Small Business Launch!

As of today, I’ve launched a new business by name of J A Ross Photography! The goal is to sell my photos as prints, canvas, and more… at the most affordable price that I can. My other goal, is to make sure to use some of my profits to donate money to my community and try to help out. I decided it was time to start this business sooner, rather than originally intended.

With that all said, I still will be posting quality articles, photos, and poetry to this website… as I haven’t forgot about the people who have supported me, and my creative ambitions! Currently, there are two products up for sale (more coming very soon). Both photos have placed in a Landscapes photo competition through Photocrowd. Both competitions had 100 entries and I placed 39/100 and 50/100 for the two photos I entered. These earned them a crowd rating top 50% award.

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These two were also featured on my website as well in the past.

Below is the link the my online store. Feel free to check it out! I’m looking to have some reviews to get some feedback!

https://ross-j-a-photography.myshopify.com/collections/all

~J. A. Ross

Solo Traveling Adventures Part 1: My Introduction Into the Hobby

Solo traveling. If there’s one thing that I’m getting known for among my readers, as well as friends and family, it would be is my hobby of traveling everywhere I possibly can. However, unlike the usual traveler you may talk to (excluding mandatory travel for business; for leisure only), I very much prefer traveling by myself as to with a party. Don’t get me wrong traveling in a group is fun, but going by yourself presents more challenges, and 100% forces you to get out of your shell… at least a little bit.

If you were to always keep away to yourself whilst solo traveling, you’re not going to get a truly life changing experience. Frequently it will force you to think outside the box; it’s not like there’s that group or friend with you to help watch your back the entire time. It’s only you, but this is what makes it so wonderful! You get to truly figure out what type of person you are and can be.

For instance, something I love doing… although may sound a bit foolish (and can be) is to frequently not book hotels in advance. This does many things for you, though it can go awry of course. The advantage it gives you is a chance to walk or drive around the city, town, etc; you’re visiting to really explore it. This way you’re not picking a hotel in one area and saying, ” I think I’ll mainly check out this area, and possibly a few surrounding sites.”

I did this in Europe and ended up finding a few sweet hotels and hostels to stay the night in. Not to mention places that are generally trekked through less often than a majority of main sites. Hell, a couple nights I slept on the train and would go to the next destination staying up a couple days straight. Traveling solo can get a little rough and isn’t for everyone, but it builds character and brings great experiences to share and learn from. It’s more expensive and you have to budget carefully, but in the end it’s something to be proud of with each new destination you go to.

The first real trip that immensely got me into this hobby was back in April 2014. I embarked on a completely spontaneous 3.5 day adventure to the Pacific North West and explored around downtown Portland, Seaside Or., a bit of Astoria Or., and Long Beach in Washington State. I fully decided to go on this trip literally 3-4 days before the date I left which was a rare 3 day weekend that was given to me. Visiting the ocean once more was determined mere hours before I left work early on that Friday afternoon to get on the road.

So much detail to go into with that trip… oh, but wait… I already have! (link posted at bottom of article in case you missed that tale).Anyways, essentially upon getting back to Utah I felt changed. I had entered a state in which I’ve never been to before, drove around 1900 miles solo which had been the most I’d ever driven period. Something clicked inside my head and show me all sorts of new possibilities. I’ve always loved traveling, but honestly thought that I couldn’t  afford to except with the military, or years down the road. That trip proved to me otherwise.

With articulate budgeting I decided to not concede to any thoughts of not being able to travel, or thinking that this trip had been a one time deal. Not even 5 months later I was at it again! I took on an even bigger challenge by going for around 6 or 7 days and adding a few hundred miles to the trip. I went back to the Pacific North West and made my first stop in Portland. This trip, I was a bit better prepared for and found a few campgrounds that I could stay at in my car a month in advance as I wanted this trip to be a bit more relaxing.

Leaving Portland, I made my way back into Washington State and explored the southern part of the state around the infamous Mt. St. Helens and surrounding forest. Later that day I made my way north to Seattle, onward to my next campground. First off, because something looks good on paper, doesn’t mean that it’ll always work out perfectly. The campground ended up being around 40-45 miles north of Seattle. Ouch! With the crowded traffic that took me aback just a bit. Nonetheless, I sucked it up and made it work. Sure, I may have taken 60-90 minutes out of my sightseeing each day, but I still managed to hit many popular sights in the city by car and much on foot.

I saw the Woodland Zoo, Space Needle (didn’t go to the top), Columbia Center (tallest building in Seattle; I did go to the top here). I went to the Seahawks Stadium as well as the Mariner’s stadium. I saw the old town, Pike’s Market place, the disgusting and interesting gum wall. I wandered around the downtown until late in the AM. The whole visit was great, and one thing was more certain than ever: it helped cement solo traveling into a main focus and hobby of mine. I passed this second test and hence forth would set out for more exciting destinations that I craved to visit.

One tremendous way  that I found easiest to fund my trips is to donate plasma. I highly recommend doing so, if you qualify of course, as it’s a great source of income for vacations and it creates medicine for sick people. I’ve said it already many times and I stand by it. The next major road trip I did was an 8.5 day trip down through Southern Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona where I hit 4 national parks, 4 corners, Albuquerque and various other sites.

In the next editions of this article you’ll get to hear more about the trip mentioned above as well as a minor trip through part of Nevada, and my 2 weeks in Guatemala (although this one wasn’t solo, and was military travel, it’ll still have it’s place). Also, not forget my return to Yellowstone National Park after a 5 years of not visiting; and topping it off with an entire article dedicated solely to my 22 day European adventure back in November.

As mentioned above, here is a link to the article that describes my first solo trip in more detail:

https://rossj781.com/2015/11/04/traveling-solo-part-1/

***I would like to leave a side note, the method of not getting hotel reservations isn’t recommended at all if you drive to a large and expensive city and can’t sleep in your car. Likely due to limited places to park, not having seats that can fold, or having simply to much stuff with you. It’s recommended for those who are flying in and traveling light, or going by train. Obviously if you got a lot of money, then you would be covered bringing a car without reservations. It may sound fun, but I don’t want to give anyone ideas in doing something that could end up being quite stupid.***

If you’re interested in more info on solo traveling, feel free to message me or comment and I’d be happy to share some additional tips I find useful. As always thanks for reading! Also, enjoy a small photo gallery with shots from various trips below!

~J. A. Ross

© RossJ781.com 01/22/2017

Card Games: My New Major Interest…(For The Moment)

It’s been quite awhile since I’ve posted, and I know I hit you all with a couple of posts last month stating more upcoming posts. That of course wasn’t a lie, though I didn’t expect to have another large hiatus in between those posts and this. Well… it happened, but worry not, I’m back in this game! I would also like to say that I have a lot of great content coming your way as I came back from a couple of weeks in Guatemala this past week, recently left my job at my call center on a transfer to a different part of the company, and my adventures of being sick (again).

So here is where the whole Guatemala thing ties into this article: while I was out there waiting for some work to do, some people in my group taught me how to play cards. The first game I learned to play was Hearts. Though challenging at first, I caught on quite quickly and eventually we grew a little bored of it and they decided to teach  me a semi similar game, though a lot more at stake as well as some more complex additions (assuming you’re betting). The game is Spades, and I would classify it as my second favorite card game. Between trying to get the right amount of books each round, to avoiding sandbags, while also attempting to choke the other team out of getting their books; it turned out to be rather intense!

The next game I learned takes the crown as my new favorite card game, and really the only card game I’ve played since I’ve come back from my trip. Texas Hold’em. I’m almost a little addicted to it. Seeing as I haven’t had many opportunities to play against other people in person, I downloaded an App for it to learn more in depth the various hands, and to experiment with betting strategies… as well as learning to read other players betting habits. It’s not quite as good as playing with people in person, and there are quite a few dipshits that play the App, to essentially troll others by always by going ‘all in’ with their bet constantly even thought they have garbage in their hand.

Besides those assholes, I’ve gotten very useful experience as I’m trying to get good enough at the game to go gamble in Wendover, NV; with my friend at the low stakes tables for good fun; while at the same time hoping to not lose much money. I did have a chance just last night to play against real people for the first time in a couple weeks, just for fun, which was nice. The next major game I learned how to play is Rummy. I found this to be a challenging game as well, and it had a lot more going on all over the table which made it exciting!

Of course, I couldn’t have just played a bunch of card games, without learned how to shuffle better, and bridge (at least semi good). I was taught how to deal 21 and Texas Hold’em which actually assist me in understanding to those games more in depth. Based on my observations, I’ve determined that I’m a natural at cards due to my abilities to catch onto the rules quickly, strategize, and even beat experienced players whilst not just having a win handed to me. I’m most definitely still a beginner and I’ll remember to not get too cocky. I guess it was just a little bit of that table talk that I was taught (Do remember to be easy with that, I learned!)

Be on the look out for an upcoming article on my last few days at the call center after 1.5 years working there. Also watch for pictures from Guatemala, as well as my photos yet to be shared from my previous trip of the New Mexico, Southern Colorado, Arizona, and Utah deserts. Thanks for reading!

~J. A. Ross

© RossJ781.com 05/11/2016

 

Website Update

Hello everyone! It’s been a couple weeks since I have been active. You’re all probably wondering where I’ve been (all my regular followers mainly) and the easy answer is taking a little break. But I’ll give you the more in depth answer too: I was gone for around 8 days on a solo trip through Colorado, Southern Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico. The vacation was both for leisure as well as for photography to post to my site to enhance my content.

I’m proud to say on the trip alone I captured nearly 2,700 amazing images of our southern high region desert, and many of them are usable for the site. Overall, I have nearly 3,000 photos with about 300 added from a political rally I attend in Salt Lake City, UT; and additional event’s including watching a friend’s band play live, and  from a bonfire I went to. I’ll also be writing more soon as well when I can get the time.

I also needed a break just from added stress at work. Being on a computer all night at home, as well as using one all day for my job kind of deterred me for a bit from wanting to post. But I’m now all rested up and ready to get posting again! This is just a little announcement that there is more great content to come and that I’m still out here. Also, there are still plans for a website name change and a also for a website upgrade to have e-commerce soon, with some of my photos out for purchase. More details on that when I get to that point. I may also change the website theme as well.

Stay tuned for more updates here soon, and as always… thanks for reading!

~J. A. Ross

Solo Trip Update!

I have exciting news for fans of my writing and photography! Beginning Monday, I’ll be going on a 7.5 day solo trip through Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Southern Utah! I’ll be hitting 4 different National Parks, Ship Rock, and Albuquerque! My posting may be limited on my trip, but I’m expecting to have some exciting and new photography, as well as articles to share about the experience. This will be my 3rd major solo trip (though I have technically been on 4, the last one was much shorter and I don’t count it as ‘major’).

Traveling solo is beginning to become a big part of me, as I explore around the US. If you have questions, or want some tips on solo road trips, post a comment below, or send me a message!

~ J. A. Ross

Thought of the Day 12# – United States Media/ Purpose of Thought of the Day

*As a foresight, my ‘Thought of the Day’ posts are the only posts on my site that will contain any regular political, and/or religious topics (for the most part, slight references may sneak their way into my other works on occasion). Why do I do this you ask? Aren’t those topics kind of taboo for some people? Why, yes. Yes they are. However, I feel it’s important, as it’s a way for me to let free some of my viewpoints and let them be seen, as well as to give my readers/followers more insight into me. I believe this can make me more relatable when you read my other posts, and that is my goal. I want to connect with my readers as well.

Now for my opinion on the United State’s media: since I’ve finally caught up on Real Time With Bill Maher, (minus tonight’s episode). A few thought’s came to mind. First off,  what other show can you watch where they will light a joint on live television to make a point; or blantanly call out the media for what they are… and that is drama. A reality show is what most ‘real’ American new channels have become. On another note; isn’t it kind of sad how people can get more accurate news from show’s similar to Real Time or the Daily Show; than  a regular new’s channel. They’re comedians for fuck’s sake and report current events more accurately. America, we need to get our shit together because we’re behind the curve. Whether you believe it or not… it’s the truth.

This article though, short, gets 2 points across to open more insight to my readers. If you disagree with me, well I support your right to disagree with open arms. Hell, I’ll buy you a beer even. As always, thanks for reading and live any thoughts or opinions below!

~J. A. Ross

© RossJ781.com 03/04/2016

Thought of the Day #11 – Oscars

I see a lot of people on the web bashing Mad Max for winning a lot of the awards; I guess some people don’t recognize an amazing film when they see it. Also, hats off to Leonardo DiCaprio! He’s an amazing actor, and human being for all that humanitarian work he does, as well as all the money he donates to charity. I’m glad to see his hard work finally pay off in the film industry! I feel that he’s different from other people in Hollywood, and truly deserves the award.

On a side note, I’m also hoping to see more movies recognized in next year’s awards that don’t just involve a bunch of white people. I mean, would it kill them? There were a lot of other great movies that got snubbed, and had outstanding performances (and involvement) from African Americans, Hispanics, and actors of other ethnicity. There were a lot of films that shouldn’t have even been nominated, and these other films could’ve taken their place.

 ~J. A. Ross

 

© RossJ781.com 2/29/2016

Thought of the Day #10 ~ Set A Trap at Starbucks

So, I saw a Starbucks today and this came to mind: if you’re looking to go white girl hunting, all you have to do is just set a trap with a pumpkin spice latte (especially with them being out of season), and throw the latest iPhone next to it. Boom! Simple as that! It’s a sure fire thing.

On a lesser note, I’m a little disappointed those lattes are out of season now; I kind of want one…

~J. A. Ross

© RossJ781.com 2/25/2016

Song of the Day #1

Hello fellow music lovers! Are you looking for new songs to listen to, and want to expand your music library? Well, you’ve come to the right place! This is my first (Captain Obvious here) edition of Song of the Day. Some of you may be regulars for my Thought of the Day posts and may have noticed that despite the title, I sometimes don’t post them every day. Well, that’s because it’s just the song/thought of whatever day I’m able to post.Unlike Thought of the Day however, these posts won’t typically range in all sorts of different lengths of posts, or have topics published.

But enough of my babbling, without further ado, my first song of the day: So Gently We Go, by the band – I Mother Earth, who formed in Toronto, Canada. This is a song from a lesser known band that originated in the 90’s. It has very soothing start and though it keeps the more gentle sound throughout the song, it does build up quite well and gets more intense up until the climatic part of the song. It’s lyrics also make it an interesting listen. The genre of the song would be considered more of Progressive Rock for those curious folks out there. Here’s a the song below!

If you love the song, give the band some love and check out some of their other songs! Comment what you think of this song below. Thanks for reading!

~J. A. Ross

Pertaining to the article~ © RossJ781.com 2/25/2016.

 

My Crazy Morning

*Article contains some strong language.*

The only way I can describe today…thus far, is ridiculous, absurd, and insane. So it starts off the usual. It’s Wednesday, so I had to drive to my parent’s house to take my two young siblings to their school. No big deal, I have to get up a bit earlier and go out of my way to do the task, but I enjoy seeing them so it’s well worth it. This is when it started though. I throw on my clothes, put on my shoes, toss on a hat. I grab keys, phone, wallet….shit! The wallet, where the hell is it?

I frantically search all the way to the moon for it. I ran out to the car, checked the kitchen, living room; everywhere in my room. “Son of a bitch!” I exclaim. I’m in a deep panic now, it’s got my driver’s license, debit card, military ID, social security card… where could it be? Then I take notice to a few socks lying on my computer desk (clean of course) and I get suspicious. I walk over there and yank them off the desk; they land on my bed.

It was a moment where trumpets should’ve been playing, while a ray of light shown from the computer desk. In all of it’s glory, there lay my wallet. I wasn’t screwed! Gleefully I grabbed it, put it in my pocket, and I was on my way. Now it was time to drive among the morons of the road. Someone in a minivan next to me really wanted haul ass, and the speed limit was 50 mph. They were creeping up close to me so I did what I do best to these type of drivers.

I unleashed my powers of trolling…oh boy did I! I pulled out the old Utah dick move on this guy. I only save it for those who are in need of it. Now, I was still going a fair speed; 5 mph over the speed limit, so it wasn’t like I was slowing them down much. I kept glancing slightly behind behind me with childish joy as they tried to get around. Sorry, not happening guy. This continued until I got to the light just before my turn. They finally made it, but at least this improved my morning a bit. I got a laugh.

Well, I get the kids, and my monthly Loot Crate (woo!) waiting at the house, and then dropped the kids off at school. Time to head home. I get there and ecstatically look through the Loot Crate to see what I got. Some Deadpool and Walking Dead items… not too shabby! I then went to shower, and prepare for work. After, I my wash hands, and I get breakfast ready: remainder of my Beto’s burrito, and some microwave pretzel stuff (breakfast of champions people). I proceed to get the sauce out of the fridge, after setting the burrito on the table.

The sauce was placed on a lid as to avoid getting it on the wooden table. There’s a few items near it that had been set there prior to picking up the kids; I don’t think too much of it. I go to wash my hands again, because I’m weird like that and come back to the deliciousness bestowed upon my table. Those items were now starting to make me a little irate so I decide to take them to my room. Part of one the items brush the lid the sauce was sitting on. I can see what’s about to happen, but it’s too late!

Sauce goes everywhere! EVERYWHERE! Some ended up on the other side of the room. Even on the hallway wall that wasn’t facing the explosion. “What the fuck!? WHAT THE FUCKKKK!!!” I roared as I proceed to go velociraptor all over the apartment in anger. I had to leave for work in 10 minutes, and I was fresh out of paper towels, and I idiotically don’t have any cleaning towels. Another highly irritated, “Fuccck,” escapes me. I scramble about the apartment looking for something…anything to clean up this insufferable mess.

I fortunately uncover three blue hand towels that were waiting to be washed. Alright, time to get them even more dirty! I fill up a cup and soak the main site of the sauce spill disaster. Water meets carpet and then I scrub into it vigorously to remove this dreadful stain as best I could, with the little time that I had. Speaking of time, I glanced over at my clock. Shit! I’m definitely going to be late to work today. Not a problem, keep calm, I had 30 minutes of left over sick time to cover it. Whew!

All three rags are now soaked and covered in sauce, and there’s a faint red tint to the light brown carpet. It’ll have to do. I finish off the burrito, and then open the microwave to get the pretzels out. Damn! Some of the cheese leaked out; fantastic! I shrug and devour them, throw on some new pants, and rush out the door to my car. I get to my stoplight and there’s large delivery truck in front of me. This means I’ll be even later as it drove very slow, and it was just a one lane road with no passing. More velociraptor screams for my misfortune.

I finally arrive at work and bolt into the door, and head over to my cubicle. I clocked in. As some of you may know, I work as a chat rep in a call center so that doesn’t necessarily help anything if you’re in a bad mood, while getting that one occasional ignorant customer. Anyways, I finally get logged in and get to work. Over the next 30 minutes I start to feel my feet getting a bit warmer progressively, around my toes. What could be causing this? I mean, I know I work in Mordor with how hot they keep the building, but I needed to investigate.

It turns out I still had a small amount of hot sauce on my feet and it was causing it it rash up. Noooo! Not now! I’m at work! I threw some crumpled up paper towels from our break room on them and called it good. They stopped burning for the most part. So… at this point I was pretty irritated up until my break and finally the beast inside was calmed with what I love best; food. But alas, it was over. This bullshit morning had ended and noon welcomed me into it’s grasp. Today is my Friday, and I have pulled through. Or did I??

Thanks for reading about my crazy morning, which was chalk full of first world problems! If you have any responses you’d like to add, just put them in the comments below!

~J. A. Ross

© RossJ781.com 2/23/2016