Entertainment Subscription Websites

How many websites do you pay a monthly fee? Yes, some are for entertainment, like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Disney+, cable, … all of these are things the occupy your time and feed your need for entertainment. I think “most” people are okay with paying for music or video, but when it comes to reading content, they just simply refuse. How many times have you visited Wikipedia and seen the “help us, and donate anything you can” banner? Web hosts and services aren’t free but yet every day people use that website and don’t pay a dime. Why? Surely if you were accessing some information you found valuable you could easily justify the expense. So this is a teaching article, and mostly I am targeting any artist who is self employed, such as myself. So, if you get a 1099, or you send invoices, then this might be you. If you create something that someone can buy, this also might be you. Your customer base/fans love and support you. I watch as “collectors” go crazy when a limited edition anything is released. So maybe things are a little slow for you now. COVID sucks for everyone and networking and art shows, festivals, and other performances are extremely limited. I am willing to bet if you asked your fans/customers for donations, they just might do it. I saw Billy Gilman doing a livestream on Facebook, and just like me, he is an artist that can’t make an income, so he listed his Venmo “tip jar”, and believe it or not, people gave him money. If you aren’t familiar with Venmo, it is an app that you link to your bank account that allows you to transfer money to friends easily and for free. We literally live in a cashless society. Some of us, rely upon customers to make our rent/mortgage. I’ll admit it, I’m one of them. Things are tough for everyone. So if you have a website, or a Facebook page, go to your Venmo app, take a screenshot of your QR code and post it so your fans/supporters can donate to your cause. Here is mine. If you are a long time reader and found one of my articles/blogs helpful, handy, inspiring or just entertained you and took you away from this nasty world for a few moments, then do me a favor and help me out. Did I help you out with a job issue? HR situation? WordPress or website ah ha? Btw, if you are running WordPress there is a new core out and you need to upgrade. Did you close a sale, get a new job, new customer, or negotiate a better salary because of something you learned from this site? Is that worth the equivalent of buying me a drink or a dinner? For my fans/readers who have already told me they want to support me, this blog is for you. And if you are also an artist, you should be putting your Venmo code out there too. People generally are good heart-caring people. So put your code out there, and maybe if you get a donation, you can share the information with your circle to do the same, and then hit me up with a donation for teaching you something new and creating some income for you.
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When I was in college, I was the VP of Finance for the American Marketing Association for the University chapter. Fancy title huh? Yeah, it actually came in very handy when I interviewed for jobs years later. A lot of interviewers wanted to know what all that big fancy title entailed, and of course I was happy to talk, and talk, and talk. I partnered with dozens businesses amassing thousands of dollars in “door prizes”. I was amazed how easy it was to ask for gift certificates, prizes, food … and businesses gave it without hesitancy. I called it active fundraising and partnership affiliate marketing. I also had check signing rights, and held a pretty heft budget for college organization. Little did I know that simply asking for money was a real job in the real world. Some places call it grant writing … again asking for money. Later in life I used that valuable skill to get companies to pay for something called “Sponsorships”, so their name would be advertised prominently to a captive audience. Gold, Silver, Bronze levels … honestly was the biggest con ever. Oh yay, your name is on all the ____ at the event. You get a table and a banner (that you provide).

 

A thousand thank you’s for my long time readers/supporters. Post your Venmo code. Start your fairy garden today. YouTube has fairy music that you can play to attract fairies.

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What Does “Aaron” Think?

The first time I can remember someone wanting to know MY opinion on a topic was back when I was a product manager in a marketing group working in Boulder Colorado. It was for a company you might know, GE. General Electric. Yep, the light bulb company. “We bring good things to life.” Cute little slogan right? I was only there for a year or so but it taught me everything I needed to know about the distribution chain and logistics. The year was 1999, and if you all remember, everyone thought the world would go into chaos with Y2K. What a joke that was.

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Anyway, I was in a marketing group of about a dozen people, and crazy thing I was the highest paid of them all. I found that out years later how my director had to go to bat to justify my salary. Hey, the power of negotiation is huge. In one of the many meetings I was required to participate in, my counterpart, the other product manager was not doing so hot, so the director asked what were my thoughts on the situation. I looked up from my Palm pilot (I know right?) and said they wouldn’t like my answer as I have a totally different take and perspective as a former IT, Windows NT network administrator. I was the guy who usually sat in silence listening to everyone else argue. Why join a pointless discussion if no one really listened? Well, my director listened, and for the first time in my life, someone actually took my recommendation and did something with it. Yep, it was me who started new marketing initiatives generating new revenue. When you prove you can make a company money, save them money, OR prevent potential litigation, you get noticed.

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In many positions I would spearhead a newsletter. I’ve always been a writer, and sending out communications on a timely basis has always been my thing. It’s funny, a lot of my readers actually know me personally. Many of them say they can actually hear my voice in their head when they read my words. Like in a movie … a letter on the screen is all of the sudden thoughts and sentences in your ear. When Sex and the City was on air I thought how cool would was Carrie Bradshaw? She had a sex column in New York City that made her semi-famous. I always wondered what writers were paid at a newspaper. Well, we all know that newspapers don’t really exist anymore. Most newspapers are all online subscription websites now. My blog/website is sort of like that but without the monthly cost. I did have a reader tell me he would be pissed if I started charging for articles/blogs. Don’t worry, I’m not going to do that. There are other starving artists who need your money before I do. Just like Ben Shapiro, I’m just another news commentary out in the big world wide web. But actually I’m mostly on people’s smartphones, … in their email. If you’ve been a long time subscriber then you should have over 90 different blogs that I have written. And since most blogs are at least 500 words or more, it would take hours and hours to read them all. I personally have only written some, and never read them. I have only read my book once, and that was when it was written. Many parents have read it so many times they can quote lines from it. Crazy right? I will have to sit down and read it before I can write a sequel. I was contemplating recording it and putting each chapter online on YouTube. I can’t be sued for reading my own book. But if I read say, Harry Potter, I think Warner Brothers would be after me for copyright. I actually had a reader ask/request that I read the book since it is easier to listen than to read. Most of my readers/fans get their info from me via the blog and not my other social media outlets. Facebook and Instagram are a joke with their stupid algorithms. Back in the day when the business page was new, I would post a picture or something and thousands of people would like it. Now, … nothing. Seriously if you go and look at the really old posts and the current ones you would be disgusted at the lack of likes. So it is better to just use my platform where I know people are reading my thoughts.  I am willing to bet there are a lot of kids who would love to see/hear me read my book. I’ll think it over and we will see what happens. I’ll ask my nephews and see what they think.

Mortal Kombat released on HBO Max and at the theaters yesterday, and I have to say I really liked it. I loved the final kill scenes … flawless victory. If you ever watched any of the movies you will like this one. But if you are not into fantasy fighting and killing you won’t like it. It is Aaron Approved!

 

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Sephora, Ulta, or Discount Store

If you have ever walked into a Sephora or an Ulta store you know that it is full of highly priced beauty products. Women (and now men) spend thousands of dollars in these stores, all with the goal in mind of looking pretty, or younger. As you glance around the store, almost all the customers are pretty and the salespeople look like they walked out of a magazine. After all, if you are selling beauty products then it should look like you are using them. I used to think that these two stores were basically the same store, selling the same products. But after doing a lot of research, and shopping I have come to a clear decision on which one I like best. AND since a lot of people wonder what I think, telling them where I shop can be advantageous. After all, as one friend said, I have already done all the leg work of doing the research.
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Now if you don’t care about your looks, getting old, or attempting to be somewhat attractive to the eye, then you might just be a straight male republican. Hahahaha. Seriously, my twin brother doesn’t have a skincare routine, and he doesn’t even wash his face at night. And he wonders why I look younger. Kim Kardashian doesn’t just wake up looking gorgeous. So the difference in the stores, from which I can tell, deal with the kinds of brands each of them carry. As you may know, there are literally hundreds if not thousands of brands and products. How do you decide on which ones to spend your hard earned cash? You do want to look amazing for the rest of your life and you can’t do that without some help. As I told a friend, in all honesty, if someone is exfoliating, using a serum, moisturizer and spf, he/she is going to look good. Not knocking any brand, so if you got it at Target or at Sephora, something is better than nothing.
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Sephora is more high end and is going to carry more expensive brands. Ulta will have middle of the line, and maybe some luxury brands. Target, Walmart, Dollar Store all have make up and skincare but they may not be the highest quality. Of course, if/when you find a brand you love, you can buy directly from their website. BUT if you want to make life easier, you can buy online from Sephora and get free shipping, free products, and tons of free samples. They have a $35 minimum to get some of the samples, but if shipping is free, I just make multiple orders and get all the samples. They know what I am doing and combine them all into one box. Twice a year they have a beauty insider event. You give them your email and they track your purchases and then you get a special discount event. So that super expensive _____ that you wanted, you can get it on sale. Some of the skincare products are really pricey, so getting samples of those products is a bonus. If you aren’t signed up, head over there now and the next event for 10% off is this week. I am addicted to “Sunday Riley” skincare, which they sell on Sephora and Ulta. But you don’t get a discount or free shipping at Ulta.

Go pamper yourself with some skincare products. When your skin/face looks good, you feel good. And let’s be honest, no one gives a hoot how tan your face looks. You can use make up bronzing to give you a healthy beautiful glow without damaging your skin. I like to use Natasha Denona’s contouring powder to enhance my dark skin tan.

(I was not paid to endorse any of these companies). Sephora, Sunday Riley & Natasha Denona are “Aaron Approved”. 
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Life is short. Pamper yourself.

As a seasoned veteran in the sales arena, one of my favorite techniques to  manipulate customers was the “pamper yourself” technique. I don’t think I invented it, but I never – I repeat never – have ever seen another sales person use it effectively on a prospect. So what exactly IS this magical technique that I would apply ever so carefully? Well, first of all, buying and selling is a relationship activity. Anyone who is paid an actual commission, and no base salary understand how important it is to really connect with that prospect. Depending on what you are selling and who you are selling it to can make a huge difference. Sure anyone can “close” a sale, but can you maximize your new friend to spend twice as much? I can.

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So I think  my favorite place that I used this was working in the jewelry store. I wasn’t REALLY on commission but I had an aggressive sales goal that meant I could not rely on impulse purchases to get there. I sold over $200k in my first month. And that is a heck of a lot of diamonds. And we all know that a “No thanks, I’m just looking” really means, “Hey salesman, convince me to buy something I totally don’t need, but really want.” Don’t you just love a challenge? Yeah, me too. I think “Oh, it’s is ON.” First of all, no one just browses when they really want to buy. Oh sure we would all LOVE to have whatever and just buy it. Guess what? Some people have a shitload of money and a grand here or there doesn’t even budge the needle on the stress level scale. So ask your prospect a simple question that will get the wheels turning. “When was the last time you spoiled yourself or bought something nice?” Good one huh? For some reason it is a simple question that people don’t ask enough, of their prospects, new customers, loyal patrons, friends and family. I actually had a salesman who worked for me when I ran a Cingular store and he used to say “Treat yourself.” And he would sell more accessories than anyone. Nifty trick. Like a $130 bluetooth headset was an ice cream cone or something. Now obviously if you sell something like insurance, you probably won’t get the same results.

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My other closing sales line was “I usually buy what I want since my significant other is not a mind reader and if I hate doing returns/exchanges.” That usually got a good laugh. Or maybe the “Hi, I’m fucking awesome and no one gives me a holiday or special day.” Sometimes people just need someone to approve of their expensive purchase and say it is okay to actually spend money on yourself. I do it all the time. Every day is a celebration when you don’t have kids (to pay for things), a mortgage, a car payment or student loans right? With the current state of … the world, I guess you could say “Hey I am spending money on me because I was screwed out of every holiday/celebration/wedding/birthday because of COVID. Think of all the money you would have spent on gifts and airline tickets alone! There are literally millions of people who got a stimulus check that weren’t directly affected, but who wouldn’t take free money right? We all want to win the lottery. Some people act like this small check of $1400 is like a winning scratch ticket. Funny right? My dentist took mine and it wasn’t enough. There is such a big push on affordable healthcare but no one gives a shit about our teeth. Love my dentist but I feel like I am financing a car. I’m afraid to go in for a cleaning as it always ends up being more than just a cleaning. Sure, I need some new laser procedure for my gums. No, it is not free and not covered by insurance.

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And the trial for the murder of George Floyd is fucking ridiculous. He was murdered. End of story. Terminate his killer. Congressman Matt Gaetz is a disgusting pedophile (which hasn’t been stated anywhere in the media) and should be imprisoned. I guess since he isn’t the president and doesn’t need 60 votes to convict him, he is gonna get it. I’m sure Liz Cheny is laughing her ass off now. I told you they turn on each other. White republican … sorry white entitled republican. Karma is a bitch and in one of my future books, the karma angels are going to finally have their day in the spotlight.

Go buy something nice, cool or awesome for yourself. There are millions who saved for a rainy day and never got to spend it. I’ve been buying expensive face masks on Ipsy that tighten my skin and make me look even younger. I’ll be 48 in July but I still get carded at every casino and bar. My favorite mask is by Generation Clay, the pink clay one. And since you know I don’t take bribes, I am not sponsored by them or anyone. If you try it, get the one on Amazon, it is cheaper.

 

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Branding Yourself

If you are reading this blog/article via email, then you won’t see my website header, which includes my smiling face, my educational credentials, and other fun aspects of “who” I am. This is called branding. Here it is for those readers:
AaronMstephensMBAIf you were one of my clients I would instruct you to do something similar in your own efforts. It will help you to narrow your audience and help your readers determine if they want to keep reading. Also, as a … we will just say “influencer” or future influencer, you want people to remember you “for” something. And if you are selling something, they will automatically think of you. You may not have as many “things” you are branding, and maybe you just want people to know you are a _____. (realtor, attorney, writer, artist, actor, salesman … you get the idea)

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In addition to spending time writing expert articles on your blog, you will want to cultivate some of the more popular platforms. The great thing with your blog/website, is you can very easily share your articles to all your platforms. Chances are you already have “some” followers, people who are not your friends or family. I am sure you are still using e-mail, so in your footer signature, you can add your website and Facebook business page. Over the years I have gained thousands of new readers by someone who got an email or forwarded email from me. When you manage and develop these platforms, it is important that you do not repeat the same content across all platforms. What? So, if you post a photograph of an awesome dinner on Instagram, do NOT put it Facebook, or Snap it. Why? Well, a lot of your fans/followers follow you across multiple platforms. So it is best to only share certain things on certain places. Does that make sense?  Of course you can do whatever you want, but if you want to gain new followers, then you will want to create new content across different platforms. I don’t have millions of followers, and I’m just a normal guy. I’m not a celebrity, a rock star, or even anyone remotely famous. I just have a lot of people that like to read my thoughts. Or so I have been told. Content is key, and writing or creating good/entertaining content is king.

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One more thing, when you are branding yourself, it is a really good idea to use a semi-professional looking picture for your profile shot. Now, once you have a million followers and you are identified because of your keen unique sense of style, then do whatever.  But for starters, it is not hard to get a decent background and good lighting for that first impression. Yes, I am guilty of taking car selfies, and they are all over my Instagram. Do yourself a favor and take off the sunglasses and pretend for five minutes that you are someone’s role model. That one day, someone may just want to interview you, hire you, photograph you, and you really want an amazing first impression. There literally are over a billion Asian men on this planet. I’ve been told I am remembered by my beautiful smile. Awww. That is a good thing, since I have literally spent thousands on dental work.

On a final note, if you are a parent, a teacher or a caregiver, you are also a role model. Probably a very important one. A thousand thank you’s for all you do. With great power comes great responsibility.

 

 

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Are you a new social media influencer?

Are you looking for some helpful advice to growing your audience? As a marketing expert, and social media influencer myself, I thought I would throw out some cool tips and tricks if you are starting your own following. I actually have coached paying clients on how to reproduce the same system that I have been using. I know there are a lot of my friends in my own circle who are continually perplexed on how is it that a normal ordinary guy like Aaron M. Stephens manage to amass such a ridiculous number of fans/followers/readers? Believe it or not, it all comes down to marketing.

 

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YOU are the product. So, what are you selling? Preaching? Teaching? People ask me what do I sell and I tell them they can go buy a childrens book or they can buy a website. But actually they can’t, as I am not taking on any new clients right now. BUT as a new influencer, YOU will need a website. That should be your starting point at directing all your new fans. All of your social media should be on this site and they should all link back so people can find all your outlets. It doesn’t have to be super fancy. It can be just one page, your picture, bio, and links. So depending on how you are branding yourself, your site should reflect it. People buy from people that they like. They also buy from people that they feel have common ground with themselves. One key selling advantage when I applied at the jewelry store was there were no Asian salespeople working there. Well, guess what? Asians prefer to buy from Asians. It’s a known fact. That is why they all cluster together and form their own communities.

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So if you are a writer, you should have things to read. If you are a photographer lots of pictures. Beauty artist then you should have how to do videos. If you are a life coach, you should have testimonials from people’s lives you have changed. Once you have determined your “niche” then you also need to have a lot of content. Your Facebook business page should have at least 30 minutes of unclickable content. I say unclickable, meaning, you don’t want people leaving YOUR page to go read some other author’s work. Now, if you just wrote an awesome blog on your website, sure put that on your Facebook page. While you are building your content, DO NOT ASK FOR LIKES or followers. Let me repeat that. DO NOT ASK/BEG for likes. I cannot tell you how important this is. If you have NOTHING on the page your friends “might” like it out of pity, but not because they truly believe in your product or service. They might even unfollow the page as they don’t know what you are going to spam them with your new business page. IF you create great content, hashtag it, you will be default find new followers and they will like your page. This is true with all media channels. Don’t announce or ask for anything until your product launch day. Set a day you are going to “open for business”. You can preset every single post in Facebook for a future day, or days. How cool is that?

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As part of your branding, you should always let readers know who you are, in addition to the things that you can do. There is a big difference. Your website really shouldn’t be your LinkedIn profile. It should be entertaining. It should be easy on the eyes. If you are selling something on your website, you should outline pricing clearly, or give ballpark figures. If something seems too expensive right off the bat, people will just close and leave. I highly recommend you incorporate a blog into your site. That way you can write articles, reviews, and updates for your readers. Some websites don’t have a blog, they are old and outdated and they probably never get repeat visitors. As I have talked about in past articles, when you write a blog it keeps your site the most current and when people do searches it maintains your site comes up first. Now of course you need some SEO, tags, headers, and hashtags, but WordPress makes it easy. Remember, your website is the one piece of social media that you control. If Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, or whatever decide to ban you, … you – are – screwed. All your content you wrote on those platforms are gone forever. Your site however, you can backup daily.

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You fans/followers are typically NOT your friends. They are strangers who know nothing about you — other than what you share with them. Whether you have 1 follower or 100 thousand followers, you have made a decision to be in the public eye and the things you think, say and do can have amazing or horrible outcomes. So determine why you want to have a following so you can detail your marketing messages appropriately.

 

On a side note, 6 Dr. Suess books have been banned. I never really saw the fascination with them but of course I am familiar with the artsy books. After seeing  a radical racist cartoon and the caption “Slap the Jap” I am appalled that these books have not been banned sooner. Mississippi joins Texas in the no mask mandate. Wow. March madness begins. What do you think will happen next that is super crazy? I bet something big around social media will happen. Parler? TikTok? Facebook? Grab some snacks and sit back and watch the fun. Speaking of fun, the season finale of WandaVision launches at midnight. If you have been waiting to binge the whole season, just remember, it starts out slow but builds and gets better.
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Game Stop? Game Start.

Did you hear about the whole Game Stop drama/bullshit that happened? Yeah, pretty crazy. If you didn’t, the retail gaming second hand trading store, was super under-valued as a stock. So some of the big Wall Street guys were going to try and cheat them, is the short version. I’m not really a stock guy, other than my Best Buy stock that I won. But you all know you should buy stock low and sell it at a high price.

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Game Stop made all their money in the used game market. So I buy a game brand new for $60. I beat it in a month and I no longer want it. So I sell it to Game Stop for $30 credit toward a new game. They get the game and sell it again, for … $50. This process goes on indefinitely, making Game Stop new revenue over and over again. So can you see how a company like this actually is pretty profitable? So why did Wall Street think that Game Stop was going to be a shitty company to invest in and drive the price down, in a sense devaluing the company? Because they are assholes. So, the real reason why the gaming industry is NOT dying, is that you have some big players (literally) that are crushing the market. First off, Sony PS5 is basically a pipe dream for millions. And the Nintendo Switch is just a legend that one day you might find.

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Billions of people are still in need of entertainment, and what better method/vehicle than one that you can literally be/do anything a computer programmer can imagine. Now the thing that has changed how people play games is the fact you no longer have to go to the store to buy a physical game and you can download a digital version. How cool is that? No more lost games, scratched unplayable games, and it is better for the environment. This is the theory that Wall Street bankers were using when they thought Game Stop was going to eventually fail and die out. WRONG. Millions of gamers collect those physical games and actually have some pretty elaborate “man caves” or gaming rooms where they display them proudly. Other gamers do not want to be 100% reliant upon the internet to play their games. Oh. Darn. Wall Street assholes aren’t actual players.

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Skyward Sword Joy-con Controllers

Nintendo has been hard at work releasing their own games, and every day there are deals in the eStore. The other day there was an announcement that Nintendo will be re-creating the legendary Zelda – Skyward Sword for the Switch. This was originally released on the Wii and used the two game pieces, one as a shield and the other as a sword. It was pretty awesome if you ask me. They are also releasing a special edition new handheld joy-con pieces, which are already sold out. Skyward releases on my birthday, July 16th. Like millions of Zelda & Link fans, I will be adventuring in the land of Hyrule. Gamers are still in the dark when it comes to the next release of Breath of the Wild 2.

 

 

If you were not aware, this is a special 35 anniversary year for Mario and a new Super Mario game was released this month. I have not downloaded it yet, but it is a 4 player type game in 3D. Pretty crazy. If you are an original Super Mario fan, where it was 2D moving from left to right on the screen, then you will really like this one. When I was in Vegas they had Mario Kart in the video game areas, and each racer had their own machine. It was pretty cool.

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So if you are a Marvel fan like me, then you might still be sad that Tony Stark, aka Iron Man died. Fans all over the internet have speculated how he could make a come back. They bring dead people back in movies and television all the time. Flashbacks, memories, stories, … prequels. OR they can bring them back, or their voice in a new animated cartoon series on Disney+ called “What If?” In addition there is going to be an Ironman type of movie that shows what happens when bad people get Stark Technology. Loki will come to Disney+, which will be a weekly series like WandaVision. They are doing a lot of sequels, and some of the lesser cool characters, like Natasha and Clint will get their spin off movie. A new movie, The Eternals adds Angelina Jolie to the MCU and I saw Michelle Pfieffer in the line up as well. Black Panther 2 is in the works, but I guess it will be a twist with their king now dead. Do we see a possible sister taking the lead? Maybe.

 

And if things in Texas weren’t already miserable, residents have no clean water and are told to boil their water so they don’t drink any parasites. So needless to say there are millions of bottled water being flown into Texas. I actually find it hard to believe THAT many people are drinking tap water. We all know they drink sugary drinks, lots of beer, … I know of some people who never drink water. I know, how weird is that? Texans also have a variable or fixed energy rate. And if they picked variable, they can expect an electric bill in the thousands. In Colorado we have something similar, so in the summertime if you use more electricity you get bumped up to the next tier level and you pay even higher rates. Same is true for water. So a lot of people don’t water their lawns. If you choose the fixed rate option, your rates are initially higher than the variable rates but you don’t have to worry about spikes in your monthly bill.

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And they lied. WandaVision was NOT a full hour. I was left with even more questions, and had to watch the YouTube Easter egg video to see all the hidden clues. How many times do you see a “hex” symbol in the show? If you haven’t watched it, now you will start seeing them everywhere! I was right about Agnes. I love the funny “Bad Mom’s” actress. She IS from another part of the Marvel Universe!

 

 

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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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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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