Sunday, January 15, 2017

Be Careful What You Ask For, You May Get It

I came to western North Carolina to see if I could live here on a semi-permanent basis.  I wondered if I could deal with the cold.  I got my chance to experience the snow.  It snowed about 5 inches and stayed on the ground for four days.  It was cold.  Got down in the single digits over night and never climbed up above freezing.  I lived through it.  I asked around and was informed that this was a normal winter.  Cold for a while and then back up to cool.  So far so good.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Mountains of Yellowstone, New Beginnings

     The Tennessee River cuts through the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in the southeast corner of Tennessee.  Alternating ridges, valleys and mountains define the landscape.  Atop one of these mountains is a small community where Stephanie had spent her life.  She was just two years old when her family purchased a three bedroom house on a corner lot just a short walk from the small commercial district of Signal Mountain, a bedroom community of Chattanooga.  Back before the Civil War, there was an outbreak of disease in Chattanooga.  Some of the wealthy families believed that the bad air in the city was the cause of the illness.  They established a small community on the top of Signal Mountain.  Homes were built along the ridge line providing grand vistas of the City, the Tennessee River and surrounding countryside.

     Stephanie pulled out of her driveway and headed for the interstate .  She was in a Ford F350 Super Duty pulling a twenty-nine foot fifth wheel trailer.  It was nineteen hundred miles to Yellowstone and Stephanie planned to make the trip in seven days.  She had a job waiting, working in a campground for the summer season in Yellowstone National Park and she had to be there by the first of May.  She was doing it for the experience and the ability to live for six months in one of the most beautiful and majestic places in the world.  It had taken years to get to the point where she could make the trip.  She had always wanted to travel and explore but was tied down by her career and family.  The time had finally come and she was on her way.   Her husband was supposed to make the trip with her, but at the last minute he backed out.  His excuse was that he wanted to work a few more months to buy himself a new toy, a high performance Mustang.
     This was a return trip for Stephanie, she had vacationed in Yellowstone with her husband and son years before.  It was a wondrous place and she was looking forward to spending the season there.   Stephanie was burnt out, feeling hopeless and had come to the end of her rope.   She was trying to jump start her life.  She decided to make a change and see if things improved, see if she could shake the depression and hopelessness she felt.  Stephanie had wrestled with these feelings for years, not knowing with any certainty why she was unhappy.  She had not found happiness in her marriage and had drifted apart from her husband.  He just wanted to go to work and sit at home watching TV.  Her son was a joy that turned into heartbreak when she had trouble letting go after he grew up and went to college.  And then there was her practice.  She was a veterinarian and the burdens of running her business had gotten to the point were they were overwhelming.

     The tipping point for Stephanie came out of left field.  She came to her decision to take action after attending a continuing education program at the local Veterinary Association.  The speaker presented a program that spoke to Stephanie.  The speaker’s program was about compassion fatigue within the Veterinary practice. She had been a Veterinarian for twenty eight years and had never heard the term.  She listened with interest as the speaker described the condition.  It was a malady that afflicted individuals that work with the victims of trauma such as nurses, first responders, therapist and yes animal welfare workers.  People who suffered from Compassion Fatigue exhibited symptoms of  hopelessness, constant stress and anxiety, a decrease in the ability to experience pleasure and a persistent, pervasive negative outlook on life.  As she listened to the speaker, she felt as if he was talking about her.

     Stephanie was confused about her feelings and had struggled long and hard trying to determine why she felt the way she felt.  She had never considered the possibility that pet euthanasia had anything to do with her feelings. This was just one more thing to think about, another item in the list to ponder.  It had been Stephanie’s tipping point.  She knew in her heart that she could not wait any longer, she had to change course, find a new life.  She wanted to be happy.

     The truck roared to life as it accelerated up the on ramp onto interstate 24 and headed west.  After a short dip down into Georgia the interstate turned north, crossing the Tennessee River.  She motored up Monteagle without any difficulty and turned left when she reached Murfreesboro.  Stephanie wanted to see the country side and planned to bypass as many big cities as she could on this trip. She did not have a lot of experience driving the truck while pulling the trailer and did not want to get tangled up in any big city rush hour traffic.  

Friday, December 9, 2016

Three Hundred and Fifty Blog Posts and Counting

     I noticed today that I have 350 posts on this blog.  I started in February 2009.  That's about 50 blog post per year, or four per month.  This is not really reflective of how often I posted.  I posted more in the beginning. 

     As of this date the stats say that there have been 78 thousand page views.  Really not very many.  It is a little understated because I split the blog into parts several times in the past.  I spent some time in Las Vegas and made a little blog about that and there were a couple of others.  

     I signed up for Google Adsense about a year after I started the blog.  It took a while, but I got it up to about $15 a month in income.  I know, don't spend it all in one place.  Now, if I get $3 a month out of it I am amazed.  There are a lot more blogs out there and that means less money from advertisers.  I know there are blogger that make a lot more money.  I average a little over nine hundred visitors a month.  Some blogs have that in a minute.  I never really tried much to expand my reach. 

I have thought about trying to get more readers.  The problem is that I am not that crafty, don't want to write about chickens, and most of what passes for entertainment today bores me to tears.  I don't look good naked anymore, so there really isn't much left.

     The most visited blog post is about  Jay Walking in Las Vegas.  It has about 2300 views.  I have no idea why.  The most popular topic on the blog was the Duke of Fremont Street.  The Duke is a personality that inhabits Vegas.  He is quite a character.  I met him when I was playing poker at the Golden Nugget.  He sat down and put $186,000 on the table.  I have written about him in 19 post. Someone tried to kill him during a robbery.  It was news for a long time.  

     I hear that there a people who make books out of their blogs.  I have never really gone through the old post and reread them.  I don't think that they would make a good book.  At least not one that I would pay to read. 

     I'm going to keep blogging.  I like to write and I at least have this outlet.  I need to decide to post more or not.  When I am in the old folks home and I am looking back, the blog will help me remember.


Friday, November 18, 2016

Mountains of Yellowstone, Available Soon

I am working hard at completing the final revisions of The Mountains of Yellowstone.  The editing is almost complete and I hope to have the book available on Amazon and other book sellers in a couple of weeks. 

The book is a love story set in Yellowstone National Park. He is way worn and weary and she is at a crossroads in her life.  Both are searching for a new way forward.  Exploring the wonders of Yellowstone, they confront the barriers to their path forward and search for a brighter future.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Life Is Not Like A Spam Folder

     I opened my spam folder today to clean it out and discovered 126 emails.  The first email announced that a Sexy Asian Female wanted to meet me.  A couple of lines down there was a notification that I was a guaranteed winner of one of four prizes.  I hope its money, cause I'm sure the Sexy Asian Female is going to want me to show her a good time.  Wait a minute, there's an email from Desperate Russian Girls looking for dates.  Maybe if they are desperate their expectations will not be as high.

    I should have stopped while I am ahead.  A little further down there is a email from Married but Lonely and another from I Miss My F**kbuddy.   Then there was Irene and Anastasia who wanted to help me improve my "performance".  I wonder if they're the one's that sent me the email entitled "No Prescription Needed"?  

    Thank goodness someone sent me my personal guide to better health care.  If Sexy Asians or Desperate Russians ever get a hold of me, I going to need good health care.  

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Does Anyone Else Want To Sue Verizon?

     I have been a Verizon customer on and off for many years.  I couple of years ago I got a Hot Spot with 20 gigs of data.  I used somewhere around 12 to 15 gigs a month and was a happy camper.  During the last six months I have been over my limit almost every month.  At first I paid it, then I began to question the bill.  I hadn't changed the amount of time I spent on the computer or the kinds of places that I visited.  I fact, I reduce my use of the computer.  Yet every month the bill went over.  Then one month, I was told that I had 29 gig of overage.  This was simply impossible.  
     I had spoken to Verizon in previous of months about my concerns and I was promised that they would look into it. They would open a service ticket and said that an advanced level technician would investigate and that they would get back to me with the results. Of course this never happened. Every month I called Verizon and complained about the overage and they modified the bill. They kept promising to investigate and kept giving me service ticket numbers. They never inform me of any results of their investigations nor did they ever contact me as promised to discuss the results. 
     Somebody should seriously sue Verizon. I truly believe that they are overbilling their data. The simplest way to to increase corporate profits is a slight modification and how they count data usage. Of course if we had unlimited plans we would have to worry about them properly accounting for their data streams. I for one would love to see someone sue Verizon and investigate how they account for the data used in their systems.
     The problem with all that is that it takes a lot money to sue anybody in this country. So someone should set up a GoFundMe page, to raise enough money to sue Verizon. Maybe this should happen a whole bunch of times and that would let Verizon know that we are going to hold them accountable for their business practices  and ensure that they are honest in their billing system.
     Whatever happened to consumer protection organizations in this country anyway. We can't rely on the SCC, they're probably in bed with the wireless companies that are designed to regulate. So it's up to us.  What do you think, somebody out there want to sue Verizon?

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

NaNoWriMo What Was I Thinking

     So I signed up for NaNoWriMo this year.  For all of you who do not know, that stands for National Novel Writing Month.  Which is November.  The idea is that you join a whole bunch of other wordsmiths and try and write a fifty thousand word novel in the month of November.  I normally try and write fifteen hundred words a day  and that actually will put me a little short.  I need about one thousand six hundred and seventy to make the mark.  
     I did absolutely no planning for this event and it is day two and I don't have the kernel of an idea about what to write.  Not a good start.  Maybe I'll cheat and use something that I have already been working on.  No.  I will come up with an idea, or not.  Why do I set such rigid goals for myself any way.
    I am currently parked in this little town called Bryson City.  It's not really a City, that's just the name.  It's not really even a town.  Very small, with its main claim to fame the Rocky Mountain Railroad.  It is a railroad that doesn't go anywhere.  You get on the train and ride down the rails a way and then come back.  It is a ride through a river valley in the mountains so it is visually interesting.  In December they do a Polar Express thing that brings in a lot of people.  There is also the Road to Nowhere. (please see previous post).  So I guess that goes right along with the Railroad to Nowhere.  
      Anyway back to NaNoWriMo.  Who thinks up these things anyway.  Why do I need some external time clock ticking away in the background as I try to make my words make sense.
      Okay that's about three hundred words, thirteen hundred to go.