Happy birthday, BSA

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A pal and a confidant

A Facebook page called “Queertism” shared a link to a poem they found on “The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism” about the heartbreaking realization that a new “friend” is only using you for school credit and will go back to hanging out with the cool kids when their “assignment” is over.

Well, I was one of those “assigned friends” as a student at Benchmark Transitions (formerly Benchmark Young Adult School). It was supposed to make the arrogant douchebag (who made zero effort to hide his annoyance with me or his assignment) I was “assigned” more humble. It didn’t.

That’s the primary reason why I refused to participate in “Best Buddies Day” in college (“make a friend for life,” by using them as a prop to feel good about yourself for a day), and “Disabilities Awareness” merit badge in Scouting (which now only requires you to “…spend a day with a disabled scout…” [3a]), and while I cringe at Allistic Scouts explaining disabilities to their troop/pack (5a), it has added a new requirement about “pledging to show a positive attitude about people with disabilities” (req. 6).

Thank you for reading this, and, as always, thank you for being a friend…

Categories: Advocacy\volunteer, Autism, BYAS (Benchmark Transitions), California, Redlands\Yucaipa, scouting | Leave a comment

Photo: Happy Father’s Day

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Summer plans

As I’ve said before on this blog, I like being “productive.” I’m usually not which makes the times I am all the more newsworthy so I’ve begun making plans for the summer and if this year is anything like last year, most of them will not come to fruition.

As you can guess from the archaeology memes, I was an Anthropology major at UM (not my choice, but Flo at Benchmark basically corralled me into it as a student at Crafton Hills College, and I was laughed out of every recruiting event Toffell offered (which helpfully listed your major on your ID badge).

However, I did spend one semester working for the Lowe Art Museum and a summer on their (now closed) dig site at Little Salt Spring. That is the extent of my archaeology career – hopefully, that will change this summer (though as of this writing, most of the site information on Shovebums have not been updated yet).

I have spent the past three years trying to get a job teaching “Archaeology” merit badge over the summer (it’s actually a good “camp badge” – particularly if taken alongside “Indian Lore” MB as they share many of the same requirements), but I have ZERO “references” since the only steady “job” I’ve had since graduation has been this blog. Like any other archaeology project, I’d NEED a car to get there and as I’ve stated before I don’t have THAT either.

Also, I want to do add more volunteer credits to my resume. I haven’t added any new projects to that section since 2012 – it’s about time to rectify that. Yes, I already a few in mind. One of them being helping at St. John’s booth at the Anthracite Heritage Festival on May 28th and then flying in a month later for their annual VBS program (July 31-Aug 4). Hopefully, I can get some good pictures from BOTH events.

Closer to home, I plan on attending the LUNG Force Run\Walk in downtown Orlando this May and possibly their Expo at SeaWorld later this year. I would love to spend the summer working for some worthwhile cause, but nearly every organization understandably requires a “long term commitment” and every one of those has ended badly for me (whether in California and Baltimore).

Making plans is fun, but life has a nasty habit of getting in the way so the question becomes: How many of these will actually come to pass? Whatever happens, I sure hope it’s more than I did last year…

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Photo: Happy Birthday BSA


Boy Scouts of America: Founded, today on February 8, 1910

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Take the pledge!


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Happy 105th Birthday BSA


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Photos: Anthracite Heritage Parade 2

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Photos: Anthracite Heritage Parade

Categories: coal region, entertainment, festivals, holidays, photography, scouting | Leave a comment

Anthracite Heritage Festival: Day 1

I woke up around 10:30am (though with the humidity, I doubt I got more than 3-4 hours’ sleep). I showered, got dressed and immediately began my first task of the day: setting up my mom’s printer.

Sliding the pre-assembled unit out of the box was simple enough. While removing the plastic\cardboard from the edges was a hassle, the real problem was getting the cords from the printer through the impenetrable mass of other cords coming out of her tower and snaking around her power strip without disconnecting anything important. Thankfully, the software practically installed itself.

After just over an hour of set up, I came downstairs and had a quick lunch. Just as I’m finishing, my dad pulls up the spare seat at the counter.

“Have you seen the thing you put in the sleeve to hold the flag when you’re walking?” Dad asked (or not, I wasn’t paying attention). Mom said she hadn’t, and thus he turns to his left and says “So Jonathan, you know what I’m looking for. I’m not sure if it’s on the 1st or 2nd level, but you can look for it.”

He then goes into the living room, sits in his recliner and turns on the TV.

I have no idea what he – sorry, I – was supposedly looking for, but I was pretty sure if it’s in the garage he won’t run across it in the living room watching television. If some stupid TV movie was more important to him than finding this precious item, then it probably wasn’t important to begin with.

Besides, my digital crops were withering…

But they were just going to have to wait a little longer as mom entered the room almost immediately after I did. She wanted to install the A\C in the window while she had someone to help her. I asked her if dad could help her, and she glares at me as if I just asked the world’s dumbest question.

If you know what you are doing, installing a window A\C isn’t all that difficult. We didn’t, but half an hour later we managed to get it as close to installed as we were probably going to get.

That finally out of the way, I log onto Facebook. I harvest crops, collect taxes and destroy a few gems. No-one cursed me out, threatened my life or otherwise bullied me. I had to check that I was signed into the right site.

Finally, I come downstairs again to get a Frappuccino from the fridge, and dad comes up to the counter with his legal pad. Before I could escape, he began lecturing me on the fundamentals of the effects of PE Ratios to dividend yields, a detailed explanation of the differences between “energy” and “utility” stocks and why tech stocks have a good yield despite not paying a dividend.

Or not, I wasn’t nearly as interested in his speech as he was, and I resent having to sit through these sessions. I know he likes this financial stuff, but frankly these lectures make me want to gouge my eyes out with a dirty spork.

“PAY ATTENTION! Or am I competing with your TV watching. Fuck, until you can find someone willing to PAY for your work, this is your ONLY source of income, but, fuck, I can’t compete with ‘the ultimate Chicago cheesesteak,’ so why do I fucking bother? I make [redacted] per year off MY portfolio, but nooo you would rather watch someone make a fucking cheesesteak than learn how to make money!”

That’s when mom, rather wisely, choses to tell me that the A\C in the other bedroom needs to be installed as well. Fortunately, this was a newer model, and was not only smaller, but lighter and easier to install. Fifteen minutes later, I was back to trying adventure games on Facebook.

Around 4:30pm, my dad yells for me from the bottom of the steps (still bitter from the stock thing earlier). I put my game on hold, and went to see what he wanted. He was wearing his dress uniform and wanted to know if I found his flag thing for him.

I didn’t get to answer him, before he fumed: “That’s a ‘no…’ Also, we have to leave NOW so tell me are you marching with the scouts or not?”

“I’m not in scouts anymore, remember? Besides, my uniform is back in my closet.”

“We’ve got uniforms here.” He then throws his hands up in the air and storms off:  “Fine, sorry for asking; be an asshole about it.”

An hour later (after she dropped dad off downtown), my mom comes up to my room and tells me it’s time to go to the Heritage Parade…

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