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

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

 

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

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

 

 

 

Thought of the Day #7 ~ New Quote

Due to different experiences I’ve had in life, and also based on an aspect of my personality, I came up with a new quote tonight, it goes:

“You may be the gasoline, but I’ll be the match that strikes to set you ablaze.”

This quote goes towards my strive to always be someone who takes pride in not being like everyone else, and also takes a stand for what’s right. It’s directed to those that try to force ideologies on me, and others; or try to make me/others live a life that they want us to; and the backlash they’ll receive. It refers as well, that no matter what they try to do, I’ll personally unleash my own reign fire (hypothetically of course!) upon them to show that nobody owns me, but me. That I will stand up for myself and others. Though at first the quote can sound a little harsh, this is really made in a positive light; it’s meant to help people who are oppressed by others; and give them motivation they may need.

I enjoy trying to inspire others and make them think more openly. If you have any opinions to this quote, please feel free to write them below! As always, thanks for the support!

~J. A. Ross

© RossJ781.com 2/16/2016

Thought of the Day #4: My Opinion on the US Minimum wage

For this addition of ‘Thought of the Day’, I’m going to send my focus to the minimum wage of the United States, which is an astoundingly low $7.25 an hour. Much lower than the average developed country, and frankly I feel that’s pathetic for our country to be so hellbent at claiming that we’re number 1 at everything. Face it people, we’re not. We’d all like to say it, but our education is going down; out healthcare still needs work; we do have too much spending focused on war as opposed to renewable energy and taking care of our own people. We’re getting behind in the scheme of things. One way to start getting a grasp on things is to have companies pay our citizens a livable wage.

It doesn’t matter what the job is, people deserve the right to not have to work themselves to death, just to buy basic necessities and pay their bills to support a family. People will be like, “They’re good jobs for people to go to college, but people need to move on to different things after some time.” Sure, everyone wants to move to bigger things. Who really wants to spend their years working fast food, or customer service? Nobody does! But some people simply can’t get around. Not everyone is born to go to college; it’s a reality we have to accept. It doesn’t mean someone isn’t intelligent by any means, but it’s expensive, and very time consuming. Some people aren’t cut out for it, but they can still find their way.

College kids can’t survive on that either to be honest. College is overpriced, and sometimes you have to take what job you can get, so you can squeak by. The minimum wage hasn’t risen in about 12 years, but there’s been several instances of inflation in that time range. Prices will always rise a little whether the minimum wage is raised or not. $15 could be a little steep I suppose in the eyes of some people(though some states definitely need it as they have a higher cost of living), but they should be able to make $11-12 an hour in the average state. That’s fairly livable for most college students/younger people’s standards.

Not to mention several jobs that are minimum wage, this country relies on. It’s not just fast food. Plus,… fast food workers do put up with a ton of shit. Customers can be complete assholes and unbearable. These type of low wage companies also have their employees meet unrealistic standards. They deserve more than a meager $7.25 an hour for their hard work. Sure, some people are lazy, but no matter what job you look into-whether its the military, a call center, or your average store. You’re going to find the occasional lazy person. But you’re making a pretty bold statement to call millions of people lazy, when they’re probably working harder than you to survive.

We all know billion dollar companies can afford to pay their employees more easily. It will hardly make a dent in their record profits. However, people will ask, “What about Mom and Pop shops?” See, here’s how an effective economy works: If you pay people a piss poor $7.25 an hour, they don’t spend money if they don’t have to. They hoard it; save it for essentials only. You raise the wages, people have more money to keep up with inflation. They also have extra money left over after bills and essentials for entertainment and a few more minor luxuries.

Hence, If more people have extra money, mom and pop places also make a lot more money, and can afford to pay their employees the updated minimum wage in the least with little to no difficultly . That simple; people have money, they will spend it and put more in the economy. Just let that sink in. Keeping people poor only puts more money in the pockets of billionaires, and not in the average Joe or the economy. Trickle-down doesn’t work and a minimum wage of $7.25 doesn’t either. It’s shameful people are so blind to that.

To match 12 years of inflation, we would need to be at least around $10 an hour for the minimum. That’s a fair starting wage. It’s $2.75 more than minimum wage, and enough to still take several people off welfare,or use less of it in the least. For those of you whining about welfare, raising the minimum makes you pay less on your taxes towards welfare, because companies are now forced to do so for you. Keeping the wages low increases your taxes. It’s that simple. Have a heart, and quit over complicating things people!

If you have an opinion, keep it civil, and post a comment below! As always, thanks for reading!

~J. A. Ross

Thought of the Day #3: Wal-Mart

To revive my ‘Thought of the Day’ series, I decided today’s thought will revolve around Wal-Mart. I always hear bitching about welfare, and people being on it just because their lazy. While this may the case for a couple people here and there, it would be an incredibly minuscule percentage of people who use welfare (nowhere near even 1%). This is where Wal-Mart comes in. It’s companies such as them, that make people have to go on welfare in the first place. We’re talking about a company where their top 6 share holders (the Walton family themselves) have more money combined in their bank accounts, then what nearly 50% of Americans have in their’s at any given time.

They pay their employees a piss poor wage, with little to no benefits,…when they can easily increase their wages. In all honesty, what would a $3 increase in pay really do to their profits. It’d hardly make a dent and can make a huge difference to employees. My other questions are: why does the greedy Walton family really need with all those billions? Are they just hoarding it to gain a title of richest family in the world? How will they even spend all of that money? Seriously, they can spend a couple million a day for years at time and still be incredibly filthy rich.

Stuff like this makes America fall behind other developed countries. You can work 40 hours a weeks,plus overtime in this country, and still not even make enough to cover your monthly expenses. I think it’s sickening that our country is more focused on  silly things that don’t help people much in the long run such as guns for example. (Yes, I’m alright with people owning guns for the most part, but they’re not an absolute necessity. Just using them as an example.) We’re more concerned about laws for the uses of in-animate objects we don’t need all that much, than actually helping our own people.

Corporations like Wal-Mart are disgusting because they use cheap labor to make their products outside of the US, and give low wages to their workers in the store so they can make maximum profits, and exploit their employees. They’ll also cut hours, but because their already making so little, the workers suffer more. So I’m calling out Wal-Mart, the Walton’s, and any other similar company. When will you abysmal individuals step up to the plate and pay your employees a living wage? Instead of hiding behind your mountains of money while you watch them struggle.

*It’s normally a goal of mine to stray away from politics on my posts, however my ‘Thought of the Day’ will occasionally do the opposite. If you have an opinion, post and keep it civil, or it will be deleted.

As always, thanks for your reading and continued support!

~J. A. Ross

Driving In Utah: The Winter Edition

*This article contains some strong language*

Deep into another Utah Winter I find myself gripping my steering wheel a bit tighter in some areas. No, not because of the snow or the ice… but, from our terrible drivers. There’s certainly been a few times where I felt like my heart stopped, and got jump started again by the adrenaline rush of narrowly avoiding ramming into someone’s car. You know, that dipshit who ran the stop sign, or the one that just pulled out in front of you from nowhere, while you’re going 55 mph on the highway.

Now, snow and ice just add to their stupidity, but let’s be honest. It’s not that hard to drive in the snow. All you have to do is drive slow, keep your pacing from other cars, and pump your breaks a little. Anyone can do it, even folks from the South (yeah I’m calling you guys out a little, closing everything down for a 1/2 in. of snow. Come on!) It’s really no different than driving in a really heavy rain storm, and hydroplaning if you drive too fast.

Adding the weather into the mix of the already abysmal driving out here, they appear to insert their heads further up their asses to create the ultimate driving hell in Winter. From what I’ve been hearing in general, only the Florida, or Massachusetts drivers have the closest competition to Utah, in getting the crown for the worst of the worst. Just imagine the atrocities all of their driving ‘skills’ combined in one place. No roads would ever be safe again!

These people can’t even get up a hill in a basic snow storm. Don’t get me wrong, maybe a few have bald tires, or perhaps just the basic front wheel drive. But we’re talking jeeps,SUV’s, trucks…vehicles made for this weather. With that 4 or all wheel drive. I have all wheel drive for fuck’s sake, and I made it up the hill just fine. It was a little slippery of course, but you drive up it slow because the road did have a curve, this is the exception. Generally the rule for hills is to go up it with a fair speed and slow near your destination. None of that ‘in between’ shit, or going too slow. That’s how you get stuck.

Seriously though, we’re talking 8+ vehicles stranded on the side of the road. Fully capable vehicles, that could get up that hill, and there I was in mine. Passing them, chugg, chugg, chugging my way up. I saw a couple of them damn near rear-end each other. They must have forgot to pump those breaks to get some friction and avoid sliding so much. If it weren’t for me having to pick up my siblings and take them to school, I could’ve had a chance to make a video of the chaos. Just my luck eh?

When you get to a light, or stop signs, it’s always fun to watch people pull up to them too fast and you can tell they’re going, “Shit! Shit! Shit, shit, shit!!!” Followed by unintelligible screaming as they panic and barely stop in time. The people, including me, eyeballing them suspiciously as we pass on the main road thinking, “Alright there cowboy? That horse a little too wild for you?” Everybody will have a little bit of a hard time coming to a nice gentle stop, myself included. I’ll pull up to that stop sign sliding a bit. The difference is I cautiously pull up to the damn thing at a nice slow speed, once again pumping those brakes so that I gain back control of my car a lot quicker.

It’s always the experience driving out in Utah in general. People regularly saying, “Fuck you stop sign!”As they proceed to run it, then giving you the dirty look even though it was their mistake. Or those people that just pull into a parking spot half-fast (especially in winter where snow piles take up a lot of parking areas) and get out thinking, “Well, I’m kind of in my spot. Close enough.” Driver’s Ed is way too easy going in this state. That, and the exceptional amount of teenage kids on the roads compared to other states. (It’s Utah, they really like to screw… a little too much it seems.)

Perhaps it really is all of the poorly trained teenage drivers that make Utah’s roads a gamble every time you need to drive somewhere. Mentioned above, the driver’s ed is cake here. I feel like most of the trainers at the high schools simply don’t care. I’ve heard of a few of those sons of bitches falling asleep during some of the road testing. Not to mention plenty of stories of all other kinds of crazy nonsense that happens during these tests, and the kids still (surprise!) pass. I have friends that have passed and I’m still baffled how this happened…to this day.

Now throw all these people on the roads in the Winter, and that really adds to the ‘fun’. If you’re ever looking to visit Utah this time of the year, mainly to all those skiers, try Colorado. They got great skiing there too I hear, and you’re less likely to die on their roads! Now, some of you may not have a choice, and if that’s the case… don’t wreck!

Miss the last 2 articles? Here are the links:

https://rossj781.com/2015/10/24/another-day-driving-in-utah/

https://rossj781.com/2015/12/01/driving-in-utah-the-daily-struggle/

More humorous articles coming soon. If you have any bad driving experiences, or any opinions on the article, comment below. Thanks for reading!

~J. A. Ross