Thursday, April 13, 2017

Looking Out My Back Door.

I remain in Western North Carolina looking for a place to create a base of operations.  I have been everywhere from Waynesville to Murphy to Cherokee to Highlands.  That's a lot of territory.  In the mean time I am staying near Bryson City and I am camped along a river.  Sitting next to the Bus late in the afternoon I am witness to an aerial assault on the local trout population.  Bald Eagles fly up and down the river dive bombing and snatching the unsuspecting trout.  The dive bombing part is hard to get on video.  The Eagles perch on trees next to the river and sometimes they land on a rock and eat.  Here is a video of an adult and Juvenal eagle dinning out.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Ambushed by Dove

Without much thought I go about my daily routine. Its like autopilot. I can find myself dressed and walking out the door without even realizing that I picked out a shirt and put on the right colored socks. I get in my car and it points itself towards my usual breakfast spots and I take my favorite seat. All without thought or deliberation. I look at my hands and discover that I've gotten into something and they need a little attention before I eat. Its there, on the counter of the bathroom, laying in wait for me. A pump bottle of Dove Soap.

Instantly overwhelmed with sadness, I pick up the bottle and I am transported in space and time. To my mother's house. On a street enveloped in the arms of giant oak trees that created a tunnel of foliage as you arrived at Mom's house. The guest bathroom had the pump bottle. Everywhere else it was bars of dove. The aroma was unmistakable. A hug and a kiss always came with the fragrance of dove. The pillows and throws that decorated her home echoed its presence.

Lingering in the moment, I raise the bottle and drink in the aroma. Mom has been gone for years now. I still think of her everyday and sometimes, I find myself surprised by how fresh the loss remains. I stumble upon her from time to time, in the strangest places. Its her pancake batter, her kind of syrup. The recipe for my spaghetti is really hers and yes in a bottle of Dove.   

Thursday, March 9, 2017

The Mountains of Yellowstone Available on Amazon

     The Mountains of Yellowstone is now available on Amazon.  It has been a long time coming.  Stephanie is at a cross roads.  She is looking into her future and searching for a different life.  She decides to work in Yellowstone for the summer and hopes the experience will give her the perspective she needs to chart her way forward.  Jason has already started a new chapter in his adventure and working in Yellowstone for the season is part of that beginning.   They become friends while working at the same campground.  Stephanie and Jason explore the far reaches of the National Park while they reflect on the choices that brought them to the Mountains of Yellowstone.  

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Six Years On Youtube, Four Hundred Thousand Views and More

     My Youtube video channel name is 1willwander.  Today is the six year anniversary of posting my first video on  March 7, 2011.  It was taken on Fremont Street in Las Vegas and is called Hardcourt Hotties on Fremont Street.  It has a total on 308 views to date.  It just 29 seconds of a dance routine performed on Fremont Street.  Don't bother to go watch it, its not that interesting.  Since then I have posted 151 additional video.

     As the name 1willwander may imply, I travel around a little.  I had the idea that the revenue from these videos might one day help finance my wanderings around the country.  I do make a little money off the ads at the front of most videos.  The total for the last six years is $859.13. The ad revenue has gone down in the recent years.  I saw it steadily climb until it reached a little over twenty dollars a month.  Now I am lucky if it reaches ten dollars a month.  You can't get very far on ten dollars a month.  So that part hasn't really worked out.  

     I also reached a total of four hundred thousand views today.  I'm sure that this is just a coincidence. My most viewed video is called SHTF Store Military Surplus Las Vegas .  It has 57,497 views to date.  It is a video of a surplus store in Vegas that I used to love to just walk around in.  My favorite video is the Brazen Bunsen Bandit, Bunsen Peak Yellowstone National Park.    It was taken on top of a Volcano and features a little critter that always makes me laugh.

     I was just speaking with my friend Mike and he suggested I look up the word "inflection" in the dictionary.  You can't really argue with a guy when he's right.  I will continue to post videos of the things in life that interest me.  I hope that people enjoy what I post. And I shall endeavor to use inflection in my voice when I narrate in the future.

     And finally, if you watch YouTude and you like a video, click on an add.  The difference in income for the poster is dramatic.   Its just a way you can thank the poster for whatever value you received from watching the post.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

George Washington, He Was Famous Once, right?

I did it again.  I bought something at the flea market without knowing if it was worth anything.  This time it is something completely out of my frame of reference.  It is a cast iron commemorative axe. It reads "Independence 1776 George Washington Axe".  It's about eighteen inches long and weighs about eight pounds.  Again I will be searching the Internet for information before I try and sell it.  For those of you who are wondering, I known all about George Washington.

A conundrum that arose during this adventure focuses on the question, is it "ax" or is it "axe"?  I always spelled it "axe" but the spell check program is not wanting me to spell it "axe".  So I checked with google.  Yes, google is the ultimate authority on all things.  According to google, I'm right.  The preferred usage is "axe" but in America "ax" is coming on strong.  Now back to the hatchet.  The profile of Washington appears in the body of the business end of the chopper.  However, there is a caveat, to me the figure does not look anything like Washington.  The moniker of axe or ax is something of a misnomer, it does not have an edge.  It is blunt.  Really it's more of a George Washington commemorative club.


Saturday, February 25, 2017

Another Flea Market Mystery Tool -- Brace Bit Chain Tension Pipe Drill

So what is that thing.  When I find myself asking that question while walking around a flea market, I know that I will most likely be buying whatever it is.  In the never ending quest to keep myself entertained, I like to go treasure hunting at flea markets.  I find things from time to time and end up selling them on Ebay.  I like getting out and walking around and there is a certain satisfaction to finding something cheap that I can later turn into a little money.  Last week I was at Uncle Bill's Flea Market in-between Sylva and Bryson City North Carolina.  Not the biggest flea market and being the middle of winter, there were very few venders.  I spied a tool that I did not recognize.  It seemed old and I had never seen one before.  I asked the seller what it was and he didn't know.  He was asking $12 and after talking to him for a while I paid $2 and went on my way.  I usually find a tool seller at the market and show it to them in an effort to id the tool.  He had no idea.  I asked all the old timers and could not find an answer.

In looking at the tool, one side has a shaft that appears to be a brace bit.  For all of you who don't know what a brace is, it is a hand drill you crank.  They were used before there was electricity and used a tapered squared off end to hold the drill bits.  The other end of the tool had the business end of a brace on it.  That is the part of the brace that holds a bit.  I was narrowing it down.  In the middle there was a cross piece that was threaded and had a chain attached.  My first guess was some sort of puller.  Unfortunately there were no manufacture name on the tool.  I went to the computer and started searching.  Eventually I discovered that it is designed to hold fast a brace drill bit as in drills into a metal pipe.  I am still not sure what to call it. I next went back to the internet and started looking at patent sites.  I found a couple of patents that had date ranges from the 1790's to the 1920's.

 This is an image of the device from one of the many patent applications on file.  This one is from 1895.  The chain was wrapped around a pipe and placed in the catch on the opposite side.  The threads were then used to tighten the drill bit up against the pipe and help hold it in place as the drill was turned. I have no idea how much it is worth.  Probably not too much, especially since there is no name on the tool.   But you never know.  I am going to put it on Ebay and see if I can get my $2 back.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Workamper Ripoffs: Don't Accept A Substandard Wage

It's that time of  year when Workampers are planning their summer jobs.  Employers place ads in various places to fill their seasonal needs.  Yesterday I came across this post:

"Available March 1, 2017. Workamper position in xxxxxx, NC. (near Smithfield). 35 mixed use sites and 10 room motel. 30 hr/wk (5-6 hr days) for full hookup site only: includes utilities, cable & WiFi. 2 30# propane tanks filled each mo. 10% store discount, $20 laundry credit. Willing to do lawn maintenance, cleaning of rooms/cottages, work in office, help guests etc. Must have a winning attitude! Water, electric & carpentry experience is a plus. Email: with resume and picture of you in front of your RV."

I went to their web site and discovered that they charge $373 per month for a full hookup site.   Lets do a little accounting.  There are 4.3 weeks in every month.  The required time of 30 hours a week translates into 4.3 x 30 = 129 hours per month.  The compensation they are offering adds up as follows:

 RV site valued at $373 plus $20 laundry credit and about $30 in propane.  

This equals about $420 in compensation.  The total compensation divided by the hours looks like this.  420 / 129 = 3.25.  That's $3.25 an hour.  The minimum wage in North Carolina is $7.25.  This employer wants to pay less than one half the minimum wage.  Plus they are not paying any of the associated taxes they are required to pay.  

If you are a workamper or someone who is getting into the lifestyle, please don't take this position.  It hurts us all.  I know you probable collect social security and don't need the money.  But there are people who do and accepting a job with substandard wages hurts the market.