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The Borovkoff Blog

Neo-Pagan Modern Thoughts On Society

Category Archives: Reviews

Cover image for Linchpin by Seth Godin

Cover image for Linchpin by Seth Godin

“Do your job. Show up. Work hard. Listen to the boss. Stick it out. Be part of the system. You’ll be rewarded.
That’s the scam. Strong words, but true. You’ve been scammed. You traded years of your life to be part of a giant con in which you are most definitely not the winner.
If you’ve been playing that game, it’s no wonder you’re frustrated. That game is over.
There are no longer any great jobs where someone else tells you precisely what to do.”

Seth Godin – Linchpin

The world has been changing from a left-brained, number crunching, factory worker mentality to a new right-brained, artistic, think outside the box, innovative one. Seth Godin lays out his plan of action to re-find yourself and mold yourself as the marketable right-brained person that is needed to swing our world’s economy back around. I just started reading his book, “Linchpin” and can only say that I agree with him 110% so far. He has his finger on the pulse in this book and its nice to see it written out in English before my eyes. This book should be absolutely mandatory for all corporate/agency decision makers. It will help you save your business and help your employees become more productive, happier, and more of an asset to your company.

We need to celebrate the end of the factory worker mindset. We need to place greater pride and value on the creatives in our culture. That time is now. We see it all around us with the advent of the tech startup in full swing again and thinking constantly outside the box to achieve rewards. If done right, this will herald the coming of a golden age. Perhaps the Aztec doom day calendar is actually summarizing Seth’s opinions hundreds of years before him?

A Whole New Mind cover by Daniel Pink

A Whole New Mind cover by Daniel Pink

In like mind, Daniel Pink’s marvelous book “A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future” sets out the change in our society clearly and precisely. I gobbled this book up so fast, and craved more. The resource sections in this book are worth the price tag alone! A small, easy to read book, Daniel’s philosophy is that we must balance out the left and right brain and realize that the previous era of mathematical, non-emotion is going away, and a new breed of valued employee is emerging from the mist, one that can do almost anything, with little schooling needed, and a fearless inner strength to battle against the mass idiot making machines of the corrupted and disqualified American school systems.

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Many of you who know me, realize that I have entered one of the toughest depressions of my life. In October I ended a very unhealthy, poisonous relationship with my partner and began a new chapter of my life. One alone.

The holidays were tough to get through. But I made them. The loneliness was unbearable, but I live with it daily. And with the loneliness has come a new freedom and a new desire to find myself again. Don’t we ever get too old to find ourselves? It seems like every so many years, we all go through a self revitalization once again. I thought I knew who I was at this point in my life, but I am finding that I have no idea who I am, what I like, and where I am going. That is a scary feeling.

Image of PyewackittOne of my solutions to help with my depression and my fear of coming home to an empty house was to get a pet. In December, the SPCA ran a special to adopt any pet at 70% off the costs. I figured the fates were telling me that this was the time to do just that. I needed a friend who would give me unconditional love and be there for me when I got home. I lost all faith in humans after the most painful and gutter ugly break up of my life. I went with two friends to the SPCA and a cat chose me. A wonderful seal point Siamese named “Pyewackitt” after the witches familiar in “Bell, Book and Candle”. Its a great movie with Jimmy Stewert, Kim Novak, Jack Lemon and a host of other notable actors and actresses. If you have not seen it, I recommend it highly. If not just for the vision of Kim Novak and her beautiful face and wonderfully styled costumes. Anyway, Pyewackitt looks just like the cat familiar in the movies, so it was an easy name choice.

A pet brings a love and fullness to your life that is hard to come by with other people. They depend on you. They look forward to seeing you always. They entertain you. And they sense when you are feeling low or not so chipper. And Pye is no exception to that. Very often he lays on my chest and licks the tears off my eyes, or just presses his mouth up against mine and purrs. A native American friend of mine said that cats have the ability to suck the darkness from our souls. That is why they purr and put their faces in our face. They are the animal healer. And truth to be told, Pye has made me feel a whole lot better. I enjoy coming home to him now. I look forward to waking up a little more each day. And I love watching Pye grow and bond more and more to me. He was the best investment I have ever made in my health.

Simply Clean auto litter boxLastly for today’s post I wanted to review a automatic litter box that I bought for Pyewackitt. Its called Simply Clean and its a complete waste of time and money. The basis of the litter box is that the kitty does their business in this round box that is slowly turning. The waste gets taken up a conveyer belt and deposited in a receptacle ready for disposal. No fuss, no muss. Right? WRONG. First thing is first, automatic litter boxes are expensive! This thing cost almost $90 and it was the cheaper of my choices. Its made of solid plastic and is based on an interesting idea, but not worth $90. Actually its not even really worth $20. The thing is noisy. The thing is very smelly and seems to attract odors way more than a standard littler box. And the conveyer belt gets jammed sometimes which means you have to mess with it to get it to work again. I would caution anyone to avoid this thing. Save your money for a good clumping litter and just use the normal litter boxes that depend on manual cleaning.

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Netflix was one of those rare companies that provided a valuable service at a low cost to thousands of people. Streaming video coupled with DVD by mail in an instantaneous manner contributed to an instant success. Stock soared. Word of mouth spread. Subscribers signed on to the Netflix service. Even as the world economy plummeted to all time lows all around, Netflix was still raking in profits and looking like a guaranteed succes in the manner of Apple.

Then Netflix’s CEO made a huge error. An error in judgement based on his own pride and greed. He increased the subscription fees and reduced the services rendered. Huge mistake!

The old adage “Don’t fix something that ain’t broke” applys to this Netflix folly. In an economy that prides itself on instability, frugality and the demise of the modern day company, Netflix had committed a huge blunder. But what made it worse is that later, after they started feeling their boat lighten as thousands of subscribers jumped ship to find better options, the power hungry Netflix CEO sent out a mass email stating that he felt the change was “good” for the company and was the “right direction” for Netflix. Wow. Sad. And he got to be CEO how?

Not only did Netflix make a huge mistake initially by increasing their customers costs and reducing their services but then they waited a really long time to send out a silly “half apology” that let everyone know that they were going to stick to their guns and that the customer was not always right. In fact, Netflix said “the customer is blatently WRONG”. Netflix disrespected their customer base.

Now Netflix is paying a deep price and is officially in serious trouble. Their stock has plummeted to ridiculous lows as their customers are continuing to jump ship. While the previous jumpers have already found ulterior methods of getting video services either streaming or by mail. Unfortunately for Netflix, even if they chose to redact their previous statements and positions, the damage has been done and the competition has stolen their customer base. Their job would be much harder to win back their evacuated loyalists.

And we wonder why corporate America is failing? With CEO’s like Netflix’s own, who needs enemies?

 

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I took the plunge on Sunday and bought a new 2011 Toyota Prius IV. I received a great deal from Elk Grove Toyota that I just could not pass up. So time to trade in my truck and join the Prius Eco-Hippie crowd!

My new Red Prius Originally I wanted a model III that was gold. But the dealer gave me such a good deal on a red model IV that I was tempted and fell for the red. I have not had a red car since my Mazda Miata, and received no speeding tickets or accidents in that car, so I figured I would put the old wives tales of red cars attracting bad luck on the back burners and going for it.

So after a week of driving and reading and watching videos on how to drive this thing, I can only tell you that I love it! This is the most fun car to drive that I have ever owned. And it seems to be teaching me how to be a better driver and how to be more ecological in my gas usage.

The IV that I got comes pretty well equipped, with great sounds system including 8 speakers with a 4 disc CD changer that is capable of playing MP3s and WMAs, leather seats, front heated seats (like I will need that in Sacramento!), voice activated everything, plus navigation system and a great moonroof! Everything that I originally wanted plus more! For less than my Toyota Tacoma! Plus saving gas, it is pretty much a win win situation for me this round.

So the Prius basically monitors your driving habits and challenges you to get the best MPGs you can get. Its a challenge that makes driving into a game. Fun, fun, fun!

But I couldn’t get my gas mileage above 27 mpgs. No matter what mode I drove in or how I altered my driving habits. That is UNTIL I ran into this wonderful video that teaches a fundamental lesson to all Prius owners: The wonder and intelligence of scientific momentum and pulse driving. If you have a Prius or are thinking of getting a Prius and have not seen this video then I highly recommend it:

After watching the video and practicing a little today I got 75 mpg! Huge improvement with a little practice and knowledge about how the car WANTS to drive. Also, understanding the idea of gliding and coasting. Seriously before this I always thought that you should keep your gas pedal depressed while moving forward all the time. I was clueless! Lesson learned and rewards to be heaped!

Besides driving I think this car was made for the iPhone. Its an Apple type car. It works seamlessly with my iPhone and plays music right from my iPhone with a minimum of fuss. Technology in a car plus gas and money savings!

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You would think that in a failing economy, public eateries would be getting smarter, improving customer service and providing quality pricing. But after a recent visit to Jack’s Urban Eats on Fairoaks Blvd, in Sacramento, CA, I have learned otherwise.

At first glance, Jack’s appears to be owned and run by some arrogant Sacramento gay socialite trying desperately to climb to the top of a lavender ladder in Sacramento gay society. A sad and pathetic attempt at the best. You can put as much shiny silver and rich woods throughout your dining hall and still be missing something much more important: value.

It appears that the cashiers and wait staff at Jack’s understand English, but it quickly becomes apparent that their native tongue is more than they can handle without repeating your order four times and accompanying your order with visual aids and other much needed amplifications. Most likely, they are still going to get your order wrong, and you will always end up paying $16 for fries!

Seriously flawed, bad customer service, coupled with outrageous prices can only make the experience compound the feeling that Jack’s will most likely be vacant and FOR RENT in the future. And we wonder why American businesses fail.

Check out the technologically challenged eatery website: http://jacksurbaneats.com/index2.php. No way to contact the manager exists, except perhaps to dust off your pencil, writing pad and scribble a letter, sending your final memo via  snail mail. Ummmm did Jack’s miss the entire last century?

If Jack’s Urban Eats is an example of the direction the modern diner is heading then there can only be one thing to say, “Houston, we have a problem!”

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Man entering door filled with light

Funny but it seems like everyone jumped head first into Facebook. Even without realizing what they were jumping into. Kind of like jumping into a pool with no water huh? All kinds of people and agencies joined the Facebook plague: singles, married, cheaters, married seeking divorce, lonely seeking friends, non-profits, only for profits, dog lovers, cat lovers, kid lovers, hobbyists of all types, political and non-political parties, and countless others built their personalized Facebook pages and started collecting friends. The wave build and even the film industry surfed on its rapidly rising wave by creating a feebly bad film about fighting brats and out of control sex addicts. So it must be the future right? It must be here to last right?

It appears that wave has crashed.

Facebook is a single use, badly designed, limited environment. It pandered to the socially indept, sucked the social elite to its clutches, enticed the dollar seekers, connected the unconnected, promised the world and delivered……nothing.

Facebook games have proven themselves to be so limited in game play value that if you have played one Facebook game you have pretty much played ALL of them. Graphics and original ideas coupled with pathetically hurried design had contributed to a giant black hole of gamelessness.

Facebook friends are…. well….not really real friends at all.

Facebook apps are sad. They are single use, limited and one dimensional, take no where apps. Basically, not apps at all. Facebook even dilly dallied on its own real App (cut away to scene from “Pretty Woman” in high dead=end boutique with Julie Roberts famous line: “Big Mistake. HUGE mistake.”)

And the overall Facebook UI is hideously ugly. Not accessible. Not user friendly. Seriously badly designed, apparently by a bunch of drunken, money hungry monkeys. A whole lot of blue in a world of options. Adobe Flash based? Really?

So why is Google trying to get in on the action? Google is trying to release its own Facebook look-a-like called Google+. hmmmm the name is almost as original as the design. Basically Google+ is just a copy and paste, with a few add-on graphical events, of Facebook itself. So Google must know something right? They must see the future right? Well, actually, in case you have not been paying really good attention lately, Google has been playing CATCH-UP for the last few years. Google has not had an original idea of its own since, well, Google. That was a long time ago! So it is not surprising that Google is finally seeing value in Facebook, about 3 years too late. Let me guess….Google has to send its ideas through a voting committee before they get adopted right? And the committee has been reviewing social media for the last 3 years right? ummm, those days of making decisions via committee will get you nothing in a speeding techno world.

Yes, social media was fun. Seen it. Done it. Been there. Myspace, Facebook, Google+, dinosaurs. NEXT!

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The Bucket List movies posterSome movies can move you. Many movies can make you think. And a few movies can make you feel human. Very few movies can do all three and then some. But one of those movies is an oldie but a goodie, called “The Bucket List” starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman.

The movie pairs these two wonderful actors as two wonderful elderly men, stuck in terminal mode as they are both diagnosed with various life threatening cancers. One is incredibly wealthy and the other is incredibly wise. Both would never have met each other but for the fact that they are both stuck in a hospital room together and both given the prognosis of a death.

Sounds kind of boring huh? But it isn’t. The movie explores the idea that if you could know the exact moment of your demise, what would you want to do? That list of things to do before your last breath is known as “The Bucket List”.

The movie exposes the sad fact that so many of us go through life without really living. We don’t do the things we want to do. We put up with the things we should not. We stay angry at those people whom we should forgive. We carry those old scars, hurts and all of our old baggage from the past with us, no matter how heavy that baggage weighs on our shoulders.

If you have not seen this movie, I encourage you to partake. At the least it will make you think and realize that one day you will not be around any longer. So what’s on your Bucket List?

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