The Downfall of Hollywood

Continuing with our theme of “the downfall,” today we’re talking about one of the biggest businesses of the past one hundred years —- Hollywood.

Since its beginnings, the entertainment industry has brought incredible fame and fortunes to many people, from actors to directors to producers.  It’s a real world that brings the fantasy to life in many different ways and scenarios.  And for many people, Hollywood is a place to be “discovered” and made into that celebrity that has the media fawning over them and fans screaming for photos and autographs.

Being on the outside, many people look at the Hollywood lifestyle and want to believe that their favorite actors and actresses are genuinely good people.  Sure, some of them may get into minor trouble here and there, especially when they are young and suddenly have fame and a fortune, but that’s all, right?

Sadly, that’s not true.  While many actors and actresses wear costumes and disguises for their roles on television shows and in movies, it turns out that they wear other “disguises” to keep their true behavior a secret from their loyal fans and the news media.

That brings us to our subject today — the downfall of Hollywood.

Like many people, I’ve joined the boycott against many of today’s movies and television shows.

One reason is because I’m tired of shows forcing SJW issues and unrealistic situations.  It’s annoying, it’s not realistic, and it’s not right for Hollywood to keep pushing the issues. Read more…


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - November 16, 2017 at 11:34 pm

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Saving Hannah Baker – Surviving High School and Preventing Teenage Suicides

Today we’re taking a look at Hannah Baker, a teenage girl in the Netflix TV show 13 Reasons Why who commits suicide.  The show revolves around one of her friends learning the hard truth behind the reasons why Hannah decided to end her young life.

DISCLAIMER — I am not a psychologist.  The analysis and opinions formed here are from my personal experiences as well as general thoughts.  Seek professional help if you or somebody you know is being bullied and/or in danger of committing suicide.

That being said, in the previous article, I mentioned that I was a victim of bullying in the forms of endless teasing and (mostly) verbal harassment.  This began late in elementary school and continued through the end of middle school, a time span of roughly four years.

In those days I was very socially awkward.  I didn’t know how to dress, I wasn’t aware of modern slang and pop culture, and I had a particularly bad dandruff problem in my hair.  Combine all of that, throw in a neighborhood bully or two, add some bad rumors, and there you go.  I was an easy target for those people who wanted to laugh at me, insult me, and find new ways to put me down on a daily basis.

There was occasionally some pushing and shoving, and I remember some of my school supplies being stolen from time to time as well.  More than once I recall full backpacks being thrown at me on the school bus.  When we had those sex ed classes in middle school, the verbal sexual harassment increased tenfold. Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - May 17, 2017 at 2:16 pm

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Netflix’s “13 Reasons Why” – A Review of a Popular TV Show involving Teenager Suicide

Today we’re taking a look at 13 Reasons Why, a Netflix television show that takes a gripping look at how a group of high school teenagers deal with the suicide of one of their classmates.

The girl who committed suicide, Hannah Baker (played by Katherine Langford), left behind thirteen audio tapes in which she calls out the classmates who bullied her, and the reasons that led up to her suicide.  Most of the series is told through the point-of-view of Clay Jensen (played by Dylan Minnette), Hannah’s close friend, as he discovers just how much he really knew of Hannah’s teasing and bullying.

13 Reasons Why – Netflix TV show

13 Reasons Why begins with the aftermath of Hannah’s suicide.  Clay receives the box of audio tapes, and he listens to them in sequence and follows Hannah’s journey as a new student during her sophomore year to, ultimately, her suicide in the fall of her junior year.  It’s a rough and emotional journey as he learns the truth through Hannah’s stories and the pieces of evidence that he discovers.  He also realizes just how close he really was to not only Hannah, but to the bullies and their actions.

Before she ends her life, Hannah gives the audio tapes to Tony (played by Christian Navarro), one of her high school classmates that she can trust.  He’s given the job of passing the tapes to each person in Hannah’s listing, making sure that they listen to all of the tapes.  Otherwise, he’s instructed to make the tapes public so that the whole world can hear the truth, a threat that can bring down the entire school system.  Tony has listened to the tapes and knows the truth, and he continually pushes Clay to keep going and to listen to everything, even during trying times.  After all, Clay is the subject of one of the tapes. Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - May 16, 2017 at 5:26 pm

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Think your job is stressful? Guess again.

You don’t know stress until you’re the general manager of a fast food restaurant that continually earns several million dollars each year on revenue, but is desperately understaffed and operates with an unreliable skeleton crew.

Late last summer my wife was finally promoted to the position of general manager after being a restaurant manager (a.k.a. assistant manager) for several years with her current company.  The promotion initially sent her to a store located fifty miles away from home (yes, that’s fifty miles in each direction).

While the drive to and from that store was literally a pain in the ass (the hour-long commute was making her back problem worse), and the store was not only ancient but also in a bad part of a poor town, and homeless people used it as a place to hang out each day, she made it work.  She cleaned the store, managed to find and hire decent workers, and the place improved.  The store always had enough inventory in stock, the speed of service times improved, and business increased.  Of course, that’s the pattern that she had already been setting whenever she was transferred to a new store.

So how does the company reward my wife’s performance after turning around the worst store in the district?

Why, they sent her to another store, of course! Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - April 21, 2017 at 9:47 am

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Are Companies Shorting You In Bags of Potato Chips?

Last week there was a news story about people filing a lawsuit against Wise Foods, claiming that the company is basically being deceitful and tricking customers into purchasing what they think is a large amount of potato chips.

Perhaps the real question here is, How much empty space is acceptable in a bag of potato chips?

We all know that bags of potato chips are never filled to the top of the bag.  First, the air in the bag acts as a cushion and helps prevent the chips from being crushed.  And second, chips settle and sink to the bottom of the bag, whether it happens at the food production plant, or during any phase of transportation all the way to your home.  The more that you move and shake the bag, the further that the chips will settle towards the bottom.

Still, despite knowing that, it’s disappointing opening a large bag of chips only to see that more than half of the bag appears to be empty.  This is a common problem with almost all manufacturers of chips, though some companies are worse with this problem than others.

Wise Foods

We, the consumers, want to have an amount of chips in the bag that clearly reflects the bag’s size.  So why is this such a problem today? Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - April 11, 2017 at 9:12 pm

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Running a High-Volume, Low-Profit eBay Store

Right now almost all of my time has been dedicated to my eBay store.

I’d rather not post a link to it just yet, but I’ve been successfully doing business on there for over a year and a half.  My techniques have continually been adjusted as I’ve been learning from mistakes and learning how to do business better.

My store is a cliche with used clothing and basically “thrift store flipping” that so many people jump to when it comes to online selling.  Selling clothing is fiercely competitive.  It’s also critical to get the items as clean as possible as well as having great photos and accurate measurements.

On top of that, you also need to have low enough prices to encourage people to purchase from you.  I’m pretty sure that some of my prices were actually so low that people bought from me and then re-listed the items in their own eBay store for higher prices.

One of my problems is that I have a limited area where I can store my clothing once it’s been cleaned, photographed and measured.  Because of that, I’m listing and selling items for extremely low prices to keep my inventory moving.  This creates a high-volume but low-profit environment.  But it’s still income, and my business model works as I’ve got a source where I can purchase my inventory for ridiculously low prices.  I can still make profits selling items as low as $1.99, and that’s including deducting the item cost, the PayPal fee, and eBay’s fee at the end of the month. Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - April 1, 2017 at 2:50 pm

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Blaming Others for Your Poor Life Choices

Today’s case of mind-boggling stupidity (and a blatant socialist agenda) comes from an opinion post courtesy of the Washington Post.

In her ranting, JoAnn Wise is heavily against Andrew Puzder (the CEO of CKE Restaurants) becoming the new Labor Secretary in President Trump’s administration.  After all, Joann claims to have worked for Hardee’s for over twenty years, and her pay has basically been just above minimum wage the entire time.

Wait.  What?

She’s been there for over twenty years and hasn’t advanced further in the company?  And we’re supposed to care about her obviously negative attitude towards the CEO of CKE Restaurants, the parent company of Hardee’s, Carl’s Jr., and Red Burrito?

In the Washington Post article, JoAnn says that she was initially hired as a cashier, and after a month she was promoted to a shift manager.  And that’s basically it.  Keep in mind that in the CKE Restaurants (my wife is the general manager of one of them), the shift managers (now called shift leaders) are NOT salaried positions. They are technically hourly workers who have management responsibilities when the general manager and assistant manager are not in the store.  It’s a part-time position where the workers can easily quit and change jobs at the drop of a hat.

Despite the pay remaining low (shift managers are NOT entitled to any bonuses), she chose to remain at the job, and to continue working at that low rate of pay for what I’m guessing is the brunt of her working career.  The decision to keep working there was on her, not the company. Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - February 9, 2017 at 10:52 am

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What would you do if an Asteroid was about to hit Earth?

Recently there have been some conspiracy theory news stories about how asteroid 2016 WF9 (or possibly a comet, astrologists are still trying to determine exactly *what* is flying through the solar system right now) may strike the Earth sometime in the next few weeks.

Asteroid 2016 WF9 on February 25, 2017.

Thankfully, an Earth impact will not happen (this time) as the asteroid’s orbit is only going to bring it to around 32 million miles from the Earth on February 25, 2017.  A distance of 32 million miles is nothing to worry about.  That’s roughly the same distance as the Earth to Mars when the two planets are at their closest (a term known as “opposition”).

But what about 2016 WF9’s return visit in 4.9 Earth years?  What about the asteroid’s orbit after that?  How about its path after that?  And after that?

It stands to reason that if 2016 WF9’s orbit remains perfectly stable and consistent, then at some point in the future it’ll have an extremely close call or possibly impact with Earth, causing catastrophic damage.  It’s just a question of when such an event occurs.

The million dollar question is, What would you do if you knew that an asteroid was going to strike the Earth in a couple of weeks? Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - January 28, 2017 at 9:50 am

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The Death of Retail Shopping

Recently, an article discussed how Amazon (and other online companies) are going to basically destroy a large percentage of jobs in retail stores.

Sadly, shopping in retail brick and mortar stores (a physical store in your town) has been on a decline for decades.  You can trace the start of its decline with the opening of shopping malls, and a steeper decline with the rise of all-in-one megastores like Walmart.  As we advanced into the Internet Age, the shopping trend shifted that way as well, and retailers quickly learned that it’s a hell of a lot cheaper to simply list items on a website and then ship them to the customers, saving tremendous money by not needing a physical store.


Today, online shopping is more popular than ever thanks to reliable sellers, cheaper prices, and fast and reliable shipping through not only the USPS, but UPS and FedEx as well.  It’s never been easier to order items and have them delivered to your address a few days later.

As companies such as Amazon and eBay continue to grow, just how much of a threat is that to the retail shopping world? Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - January 24, 2017 at 4:13 pm

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The Dawn of a New Day


2017 is here and we’re witnessing the transition towards a better tomorrow.

It’s inspirational.

It’s motivational.

And it’s time to finally do something to take advantage of this awareness and positive feeling spreading across the country.

For me, that means getting back into my websites and taking them to the next level.  I’m also aggressively expanding my eBay business, and I’ve started dieting and working out again.  It’s not that I’m overweight — it’s just that I’m not happy with my weight and lack of physical conditioning.  It’s time to change that, and that change begins right now.

Why not start dieting and working out at the first of the year? Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - January 23, 2017 at 6:23 pm

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How Much Money Does It Cost These Days To Watch Sports on Television?

Last weekend I had the desire to watch the NASCAR Sprint Cup race on Sunday.

I knew that it was that time in the season for NBC to take over coverage of the races.

Okay.  No problem.  I’ll just check the local NBC channel and . . . . . . . there’s no race coverage.

Strange.  I’ll check it again.  Maybe it’s a race on the west coast and it has a later start time.

Nope.  There’s no mention of any NASCAR race at all on NBC on Sunday.  That’s rather peculiar since the local NBC channel has been covering races in the second half of the season for years now.

Just for fun I decided to do a search for “NASCAR” in the program guide for television.  Sure enough, it was listed.  It was being broadcast live on an NBC channel.  The only problem was that the race was being broadcast on NBCSN, NBC’s premium channel that they use for live sports.  As you can guess, my wife and I don’t receive that channel.  We just have a basic package with Dish Network.

So no NASCAR races for me while they’re being broadcast on NBCSN.  That’s not really a problem as NASCAR has been going downhill for a while now, and it’s actually difficult to sit and watch a race from start to finish.  These days I’ve mainly had the races on television as a background noise while I’ve been working on my computer.

It’s still annoying though that as long as NBCSN is broadcasting the races, then I won’t even have the option of watching them unless I upgrade to Dish Network’s “America’s Top 200” package (or higher).  I’m sorry, Dish Network, but we cannot justify spending the extra money on a vast majority of extra television channels that we will not watch.  It’s not worth it paying the higher monthly fees just for a couple of extra channels. Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - July 21, 2015 at 11:13 pm

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Gay Adoption — Is It Right For Children To Be Raised By Gay Parents?

As some of you may have already noticed, Coca-Cola has started a new marketing campaign focused on happiness.

Using the Twitter hashtag #choosehappiness, people can talk about what makes them happy along with happiness in general.  It’s meant to be a positive and uplifting message, something that people can proudly share on social media.  Naturally, the message of happiness is supposed to occur when said person is drinking a Coca-Cola product, but that’s optional.

Choose Happiness. What Are You Waiting For?

What brings us here today is that this new marketing campaign for Coca-Cola isn’t limited to the United States.  People in Europe have been seeing the same advertising.  That’s also where things have become very controversial.

Coca-Cola #choosehappiness advertisement featuring a gay couple with a child.

Coca-Cola #choosehappiness advertisement featuring a gay couple with a child.

In the Netherlands, some of Coca-Cola’s #choosehappiness posters have featured gay couples with (presumably) adopted children.  The message on the poster states, “We choose happiness ~ over ~ tradition.”  Of course, that’s not the only message being portrayed in this latest advertising campaign.

Statements like this are going to make people talk about not only gay marriage, but gay people adopting children as well.  Are we going to be seeing more messages like this soon?  More importantly, is gay adoption going to be the next movement to sweep across the country? Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - June 1, 2015 at 9:41 pm

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2015 Baltimore Riots — Politics, Racism, and Pure Hatred

For almost a week now, news reports have been focused on the city of Baltimore, Maryland.

City of Baltimore - 1797

What began as organized protests against police brutality and the recent death of Freddie Gray turned into a day and night of violent rioting and looting.  Thugs basically had free reign over parts of the city as the police stood by and watched it happened.

So what really happened in Baltimore?


On April 12, 2015, Baltimore police officers encountered Freddie Gray, a known criminal with a long history of being arrested.  It’s not known why the officers stopped or wanted to speak with him.  For whatever reason, Freddie took off running and the police gave chase.  Freddie was captured, placed under arrest, and put into a police wagon for transport to a nearby police precinct.

New video shows arrest of Freddie Gray in Baltimore

Notice in the arrest video that Freddie is not (or just barely) moving his legs.  The officers have to pick him up by the arms and literally carry him into the police wagon.  Was Freddie injured during the capture and arrest, or was he just being uncooperative and refusing to walk into the wagon? Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - April 30, 2015 at 2:09 pm

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$15 Minimum Wage Protests

It’s April 15th and you know what that means . . .

No, we’re not talking about how the high tax rates continue to push average Americans to the breaking point.

These days the focus is on the opposite end of the spectrum, towards those people working entry-level jobs and expecting to receive high rates of pay.  We’re talking about the MINIMUM wage.

Protests, protests, protests, and yet more protests.  These have occurred all across the country today.

I don’t know exactly when this trend started, but for the past couple of years now people are walking out of their jobs (the vast majority of these people are hourly workers at fast food restaurants) and DEMANDING the government to simply raise the minimum wage to that of $15 an hour.

Raise the minimum wage.

That’s right.

These are low-level, hourly workers who are demanding that they receive not just a good wage, but a damn good wage for doing extremely simple work that literally any idiot can do.

All of these businesses are owned by greedy rich people, right?

Why shouldn’t they simply pay their hourly workers more money?  Aren’t all of those business owners being greedy as the hourly people break their backs doing the physical work?  Why can’t they pay the hourly workers a lot more money?

Believe it or not, but those are very real questions that people are asking when they talk about wanting to raise the minimum wage.  Unfortunately, they have no clue about what such a raise in money like that would do, especially a jump that high in wages.


First of all, these hourly, entry-level jobs are *not* meant to be full-time jobs.

Unless you’re sixteen years old and have a desire to work your way up through the ranks and be a fast food general manager, that job you take at McDonalds or Burger King is not going to be your job for the rest of your life.  You’re going to work there for a little while, prove you’re a responsible and a good worker, and then you’ll move on to a better job.

That’s how it is supposed to work in a good economy. Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - April 15, 2015 at 6:21 pm

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Switching from Virgin Mobile back to TracFone

The other week when I was helping my wife look for a new cell phone, it got me interested in the other phone options as well.

I had been with Virgin Mobile for a few years now.  For $25 (plus tax) I had a monthly plan that included 300 minutes, unlimited text and unlimited data.  The 300 minutes of talk was more than enough for me as I don’t talk on the phone like I used to.  These days I’m more of a “texter” and prefer to send brief messages and quick photos back and forth between friends and family.  When I do speak on the phone, I tend to keep the calls short and to the point.

The bottom line was that I was paying over $300 a year for a cell phone service that I barely used.  On top of that, my Samsung Intercept cell phone was ancient by today’s standards and badly in need of an upgrade.  Of course, if you upgrade your phone, your cell phone company is going to bump up your phone plan to whatever is equivalent, including the new cost of your phone bill.

IF I was to stay with Virgin Mobile, the cheapest single-line plan that they have costs $35 per month.  That means that in addition to purchasing a new cell phone and paying the activation fee, I would also be spending an extra $120 a year to continue my casual usage.  That first year alone would be the cost of the phone + the cost of the activation fee + $420 for twelve months at $35 a month.

Obviously there has to be a cheaper way to have phone service considering all of the advances in today’s technology.

The answer for me turned out to be TRACFONE.

Years ago I was a TracFone customer.  Although the company and its cell phones were simple and incredibly inexpensive, the company worked for my situation.  But that was years ago.  What can the company offer people today?

After doing a little bit of research, TracFone still appeared to be a simple and inexpensive (for casual users) cell phone company.  The extra minutes are still readily available at the local Walmart, and so are some really cheap phones.  In fact, the couple of TracFones sold at our Walmart looked so cheap and clumsy that I almost turned down the company right then and there.  However, something inside of me said to check online and see if there were any other options available with TracFone.

That, my friends, is what brings us here today.

It turns out that TracFone now has smartphones available for sale.  And they have some really good ones, too.

Amazon.com --- LG Ultimate 2 L41C TracFone with triple minutes and bonus 1200 minutes/texts/data

Amazon.com — LG Ultimate 2 L41C TracFone with triple minutes and bonus 1,200 minutes/texts/data

I purchased the LG Ultimate 2 L41C TracFone with the triple minutes feature.  That means that every minute package that I purchase is multiplied by three for my phone.  A 60-minute card will give my phone 180 minutes of talk, 180 texts, and 180 MB of data. Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - March 1, 2015 at 9:55 am

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Bad Experience at MetroPCS Store (Corporate Store in Duluth, Georgia)

About a week (or two) ago, my wife and I visited a corporate Metro PCS store so that she could purchase a new cell phone.

Her current phone had a bad battery that was having problems holding a charge throughout the day.  Her phone was a couple of years old and was in need of upgrading anyway thanks to MetroPCS switching and using the T-Mobile cell phone towers.  Other than the battery and the fact that her phone was a CDMA phone, the phone itself was still working fine.

We visited the corporate MetroPCS store in Duluth, Georgia.  The store’s address is 3780 Old Norcross Rd, Duluth, Georgia, 30096.  It’s in a shopping center at Old Norcross Rd and Steve Reynolds Blvd.

When we walked into the store, we were immediately greeted by a customer service worker.  The store didn’t look too busy as there were only a couple of customers and about seven or eight MetroPCS workers behind the counter, but we were informed that it was going to be a short wait before a worker could help us.

MetroPCS LG Optimus F6 cell phone --- $49.99

MetroPCS LG Optimus F6 cell phone — $49.99

No big deal.  We walked around the store and found the LG Optimus F6 on display, the exact phone that my wife wanted.  It was priced at $49.99, just as the MetroPCS website claimed that it would cost if you purchased the phone at a MetroPCS store.  Had we purchased the phone online, we would have had to use a $50 mail-in rebate to bring the total price down to $49.99.  Going into the store eliminated the need for the mail-in rebate, plus we would have the phone that day without waiting for it to be delivered in the mail.

Obviously, going to the store to purchase the phone was the best, and fastest, deal.

A few minutes later, a MetroPCS worker approached us and began asking my wife a few basic questions about her cell phone needs.  I cannot remember this lady’s name, but she looked like she was from southern Asia (India, Pakistan, etc.), and she spoke with an accent from that region.  This lady also had a nose ring and, if I remember correctly, several rings in her right ear.

This worker didn’t believe my wife when she claimed that she barely used her cell phone outside of talking, texting, and sending the occasional photo in a message.  Her phone was mainly used to talk to her family and her co-workers.  No, she didn’t use her phone for streaming music.  No, she really did not use the Internet from her phone.  Believe it or not, but not everybody lives constantly on his or her cell phone.

That’s a big reason why my wife had a basic MetroPCS phone plan.  Her plan cost $30 a month for unlimited talk, text and web, not that she ever used the data.  This was a promotion that was available a couple of years ago.

Right off the bat, this MetroPCS worker told us that we were NOT ELIGIBLE for the $49.99 price of the LG Optimus F6.

Wait.  Huh?

Why aren’t we eligible? Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - February 28, 2015 at 9:33 pm

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How To Find Your Nine-Digit Account Number With Virgin Mobile Phones

In the world of phones and keeping your number when you switch carriers, one of the most critical pieces of information is knowing your account number.

You need not just your cell phone number, but the actual number of your account with the phone company.  You cannot switch companies and port (keep your phone number) without it.

Those of you with Virgin Mobile may have noticed that your account number is nowhere to be found.  It’s not on your billing statement (my billing statements only had my ten-digit cell phone number); nor is it listed on the Virgin Mobile website when you log in to your account.

If you’re planning on switching cell phone companies and still want to keep your phone number, then how do you find out the nine-digit account number?

One way is to simply call Virgin Mobile at 1-888-322-1122 and to speak with a representative.  Of course, this means speaking over the telephone with somebody in an international call center.  I had to do that when switching *to* Virgin Mobile, and I had a difficult time understanding the person over the phone.

If you choose to call the call center, the person is going to ask you why you need to know your account number.  A simple answer is, “I want to know the account number for my own record.”  They really cannot argue with that response.  Saying anything else (especially if you mention that you’re switching to another company) is likely to cause the call center person to keep talking, asking you follow-up questions, and wasting more of your time.

If you’re like me, you’re probably wondering if there’s an alternate way of learning your Virgin Mobile account number, one that does not involve calling the company’s call center.

Fortunately, there’s an alternate way that’s both quick and easy.  All it takes is a computer with Internet access, and Chrome, a free web browser.  (This trick also works with Chromium.)

Using Chrome, go to Virgin Mobile’s website (www.virginmobileusa.com) and log in to your account.  After you’ve logged in to your Virgin Mobile account:

1) Right-click on the page (in the background of the page, and not on any of the links).

2) From the menu by your mouse’s cursor, select “Inspect Element.”  This will create a new box with developer tools on the right side of the page.  Go ahead and expand the box it so you can see things better.

3) On the top of that new section click on the “Resources” tab.

4) Expand the “Cookies” group.

5) Look inside of that group and select “www2.virginmobileusa.com.”

6) Scroll down the listing until you see the name “ban.”  Inside the column immediately to the right of the name “ban” is your nine-digit Virgin Mobile account number.  Hooray!

There you go.  The instructions may sound complicated, but it’s really fast and easy to use this trick to find your Virgin Mobile account number.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - February 26, 2015 at 8:31 pm

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2015 Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) and Ash Wednesday

Another Mardi Gras has officially ended and now it’s Ash Wednesday and the Lenten season in preparation for Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

Mardi Gras mask.

While I’m not an official member of the Catholic Church, I’ve been doing independent research into certain holidays and traditions, and I’ve always found Mardi Gras to be particularly interesting.  From the earliest days of Mardi Gras to its dominance in New Orleans, Louisiana, and Mobile, Alabama, to even the French language and culture itself, this is just a really fascinating holiday.

In the spring of 1999, I had the pleasure of joining my college’s Air Force ROTC unit and marching in a daytime parade in New Orleans during Mardi Gras.  I have forgotten which exact day or parade we were part of, but that was an awesome experience.  We got to march in a parade during the day and then party on Bourbon Street that night.

I’d love to return to New Orleans one day and spend more time exploring the city’s rich history.

Mardi Gras officially ends at midnight on Fat Tuesday

Anyway, I’ve always thought of the transition from the stroke of midnight on Mardi Gras and the quick transition to Ash Wednesday to be like the “Night on Bald Mountain” and “Ave Maria” musical segments in Disney’s Fantasia.

Traditionally, Mardi Gras is about the feasting before the self-sacrifice during Lent.  Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) itself is the last day of feasting that a person does before fasting on Ash Wednesday, and then withdrawing one’s self from personal luxuries (from meat and poultry to other cravings) throughout Lent and until Easter Sunday.  Lent is supposed to help Christians replicate the sufferings that Jesus Christ went through when he spent 40 days fasting in the desert and enduring temptations by the Devil.

Today’s version of Mardi Gras seems to be more focused on the debauchery, sex and alcohol, and less on the fasting and preparation for Lent and Holy Week.

Take New Orleans for example as it’s basically the focal point of Mardi Gras celebrations in the United States. Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - February 18, 2015 at 10:09 am

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The Last Two Months – Updating Florida-Project.com

It seems like forever since my last posting on this website.

We’re now in the middle of February and my last article here was just after Christmas.

As you can guess by the title of this article, the reason for my absence here is related to one of my other websites, Florida-Project.com.

Back in December, I received a notification from my software that as of December 31, 2014, there would no longer be any more updates for that particular website software.  It was time to update or face the wrath of whatever security problems may occur in the future.  Obviously, the decision was made to update the website.

The previous version of Florida-Project.com was good and full of material, but there were many areas that needed improvement, from the design of the website itself to accessing material and the general flow of information.  The website has been in need of an overhaul.  It was just a matter of finally taking the time to give the website a full update.

Anyway, I proceeded to update the website’s software when, uh oh, there was a problem.  There was a small problem that crashed the website.  I tried to load a backup copy of the website and database, but that wouldn’t work either.  Apparently I didn’t save something correctly when making backup copies a while ago, and now the entire website was broken.

At that point in time the website was broken and completely useless.  It was time to quickly save all of the pages so that I could copy and paste most of the old content when building the new pages.  After that it was time to remove the entire website from my server, upload the latest version of the software, and begin building the new version of the website.

It took a few days to get a basic version of the website operational.  A) I haven’t built a website in a long time, so it took a little bit to get back into that mode again.  B) It also took a little while to create a new logo and some custom artwork.  C) I actually created TWO versions of the website: A fancy version and a simpler version for those people using Internet Explorer as their Internet browser. (The fancier version of the website was later removed.)

My philosophy for creating the newer version of Florida-Project.com was based on a few critical factors: Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - February 15, 2015 at 2:41 pm

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Day After Christmas Mall Fights – Random Violence OR Planned Terror?

Last night while sitting in bed, I cruised through headline news stories using an application on my phone.

A quick headline about there being a mall fight caught my attention, but I didn’t think much of it.  Then there was a second headline from a different mall.  That was followed by two more violent headlines, each of them being reported from different shopping centers across the county.

Once is an isolated incident.  Twice might be a coincidence.  Three or more times means that this could have been an organized, large-scale event carried out throughout the country.

The mall fights took place at Monroeville, Pennsylvania; Memphis, Tennessee; Independence, Missouri; and Sacramento, California.  Three of them (Monroeville, Memphis and Independence) seem to have the same story written for each incident.  In addition to the mall fights, there was also a major fight involving teenagers at the Navy Pier in Chicago, Illinois.

Monroeville, Pennsylvania:

In the news article, it was reported that hundreds of “teens” (the media’s current term for describing *black* teenagers and young adults) suddenly began arriving at the Monroeville Mall around 4:30 or 5 p.m.  It was estimated that as many as 1,000 “teens” were then in the mall at one point.  Some of them began fighting on the lower level, and some of the fighting escalated to the upper floor.  Stores were forced to quickly close their security gates to keep their workers safe and to prevent any looting.

Perhaps the most important part of the story is that the article states, “The chief said his officers learned later Friday that through social media, hundreds of teens were showing up at the mall, with the influx starting about 4:30 or 5 p.m. and reaching as many as 1,000, according to mall security officers.

Some of the fighting at the Monroeville Mall Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - December 27, 2014 at 6:43 pm

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