Mr. Brightside

If you think I am referring to the amazing hit song by The Killers, you are incorrect. Did you know that many colleagues and friends would call ME Mr. Brightside, because I am always looking on the bright side of things. When I worked part time at AT&T, I sometimes only saw some of my co-workers once or twice a week. When we were all required to attend mandatory … whatever, we were all forced to work past our shift. I saw it as a good thing as I hadn’t seen my favorite coworker in a long time. So, trying to make the best of a shitty situation. No one likes to have to count inventory. At least I don’t, and it is a deal breaker for me.

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So if you have decided a vow of silence on television, newspapers, Facebook, Twitter, or whatever, then you may not know that there has been some nasty shit going on in the United States this past week. I’d like to think you were on sabbatical enjoying your reading and mediation time — and being unplugged is a good thing. So now that you are back with society and checking your email or reading up on this blog, I am here to tell you that the United States government was attacked by some really not so nice people. In a nutshell, there was a “peaceful” protest that turned into a riot in Washington D.C. and sadly 5 people died. Nothing compared to what took a hit due to the coronavirus. But that is not what this blog is about today. It is more about “congress” getting attacked in “their” workplace. Hmmm. When the kids were being shot at in schools, did anyone in congress give a hoot/TWEET? Well, some did, but did anything concrete come out of it? But like most school shootings, they don’t actually directly involve “us”, right? That kind of bizarre behavior is someone else’s problem.

 

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The democrats are adamant about impeaching the president again, … and at this point I’m like, “just let it go”. He will be out of office, the people have spoken/voted. This new president and vice will make amazing things happen that the next term will be a no brainer. Yes, the president was a little too overzealous with his fans/followers. Yes, he should be reprimanded, and maybe just fined. That is what they do to professional athletes. As he has been 86’d from every social media platform, that in itself is punishment. I’m not defending him, but man, that would totally suck if you couldn’t even look at pictures on Pinterest, photos on Instagram, or see updates from friends on Facebook.

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If you are like me, you are still binge watching in your mancave. Speaking of binge watching, if you are not following me on Facebook, then you don’t know that I posted about Discovery +.  Yep, first Disney and now Discovery. It is an add on cable channel subscription that gives you access to those cable channels without having cable. You know I cut the cable months ago, and really the only thing missing was the History channel, since I am kind of a nerd. But VOILA!  Now I can get that and HGTV, the SCI channel and many more. I opted for commercial free for just $7 a month. If you are going to binge watch, you might as well learn something new and old. I am going to be building my dream home in the near future. so all those renovating design shows are just fantastic for me. If you are having a bad day, you can always watch “Naked and Afraid”. Those poor souls are starving, cold, in pain, eaten alive by bugs, … I mean, that is all kinds of suffering.

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If you are reading this via a forwarded email, be sure to hit up the website and scroll to the footer to get your own email when I post. When you are always looking on the bright side of things, your life begins to brighten.

 

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Social Media Platforms

How crazy is it when your favorite social media person is no longer on social media? If you think I am talking about Trump, you are wrong. Ha! No, actually I was talking about Chef Pete Evans, mostly known from his paleo diet show on Netflix. There are a few chefs that I love, like Martha, and naturally I want to see posts from other chefs. So what happened? One day, he was suddenly gone from Facebook. The more I thought about it, I couldn’t remember the last post I saw. If you didn’t know he is from Australia and evidently was spreading conspiracy theories that got himself deleted. He had over a million followers. In this day and age, the number of followers is like a digital currency. The more followers/fans you have, the more power you have. Pete published tons of books. And with his following, he could go to his publisher and almost guarantee countless sales with little to no marketing costs involved. That in itself will cause a publisher to stop and take note. He is still on Instagram, but it isn’t quite the same as seeing his posts show up in my Facebook newsfeed. I would be really upset if I was all of the sudden locked out of my social media platforms.

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I can’t imagine what President Trump is going through right now. His idea of working is sending multiple tweets and Facebook posts and then spend the rest of the day reading all the comments. Seriously, I know that is what his “executive time” consists of. I’m psychic. I’d say he could go on TikTok but he sort of screwed himself over on that platform. There is always Google+, LinkedIn, and owning your own website/blog where you can always post whatever you want. Plus, depending on a social media platform for all your content that they own, is not so smart. I think I have mentioned that I had hundreds of amazing writings on MySpace and then one day they were gone. I also used another platform, Xanga, that also disappeared. I had thousands of readers on that platform. Maybe some of them found me here. You never know. 2021 certainly hasn’t let up on surprises. I can’t imagine what is coming next.

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Facebook vs. Parler

73,923,495 people voted republican. Why did I only lose 1 person on Facebook? Oh wait, she is now requesting me to be a friend, … again. Where was this Facebook mass exodus for Parler? For the record, I voted for Harris, just like the other 80 million legally registered voters in the United States. I actually thought I would have this huge decline in “friends” on Facebook. There are some very vocal people who think they can persuade their own circle/network to think like they do. Interesting concept, but that only works for so long.

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Believe it or not, there are thousands of women who “think” they can change their boyfriend once he is their husband. And that ladies and gentlemen is the reason why there is such a high divorce rate in the United States. NEWSFLASH: You can’t change someone unless he/she wants to change, and even then you cannot modify someone’s behavior to suit your needs … long term. Oh sure you can manipulate someone to get your way, once or twice.

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So what is Parler you may ask? Another new social media platform/app that I have to download, update a profile and try to connect with friends/family/role models? Yikes! Okay, I will be the first to admit that I am sort of set in my ways. There are some “things” that I don’t really want to partake in on a daily or weekly basis. Another social media platform … or I guess in this case, an alternative to Facebook. But is it really an alternative platform when it is secretly a place for grown ass adults to go and bitch about things they have no control over? Hmm… I am going to go with the latter. I took I look at their website, and it appears to be a “free speech” platform where users can bitch about Biden and the election and not get banned/muted/Facebook jailed for doing so. Okay, I get it. You can also write your own blog on your website with no restrictions. Complaining doesn’t get results, and it certainly doesn’t accomplish anything on a positive level. Negativity changes your “vibration” within the universe and as you may know, also causes you to attract negative things in your life. We are all spiritual magnets, and you can attract some negative people very easily. You have heard the phrase “birds of a feather flock together”? Misery loves company.

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Now I have not joined so I don’t really know all the tea, but I do know that people are spending way too much time on their smartphones on time wasting apps. If you know me personally, then you know I am usually busying doing “something” and scrolling aimlessly for hours is not one of them. Facebook in general I think is pretty toxic. It used to be a place where you could go and see fun updates about your friends and family. Unfortunately, most of my friends are not writers or authors, and those who are rarely post any actual content of their own. However, many of my republican advocates have REposted various content that usually is just false data that has not been verified. I will be very happy when we go back to a society where lies are not accepted and making false accusations should have serious detrimental consequences. Many of these same supporters also believe that the coronavirus is a conspiracy or a hoax. Just when you think people can’t get any stupider, they pull shit like this. I personally know of a handful of people who have DIED, so there is no trying to pull the wool over my eyes and think that it is a bad case of the flu and those people died of something else. WTF. No. Science and statistical data results are not the liars.

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The scary thought that crosses my mind, is what if the virus has serious long term effects like getting shingles from chickenpox? Thousands upon thousands got exposed to the virus, and many did recover … for now. Thousands upon thousands report constantly feeling weak, no strength, tired, and it is always hard to breathe. We have no data as to what happened to all the vape smokers and their outcome after COVID19. I did watch a video of Alyssa Milana, former Wen spokesperson and Charmed actress, where she is losing clumps of hair when gently brushing her hair. I don’t know about you, but I would probably think that would be a big concern for someone who uses her looks for income. I also don’t want to just lose my hair as an after effect of the virus. We are on the brink of a vaccine/preventative measure. People just need to chill TF out for another couple of months. Start your manuscript. Write your autobiography. For those that are dumb shits and think they are immune, go ahead and write your obituary. I personally did this once as a group writing exercise and it amazing how YOU see your life, versus someone else see it. No one ever “thinks” that it is going to happen to them. Dying that is. If you think about it, you probably have enough supplies to last you for another 30-45 days. I know I have lots of cans of soup in my kitchen. When I was really poor I used to eat rice and egg drop soup. It was cheap and easy to make and it filled me up. Plus with all those eggs, I was getting tons of protein. You bought all those dvd’s years ago on new release day Tuesday. Do you know ALL the lines from each movie? Can you play the “What movie did this quote come from” and always win? I can’t.

 

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In in case you missed all the sales for Black Friday, Cyber Monday is tomorrow and there certainly will be more opportunities for you to spend your voting dollars. Despite the Nintendo Switch and PS5 sold out everywhere, Switch users can go to the eStore and download games at a huge discount. My console is already loaded with games for that rainy day, so I did not get any additional new games. Legend of Zelda Age of Hyrule is waiting for me. I saw online that someone has already beat the game and I can’t get past level 1. Emoji Laugh GIF - Emoji Laugh Lol - Discover & Share GIFsI did watch a cool YouTube video of all the cut scenes made into one. Actually, I saved it to watch it later, as it is almost 2 hours long. Yeah, I know crazy right? If the cut scenes are that long, how many hundreds of hours will it take to finish the game? If you have long hair, did you check out my first YouTube video? I’ll be making another one this week. I got a new hair straightening device I saw on an infomercial. It is crazy cool how it rotates and smooths your hair. Check out my Instagram profile picture. I usually wear my hair in a bun. I tell you, I could totally be an actor or something. I have so many different looks. And with the power of make-up, who knows? Ordinary people get discovered on Instagram more than any other platform.

Although, technically I am writing and producing my YouTube talk show. One thing I have noticed, which most artists don’t do … is market themselves very well. I will be watching something and have no idea who they are. So, with my videos I’ll have my name displayed at all time. Most of my viewers will already know me. I haven’t announced my channel on any of my social media … yet. Why? Well, just like a Facebook page, you really need to wait until you have at least 30 minutes of content/scrolling. If you don’t have very much, people might visit, see you have nothing to entertain them, and they may never come back. I have also noticed that every single YouTube artist tells you to like and subscribe to their channel. I haven’t. Why? Well, I don’t know after one video if I am going to want to see more. It literally took me 20 videos before I subscribed (not liked) Tati. Tati is a beautiful super model YouTube artist/influencer who is super fun to watch and learn beauty product recommendations. What can I say? She is entertaining.

 

Best Buy is running their sales all weekend. Friday morning I scored a new 27″ monitor. They have a 49″ gaming monitor on sale for $750! Normally $999. Too bad my Switch wouldn’t translate into a monitor like that. I wonder if the new PS5 will be full screen for the first person shooter games?

If you liked this article/website, please like my Facebook page. If you read this via forwarded email, you can subscribe on the website in the footer. I am not sponsored by anyone and have no affiliation with Tati Westbrook.

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New YouTube Channel

After months of deliberation, countless excuses of why I was too busy, and hundreds of hours of watching YouTube beauty bloggers, I finally took the plunge and created my first YouTube beauty video. I actually invented a brand new technique to tie up your hair in a man bun.  Or woman bun if it is a lady. It is actually genius and doesn’t rip out your hair when you take it down. For weeks I have been demonstrating it to women with long hair. And every single one of them tell me they do a bun, by making a pony tail first. Ouch. And when I ask them if they rip out hairs the answer is always yes. So, voila, introducing the Bow Tie hair tie man bun by Aaron M. Stephens. I have one subscriber, whom I thought was my mom, but she said it wasn’t. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=goVM_nf7EcE&feature=youtu.be

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I will be doing more videos as we are forced into lockdown. It’s not like we have anywhere we can go, and if we did, there wouldn’t be any bars or restaurants to enjoy it. I’m new to the whole YouTube world/community, but my plan is to do more impromptu videos instead of “trying” to write something. For now it will be hair and beauty products that I use to stay young and beautiful.  47 years of age and proud of it. Thankfully I don’t look or act my age.

 

If you like my blogs/writings,  I’m sure you’ll enjoy my new YouTube channel. I plan on chatting about all kinds of things. Give my Facebook and Instagram a “like/follow” and I’ll be sure to post more. A thousand thank you’s!

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Hair Expert

If you know me personally, or you have been following my social media — back to the days of MySpace, then you know I have had short hair most of my life. In fact, I taught myself how to cut my own hair — with clippers, and I have also been cutting hair, unofficially since I don’t hold a license to use a pair of scissors. Crazy right?

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One thing that has remained true my entire life it that my hair grows super fast, at in incredible rate. If I had to pay a barber or stylist to cut my hair I would literally be paying thousands of dollars a year to keep my “high and tight” military haircut. Even when I would go on base, it was $10 for a haircut, and I would need one every week. I had to cut my hair as frequently as guys had to shave their beard/face. So when I approached my 40’s, like most men out there I started losing my hair. Mostly on the top and not at the back or sides. Why is this? There HAD to be a logical, scientific reason why this happened to billions of people. Men, women, teens, kids … no one was immune to hair loss. So, … what are some of the causes of hair loss?

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Well, I am not going to bore you with all the research that I have done, but I will give you one piece of really good advice. Oh yeah? What is that you wonder? Stop washing your hair with hot water, and take better care of your scalp. Hot water as we all know, causes the pores of your skin and scalp to open, making it very vulnerable. When you drown those pores with shampoo, conditioner, hair spray, styling products, you essentially are slowly killing your hair follicles. It’s not your fault. When you were a toddler sitting in a bathtub your mommy put “baby safe” shampoo on your head and let it soak. And then you continued to do that for your entire life. After so many years of abuse, your hair just gives up and dies.

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A few years ago I stopped with the weekly haircuts and focused on letting it grow. My instagram has the latest photos of me, and I have some incredible hair growth pictures. There are many things I did to live a new lifestyle that included a high protein nutritional diet, exercise, lots of sleep and being very gentle with my hair. I would cover it in public, little to no product, and only carefully washing with cold water and never letting my scalp get any “poison” on it. There actually is a whole movement called the “No Poo”, which people have ditched shampoo all together. I actually use Kerastase products, a company from Paris, the parent company is Loreal. It is kind of expensive, but at this point, my hair is totally worth it. So why am I calling myself a hair expert? Well, if you look at my hair where it is now, where it was when I hit my 40’s, you would be asking what did I do? In addition, I have an identical twin brother who does NOT have my luscious locks of hair. I am 47 1/2  years of age, and I don’t look it. I actually am proud to share my real age with people. So, with my youthful appearance and long hair, it has motivated me to begin planning my YouTube channel. Sure anyone can hit the record button the their smartphone and then upload it to Youtube. After watching hundreds of … less than entertaining videos, I have determined that there are several things that makes a video successful. It has to be pleasant to listen to, as well as look at. With lockdown and covid, it doesn’t take too long and you have watched every video of your favorite YouTube artist and you are hungry for more. I know, as I have watched every video of some beauty bloggers/vloggers/artists. Just like you, I’m sort of bored at times, so I think that there are some of my own friends … and fans that would love to see/hear/learn what I have learned about hair, skincare and make-up. I have learned a TON of things that I know other people would appreciate knowing as well. Guys can wear make-up and not look like a clown. They can wear it to just look amazing, so people notice them, and not their flaws. Discolored, UV abused skin is a flaw. Redness, dryness, and wrinkles are not exactly poster child material. So what products do I use and which ones do I like? A lot. And I am not on any PR lists, so everything that I try/use, I buy with my hard earned money.

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I have been a content creator for a really long time. Some of my readers hit my blog daily on MySpace and Xanga. Yes, I know I was much more active writing back then. I have also contemplated using video to maybe read some of my book. It is the one thing that is copyrighted that I have the right to read without getting sued by someone. Maybe I will do different channels — storytime, beauty/hair, educational, HR stuff. I don’t know how other artists do it, but I would like to be organized and have like an outline of the things I am going to talk about and cover. I guess you could say this was sort of my next level of teaching. I used to teach at an online college. This blog probably teaches people in a different way.

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If you are an artist or creator, can you make something that you can sell on Etsy as additional income? I know I will be buying on Etsy as it supports individuals versus the big box Fortune 500 companies. For those from the United States, they will be celebrating Thanksgiving. The day that they stole the land from the native american indians. Yeah, I have mixed feelings about that too. I like to be thankful every day. Thankful my family is still alive and safe. Thankful I am healthy and happy. There are many people who are grieving and my heart goes out to them. Personally I don’t think that people are taking the pandemic as seriously as they should. Stay home. Stay safe. Don’t touch anything in public. I open doors when my butt now, so I don’t have to touch the door handle. Hey, maybe YOU could be a content creator too. Maybe you could launch a YouTube channel on something you know a lot about. Everyone has something they can share. Maybe you have an awesome Thanksgiving recipe you want to share. My sweet potato souffle is always a show stopper.

 

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Your voting dollars could actually be a lifeline for a family in need. Go buy something or a lot of things on Etsy today. Take one day of NOT going to Walmart or Amazon and instead go to Etsy. A thousand thank you’s from every artist. You can also buy gift certificates from you local small businesses as holiday gifts that will totally help that business make it through the pandemic.

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YouTube TV

In the world of sales and marketing, it is a proven fact that is is easier to sell more to an existing customer than it is to acquire a new one. When I was a sales leader at Best Buy, we focused on organic growth.  That is, taking the existing customer base and simply increase the average sale by $10. Which would result in millions of additional revenue company wide. In theory if a customer is already happy, then they will also explore other products and services.

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So as you know I have been a regular subscriber to YouTube Premium (no commercials), and I decided to explore their other product, YouTube TV. Why you may wonder? I decided it was a better alternative to traditional cable. In my case, it was Dish Network, Echostar. It was years and years go that I initially signed up with them, and my technology was old, my dvr was full, and I was being charged WAY too much for what I was getting. I was paying over $150 a month for cable channels that do not have any new programming due to COVID. Not their fault, but I find myself reaching for other online entertainment, including my recently renewed Netflix DVD movies that now show up in my mailbox twice a week.

I no longer go to Redbox as the DVD feature is so much easier than having to leave the house to go to an actual physical Redbox. YouTube TV gives you a DVR library for cable channels like HGTV, and all the local channels like abc, nbc, cbs, fox, and a ton of other cable channels, all for just $64.99 a month. I also get live streaming for almost all the sports channels. I get college football live, and it saves all the Husker games for me to watch whenever. If you weren’t aware, the Mandalorian season 2 has started again on Disney+.  I make sure to watch a couple of movies a month so I get my moneys worth. American Express platinum members get $20 a month credit for streaming services. So, technically I’m not paying for it, but I still want to use it on a regular basis. You can stream YouTube TV on 3 devices at a time, so that really isn’t a problem, since who watches tv in three rooms at once? I mean, if you have a large family, then some people just might have to share. Darn. When I was a kid, everyone in the house watched ONE tv and we argued and fought over what we watched. Kids these days are just spoiled.

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Colorado Election 2020

Welcome to the twenty twenty shit show! As if things in life aren’t already frustrating, confusing and full of wonder, we also have to deal with things on a huge economic scale, and for a majority of the general population, have no clue on what impact they have on the overall general health of the economy. Wait, what? Yes, you read that right. Let me back up to the last election, and remind everyone what devastating effects of “not giving a shit” and basically letting the old minded generations take over the United States government with the idol they elected. Yes, we are talking about ALL of the elected officials, not just the one allegedly running the country.

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People are quick to point fingers and place blame, but the one thing they they selectively forget, is it is those same people who didn’t vote, that are now causing the shit show. Wow, bet you never thought of it that way. When that “Karen” is being a bitch in line, and you stand there and allow that hourly retail cashier or worse, the hourly manager to take that abuse, YOU are allowing and in one way or another endorsing that type of behavior. Wouldn’t it be cool if you could actually see a visual warning of those people who didn’t vote/give a shit? Now those same people act like their actions didn’t have repercussions.

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If you are a registered Colorado voter, there are some “things” that you need to know. First of all, if you are not registered as a republican or a democrat you REALLY need to pay attention. You have been mailed TWO ballots. Yes, that is correct. One is for a republican and one is for a democrat, and since you don’t fall into one of those boxes, you get to choose ONE ballot that you can submit as your official vote. Do NOT think you can outsmart the system and vote twice, or even three times. Newsflash Einstein, you have to sign your ballot, and it goes into a computer system to verify your official signature on file, usually from the DMV. An actual person looks at both signatures, and if it is flagged as possible non-match, the ballot may get thrown out all together. Those are all barcoded, and when your second ballot comes in, the first ballot is flagged and cancelled. Ouch. If voting polls were open, then you could try and vote in person, for a third time. Guess what happens when your government issued id bar code is scanned into the system. Yep, not good, as you are detained. If you didn’t know, Colorado has been described as a model voting system for other states. So, yeah, we have this voting thing down. It is a federal offense to forge someone’s signature on a ballot. So don’t even think of stealing someone’s ballot if you somehow have access to an open mailbox. The signature HAS to match.

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And if you didn’t already know that we are one of the most progressive states in the nation, with Jared Polis, the first openly gay governor, paving the way for other states. Cannabis, insulin regulation are just a couple of things that we are known for lately. Our former governor John W. Hickenlooper is running for a senate seat, basically taking Polis’s previous elected position, as he was senator when John was governor. Currently Cory Gardner, a republican holds the senate seat. Hickenlooper has my vote and should have yours also. Residents voted for him for governor — at least the majority of the state did.

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So let us take a look at some of the Colorado ballot issues, and let me provide some guidance. If you already voted, or feel you are highly qualified in all these issues, then just keep scrolling. However, there are thousands of my readers who are not experts, and many of them do not even have a high school diploma or a college degree. So who do you know who has a masters degree in business who is freely sharing those thoughts to the general public? I would really like to know. So … just me. And if you are like me, you want fresh new content, that is not riddled with argumentative opinions and advertisements.

 

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So first glance, like all past ballots, it is full of long winded, run on sentences that make you just want to scream. And you can say that you are “Today year’s old” when you learned that ALL CAPS means that it involves some sort of a tax/debt issue that is going to somehow cost you money. Yes the government is yelling at you to pay attention. So for Amendment B (to the state constitution) wants to change the assessment rate for property taxes. I say NO. It ain’t broke, don’t fix it. 29% property tax assessment rate seems high.  Amendment C – asks if bingo halls can hire managers. WTF? Why can’t they is the real question. So I say YES. Here is the big one that is going to have people in tantrums. Amendment 76 changes voters to be required to be a US citizen to vote. Remember, there are 800,000+ DACA babies that are in our system as well as millions of others who are voters. Hmmm. So based on how it is worded, I am assuming you currently do NOT have to be a citizen to vote in Colorado. Dude, … what the heck? I think it is fine the way it is, and vote NO/AGAINST. Amendment 77 – Changes the CRS to allow casinos to add new games. Sure, I vote YES/FOR.

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Proposition EE – This is a new smokers tax on vape products. This appears to be just on nicotine vape products of a 22% increase. I don’t smoke nicotine products so this really doesn’t affect me. HOWEVER, the overall economic long-term repercussions could hurt an already down unemployed economy. Why punish the smokers? Don’t they pay enough with losing their health already? So, I vote NO.

Proposition 113 – Do we give our electoral votes to the popular vote? I say yes. It should be WE the people, not the fucking elected official who has the power. Proposition 114 – Releasing gray wolves into the wild. You know I saw a video about how releasing natural predators into the wild had positive effects. I don’t remember all of the details, but I am going to go with YES on this one. Proposition 115 – Abortion issue. If the baby is 21 weeks the the abortion is illegal. Yeah, so I don’t have an ovary or uterus, so I don’t really think I should be voting on this. So I’ll say against, and leave it the way it is. Proposition 116 – lowers the state tax rate to 4.55% Sure, why not. I’ll vote yes. Proposition 117- change the CRS to make an entity tax exempt. Uh, no on that one also. Prop 118 – creating family medical leave. This forces an employer into giving this “benefit” to employees. Hey, as a business owner, I might not want that or can afford it. Government should mind their own business, unless they are going to pay for it. So I vote no. As far as the judges go, let me ask you this question. When you had ANY interaction with a judge, which btw, is a glorified bullied attorney who got promoted, did you get a nice little slap on the wrist? Did you get off with a warning and some community service? Or did they throw the book at you? Make you an example? Stress you out emotionally and financially? Hmm, yeah me too. So I say vote that judge out and put in some new fresh blood. Guess what? Your vote DOES matter. And that nasty judge who sat all high and mighty can go get a job somewhere else.

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Alrighty kids, if mom and dad haven’t sat down with you and gone over these important ballot issues for Colorado, and for the nation, then hopefully this gave you some insight. Of course you can vote for whomever you choose, but remember that what do today will have an impact on generations to come. Millions of newly registered voters since the last election are ready to cast their first vote.

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Credit Cards

So after watching a ludicrous but somewhat thought-provoking video from Jake Paul, I thought I would elaborate on his idea. He says that formal school sucks, and that kids need a better education on real life “stuff”. That is the short version, however, he nor any of his “peers” are qualified to educate his millions of followers. One of the things he discusses (sort of as he throws money from a balcony) is the concept of credit. Which is ironic, since he so young it is unlikely he secured any on his own merit. Do people need an education in credit management/debt management? Absolutely. Do they need a full semester in learning all about how to borrow money and pay it back on time? No. I think maybe a mini-workshop within a conference for young new small business owners would maybe be a better venue.

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In this day and age, it is not so easy for a young person to get a credit card, store credit card, or a charge card. From what I gather from small business owners it is also not very easy for them either. So a class in credit, how to get it, how to keep it, what is the credit score and why you need to pay attention to it. What the heck is a credit inquiry? Who are the players and how do you win in the losing game of interest rates? Damn, all those things could make for a really good book, seminar, or Youtube video.

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Because of Covid19, no one is going to go to any seminar, workshop anytime soon.  So for the sake of today’s lesson, I will pretend that you are my 18 year old nephew who just graduated from high school and knows absolutely nothing about credit. Cool? First off, let me ask you some questions. Why do you want credit? Answer: I don’t have the amount of money required to purchase ______ and due to my current financial situation ($ ____ per month/week/hour) I can afford to allocate ____% of that toward my goal of ______. This “should” be the main answer when asked why they want to borrow the money they don’t have. Other reasons, which come up are things like renting a car, hotel room, buying a plane ticket, or maybe it is simply earning rewards points or getting things like extended warranty. All these things come up and are credit card/bank based.
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In order for an entity like a bank to loan you money, you have to prove that you are going to pay it back, on time – every month, until it is paid off in full, plus interest, the additional money the bank is making by loaning the money to you. There has to be something in it for them. How they determine if you are a risk is based on you payment history. We call this a credit score, a complicated report of numbers, accounts, dates, and historical record of YOU paying back an entity. Understanding how this report/credit number is generated is not what this article is about — you can go read about it from another expert. But in a nutshell, you as a consumer, need to pay back any money you borrow on time, every month. That’s it. You would think that was pretty simple, but guess what? Life happens, and some bills don’t get paid on time because there isn’t enough money. We call that being overextended, and that is a reason why banks want to know what your discretionary income is each month.

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A long, LONG time ago, credit card companies all charged an annual fee, just for the privilege of having/using the card. I think my first Chase Manhattan Bank card, billed me $19 a year! Credit cards today are mostly free, and if you get one from your local bank or credit union, there should be no fee. Prestige cards, such as the American Express charge card (green, gold, platinum) offer premium benefits and as such, charge fees to cover those benefits.
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So how did I get my first credit card, you might ask? Well, back in the 80’s I wanted a credit card and my mom understood the power of credit said okay. I was only 15 and at that time you had to be at least 18 to apply for any type of credit. Mom knew that one day I would want to buy a car and I would need to finance it, so starting a credit file of my own was going to be monumental. So mom “co-signed” a department store card, Herbergers, which went out of business prior to the coronavirus pandemic. What this actually means, is that my mom told Herbergers that if I failed to make a payment, that she would be responsible, and if she didn’t it would be bad for her credit report. The account was approved and they gave me a $5,000 credit line, which was all based on my mom’s credit file. THAT was not going to happen, as mom could easily see me going crazy and she called the bank and lowered the credit limit to $100. Yes, seriously. Why? Well, if I maxed out $100, she knew my hourly paycheck job, at $3.35 per hour would cover it. Very smart lady. NEVER give a minor a big credit line. Why? It is super easy to max out a grand, or two, and then not even have enough to make the minimum payment.
Eventually my credit limit got raised due to my excellent payment history. After doing this for almost 2 years, it was enough for me to get a car loan on my own merit. It usually takes about six months to establish a credit file, and then another year to start a payment history. An established payment history of making payments consistently on time, more than the minimum is important when granting someone a line of credit. Think about it, if you loaned a friend $20 and he paid you back the next day, you would be more likely to loan him money the next time he asked. If another friend never paid you back, would you loan him money the next time he asked? Doubtful.

 

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Now that is how “I” did it back in the 80’s, but in 2020, credit cards don’t really work that way. Instead what you can do, is simply add your child to your account as an authorized user. This “does” technically start a credit file for the child, however, most bank officers are aware of this alternative move and take than into consideration before loaning a minor tens of thousands of dollars. As Dave Ramsey says, credit lines are demonstrations of how you borrow money. If you are debt free, you don’t need to borrow or have a credit score. I am totally with Dave on this one. I use the American Express card as it grants a lot of benefits, such as extended warranty, and it has to be paid in full every month. So it is unlikely you will go crazy knowing how much your monthly income is, and where is has to go. I always encourage people to have a monthly budget. Know how much is coming in from work and other sources, and know where it is going — bills, rent, groceries, and so on. When I was younger I used a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet to budget wisely. If you are going to go gamble $100, it has to come from somewhere … less gas, groceries, entertainment or something.

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Apply for an American Express Card with this link. We can both get rewarded if you’re approved. http://refer.amex.us/AaRONSPFre?xl=cp33 It is in the form of membership rewards points, which you can literally cash in for gift cards, prizes, credit statements or even as currency on Amazon.

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ICYMI – Tech Update – Sony Nintendo Apple

Sony has announced two different versions of the Sony Playstation 5. One will be a digital download only, and the other will include a blu ray disc drive. The biggest accomplishment, yet one that is well long overdue, is the upgrade to the SSD – solid state drive – removing the old spinning technology that was the sad result of gamers sitting “LOADING” screen.  This feature alone has already caused pre-order big box giants to crash. Unlike Nintendo who has proprietary games, like The Legend of Zelda, Sony does not have anything for at least a year. Xbox had Fable, … and most license their games/software to make more money.
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With billions of gamers confined to their already safe man caves and basements, Chinese based Nintendo giant has reaped huge profits with their revolutionary Nintendo Switch. If you are unfamiliar with this little gaming genius piece of hardware, it triples as a handheld, small tabletop viewscreen, and also connects to a big screen via HDMI. Computer monitors can easily be converted as previously they only served VGA. This can be a big thing if kids are in their own rooms with no tv. Crazy as it sounds, not all kids are so privileged to have those luxuries. The Switch has a plethora of games via their download e-store, however, you will quickly fill up the 32 gigs that the device comes standard. I personally have been rocking my Wii U, as it has been impossible to find one in a store. So naturally it put me on a mission to find one in a retail store. After months of hitting every discount store in the Rocky Mountains, I did find one. No, I’m not kidding. I’m totally serious. It was in Rawlins Wyoming, last one of course. And THAT was the day I forgot my credit cards, so unfortunately I would not be able to get the extra year warranty from American Express. I did have just enough cash to buy the last one, and the latest Super Mario game.

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Members of the Cult of Mac:
Is your phone nagging you to upgrade like mine? It should be, and after watching some YouTube launch release videos, I decided it might be a good idea. I have the iPhone 11 Max Pro, in green, so decided I wanted my device to feel all shiny and new again. It is downloading the update as I type. One of the cool new features is sending a voice memo to someone via Siri. I’m not a iOs reviewer, there are already dozens of guys that do that. I do love my iPhone, and as a veteran in the wireless industry, I can say it will always be one of my wireless devices.

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As you know, I am not sponsored by anyone, and I only recommend products and services that I endorse. I do not own a PS4, but I am still rocking my PS3!  Rumor has it the PS5 may be backwards compatible, so you will want the disc drive model.

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Career Coaching

Check out the livestream feed from Denver! Yesterday it was smokey and 99 degrees, and today it is 34 degrees and raining in the metro. Up in the high country (the mountains) they are experiencing snow! So if you were praying for some cooler weather and precipitation also, our prayers have been answered. If you can see the video, it is a shot from what appears to be Bronco Stadium, at Mile High Field, overlooking I-25 traffic and the downtown skyline. As I a writing, the lens is kind of blurry due to the rain so I can’t say for sure.

 

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So the post today is about career coaching, and I think that this actually should be something that is used with high school students at an early stage. I’m not a high school teacher, but I was a college professor. Having a background in sales and marketing is super advantageous when looking for a job. So how do you choose a career when you are young and impressionable? My favorite question as a kid, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Hmmm, good question right? How the F would a five year old know the answer to that? Well, I suppose your parents could have your career trajectory all planned out for you, but for the rest of us, it was a — fly by the seat of my pants — kind of moment, and I just made something up everything I was asked. If you have kids, did you encourage the talents shown by your little students and introduce them to someone who is actually doing it? Because no one in their right mind is going to say, “Gee, I think one day I want to be a middle manager sitting in a cubicle staring at a computer screen all day.”

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So for years I have had the idea of doing something with all the human resource knowledge that I have acquired over the years and put it to good use. Sure I talk with individuals and help them along, but nothing on a large scale magnitude. I am pretty sure there are a lot of HR professionals who read these blogs. I did start a manuscript years ago, but I would rather just publish on my website to my readers, rather than doing an e-book or hardcopy. Why? Well, you can always load my blog on your phone easily and take me with you to read later. And it is SFW (safe for work). Although I am going to divulge some secrets from the industry that you won’t hear anywhere else. These are some things you need to know, and remember.

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Human Resources is NOT your friend. Wait, what? They are always so nice. Uh huh. We are trained to be nice. We smile at you when we recruit you and we smile at you when you sign your separation notice. We, as in HR, are here for the owner and the shareholders best profitable interest. We are here to mitigate risk, and assess talent to make money for the company. When you F up, we are here to performance manage you so we can fire you later. Yep, seriously, that is how it works. And when you file unemployment and try to sue us, we are there to show documentation that we are in the right and you are just a bad employee. Wow, that is quite a bit to take in — isn’t it?
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When I was in college, I was involved in the American Marketing Association. I actually was an officer and was in charge of fundraising and finance. Both of these roles are super important in the corporate world. We had a big name speaker, which I can’t remember now, come to campus to teach us all about the “hidden job market”. It was kind of a big deal. Looking back, there was some nuggets from that seminar. If you are an HR person, you know what I mean, and if you are not — then I am going to shed some light on the subject. If you are looking for a job in your field, I strongly encourage you to interview someone who is doing it now, as an active job. Why? Well, there is a lot of hidden wisdom here and when I worked with my college students, I made them, interview 3. 10 questions that included what they liked, loved and hated about their current profession. It was just for information and to determine if this was an actual fit for the individual. Hey you want to be a nurse? Did you know you have some shitty situations, and until you get those little letters behind your name, you will have to pay your dues. While not usually suggested for the interview, it is a really good idea  to know what your entry level to high level manager salary is going to be. You need to be able to translate what $15 an hour is annually, and know the reverse. So when HR calls and says we would like to extend an offer of $25,000 a year, that is actually only $12.02 an hour. Hmmm, not so appealing now. Take the annual divided 2080, which is the number of hours worked a year. Now keep in mind, HR usually is not the key decision maker and when you balk at it or sit in silence, know that they can’t and won’t just up the offer. You will need to thankfully accept the offer and let them know you will give them an answer in 24 hours. Now, you should have the email, and business card of the person who decides your salary. Talk to that person.

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I am not going to go over information interview protocols, as I am sure they are dozens of articles already out there. Keep in mind that at some point in your in person discussion, you may spark the interest of your interviewee. Like, as in, he/she may see the talent and potential in you and may want to recruit you at a later date. DO NOT take or give this person a resume at this point. Why? You will lose trust. You said you were there just for information and you secretly were trying to get a job. So inform him/her that you don’t have it, but you would be happy to talk about some of your most recent wins/achievements … now. Example: “As you know I am a big blogger with thousands of readers, and writing is sort of my thing. I’d really like to work for an editorial group like yours one day. A lot of your core goals and objectives align with my own, such as ______.” So you get the idea. You will be much more effective talking to someone in person, rather than having them read a bunch of very well written action statements. Like what you say? How about “High performing sales manager who consistently met or exceeded sales objectives and is the top  performing in the region.” Yes, well, now this is very nicely well written claim, can it be proven? Besides, you are much more charming and convincing in person that a black and white piece of paper.

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So practice on some of your friends and coworkers (from other departments) and see what the answers are. Who knows you might learn something from that person, or maybe he/she will help you look for new jobs that haven’t been posted on the internet.
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