Retro Vacationing in the Great Midwest Dustbowl Recession of 2012

With recently financial difficulties Nationwide, Many Americans (myself included), have found it difficult to go anywhere and do anything. Let’s face it, without a job, you can’t even afford the overpriced gasoline to go anywhere-much less, do anything.

I did manage to find a few gems that I would like to pass along, that may be an affordable break from the awful conditions that we are all experiencing. Chiefly, the relentless 110 degree Midwest temperatures and the lack of financial ability.

I have a family of 4; which consists of one boy (age 5), and one girl (age 12). We reside in the Greater Louisville Kentucky/Southern Indiana area; “Pert Near the middle of the Great Midwest Dustbowl”.

It has been my family’s long goal to go to Disneyland, The Smithsonian, The Grand Canyon, and well you get the idea. Our finances have gone from Bad to worse over the years, making it difficult to do anything. Employers are offering lesser salaries; while prices are still going up. I guess, I am probably preaching to the choir, so I will get on with the gist of my article.

Some folks view that vacations are a waste of money and a poor investment. I believe that vacations are an investment in a family’s memories. You should do your level best, to provide at least some form of morale boosting recreation, especially in these trying times.

I wanted to give my family a Happy July 4th this year. My larger extended Family wasn’t planning anything reunion related; which would have consisted of back-yard fireworks and burgers anyway. So, it was my chance to do something different.

I decided to take my family to Deam’s Lake for the 4th; for a day of hiking, fishing, lake swimming, watermelon and yeah the same burgers. I invited along my Dad’s family and a family friend. Park admission is $5.00 per car-load. Everything else we brought with us, except in that there was no hand-soap in the rest-rooms. I had to pay $2.50, for a small size pump that normally would have cost $1.25, but that was all.

We found a great place near the lake with shade trees and picnic tables and a grill, all for our $5.00 admission (for the whole car-load)! I had spent some time there as a boy with my family. I remember when the open grass was full of bikini clad women working on their tans, when I was about 7 or 8 yrs old in 1970 something.

My uncle, who shall remain nameless, was 5 years older than me. He used to have me chase him with a bucket of water. The goal was to miss him, and hit the young ladies with the water so, that they would jump up, and with their tops un-done for tan line issues; they would expose heavenly morsels to sunlight-or something of the sort. So, the amount and type of folks at the lake are forever burned in my memoirs.

I later spent time there as a 12 year old Boy Scout, and then again as a 1980s teenager with my Pals from High School. During my teen years, I can assure you that I noticed the young ladies that were there. Not quite as many as age 8, but it was about quality, not quantity.

I noticed something unusual, about our 2012 July 4th. First off, there were no sun-bathers at all. The open grass was a dessert wasteland. The type of folks there was different as well. The amount of Hispanics was overwhelming. I minored in Spanish in college, and like the culture, Food and Sangria very much. While there were a few Senoritas there that were strikingly attractive; I couldn’t help but wonder if Arizona had lost, it’s border battle.

All kidding aside, the Caucasian population doesn’t go outdoors anymore. And when they do, they shouldn’t be wearing Bikinis. It appeared that my red bandana and I had time travelled back-all alone.

My kids had an absolute blast. My 5 year old led us on an adventure hike. My daughter caught a fish. We all swam in the lake, and no one drowned. We ate watermelon and had a very “Retro” July 4th that will be emblazoned in the minds for eternity.

I strongly suggest getting your family to the lake, or “A Lake” in the near future. The physical activity will do your family well in the waistline, and the close knit morale that comes from being a “Shope” or a “Thomas” or a Whatever you are, will be priceless.

Another Retro alternative for “The Great Midwest Dustbowl of 2012” was a personal favorite of mine… King’s Island.

The park opened in 1970. That’s me with my Mother in about 1973 or 1974, I am guessing 5 years old. Yes, I am sporting “Herb Tarlic” pants and a Bowl-cut, Mom was as beautiful as ever, may she rest in piece (Don’t Smoke).

At any rate, I remember the park had the most wonderful shops, with Family Crests and knick-knacks that you couldn’t find anywhere else. I remember that the flowers were always beautiful and thick everywhere impatiens galore. You used to be able to play in the fountains at the front entrance.

I expected the park to me more packed than it was, especially with the closing of 6 Flags over Kentucky Kingdom, just 90 minutes away. There was a decent turn out, however there was a break in the heat from 105 degree temperatures down to a more comfortable 88 degrees on the day that we went.

The flowers aren’t quite as impressive as they used to be, and the fountain is now fenced off; but they have added a new water park in 1989 now called Soak City. I haven’t been to it since 1993 or so, and it hasn’t changed much, except for some of the names. Soak City is triple the fountain fun and is included with park admission for free. You can even ride the train to it.

The park has dozens of roller coasters, and the old Hannah Barbara land is now “Planet Snoopy”. Since, I’m another “Joe Cool”, I’m good with most of the changes, except for the antique cars; which are now a tombstone in the graveyard of dead rides-literally they have a graveyard! My Antique cars are now a smoking park, where you can apparently walk your smoker (again-Don’t Smoke).

My family and I decided to go, and try not to spend a dime in the park. Except for admission (we got free media passes). General park admission costs $36.99 per person.

We brought in a bottle of water each, with generic propel fitness packet for electrolytes and a granola bar-non chocolate “Retro” type. We got to the park at opening 10am. The kids were wide-eyed. They were intimidated by many rides, but soon began having a blast.

Most of the rides are included with park admission, and free. We did not purchase fast line cutting passes, and avoided all shops and pay games.

We had a blast in Planet Snoopy. We shot Zombies in the Haunted Hill, and did not pay $8.99 for our picture. We also, did not pay $8.99 for an Icee/Slurpy frozen drink. We ate our granola bar and drank our fitness water, and spent nothing. We had a small backpack to put our drinks, granola bars and camera in. This is necessary for some rides, that ask-do you have any fluids with you.

We got our hand stamped, and ate lunch in the car. We had packet a cooler with sandwich fixins, Veggi sticks and drinks waiting for us. We did not spend $29.99 for 1 pizza.

After lunch, we carried in a second water, packet, and granola bar for another pit stop snack for later in the day. We did not spend $6.00 for popcorn, and $5.00 for a coke.

We did attend a free concert, called of all things, The Retro 1970’s. They played that Funky music White-Boy! Did the Disco Duck, and Freaked-Out to “Freak-Out”. We all thoroughly enjoyed it, and after walking 20 miles through the park, it was a welcome change to sit for 30 minutes in the shade.

The disco ball dancing was in tune with my 1970s expenses. I spent $12.00 to park, and $15.00 for a large locker at soak city, to hold 4 pair of shoes and a bag. I let the kids play 1 game to try to win a 4′ tall red dragon; they spent $1 each-and basically threw those dollar bills away. (stay away from all shops and pay games).

Basically, we spent $29.00 for a family of 4, for a full day of activity, rides, water park fun and even got in a show. Of course the park admission would have cost us $147.69 had I not received my Eagle Eye Productions Freelance Media passes.

We also got drive through on the way home, with a 90+ minute car ride from Ohio at 9pm, it was the only real option. The moral of the story, for under $200.00 you can have a Disney style day trip on a recession budget, and beat the Dustbowl Heat at the same time.

On both occasions, I got to feel like a good parent for taking care of my kids, as best I could, and did not spend a fortune. Their spirits were renewed somewhat, in the midst of “Dust-Bowl fever”.

Latest Technology Gadgets of 2008 – Arghh! I Know ’em

Curtains for 2008 are coming down in few days from now and if you see the developments the years witnessed, for instance the latest technology gadgets of 2008, it had been all complex devices that could perform intensive and incredible tasks. These latest gadgets 2008 are indeed with simple designs and several of them even user friendly, iPhone is one for sure. Most of the so-called latest technology gadgets are uni device multiple task performers. In fact the advent of nanotechnology enabled to device smaller gadgets that perform several functions while being nano in size. So said, it should be admitted that most of the latest electronic gadgets are designed for comfort, safety and weekend entertainment area. Iphone has revolutionized the communication and in fact changed its face and the latest technology gadgets of 2008 has given us the Apple 3G which is the world’s first multi-touch screen gizmondo. Other high-end gadgets include the tablet PCs, electronic medical equipment, Bluetooth calls, mobile entertainment devices, voice commands and visual/audible traffic rerouting as well as complex car systems with GPRSs.

And did I mention about the accelerometer sensor used in the iPhone technology and other high-end handsets? The technology enables a phone to rotate its image automatically when it is turned sideways. Another technological advancement is the ambient light sensor that detects changes in the light conditions and adjusts the display brightness automatically and the proximity sensor senses things that are larger than fingers when they come close and turns off the display in order to save power and accidental key presses.

In the healthcare industry, one of the major developers of latest gadgets in technology in 2008 had been Philips. Cliniscape is used to keep updates of each patient’s health condition by providing uses information of blood containers, medication and others. It is from the Philips and is used as a mobile point of care device in order to access medical applications such as iSite PACS medical image, clinical information Portfolio and information management system. And the latest computer gadgets in the field of education is the XO laptop which can be used at anytime and any place. Another innovation is the TI graphing calculators that can be used to solve complex math-related calculations. These calculators have large 3.5-inch display and more familiar mouse-like controls and spreadsheet capabilities, etc. The MacBook Air is the world’s thinnest laptop is another innovative product and a run away hit during 2008. The laptop is again by the iPhone manufacturers, Apple. The latest auto gadgets include car GPS, Bluetooth car starter, ozone air purifier, Driv-e-mocion and LED rims, etc.

5 Reasons Why People Fail in Business

Do you ever worry that your business will fail? It’s hard to contemplate failure, especially when you’re working so hard and want so much to be successful.

Considering failure is valuable, though, because the very ingredients that make for business failure can be transformed into business success.

Here are 5 ingredients that go into the mix of business failure, and how you can transform them for your own business success:

1. Unclear purpose

Here’s the thing: the more clarity you have about what you want, the more likely you are to get it. In your business, having little or no focus on anything but making a profit results in scattered effort and less effectiveness. Ironically, it leads to less money too.

Transformation: Clear Purpose

Have you ever been part of something greater than just you and your self-interest? Feels great, right? The reason it does is that we are actually built that way. We are motivated, and can accomplish great things in service of something bigger than ourselves. It’s no different for your business. Define your greater purpose. Define the impact you want to have in your business, your community, and the larger world. Then you’ll have clarity and energy to do more with your business. You’ll have the motivation to pull through tough times, for even greater success.

Communicate that impact purpose to your prospects and customers. People are drawn to businesses with a higher purpose.

2. Destructive thinking

A day at work filled with thoughts about imminent failure and negative perceptions of people’s motives will drain you and your motivation, and ultimately, kill your business. Not only that, destructive thinking also negatively affects your health and even your life span. Transformation: Constructive Thinking

Your thinking affects your actions in your business and everywhere else in your life. Optimistic thinking followed by persistent action leads to better results. If you’re not naturally inclined that way, the good news is that you can learn optimism. Problems become less personal, the size of the problem more realistic, and the fleeting nature of problems more clear.

You can support your constructive thinking with a daily ritual that includes mindfulness (e.g., meditation, breathing exercises), visualization (mentally rehearsing your desired outcomes), and affirmations, including gratitude. Schedule your daily ritual in. You can do this in 15 minutes, and it will make a great difference, especially as a start to your day.

3. Unproductive action

Low productivity means you can be working all day for days on end without moving closer to business success. We’re in a culture of busy-ness, and it’s tempting to fill our hours without thinking too much about whether the actions are in themselves valuable.

Transformation: Productive Action

Productivity begins with focusing your actions on your impact. Will this help me to be more impactful? Is it aligned with my impact purpose?

A quick overview of powerfully effective strategies for productive action:

· Plan before you begin each day. Plan the night before if you can.

· Do the most impactful thing first, so you always have some progress each day.

· Rush unimportant tasks. Set a time limit on each job to help move you through it more quickly.

· Delegate. Allowing others the opportunity to offer what they do well in areas that are not your strengths is a great service to them, and a great time-creator for you.

· Segment your time, then rest. I work in 50 minute blocks, followed by 10 minutes doing something completely different to rejuvenate. Find the time frame that works for you.

No doubt about it, choosing productive actions requires discipline. And in the best way! Discipline serves you by helping you to choose the things that will help you reach your business goals and be successful.

4. Constricted connection

It can feel comforting to stick with your close circle and not expand further. It takes work to reach out and maintain new connections. Staying with your same small comfortable group, though, will hold you back in your business.

The quality of your connections matter too. Are you surrounding yourself with negative people? People who aren’t as interested in success as you are? Who you spend time with matters.

Transformation: Expanding Circle of Connection

Expanding your circle of connection is one of the most powerful things you can do for your business success. The more people you know, the more likely you are to learn new things. They also become a source of inspiration, and more connections that can help you in your business. People love to be helpful. Give them that gift of asking for and receiving their help.Find and welcome the support you need to be successful. Learn from an experienced business person as a mentor or coach. Reach out to people you admire and ask them questions. Make this a regular practice.

5. Money obsession

It can be tempting to become too focused on money. First, our culture encourages it. It’s considered a good thing to accumulate stuff. And you need money for that. The thing is, money and stuff don’t bring you happiness or vitality.

Second, if business isn’t going well, you can become hyperfocused on money and leave your values behind in order to make a profit.

Transformation: Money Health

Instead of focusing on money, focus on connections with people and with your purpose instead. Helping others in your business is what will bring you business success that is both healthy and sustainable.

Find balance and harmony around money. Yes, it’s important to know where you stand with money. But money is only a tool. Instead of loving money, love yourself and others. That is key to business success.

These 5 reasons why people fail in business don’t have to be a recipe for failure. Instead, you can transform them into success.

Naming Your Business: 10 Simple Dos and Don’ts

Naming your business with an appropriate business name is the most significant step in starting a new business. A good product or service backed up with a smart name can quickly make your business the talk of the town.

Naming your business can sometimes become a complex process. There are choices to make and there is no single, exact solution.

Here are some dos and don’ts to help you create the right name for your business.

  1. Make your business name memorable and easy to remember. It should be short, easy to say and easy to spell.
  1. Stay away from unfamiliar words or tongue twisters. It is easy to make a mistake and forget this rule as you would want to create a business name that is unique and stands out in the crowd.
  1. The name should have a good tone and be flexible so that you can add new products or services without having to change the business name.
  1. While naming your business keep in mind that good business names have positive visualization, the name you choose should remind customers about something pleasurable.
  1. Create a name that expresses something related to your business. Use a word that is associated with something your customer will love. Find expressions and alternative words. Look for translations of the words and connotations such as animals, color, actions, people and plants.
  1. Attract your target market by creating a business name that generates a sense of security or romance or adventure or excitement. Imagine the people whom you want to serve and see if your name appeals to them.
  1. While naming your business use trendy names carefully as many trends become out dated quickly.
  1. Ask some of your friends to spell your potential business name. Many words have more than one spelling. Like the name Insightica, though it is unique enough the name can be spelled using site or sight. Let your business name go through a spelling test before you finalize.
  1. If your business requires a web presence, find out if the domain name is available. Register the name as soon as you finalize, even if you do not plan to create the website anytime soon.
  1. Before you finalize, check the meanings in a few different languages and make sure it is not unpleasant or distasteful. Also, spend some time to research if any other business is using it. Once you finalize, protect it by registering the name with your county or state office.

Naming your business in the right way will convey the expertise, value and exclusivity of the product or service you have developed, and above all, create the right marketing recall.

Although business naming can be a complex process, for new businesses it is essential to get it right. The name establishes the initial connect between the business and its consumers. The impression consumers get from the name will indeed affect how your business will perform in future.