Category: Events

Serendipity in Action

Published / by Molly Whitehouse

I get performance leads from several places. Some people Children's party entertainmentrecommend me as the birthday party magician or I have some listings online. One such lead company is Gig Salad. I get a few leads, and I follow up, usually with a phone call. On this particular day, I had a lead from “Emad”. No large amount of specifics, just “birthday party for 7 yr old daughter”. Name: Emad, phone and email. I called the phone number and got a recording like “Please leave a message for 612 555-1212”. Well, I had not called “612-555-1212”, so I knew the number must have been forwarded. I left my message, and went on with my other leads. A few days later, I followed up with another phone call. Same message. At this point, I figured the lead was no good. No harm, no foul.

A couple of weeks later, I was attending the “Kinect For Developers” meeting. This was a group of about 50 developers who wanted to learn how to “HACK” the Kinect. Very geeky, and technical. I had an idea for an application, so I decided to join in. When I arrived, the room was set up with 15 or so tables so that attendees could group in about four to six per team. I sat at a table that was already occupied by another gentleman. We exchanged pleasantries and then got down to getting the wireless to work on the laptop. Yossef joined the table next. Then Bob and Larry. And finally, one of Yossef and Larry’s co-workers: “EMAD”. We all had name tags, and of course, having the experience with Gig Salad the several days earlier, I was stunned to find someone named Emad at my table. More jokingly than serious, I asked: “Were you looking for a magician for your daughter’s birthday party a couple of weeks ago?” Emad looked stunned! “Why, yes I was. Why do you ask?”

Well, I’m MrGoodfriend, and I left you a couple of messages. I guess you realize that since this coincidence is so outrageous, you will HAVE to hire me now!

His daughter opted for a bounce house and clown.

“Holiday” Greetings

Published / by Molly Whitehouse
Grinchy Type
Stolen from a politically correct legal type:

Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, our best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion or secular practices of your own choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all … and a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year of 2012, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great (not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country or is the only “America” in the western hemisphere) and without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith, choice or computer platform, or sexual preference of the wishee.

(By accepting this greeting, you are accepting these terms). This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement for her/himself or others, and is void where prohibited by law, and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year, or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting whichever comes first and this warranty is limited to the replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher.

How to find a holiday party magician

Published / by Molly Whitehouse

Finding holiday party entertainment isn’t all that hard. Finding GOOD entertainment, well, sometimes that’s a crap-shoot. Now if you are doing a vegas night, you might have everything covered. But a good holiday party can become GREAT with a skilled, professional, talented magician.MrGoodfriend holiday party magician

People love magic. A good magician loves people. Get those two together and you  have the ingredients for the perfect holiday party entertainment. The truly skilled magician will be dazzling with his performance, kind with the mystery, and humorous with the show.  A good holiday party magician can accommodate his routine to fit with the theme of the party. And of course his act would be fresh and new, not some rehash of the 1950’s.

Now how do you find this perfect holiday party magician? Simple: check with the event planner from last season’s party. Oh? You didn’t have a magician last time? Hmmm… that makes it a little tougher. Yellow pages? Who uses that any more? Maybe your friends will know. Check Facebook. You could check with the International Brotherhood of Magicians, or the Society of American Magicians. Heck, you could even check with the Dallas Magic Clubs. Wait a minute. Maybe you could check right here, right now.

Yes, MrGoodfriend is the perfect holiday party magician. Performing for groups from Europe to Asia, and all across Texas, you will have a great time with MrGoodfriend at your holiday party. But if you inquire and MrGoodfriend is already booked, what then? The best thing is, MrGoodfriend can and WILL recommend one of his talented and competent colleagues. Since many holiday parties involve children, you can be assured that MrGoodfriend is right for your guests. MrGoodfriend has been vetted by the Allen Independent School District for duties on all school campuses. You can additionally check on background checking sites such as Public

So, just to sum up on how to find a holiday party magician, you need to do three main things:

  1. Check with your friends, event planners, or other party professionals.
  2. Use the internet and the magician organizations.
  3. Validate the magicians’ credentials.

I’m sure you will have a great time at your holiday party, and I know that it will be MAGICAL!

Time Warner Cable and Burglars

Published / by Molly Whitehouse

It was late February 2008. I was living in a 2 bedroom condo near Walnut Hill and Webb Chapel in Dallas. I didn’t have a lot to do that day, but I went to visit a couple of near by customers. Even though the neighborhood was not known for being pristine and crime free, I had not had any significant trouble since residing there in 2006. I locked my door, but not the patio gate, as was my normal procedure when leaving. I had finished with my first customer, and contemplated going home for lunch, then returning to the other customer. But I decided I would just rather get it all done, and then when I got home, I would be done. When I did arrive home, about 1:45pm, I noticed the door was messed up some. I instantly thought that workers doing some work around the condos might have been working on it. Then, when I got inside, and noticed some computer parts in the living room that had been upstairs, I wondered why someone I had given a key to my condo had come by and moved my stuff? After realizing that something bad had happened, and not knowing if they were still in the place, I dashed outside and to the town home office. There I was informed that one of the employees had chased three teens from my condo. He wasn’t successful in catching them, and it probably was a good thing he didn’t. They took some stuff, including a handgun (I didn’t have a safe then) and my cable box. The cable box is what this story really is about.

Obviously I couldn’t watch TV. So after the emotions of being burglarized eased, I was able to go about the insurance, police reports and everything else to get my life back in order. New steel door, dead bolt locks, safe, burglar alarm, etc. Then, I went to Time Warner Cable (TWC) near my office. I had called by phone to inform them of the burglary and stolen cable box. I also asked for a value so I could claim it on the insurance. No one could tell me a value. Even with a supervisor, face-to-face in the office, I could get no answer on what the amount was. No one at TWC would provide me with an invoice. They did give me a new box, though, and I gave them the police report.

I filed my insurance claim, listing the cable box, but no dollar value. I got a check less deductible for all my stuff (except the cable box.) Texas Fair Plan was exactly that! FAIR! Thank you, Russ Davis.

One service issue I was having with TWC was concerning High Definition. Seems I was paying extra for HD, but EVERY night, I would lose the HD signal. Some times it was for a few seconds, most of the time it was for a couple of minutes. They made two or three trips to test the lines from their system to my box. Every time, they could not find a cause. Once they reburied the cable to my condo. So fast-forward to Oct 2009. We bought a house in Allen. Since I knew I would be leaving TWC, I decided to stop paying for service. And of course I got the phone calls from collections. Even months before making the decision to stop paying, I had been trying to get TWC customer service to do something about the outage. It got to be a game: call in, first person couldn’t help, would check with a supervisor, supervisor not available but would call back. I documented 49 times (YES, FORTY NINE TIMES) that I was promised a supervisor would call me back. A couple of times, I did get to speak to a supervisor after being passed from the customer service representative. But they would always say they would investigate further and call me back. And those failures to call back are included in the 49.

I did say ‘fast-forward’ right? Okay, now we are moving from the condo, and I have disconnected my TWC. I go to take back my equipment, and the guy says: “Where’s the other box?” I had actually forgotten about the stolen box. But when I realized what he was talking about, I remembered what the supervisor at the TWC center in Irving, near my office, had said when I pressed her for an invoice: “Don’t worry about it.” At this point, I am VERY upset. Weeks later the collections calls and other things started happening, and I decided it would be me against them, and I wasn’t going to give in! And I didn’t. I told multiple callers from TWC that they could have a supervisor call me, and one never did. I did finally get a bill for a couple of months of over due service AND $325 for a cable box. I just laughed.

Then one day, I was checking my credit, and there was a “bad debt” from TWC. So, I finally decided to see if I could slay this dragon. I sent the invoice of $325 to Texas Fair Plan. This was in March 2011. They paid it! Then I went to the TWC center near my office again. I wanted to pay what I rightfully owed, the cable box cost. I got to speak to a gentleman, Antwon Whiteman, Retail Supervisor. You won’t believe what he did. He LISTENED to my issues, he APOLOGIZED for the trouble, and he TOOK CARE OF IT! I told him that he was fighting an uphill battle and that I hoped he was rewarded adequately for his service at a place that seems to have forgotten what customer service really is. He wrote me a letter that I can post to any lingering credit bureau blots.

Needless to say, I had less trouble with the burglars than I did with TWC. But in the future, if you have issues with TWC, try to talk to Antwon Whiteman.

It’s Time, the State Fair of Texas.

Published / by Molly Whitehouse

I love this time of year. A break from the heat, football, and the State Fair of Texas! My daughter and I started a tradition years ago of attending together. Seems the others in the family didn’t find as much enjoyment of the fair as we did. So, even now, she wants to go to the fair with her daddy. And daddy sure wants to go with her. It really is a magical time!

Here are some hints for those that want to save some $$ when heading to Fair Park:

DART Combo Ticket: Available at Kroger Food Stores. $16 buys 1 general admission to 2009 State Fair of Texas & round-trip transportation on DART the day of your visit. The new green line drops off at front gate and a second station is located within easy walking distance to the MLK entrance.

Dr Pepper $3 Tuesdays: Every Tuesday, bring an empty Dr Pepper can and enter for $3. Most rides on those Tuesdays (excluding the Thrillway, Texas Star & selected other attractions) are 5 coupons.

Dr Pepper $5 after 5 p.m.: Bring an empty Dr Pepper can to any State Fair admission gate after 5 p.m. and enter for $5.

Kroger “Three for $1” Wednesdays: Admission is $1 for each visitor bringing 3 cans of food for area food banks.

Coke $4 Thursdays: Bring an empty 20 oz. bottle of a Coca-Cola product and enter the Fair for $4 admission.

FREE Thursdays for Senior Citizens 60 years and older.

FREE Cinemark Thursdays: Free admission with a Cinemark Theater ticket stub on Thursdays.

KISS-FM “Fridays at the Fair”: Half-price admission and half-price rides after 5 p.m. on any Friday. Must present coupon printed from KISS-FM website for admission offer. Half-price ride wristbands will be distributed from KISS booth outside Midway Arch from 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. on Fridays only.

Dickies Day: Friday, October 16, wear and show your Dickies logo clothing item at the staffed tent outside the gate and receive a voucher. The voucher is for FREE admission on Friday, October 16 only.

Any Day McDonald’s Deal: McDonald’s offers $4 off General Admission with one of their State Fair coupons (available on tray liner or bag stuffers) any day of the Fair. A free child ticket (with purchase of general admission) coupon is also distributed by McDonald’s. Offer may not be combined with any other offer.

McDonald’s is your kinda place…

Hope to see you out there!

Ahead of the Curve

Published / by Molly Whitehouse

We’ve all heard the term “getting ahead of the curve.” Simply put, it is a reference to driving. You want to turn your wheels, adjust your speed based on the approaching curve. This will keep you in control and guide you smoothly through to the desired direction.

As in driving, event planning has some nasty curves that dot the road landscape. Here are the key things you can do to “get ahead of the curve” and have a successful event.

Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance

Any cliche about planning can fit here, but it isn’t just trite commentary. PLAN PLAN PLAN. And plan EARLY. What kind of things need to be secured early in the process?

  • Venue – Get the location locked in. And make sure you have adequate facilities for your event.
  • Entertainment – Your entertainment vendor(s) book many months and sometimes years in advance. If you want quality entertainment, be sure to look way ahead, even if it’s just to pencil in the date.

Expand On Success

What has worked before? Was the event given good reviews by the participants? Did they say, “Let’s do this again next year!” It is exciting to put on a successful event. The problem comes in trying to best the previous event. Add a little extra, or equally as good, eliminate the unnecessary. For instance, if everyone loved the DJ and dance last year, why not add a strolling magician? For the wall-flowers, they will have even more to enjoy!

Post Mortem Isn’t Just For Dr G

Get reviews. Find out what worked and what didn’t. Keep an event notebook and update it with the after party details. And don’t forget to show your appreciation to the vendors that helped make your event a success. Even a personal note shows your gratitude.

So there you have it. Short and sweet, simple and doable. Now go out there and have a bang up time!