Family stuff

Two observations on raising children I would like to share, both of which were researched from the internet fair and square. For those of you thinking ‘plagiarism’ right now I would like to congratulate you on your vocabulary and point out that to steal from a single source is plagiarism. To steal from many sources is research. I used many sources to steal the following jokes.

There is a very popular drinking game where you take a drink every time your child does something to annoy you. The game is called ‘parenting’.

I have a grandson who, like all infant grandsons, is adorable and beloved. I offer the following advice to my daughter about raising my grandson. The first word you teach him to say should be ‘brains’. You will then have your very own cute little zombie stumbling around the house. You’re welcome.

Beale Street in Memphis

Growing up in Florida in the BM era (Before Mickey) was to experience a Florida almost unimaginably different. The arrival of Disney World and the follow on attractions were, in my opinion, the ruination of an other wise delightful part of Florida. I am not a fan of the "touristy" places most locales tout as worth visiting.

But not always. Sometimes when traveling you encounter a place that exceeds expectations.

When visiting Memphis it is almost obligatory to visit Beale Street in Memphis, as ‘touristy’ a place as you can find. So I traipsed my happy ass down to Beale Street and was not expecting much. I could not have been more wrong. Beale Street is ‘touristy’. The drinks are absurdly over priced, the shops have little of actual value to offer and most of it could stand a thorough power washing.

But the music. All falls aside when you find the music.

Some grubby little dive bar on a side street that probably wouldn’t pass a fire inspection has a middle aged guy playing a guitar with mad skills. Not the flashy show-off licks the wanna-be’s try to pass off but legitimate serious musicianship of the highest order. Not some guy trying to ‘look’ bluesy but a guy with years of dedication to a particular musical art form.

You walk along and the corner ‘world famous’ tourist bar has a band playing blues that makes you stop, turn around and go in. Two brothers fronting a blues band that has played together 4 or 5 nights a week for the last 17 years. During the break between sets you buy the guy a dring and find out he is a conservatory trained musician with a degree in performing. Legitimate music played by dedicated folks. A event truly worth experiencing. And the next 3 days are the biggest weekend of the year for Memphis. Bluesfest. 3 stages, non-stop music and food. Might be a chance for more music.

Oh yeah, the food. Pretty good. Almost a cliche to eat ribs while listening to live blues but a wonderful experience.

Expectations were definitely exceeded.

Mark Jenkins said "Adventure is a path" and I agree. The entire quote from him follows:

Adventure is a path. Real adventure- self-determined, self-motivated, often risky- forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness.
In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind- and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.
-Mark Jenkins

It is a fun path.

DirecTV cancellation

The acquisition of DirectTV by ATT&T resulted in the introduction of a new computer system (OPUS?) to manage accounts. This has resulted in a 2 week ordeal of exceptional aggravation and nonsense. I am being billed for services they can not provide and are unable to do so. Prior to the switch over, my satellite system worked without a hitch. There is no technical issue on my end. It is a software issue on their end and is unsolvable. It is not even the software that actually sends the signal. It is the account management software. As a result I am cancelling my DirectTV account. I am posting a copy of the email I sent today for a couple of reasons. I want to make sure I have a verifiable record of what happened that will stand up against any doubt. I also want to alert anyone with an RV against selecting DirectTV and/or ATT&T as your service provider.

I spoke with 60 customer service representatives. Yes, 60. Over a 2 week period it dissolved into absurdity.

The below is the email I sent. Today is May, 4th, 2018.

At approximately 10:45 AM (CDT) I spoke with Jeff in the loyalty department. Jeff’s ID # is ( redacted for privacy ) . He assured me that my DirectTV and/or ATT account had been cancelled. He provided a work order # of (redacted for privacy). My RC1 account # is (redacted for privacy).

So why am I writing you?

Jeff was the 60th Customer Rep I spoke with. Yes, 60.

Based on the previous 59 encounters I have no reason to believe that my account will be cancelled and I will stop being billed for services I am not receiving.

I am sending this email as a written verification that I can reference later. I will send this email to any other ATT email address I can locate.

I sincerely hope the account is closed and the billing has stopped.

Do with this info as you wish. I posted it mainly for my own benefit in case I need it later. I really hope I won’t.

May 1st

‚ÄčDeparted Canton, MS this morning. Not sure I’ve posted a photo of the new rig on line. F-350 dually King Ranch model, Heartland 427 Road Warrior 5th wheel toy hauler.

Arrived in West Memphis, AR (across the Mississippi River from Memphis, TN) about 2 PM today. We are set up on the banks of the Mississippi and watching barge traffic. Very cool view and a highlight of the summer tour so far.

‚ÄčThe view from the side patio of the rig. Turns out this is not even a big one compared to some we’ve seen just this afternoon.

Plans are to hit the guitar stores in the area tomorrow.

Facebook link

Well it seem that Facebook has again screwed the pooch. Facebook was supposed to be automatically posting an update whenever there was new blog entry. Issue is resolved now.

If you want to keep up, the best way will be to follow my blog.

I am shifting over to blog only. I am moving away from Facebook.

Last day of April

Departing New Orleans this morning turned out to be way easier than expected. We got the Expressway and didn’t deal with a stop light for another 185 miles. Traffic flowed much smoother than expected. A very pleasant surprise on a sunny Monday morning.

Arrival in Canton, MS was routine. The park is quite near the interstate and easy to find. Sites need some work on the leveling.

Doesn’t sound like much of report does it? Well it was a good day even if the ‘public’ report is rather bland. The ‘private’ report is good though. Nothing earth shattering, just a wonderful day talking about nothing and everything. Touching lightly on whatever came up and diving deeply into whatever caught our fancy. Just the type of day is that is, for me, the main attraction to RV-ing full time. The days of just enjoying ourselves, thoroughly enjoying each other’s company, seeing new scenery and looking forward to the next few weeks of sightseeing, fishing and wandering.

Not a bad deal at all.

When the journey is enough

Maybe it stems from playing football in high school in a "Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing" program. Maybe it’s from playing pool for food money in college. Maybe it’s just wired into my DNA. Where ever it comes from, I’ve tended towards being competitive. Results were not just the goal, they were the only reason for the participating.

In some situations that mentality is not only good, it is the only rational choice.

In some environments it is rather counter productive. When it is counter productive, all else falls by the wayside and it can exact a toll on your personal life, relationships with other people and rob you of joy.

All too often I let all else fall by the wayside. Don’t misunderstand me, there are situations when doing whatever it takes to succeed is the way to go.

There is an element of joy in triumph. But it is a false joy when the situation wasn’t really a competition.

It is not be the only way of looking at life. The folks I met thru fly fishing taught me that.
What brought on this bout of navel gazing? Frets. The fret board of a guitar has re-entered my life. As I work on getting better at playing, it occurs to me that my goal is not to be better than everyone else. I see those guys who are technically gifted but for some of them their music lacks a certain something. The players I admire seem to have an understanding of their instrument and relationship with their music that transcends playing 32 notes a second. They are able to express themselves and it only seems to happen, to my ear, when they are comfortable with the point they are at in that exact moment. That is what I strive for. Doesn’t matter whether it is realistic and I don’t care if I get there. Reaching the destination is not the goal. Getting there, no matter how unlikely, is just a bonus if it happens. Will I ever reach that level? Probably not. A lack of talent, age and injuries all take their toll.

I do care about being on the journey. The journey for me is about striving towards being better than yesterday. There really is no end destination or final point, it is just a journey. The journey is enough.