Since moving to Florida in October of 2013, every June brought the same questions from the local media: will this be the year that the hurricane drought ends? Every hurricane season (June – November) would come, Floridians native and transplant would hold their collective breaths and exhale on 1 December as another hurricane season came and went without issue or incident. Eleven years in all since the last named hurricane hit Florida came and went in just this fashion. Would 2016 be the year that this all ended?
So, as the title suggests, I initially started watching Netflix’s Stranger Things because I happened upon a posting in one of the Facebook groups I belong to, Synth Wave Emotions! which is dedicated to the increasingly popular trend of synthwave, inspired by the synth-heavy soundtracks of 80’s films. Embedded in the post was the intro screen for the series and the dark, ominous synth lines that have become so notable of the darker tidings of the series. Fortunately, Stranger Things is more than just a platform for the soundtrack, as great as it may be; it draws upon the eeriness of the same cinematic era as its soundtrack, when movies may have been kind of campy but unsettling as well and jump scares were in the minority and used to great effect unlike Hollywood’s more recent offerings, which are more jump and less eerie atmosphere as a whole. I suppose that in the interest of mainstream horror films, my experiences and imagination are better conjurors of spook and fright than what Hollywood is prepared to shove down the throats of audiences as a whole nowadays.
One of the many enjoyable aspects of my previous line of work was not only the access to a wide array of firearms but also my role in photographing said firearms for various reasons, one of which was for auction on Gunbroker. Fortunately, I saved a number of the guns that turned out the best and will be posting them here in the upcoming days. While many of them will have been featured on Gunbroker or Instagram, others are exclusive to this location that weren’t included for various reasons. The Rest of the Story…
The notice of resignation was dropped today, the anticipation and bracing for impact all for naught. No scenes caused, no need to flip the panic mode to the “on” position. For my current position, my last day is Saturday. As an avid firearm enthusiast, I will miss the behind-the-scenes aspects of working in a gun store, aside from the endless paperwork and documentation that comes with being a licensed dealer in all things pewpew related. Unless I become a frequent visitor to my local gun ranges, I shall become slightly deficient in what has become an almost daily inoculation of the technical, conspiratorial, dysfunctional and often times downright confusing world of those who tend to gravitate towards avid gun ownership.
I can’t say that I’ll miss a lot of the darker side, with some leaning heavily towards a thinly veiled “Christian Army Intent of Establishing a Caucasian Jeebus Theocracy” mindset. Others are more content with calling the PotUS every derogatory name in the book of ethnic slurs at every available opportunity, looking at me as though I’m supposed to find all of it among the pinnacle of hilarity. What I will miss are the more helpful customers, who in addition to learning something from me while browsing the selection, imparted their own wisdom or tidbit of information on the particulars of a certain variety of firearm. That, and those who liked to talk about what kind of shooting they liked to do, such as those who compete in the various organizations, leagues and such. While these two groups of people are often one and the same, they’re two aspects of the retail firearms trade I’ll miss the most, as in my opinion, they represent the best the hobby has to offer in terms of overall image.
Access to a wide variety of interesting firearms in the interest of photographing them is another aspect of that job I’ll miss, maybe even more than the people of interest. I learned quite a lot about the world of product photography while taking photos for Gunbroker listings, much of which I was fortunate enough to be able to apply to make the photos better, and others which served to only frustrate me as the provided setup caused more frustration than inspiration. Still, the experience I gain from these frustrations has only served to make my own photography that much better. Still, it was nice to have access to firearms and other items that I had never even heard of before, much less had physical access to on a regular basis. Not only to photograph, but also be able to hold them, examine them from many different angles and take in everything that made them special and desirable to collectors and casual observers alike.
Current job aside, what is to be expected from my upcoming position? I don’t really know, aside from what I have seen in my brief time at the location in which I will be gainfully employed as of this coming Monday. What I have seen is an environment that is not at all like the call centers I have seen depicted in various mediums throughout my life; everyone appears to be reasonably happy and carefree, but still dedicated to what it is they do. For the first 8-12 weeks, though, I won’t be among them, as I’ll be going through roughly 480 hours of instruction, about unknown aspects of supporting the product/service/suite the company is contracted to do. I appreciate that it is a vastly more technically challenging field that what I was doing until this coming Saturday. I can appreciate the fact that the potential for growth and promotion is far greater than my current work environment allows, as promotion in a company of five is usually only accomplished upon retirement, death or striking out on one’s own, legitimately or by means that are less than savory. I also look forward to having more co-workers than the current number of one, who really wasn’t much of a coworker at all, given his status as a feathered fellow, foul-tempered and prone to biting as he was. He was most likely a much better gun salesman than I ever could be, so the fact that he remains is a good sign for the company.
Last, but most importantly, no more country music. I don’t particularly enjoy the modern brand of country music that has arisen over the last thirty years, find it to be too sappy for my tastes. I never again want to hear it when I’m trying to do calculus or anything else more complex than simple arithmetic, its presence being invasive even then.
While I don’t know what the future holds, I can say that I am looking forward to seeing where this new path in life takes me and the ship that is my family. Allons-y!
Location: Next Level Fitness, #### S. Woodland Blvd, Deland, FL
Men’s/Women’s/Unisex: Men’s (Currently seeking applicants to review the often better-decorated ladies’ restrooms)
One of the many places I usually find myself is at the gym, for a variety of reasons, mainly health/vanity related. While there, I would say that a reasonable amount of time is spent in this very bathroom, so I know it quite well. As far as gym restroom go, it is pretty middle of the road, having an adequate level of accommodations, but nothing fancy. Two shower stalls, sinks and stalls accompany the one urinal and eighteen daily-use lockers provided, many of which have been in use by the same patron for some time now, the usage limit, if any, being rarely enforced. I do have to hand it to the staff, though; that they keep is pretty clean, much cleaner than I’d expect for such a low monthly rate. Color scheme and decor leaves much to be desired, as the pumpkin/goldenrod/grey palette and generic inspirational posters don’t do much for hyping one up for pushing themselves to their physical limits.
Pros: Cleanliness, which is more than be said of other gyms, which often get overlooked and results in restrooms that smell of feet, body odor and other unmentionable smells that make one want to gag. The shower stalls are clean and available all-day, as opposed to during staffed periods as stated on the sign on the door. The toilet/urinal is always clean and supplied with toilet paper and plunger in case things get out of hand. Trash can is rarely full and emptied regularly.
Cons: Aside from that earlier mentioned, my only real gripes with this restroom is the single-ply toilet paper and the lack of soap in the showers. The soap is honestly not that much of a concern, as it was never the best quality and the money is definitely being used for much better things. However, I cannot concede on the single-ply toilet paper. In 2016, such sub-par toilet paper should be a thing of the past, not a fixture in so many establishments.
The Final Wipe: If you’re in the gym and need to go, do not hesitate to use this restroom, just don’t expect a second wind of inspiration to come from the surroundings. Also, if you’re prone to being affected by high protein intake or other gastrointestinal problems, it is recommended that you bring your own paper for maximum effectiveness.
College is over for the time being, the books are stowed, the gears of knowledge creep at and ever slowing rate, rust gathering as slowly as it did last time I stopped going to school. Creak…creak…creeeeak… wait, what? Why does learning have to stop? Did it ever stop? Unlikely it ever will.
After letting the site lapse (again) into deletion due to financial hardships and lack of time, it is time to start anew! With more time and fewer x and y variables, I am free to do more with this and other online things. When I thought of doing this again, I thought to myself: what do I like doing? The best places to visit are places that are ultimately useful to someone other than the author. Someone else has to have the possibility to benefit in order for the ordeal that comes with site ownership to be worth more than a nickel or dime.
So what’s planned?
Photography: Though I have never made much off of photography, I still enjoy doing it some ten years later. Currently, the only commercial usage of my photo compositions have been firearm related, since I am currently employed in the retail part of the industry. Mainly, my photos have been featured on Gunbroker and as of recent, Instagram, all for the betterment of my place of employment. I enjoy capturing these devices with a camera in a strangely beautiful light, which especially recently, has not been the case in mainstream society at large.
Painting/Drawing: In addition to photography and digital media, I still create works using physical materials. One day soon, I’d really like to try my hand at oils, but due to having a rambunctious toddler and naughty cat, for now it is an item on the “to do” list. Acrylics and pastels seem to be safe materials to use, with the tot contributing regularly when the mood strikes her.
Bathroom Reviews: “Why would you honestly want to review the places where people defecate, urinate and do untold number of other things? Isn’t there already a place that does that?” Yes, but it isn’t my work, so I want to do it my way. Originally, it started as a project for a freshman college composition class which went well enough, despite the requirement of entering and writing about every bathroom I came across and trying to photograph them with no one else there. Once the project ended, I thought that was that and nothing more.
Sadly, nothing could be farther from the truth. Everywhere I go now, I find myself mentally rating it by cleanliness, decor if any, smells, sounds and other identifying characteristics. So if I still do it without really realizing it, why not write about it?
Firearms: It would not be a convincing online presence if it failed to cover one of the tenets of my life currently: shooting. Not people, as I rather never have to do that, but targets of paper and cardboard. Compared to the number of some of my regulars, I have but a few, but I like them quite a bit, but not to the point that I love them, as that’d be a bit weird. Like politics, I’ll be keeping the firearms posts mainly about my own experiences with them and do my best to stay away from one side or the other, as the discussion can become quite heated very quickly. Mainly, I’ll be talking about new guns I’ve read about, found at a local gun store, mainly work, or have personally bought. Since I compete from time to time, I’ll probably take some time to reflect on my results and the stages in what is hopefully an entertaining way.
Gaming: Not that I have a terrible lot of time to do so these days, but I do enjoy playing video games from time to time. With the arrival of the tot, I have limited it mainly to PC, as it usually doesn’t require expensive peripherals that are oh-so-attractive to munchkins with small, sticky hands. Someday, I will return to owning a modern console, but today is not that day. New games, mods, utilities and wanted games shall dominate this section.
Other Stuff of Interest: While the main subjects are listed above, other things that catch my interest shall have a home here, provided I can make a description of the topic entertaining to someone other than myself.
Categories are subject to amendment, deletion, abandonment and modification at any time.