Loose Endings

No Longer an Okie from MuskogeeHeading West

My time in Wagoner, OK has come to a close. I packed my life back into my four suitcases and me and Bandit headed down the road in search of a better tomorrow early in the wee hours of Saturday morning. Though things didn’t work out as well as I had hoped for in Oklahoma, I’m grateful for the opportunity and thankful for the companionship my host family provided me during my time there.

Adventures in Fund RaisingToledo Scale

Friday, I finished up with my “Great Aluminum Can Adventure” by taking the cans I’d collected during my daily walks with Bandit to the local recycling center. It was a lot of fun and a bit of an adventure wandering the streets around Wagoner, snatching cans and taking photographs as we toured the area. I’d estimate we traversed a good twenty miles in the eight to ten hours we spent wandering around aimlessly. The final aluminum tally was twenty pounds collected and the payout was eight bucks (at forty cents a pound), leading to an average of a bit less than a dollar an hour payout. I wouldn’t recommend it as a career move, but I do enjoy walking with Bandit in the evenings for fun and health anyway. Getting paid for doing it is a bonus and better than paying out for a gym membership!

If you are feeling charitable you can help support me in my struggle to rebuild my life from scratch by tossing a nickel into my emergency relocation fund.

Next up? Memphis.

Enjoy.

In the Meantime

Muskogee to Memphis

Hell's Hole, OK

While I am working on soliciting donations to continue on my path down the road of life I am not sitting idly by twiddling my thumbs and toes just because there doesn’t seem to be an employer in my local vicinity who is interested in employing me at slave wages and exploiting my superlative set of skills.  I don’t get too bummed out by that seemingly incomprehensible set of circumstances given the overall state of educational and economic depravity I’m surrounded by.  It’s just further evidence of the bad decision making skills of the people in the area.  LOL.

In the Meantime

Yes You Can

In the meantime I’m spending my time doing what any able bodied homeless vet (or bag lady) would do given the ‘opportunities’ that present themselves in the land of the free and the home of the brave.  I’m out collecting aluminum cans.  I have no idea what they are worth as I have yet to actually sell any of them but they must have some intrinsic value greater than zero or our cities wouldn’t be overwhelmed with images of homeless folks pushing shopping carts stacked to the brim with them.

Making do

I’d mow lawns if I had a lawn mower.  I’d do some other odd job if I hadn’t lost all my tools in my moves back and forth beyond the oceanic horizon. Lacking a vehicle does nothing to improve my situation one bit as I’m sure there are some jobs right outside my limited field of travel that I might be able to bag but given my experience to date I wouldn’t call that a ‘slam dunk’ either.

Sonic Tim

I’d put on a pair of roller skates and deliver your slush and corn dog order to your car at the local Sonic for that matter,  but I guess the sight of a skinny ass old guy wheeling around in their parking lot isn’t as desirable in terms of public perception as I had otherwise hoped it would be when I wandered into the place based on their “Walk In applications welcome on Tuesdays” flashing sign, only to find that “walking in” for the application required I first do their online application (WTF?) which of course I did before returning for my walk-in application the following Tuesday!   I’m nothing if not persistent and I’m trying to put to rest the tired stereotype that folks who want to work can easily find jobs because that’s as old a trope as “both parties in this country are the same, so why bother voting at all”.  Vote for Bernie Sanders, 2016.  Before it’s too late.

Enjoy.

The Latest Challenge

Continuing Adventures of Two Old Dogs

Distant Horizons

Bandit and I now must manage to traverse a distance of 370 miles to get to Memphis where I’ve received an offer of a vehicle, shelter and employment.  It’s the first honest offer of employment I’ve managed to secure since regaining my ID and driver’s license two months ago.  I’ve only been back in the county for five months now which seems like ages, but given the amount of forward progress I’ve actually made, I don’t feel bad considering how far in the hole I found myself in upon returning under such harsh circumstances.

The exact details about how the stars aligned on that job offer (etc.) is a serendipitous example of reciprocal karma in action and will make for an interesting blogpost sometime in the near future.

International Bandits

Travel Bandit

Traveling with Bandit, like traveling with a child, adds a great degree of responsibility and challenge to the travel equation, not to mention the extra cost. Keeping him by my side precludes any form of the more affordable mass transit options (trains/buses) available back here in the good ole’ USA.  We got used to traveling everywhere together overseas where dogs are welcome most everywhere.

There are a few of my (misguided) friends and followers who have suggested I offload my beloved dog into the hands of a trusted caregiver.  Given Bandit’s ebullient and gentle demeanor there are no shortage of folks who are willing to provide excellent care for him.

Kissing Bandit

Let me be perfectly clear.  Bandit and I are a family and a team.  He will NOT be handed off or left in the care of anyone other than myself for a time period that exceeds an overnight outing.  Loved ones aren’t a disposable commodity to me.  There is no amount of suffering I will not endure in order to keep Bandit near and dear.  Some of you will relate.  Some of you will think me crazy.  The ones who can relate are those who I feel the deepest kinship.

Donations Clearly Helpful – Press to Help

I’m now left trying to figure the best and most affordable way of getting the two of us to Memphis from here in Oklahoma.  My timetable is flexible but the sooner we can get from Tulsa or Muskogee (pick one) to Memphis the better.  If I don’t find a more suitable way to travel than walking, we’ll walk back towards Memphis just as we were planning to do in the other direction towards Colorado.  It’s half as far as we were planning to trek in the other direction and we had no offer of employment, shelter or transportation once we got there.  @thetimchannel   Email: thetimtimes at gmail.  You know the drill

Enjoy.

Survivor-Candy Island

SnickeringNot Even a Hint of Irony

We’re halfway through another season of Survivor – the “reality” show where contestants are abandoned and forced to make do with nothing but their outsized egos, sense of entitlement, and enough rice and beans to stave off any actual threat of starvation.

More often than not, there isn’t even a decent fire-starter in the whole mix of contestants and if hunger pangs get too dire (because Bubba eats up all the beans), you can count on Jeff Probst tossing in a reward challenge full of Snickers or short ribs.. Am I the only one who wonders how far up the beach they’d have to walk to find the luxury resort where the camera crew resides?

The Good Old Days are Gone

Nowadays, Survivor is all fun and games, with no real threat of not actually surviving.  It wasn’t always a beach vacation because in the early years there were contestants that nearly died from the harshness of the challenges and environment.  CBS has effectively turned Survivor into Beach Blanket Bingo and any of the drama from the actual survival element of the game is long gone.  Nowadays, it’s an odd occurrence if somebody doesn’t voluntarily leave the game due to being butt-hurt that they aren’t as popular in a group setting as they hoped they’d be.

“I’m so bummed out I can’t take it anymore” is reason number one most exit the game on their own accord.

It’s almost like none of them actually need or care about winning a big pile of money.  The halcyon days of seeing a dude’s face melt off while trying to maintain the fire are long gone.  Being forced to collect water downstream of a pissing rhino?  Gone.  The sweet taste of toasted rat?  Pffft.

‘”Survivor” has morphed into a (sad) metaphor for the molly-coddled upbringing most of the younger contestants bring to the game.  If they could actually catch a shark they wouldn’t eat it, they’d jump over it.

I don’t want to be accused of pointing out problems for which I don’t offer a viable solution, so those who are inclined to accuse me of that need only hang around long enough for part two in this mini-series to find an equitable solution to the problem of finding an honest version of Survivor to satiate their reality TV addiction now that the Survivor we all fell in love with has gone soft.  Stay tuned for an example of what real-life survival actually entails these days.

Enjoy.

Email to the FDA on E-Smoking

Comment:  My name is Tim Fuller and I am commenting on Electronic Cigarettes and the Public Health; Second Public Workshop; Docket No. FDA-2014-N-1936-0003.

I smoked approximately a pack and a half of full flavor Marlboro cigarettes per day beginning in my early twenties and continuing until the age of 56. I gave up cigarettes for e-smoking about the middle of November, 2014, shortly before my 57th birthday and no longer purchase or consume combustible tobacco products. Like I suspect many do, I first switched to a ‘cigalike’ product, and after testing several of the popular e-cigarette substitutes (Vuse, Mystic, Fin, Bu). I settled on the Blu brand, partly for the convenience of the portable charging case but mostly for availability of their flavored e-juices. I found the tobacco flavored e-juices unappealing and would likely have returned to cigarette smoking had I not found the option of the flavored varieties offered by Blu.

Shortly thereafter (weeks) I discovered the existence of superior vaping products being offered by several other manufacturers which offered longer battery life (Ego, eLeaf et.al.) In addition to the convenience of longer battery life and adjustable power output, I found a vast assortment of different atomizers to choose from which offered a much improved vaping experience. These allowed the option of purchasing and refilling from a multitude of flavored e-juice products at customized nicotine levels. I purchased several atomizer tanks and several flavors of mid-strength (12-18mg) e-juices, finding the ability to easily switch out tanks/flavors beneficial in my conversion from tobacco. An added benefit often overlooked is the huge savings in cost over that of consuming tobacco, not an insignificant issue for someone on an extremely limited income as I currently find myself in.

I cannot speak to the issue of whether or not these devices are ‘safe’ but in relation to the ingestion of what are known to be hundreds of proven hydrocarbon carcinogens it seems a no-brainer that there must be at least a decent level of harm reduction involved in my decision to abandon nicotine delivery via burning tobacco. I had previously tried to quit smoking via gums and patches with no success. I do not know if I will break my nicotine habit thru vaping but given the ability to wean down the nicotine levels in my e-juices it seems a more likely route and in the meantime I am sure I am abating a great deal of additional health risks.

E-juice Safety and flavored options.

I am not in support of any regulations on restricting flavors of e-juices. Of course I do support limiting e-emoking devices and e-juice access by minors as is currently the case with other nicotine delivery products such as chewing tobacco, cigars and cigarettes. I have yet to see any confirmed deaths of children accidentally ingesting e-juice but barely a day goes by that entire families are lost to the vagaries of smoking related fires. This should be weighed heavily in terms of ‘consumer safety’ when considering the perceived dangers of e-juices and e-smoking. I have not noticed any adverse reactions to the use of any of my e-cigarette devices.

Vaping device safety.

I now vape on higher output highly regulated devices but at much reduced nicotine levels, well under six percent nicotine levels. I vape when I feel like vaping but certainly not in as consistent a fashion as I used to when consuming cigarettes. I do not have access to the statistics on vape device safety but prefer to use a regulated device in order to minimize the risk of overheated lithium batteries, short circuited atomizer coils, etc. If there is any segment of the e-smoking market which may need oversight I imagine it would be in the area of DEVICE safety. I do not have any firsthand horror stories to share in regard to this, but I can easily visualize situations where unlocked or non-locking unregulated mechanical ‘mods’ could be potential trouble sources.

My experience with the commercial cigalike makers leads me to believe that many of them are so poorly designed as to lead one directly back to smoking. I do not know if this is a feature or a bug from their point of view but I do not trust the established cigarette producers given their track record of consumer deception. I would not wish to see the market for vapes or e-juices restricted in terms of availability or innovation. I see many articles in the press which are obviously ginning up fear, uncertainty and doubt over e-smoking and it’s patently obvious that many of these stories are being planted by deep pocketed tobacco corporations concerned with nothing more than protecting their market share and profits.

Please don’t allow yourselves to be unduly influenced by those in the industry who have proven themselves to be totally disreputable in the past. Thank you for taking the time to collect and analyze public opinion on this issue.

Tim Fuller
thetimtimes@gmail.com
Member of Casaa.org

Enjoy.