a Sunrise in every town

I’ve long thought of making a point to have a sunrise shoot in every town in New Hampshire. Reading through a magazine I get “New Hampshire To-Do” they had printed an article about a group called Two-Thirty-Four Club.

This group () is a small organization of which the founder doesn’t even know the total membership. The idea behind it is that a person must visit every town, and at least pass through it in a vehicle in order to gain membership. Membership is also on the honor system. A great idea, one that I think can go further for myself and Shire Photography.

I’ve visited all over New Hampshire. From Mount Washington to the sand in Hampton, from the Stark Bridge to Railroad Square in Keene. I’ve not, however, stopped in every town which I pass in order to take photos. That is the object of my new voyage.

The Shire Grand Photo Tour is the name I’ve come up with for the moment, for my project that will culminate in having a beautiful shot from every town in New Hampshire, including unincorporated areas. I plan on accompanying photography from each town with a short video series posted here and on YouTube showing what it is I found in each of these towns that have great visuals of Americana and the spirit of the Shire.

You can join me. Stay tuned to ShirePhotography.wordpress.com for regular episodes where I show you what New Hampshire has to offer those who care to visit. After my project is completed I will create an exhibit of my photography, my thoughts, my videos, my blogs, and others who have found what caught their eye in each of these towns.

New Hampshire has what other states lack, and I’m out to show you what those things are. Keep reading, keep shooting.

-T

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Introducing Shire Photojournalism on Facebook

After a long time of mixing my Shire Photography photos, landscapes, covered bridges, lighthouses, historical buildings, mountains, foliage, streams, etc with the photos I take as a liberty activist. . . I’ve decided to split the two to avoid redundancy and confusion as to who is actually making these photos.

I regularly attend pro-liberty events in New Hampshire.  I’ve explained before that I moved as part of the Free State Project, and as a mover I’ve chosen to use my photography as my activism of choice.  I feel that everyone has something that they can share with others and push towards true freedom in America.  .  my something happens to be whatever is in front of my lens.

So I split Shire Photography and my new foundation called Shire Photojournalism.  For now, Shi-Jo will be a facebook related entity.  It allows me to tag fellow liberty lovers, opens up the photos for others to use in their endeavors, and allows for gallery settings to make new galleries everytime I go out for a shoot.

Splitting these two takes the NH liberty stuff that has become so cluttered in with what I do for my chosen profession.  It has also allowed me to keep my landscape and portrait photography set so that people can view and purchase it, while allowing my photojournalism to be open and free for any person who chooses to use at their discretion.

Of course, any credit given to Shire Photography, Shire Journalism, or myself is much appreciated.  I am open to other photographers using the page to also put up their own photos relating to Liberty in New Hampshire.  If you’re on facebook, become a fan and “like” the page today!  Share it with your friends too!

Shire Photojournalism on Facebook

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Website Update: 11-7-2010

Finally!  I’ve been looking and reading and searching for a way, since there HAS to be one. . . to get my stupid website to come up without having to put in the ‘www’ at the beginning.

It seems so simple, but has been quite a challenge getting someone to let me know how to do this.  I’ve asked some web people I’ve known, who have given me very complicated ideas which either didn’t work or made it so my site wasn’t able to be seen even when I put the ‘www’ at the beginning (which is no good).

All it took, in the end, was a forwarding option from my website provider.  So SIMPLE even a caveman (or a photographer who’s web design experience was top notch in 1995) can do it.

Forwarding “ShirePhotography.com” to the website www.ShirePhotography.com accomplished the goal!  Now, my users don’t have to type the ‘www’ and I don’t have to fear that they’re going to see some GoDaddy parked site screen.  Amen!

and check out ShirePhotography.com for History, Americana, Life.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Header Update: 11-6-2010

updated the header for the blog of Shire Photography.  This one is a bit different as it comes to you not from New Hampshire, but of Newburyport, Massachusetts.

As some of my readers know, I grew up in Massachusetts.  My hometown was Salisbury, right over the border from New Hampshire.  I moved to New Hampshire as part of the Free State Project last year after a few years of working towards that goal.  It wasn’t a hard choice, giving up state income tax, state sales tax, and a lot less tyranny facing me daily.  I realized from a young age when I started seeing what the government does to the economy as I saw business after business fail on the Massachusetts side of the imaginary line that is called the ‘state border’.  I watched a liquor store get burned to the ground.  I saw an old barroom closed up (and eventually burned) due to regulation and the loss of their liquor license (due to selectman favoritism).  The big Shawmut bank closed, turned into a garden center, closed again and turned eventually into a church.  Go figure.

My favorite Ice Cream store packed up and left.  The convenience store that had the old fella that always knew my name went out of business.  The gas station where I first filled up the tank the day I got my license (and was told to drive straight home), is now wasteland with only the overhang remaining.  All semblance of commerce has stopped, and in its place overgrown with weeds and bushes.

As this happened I watched the neighboring town, Seabrook, couldn’t seem to find enough space for business.  Timbermarts became Home Depots, Hobie Cat dealerships became Wendy’s, McDonalds moved across the street and down the road a mile to make room for a Lowe’s, that gave way to Kohl’s next door.  Of course, the big deal back then was Wal-Mart coming to town, and bringing with it a lot of smaller businesses in the area.  Why couldn’t we have this in my town?  Pretty much the fact that New Hampshire saw a good reason to leave business alone, to not tax it as heavily, to not institute a sales tax, to offer the consumers of both Massachusetts and New Hampshire a good reason to swing on over and enjoy the savings they would hold onto.  They ended up calling this “the New Hampshire Advantage” and whenever I see a “tax free holiday” in Massachusetts, I have to laugh.  What good is a ‘tax free holiday’ when the business can’t compete or survive while waiting for them to come around?  In the meantime, consumers won’t be spending $8.00 for a pack of butts or 2.95 for a gallon of gas when they can drive 4 or 5 miles further and get their cigarettes for $5.00 and gas for 2.40.  How could you blame them?

It’s too bad really.  I loved some of the areas where I lived.  I think everyone has a fondness for their hometown.  My own hometown of Salisbury recently seemed to drop its idea of using their force to keep the small town looking historical and allow business such as CVS Pharmacy and bigger banks to move in.  I don’t shame them, they should have stopped attempting to force businesses to rehabilitate centuries old buildings unsuitable for living, much less a contemporary business.  Sometimes you have to realize that your town’s historical value just isn’t as important as bringing business and jobs to the area.  Regulation only stifles it.  Newburyport, a bordering town of Salisbury in Massachusetts, had a good reason to keep some of its history intact.  Unfortunately, it’s led to very expensive rents, awkward looking areas where trollies and fishermen once roamed now is the inevitable gridlock. 

The town has charm, and I adore it, but more and more you see less accessibility.  There were days I could just escape everything and head down to the boardwalk to relax a bit.  Now, they charge you to park in the same dusty lots and send bicycle cops to come around and ask you what you’re doing when you’re listening to music and watching the boats.  Frankly, the only time I really like heading down there now is early in the morning when life is slower, police are hanging out at the Dunkin Donuts, and the toll booth is unmanned. 

The header above is taken close to where I used to love hanging out, tossing some bread to the seagulls, and watching the boats.  The sea vessel traffic is low this time of year, but you can still see fishing boats gearing up for their routine, just as they have for centuries.  I’m not really sure how they can do it without getting so frustrated that the world around them keeps becoming more and more tyrannical towards their industry.  Someday, I fear, they won’t care to do it any longer.  Until the day when they won’t allow me at these landmarks, I’ll go out there in the morning and get my shots, get back to my car and head back over the imaginary line that separates Massachusetts from New Hampshire.  Maybe one day the people of these towns will smarten up and realize what they’re losing and strive to be more like their neighbors to the north.  Perhaps one day they’ll just give up and move to be annexed by New Hampshire and save themselves the trouble of fixing something that is on the verge of breaking completely.

Newburyport Harbor on the Merrimack River.

Posted in Header Update, Social Commentary, What I've Learned | Leave a comment

Living and Learning

So I chose to go ahead and give myself a present and learn something at the same time. Up until now, the largest prints I’ve done are 8×10’s in 11×14 frames. I decided to kick it up one more notch and make myself purchase a large frame to fill with a great picture. My photos are best viewed large since I use a wide angle lens and I think it makes them even more breathtaking.

So I went to Michael’s Arts and Crafts. We were on a shopping mission for our wedding and bought over $200 worth of centerpiece items (paying someone else to do the same would probably cost us in the $1000-$2000 range, so I’m happy to have spent that). We swung by the frames aisle and I chose a large frame. I headed over to the mattes section and got a matte that had an opening for a 12×18 photo. Now I’m in business.

I excitedly couldn’t wait to go get a good print done to put into this badboy. I chose my favorite Blair Covered Bridge photo that went well with the brown of the frame and the creme of the matte. I had it printed out over at Ritz Camera where they do well taking care of me and my photos.

I was giddy all the way home, I couldn’t wait to tear into this project and get it going. I had the photo secured to the matte, the frame was taken apart so I could clean the glass. After wiping down the first side I looked away for a moment and the glass had slid, one corner under the frame and the rest above it. As I lifted the glass to flip it over. ..

crrraaack.

I screamed “NO!!!” so loud I’m sure my neighbors heard. I’d not been this mad since I found out “Say Yes to the Dress” was having spinoffs to increase the amount of time each week I’m forced to watch it.

I was so angry with myself AND the glass. Screw YOU glass for breaking on me. I noticed how flimsy the glass was to begin with. Maybe it was better off that I get rid of it and buy a new piece. Now the hard part will be finding a replacement sheet of glass that will fit this frame. I’m sure most glass places would be happy to cut me one, for a good expensive price. I somehow doubt the quality of glass at the craft store will be much better.

You chalk this one up to “living and learning” as they say. It all goes along with being the first time I attempted a large photo like this, and it won’t be the last, but next time I’ll have to make sure to be extra careful with such fragile glass. Maybe next time I’ll buy a more expensive frame with better glass so I don’t have to worry as much.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A “thank you” to those who have purchased my calendar

getting by in a tough economy is hard if you don’t have a lot of marketable skills.  I’m a rather new photographer having been in the game for less than 3 years.  At one time in my life I had written off doing art as a lifestyle because of its penchant for payless weeks and squeemishness of the  art market.  Lately, I’ve found, there’s nothing more I’d rather do to make some coin.

Friends, relatives, and people I barely know have made me a very happy person for purchasing the fruits of my labor of love.   $20 is a lot for anyone in this economy.  I sincerely thank all of those who have purchased my 2011 Shire Calendar, those who have spread the word of its beauty and quality, and those who intend to purchase one in the near future.

I’m almost repaid myself for the purchase of the calendars.  From there I can now focus the rest of the money on expanding my business.   I’ve found a supplier that can print individual specialty calendars.  I’ve got a few in mind for certain genres of people. . . a 2011 Covered Bridge Calendar, a 2011 Liberty Calendar, 2011 Lighthouses Calendar, and a 2011 Newburyport Calendar that will sell nicely in my former hometown.

For those of you reading this and wondering where you can view the 2011 Shire Calendar and purchase it, check out www.ShirePhotography.com and check out the gallery marked 2011 Shire Calendar! On the homepage, at the bottom you can purchase through paypal or send me a check directly by contacting me at Shire.Photography@live.com.

Posted in 2011 Shire Calendar | Leave a comment

My Nightmare or the Worst Job I Ever Had

I’m writing this installment to explain and get off my chest the worst experience that I’ve ever had at a job.  More to get it off of my mind before I forget the unusually shitty details about the week I started working at a hotel in Manchester. 

I was hired last Friday.  I was so excited, finally someone was giving me a chance to work.  I had to grab the ball and run with it.  I was hired to be a night auditor at a hotel in Manchester.  I had some reservations, as I looked at the schedule and saw that they were training me to do a morning shift followed by an evening shift. . . then learning the night audit.  I was fine with this, no harm in cross training me to do other time periods.  The only other reservations I had about the job was my own lack of knowledge.  I had no clue how to get around in Manchester, where places were, and what I could give for directions to guests.  I know I would, over time, learn these.

Sunday: 7-3 shift:  I had a training person, who was rather nice but also seemed to not have a particular interest in training me.  As most people know, if you’re forced, it’s not going to turn out so well.  The manager was insisting on me learning the basics very quickly so that I could start my own shifts even quicker.  It’s a nice thought, probably would save the company some money.  Unfortunately in reality it seems as if people were rushing me to learn a vast amount of things in a short amount of time.  I’m not sure anyone could learn that way, and succeed.  It became clear after a short period, that I was there as a fill in so that my training person could go about breaking every policy that I had just got done reading about.  From making long personal calls and allowing me to attempt to fend for myself without the basic knowledge of how to even check someone in, to hanging around out back having lunch (which is something that rarely gets to happen at hotel front desks) and leaving me to fiddle and squirm in front of guests.  It was not a good day.  I had so much stress at the end of the day I broke down and wondered if this was going to work.  Not a good feeling after the first day of work.  I pushed myself, and told myself that it would get better.

Monday:  3-11 shift:  Different day, same lack of training.  I was being shown more things, but to be honest I believe that my memory was coming back from my old days working at the hotel in Amesbury was helping me more than I was being helped in training.  The manager explained to my training manager that she wished for the shift that the training manager would sit down and I would run the shift.  I looked back at her in amazement.  I’d literally been on the job for 8 hours and I’m expected to run a 104 room hotel with many amenities, pick ups from the airport, and all the while doing it with staff that does not speak my language.  I have NO problem with people who speak another language, but it is a barrier to getting business done right.  Another night, another trainwreck.  As I went home I felt as if they didn’t really care if I knew what I was doing, just to get a body in there.  I felt like I was worthless beyond my ability to speak and type.  I was miserable.  Misery I can deal with, but being incompetent because of my lack of training was not something I can deal with.  I had two more nights to learn everything I could before I was going to be on my own shift in a major hotel.  I was worried.

Thursday:  11-7 shift:   Finally, I was getting a chance to learn in an environment that allowed me to.  I like training on the overnights because I have an actual chance to learn things without having as much customer interactions.  Granted, the interactions were there but instead of being constantly inundated I was given time to go through the motions I was learning (or remembering).  My new training person was a real professional.  He’s a good guy and really took the time to try and help me learn the keys to the job.  He was frustrated that I had not learned as much as he was hoping.  I could barely check people in correctly.  I had problems answering the phone to the way their policy states.  I didn’t know the area nor could I give accurate directions to places and from.  I hadn’t grasped the extra amenities like Park and Ride, Pet Policy, booking rooms, reservations, etc.  I knew at this point, that it wasn’t my training that was providing me the knowledge of how to do my job, but the memory of my past job which I was well trained at and was similar to the current systems that was getting me by.  This is not good, feeling this way and seeing the employee schedule creep up on me, bulging at the date on Saturday where I would be thrown to the wolves.  I was not going to be ready for what was going to happen.

Friday:  11-7:   My last night before I was on my own, and I was spending more time learning what it was that I was actually hired to do:  Night Auditing.  I was grasping it, I had written good notes, and had a good night audit trainer.  I didn’t learn many hotel systems beyond the night audit paperwork, and feared that I wasn’t going to be ready.  I expressed this to him and he said that he agreed that it was going to be very very hard because we were so busy in the hotel the next evening.  He even said “I wouldn’t put you by yourself so quickly, especially on a Saturday night.”

Before I get into Saturday, a bit of background.  I haven’t been eating.  I haven’t had TIME.  Working the desk at a hotel, you find this is nothing new.  Laws and regulations about break periods are thrown out the window.  Who’s going to cover you for your ‘mandatory 30 minute meal break’ and ‘two fifteen minute breaks’?   No one, of course.  When I arrive home, I attempt to sleep.  Sleep patterns are all screwed up, and seeing as I was allowed to leave at 5am Friday and had to be back at 3pm Saturday, it was up to me to force myself into slumber quickly.  Unfortunately, this was not going to be the case.  I lost heat in my home and had to deal with being awake for 3 hours while waiting for the repairman to fix it.  I seemed to get phone call after phone call awaking me, neighbors leaf blowing, and general anxiety about my upcoming shift.  I was dead tired, starving, and hit the snooze button until I could no longer sleep and successfully get into work on time.  I showered in cold water, made a pb sandwich, and jumped in the car.  I was worried, and you’ll see why in a minute.

Saturday: The day from HELL:  3-11:  I arrived at the hotel to find the 7-3 person struggling and running around trying to finish her work.  This is not a good sign, she isn’t complete with her responsibilities and I was not going to have any help from her.  A nice girl, she didn’t really seem to care if I had questions or comments.  After informing me that she “bent the rules” for a few people here and there leaving me with a mess to clean up, she quickly ran to the bathroom.

SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

an alarm was going off.  I had heard it before.  We have a guest wake up call printer, which prints the wake up calls and is important to keep on.  Unfortunately, no one had shown me how to turn the damn thing off.  A big note on it says “do not silence this alarm”  and it should have had a note that said “do not throw this out the window”.  This loud, annoying sound was bothering not only me, but my guests, and people that were visiting.  It was mind numbing, it was almost intolerable. . .but I worked through it and just left it going while I went about trying to fix every other problem I had at the moment.  I pulled out my daily checklist, and checked off two or three things.  I noticed we were at 86% occupancy… we were almost a full house.  In my experience, this was not good if there’s problems with a room, there’s no where to switch them to. 

Guests are streaming in, asking me about the squeal going on that’s loud and annoying.  I keep informing them that I’ve tried to call some people to get an answer on how to turn it off, but to no avail.  The general manager had some pressing issue that led her to leave the hotel.  The new guy, by himself, with no one to contact.  This was worse than I even had imagined.  I dealt with it, pressing on by winging it and doing my best.  I had one bright light in a sea of darkness.  A bosnian fellow that worked at the hotel, and spoke next to no English.  He would run the shuttle bus for me and help out around the hotel.  I could barely communicate to him, but once in a while he would stroll by and I could motion for him to check a room that the housekeepers didn’t let me know are clean or not. 

Which leads me to my next problem:  Central Reservations.  Where people call an 800 number and speak to a representative that’s more than happy to book them in our hotel rooms even if the rooms are marked as DIRTY.  Nice.  So I have a booked house, and the reservations line is trying to put people into dirty rooms with no housekeeper to clean them.  What am I supposed to do, leave my busy desk to go clean a room.  Mind you, I’ve not yet even had a chance to count my cash drawer to make sure it’s at the proper amount and also been taking in cash which would screw up my totals.  I was informed earlier that one particular cash paying guest who did not leave an incidental had shit on the fucking floor of his room after he checked out.  Nothing I could do (or had time to do), he had left and didn’t have a credit card for me to charge for his extra present on the floor, alcohol spilled everywhere, and his room was already rented out to someone else.  Nice.  Well, he showed up at the desk.  He said “I’m in room 106, or a I was, and I’m having a diabetic attack.”  :falls to the floor:   so the guy was a diabetic, drank alcohol all night long, and now fainted on the floor.  I called 9-1-1 and was told to stay on the line.  No thanks lady, I have so much shit to do I don’t have time, just send these guys out to pick this dirtbag off my floor.  The firefighters, in their rush to get a sick man better, had to stop and ask me about the squeel they kept hearing.  Of course, I was going to have to explain this wake up call log alarm 4 or 500 more times to come. 

At this point, I have guest after guest checking in, and I’m praying that the rooms I’m putting them into are clean and ready to go.  I run outside to help a handicapped man bring his luggage in.  Meanwhile, the line is starting to form again.  “How do I get to the Verizon Center?”  Damned if I know, take Elm Street right?  “How do I get to Elm Street”. . . . I wish I knew.  Seems like something they’d train you on how to tell people.  Jeff Dunham is playing the Verizon Center, and that is the reason why so many are staying with us for the evening.  The phone is ringing off the hook with people looking for rooms.  We just don’t have them.  Unfortunately, Central Reservations doesn’t care if you have rooms or not, they’re going to book people in them anyways.

The pool is cold, it’s supposed to be heated.  Obviously not a problem for a manager to deal with before she leaves for whatever it is she’s going out to do.  Nor can she answer her phone when I call to ask her questions.  At this point, I’m not sure how much worse the night can get.  I hope that it’s all over now.  Unfortunately, the worst was yet to come.

Guests are coming back to the desk, asking for new keys to their room.  Room keys sometimes don’t work when you put them next to a cell-phone, and deactivate.  It’s normal.  What’s not normal is for a guest to come back down 4-5 times because the two keys I made for them are not allowing them into their own room.  This is a huge problem.  I’m not supposed to leave the desk, nor can I find the bosnian fellow and if I could, how to explain to him what I needed him to do.  I made new keys for the 23 or so guests that complained of not being able to get into their rooms.  I ran up the stairs to each of these rooms armed with new keys and the master key.  The keys are not working to let them into the rooms.  What the FUCK!  What am I going to do, open the door for everyone whenever they want to get in and out of their stupid rooms?  I guess so!  One woman, towards the end, had come down 5 separate times to get new keys.  The look on her face was that of a woman who blamed me for the death of her newborn.  She was furious with me for not being able to solve the problem.  At this point, I was feeling that this job was not the right fit for me, as I had no training in how to deal with the fact that this hotel was slipshod and completely broken. 

The elevator was at a standstill.  I had learned earlier in the week that “once in a great while” the elevator didn’t work and needed to have its circuit breaker flipped.  That was downstairs in the bowels of the hotel.  Another thing to leave the line of people waiting for, to have me run up and down the stairs.  Unfortunately, the breaker wasn’t working for the elevator.  Now we have TWO elevators that are out of service and lots of upset people with me for not having someone around to help them carry their luggage to the top floor.  What a disaster.

A couple arrived, explaining that they had a reservation, of course, I saw no such name on my arrivals list.  I searched to find out that central reservations booked them the previous evening.  They were listed as a NO SHOW and were charged.  I explained the situation, and had my bosnian friend check the only double occupancy room we had left to see if it was clean or dirty as it is marked in the system.  Thankfully, something went right and it was actually cleaned.  Halleighluia.  I’m now out of double rooms and Kings are only at 3 or 4 left.  I was thankful that I had no more rooms really to sell, but was afraid that central reservations was going to continue to book rooms even though I don’t have them.  The only other rooms to book were the ones that the manager was staying in.  That would be funny.

After running upstairs all night to let people into their rooms, down to check to circuit breaker again and again for the elevator, answering phone calls, turning away walk-in guests. . . now came the pool.  The pool was supposed to be heated.  I’ve written in the log the last few days that the pool needed to be fixed immediately.  It was freezing cold.  Guests were complaining to me as if I had some special power to control the pool.  I kept explaining that it was my first night on the job and I had no answers only shared frustration.  I shared with them the GM’s number and for most people, who understood I had no authority nor knowledge, this was good enough.  For some, this was the last straw.

A woman and her husbund came down and she literally started screaming at me.  “What is with your fucking hotel?  Your elevators don’t work, my room keys are not working, your pool is FREEZING!  The other night I came back and half my room had electricity, and the other half did not.  You put me in a room where there are smokers next door and I explicitly asked you to not do so.  I can’t even breathe in my room.  I want a full refund, immediately!!!!!”

Yeah, cause I can just do that right?  I called the GM and no answer, again.  I called my night audit training person and no answer, again.  The squeel is going off, the keys are not working, the elevators are crapped out, the pool is frozen, people are fainting on the floor, pooping on the floor, central reservations, overbooking, dirty rooms, no time to even count my drawer.  I had enough.  I was breaking down from fatigue, anger, sadness, depression, and anxiety. 

I opened the cash drawer, and told the woman to take whatever she wanted.  She looked at me in disbelief.  I went through the entire list above without a hesitation.  I informed her that I had not only NO authority to refund her room stays, but I had no knowledge of even how to do so.  The best thing I could do was to open the drawer and let her take back cash.  I eyes started to well up, she could see that she was my last straw.  She became inquisitive.  “this really is your first night?  You weren’t trained on any of this?  My god I’m sorry to put this on you I know it’s not your fault.”  I stopped her and spoke uncustomarilly loud, “I am the man at the desk, it is my responsibility to know these things before I am in these situations.  I have no answers except that I’ve done my best tonight and I’ve failed at my job due to lack of training and knowledge.  I understand that you’ve had a horrible experience here, and I really wish beyond anything that I could make it right.  I just have no idea how to do that.  I wish your room had electricity in all of it, the pool was warm, the elevator worked, your keys let you into your room…”  Her husbund grabbed her by the arm and told her to back off and give me a minute.  A tear ran down my face out of sheer stress and anxiety.  I picked up the phone and dialed the GM again.  No answer.  I dialed the night audit trainer again (who lives at the hotel). . . no answer but a voicemail.  I told him to come down to the desk immediately. . . I am at my wits end.

The woman told me to just have someone call her this evening to let her know how they were going to fix it, and apologized.  I stopped her and said “no mam, I’M sorry.”

She was quickly replaced with yet another guest that couldn’t get into their room.  I apologized again, and ran up the stairs with them to use the master key.  The master key, was not working.  This could only mean one thing. . . someone was using their room and locked it from the inside.  How that happens I have no idea.  I can only think I gave out the wrong key to someone who checked in and they used the room to shower and locked the door behind them.  This family, returning from their day wants only to get into their room, and they are instead sitting outside of it, listening to someone in their shower.  “You have to be able to fix this.”   Sure, I have no other rooms to check people into, no way of making this right.  I have no tools to get the job done.  I have nothing left for this place but pure hatred towards the people who put me into this position. . .and for what. . . 9.50 an hour (not even the 10 I specified when I was hired?)

The training manager came down to the desk, and I told him that this place was a disaster.  That I wasn’t trained properly and thrown to the wolves to save the hotel a few bucks.  I told him everything that had gone wrong and that I no longer wanted to work for such a company.  He told me that if I was going to leave, to just leave and be done with it.  I have never felt more insulted.  I guess this is common for everything to go wrong in this hotel, and why would I want to put myself through the same anguish every night?  I picked up my hoodie, informed him that I never even got a chance to count the drawer from the beginning, and started walking to the door.

“you’re actually leaving?”  I heard just as I saw the woman who yelled at me come back downstairs as well as the woman who was left outside of her room.  The squeel came to an end as I opened the door and I glanced back to see that the training manager simply unplugged it.  I didn’t look back again.  I got into my car, sped onto 293 and headed towards home.  I had a splitting headache, pain in my chest, and shortness of breath.  I was having a panic attack, anxiety, I hadn’t felt this way since I was in the worst of my drinking days.  The worst part is, now I’m jobless again, and have to go back out there and pretend that this, the worst day of my working life didn’t happen.  I failed, because they failed me, but a failure is still a failure.

I just have to try again, because I have no other option.

Posted in Uncategorized | 30 Comments

Who profits from the 2011 Shire Calendar?

I’ve been asked to write a blog about how the $20.00 for the 2011 Shire Calendar is going to be distributed. I’m glad this question has come in, because it’s not only I that is going to benefit:

1) Postage and handling is included. Most places are charing extra nowadays to ship, I include it in the price.
2) Paypal takes its charges for using its service if you pay through that method.
3) Vistaprint.com is a site that produces great quality products. A small company that has reached its point by perseverance.
4) I take a humble portion for re-investment into my company. I plan on using some of the profit to create Greeting Card stands, pay for the creation of a 2011 Covered Bridge calendar, and perhaps ordering some high quality frames from LibertyPictureFrames.com

5) and lastly, a portion of this first run is going to be a donation from you to others. I have chosen to take a humble portion and donate it to one of three organizations pushing for more liberty in New Hampshire. These are good people doing good work that is vastly underfunded for the goals they wish to accomplish. Everyone who orders the first run of these calendars will be making a donation to one of these liberty groups of their choice:

- New Hampshire Liberty Alliance: NHLiberty.org: an organization that focuses on electing the right people in New Hampshire, those that won’t remove freedoms from you but will stand up to help protect them. Donate yourself and for more information go to NHliberty.org.

- Civil Disobedience Evolution Fund: A fund designed to help those that are taking an active stand against tyranny in the free state. The fund is run by Jason Talley of Talley.tv and features speakers such as Brad Jardis, former Epping Officer who works to inform others of the harms caused to good innocent peaceful activists by government authorities. Find out more at CDEvolution.org.

- Liberty Scholarship Fund: A small organization that works to help defray the costs of schooling children in New Hampshire without using the public option. This fund directly helps families struggling with everyday expenses, educating their children, and paying to educate children of families that choose to send their kids to the public schools. Check out their mission statement at LSFund.org

visit http://www.shirephotography.com and move to the bottom of the page and click the donate button. You’ll be helping a local artist, local industry, moving forward liberty organizations, and you’ll get my best work from the last year. In a tough economy like this, your $20 goes a lot further than it would with a crappy wal-mart calendar for $3. Thank you for your readership and for those that have already purchased a calendar, my sincere thank you!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Blast from the Past: 5-2010 So you want to make some rootbeer?

Explit language within. After watching an episode of Modern Marvels on the History Channel concerning Soda and Soft Drinks, they did a great job explaining and clarifying what I tried to in the peice below. See more of my commentary at the end.

So, have you ever thought about it? Recently in my gardening madness I thought about how I could make some blueberry soda. After all, I’d be getting plenty from my 5 bushes eventually, and I love the blueberry soda I buy for $5/4pack in the store. Why not learn how to make your own instead?

So I went and found a recipe. I found a couple actually. I made a simple syrup, mixed it with seltzer (one such recipe without using yeast) and it tasted delicious. Fresh, full of flavor, bubbly, fantastic.

and I did it. Myself. I know of every ingredient. With all the talk about self-sufficiency and going green, I decided that the flavor was better and without all the chemicals and preservatives that are unknown to me and may even be harmful.

You know another soda I like? Root beer. With a delightfully frothy head, smooth taste. . . who wouldn’t want a tall glass of it. I think to myself, “gee I might even like to try making this.”

So I go where a lot of people do, wikipedia. The root beer flavor comes from safrole:

“typically extracted from the root-bark or the fruit of sassafras plants in the form of sassafras oil, or synthesized from other related methylenedioxy compounds. It is the principal component of brown camphor oil, and is found in small amounts in a wide variety of plants, where it functions as a natural pesticide.”

So, it’s just sassafras root. Besides being a word I think I hear in Mystikal songs, it’s gotta be a plant I can grow and get the root of. Then I can do the same thing I did with blueberries. . . learn how to make it into delicious soder. So I kept reading. .

“Safrole is regarded by the U.S. government to be a weak carcinogen in rats”

uh oh. . . you know what that means. . .

“The roots of Sassafras can be steeped to make tea and were used in the flavoring of root beer until being banned by the FDA.”

shit.

Fucking assholes. Instead of even bothering to inform the public of the ‘weak carcinogen in rats’ and letting the public decide, they outright banned the oil and then the tree (until 1994 for some reason)

The root beers you’re accustomed to have been flavored artificially. Great. Not only do I not know the actual taste of the old timey root beer that I’ve been served all my life, but I cant even procure the items necessary to make the soft drink of choice for many people years before my time.

Listen. I’m not asking for cocaine to make my own historical version of Coca-Cola (though, why is that any of your business either). I’m looking to grow a plant, take it’s roots, steep them, get the oil, flavor my seltzer water (or yeast concoction). I’m also looking to take my life into risk by drinking the ‘weak carcinogen in rats” to the detriment of myself. Redundancy, I know, but clearer the case. . . this is my body, I will choose what items I put into it and I will decide what risks I take with it.

So it all boils down to this. The Government assholes have told me that drinking root beer flavored with actual sassafras root flavor is bad and is illegal because the main ingredient has been shown to be a “weak carcinogen” in an animal 1/1000 of my size. I can, however, smoke cigarettes and cigars and eat a slab of cow broiled and grilled to be so black that I need a jackhammer to get through the top layer. That might not be healthy, but it hasn’t been deemed illegal yet. YET!

I know what some of you might be saying. “Oh Tony, you’re such a government hater. You don’t realize they’re just looking out for the people who don’t want cancer. You just want to push your agenda. No one wants the real thing anyways. It’s DANGEROUS! CANCER! CANCER AND TERRORISM! TERRORISM! AHHH!”

So maybe you’re right, perhaps we should ban all the items that have weak carcinogens in them as well. After all, you don’t want all the rats that might be eating your garbage to die of cancer. . .

First off, a few KNOWN carcinogens dangerous to HUMANS.

Silica: like those packets you find in your brand new purse. It says “DO NOT EAT” which helps all the little indoctrinated kids who can barely read until they’re 16.

Nickel: I’ve got like 10 in my pocket. I’ve even eaten a few when drunk. Guess I’m fucked.

Alcoholic Beverages: Whawhawhaaaat?

Mineral Oils: Don’t you bathe with these?

Wood Dust: never have this entering the body anywhere

Tobacco: Duh.

and now a few of the weak carcinogens:

Fluoride: Minty fresh!

Lead: Wait, only probable?

Safrole: the ingredient in Root beer.

In the end, the difference is this. I don’t eat my toothpaste. I don’t chew on lead paint. I don’t smoke cigarettes (anymore), I don’t drink alcohol (anymore), I don’t eat nickels (anymore), I’ve not been to a wood shop in a while, and I usually toss out silica packs.

But I would like to have a homemade, old fashioned, real, honest root beer. I will not only risk having “weak carcinogens in rats” in my system, but I will also be risking the agents of the government coming to take me away to harm me because I chose to harm myself.

Maybe you’re saying “oh Tony, go make your fucking soda, and drink it until you’re dead.” But I’m wondering, would you be as indifferent if I chose to sell my soda? What if I chose to sell my soda to children outside of their schools?

Well? Would you be as angry if I chose to sell tomatoes or orange juice to children as they left school?

“It naturally occurs in a variety of spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, black pepper and herbs such as basil. In that role safrole is believed, although not proven, to make a small but measurable contribution to the overall incidence of human cancer, equal to the hazards presented by orange juice and tomatoes.”

Maybe we should tell people the perils of the food they’re eating and drinking. Inform them of the materials they might ingest, inhale, or toke on. Instead, they decide to ban, then unban, then regulate, then ban again.

I will have my root beer, because even though the government made a law on paper, the word didn’t get back to the trees. Not even, the good old sassafras tree, which has been around before man and will be here after man. I will have my roots, I will make my mixture. . .and I will share it with others that would like to choose having A CHOICE.

Oh, and if you don’t believe me, good. Who the hell should? Go check it out for yourself on the internets.

oh and did you know that Root Beer is called sarsaparilla in Australia?

I took a lot of time to write that essay, and I felt good about doing so. I have not actually yet tried to create my own root beer, but I’m reinvigorated to do so now that I’ve seen another explanation on History Channel. A gentleman who ran a natural style soda operation hinted that the reason for the FDA ban on safrole was due to pressure from established entities. That’s right. Competition being killed by government due to the wishes of industry giants. . . Coca-Cola (which used to contain COCAINE) and Pepsi-Cola (named for its former PEPSIN ingredient) both used the powers of government to stop the production of a new and very popular beverage.

Let’s hope they don’t try again maybe this time with sodas you’ve come to enjoy. . . Dr. Pepper, Orange, FuFu Berry?

Maybe they will, but would you do anything to stop government, or sit idly by as your favorite company is shelled by larger counterparts using the force of the g-men?

Posted in Blast from the Past, Explicit Lyrics | Leave a comment

9-18-10: Highland Games, Loon Mountain

I had the opportunity to attend the Highland Games, a Scottish tradition which is fun for all who enjoy learning about cultures of years ago.

Bagpipes were everywhere. Men in kilts were everywhere. There was lamb being served and I could barely figure out what was on the menu.

Competition was the underlying theme of the day. From bagpipe competitions, to the bagpipe march, dancing competitions as you see above were graceful and beautiful. Some competitions couldn’t be described that way. . .

The Highland games, to me, always meant the real rugged men, ripped with muscles, performing their art with big stones and large logs. Watching these men throw rocks around might not seem like a good time. . . but it shows to me how men used to butch up in the past. The ancient version of showing other men how strong you are, how manly, without having to actually harm each other.


taking a trip up the skilift at Loon is a hairraising experience for me. I’m not the most confident with heights, but morso that those seats aren’t really meant for bigger, taller people like myself. A flimsy bar isn’t doing much to help me stay on the very shallow seat. Regardless, I got a great shot of the Loon area where the physical competitions are.

after taking the skilift, I decided to head over to the gondola, which is an enclosed lift that heads to the top of the mountain. I got some great shots at the top including the one above, viewing a great overlook. In this shot, a highlander and his wife enjoy the view.

Billy Boyle was a man who was a professional at building logging roads. Loon Mountain at one time, was not so pretty. It was scarred with the clear cutting of trees like many in New Hampshire were. To get those logs down, they needed good logging roads. Billy Boyle’s cabin is a testament to his skill at digging and blowing up rocks to form his highways. He couldn’t have picked a better spot.

Neither could you, should you decide to attend this event in future years. You’ll see great culture, the area where you can trace your own Scottish history. You can enjoy some traditional Scottish food, purchase English, Scottish, and Irish goods, and even get fitted for a kilt. The best part is the non-hassle. You’d expect to attend the event, have to walk long distances and pay a great amount to park. In fact, it couldn’t have been easier. We stopped at one of the predetermined parking areas, and a school bus took us to the event. After stopping at the building out front for our will-call tickets, we were right into the event. Every vendor, attendant, and security guard asked us if we were having a good time. We sure were, and will again next year for sure.

Posted in Photo Log | Leave a comment