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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear




On Saturday, October 30th, 2011, a rally was held at the National Mall in Washington D.C. Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert led the "Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear". Who are these guys? They are comedians. Yes, they both have their own shows on the cable network Comedy Central. Jon Stewart represents the somewhat liberal idea that it's time to restore some sanity, both in the political process in Washington and also throughout the country. Stephen Colbert satirically represents the ultra conservative, living in fear of everything that's going wrong.

There was a great amount of entertainment and humor throughout the 3 hour rally. When Comedy Central applied for the permit, they estimated that 60,000 people would show up. Over 150,000 showed up on Saturday, although Jon Stewart thought that he had counted up to nearly 5 million. When they attempted to conduct a roll call, they got up to number six and quit.

Was this a true political rally? Yes and no. The entertainment was enjoyable and funny, although there was an underlying meaning to many of the skits that occurred on stage. Stewart brought out Yusuf Islam (aka Cat Stevens) to sing his hit from the 70's "Peace Train". Colbert countered by bringing out Ozzy Osbourne to sing his hit "Crazy Train". Do you get it yet? Be sane on the peace train or be fearful on the crazy train. So Jon and Stephen decided to compromise on the song "Love Train" by The O'Jays. Stephen resisted at first, until Jon reminded him that in love, there is also a fear of heartbreak and sexually transmitted diseases.

Near the end, John Stewart summarized the rally. "We are in bad times, not end of times". Well said Jon. He went on to tell us that no matter how we think or how we live, we all seem to get along and get the job done. As he was explaining this, he showed a video of a row of ten or so toll booths. Once the drivers paid their toll, they were then merged down to 6 or so lanes, then to 4 lanes and ultimately into 2 lanes which eased into the tunnel. It was his example of how we do work together. He did take a shot at the politicians in the Capitol that have no clue how to get through that tunnel when it comes to running this country.

Stewart also said this. "If we amplify everything, then we hear nothing".

So true.

Earlier in the rally, Colbert showed how he has come to fear so much in the world today. He showed a video clip that included Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, Newt Gingrich, Wolf Blitzer and several others. Stewart responded by showing Colbert a TV remote control that he had brought to the rally from his hotel room, trying to point out that you can turn off the TV at anytime. But Colbert ran another video clip that showed various news agencies reporting on how the number one dirtiest and possibly deadliest thing in a hotel room is the TV remote control.

Remember people, this was comedy. But even in comedy, sometimes a point can be made.

Fear is a good thing. If a bear attacks me and I have no fear, then I will be eaten. What if I am passing a car on a two lane road and I see that I cannot make it without having a head-on collision with oncoming traffic? Would I do it anyway if I had no fear? Or would common sense tell me to avoid an accident? Hmmm...maybe fear and common sense go hand in hand.

Sometimes fear can be exploited. I personally believe that it's done on a daily basis. I've listened to various shows and hosts that are currently on TV and radio. Some make accusations of hate, racism, bigotry and other sensitive issues. Some actually promote those issues. I'm not going to name or bash anyone in particular, because they all have one thing in common. RATINGS. If you don't watch or listen to them ,then they will go away. So what is they best way to attract people? FEAR. Let's scare them a bit and they will come back for more. Do you truly live in a state of fear? Well Jon Stewart has an answer for that. Push the power button on you TV remote. Switch your radio to an FM station and listen to some tunes.

What a simple solution.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Amazon.com




Here we are in a small town named Campbellsville, Kentucky. We arrived as the fall colors were nearly in full bloom. We come in peace, yet we do not come alone. There are nearly four hundred couples that have also made the trek to Campbellsville. We have not come here for a vacation. We did not go off the beaten path to meet new people. We did not have a psychic experience that told us all to drive to Campbellsville. We are all here for one reason.

To work.

For Amazon.com.

Yes, the United Workampers of America have arrived in Campbellsville to help Amazon.com make it through the peak holiday season. Amazon.com has 3 major distribution centers throughout the country located in Nevada, Kansas and here. Why did we choose Kentucky? Well it was truly a process of elimination. In Nevada, Craig would lose all of his money. And have you ever wondered how it would feel to experience a black hole in outer space? Just take a drive through Kansas sometime.

Why did we decide to come and work for Amazon.com? That's easy. The money and the perks. We make $10 to $10.50 per hour. We all receive a free RV campsite for the duration of our stay. There is a bonus of $500 per person if we complete the contract. Four day work weeks until the peak season hits, then the overtime kicks in. We also get discounts when we order merchandise. It's actually a nice deal to cover the ten or so weeks that lead up to Christmas.

Many fulltiming RVer's are here. Unlike us, most are retired. They come to keep busy and supplement their retirement income. There are a few of us that just decided to get out of the grind and off of the grid. But we are not retired, so we do need the income. Most seasonal jobs just do not pay much more than minimum wage. Amazon.com has offered us a great way to make a quick buck.

Just remember this: a "quick" buck is not always an "easy" buck. This job is easier for some and harder for others. It just depends on what type of shape you're in. Ten hour days are nothing to sneeze at. Yes, you are on your feet all day. Yes, you do get a thirty minute lunch break. And you also get a fifteen minute break in the morning and in the afternoon. You lift things and sometimes they are heavy. There is a lot of walking. There are many flights of stairs! Sorry, no elevators. Comfy shoes are a must. Craig wears tennis shoes while Karin feels comfortable in her hiking boots. A little exercise helps too. When we arrive to work, we begin the day with some great stretches to limber us up. We do the same stretches right after lunch.

So far it's been a wonderful experience. But hey, we're only two weeks into this. We've only been doing five hour days. Our full days start next week. Let's see if we're singing the same tune then :)














Friday, October 15, 2010

It's Been Awhile

Smokey Mountains
Appalachian Trailhead


From the Appalachian Trail

Chesapeake Bay


Atlantic City


Wow! It's been awhile since we posted here in our blog. Sorry to keep everyone hanging. So much has happened since our last entry. We will begin with where we left off.

We said our goodbyes at Mountain Lake Campground. We met alot of friends that we'll keep in touch with. Our fellow workampers threw us a little party a few nights before we departed. The area that we were living in was nearly empty, so we broke a couple of rules, cranked up some music and actually danced around in the wilderness.

We left West Virginia and headed to North Carolina to see Craig's parents. We did stop for a night in Charlottesville, Virginia. We went into town and the traffic was...hmmm...scary. Our first thoughts were "take us back to the wilderness"! We had not dealt with traffic for a few months, so it took a little getting used to.
When we arrived in North Carolina, we were able to setup our camper next door to the parents. Their neighbor has a field with water and sewer connections. We ran electricity from the parents house and were good to go. Unfortunately when we arrived, Craig had come down with a bug. It was a nasty one too. His parents were on the receiving end of it, which made us feel terrible. But everyone is better now.

While in North Carolina, we took off for a few days and headed up the coast to Atlantic City. We crossed the Chesapeake Bay on the bay bridge tunnel. Then we crossed the Delaware Bay on the Cape May - Lewes ferry. It was a beautiful trip! Craig got to play in a poker tournament while we were there. We strolled along the beach and the boardwalk. Atlantic City is nice along the boardwalk, but looks pretty rough when you go a block or two inland.

We headed back to North Carolina and stuck around for about 3 weeks. Craig's parents are doing well. It was wonderful to visit with them. It did rain quite a bit the last few days we were there. Other than that, it was a great stay!

Our next job is in Campbellsville, Kentucky with Amazon.com. We were supposed to start the 3rd of October, but Amazon.com called us and pushed it back to the 17th. So we started our journey to Kentucky. We stopped in Asheville, NC for a couple of nights. Very nice! This is the retirement capital of the USA. How could we tell? Well, there were a couple of obvious signs. Everyone drove around with their blinker on. Also, on the on-ramp to the highway (aka the acceleration ramp), people would come to a complete stop. And once you got on the highway, everyone was in the left lane going 40 mph.

Next stop was Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Home of Dolly Parton and Dollywood! Well, it's a bit "touristy" there, for lack of a better term. We did venture into Smokey Mountain National Park. Beautiful. The leaves were just starting to turn. We found the infamous Appalachian Trail. This trail is over 2000 miles long, stretching from Georgia to Maine. We hiked four miles of the trail. It was a tough hike! Nearly a 1000 feet elevation gain. We had a wonderful day and took some great pictures.

So now here we sit in Campbellsville, Kentucky. We start at Amazon.com on Monday. The campsites here are a bit tight. But we've already met some nice people here.
There's a social hour everyday at a neighbors camper. We asked someone what their plans are after leaving here. We loved their response. "Everything's in pencil. We can erase and change whatever we want, whenever we want". Most of the fulltimers here have been on the road for many years. They all seem to love the lifestyle.







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