Wednesday, December 26, 2018

40 Years Ago Today - December 26 and 27, 1978

On two consecutive days, December 26th and December 27th of 1978, my father went on an airplane flight. As the pilot. I don't exactly follow all of the terminology but it looks like he flew a Cessna C-152, tail number N159BC, and did some basic maneuvers. While none of these flights included me, it sets the stage for later aspects of my childhood, including my first airplane ride.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

40 Years Ago Today - Assorted 1978 Photos

Without any firm dates on these photos, it's hard to determine exactly when they were taken. But I'll do my best based on what details I do know.

The first set would appear to be mid or late 1978. The backs of the photos say "summer" or "fall" and based on the location, clothing, and who is in them, I'd have to agree. They all look like they were taken at the house in Maryland and since we didn't move there until March of 1978, that would line up with the labels on the photos. Additionally, one of the photos is labeled "Hollywood, Maryland" and appears to be from the same roll.

First, we have two photos of me inside. In one, I'm on the phone. In the second, I'm in the nude holding a toothbrush.

Then we have an outside shot of me standing in front of my Uncle Harold and my dad. The booklet is titled "Canon Lenses In A Nutshell." Based on the short sleeves, I would guess this is during the summer.

The next two photos appear to be in the fall as I'm wearing a winter hat and long sleeves. You can see the green van in the background as well as the rear of the house in Maryland.

The final photo is me helping my mom with the dishes in the kitchen.

We also have a scan of the floor plan design, "The Siddell," of the house on Flintlock Court in Maryland.

Monday, December 03, 2018

40 Years Ago Today - December 3, 1978

Once again, I get measured! This time, I've grown to a whopping 33 and a half inches. That's two inches taller than the last time I was measured.

Sunday, December 02, 2018

40 Years Ago Today - December 2, 1978

On December 2 and 3, 1978, the Winchester-Frederick County Historical Society held a Candlelight Tour at Abram's Delight. Both tours, one on Saturday and one on Sunday, were from 3:00pm to 9:00pm. My grandmother, Dorothy, was a Hollingsworth. She, and the Hollingsworth's listed below, were all direct descendants of Valentine Hollingsworth.

The interior of the brochure states:

The Winchester-Frederick County Historical Society welcomes you to "Christmas at Abram's Delight". This limestone house, built by Isaac Hollingsworth in 1754, is the oldest existing home in Winchester, Virginia. The western section was added before 1801.

The original Abram's Delight plantation, settled by Abraham Hollingsworth, father of Isaac, consisted of 582 acres. Abraham, a Quaker, as was his son Isaac, came to this area from Philadelphia about 1730 and thus was one of our first settlers.

The property remained in the Hollingsworth family until 1943 when it was purchased by the City of Winchester because Rouss Spring was a source of water for the City.

The building and grounds were restored by the Winchester-Frederick County Historical Society. The log house, built by the Society is very similar to that which preceded the stone house.

Christmas at Abram's Delight during the eighteenth century would have been celebrated in a very simple manner. Christmas was the principal holy day of the ecclesiastical year both in England and Virginia. The exchange of Christmas gifts between families and friends was not customary in Virginia during the seventeenth or eighteenth centuries, and even the widespread use of Christmas trees was not popular until after the Civil War. In spite of the simplicity of customs that prevailed during that period, we are taking the liberty to enhance this charming home with decorations that add greatly to the enjoyment of the season.

The opposite side of the interior continues:



ENTRANCE DOORWAY AND LANTERN ..... Hawthorne Garden Club
ENTRANCE ROOM .....Glen Burnie Garden Club
DINING ROOM .....Old Fredericksburg Garden Club
HALL .....Little Garden Club
LIVING ROOM .....Winchester/Clarke Garden Club
BEDROOMS .....Lord Fairfax Garden Club
KITCHEN .....Colonial Garden Club
CABIN .....Winchester-Clarke Junior Garden Club
CHRISTMAS TREE .....Hawthorne Junior Garden Club


Madrigal Singers
Glenn Caluda
Winchester Elementary School
James Wood High School

The rear of the brochure shows Farmers and Merchants National Bank as the apparent sponsor of the printing.

Saturday, December 01, 2018

40 Years Ago Today - December 1978

As is still standard today, we have a Christmas photo card from family friends. I'm pretty sure Dan and Gunilda were the parents while David and Sara are the children shown.

Thursday, November 08, 2018

40 Years Ago Today - November 8, 1978

Looks like my parents paved the driveway. Insley Construction did the work for $290.

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

40 Years Ago Today - November 6, 1978

The water test results are in and a Sears water softener is recommended, either the Automatic Softener 1 (stock number 3425) or Automatic Softener 1 (stock number 3435). Of course it's also recommended that the softener be cleaned with the Sears Resin Cleaner (stock number 3442).

Interesting to see the results come back so quickly. I would have assumed it would have taken longer.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

40 Years Ago Today - 1978

I was remiss in reviewing additional documents and discovered I missed the entire medical journal my parents kept. It turned out to be a gold-mine of information. Aside from the usual information about ear infections and chest colds, it also shows my trip from Oxnard, California to Hollywood, Maryland. On March 12, 1978, I was seen by my regular doctor, Dr. Cho, in Oxnard. Then on March 15, 1978, I was seen by a doctor in Bountiful, Utah. On March 21, 1978, I saw a doctor in Chicago Heights, Illinois. By March 31, 1978, I was finally in Leonardtown, Maryland, seeing Dr. Bennett.

It was also my first serious injury. The family story goes that I was running in the house and hit the edge of a bookshelf. They had to put stitches in my left ear lobe. X-rays showed no major head injury and a few days later, they pulled the stitches out.

Monday, October 22, 2018

40 Years Ago Today - October 22, 1978

My dad ran a water test on the Flintlock Court house on October 22, 1978. There are a few interesting facts within the report. The first thing I noticed was that it shows three people living in the house. Next, I saw that there was a flow rate of 703 gallons per hour. Finally, the smell and taste of the water. Described on the back, it was "water smells like iron" and tastes "metallic."

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

2018 Oil Creek 50k Race Report


As humans, as animals, we have adapted over millennia to become the species we are now. We've done this because as our natural habitat has changed, we have been forced to change or die. This simple rule, this simple fact, is an underlying tenant of ultramarathons. As weather changes, as our body changes, as the course changes, we have to adapt to the changes or fall behind.

It was my ability to adapt that truly saved my race this year. My ability to recognize issues as they arose, address them as best as I could, and then carry on. But change isn't always comfortable and for this year's race, I walked away with some expected battle scars and some unexpected ones. But I finished. And I survived.

This year's race began, as it usually does, with a lack of training. But this summer, I took things to a whole new low. Despite having a good training plan in place and an awesome coach, I logged less than 15 miles since the end of May. Granted, I did bike and swim more than previous summers, but for some reason, I just wasn't feeling it on the run. So I didn't. And as it usually does, it meant I planned on walking much of the 50k course. As in years past, I stuck to that plan, only running a few short minutes in each section of the course just to feel better about myself.

This year was also marked by a mildly concerning level of forgetfulness. In past years, I've been known to over-pack when it comes to gear. Too many clothing choices, shoes, gear, etc. This year, I forgot a rain jacket and pants, two items that I normally have with me. I have no idea why I forgot them. Thankfully, I didn't need the pants. But man, that rain jacket would have been awfully nice to have.

Again, as usual, I arrived at my mom's house, thankful to have some good, old fashioned home cooking and some quality time with my mom. We did some shopping the next day and then I went to packet pick-up. This is when things drastically changed.

I've been doing this race for a few years now. Enough so that I've lost track of the exact count and have to look at my previous list.
So as you can see, a good number of years over the race's ten year history. And I've loved every one of them. Over time, I've come to learn the course fairly well, how to get to Titusville, where to park, when to leave, etc. I've even started to recognize a few familiar faces, especially the Race Director Tom Jennings. But never in all of my years, including this year, never would I have ever expected him to recognize me. So when he came up to shake my hand and say hello during packet pick-up, I was floored. It's always an odd experience when somebody recognizes you and you don't recognize them, but more so when a rock star like Tom recognizes you and makes it a point to say hello. I felt thrilled, honored, humbled, and motivated all at the same time.

After eating my normal pre-race dinner, I headed back to my mom's to get some sleep.

The next morning, I was once again spotted by Tom and he once again said hello. I did my usual pre-race morning stuff in the bathroom, had some coffee, and chilled out. The race started and just like last year, I made sure I was the last one off the start line. Last year I finished a few minutes ahead of last place, aka The Wildcatter, in the 100k and what do you know, I managed to meet her as we walked down the bike path. Melinda was a joy to talk to and totally took my mind off that first climb into the trees. Made me feel good. We caught up to Julie from California who was moving slowly but still moving. I decided to move ahead and eventually caught up to Eileen. We chatted a bit but she gifted me with a surreal experience. Just like Tom, she said she recognized me from my YouTube videos of previous races. I was shocked. It totally made my day, made my race, and was probably worth more to me than the belt buckle at the finish.

As the race progressed, I slowly caught a few people and passed them. Not many, but enough to feel like I was making decent progress.

Unfortunately, it didn't take long for my survival instincts to kick in. Within the first few miles, I developed a hot spot on my right heel. My socks, shoes, and lubrication hadn't changed and had been proven to work wonderfully in the past. I had no idea what was going on but I applied extra lube as needed. It didn't help. I continued to develop more pain and by the time I reached the halfway point and get to my drop bag, both heels and several toes were rubbing more than they should have. I had plenty of A&D Ointment on before the race but applied more. My socks were still fairly new but for some reason didn't give as much cushion as they should have. So I changed them. My shoes were rubbing quite harshly and I had never had that happen before. Loosening or tightening the laces didn't help.

All of these issues were small but over time they grew. I was able to adapt and change things as best as I could but without an extra pair of shoes to change into, I was stuck wearing the painful ones. So when I rolled out of the last water table in Section 4, just a few miles from the finish, my left blister popped. It's one of the worst feelings ever. But I toughed it out, slowed down, and dealt with the pain.

It was at this same time that a thunderstorm rolled in. It was serious enough to have lightening and thunder and pouring rain but not serious enough that I felt like I was in danger. In fact, I was more worried about the lightening out in the open than I was on the trail. But it stopped raining as I got to the power lines right before the end of the trail so I was able to dry off a bit before the finish.

Once again, Tom was a great race director, taking the time to talk to me, shake my hand, and hand me my buckle and sticker. Once again, I had a long but wonderful race. Once again, I was amazed that people could be so nice, so helpful, and so pleasant to be around.

And it really is the people that made this year's race so great. From Tom and Eileen recognizing me to the woman at chip pick-up and the finish who I knew from previous years but couldn't remember her name (I still can't. Sorry!). The volunteers at all the aid stations helping the runners. The volunteers at Aid Station 3 serving me food and fluids as I sat and chilled out. The fans and families cheering everyone on as they finished. The 100k and 100 mile runners headed back out for more but still willing to cheer me on. The other 50k runners in good spirits despite having their own issues (To the young lady at Aid Station 2, I hope Elvis eventually left the building, but only at a convenient time.).

So there you have it. Another year in the books.

Temps were 70F to 80F. May have dropped a bit when the storm rolled through. Humidity was moderate to high. Overcast most of the day. Foggy in the morning. Rain in the afternoon and evening. Not much breeze.

Fluids and Fuel:
I stuck mainly with GenUCAN Hydrate and food but also snacked on the aid station food when I could. I also had some NUUN here and there.

Aches and Pains:
The usual chafing/peeling. Heel blisters were unexpected. Might lose my right big toenail thanks to a couple of hard stubbing incidents.

Wore my KR Endurance shorts, shirt, and Nathan hydration vest.

Start to Aid Station 1 - 2:36:43
Aid Station 1 -  1:08
Aid Station 1 to Aid Station 2 - 2:33:55
Aid Station 2 -   12:11
Aid Station 2 to Aid Station 3 - 3:29:39
Aid Station 3 -   9:33
Aid Station 3 to Finish - 3:31:43
Overall - 12:34:54

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

40 Years Ago Today - October 3, 1978

Forty years ago today, I turned two. Based on the photos below, I got some pretty nice presents. Some Buddy L trucks, Coke trucks, and some wooden Playskool blocks. All of which I remember playing with as a kid when I was older. I also remember the copper or brass pitcher that's sitting on the chest in the background. The photos were taken in our new home in Maryland and my Uncle Harold came to visit. I know at one point he lived in Maryland but I'm not sure if he lived there in 1978 or sometime later or both. It's also no surprise that my mother was there but I do know that the divorce is a looming issue.

Saturday, September 01, 2018

40 Years Ago Today - September 1978

After a few months of silence, there is finally a new entry int he #40yearsagotoday project.

This artwork was presumably sent to my Uncle George and Aunt Wilma but I can't be sure. It is at least dated, September 1978, in what appears to be my mother's handwriting.

[2018-09-05 UPDATE] Thanks to some additional information from my mother and cousin, I've learned the art was actually sent to my Grandma Dorothy. They both recognized the handwriting as hers, not my mother's.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

40 Years Ago Today - June 20, 1978

On June 20, 1978, my father wrote a letter to Art Struempler, detailing his plans to apply for teaching positions at local colleges and universities. Without going into too much personal detail, there were a few things that I enjoyed reading about.

First, was the brief history my father gave about what happened to him after his time at Chadron State College. To summarize, he worked at Pt. Mugu in California, served in the Army during the Vietnam War, then returned to Pt. Mugu. He also describes some of the college courses he took as well as his work at Patuxent (Pax) River in Maryland, where he was working when he wrote the letter. Most interesting was all of the early computers and networks he was involved with.

Second, is of course the short paragraph where he talks about my mother and myself.

"Well I hoped this will help you Art and if you have xxx [strike-through] any questions please write or call. Gayle is doing OK andso [sic] is Neil. Really like to watch him grow. I am really getting to dislike xxx [strike-through] people who are mean to children. Seems like there is a lot of that around here. But any way he is doing fine after we got into the house. He can run and play outside without the fear of someone xx [strike-through] coming down the street in a car. We were getting ready to xx [strike-through] quit Gov't work and move to the midwest before xx [strike-through] this job came thru. We still will like to live in the midwest somewhere. But first we must see the East part of the country."

Finally, when he closes the letter, he says "Guess it is time to quit, my typing and spelling are going to pot." And it was. There were several strike-throughs and spelling errors leading up to that last sentence.

Attached to the letter was a recommendation form for one of the jobs he was applying for.

What is missing from the letter is more information about Art Struempler. He was a man I only remember meeting once. During that meeting I remember he had a lapidary (rock polishing) hobby and also collected meteorites. Turns out he would find a giant one a few years after getting this letter. When I visited, Art's wife, Jo, was also there but I can't remember much about her. I do recall how much my father revered Art and this letter further proves that. Now that I'm much more familiar with history, I wish I had asked him more questions about his service aboard B-17s during WWII.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

40 Years Ago Today - May 15, 1978

This is a BIG post so hang on! The first part is a card from my mother to Aunt Wilma. The second part is the deed on the new Flintlock Court home in Southern Maryland. I guess it was a very busy day 40 years ago!

My mother sent a card to my Aunt Wilma on May 15, 1978. This is where the move to Southern Maryland has finally occurred and things begin to take a turn for the worse. As I've stated before, this is where my family's history will become redacted to a certain degree. With that in mind, I've included a transcription of the letter below (even though my mother's handwriting is easy to read).

May 15, 1978


We're fine. Living in an empty, but beautiful house. Furniture comes Wed. So does phone. Today they're supposed to install range & dishwasher. I've waited all day for the electrician - but he's still working on the house behind us.

We still have *so* much to do. But the grass is starting to come up. Gary's been cleaning windows. I've been cleaning all the cupboards & paneling. The whole basement is paneled - I've only just started. I need to line all the shelves with paper yet - but can't go to K-Mart to get it till the electrician comes & goes. It's 10 miles into town for groceries, McDonald's, drugstore, etc. - so I have to plan everything for 1 trip. There's gas & bread & milk about 2 1/2 mi. away for emergencies.

It's so quiet here - no streetlights, even. But the peace is nice 0 a real change. Neil is fine. Has been sleeping *well* from the nite we got here. It's as if he knows we're home. He has a bit of a cold - but nothing that bothers him a whole lot yet.

I went to a TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) convention in Baltimore Sat. & it was great. I drove 3 other women & we got lost twice, but we were always safe & sound - even tho it poured all day. It's rained the past 4 days now & looks like it will again. I wish it would dry up some 'cuz Wed all those guys will be

--> to the back

[page 2]

[portion of card removed]

address & phone though.

Take care.

We love & miss you.

Love, Gayle, Gary & Neil

[pre-printed portion of card]

Hope Mother's Day
is nice for you
'Cause you're an Aunt
who's so nice, too!

[hand-written portion on same page]

Love, Neil & Gary & Gayle, too!

It's funny - Gary thought *I'd* be real homesick. I'm not & *he* *is* !!

[written in different color ink]

Sorry so late - Cards got lost when movers came. Dug 'em out today.

The second part of the day was the deed that recorded the sale of our new house on Flintlock Court in Hollywood, Maryland. It's not too exciting but still interesting to see. I had thought about redacting it like the closing documents but there wasn't much detail on the deed and it's a matter of public record. Plus it's 40 years old!

Saturday, May 12, 2018

40 Years Ago Today - May 12, 1978

On May 12, 1978, my parents closed on their house in Maryland. Located in the Scotch Point neighborhood of St. Mary's County, the house is located at the end of a cul-de-sac on Flintlock Court in Hollywood, Maryland. That's right, I used to live in Hollywood (I was destined to be a star!).

As with previous records I have found from my father's collection, there is a plethora of paper. So even though some of the documents may be dated before or after May 12, 1978, I'm using that date as the central point for this particular event (the purchase of the Hollywood house). As an example, the Deed is dated May 12th, but doesn't get "received" by the St. Mary's County Clerk until May 15th. Plus all the insurance statements, mortgage bills, and various other papers all have a ton of names and dates that are just too much to share and would overwhelm the story. Speaking of which, let's get back to it.

While their previous house in Oxnard, CA was purchased for about $20,000, this house was much more expensive. Nearly four times as expensive. And the interest rate on that mortgage? Nine point three percent (9.3%). And while the cost of the new home is an interesting tidbit, I think the details on the Settlement Statement are more interesting. The property was described as:

Route 1, Box 105-5
Flintlock Court
Hollywood, Maryland 20636
Lot 5, Block E, Scotch
Point S/D, 6th Election
District of St. Mary's Co., Md.

An election district was actually listed as part of the property's location. Weird. Not so weird, but still neat, is the line item under Title Charges for "Photostat copies and telephone calls." Yep, they were "photostats" back then, not just "copies." The Hollywood house was purchased directly from the development company, Garner (or Garners) Development Company.

The house itself was a split-foyer style on about an acre of land. It had three bedrooms and two bathrooms with roughly 2,600 square feet. There appears to be a primitive homeowner's association in the form of the Scotch Point Civic Association. Dues may have been $20 per year and they did maintain a pier off of Millstone Lane that was only to be used by those Association members that paid their dues.

While prior to them moving in, the list of things to fix looked relatively small. A few screens were missing, some light fixtures needed covers, and a few appliances still needed to be purchased. And while we're talking about purchases, there's a lot of receipts. I won't list them all but here's a reasonably complete list of the stores they came from:

  • Hollywood House TV & Stereo - Route 235, Hollywood, Maryland 20636
  • Radio Shack (A Division of Tandy Corporation) - St. Mary's Square Shopping Center, Great Mills Rd., Lexington Park, Maryland, 20653
  • Bill Raley's Service Center - 226 Great Mills Road, Lexington Park, Maryland, 20653
  • Maryland Tobacco Growers Association - P. O. Box 48, Cheltenham, MD. 20623
  • Best Products
  • Mammoth Mart
  • Peebles - Lexington Park MD.
  • MSI - Hughesville, MD
  • American Hardware - of Waldorf, Md.
  • Fischer's
  • K Mart
  • Ben Franklin Store - Leonardtown, MD.
  • Hechinger
  • Sears
Not to spoil the story's ending, but the time we spend in this house will be short. As a family, we were still in Oxnard, California in January 1978. By May 1978, we were in Hollywood, Maryland. By 1979, the Hollywood house was listed for sale. By 1980, my father and I would move to King George, Virginia while my mother would stay in southern Maryland.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

40 Years Ago Today - May 10, 1978

A preview of things to come. Big changes for the family 40 years ago!

Sunday, April 15, 2018

40 Years Ago Today - April 15, 1978

Though not technically taken on April 15, 1978, the photo is dated "April 1978." I was hesitant to post anything on April 1st because of April Fool's Day and also wanted to give some space between postings. The photo is of Cindi and Jill Eubanks, neighbors of ours from when we lived on Foxglove in Oxnard, California. Their parents, Roger and Christine, were friends with my parents and I have a few pictures of them both prior to and after 1978.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

40 Years Ago Today - March 1978

One of the most popular photos from my early childhood, this family photo is from March 1978.

This string of Polaroids is also from March 1978. My parents and I went to Uncle George's for a visit, possible on our way east to the new house in Maryland. Based on the serial numbers, the photos were all from the same batch.

There's a single photo I found with my cousin and I playing at Uncle George's and Aunt Wilma's. I've blurred out her face because I know privacy is important to her family and I wanted to respect that.

Thursday, March 01, 2018

40 Years Ago Today - March 1, 1978

I was finally able to locate, learn, and use a large bed scanner. Which made it possible to scan a growth chart my mother had for me. The first measurement was for January 3, 1977 where I clocked in at a whopping 20 and one half inches! Fast-forward a year and a couple of months and I grew to 31 and one half inches.

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Naloxone Training And The Opioid Crisis

I recently attended REVIVE! training on how to administer Naloxone and left feeling empowered, scared, and educated. The training was hosted by the Rappahannock Area Community Services Board (RACSB) and attended by everyone from regular citizens like myself to local school employees. Due to the nature of the discussions held, I'll refrain from using actual names of people or places. But more on that in a minute.

The training itself was relatively simple. Simple enough that anyone older than 13 could, and should, attend a session. This wasn't an in-depth first aid training session with scenarios that involved gushing blood or delivering babies. This was just a few slides, a short video, and the most complex part was the hands-on portion where we learned how to administer the Naloxone itself. And even that was simple enough that a young adult could learn how to do it in a few minutes. In theory somebody younger could administer the drug but should rescue breathing (also known as mouth-to-mouth breathing) or chest compressions (also known as CPR) be required, they may not be strong enough to render first aid effectively. But the key to the training wasn't the first aid, it was the Naloxone.

But let me back up a minute and talk about the opioid crisis itself. For me personally, it was one of those things that I knew about, read about, and saw on the news. But largely dismissed because, like most drug-related issues, figured it would never impact me or those around me. But as I went through the training, there were a few things I learned about that made me realize it could hit closer to home than expected.

None of my friends or immediate family are drug users, at least as far as I'm aware. But I do know people that could be taking an opioid legally for pain management. And when you combine an elderly patient that may not remember when they last took a dose, it is possible for somebody to accidentally overdose. On top of that, I frequently use the bathroom outside of my house. Gas stations. Local retail stores. All are common places for an overdose victim to be found. As I learned in training, some of the symptoms of withdrawal are nausea and diarrhea. Which could send a person to the bathroom to begin with, but it's also a place they can use in private.

So as I quickly learned in the session, encountering a person that has overdosed is distinctly possible. And being prepared for it was the key point I learned. I left the training feeling empowered knowing that I would have the medication on hand to save a person. Medication that, for lack of a better description, is a miracle drug that can bring somebody back from the brink of death in seconds.

Naloxone is the generic name of the drug that essentially kicks out the opiod (Narcan is the brand name). On a molecular level, Naloxone is smaller than the opioid and is able to take over the opioid receptors inside the body. It doesn't get rid of it, only replaces it, and only for about 40 minutes. So even after you administer Naloxone, it is possible for the person to overdose again without using again because the opiod is still present in their system. But that's about the only draw back to Naloxone that I heard in the training class. You can't overdose on it. There's no negative side effects, even for accidental usage. You can't abuse it or get high from it. The dosage is the same for children and adults. And what really blew me away was that most first responders use it on cardiac patients as soon as they arrive on scene simply because it really has no negative impact on the patient and could save them if it was an overdose.

Despite all of this good news about how Naloxone worked, learning about the opiod crisis and hearing stories left me feeling scared. As a father with kids nearing high school age, hearing about overdoses in high school left me feeling nervous and out of control. Once upon a time, I was in high school myself. There were always rumors of drugs in school but I never heard a rumor of anything other than marijuana. I did know of people and had friends that drank alcohol but that was as far as it went. At least that I knew of.

Without violating the privacy of those that attended, hearing about multiple overdoses in multiple area schools left me shook. These were first hand accounts from reliable sources. And I think what scared me the most was the comment from one attendee who said their high-school aged child wanted to attend a training session because they had seen friends overdose. Absolutely depressing and scary all at once.

The discussion of schools then left us all with a bit of confusion when that same person asked if their child , as a student, could carry Naloxone in school. Because many rural rescue departments have long response times or may not even carry Naloxone as part of their standard equipment, the student wanted to be prepared for a future overdose. The trainer wasn't sure but we discussed it as a group some. And even though the Naloxone is a prescription drug, we felt confident that anyone, student or teacher, could carry it in school as long as they had filled out the appropriate paper work. Similar to a student carrying an inhaler or Epi-Pen, it should be allowed to be on the person at all times if that's what the prescription calls for. The problem seemed to be the usage of Naloxone. As an example, if a student has a prescription for an inhaler and lets another student use it, they would get in trouble. But for Naloxone to work, you need to give it to the person in distress. So like an Epi-Pen, it doesn't make sense to save a life only to get suspended from school for breaking the rules.

Which brought me to my conclusion that we need, at the state and local levels, rules in place to protect the patient and the good Samaritan. Some protections are already in place, but the policy in schools should include Naloxone as a protected medication that can be used by anyone from a Nurse to a teacher to a student. On top of that, schools should have an open prescription for Naloxone, just like many already do for an AED (automated external defibrillator) and Epi-Pen.

As I walked out the door, feeling a little rattled by the information, I felt like it was a worthwhile training session. It was certainly worth the money (it was free) and absolutely worth the time (90 minutes). I left with a lot of information that I hoped I never needed but was glad to have. All attendees also got a small first aid kit that had gloves, rescue breathing mask, and stickers. The stickers are to be put in the hair of anyone we administer Naloxone to. And while the Doctor that usually attends wasn't there to give us the Naloxone itself, we were able to fill out paperwork to get the medication in the near future.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Brand Loyalty In The Modern Age

When I talk about brands, I'm not talking cattle brands, your personal brand, or even that kid from that fantasy novel. No, I'm talking corporate brands and how we have, or have not, remained loyal to them over the years and into the current modern era.

As a kid, I was dedicated to Nike. They made the best tennis shoes in the world and I loved them. But somewhere around the mid-1980s, I lost faith in them. Why? Because my shoe fell apart. The glue on the sole left me with something that resembled a mad scientist crossed a flip-flop and a scuba flipper on the bottom of my shoe leaving me with this weird flap that made it nearly impossible to walk without tripping. Not to mention the smirks and laughs behind my back by my fellow elementary school students.

I'm nor here to call them out on their teasing me because if I did, I'd have to address my own poor choices as a child. Instead, I'm here to talk about how I've remained loyal, or not, to certain brands and how the culture of brand loyalty has changed with my generation, Generation X. And more importantly, how that shift is impacting Generation Y, or Millenials, Generation Z, and the companies that are falling behind or running ahead.

Back to Nike. I was so loyal to them and so appalled by their poor construction, I switched to Reebok. They may not know it, but that change in brand loyalty probably saved my parents some money. Those Nike Air Jordans were all the rage and cost all the money. But my Reebok high tops were much cheaper, and more importantly to me, they weren't Nike.

Through my early childhood, I also remained loyal to Coke. My mother and step-father drank Pepsi (still do) but I hated it because it tasted too sweet. Plus I modeled myself after my father more, even though I still struggle to admit it today, so if he liked Coke, I liked Coke. Thankfully I would eventually kick my soda habit but for decades I wouldn't drink Pepsi, although I was known to drink Pepsi products if I was desperate enough.

In my formative years, I was brand loyal. It was part of the culture I grew up in. It was ingrained in my head through my parents, TV commercials, and society. I knew Coke was the best because my dad drank it, the commercials said it was better, and I actually liked the taste. I knew Transformers were cool because my friends said so, they had their own TV show, and those cheap knock-off toys I got just didn't feel cool.

Over the years certain brands have come into, or dropped out of, my life. Quiznos. Jersey Mikes. Walmart. Target. Starbucks. Sheetz. They have their own loyal following and many even have their own loyalty program of some sort. Buy enough coffee at Starbucks and you get a free one. Go to Sheetz frequently enough and they'll send you a free coffee cup.

But what does all of this mean to those younger than me? What does it mean to the Millenials and Gen Z? Well, think about how they remain loyal to certain brands. Apple for instance. Countless teens have an iPhone and will continue to have one for a long time. It's a status symbol. It's a way of life. But what about Costco? Why would my kids want to shop at Costco when they can buy everything they want on Amazon? The Washington Post wrote an article on this very topic.

But I've been talking to other people about this for some time now, so it's not news to me that the younger generations are less brand loyal than the old grey hairs like me. And if you think about it, there's a lot of change to society that's behind this. Younger generations have a different view on what is moral or acceptable in society. So when Jared Fogle had issues with the law, it's no surprise that Subway lost customers. But that loss wasn't as large as it could have been because those younger generations weren't really the ones spending the money then. But when you look at the latest issue with H&M and their child models, that younger generation not only quit spending money there, some went so far as to trash stores.

Businesses today walk a fine line between making money and being morally correct. Not that the two are mutually exclusive but sometimes a company needs to leave people behind to make money. This is easily seen in a company that provides a service, such as internet or phone, and continually raises rates. Well, the cost of everything is always on the rise so it's no surprise that they need to raise the rates. That's the cost of doing business. Sure, there are a few outliers like Tesla that may be supplying a product without making a profit, but generally speaking, costs will rise and business will follow that with increased prices.

Where does this leave us going forward? I think it's up to the company to determine if they want to only make money, make money with a good heart, or have a good heart and worry about the money later. I think some companies are already in one of these buckets but may not last long without moving to another one. Here are a few examples that I'm either loyal to, not loyal to, or somewhere in the middle.

SteakUmm - make money with a good heart - They quietly do good things while supplying a reasonably priced product.
AltraZeroDrop - make money with a good heart  to only make money - They started with an altruistic idea, produced a product, and are now growing beyond their customer base.
Patagonia - have a good heart and worry about the money later - Pretty good model of a solid corporate citizen that has a loyal following and still produces a great product.
Starbucks - make money with a good heart - From their front-line employees to their senior management, they focus on the income and the customer.
GoPro - only make money - They've lost footing in recent years and could potentially go bankrupt if they don't turn their focus on their customers.
YouTube - only make money - Even though their a branch of Google (or technically Alphabet), they seriously seem to have lost their way over the years.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Is It Spring Already?

As I walked out to get my paper this morning, I wondered, is it spring already? The weather was nearly perfect for a run. A little damp and clammy but not too bad. Certainly not too hot or too cold and with no rain, snow, or blazing sun to worry about, it was great to get some miles under my feet.

With a lot on my mind, I was finally able to get at least some clarity. Which of course I promptly lost soon after I walked back into the house. The run was fairly typical with the exception of the neighbor getting a new driveway. So with that equipment in the road, I only ran that stretch of road once and skipped it on my second time around the block. No sense getting in their way. Plus I was feeling seriously lacking in the motivation department. I've been putting on some heavy chores and didn't want to face them even though I knew I needed to face them this morning. Well, turns out it wasn't quite as bad as I had thought it would be. Still not great but not as scary as I thought.

Anyway, the rest of the run was uneventful. Just another day running around the block.


Temps were about 50F to 55F. Sky was overcast. No wind.

Fluids and Fuel:
Coffee before the run. Plain water during the run. Recovery was Steak-Umm, eggs, and English Muffin. With more coffee of course.

Aches and Pains:

Wore shorts, long sleeve shirt, short sleeve shirt, and hat.

Today's Motivation:
The weather got me started but somehow I just ran out of mojo the further I ran. Nearly called it quits after a mile and repeated the thought process for the rest of the run. Toughed it out and managed almost 3 miles.

Naughty Neil:
Should have had chips and salsa last night but felt like potato chips instead.

Loop 1 - 16:47
Lollipop 2 - 13:59
Finish - 30:46

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Another Run Done

Finally! A run has been done! It's been a rough freaking week. Like one kick in the pants after another. But I managed to survive the week, keep my head above water, and not give in to the hate too much.

Since I'm writing this the day after, I don't remember all the details of the run but it wasn't terribly exciting. Although as I was about finished, I ran alongside my dad as he drove home for a minute or so. We've done it before and it's always kinda cool and weird at the same time. Reminds of some movie scene or something where the trainer is riding in a car yelling at the athlete to keep running.

Anyway, as I ran my typical route yesterday, the first look I felt relaxed and at ease and just sort of loped along like I didn't have a care in the world. I did, certainly, but I just didn't feel like I needed to crank up the speed and prove anything to anyone. I just needed to move, just needed to get outside, just needed to get that green box for completing a workout AS PLANNED.

So when I came in at the end of my first loop, I was a little shocked to see my time was so low. As in I was easily on a sub-31 minute 5k pace. Which I knew was way too fast and I walked a good chunk of the last few minutes of the loop. I started my second loop suddenly wondering what the heck was going on and why I was going so damn fast. Then it dawned on me, the weather and the rest were probably key to me going so fast.

The second loop was pretty much the same. Tried to keep the same easy pace but with an increased HR, I knew I needed more breaks. And because I wasn't trying to set any records, I took them as I needed them.

And that was about it. Another run done.

Temps were a balmy 55F. Sky was clear. Wind was light.

Fluids and Fuel:
This was my biggest issue. Had lunch (leftover pork chop, green beans, brown rice) and chips with salsa. Then about an hour later, ran. Salsa wasn't too happy and made me burp. Plain water during the run. Recovery was plain water.

Aches and Pains:
Other than the burping, everything was fine.

Wore shorts, t-shirt, long sleeve shirt.

Today's Motivation:
After being kicked to the curb this week, I knew I needed a run. And I was right.

Naughty Neil:
I'm a sucker for salty and sweet snacks at night. Haven't had salsa in a while so when I had some before my run I probably had too much. But it was tasty.

Loop 1 - 16:51
Loop 2 - 16:38
Finish - 33:29

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

YouTube Demonetizes Small Channels

For those that don't know, YouTube has been struggling with a few issues over the past few years (can you say Logan Paul and a dead body?). And as any company does over time, they make changes. One of those changes smacked me in the face this morning. I sat there checking my email first thing in the morning like always and see something from YouTube in my Inbox. In short, they will be turning off monetization for small channels. Specifically, they are giving everyone 30 days to meet their new minimum of 4,000 hours of watch time (240,000 minutes) and 1,000 subscribers.

That "and" is key there as I'm probably close enough to meet the minimum watch time to get to that goal this year. But the subscriber count is really where I'll take a kick in the pants. And to grow your channel by 900 or so subscribers in 30 days is so unlikely, I'm resigned to be demonetized for the foreseeable future. As in years. Even though I broke through the old minimum last year and actually made money at doing something I love, I've now been reduced to watching from the sidelines as the bigger channels get bigger and the smaller channels disappear.

I'm still bitter. I'm still processing my emotions. I'm still sad and mad and so many other things.

And no, I'm not going to ask you to subscribe to my YouTube channel or read my blogs. As much as I'd love to beg you to do that, I think you already would have if you enjoyed my content.

But I have to share something from one of my biggest supporters out there. My son. He is a huge YouTube consumer. If given the opportunity, he would watch YouTube all day and all night. What he enjoys is beyond my scope of understanding. I still can't comprehend how he can spend so much time watching people play Minecraft. I can't change who he is but I just don't understand. Getting back on track, as I was still processing the news and getting ready for work this morning, I shared the bad news with my son. The conversation went something like this:

Me: "I have some bad news William. YouTube has demonetized my channel."
William: "They deleted your channel?!"
Me: "No."
William: "They deleted your videos?!"
Me: "No."
William: "Can you still upload videos? I don't understand."
Me: "Well, basically I won't be able to make any money on my videos."
William: "Oh. Well that sucks."
Me: "Yep, it sure does."

It was a pivotal moment and I knew it. I was still pissed off and wanted to throw a chair through the window, but I knew, right there as I sat on the bed, that I would continue to do this thing I love. As I drove to work I wasn't sure if I wanted to put my fist through the window or cry uncontrollably. I ended up finding salvation in the bottom of my Starbucks coffee (#notsponsored!). And I realized I was having yet another John Locke moment where I just needed to scream "Don't tell me what I can't do!"

Since I started this journey through my midlife crisis back in 2016, I've struggled with my own identity. I finally found it last year. I'm a house spouse and a content creator. When I left my last job in 2016, I was kicked to the curb like a piece of trash. In 2017, I finally realized I wasn't trash and managed to pick myself up, brush myself off, and get back out there. It's 2018 and I'm back on the ground, wondering why the YouTube bus has decided to run me over.

I know there's a lot wrong with YouTube. I also know that I'm not part of the problem. I'll continue to edit videos just like I'll continue to research my articles. I'll continue to produce videos just like I'll continue to write stories. I'll even continue to pay for YouTube Red and YouTubeTV. But I feel like the platform I've enjoyed, supported, and been a member of since January 29, 2007, has betrayed me and all the other little guys out there. It wouldn't take a big push to get me invested in a different platform. ::coughcough:: Samsung? ::coughcough:: Casey Neistat? ::coughcough::

In closing, I'd like to ask you to do two things for me. First, support your family and your friends. Help them fulfill their dreams. Second, support those small, local businesses you know. Help your neighbors because they have dreams too.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, January 07, 2018

40 Years Ago Today - January 7, 1978

My father was a pilot once upon a time. He began in the late 1970s and recorded his first flight out of Oxnard on January 7, 1978. He flew a Cessna 150 with tail number N8410M. According to various sites, it was built in 1969 and the only interesting detail that adds interest is that in 1990 a student pilot lost control and ran off the runway.