~  Just think of it as a "growth opportunity"  ~
Friday, March 25, 2016
In the most obvious "No Shit, Sherlock" article i've read all year, our very dear friends at The Washington Post have tackled a topic that has many people scratching their heads.

According to WaPo, Each week, 'In Theory' takes on a big idea in the news and explores it from a range of perspectives. This week, we’re talking about the rise of socialism.

Read their article Here.

Well GO YOU! I am so incredibly proud of the initiative this news organization has taken in really trying to get to the ROOT of the issue. I mean, asside from completely obvious COMMON SENSE, i had NO IDEA about this!
In this ground-breaking, pillar-shaking, earth-shattering article, the WaPo proposes this amazing new theory:

If you don't pay into the system, you think things should be free, yet once you have a stake in it.... not so much.

...give me a moment here, folks. I think i need a few minutes to pick myself up off of the floor after this revelation....

Thursday, March 17, 2016
USS Iowa
My parents, being retired and having worked their asses off their entire lives, have decided to spend much of their time traveling the world. As they should! They recently returned from a two week cruise from Florida on the Norwegian Jewel.

As you can see, they asked me & the minions to pick them up. What an amazing vessel!

But that wasn't the half of it. As we pulled up to port 91, moored directly adjacent was an ENORMOUS battleship, the USS IOWA. It was parked there permanently in 2012, and is being restored as an active museum.

Oh, how Alexander's eyes lit up! He equated it to a Star Destroyer in the water. Of course,as soon as my parents were safely retrieved off of one boat, we immediately hopped onto the next one and took the tour.

This battleship was completed in 1945 and saw service in WWII, the Korean War, and was operational during the cold war as well. It was officially retired in 1990.

Wow, what a cool ship! A great tour, and the kids LOVED it. Highly recommended if you're in the Long Beach area!

Saturday, March 12, 2016
my new toy
So i FINALLY got a new cell phone! I've had my HTC M7 for 3 years, a full year over contract. Why did i wait so long? Well, i guess it's my opportunity to rant!

So i have AT&T. They now have implemented a new pricing model called "Next." Turns out, ALL the major carries are now doing the same thing. Brilliantly being sold to the consumer as a way to "free you from that awful 2-year contract," it is in fact increasing costs for all cellphone users!
I actually walked into an AT&T store on the day my two year contract was up, with $200 cash, and said that i wanted the latest & greatest cell phone. Turns out, no matter what i did, i would end up walking out of the store paying $20 MORE a month! How do you ask? Well, here's the MATH.

So previously, you had two options: You could buy your cellphone flat out, with no contract, or you could pay a smaller sum down, and enter into a two year contract. The carrier was effectively subsidizing your phone in order to ensure your business for the next two years. If you left early, or "broke" your contract, you'd have to pay a substantial fine. So this is how the math worked out before, ignoring taxes.

Option 1)
New HTC M7 - $600, no contract. Plan:$60/month. Cost after 2 years: $2,040.
Option 2)
New HTC M7 - $200, 2-year contract. Plan:$60/month. Cost after 2 years: $1,640.

So, essentially you are saving $400 per year just to be "on contract." That's a good chunk of money. And since cell phones last about 2 years, if you took good care of your phone, there was never a reason NOT to be under contract. A pretty good deal.

But turns out the carries got greedy. Without changing my plan, i wanted to essentially do the same thing i've always done, but with the newer HTC M9. I could NOT. What the carriers did is essentially DROP the subsidy, and spread your phone payments out over, wait, you guessed it, TWO YEARS. So your upfront cost is significantly less, but your monthly bill goes UP by the cost of the phone! No worries, you think. I'll just choose the subsidized plan, and pay the fee up front like before. NO DICE. Despite the markinting for setting you "free," if you DON'T choose their spread out cost, they'll charge you $20/month for NOT being on the plan!!!! Unbelievable.
Here are now my three options.

Option 1)
New HTC M9 - $600, no contract. Plan:$60/month. Cost after 2 years: $2,040.
Option 2)
New HTC M9 - $200, 2-year contract. Plan:$60/month + $20/month fee. Cost after 2 years: $2,120.
Option 3)
New HTC M9 on Next (2 years)- $25/month. Plan:$60/month. Cost after 2 years: $2,040.

The kicker in all of this is, that even though you are now "free," if you leave before you paid off your phone, you STILL OWE THEM MONEY for the phone! So it's the contract ALL OVER AGAIN!

The fact that not a single person i spoke to has figured this out shows how powerful the marketing is. Pretty crazy.

The takeaway here? The best bang for your buck is to simply BUY YOUR PHONE flat out. But make sure to get one that is UNLOCKED. That way, you are beholden to no man, and can switch carriers at whim to find the best and most cost effective phone plan for you.

And that is precisely what i did.

I am now the proud owner of a customized Moto X Pure Smartphone.
That's right. You can customize the build of your cellphone on-line, colors, capacities, and a host of other neatness-es. It will be delivered to your doorstep within two weeks.
Check out how to make your own here: Motorola X Pure Edition

And for the mere cost of $400, i am thrilled to be able to chart my own course in this hectic overly-corpratized crony-capitalistic cell phone provider world. THIS is the future of cellphones in the United States.

Here's my beauty:

To be truly free, you need only one thing: A good knowledge of MATH!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016
Yesterday i was driving with my minions, as i do every Tuesday, and Alexander asked me a question. I have no idea where he got it from. He asks "What do you call a camel with three humps?"

Being a semi-expert on all things animal, i thought and i thought, but no dice. I had no idea. What could it be? When he told me the answer, i laughed so hard i almost got into an accident!

Pregnant !!!

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