Thursday, May 19, 2016

5 Summer Activities

June gloom may be fast approaching, but that does not mean that you should not get prepared for summer. Many schools are finally out of session and the kids and adults alike will be ready to have some fun in the sun. Summer is one of the best times of the year in Southern California because of the easy access we have to beaches and amusement parks. Here are a list of things to do this summer:

Spend a day at the beach!

There is nothing more relaxing sitting on the beach watching the waves of the Pacific Ocean crash with your toes buried in the sand. Take your favorite bathing suit and soak up the sun at any of the local beaches (they all are beautiful). Don't forget to pack sunscreen, food, an umbrella, towels or beach chairs, footballs, or even frisbees. To enhance your experience even more you should invest in a portable speaker so you can play some tunes while relaxing with your family and friends on the shore.

In addition to being lazy in the sand, you can rent a bike and ride along the shore to enjoy the beautiful views that the California coast has to offer. Also, there is plenty of great restaurants in every major beach city, so do your research and find a new restaurant to try.

Make a trip to an amusement park!

Located in Anaheim, Disneyland is the place to be during the summer. The popular family theme park has been delivering magic memories since 1955, and they have shown no signs of slowing down. I recommend getting at least a two day pass so you can conquer both parks and get the most out of your visit, but if you cannot afford such things there are alternatives.

Luckily Southern California is a hotbed for great amusement parks. Knott's Berry Farm is a family friendly amusement parks with more thrills for adults, and it is about 15 minutes away from the Happiest Place on Earth. Knott's provides more thrills with their rollercoasters, but also has plenty of fun things for the little ones to do.

If neither of those are down your alley, you may want to consider making a little bit of a drive to Valencia for Six Flags Magic Mountain. Six Flags has a child friendly sections, but most of the attractions are designed for teenagers and adults to enjoy. Their adrenaline-inducing rollercoasters are high speed and built to the sky. Both Six Flags and Knott's are great, cheaper, alternatives to Disneyland.

Take me out to the ball game!

When you live in Southern California, you are spoiled with all of the potential activities at your disposal. One of the greatest American pastimes is baseball, which really kicks into gear during the summer. You have three choices when deciding where to attend a baseball game. You can go to the historic Chavez to watch the Los Angeles Dodgers or you can take a trip to Orange County to see the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. If you're really feeling spontaneous, you can take a drive down south to watch the San Diego Padres. Any of these choices make for a great date or family activity on a beautiful summer night.

Go on a cruise!

Cruises are great for people who want to disconnect from the world for a few days and just enjoy time away from the real world. Popular cruise lines offer 3-day, 7-day, and even 14-day getaways to popular vacation spots at a reasonable price. The cheapest cruises take you to Mexico and start at just $229, all inclusive. This is a perfect way to travel during the summer without hurting your pocketbook.

Vegas baby!

Las Vegas is one of the biggest summer vacation destinations despite being located dead in the middle of the Nevada desert. It gets extremely hot during the day and does not cool down much at night, but there is nothing that compares to the Vegas atmosphere. There is so much to do in Vegas that you need several days there to get the complete experience.

Hitting a pool party is a must when you go to Vegas in the summer. They are the number one attraction, but you can also opt to go to a nightclub instead. If you're really feeling the Vegas spirit, you can try to conquer both in one day!

Aside from the partying and gambling, Vegas is a great place to watch a show. There are plenty to choose from like Jersey Boys, David Copperfield, or even a number of Cirque du Soleil shows, so choose your show wisely.

We are about a month away from the official start of summer, and it is probably the best time of the year to be in Southern California. These are just a few activities that you can partake in, but use your imagination and think of more fun things to do!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo has been celebrated for years, but most people do not know the roots or the actual significance of this day. Many people have learned and believed that Cinco de Mayo is the Mexican Independence Day. However, those people have been misinformed. Cinco de Mayo is not the Mexican Independence Day. September 16 is actually Mexico's Independence Day (Grito de Delores), but there are plenty of Americans who do not know that. In fact, Cinco de Mayo is not even recognized as a national holiday in Mexico. So what is the significance of Cinco de Mayo?

The significance of Cinco de Mayo dates back to the 1862 during the Franco-Mexican War. The Mexican Army was severely outnumbered by the French, but that did not stop them from trying to protect their land. On May 5, 1862 the Mexican Army defended Puebla Mexico, so Cinco de Mayo commemorates the triumph of the Mexican Army's victory. Cinco de Mayo does not mark Mexico's Independence Day, but rather commemorates Mexico's resistance to French imperialism.

At the time, the French Army was a superpower, so Mexico's victory was extremely unlikely. The French Army had not been defeated in decades and Mexico did not seem to have a chance. However, Mexico did hold off the French in Puebla and that victory is still celebrated annually to this day.

Many Mexican immigrants claim that Cinco de Mayo is more celebrated in the United States than in Mexico. The only place in Mexico that celebrates Cinco de Mayo is Puebla; however the day is still recognized throughout Mexico. So why do we celebrate this seemingly insignificant date to us in the United States?

The outcome of the Battle of Puebla could have potentially influenced the outcome of the American Civil War. The Confederates were expanding west, claiming New Mexico and Arizona and they were heading to California. So what does this have to do with the war in Mexico? Well the French sided with the Confederates in the American Civil War, so Latinos in the United States were fighting a war on two fronts. Some Latinos went back down to Mexico to help fight off the French in Puebla. So had the Battle of Puebla been won by the French, there very well may be a chance that the Confederates could have won the Civil War.

This is why Americans celebrate Cinco de Mayo. Next time someone tells you that Cinco de Mayo is Mexican Independence Day, please educate them on what really happened and why we celebrate by eating tacos and drinking margaritas.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Volvo Replacing Keys With Smartphone App

Beginning in 2017, Volvo plans to do away with the traditional car key and replace it with a smartphone app. Gone would be the fob that locks and unlocks your car door. The traditional key fob will not be necessary for Volvo owners who choose to use their smartphones as their car keys via bluetooth in the future.

The majority of the car owners in the United States has access to smartphones. These mobile devices have taken over our lives and we have become dependent of them. Our phones can do so many functional things that make our lives easier, and Volvo is ready to take the next step by making them function as your car keys.

There are plenty of pros and cons to the idea of the smartphone key, but it appears that Volvo will be headed in that direction regardless. We don't leave the house without our phones, but in 2017 Volvo owners literally cannot leave their house without their phones. This will be convenient in such a way that Volvo owners will not have to carry a key in their pocket, but what happens when their phone dies?

Battery life has always been a hot topic in the smartphone industry. The best smartphones only last for about a day before they need to be recharged. Some phones die faster than others, so what happens when you are stranded somewhere without electricity to charge your phone in order to start your car? What if you're locked out of your car in the snow with a dead phone?

This smartphone app is a brilliant idea, but it also comes with a set of unanswered questions. In the future, we will likely rely on our phones for everything. It will be our key to everything and it will also be our wallet. Battery technology is bound to improve in the coming years, and Volvo is being progressive in making sure they are the mavericks in this new trend.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Prince (1958-2016)

Prince, one of the most polarizing artists in history, passed away in his home on Thursday, April 21, 2016 according to his publicist. Details of Prince's untimely death have not been released, but his fans around the world mourn his loss.

Prince Rogers Nelson was born on June 7, 1958 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and grew up to be a legendary music icon. The man was small in stature, standing at just 5 feet 2 inches, but he was larger than life. Prince is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, having won seven Grammy's, an Academy Award, and selling more than 100 million records over the course of his career.

Prince was drawn to music at a young age, using it as refuge from a turbulent life at home. He started his own band in high school, covering songs by the great James Brown, Miles Davis, and Jimi Hendricks. Prince later on released dozens of hits, but his most notable are "When Doves Cry," "Purple Rain," "Little Red Corvette," and "Raspberry Beret."

Prince will always be recognized as one of the most influential artists in history. Those who were lucky enough to see him perform live could appreciate how he commanded the stage and captivated the audience. Prince was a one of a kind artist and he will never be forgotten. Rest in peace.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Apple Car in the Works?

It has been long rumored that Apple will eventually take a leap into the automobile industry. Their top competitor, Google, already has a leg up on the company based in Cupertino, California. Google has been testing software for a driverless car and they will eventually manufacture a car of their own. How long until Apple gets in on the fun?

Everything about an Apple car is pure rumor right now, but Tesla CEO Elon Musk implies that Apple does have plans to get in on the automobile industry:

"I encourage more participation by whoever it is to create electric vehicles," Musk said. "It's quite hard to do, but I think companies like Apple will probably make a compelling electric car. It seems like the obvious thing to do."
Tesla is leading the way in the realm of electric vehicles, with Google and Apple looking to follow their lead. Tesla already has software that will serve as an autopilot feature; a feature that Google desperately wants to replicate.

If Apple does follow suit, it seems that their huge and loyal fanbase will certainly invest in their cars. Apple would produce a gorgeous and efficient car that would remain consistent with the rest of the products that they sell. Anything you'll hear about Apple manufacturing a car right now is rumor, but don't be surprised when they actually do release a car of their own.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The Time Kobe Bryant Leaped Over A Speeding Aston Martin

Kobe Bryant recently played his final game with the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday night. The 20-year NBA legend has had plenty of memories on the court, but one of the most fond memories fans have of him off the court was when he leaped over a speeding Aston Martin in 2008.

Kobe had just finished an NBA season where he was honored with the prestigious Most Valuable Player award and he was gearing up to win a gold medal for Team USA in the Olympic Games in Beijing. As a promotion for his new shoes, Kobe made what appeared to be a homemade Youtube video where he jumps over an Aston Martin.

This was a risky and dangerous video that went viral nearly immediately. This video displayed Kobe's freakish athletic ability by jumping over the luxury car, and earned him respect from millions of fans around the world. Of course, there are doubters who believed the video was fake and attempted to debunk the fact that Kobe actually cleared the speeding Aston Martin, but that is besides the point. Unfortunately for the nonbelievers, the video has never been accurately debunked, so as far as we know, Kobe Bryant jumped over a speeding Aston Martin during the 2008 offseason.

Caring For Your Car

As a car owner, when you get a new car you want it to last forever. Obviously cars are not meant to run forever, but you can extend the lifespan of your beloved vehicles by taking simple steps to maintain performance and longevity. Here are a few suggestions in terms of caring for your car:

Regular Checks:

This may seem obvious to some people, but get to know your car really well and make sure nothing is out of the norm. Once you begin to become familiar with how your car should look and run, you will notice anything wrong with it immediately. So start paying close attention to things like:
  • Damage to the body of your car
  • Fluids that may be leaking from under your car
  • Warning lights on the dashboard
Keeping track of these types of things can help you solve the problem before it becomes more costly and more difficult to fix. As soon as you notice a discrepancy with your car's performance, you should get it fixed immediately.

Under The Hood:

Sometimes we take how well our cars run for granted, and we do not realize that they are complex machines that have a lot of moving parts. If any of these moving parts begins to malfunction, it can compromise the performance of your car. Here are some things you'll want to take an extra close look at under the hood:
  • Engine oil level and cleanliness
  • Coolant level
  • Brake and power steering levels
  • Transmission fluids
  • Belts

Basic Maintenance:

Most car owners know that it is important to change your brakes and oil every so often, but they are usually unfamiliar with when they should schedule such maintenance. The oil should be changed every 2,000-3,000 miles, and the brakes should be changed before the brake pad becomes bare. You should also switch out your oil filter every 5,000 miles. Other parts that should be monitored and maintained are:
  • Air filter
  • Headlights, turn signals, brake lights
  • Spark plugs and cables
  • Engine timing belt
  • Windshield wipers
If you treat your car with the respect that it deserves, it will last you a very long time (depending on which brand you buy). A car is a big investment, so maintaining it and making sure everything is all right with it should be a no-brainer.