketbook went from an idea of two guys — Joe Lemay and Jake Epstein — at a pub to a multi-million dollar storefront. From the two notebooks that I own, I can say that it has helped me with the clutter, like I mentioned earlier, wasting paper is a thing of the past. I will absolutely recommend it to my readers here, as well as students who want to plan their school schedules and people who want to jot down notes, draw from their imaginations, or even those who want to declutter and go paperless. I will tell you that you will never go back once you start using it.

In addition to the two links below, the Rocketbook App is available on the App Store and on Google Play. Once you download the app, create your profile, set up your destinations, and you’re ready to upload the pages. Have fun.

Amazon Storefront Website

Rocketbook Official Website

So I’m new to WordPress…

Photo by Moose Photos on Pexels.com
NEW: You can listen to this blog post here

And I wanted to start a blog here to share my views as well as a focusing mechanism, if you will, because for the last 20 years, since middle school, I have had a hard time focusing on even the basic stuff. I would not plan my days accordingly and therefore, go hours and even days without doing what I was supposed to do.

In other words, I was winging it.

But even though it’s a problem that is never fully going away, I wanted to find ways to mitigate it. I usually use Google Keep, One Note, and my Rocketbook notebooks (I have two and planning on buying a third) to keep me company while I sort out my days.

I know it’s not as exciting as actually planning the day the night before, but for me, it helps. I will share those apps in a later post.

For now, I will drop this equation here, and I’ll show you the steps to get the answer at the end of this post: -3(5x+9)=18

For this post, I spent the day fixing the template. I had a vastly different template when I started this blog Sunday night and I spent all of Monday fixing it and playing with it. I ended up hating my first template and switched to the second. The second one was alright — I was able to customize it — but I was still missing something. I had three posts (this is my 4th), and they weren’t showing up the way that I liked. I wanted to show just the excerpts of these posts, but the whole posts were being shown, so I really searched for a free WordPress template that shows excerpts and it’s easy to read while showing off my favorite color scheme.

Enter the one you’re looking at now.

So, yeah, it’s trial and error. If you’re new to WordPress like me, just play around with the templates, create your posts, and see where it goes from there. I was able to add the sidebar widgets that came with it, so I have an about me, a search function, categories, and tags on the right-hand side of this blog. I’m even trying out the in-house ad function because eventually, I want to make money off this. Right now, it’s a hobby of mine. I know I said in my first post that I am a math wiz, but I also like to write, so this is a perfect outlet for me to be creative (and be more creative than I really am).

Despite my forgetfulness, I was able to get by alright in my job. I can learn things academically without a problem, but when it comes to real-life stuff, my brain goes kaput. If you’re having the same issue, welcome. I am not a professional doctor, so I urge you to go to one if it’s part of a bigger health problem you might be dealing with. If you are reading this, thank you for stopping by.

And now, let’s revisit the equation I dropped earlier: -3(5x+9)=18. We are looking at an equation that requires distribution and solving for x

First — distribute the -3 to the inside parenthesis. Remember that multiplying a positive by a negative (and vice versa) will give you a negative: -15x-27=18

Second — add 27 to both sides. The + and – 27 will cancel out and you’ll be left with -15x=45

Finally — divide both sides by -15. Just like multiplication, the positive/negative signage applies to division. Dividing a positive by a negative (and vice versa) will give you a negative: x=-3

And if you want to check to make sure it’s correct, just plug in the -3 and solve. Remember the PEMDAS rule

-3(5(-3)+9)=18

-3(-15+9)=18

-3(-6)=18

18=18

Yes, I Have a YouTube Obsession: Watching ‘Boss Babes’ Boss Themselves and Those Around Them

via Getty Images / MarketWatch
NEW: You can listen to this blog post here

Originally posted on my Blogspot, but reposting it here for better viewing

For the past 2 1/2 years, I picked up a viewing habit during the pandemic. Now, I can only speak for myself, but I am just fascinated by the folks promoting multi-level marketing companies. Sure, it sounds like a great idea — your ‘bosses’ (uplines) and your ’employees’ (downlines) all sell the same things you sell and everyone gets paid out of that. Well, that’s what I thought at first, but it’s not as cut and dry as you think. It’s a business model where multiple levels of salespeople sell the same products directly to customers, and oftentimes, it involves recruiting people onboard to do the same thing.

I know you’re probably thinking “is it like a pyramid scheme”? Well, kinda. It has similarities to it, but the only difference is that MLM companies create a loophole to avoid the pyramid/Ponzi scheme label by having products. It’s how they also get away with the “pYrAmId ScHeMeS aRe IlLeGal” line every time you tell them you’re not interested in joining. And if you do end up joining, you won’t get far. In fact, according to the FTC, 99.x% of people either break even or lose money in these companies. The less than 1% who do will think the other 99.x% are lazy and it’s their fault that they quit.

The Case (for and) Against Multi-Level Marketing. Sorry it’s in PDF form

So why am I fascinated by boss babes bossing themselves and their peers around them? For starters, I needed entertainment, but in reality, they say the most outrageous things and think they did something, and somehow, again, speaking for myself, I get drawn into that. But as much as I am against these companies, I have to hand it to their reps. They have the confidence, the drive, and the stamina to get what they want. My crippling social anxiety ass could never. But they’re using that to scam people out of their hard-earned money. Sometimes, it could be the potential recruit’s last $100 the reps are after. It’s just funny and sad at the same time that these huns (what we actually call them) are entitled to other people’s money, and not only that, they love to tell people how to spend money AND to shame them for spending on things that is of value.

r/antimlm is a treasure trove. Literally my favorite subreddit

As mentioned earlier, my crippling social anxiety ass could never fare well. The top-rated huns in every MLM company (and sometimes their CEOs — a topic for another day) host zoom call after zoom call telling people to essentially spam their timelines and slide into other people’s DMs to the point of suspension just to promote your business —  which means you have to literally post multiple times daily and send hundreds of private messages to those who interacted AND then follow up to get maybe 1 or 2 to join your MLM company — and I simply cannot do any of that shit. In fact, none of us should be doing that because spamming is against TOS, and because people are aware of these things, the no’s will be flying off the shelves. You will get rejected faster than you can say CEO. How you’re expected to handle rejection is a topic for another day

In short, I can’t tell you what to do if you’re faced with a chance to join an MLM company because I know it can be enticing, but if I were you… I would look it up. I know they will tell you “no, don’t do it”, but please do it. Look it up on Google. Watch videos by Anti-MLM creators (I will link some of them below). Read blog posts by those who are raising awareness about these companies

Favorite anti-MLM commentators to check out:

Amber Ny (anti-MLM commentator and former Beachbody rep now doing live streams

Blanca’s Life (a military wife raising awareness especially to help other military wives steer clear of MLMs)

Briannah Jewel (a certified personal trainer, biology nerd, and a registered dietitian-to-be who does reactions to things like Beachbody workouts and shows us how to actually perform them)

Chelsea “CC” Suarez (the spicy queen who always tells us to stay spicy)

Deanna Mims (another military wife and a former Beachbody rep who is now exposing the company she was with for 2 years)

DeeCee aka sayhellotodeecee (an MLM dropout who does hours-long live streams ranging from Beachbody to Jessie Lee)

Echo Echo (an Australian teacher and an anti-MLM commentator)

Erin Bies (a wife, a mom, and military hun, and a 13-year former MLM rep from 6 different companies. Now exposes MLM companies like Elomir)

Eva Mateja (a Croatian-Irish anti-MLM commentator who mostly focuses on activewear MLMs)

Gracious Expectations (a teacher exposing MLM companies due to MLM reps targeting teachers)

Hannah Alonzo (anti-MLM commentator who also reacts to scams in general)

Heather Cee (a relatively new anti-MLM commentator who’s already making big waves in commentary)

iiluminaughtii (focuses on corporate wrongdoings but does weekly anti-MLM commentary)

Isabella Lanter (anti-MLM commentator who has branched out to other scams)

Jessica Hickson (a retired hunbot — a top 2%er if you will — who is rescuing other hunbots from MLMs)

Julie Jo (former Arbonne rep now doing anti-MLM commentary and focusing on other scams)

Kareenah Hurtado (an anti-MLM commentator who also does commentary in Spanish to educate the latin community on MLMs)

Kiki Chanel (known as the anti-MLM queen who has since gone on to general commentary, but has recently returned to anti-MLM commentary)

Lara Bee (former MLM rep who hates long intros, so I’ll just leave this here)

Mack Attack (an anti-MLM and self-help guru commentator that focuses on self-help gurus and their ties to MLMs)

Monica Hayworth (former MLM rep turned anti-MLM commentator who focuses on unethical businesses)

Noble Xenon (gives commentary on various subreddits including neckbeards, choosing beggars, that happened, nice guys and girls, and, yes, anti-MLM and has recently branched out to include crypto bros)

Respectfully Sarcastic (a former Amberlynn Reid reaction channel that has now branched out to anti-MLM commentary)

Savannah Marie (a former Limelife by Alcone rep who now does general anti-MLM commentary as well as deep dives and product testing)

Savy Writes Books (a book author with a small business and a morning podcast who also does anti-MLM and self-help guru commentary)

The Antibot (general anti-MLM commentary channel)

The Recovering Hunbot (a former Beachbody rep who now does general anti-MLM commentary, focusing on companies that don’t get a lot of attention)

Thanks for reading this post. Have you been in an MLM? Do you know someone who has? I would like to hear about it in the comments below. And check out my other posts as I’m getting the hang of blogging.

My First Post (on WordPress) as The Most Inconsistent Person in the World

NEW: You can listen to this blog post here

Yep, you read that right (and judging by my bio), I am a very inconsistent person. Most people may or may not admit it, but I can admit to being an inconsistent person in real life. Why do I mean by that? Well, for starters, I don’t go through life normally. In fact, I am on a spectrum and remembering to do and say things have been really tough. Also, I am tone-deaf on a LOT of things. I don’t know if there is anyone else out there that feels the same way, but if there are… I got you.

In this blog, I will share my tips on focusing on even the most mundane of things using my favorite apps, as well as sharing my thoughts on my favorite things in the world. I love watching Eurovision (even as an American. I will get to that later), playing Pokemon and Bingo games (specifically Bingo Blitz and Bingo Pop), watching anti-MLM and general scams videos, YouTube Poops (think of them as pop culture on steroids), laughing at memes (not necessarily making them tho), watching the news just for news anchors, and being a lurker. By day tho, I am a freelance tutor. I mostly tutor math. In fact, I am planning to include a random math problem in nearly every post by posting a question at the beginning and then solving it at the end.

My blog is targeted to people over 18 who have trouble focusing on even the basic things in life, and those who also need an outlet to say what’s on their minds without people swarming them (within reason, of course). I actually started this on Google Blogspot, but I can tell you… let’s not do that. So I moved here to WordPress.

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