30 September 2011

Day 272 (What A Day)

James and I left from Dexter, MO this morning about 0745-ish. We had gotten loaded last night, but due to being out of hours, we couldn't leave until this morning. We made our way through Missouri, into Arkansas, delivering in Berryville. On our way, we passed through Branson, MO (which, in my opinion, amounts to nothing more than a hillbilly version of Vegas - but that's just me), then along U.S. 62 west which took us to our final destination.

Once we left Berryville, I drove down S.R. 21 south to U.S. 412 west and made a stop in Springdale, AR - which is where Tyson's Corporate Offices are. I stopped there to tend to some business with my bank, then back-tracked about 2 blocks to a truck shop to pick up some tire chains (we are required to have them on us when going through Colorado this time of year). Oh yeah, I didn't tell you the cool news... I'm on my way to Tulsa, OK to get a load going to Woodinville, WA/Burnaby, BC.

Needless to say, I haven't had any decent coffee in the past couple days, and I absolutely refuse to abuse my body by consuming that dredge that Pilot truck stops pass off as "coffee." You can probably guess (and you would be right) that my lack of good coffee only slightly affects my temperament:

As the sun in preparing to set, and some of my friends are preparing for the Sabbath, I will bring this post to a close. I hope the Sabbath finds you all filled with joy and peace. I may have a busy weekend ahead, but I will still bless and thank HaShem, the G-d of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, for what He has given me, and that I can enjoy the beauty of His creation as I travel up to the northwest region.

- Another rant via BlogPress

29 September 2011

Day 271 (Done With The Baloney, Now I'm Being Given The Bird)

This morning James and I left from Pevely, MO (a town about 15 miles south of St. Louis) and made our delivery in Memphis, TN, arriving just a little over an hour before our re-scheduled appointment. Fortunately, there was no lumper charges for unloading, as it was pre-paid by Kraft. We are now on our way to pick up the next load... Tyson chicken. It's a short run, due tomorrow afternoon at 1500, but knowing the facility we are picking up at, it may not be ready until about 0630 tomorrow morning. It's going to Berryville, AR (a "podunk" town), which would get me closer to Tulsa, but probably not close enough to be sent out there for a load bound for Woodinville, WA/Burnaby, BC.

I'm really trying to keep a positive outlook on things, but it's pretty difficult after this past 1 1/2 weeks. This being Rosh HaShanah (the Jewish New Year), I'm trying to not get frustrated and let HaShem do what He does best (which is, basically... EVERYTHING).

On another note, my wife, Tikvah, mentioned the other day how I haven't been reporting on the baseball scores... especially the Red Sox. Well, my angel, here you go: the Red Sox are OUT of the post-season playoffs, and the Yankees are IN (after clinching the division title a few weeks ago). As far as I'm concerned, the baseball season is now over. If it turns out to be a Yankees vs. Phillies World Series, I'll quietly support Philadelphia - JUST to see New York lose!

Now I need to go get some coffee.

- Another rant via BlogPress

28 September 2011

Day 270 (What A Load Of Baloney)

Well, at the time of this writing, James and I are still in Davenport, IA. We actually had gotten loaded last night, but due to being out of hours, we couldn't do any driving, or even scale it out (since the nearest CAT Scale was 10 miles away). As it is right now, We left this morning to scale this load, and as of 1300 (CT) I have returned to this customer for a second time to get re-loaded... and yes it is a load of baloney - literally! This load is sliced bologna being shipped (eventually) to Kroger in Memphis, TN.

I think the most frustrating thing I've had to deal with is the woman in the shipping office insinuating that I don't know what I'm talking about. She says the product was loaded according to the load plan - with 2 single pallets in the nose of the trailer - and I'm trying to explain to her (and keep my cool & composure at the same time) that there are no single pallets in the nose (something I have confirmed with my own eyes!)... but I don't know what I'm talking about. Because of this mess I'm dealing with, James and I have yet to get underway, and now the load is re-scheduled from 1000 to 1300 tomorrow.

I think I just need to make a stop to Starbucks.

On a lighter, and MUCH more pleasant note... this evening is Rosh HaShanah, also known as the Jewish New Year. If you celebrate it, may you have a blessed and joyous Shana Tova! Next week (on October 7th, to be exact) is Yom Kippur, or the Day Of Atonement, a time when we seek forgiveness and repentance. I'll close by saying if any of you, my readers, have been offended by anything I have posted on this blog... I sincerely apologize, and ask your forgiveness. My goal is not only to enlighten you with the many sights I see on the road, but in the hopes of opening your spiritual eyes, with my ongoing observations of the things I see going on, not only here in America, but also around the world - and especially in Israel. These are the times when we need to not only watch, but also support Israel (and her people) in every way that we can. Remember, The Lord is watching!

- Another rant via BlogPress

27 September 2011

Day 269 (Here In Eastern Iowa, Done For The Night)

James and I were up at 0430 again this morning, but we made our delivery in Cedar Falls. After we got unloaded, we went over to Walcott, IA and topped off the fuel, showered, then came over here to Davenport to load. Though when the trailer gets loaded, we will just have to park for the night, since we don't have any more hours left on our logbook for driving.

The good thing is this load isn't due to deliver until 1000 Thursday morning, so we still have some time. It's a cool night here in Davenport... probably cool enough to sleep with not even the APU running, though I may not try it. I figured since the weather was pretty cool, it was a good time to make some chili for dinner - which turned out splendidly, of course. I'm hoping to get something Thursday that will send us in the direction of Tulsa, perhaps I will be able to get the load that goes up to Woodinville, WA, then up to Burnaby, BC. At least I can hope, right. James has been doing pretty good, his backing skills are still a little shaky, but I see the improvement.

I would like to apologize for getting this post up past my deadline. I hope you can see your way to forgive me.

- Another rant via BlogPress

26 September 2011

Day 268 (On Our Way To Iowa)

James and I made it to our appointment on time at Walmart this morning, but since they took longer than they should have (plus the fact that Tyson fiddled about with the loading process for this load), our delivery to Cedar Falls, IA will be later than the original 0500 appointment. Things like this happen on occasion, so I just take the bad with the good. I managed to get some coffee from Denny's earlier, so that makes good out of the bad.

We have already been pre-planned on our next load. Once we get this delivered, we will head to Davenport, IA (which is on the east end of the state, just across the Mississippi River from Illinois) and pick up a load bound for Memphis, TN. That's not a bad run, at least it will get me about 2,000 miles for the week.

Being a truck driver is an easy job, but not an easy lifestyle if you are married. Being away from home for weeks - sometimes months - at a time can take its toll on a marriage. I have been fortunate (and blessed) to have an incredible woman as my wife. Though there are time when I question her mental stability... after all, she has put up with me for over 20 years (married for almost 19) - so she must be crazy, right? In all seriousness, I truly am blessed, especially since I have seen many marriages fail, both here in the trucking industry and in the military. It takes a special kind of man in both professions to hold their own and keep focused upon the mission at hand (as well as keeping their libido in check). It also takes a special woman whom is married to a man in either profession. I can honestly say that I am TRULY blessed, because Tikvah has been with me, through thick and thin, in BOTH professions.

Yeah... she's THAT special!

- Another rant via BlogPress

25 September 2011

Day 267 (Just Waiting It Out)

We are still parked here in Bentonville, AR just waiting it out until we make our delivery at 0500 tomorrow, which, as some of you already know, I really don't care for those early morning deliveries - especially when I can't park closer to the customer than what I am now.

Last night, while hanging out here at Starbucks, I was fortunate enough to engage in some real conversation - intellectually stimulating. The gentleman whom I conversed with (mostly) was named Sherman, from Palm Beach, FL (not very far from my birthplace & "stomping grounds" of Hollywood/Ft. Lauderdale). Our dialogue ran the gamut, spanning about 2 - 2 1/2 hours, when we parted ways 1 1/2 hours after Starbucks closed. We did share the same view concerning the recent Palestinian Authority bid for statehood, in that the whole media coverage of it is a farce. First of all, it's interesting how there are so many that seem to "forget" that the breakdown in the peace talks between the PA and Israel was not due to PM Benyamin Netanyahu refusing to negotiate, but PM Mahmoud Abbas! For one thing, Abbas is now talking about calling for a renegotiation of - which could very well bring an end to - the Oslo Accords.

Second, it's interesting that there is such a push for Israel to revert back to the pre-1967 borders. During that war Israel was outnumbered, yet were still victorious. Therefore, the message that is being sent by the Arab world is, "it doesn't matter that we lost the war we initiated, as well as the land (*note* also referred to as the spoils of war), if we cry "injustice" long enough and loud enough, the rest of the world will pressure the victors to give it back to us." Palestine doesn't exist as a country, but that's the "title" given to them ever since the British Mandate in 1920. Also interesting, that one of the terrorist organizations within the PA is Hammas. If you do a little biblical research, you'll find that G-d called Noah to build an ark, because "The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence." (Genesis 6:11)... but when you look at it in the Hebrew text (this excerpt is taken from the Hebrew Today website):

וַתִמָלֵּא הָאָרֶץ חָמַס (בראשית, ו, יב)

“. . and the earth was filled with violence” ( Genesis 5,11 )

The word “חָמַס “ ( chamas ) is translated into English as “violence”. The Hebrew word for “ violence” is “ אלימות “ ( alimut ). So what is the difference between the two? חָמַס is a much more severe type of violence. Violence which contains injustice. It does not have to necessarily contain physical violence. Theft , embezzlement and fraud are all considered “חמס “.

Both the Hebrew word AND the terrorist group name are pronounced the same! Just some food for thought.

What are your thoughts?

- Another rant via BlogPress

24 September 2011

Day 266 (This Trip Is Finished... Kinda)

James and I finally made it to Bentonville, AR. We are parked at a truck stop about 6 miles from the Walmart where we are delivering on Monday. The unfortunate thing about it is, with all the property Walmart has on any of their distribution centers, they don't accommodate, nor even consider, any truck parking. Granted, there are a lot of truck drivers that are trashy (thus giving those of us that try to project a positive image) and give the rest of us a bad name... but with all the inbound freight Walmart has on a daily basis (and few D.C.'s with even a nearby truck stop) you would think they would take us into consideration. Wait... what was I thinking... we are meaningless to them.

Also, this truck stop - which is the closest - charges a $10 fee... which is rather ridiculous considering they only have enough room for 4 trucks. There is a Lowe's behind said truck stop, but I would have to leave by sunrise, which would ruin any chance of getting a 34 hour re-start on our logbooks. A good side to all this is James and I were pre-planned yesterday, so when we are done at Walmart, we head over to Tyson in Rogers, AR, do a drop & hook (considering the load is ready) and head up to Cedar Falls, IA for Tuesday morning... so at least this week is shaping up to be better than last week.

Well, I'm done ranting, I'll close this out... and enjoy my trademark coffee drink here at Starbucks.

- Another rant via BlogPress

23 September 2011

Day 265 (Soon To Be On The Way To Bentonville)

This afternoon James and I are picking up a load here in Chicago (a load of Tootsie Rolls) delivering in Bentonville, AR for Monday morning. It may not be much, but perhaps it will put is in a location that will produce better miles next week.

This week there have been several world leaders speaking at the United Nations, with the primary purpose being the possible creation of a Palestinian state. Today (being the final day) featured Mahmoud Abbas delivering his petition for statehood. The problem I see with his point of "Israel has occupied Palestinians for 63 years" is that in 1948, when Israel was given their land back by the UN... well, you can read the brief history for yourself. Palestinians are NOT a nation. To the Arab world, all they are is political leverage... something that can be used to further their own agenda. I'll put it in perspective this way: after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast region, all of a sudden Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson were "concerned" for the safety and well-being of the people of New Orleans... but once the media hype died down, Sharpton and Jackson were nowhere in sight. They exploited the situations AND the people for their own means & agenda. That's the same way that Palestinians are treated by their Arab "brothers." Most "Palestinians" are Muslim, so the key discrepancy I see is why should they have their own "state" with Jerusalem as its Capitol. The cities that Muslims revere as sacred are Mecca and Medina... Jerusalem is meaningless to them.

The only bearing that Jerusalem would have in the Muslim world is they would use it for furthering their cause of eradicating the Jewish people, something that Mahmoud Ahmadinajah fully supports... even making that claim in the UN!

I'm, as yet, unsure of the progress of these hearings, but all I can say is please continue to hold Israel in prayer - this is the time where they really need it. May you all be safe, and may the G-d of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob bless you! May your Sabbath be blessed as well!

- Another rant via BlogPress

22 September 2011

Day 264 (This Week Is Shot)

We arrived here in Alsip, IL last night, and can't deliver this for another 47 minutes, because the broker scheduled it for 1600 today. All the years I have driven a truck, and all the different brokers I have had to deal with, this brokerage (Transplace) has to be the worst one yet. I say this because if you recall from Day 262, the load I was supposed to pick up wasn't there. This could not be chalked up to "a minor error", that was outright incompetence. I've lost 2 days worth of driving (in the line of work we are not paid by the hour, but by the mile - if the wheels aren't turning, you're not making any money) dealing with them and this load, only to find myself in the right place, but at the wrong time... my next load (thankfully not a broker) picks up tomorrow, but doesn't deliver until Monday in Bentonville, AR.

Besides having to deal with the incompetence at the brokers, I'm also grouchy because I haven't had any coffee today.

- Another rant via BlogPress

21 September 2011

Day 263 (Almost To Chicago)

James and I finally got the trailer loaded and leaving out of Pine Bluff, AR around 2000 yesterday. We made it to Matthews, MO and shut down there. Since this load (as I found out from the broker earlier today) doesn't deliver until 1600 tomorrow, so there is no major rush... but I do intend to get to the customer tonight. I'm doing that so in case they don't unload us until 1600, then we won't have to even log on... also, I really don't want to deal with the Chicago area traffic frost thing in the morning.

I had James pull off here in Effingham, IL (about 90 miles east of St. Louis) so we could switch over (I'm gradually increasing his daily miles), and so I could walk over to Starbucks to get my coffee fix. The weather is definitely showing signs of the fall season we are in; cooler temperatures, and the fading/falling of the leaves. I'm really hoping our next load sends us in the direction of Tulsa, so I can get another load bound for Woodinville, WA/Burnaby, BC - I bet the temperatures have dropped a little more up in that region. If I do get one of those loads, I may have to either purchase some tire chains on the road (which the company will cover the expenses for), or get some from another driver that will not need them.

I'm really jonesin' to head back up to the northwest again, can you tell?

- Another rant via BlogPress

20 September 2011

Day 262 (Finally Leaving Pine Bluff)

We arrived here in Pine Bluff, AR last night, only to find out that the load we were supposed to pick up (going to Twinsburg, OH) didn't exist. After waiting all day, the broker finally got things sorted out... now James and I will be heading to Alsip, IL (which is a suburb on the southwest side of Chicago). This is one of the reasons I don't like about brokers... most of them need to visit a proctologist several times a times a day in order to do their job.

James and I are getting along quite famously. It's nice to finally have someone with which I can hold an intellectual conversation for more than 2-3 minutes. After just the first 24 hours, I can honestly tell that the teaching industry will, some day, suffer a great loss. From our conversations, I've come to the conclusion that because of the government's involvement in the educational system, there will be many more teachers that will either leave their chosen careers of their own free will, or due to the politics that are being imposed - many good teachers, I might add. Those of you who are parents, or just observe the young adults graduating as products of the current system, can see the system as we know it now is just endorsing a practice of the indoctrination of ignorance. That very practice goes on to being further endorsed at the college/university level, where political ideology is being passed off as "education." Gone are the days of encouraging logical debates through free-thinking individuals.

Wake the hell up and smell the coffee!!

- Another rant via BlogPress

19 September 2011

Day 261 (On The Road, Missing Home)

I left out this morning and headed to the North Little Rock terminal and picked up James, my new student. James is 56, he's from a small town in Texas, and used to be a teacher. Him and I have been talking about a plethora of subjects, from his previous job to politics to food.

We got a load which picks up in Pine Bluff (through a broker), but when we got here, we found out the load wasn't on the schedule. When I inquired with one of the forklift drivers, he told me that the load was only partially ready, and that they would not be running any of the product until tomorrow. Therefore we will be staying here tonight and getting with Monica (my Fleet Manager), as well as the broker, and try to sort this out. On the upside, not only did I leave home with a cup of coffee, but I also made my pilgrimage to Starbucks.

At least this is one way to show James some of the down sides to this industry, but hopefully this will means there will be more "smooth sailing" loads in the very NEAR future.

- Another rant via BlogPress

18 September 2011

Day 260 (Back To Work Tomorrow)

It was nice being home, but all good things must come to an end. Today, we had a very nice late lunch/early dinner: I made some more matzoh ball soup, and Tikvah made some butter/herb chicken. After we enjoyed a good siesta, we rented a couple movies. We watched Paul the other night, so we returned that, and , after the movie Tikvah want originally wanted to see (Bride's Maids) had not been released yet, we rented Red and You Again - both of which were superb (and both of which I watched while enjoying our last  glass of wine... until we get some more in a couple weeks).

Tomorrow I head back out to work, and pick up a new student. his name is James and he lives in Texas. As the next few weeks move along, I'll fill you in on his progress. Until then - Ciao!

17 September 2011

Day 259 (My Wife Is Hilarious)

It's been a lovely Sabbath, even more so because I'm spending it at home. Yesterday my wife, Tikvah, and I went to Walmart (even though I avoid shopping there whenever possible) where she saw a pair of boots that she liked. I encouraged her to get them, since they were pretty reasonable - and were in her size - but she declined, saying she really didn't need them. She is fairly frugal, so she always looking for a good deal, but she doesn't always buy said deals. Well, we went to Walmart today to pick up a few things (like the ingredients for her spicy spaghetti, which I'll make on the truck), and look around a bit. She spotted some curtains in a "1/2 off" bin. She saw a sage green set of curtains, considered them for a moment (she said they would go in the kitchen), and put them back. I told her since they were 1/2 off, she's not losing any money - especially since all she wanted was the valance. We walked away from the bin, mainly because the other people there were quite rude (actually behaving more like savages).

We split up because I went to get some olives. When we got back together, she had the boot she was looking at yesterday. I'm glad she finally decided to get them, but when I asked what changed her mind, she said, "well, I could get the curtains, which are the same price, but the boots I can actually wear... the curtains would just hang there."

That's one of the reasons I love her - she really cracks me up!

16 September 2011

Day 258 (A Nice Lazy Day)

A quiet day, very laid back... my kind of day. When we live in such a fast-paced, hectic world, it's always good to pull back and slow down. Chilled out this morning drinking coffee while I played a few records (Tears For Fears - Songs From The Big Chair, for one), this afternoon I got my new Banana Republic photojournalist vest back from the cleaners. The last one I had to throw away, as I found out (the hard way) when you wash one of those - in a washing machine - the material can break down fairly quickly. This one will only get dry cleaned, though this one didn't go to the cleaners for cleaning, but to get coated with scotch guard (about 7 coats, or so the cleaners' clerk told me). It would be a lot easier to replace the vest if Banana Republic still made them.

As we close in on the Sabbath (which I'm a little late in getting this up), I have some dough in the oven rising for the challah bread, and some matzoh ball soup on the stove... as well as a glass of wine sitting here before me. May you all have a blessed evening! Drop me a line, tell me what you like the most (or the least) about this blog, as I'm considering taking it in a different direction... one that's more a personal perspective on current events: from local news (where ever I happen to be at the time), up to the national  - or even world - level. As I mentioned before, I post all comments. Take care and be blessed! 

15 September 2011

Day 257 (It's So Nice To Be Home)

I got home late last night, and it feels so nice! As some of you may have noticed, I did a little tweaking on the  blog site. I've added a few little things, and I may possibly be adding a few more... hopefully it will begin to enhance your experience while visiting here. I'm still looking at some other add-ons, so this will be a work-in-progress.

Today, Tikvah and I took our youngest son to the eye doctor, so he could get a new prescription for his glasses, though his new prescription isn't much different, but his glasses were also getting a little small for his head - so it was time.

Tonight's agenda: chill out, drink coffee, play some records, and possibly watch Paul.

14 September 2011

Day 256 (Home, Sweet Home)

Chuck and I made it to the North Little Rock terminal at half past midnight this morning. Yesterday afternoon one of the instructors in the training center called me and reserved a room for Chuck in the "on campus" lodging. This morning Chuck took his final evaluation. I haven't heard anything, but from my conversation with Ed (the same instructor that took care of Chuck's room), he told me that Chuck was doing well. By now he's probably getting things organized in his truck, and he may be getting home tonight or tomorrow.

Speaking of getting home... I took the load the rest of the way to Ft. Smith and delivered it this afternoon. After I had that taken care of, I went to our Ft. Smith terminal to kick back a bit (and get some Starbucks). Monica (my fleet manager) called me and asked if I would drop my trailer at a customer in Russellville, AR, then pick up a different trailer (from another customer), to which once that was done, to go home. So, by tonight I will be at home for the next few days. Come Monday, I'll pick up my next student from the North Little Rock terminal and carry on from there. Until then, I may have to surf the web and rant about what I come across - just so I can have some decent content to offer you the next few days.

I may not be Snickers, but I will, at least, try to satisfy.

- Another rant via BlogPress

13 September 2011

Day 255 (Finally Getting Out Of Atlanta)

Yesterday Chuck and I had gotten a load out of Atlanta, which was going to New Albany, MS. This morning, that load was changed. Now we are picking up in a different part of Atlanta, going to Ft. Smith, AR... and to release Chuck once we get to the terminal in North Little Rock, so he can get his final evaluation and get his own truck.

Last night (as many already know) was the Tea Party debate on CNN. I didn't watch it, as I was stuck at the original place I was originally going to load at, but my initial assessment of the debates is, first of all, they are still politicians. Granted, they may be "endorsed" by the Tea Party movement, but they are still politicians. Another "red flag" (for me, at least) is the debates were hosted by CNN, which is NOT going to pose an unbiased view in their questions... then again, what network would give an unbiased view? It seems that the Democrat party is ceaseless in their attempt to vilify the Tea Party movement, while the Republican treats them as an extension of their own party. From what I have seen, the Tea Party movement was started by American citizens that are fed up with the "politics-as-usual" attitude emanating from D.C., and are looking for real change within the system, as well as TRUE accountability from those that WE have elected into office. When we have a government that has put into place an automatic annual pay raise for themselves while simultaneously trying to eliminate that same annual pay raise for the military, then there is something seriously wrong! In the time prior to (and even after) the attack on Pearl Harbor, most of the politicians that served in D.C. were military vets... now it seems that a military vet in politics is rare. What we need is for these politicians to realize they don't call the shots - WE do! If they (as most of them do) want to act as if they are "above us" or that they know "what's best for us," then it's time to put them in the unemployment line, and replace them with somebody who WILL keep the interest of America - and not their own - as their PRIMARY focus. If they won't be accountable for their own actions and decisions, then we don't need them!

I say the time for a good "house cleaning" is long overdue!

- Another rant via BlogPress

12 September 2011

Day 254 (Rebuttal To A Comment From Yesterday)

Today Chuck and I delivered our load on the north end of the Atlanta area. Once we finished unloading, we headed to the nearest truck stop to wait for our next load. When it came in this afternoon, we headed to the customer, which is just a couple miles from where we unloaded, though, because of a mixup between the customer and the broker, this has quickly become quite the fiasco (one of the reasons I don't care to deal with brokers). The broker has said the load is scheduled to deliver in New Albany, MS tomorrow at 2130, yet, the customer (where I'm loading) is saying it doesn't load until 2000 tomorrow. I'm letting Monica (my Fleet Manager) - along with our CSR - try to get it hashed out with the broker.

On another note, the blog I posted yesterday garnered a response on the blog's "comment" section. I usually get comments on either Facebook or Twitter in regards to the posts, but every once in a while I get one on the blog itself. As I posted at the end of my post for Day 245, I will post all comments, unless it takes on the appearance of "spam," so this comment I treated as a regular comment. This particular comment rather amused me. As a general rule, "spam," by definition, is trying to sell or market some type of service or technological assistance. I'll first post the comment (unedited), then analyze its content:

brinkka2011 says: How is it that just anyone can publish a blog and get as popular as this? Its not like youve said anything incredibly impressive more like youve painted a quite picture through an issue that you know nothing about! I dont want to sound mean, right here. But do you genuinely think that you can get away with adding some quite pictures and not truly say something?

Here's my rebuttal to "brinkka2011" - A) This was in my inbox as a post from "anonymous"; why not identify yourself?, B) *ahem* "as popular as this" - really?! Even the most basic research wasn't done! Had this person even looked, they would see I have 10 subscribers through Blogger, and another 5, via Networked Blogs, and (I'll be nice and just cover 3 areas), C) "an issue you know nothing about" - that statement alone is laughable. 9/11 is an issue I know nothing about... now that's rich! "brinkka2011," when if you have a desire for a real debate, bring some facts - and some SOLID issues to discuss - and we can address this like intellectual adults... until then, go trolling on somebody else's blog!

I could go on a brutal tirade with "brinkka2011", but I'm in good spirits today: I got a funny comment on yesterday's post AND I got my trademark coffee (grande triple Marble Mocha Machiatto) from Starbucks... a pretty good Monday (even if I am waiting until tomorrow to load).

- Another rant via BlogPress

11 September 2011

Day 253 (Remembering 9/11/2001)

Ten years ago a terrible tragedy took place - the attack, and subsequent destruction - of the Twin Towers of New York City. Many of us have our own story to tell of what we were doing that day. I do as well, but here I will NOT share it! The reason being is this day shouldn't be remembered by memories of what we were doing, but by how it has affected our lives, communities, and most importantly, our nation. Ten years ago, I was living in Hemet, California. The night of 9/10/01 things were as I would expect them to be: people in a rush to go nowhere, and every once in a while, a motorist might show a little courtesy to either a fellow motorist or a pedestrian. 24 hours later brought a turn-around: people would yield their right of way at intersections, using their turn signals, even allowing somebody to cut in front of them during peak traffic hours... and miniature copies of Old Glory flying from just about every vehicle that drove down the street, Sadly enough, things reverted back only one month later.

As time has gone on (and after going back out on the road, I was able to see a broader spectrum of this complacency), the slogan, "Never Forget 9/11" always seems to pop up everywhere a week before the annual memorial. The truth of the matter is, we have many entities to blame for this tragedy happening. The Muslim world, for one. After all, seeing the footage of the celebrations and the dancing in the streets shortly after the towers fell... they certainly weren't having a block party! They call us "infidels" and despise our way of life... yet never give a second thought about about using Western technology (cell phones, computers, automobiles, etc.). They are truly cowards when they hide behind black hood, store their arms & ammunition in their own mosques, even attack and kill their own fellow Muslims, just so they can instill fear and control over them. I can almost bet that the "peaceful" Muslims would not be peaceful any longer if there were an actual Jihad called upon the Western world.

Another entity that we can put blame upon would be our own government. Before 9/11, the Twin Towers had already been attacked once before, just 8 years earlier. I remember this because I was in the Marine Corps, and all of Camp Pendleton was locked down when it happened. When you start looking a little closer at events and how they tie in with one another, you begin to see a pattern. The attack in 1993 didn't work, so the Muslim radicals began to explore other methods, also referred to as "trial and error." Since 9/11 there are other similar patterns. There was an attempted bombing several years ago in Oklahoma City. OK, during an OSU football game. It was an "attempt" because the security officers were diligent and refused to let a patron in because he refused to allow his backpack to be searched. The device went off in a field outside the stadium killing only the potential bomber. This was an event that wasn't reported on any of the mainstream media outlets. FOX didn't cover it because then it would have sent the message that Conservatives didn't want to get out: "we are not as safe as we led you to believe"; ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN didn't report it because it would have sent the message, "perhaps Muslims are not as peaceful as we want you to believe," and that would have contradicted their ideology as well.

Then there is the post 9/11 activities. Throughout the past 10 years we have succumbed to the "Politically Correct" ideology that has been force-fed to us, using the military as the test subjects. In 1993 was when the military began the "Stress Card" program - recruits were issued a "Stress Card" at boot camp. If any recruit felt he or she were getting too "stressed out," they held the card up, and the Drill Instructors could not do their job (i.e. build up discipline, create camaraderie/integrity, in short, an environment that a soldier or Marine must endure in a combat situation). That was probably just the stepping stone which allowed for the shooting in Ft. Hood, TX to take place. Because of the practice of being "politically correct," Maj. Hassan couldn't be disciplined despite the fact that he had made comments of his extremist views in a forum of his fellow Army officers. He is a Muslim, I get that, but if you make Jihadist remarks, then you should be disciplined! He wasn't even confronted by his superiors when he made anti-America comments... that is NOT the military I served in, but, apparently, it's the military that our elected morons have created. The Ft. Hood debacle is just another example of the radicals "testing the waters" to see what their next plan of action will be.

In closing, let's not honor the fallen just on 9/11, let's treat everyday as if it's 9/11. Muslims threaten Israel on a daily basis. They despise Israel AND America; both the Jewish AND the Christian. Israel is surrounded by Muslim countries, yet they still exist and survive. If Muslims succeed in "wiping Israel from the face of the Earth," then how much easier will it be for them to attack us again (after all, they live among us all over the country). Be alert, be diligent, and, most of all, be persistent. We can't afford to be "Politically Correct" any more!

Above all, PRAY! Pray for our protection, for our leaders, for our troops... and for Israel!

- Another rant via BlogPress

10 September 2011

Day 252 (A Lovely, Peaceful Sabbath)

This has been a very peaceful Sabbath (as they usually are). Chuck and I are still - and will be, until tomorrow - in Blacksburg, SC (which is along I-85, just 4 miles south of the NC/SC state lines). The weather isn't all that bad, but the peace of studying Torah makes any weather comfortable.

Chuck has been inside the truck stop for most of the day, watching football. Several games are on today, neither of which I'll be watching. I'm not a big sports fan, and I could never understand how some could be so content to sit for hours at a time doing so. I guess that's just me.

Tomorrow, as everybody knows, is the 10 year Memorial of 9/11 (I refuse to call it an "anniversary," since an anniversary is an event to celebrate). I'll post something tomorrow reflective of the event of the day, and my subsequent observations of the weeks that followed. Therefore, today will be a short post.

Go have coffee!

- Another rant via BlogPress

09 September 2011

Day 251 (Heading To Atlanta)

We started out from North East, MD, a small town north of Baltimore, almost to the Maryland/Delaware state line, on I-95. Not too far from North East is a town called Port Deposit, where they have recently been evacuated because of the flooding. Once we topped off the fuel, I had us pull into the Maryland House service plaza (about 3 miles south on I-95) so I could get my grandé triple Marble Mocha Machiatto from Starbucks (you start a day off right without your coffee fix, right?). Once that was done, I had what was necessary for dealing with the traffic in Baltimore and the D.C. area. Fortunately we were under way early enough in the day where it can still be a madhouse (as it usually is), but not as bad as it is right about now. Anybody who has ever dealt with the traffic around D.C. on a Friday afternoon, would, like me, much prefer the L.A. area.

Chuck and I just left a short while ago (after making a brief stop) from Graham, NC (just south of Raleigh), where, in a moment of impulse (I, strangely, had a desire for ice cream), I picked up a pint of Ben & Jerry's Bonnaroo Buzz. It was pretty good, but my favorite flavors still remain as Mint Chocolate Cookie and Strawberry Cheesecake. I do hope that, perhaps someday, they resurrect the Vermonty Python flavor... and by now, I'm quite sure you've heard of the new flavor that they have introduced.

As we finish the last 70 miles here in North Carolina, I think we will shut down in South Carolina, just across the state line to be exact, and probably finish the trip out Sunday, so we can get a re-start on our logbooks, and I can enjoy another peaceful Sabbath.

By the way, this post has been published on the new Blogger iPhone app, but it was actually composed on the BlogPress app. So far, I'm not too impressed with the Blogger app, mainly for its lack of features (BlogPress is MUCH more versatile). Hopefully, in the coming weeks/months, they will expand its capabilities. We shall see.

On a random note... is it me, or does Brian Johnson, lead vocalist of AC/DC, sound like Gollum (Lord Of The Rings) when he sings?

- Posted on the new Blogger app

08 September 2011

Day 250 (Heading Due South)

We started the day off early (0500 CT) from Carlisle, PA, just south of Harrisburg. Getting up at that hour has never been a favorite task of mine, but it had to be done. It had rained last night, as well as started drizzling this morning when Chuck and I set off. The rain progressively got worse, to the point that the Westbound side (we were traveling on the Eastbound side) of the Pennsylvania Turnpike was only moving in the left lane, as the waters were flooding onto the turnpike and into the right lane (and a little into that left travel lane). Once we made the transition from I-76 to I-276 toward New Jersey (on the north end of Philadelphia) was when we began to hit the heavy traffic... really heavy. Our appointment was set for 1000 (ET), we told the company last night that we estimated on being at the customer by 1100, but after hitting the traffic jam, we didn't get to the customer until 1200.

The good thing is our next load picks up here at the same customer and will be delivered on Monday morning in Atlanta. We should get in another re-start on our logbooks, since this load is only 800 or so miles. Once I find out exactly where the customer is then I'll be able to determine where we will park for the re-start... and Chuck just might be able to catch a couple football games. Though I may have to break the news to him that, as a truck driver, there will be a lot of football games he will be missing when he's on the road - though I think he does have some idea of that already. I, myself, am not a big sports fanatic, though there are my favorite teams that I keep tabs on, mainly through the interweb: Boston Red Sox (via MLB) and Detroit Red Wings & L.A. Kings (via NHL).

The even better news is there are several places (3 to be exact) between here and Baltimore where I can have him stop for Starbucks... and there's one at a truck stop in South Carolina, as well - but I wouldn't know anything about that, would I?

- Another rant via BlogPress

07 September 2011

Day 249 (Almost Done With This Trip)

We shut down in Brazil, IN last night, a town about 10 miles east of Terra Haute, on I-70. Chuck pulled in at a good time of the evening, since the Pilot truck stop was beginning to fill up. We got parked in a decent spot and shut it down for the night, even though it was around 2000 (2100 ET). When we got up this morning, we got our showering in, then he did the pre-trip, fueled, and we were on our way.

We did get our delivery appointment time set: tomorrow morning at 1000 ET. I'm pretty sure we can pull it off, though it may mean having to get up early tomorrow morning to make this final drop on time. Had some rain to drive through, some construction zones, traffic... basically, things that were not as frequent when we were out west. Sure we had some construction zones, but a lot less traffic to deal with, and not very much rain (once or twice up in Washington state) - and lots of mountains.

I received a message earlier, from the Operations Department, apparently we will start getting all "committed pre-plans," which (I surmise) means we will all begin getting pre-planned work assignments (a work assignment you get before you are finished with the load you are currently on). Though I'm not exactly sure how the message is intended, there could still be questions and doubts within the Operations personnel as to what is meant, as well as how to employ this new policy... only time will tell. One thing I can be sure about is that by this time next week, Chuck will be in his own truck, pulling loads, organizing paperwork, etc. without me looking over his shoulder. Until then, he's enduring the cramped spaces of being in a trainer truck with me, either when we are parked for the night, or as we drive down the road (as we are now... and we just crossed into West Virginia). We will have a pit-stop shortly, probably in Pennsylvania (with a second on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, co I can get my coffee fix curbed at Starbucks).

Very well... enough of my babbling!

- Another rant via BlogPress

06 September 2011

Day 248 (Done With Tulsa, Now On To New Jersey)

Chuck and I got the Tulsa drop delivered this morning, now we are on our way to Dayton, NJ... though the delivery appointment time has still yet to be determined. It was pretty nice (and good planning on my part) to get a re-start on our logbooks in Tulsa, though not as nice as Woodinville, WA, since there was much more accessibility to stores, shops, etc. in Woodinville. The weather this morning was a comfortable cool, which is a very nice change considering the temperatures that Tulsa has had the past couple months. It's nice to finally have the seasonal transition into Fall, which means Winter is just around the corner.

When I spoke to Monica (my Fleet Manager) this morning, I said that the earliest I could foresee arriving in Dayton, NJ was about mid-afternoon on Thursday, though I do hope the appointment gets scheduled for first thing Friday morning. Should that happen, I just may be able to get together with an old friend from my Marine Corps days. As we drive through Missouri, I look to the south and keep thinking, "just 1 1/2 more weeks to go!" That's how much time until I get home again. It's amazing how much ground I can cover when I get in the right position for certain loads. In just the past 10 days, I (along with Chuck) have gone from Rogers, AR to Tulsa, OK, then up to Woodinville, WA & Burnaby, BC. Then getting the next load in Lewiston, ID, back down to Tulsa, to where we are now - roughly around 4,200 miles.

That's quite a bit of coverage!

The nice thing is being able to stop at a few Starbucks locations along the way, though this morning I had Denny's... which is good enough (plus there were no Starbucks for a few miles). I look forward to my next trip up to the Northwest... I hope you'll join me!

- Another rant via BlogPress

05 September 2011

Day 247 (Labor Day - I'm In The Mood To Rant)

I sit here in Tulsa, OK, at the Flying J where Chuck and I parked yesterday evening. Not much by way of activity here, and there's not much for amenities or shopping that are within walking distance. We deliver about 3 miles from here tomorrow morning, a place which does allow for truck parking, but I made the call to park here, as the Flying J does have a driver's lounge (a.k.a. a t.v. room). I did a little perusing of the internet earlier and found, to my disgust, that Jimmy Hoffa, Jr. made a bit of a scathing speech earlier in Detroit, more or less lashing out against the Tea Party:

“We gotta keep an eye on the battle we face: the war on workers. And you see it everywhere, it is the Tea Party. And you know, there is only one way to beat and win that war. The one thing about working people is we like a good fight. And you know what? They got a war, and they got a war with us. There is only going to be one winner and it’s going to be us.”

It's so interesting how a grass roots movement - who calls both Democrats and Republicans into accountability - is such a "threat".

Interestingly enough, Zara Golden did a story on it at the Media-ite website. What's even more interesting is that on the CNN website, they spoke of The President's speech there, and gave Hoffa's remarks a whitewashed fleeting appearance in the article... which is more than what the ABC News website gave (which was not even coverage of the rally). This goes to show how slanted and biased our "media" has become. If those exact works were said at a rally hosted by the GOP or the Tea Party, you can GUARANTEE it would have been immediately splashed along the networks, and the parties responsible would have been accused of making "terroristic threats". It seems that whoever supports the current "regime" can do and say whatever they wish, but whoever speaks out against will be run through the mill and ostensibly scrutinized and discredited. If you do some research, you will find that these very tactics (of discrediting the opposition) were often employed - even through violent acts - by the National Socialist German Workers Party... most commonly referred to as the NAZI Party.

What I am seeing is a transformation of this country - and not in a positive way. Those of you who may see current events unfolding, and see how it is reflective of past history - even when consulting in Scriptural context (as I do) - can see that the only possible good that could come out of what transformations have been occurring, is for us to turn to prayer. By that, I don't mean in whatever religion you follow, but by seeking the One True Living G-d in prayer. Things around us won't change until we first change things within us.

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it"
-George Santayana

- Another rant via BlogPress

04 September 2011

Day 246 (Almost Done With This Leg)

Last night, Chuck and I shut down in Colby, KS, just 53 miles from the Kansas/Colorado state line, which left us with about 470 miles left to cover today. I actually dread this part of the trip, because we will be heading back into the more humid weather. The Weather Channel says that Tulsa is supposed to be in the 80's for the next few days.

Driving through the northern plains and venturing into the mountainous territory that the Northwest is known for always offers a sense of peace - that and the reduced amount of traffic - which always makes for a relaxing drive. When I first started driving a truck I recall being rather skittish, almost terrified, of driving through the mountains (which is understandable if you've limited experience doing so), but over the years I have gained a longing to drive those areas. There are areas in the East and Northeast which some consider as "mountainous", but the real mountain regions are only in the West and Northwest.

One thing I teach my students is to have respect for the mountains: drive in a way that provides the safest passage for the weight you're hauling, in accordance with the grade percentage. For example, if you have a gross vehicle weight of 79,200 and going down a grade that's rated at 6% for the next 10 miles, the last thing you want to do is 65 MPH (or more). At that point, if your brakes start smoking, all you have left to look out for is a "truck runaway ramp"... if you haven't already passed it, not to mention the lives around you that your ignorance has put at risk. In all the years I've driven, I have never had a runaway truck, nor a wreck, nor have I rolled a truck over. As I have told Chuck (as well as Clint, Joseph, and Allen before him), go down the grade in the speed you feel safe & comfortable doing. If that happens to be 25 MPH, then so be it. Two important keys as a truck driver is to always arrive at your destinations safe and on time; if you can't fulfill both, then always choose safety over on-time.

- Another rant via BlogPress

03 September 2011

Day 245 (I Want Your Input On This Possibility)

Waking up to 42° in Casper, WY this morning, along with my visit to Starbucks, made for the start of a joyous and peaceful Sabbath. Chuck had a full day yesterday, covering about 620 miles before we shut down. Being up in the Northwestern region rather spoiled me with the cooler weather, especially since I live in an area where the temperatures often top 100° (I won't even begin to lament about the humidity.

As I mentioned in Day 240, there are a few things I'd like to get for the purpose of improving the content of this blog, though after seeing the Specialized bicycles at Woodinville Bicycle, I don't think I'm going to limit myself to just the Bianchi brand. What I would like some feedback on is should I put a PayPal link on the blog's main page for donations, or am I asking a bit much? Allow me to elaborate a bit: A) the bicycle (now possibly a Specialized Camber Elite) - for traveling into areas that are not "truck friendly", even venturing into more rugged terrain which would allow for more scenic photo opportunities, which lead to, B) the Canon Rebel DSLR camera - the camera on the iPhone (as well as the other camera/photo apps) are good, but still don't capture the beauty, nor the depth, of the things I see around me. Call me "old-fashioned", but I've always felt more of a sense of accomplishment when I can have more of a hands-on approach when capturing a picture (zoom, focus, filter use, etc.). With said camera, I would need, C) a MacBook Pro - after all, rather than waiting a couple weeks before I get home in order to upload those incredible shots (provided by B) that I was able to achieve from the vantage points (accessible due to A), I can upload them, upon returning to the truck, onto the MBP, then post onto the blog, either that day or the next.

Does that sound like a viable dream/request? I would really like some feedback on this. Thank you for reading and/or commenting (and I do post ALL comments, but if it looks like the work of a "spambot", then it probably is). I look forward to hearing from you.

May you all be blessed!

- Another rant via BlogPress

02 September 2011

Day 244 (Most Of The Day In Montana)

It has been so nice being up here in the north west, especially waking up to cooler weather, as I did this again this morning (it was about 42°). The terrain starting off was a bit mountainous, but a bit later has leveled off to more of a "rolling hills" traveling. It's most definitely the high western plains region, as you can tell from this shot taken as Chuck drove us through Big Timbers, MT:

This area does offer a solitude unlike no other. Driving through the mountainous regions are quite stunning, but if you've never driven through mountains in a truck before (like Chuck), then you would be concentrating more on the road than taking in the scenery. This is one of those areas where, if I didn't have a student, I would drive through here, without music (or any other distractions), and just absorb the majestic views that could only have been created by The Lord. With this evening bringing in the Sabbath, that makes this trip even more joyous and peaceful.

I enjoy living in big cities (though my current residence in not in one), but - like I told my wife when we were discussing a possibility of living in Woodinville, WA - we could always take trips to Snoqualmie Pass if I ever wanted to play in the snow during Winter. I may have been born and raised in S. Florida, but I will always feel "at home" in the western areas. It's always nice to escape the mazes of the "rat race" every now and then and seek solace in wherever it is you choose to call your "getaway", to unplug and recharge for a few days. You would be surprised how well that really works.

On another note (and to amuse my wife, since she said I probably wouldn't do it), the last three night was another meeting between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. Of the three games, Boston were only victorious in the second game. The Yankees (BLECH!) may have won 2 of those three games - but the Red Sox are still #1 in their division (stick THAT in your striped hats, Yankees!)!

- Another rant via BlogPress

01 September 2011

Day 243 (Still Going East, But A Different Destination)

As with the last trip through here (with Clint), Chuck and I shut down in Ellensburg, WA, about 110 miles east of Seattle. The weather was so cool last night that I didn't even turn on the APU (Auxiliary Power Unit). When we woke up this morning the temperature was 50° - a very good morning for the beginning of September. After I tended to my morning ablutions, I walked over to Starbucks for my grandé triple Marble Mocha Machiatto, which should start any trip off right.

I was unable to stop in Clarkston, WA to pay a visit with my niece and/or sister-in-law, but at least now I have a general idea of where I can park a truck, so it will make a possible rendezvous the next time a bit more accessible. We arrived in Lewiston, ID about 1330 (CT), and were loaded almost right away, and rather quickly... the loader, Don, even gave me a visor-style ball cap:

I gave hime a baseball cap, with our company's name on it, in return. Once we were loaded, we were on our way.

To back up a bit, when I went in to sign for the bills, I noticed that our final destination is NOT going to be Halfmoon, NY, but instead it will be Dayton, NJ, which is just north east of Trenton. That drop will be due next Thursday, though no time has been set as of just yet. Once we get to Missoula, MT, I'm going to call it a full day. After all, Tulsa won't be delivered until Tuesday. It would have been Monday, but, as you already know, this is Labor Day weekend. It still works out pretty good, since we will probably pull into Tulsa on Sunday night, and not have to deal with the traffic that will ensue on Monday. For those of you who will be on the road Monday, I hope you drive safely, and the madness around you doesn't affect you. If it does, deal with it the way I do... stop at a Starbucks!

- Another rant via BlogPress