Breaking Free: Why Asking ‘Why?’ is Essential for Personal Growth and Change

As a photographer, I often reflect on how we are conditioned to suppress our curiosity and accept the status quo. This conditioning starts from a young age, where we are discouraged from asking “why” and labeled as a burden or nag if we persist. Truth be told, most adults don’t have the patience for children, and they make it clear to them, most of the time their own children, that they are in the way, and talking too much. This lesson is learned young and is never easy to shake off.

As we grow older, we are told that certain things are just the way they are, and questioning them can lead to unpleasant consequences. As a teenager, we might question why things are the way they are. For example, why do teenagers have to wake up so early to go to school? Why is our life filled with activities but not rest? Why don’t adults have as many activities as teenagers? Why are we being forced to figure out our career, school, marriage, relationships, and religion, all at a young age, with little experience and without even knowing who we are yet? When we ask, we’re told that’s just how it’s always been done.

It’s disheartening to see people give up on asking “why” as they become adults. We might learn not to ask “why” because the other person could become dangerous or erratic. When we ask our partner why they expect us to remind them to do the dishes, they might accuse us of being things we never were. When we question our boss why we have to work from an office for a job we can do better from home, we might be accused of playing lazy. And when we question why priests and religious leaders are still allowed to be alone around children, we’re told to just have faith.

But deep down, we want to ask “why.” We wonder why we can’t do more for a better environment or cut interest from student debt. We question why we have to settle down, have kids, and own a house. And we wonder why we have to balance-beam walk across our lives, careful and patient.

As a photographer, I believe in using my art to challenge these societal norms and inspire people to ask “why” more often. Through my lens, I hope to capture moments that challenge the status quo and inspire others to take action. Whether it’s through capturing the beauty of a person who has never received positive support or affirmation in their life or challenging the norm of women being told to cover up by insecure men, I believe that photography can be a powerful tool for sparking change.

I hope that by capturing these moments and sharing them with others, I can inspire more people to ask “why” and challenge the status quo. Because only through questioning and challenging the status quo can we create a better world for ourselves and future generations. It’s time to break free from the conditioning that tells us to accept things as they are and start asking “why” more often.

Living Life on Your Own Terms: The Challenges and Rewards of Pursuing Your Passion

The world we live in is constantly changing, and not necessarily in ways that benefit the human race. Survival has become a challenge, and the odds seem to be stacked against the vast majority of us. We work hard to make a living and support ourselves, but the compensation we receive often doesn’t reflect the effort we put in. Companies demand year-over-year growth to their profits, yet the employees who help them achieve those increases are often not compensated accordingly. We’re stuck in a cycle where the cost of living continues to rise, but our salaries remain stagnant.

A photo taken by me in downtown Orlando while touring Orlando on a Ghost Tour

It’s a harsh reality, but one that many of us face. And yet, there are still those who choose to take control of their lives and pursue their passions. They’re the ones who switch careers multiple times throughout their lives, who take risks and try to live life on their own terms. I’m one of those people.

I started my career as an EMT, then moved into Occupational Health and Safety. After that, I transitioned into Sales and Account Management before finally settling on freelance photography as my full-time profession. It’s a decision I don’t regret, but it hasn’t been an easy path.

There are many benefits to being a full-time freelance photographer. I make my own schedule, choose who I want to work with, and don’t have to ask anyone permission to take time off or go on vacation. But there are also downsides. Finding clients can be difficult, cash flow isn’t always guaranteed, and there’s a constant feeling that I should always be working.

One of the biggest challenges of being self-employed is the pressure to constantly make ends meet. Bills don’t stop just because you have a slow month, and the companies you owe money to have to make those year-over-year profits, right? It’s a reality that many entrepreneurs face, but it’s not often talked about.

Starting a business is not for the faint of heart. It takes a lot of hard work, sleepless nights, and anxiety-filled hours. But for those who choose this path, the reward is the ability to live life on their own terms. They’re able to pursue their passions and make a living doing something they love.

Is it worth it? That’s a question only each individual can answer for themselves. For me, I want to say yes, but I am still new at all this and my final answer isn’t in yet. I’m willing to take the risks and face the challenges that come with being self-employed because the alternative is to live a life that feels unfulfilling. I want to make a difference in the world, to leave a positive impact, and pursuing my passion as a freelance photographer allows me to do that.

The world may not be made for the human race to live, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make the most of it. We may face challenges, but with hard work and perseverance, we can create the life we want to live. We can pursue our passions and make a difference in the world. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.

3 Book Series EVERY Man Should Read

Growing up, we are often bombarded with societal expectations of what it means to be a “real” man. We are told to be strong, stoic, and always have it together. I myself grew up being told over and over again “When I was a child I thought as a child, but when I became a man I put away childish things.” The first time I can remember my Father telling me that was shortly after I turned 8 years old. But let’s face it, life is messy, and sometimes we need to let loose and have some fun.

When I was younger, I had this idea that being a man meant I had to be serious all the time. I thought I had to let go of my childhood hobbies and interests and focus on “mature” activities. But the truth is, being a man is not about conforming to outdated stereotypes or what society thinks we should be. It’s about being true to ourselves and embracing the things that make us happy.

For me, that meant embracing my inner geek and diving back into my love for Dungeons and Dragons. It also meant allowing myself to indulge in my favorite movies and books, no matter how silly or childish they may seem to others. And you know what? It felt good. It reminded me that being an adult doesn’t mean we have to give up the things we love.

So, to all the men out there who feel like they have to conform to society’s expectations, I urge you to let go of those notions and embrace the things that make you happy. Whether it’s playing video games, reading comic books, or watching cheesy rom-coms, do what makes you happy. Life is too short to live it according to someone else’s standards.

And on that note, here are a few book recommendations that I believe every man (or anyone, really) should read:

  1. Old Man’s War by John Scalzi – This science fiction novel explores a future where humanity has colonized the stars and follows protagonist John Perry as he joins the military at the age of 75 to fight for the future of the human race.
  2. The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher – As you mentioned, this urban fantasy series follows Harry Dresden, a professional wizard and private investigator in Chicago. The series is action-packed, full of humor, and will keep you on the edge of your seat.
  3. The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne – This fantasy series follows the adventures of Atticus O’Sullivan, the last of the Druids, as he navigates through supernatural dangers and encounters gods, goddesses, and other mythical beings.

Remember, reading is a personal and subjective experience. Don’t let anyone tell you what books you should or should not read. Instead, focus on finding books that you enjoy and that make you happy.

Ultimately, I learned that being a man is not about adhering to rigid stereotypes or societal expectations. It’s about being true to yourself and embracing the things that make you happy, even if they involve wizards, dragons, or spaceships. And let’s be real, who wouldn’t want to ride a dragon into battle or blast off into the galaxy with a motley crew of misfits? So go ahead, embrace your inner geek, and revel in the wonder of fiction and fantasy. After all, life is too short to take ourselves too seriously!

Is Photography Hard

Have you ever wondered why we don’t see more great artists anymore? What happened to the genius that was Einstein, Mozart, and Picasso? I am always amazed at how naive people chose to be because most people when they see a great artist, athlete, scholar, or musician just naturally assume they were born to that privilege. “It’s a natural gift” they might say. Rarely will these people ever think about what it took for that person to achieve the success they see today. Why? I honestly don’t know. Maybe they don’t want to compare their own lives to the life of someone who was willing to do whatever was required for what they wanted. Maybe they are afraid that if they look into that void all they will see if their own mediocrity staring back at them. Who knows?

This photo was taken on 35mm film. I am learning to take film photos again and this was shot on my Pentax SP 35mm Camera.

When I think of great people I have looked up to I often like to remember the story of Peter Dinklage and his first apartment. Before he was Tyrion Lannister he lived in a run-down apartment in NYC. No heat, AC, or stove to cook food. His landlord brandished a knife at him and his roommates several times and refused to fix anything. Can you imagine that? Can you imagine that as your home? Can you imagine sleeping there? Would you feel safe?

I can’t speak for Peter, but I have heard several interviews he gave where he talks about this time in his life, and all I can say is I see the sadness in his eyes. A haunting memory when he thinks back on that time. Was it worth it? Only Peter can answer that.

But that really is the question, isn’t it? When someone aspires to be great at something a sacrifice or two will have to be made. How many people are even willing to consider paying that sacrifice?

For me when it came to learning the art of photography, one of the hardest sacrifices I ever had to pay, was sucking at something. Growing up I had always had a natural talent for so many things. Music, theater, public speaking, and more. I never really had to apply myself to anything because everything came so quickly to me. I had no need to aspire for greatness because I was living on the high end of mediocrity. I was better at most things than most people and that was ok for me. Then…I picked up a camera.

I originally started photography to have something in common with my now ex-wife. She had several Nikon cameras and she allowed me the opportunity to shoot with one of her backups. The first week I started taking pictures I almost quit right then and there. My pictures were TERRIBLE! The composition was off, the lighting was either over or under-exposed, I had no idea what all the buttons did, and my photos looked nothing like the photos I had saved in a Pinterest folder for inspiration. The bottom line was I was a beginner, and as such had no knowledge, experience, or history to draw from. In short, I sucked!

See, now this is the part in the story where most people quit. I’m not naturally good at something? Oh well, not for me. So they give up. They put away anything that reminds them of their abject failure and move on to something where they can be a little bit better than everyone else.

The story I remember was in 2004 in CA. I was eating dinner at a friend’s home and his father, who was in his 60s, was bragging over dinner to me about how when he was my age he had done so much more stuff than I had. His tone was very condescending and I could tell he was VERY proud of himself. So I asked, “So what have you accomplished since then?” He…was…furious! I won’t go into details, but I was thrown out of the house and was never allowed to return…All because I asked one simple question.

So to sum a few things up…Is learning photography hard? Yes! I have been shooting for 10 years. I have read books, watched YouTube Videos, listened to podcasts, gone to workshops, practiced, failed, and did it all over again. Despite all of that work, study and effort I would describe myself as knowing maybe 1% of 1% of all there is to know and learn about photography. Is it worth it?

For me…The answer always comes to me when I work very hard on a photo and I get the exact image I was hoping for. The answer…for me…is always a resounding YES!

Another image I took on 35mm film. I stood outside setting this shot up for what seemed like forever. Most of the images on that roll of film did not come out very well, but this one…this one came out perfect!

So I encourage you to go out, try something new, and be brave enough to suck at something. You can do it! Thanks for stopping by. I would love to hear what you think about all this. Feel free to leave a comment or reach out on Instagram, Twitter, Patreon, or Vero.

Icon Park – Orlando FL

So last night I learned some interesting things about Icon Park in Orlando FL. Now before I get started I want to be clear, this is not a post talking bad about the park itself…Icon Park is a beautiful area filled with amazing lights, fun things to do and a lot of different kinds of delicious food. What this post IS about is talking about the park’s rules and rights. Some of which I find to be very disturbing.

Last night I decided to drive out to Icon Park in Orlando FL and do some night photography. Night photography, especially after a good rain storm and some awesome lights is a favorite of mine, and I was excited to create some art. Not wanting to bother anyone I decided to drive to the top of their parking deck and use the top open-air level to shoot. When I got up there I was literally the only person up there.

Now as anyone knows, night photography requires the use of long exposures. This means you have to thumb down the shutter speeds allowing light to have a longer amount of time to get inside the camera and hit the film/sensor. When doing that the use of a tripod is highly recommended as any shake coming from holding your camera will distort the image.

Now I was using a varity of cameras while I was there. My main is a Sony a7iii with a Sigma ART 24-70mm lens. I was also shooting with a Pentax Super Program 35mm Film camera with a 70-200mm lens, an Olympus Pen EES-2, and a Kodak Ektar h35.

Now as you can see, the images turned out wonderfully, and I was VERY pleased with how they look. Because I was shooting with longer shutter speeds each image took some time to set up and after being in one spot for almost 45 minutes I decided I wanted to change locations and focus on shooting the Ferris Wheel. That is when the trouble started…

After moving, and maybe 10 minutes of time a security guard showed up and told me I had to leave because tripods were not allowed on this private property. When I asked him to show me the policy he said I could look it up online, and continued to harass me to go. I started packing up my gear and when I got into my truck I decided to look up Icon Parks Policy

This is where I found the following two statements on their “Terms & Conditions” Page.

Large tripods and commercial-grade photography gear for purposes of commercial shooting without permission from ICON Park Media Relations.

Photography, videotaping or recording of any kind for commercial purposes.

Icon Parks Terms & Conditions taken directly off their website

Now look, I have no issues with this policy. Icon Park is private property and they can restrict who photographs their property however they like. However, two things bother me here…

  1. I was not there photographing commercially. I was there personally to make and collect images for my personal pleasure and use. I had/have no intention of profiting from these images. The security guard did not know his own company’s rules, and since I was not commercially photographing my tripod should have been allowed. Instead, I got harrassed and thrown out.
  2. If you continue to read down further in Icon Parks Terms and Conditions there is a section entitled ICON Park Rights. Below I will quote the line that bothers me, but it basically says the park has the right to photograph, videotape, and reproduce anything all the way down to YOUR VOICE and profit from it without giving the individual any compensation…

We may photograph, film, videotape, record or otherwise reproduce the image and/or voice of any person who enters the ICON Park property and use the same for any purpose without payment to any person.

Icon Park Terms and Conditions taken directly off their website

Can someone explain to me how this is right? Can someone make this make sense? You ban photographers and individuals from filming and videotaping your property for profit, but you can do it to anyone who enters your property? Is that not the definition of hypocritical?

They Aren’t Coming

What is it about books and stories that fascinate us so much?  Why do we, as human beings, attach ourselves to the heros of these stories, and read with fervent interest in their adventures?  Is it really that we hope that one day someone will come and tell us we are a wizard, or ask us to go on an adventure?  Do we secretly hope that someday someone will come and take us away from our routine lives, and tell us we are special?

I’ve noticed that many of the stories I enjoy are about ordinary people, who have extraordinary experiences thrust upon them. Captain America was a less than ordinary human with a drive to achieve.  Bilbo Baggins was an ordinary Hobbit who was very happy with his peaceful life.  Harry Potter was just a boy who wanted to be loved.


Are stories like these, and so many others, clues to how we feel as a society?  Do we feel helpless and powerless over the events taking place in our own lives, and if we do, is there anything we can do to change it?

I know many people, including myself are feeling restless with the current state of our country.  Many of the posts I have seen online show a building frustration, and fear of helplessness with the events going on.  I myself have found a certain sense of irritation as accepted truths fall, and lies are exposed.

Just to give you a few examples of some of the things bothering me as of late…

  1. Our political system is a joke, and we have a candidate running for president who has no regard for the people he claims he wants to serve and represent.
  2. Some of the articles and books I have read about what is being put into our food, and even how food, and animals are treated sickens me.
  3. I’ve struggled with religion most of my life, but recently some of the hateful and borderline violent things I’ve seen in the last few days, all in the name of God or religion is depressing.

With all this and more going on in the world it’s understandable why so many feel a sense of unease, restlessness, and fear.  But the reality is, no one is coming to save us.  Hagrid isn’t coming, and I am pretty sure Gandalf is lost. So how do we rise above all that is going on?  If we know that no one is coming, how do we become our own kind of hero?

We certainly have enough evil villains to fight, but the question is how?  How do we take action that will actually make a difference?  How do we fight the bad guys and win?

Three Cheers for Slytherin

So “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” came out this past weekend and as expected, the world is going nuts! Now I haven’t had the chance to read it yet, but one complaint I’ve heard that really stuck with me was that once again, J.K. Rowling made the Slytherins look terrible. Having no context for that statement, I simply must assume that in some way, the villains of this new story are from Slytherin. And you know what? That really bothers me.

I’m not a Slytherin, I’m a Ravenclaw. But one of my brothers is a Slytherin. And one of my best friends at college is a Slytherin. They’re not bad people, they’re not evil, so why does J.K Rowling keep making them the villains?

I get it, because Slytherin has, technically, produced more dark wizards than the other houses, we assume that makes Slytherin the go-to bad guy. But if there’s something that the real world (and J.K. Rowling at times) has taught me, it’s the dangers of classifying an entire group of people under the same umbrella. And Harry Potter fans, the demonization of Slytherin house needs to stop.

Okay, so Salazar Slytherin himself was an elitist snob. And sure, some of that elitism may have continued to be a pervasive attitude within the house over the years. But aren’t we all elitists for something? Maybe we’re elitists for the college we attended, our favorite sports teams, our country, our states, even our religions. I attended UNC Chapel Hill, and I don’t care what you say or who you are, if you support Duke, you’re the enemy. (See? I’m a Tar Heel elitist but I’m not evil….unless you went to Duke, then you might have a different opinion.)

So let’s look at some of the members of Slytherin house that we know the most about who are decidedly NOT evil. In doing so, I think we’ll notice a trend.

harry-snapeFirst up, we have Severus Snape. In hindsight, everyone loves Snape. (I admit, I do too.) We all love a redemption story. But let’s not forget, the important part of a redemption story is, in fact, the REDEMPTION. Yes, Snape was a Death Eater, but after his involvement with dark magic had essentially sentenced the woman he loved to death, he realized the mistakes he’d made. He would spend the rest of his life, and ultimately his death, making up for the mistakes he made in his youth.

Does Snape’s good-guy status excuse him for his cold and sometimes cruel treatment of his students? Of course not. But once we know his history, we realize that his cruelty came from a place of self-loathing and regret for past mistakes. When you don’t respect yourself, how can you respect others? And his particularly cruel treatment of Harry? Harry was the child of the man who bullied him mercilessly for seven years at Hogwarts and the woman he was in love with. And it was his own desperation to fit in that led him to alienate Lily, his only real friend.

And yes, Snape showed favoritism to the Slytherin students. Slytherin was his house, of course he favored them. Contrary to popular belief, McGonagall showed favoritism to Gryffindor students. Take Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone for example. After catching Harry breaking rules and riding a broom without teacher supervision, McGonagall put Harry on the Gryffindor Quidditch team. Because McGonagall wanted HER house to have the best Quidditch team, she bent the rules for Harry, telling him that he better train hard or she “may change [her] mind about punishing [him].”

dracoNext up, there’s the Malfoy family. The Malfoy family were elitists in an entirely different way. They wanted money and reputation. They looked down their noses at anyone who was less pureblood or less wealthy than them. And anyone who snubbed them as Harry did to Draco on their very first night at Hogwarts? They treated with contempt and disdain as a way to make themselves look better.  As Voldemort’s reign of terror got more and more out of control, they become less and less comfortable with the way events were playing out. And in the end, none of the Malfoys could bring themselves to stand with Voldemort. They realized that their wealth and reputation were not worth sacrificing their lives or family for.

Then there’s Sirius Black’s brother Regulus. He followed the same path as many of his schoolmates probably did. He became a Death Eater. But eventually he realized that his decision to follow Voldemort was a BAD idea. In fact, Regulus was smart enough to figure out that Voldemort’s biggest secret was his creation of horcruxes. Regulus then embarked on a mission to hunt and destroy Voldemort’s horcruxes, a mission he would give his life for. Although he never managed to destroy a horcrux, Regulus serves as yet another example of a Slytherin sacrificing his life in an attempt to prevent evil from prevailing.

horacceFinally we have Horace Slughorn. The Slug Club was most certainly an elitist group. Slughorn only invited those students with the greatest promise of fame and fortune to join. Slughorn enjoyed the perks of being a “favorite” teacher for some of the most famous and successful witches and wizards of his day. He was a brilliant potions master who felt great remorse over his teaching a young Tom Riddle about horcruxes. From then on, he always ardently refused to join the Death Eaters.  And in the Battle of Hogwarts, Slughorn fought valiantly with the Order of the Phoenix to bring Voldemort down.

I could easily list more great (not evil) Slytherins who deserve better than to be labelled “villains.” However, that would turn this post into something more akin to a novella, so if you’re interested in learning more about some of the great wizards Slytherin house has produced, head on over to this link

Every single one of these Slytherins were imperfect and made mistakes. But what sets them apart from the other houses was their ability and willingness to acknowledge their mistakes and do something to change them. Slytherins seem to have an amazing ability to feel remorse and to learn from past mistakes that just doesn’t seem to exist in the other houses. It’s a quality to be admired.

And let’s not forget that Professor Quirrell, a follower of Voldemort, was a Ravenclaw. Peter Pettigrew (aka Wormtail) was a Gryffindor. And even Dumbledore, who we learned had a history of dark magic and a thirst for power, was a Gryffindor.

The Sorting Hat was right in his song during Harry’s sorting ceremony:

“Or perhaps in Slytherin

You’ll make your real friends,

Those cunning folk use any means

To achieve their ends.”

“Any means” can be used for good or it an be used for evil. Although there were many Slytherins, like Voldemort or Bellatrix, who chose to use dark magic and evil to achieve their ends, there were also Slytherins like Slughorn or Regulus Black or Snape who were willing to give their lives if it meant defeating Voldemort.

slytherinI don’t know why Rowling’s writing seems so contradictory in regards to Slytherins. I don’t know why they’re the perennial bad guys but also some of the most brave and self-aware people in the books. I don’t know why Rowling gave Snape such a beautiful backstory and yet right before the Battle of Hogwarts had all three of the other houses turn on the entire Slytherin house because ONE Slytherin wanted to turn Harry over to Voldemort. There’s so much I just don’t know about how Rowling perceives the Slytherins and why she writes them the way she does. 

But one thing I do know, is that there’s a lot we can learn from the Slytherins. They’re brave. They’re wicked smart. And they learn from past mistakes in attempt to become better and stronger people. So I stand with the Slytherins. Do you?

Get Off Your PokemonGo Soapbox

PokemonGo has not even been out a full month, and its impact can be felt worldwide with an estimated 9.5 million daily users.  To put that in perspective that is more people than the total population of New York City.

tumblr_mh74nokblu1r3ifxzo1_500So what is PokemonGo?

Pokemon is owned by Nintendo.  The idea of the game is for trainers to travel the globe in search of Pokemon.  Pokemon are creatures that come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and levels of cuteness.  Once a trainer has caught a Pokemon they can train, evolve, and use their Pokemon to battle others in arenas, and simulated battles of power, magic, and brute strength.

Pokemon has been around for a long time, and been featured as a TV show, Nintendo video game, and a collectable card game.  Now, with the release of PokemonGo iPhone and Android users can play the game in virtual reality.

The game requires users to walk, run, move and explore the world around them.  As they do so they can discover wild Pokemon, catch them, and visit training gyms, and battle their Pokemon against other users Pokemon.

Pretty simple right?

So why is there so much hatred, outcry, and utter disgust over the game?

In the last week I have seen every kind of negative post that you can imagine on social media surrounding the game.  Things like…

  • Concern over children walking into busy streets
  • Players walking into businesses without buying anything
  • Child predators can use the game to kidnap kids

The list goes on and on and on.

Now I suppose everyone is entitled to their opinion, and a game this popular is certainly going to have its naysayers.  But I can’t help but feel that the majority of those people complaining about PokemonGo are simply doing it because it gives them something to hate.  A soapbox to stand on, and receive attention from.  An opportunity to flex their bully muscles, and appear concerned for the welfare of their common man.

I call bullshit!

From my opinion PokemonGo is one of the most ingenious games to come out in years.  It tackles one of the biggest, and growing concerns of epidemic obesity.  Which has been a growing problem in, at least the United States, for years.  For the first time in many a year children, and adults are getting off the couch, going outside, and being active!

Major parks are FILLED with people again.  Playgrounds are sometimes stuffed to capacity. Walking trails are being used.  Running groups are being created with a cross platform of playing PokemonGo while exercising.  This is brilliant!

And yet, there are still people out there complaining about this game.

Probably the same people who complained about kids staying inside, and playing video games all day.

PokemonGo has the potential to change the way gamers play video games.  It has the possibility of changing the way businesses interact with their customers.  It has the potential to help both child and adult get out and explore the big world all around us, and I personally think that is a good thing.

Sometimes I Hate Humans

Yesterday was not a good day.  Most of the details I won’t be sharing online, but suffice to say when the end of the day came I was looking forward to laying down, turning on Game of Thrones, and drifting off into a comfortable sleep.

This didn’t happen.

As I was walking home, less than a block from my house, I saw a large truck drive down the street and toss a kitten out the window.  I was in shock for a few seconds, and then rushed over to see if the kitten was ok.

It was small, maybe a few weeks old, but it seemed to be fine.  I use the evidence that is ran off, extremely fast, into the driveway of my neighbor.  Somehow the kitten managed to get up into the undercarriage of my neighbors car, and he and I spent over an hour trying to get the kitten out.  Eventually the kitten came out on its own, but continued to run from us.

Now I know what you are thinking, how could one small kitten evade three grown men?

Well the answer to that is surprisingly well!  Despite our best efforts, and it being 1:00AM we gave up, and decided to go to bed.  I layed down, and enjoyed a couple hours of blissful sleep before being aroused and awoken by a loud and relentless meowing coming from my front yard.

The kitten had found me.

I went outside, and once again tried to capture the poor kitten.  The pursuit took me down the street and into another neighbor’s driveway.  Being now 4:00AM I felt uncomfortable investigating a neighbor’s driveway with a flashlight, so I again called it quits.

It is now daytime, and I have not seen or heard the kitten, but have been keeping my eyes and ears open, and hope that it’s ok.

As for the ASSHOLE who tossed that kitten out of the window, I pray that Karma smacks you across the face with a giant 2X4!

Waiters – Prepare For A $350 Bill

Throughout my life I have worked as a server.  I enjoy it, to be honest, and have worked at many different restaurants including Bob Evans,  Chillis, Cheddars, and now The Elephant Bar.

Now, let me make a few things clear.  Working as a server or bartender is not the easiest profession in the world.  It can be fast paced and stressful.  With long shifts on your feet. Furthermore servers, like me, make money from the gracious tips our customers leave.

Some days/nights this is a blessing.  Other times a curse.

So as you can imagine for many servers out there every single dollar counts.

With that in mind, can someone please explain to me this new law?

Pursuant to Senate Bill 704, enacted into law in 2016, all retail food handlers, as defined, will be required to obtain a food handler card after taking a food safety training course and passing an exam to obtain a license which will be good for 12 months from the date of issue. The fee for such exam will be $350.00 and will be a requirement of any/all service employers who shall be serving food with the exception of the aforementioned districts. The guideline document was compiled by a stakeholder working group comprised of members of the National Retail Food Safety Coalition (NRFSC), the National Conference of Directors of Environmental Health (NCDEH), and the National Restaurant Association (NRA).  The frequently asked questions and answers in the document are intended to provide guidance for food handlers, local enforcement agencies, industry, and training providers as this law is implemented and becomes effective on January 1, 2017.

Now I am not saying that servers and bartenders should not obtain a food handler’s card. I am all in favor of better training, IF the training is effective, and leads to a positive outcome.

Gene Lee, president and chief executive officer of Darden (Olive Garden, Longhorn Steakhouse, etc.), had this to say about the law: “We feel this new bill will improve the overall safety and excellence that we will be able to provide to our guest.”

My only question is how?  How will this “new” training improve safety and excellence?

Further, why is the government getting involved?  Where does this $350.00 charge go? Who benefits from that money?

It seems to me that this is just a ploy to make money for someone by taking it from us?

When Gene Lee was asked if Darden would ever consider paying for the card on behalf of their employees, he said, “At this time, there are no plans for that. The staff will be responsible if they want to work with the Darden company.”

If you think this kind of legislation is unfair, and want to do something about it, please Sign This Petition and help overturn this law!