Monday, February 29, 2016

Emperor Trumps Clothes

Telling people who to vote for is not my thing; however, I cannot abide the idea of Donald Trump as the president of this country. The USA has many problems and need a wise, level-headed leader to help us through the upcoming years. Donald is a bombastic narcissist who had lied for so long that I think he even believes the bullshit that comes out of his mouth. Examine the posture of both Donald Jr. and Sr., I've seen people hold their heads back, cocked slightly to the side with this face that says "I don't care what you think and I'm only paying attention so I can intelligently respond and further my adgenda." Those folks were pompous, unreasonable assholes.

What I find frightening is how many people seem to think that he is what America needs to be great again. If Trump is the synthesis of true America to you, we are really fucked. Hard core evangelicals are even supporting the man when he doesn't actually espouse "Christian" views. It also can't hurt to mention that fact that his wife has repeatedly appeared in magazines looking two shades short of harlot - not exactly First Lady material or in line with conservative values. Based off an intimate knowledge of how evangelicals think, I believe that people are so enamoured with Trump because he doesn't care if people disagree with him or catch him in blatant lies. He projects power, has no shame and his intolerant attitude is what many religious folks have bottled up inside of them. They can vote for someone as a proxy for all the feelings they want to demonstrate but lack the balls. He mongers hate fueled by antipathy toward those not like old school racist white American and people are eating that shit up.  

John Oliver aired a brilliant segment about the one and only Donald J Trump that you must see. Not only is it one of the funniest bits of comedy I've ever seen but it is a stellar commentary on the con artist and master illusionist Trump is. Donald has turned his last name into a brand, wearing Trump like the empower did with his new suit. The Donald and his clan live in a fantasy enabled by people who continue clapping so they don't have to see that not only is the emperor an idiot, but they are as well. 

Here's the John Oliver segment.

On a different note, despite my ambivalence towards the Oscars, I would like to point out Leonardo DiCaprio. He has been acting his heart out for years and seems to do it not for the awards but because it's what he loves to do. Devoting a good portion of his speech to the issue of Climate Change said a lot about him as a person. Sure, it could all be for show, but I'm not that cynical yet. I would love to believe that anyone who has been such a brilliant actor, jilted of an award numerous times must have a good heart to deliver such a humble speech. Congrats man, awards be damned - I respect you. See the speech here 

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Hearts of Gold

The Oscars are on tonight and throwing a sharp contrast on how much my perspective on life has changed. 13 years  ago I was a naive kid who hadn't seen a movie (I could probably count the number of movies I saw in my childhood on both hands. Base 12 anyone?). A digression, sorry - "blame it on the ADD". So there I was, young, really dumb and married at 20 wondering what the hell I was doing. Trying to enjoy life for once I began watching movies that I thought God wouldn't hate me for staying up late into the night perusing every behind-the-scenes section of the DVDs.

Coming into the "real" world where you actually have to know how to function somewhat to survive, I thought maybe I could assimilate into something less structured and not requiring a degree. Movie making fit those requirements and it also had the allure of being "cool". I thought actors were swell people I would love to hang out with. Their job seemed awesome too. They got to do the things I would only dream of being able to do, many times in places of the world I thought I would never see. What if I could be an actor too? I dared to dream a little bit. The very notion of that would have seemed ridiculous to anyone who knew me as a kid. I avoided speaking in public as much as possible. I didn't really like talking to people that much either, I suppose, but felt like I had to carry on conversations to be polite. Shy would be an understatement. Timid was much more accurate. In fact that was the reason given for why I didn't make it into my college's traveling singing group. They didn't tell me why, I had to ask. I knew the reason before I pried it out of the director but needed to hear someone else say it. I told him "I don't care that you cut me but would like to know why so I can know what to work on." This was my mentality: everything has a solution if you just look and work hard enough.

Unfortunately, I managed to get myself tangled up in some kind of existential math problem for which I wasn't equipped to tackle in the least. I probably couldn't have even simplified terms because I didn't understand what that meant. Of course this is all an analogy but let me talk about academics for a minute. Math didn't stick whatsoever. I was given the lesson book and answer key and told "do the lessons, check your work and if you have a question ask your sister. If she can't help you ask your dad when he gets home from work." My sister was of little help because she didn't understand what she was doing most of the time but simply memorized the steps. I remember my father shaking his head in incredulity asking "how did you get any of these problems correct doing it that way?"

Dad had too much going on between driving 3 hours commuting to work every day and then trying to build their house so I didn't want to bother him. Instead I started my Algebra book over 3 times because by the time I had reached the middle I couldn't remember what I had learned at the beginning - it didn't make any sense to me and the memory banks were full of gibberish white noise generated by fear. Math, like I said, isn't so much the point as it is to say I was ill equipped to live in the real world. But every problem has a solution.

I'll truncate the history of the next 4 years. 1 month film school followed by trying to have a videographery business in a rural town of 9000, tried an acting and modeling "competition", decided to move out to LA. Let me stop here for a minute and tell you how bad of a fuck up that trip to LA was. I already had one child and another one on the way when I decided to pull this stunt. I figured that the only thing I needed to do was put myself where the opportunities were and get away from all the negative people who didn't believe in me. I was so clueless in fact that I walked up to the security officer at the front gate at Sony Studios in Culver City, CA and told the man that I wanted to talk to someone about getting a job as a production assistant. He gave me the email address to HR which is pretty much the last way to get a job as a PA. You'd have more luck standing on an exit ramp with a poster board saying you wanted to be a PA than emailing HR. I actually tried the poster board thing once just to see what it felt like but that's a story for another time.

2.5 months into the stint in LA I was flat broke and maxed out on my credit card. I had been raised that debt was a sin and felt like a complete failure. Not only had I not been able to provide for a growing family, I had gone into debt to keep them alive. I sent the others back east and decided to see if I could make it on my own before giving up. On the drive out to LA our Nissan Pathfinder threw a rod climbing a hill four miles from the Grand Canyon we had decided to go out of the way to see. Undeterred we loaded our meager possessions from the back of the Pathfinder and tow behind Uhaul into a 32' moving van and continued on. Not having a vehicle I figured the cheapest way to solve that problem was to buy a scooter off of craigslist. It was hot pink and a little beaten up but it was only $600 which seemed like a bargain to me especially when I was putting it on my credit card. Pride be damned, the haughty hold themselves back I figured.  I almost got a ticket from a cop for not wearing a helmet as I was on my way to buy a helmet. For once a cop believed the truth although it probably would have saved me some trouble if he hadn't. He probably just didn't feel like spending time dealing with a dude riding a pink scooter.

Flying solo I finally landed a job at a Home Depot in San Pedro. My scooter was going to make getting to work way easier since I didn't have a smart phone and was half terrified of the bus system. Talking to a future co-worker on the way to the parking lot after the second day of orientation I thought this won't be so bad. I'll work here for a bit to get on my feet and then get a job in production somehow. When we reached the spot where I had left my scooter I was mortified to see that it was gone. Had I parked it somewhere else and forgotten? It's pretty hard to miss anything that pink so I headed inside to talk to security. They check the tapes and found that the police had come and impounded it. I found out later it was for not having a license plate - something I had been told wasn't needed on a 49cc engine. That was the final straw. I knew the scooter wasn't worth fixing (turn signals, speedometer to name a couple) and I wasn't going to even have the money to get it out of impound. Defeated I returned to Georgia feeling absolutely worthless.

Fast forward through 2 years of scraping by building websites, washing windows, construction etc. I knew I would have to do something soon or I would be impoverished my entire life. What if I could get a ticket to LA for really cheap and have a job interview lined up before I went out there? That seemed legit so I worked on it and of course in those days prayed about it a good bit. I did have an idea pop into my head to call someone who worked for an airline and see if they knew of any way I could get cheaper flights. I was unaware there was a buddy pass system and when my friend said he could get a ticket for $35 for me my jaw about hit the floor. I could do $35 to get to LA. Next I found a computer store in Glendale that was looking for a good technician. Having been certified in computer repair when I was 15, it was something I could do but never pursued because I didn't think I was smart enough to get paid the big bucks and fixing viruses was boring. A phone call later the owner was on the line and listened to my pitch. "Well I would hate for you to fly out here just to interview at my shop but if you end up here, swing on by." I affirmed that I would, thanked him and hung up.

I rode the bus for an hour and a half to the interview, nailed it, and then rode another bus for an hour and a half to Studio City where I had a good feeling about a lead on an apartment. I thought things were all finally working out. I was going to work in entertainment and still retain my Christianity. I hoped to show my parents and others that I could "love God" but have a nice and maybe even glamorous life. 

The computer job wanted me to sign a contract for l2 years which I was averse to mostly because I was afraid that I would get comfortable and not go after my dream so I turned it down wondering if I was a huge idiot. A few months later after working with a friends dad installing fencing and still not having a place to live I decided that I had to bring my family out anyway. I felt it was wrong for me to be away even though I was doing something productive. The short version of this segment is that I was able to get a job as a PA in reality television which at first seemed cool but then second rate compared to "actual TV and Film". When I wasn't a PA I worked as an extra to make money but also hoping I would land a job as a PA or somehow a grip on one of the sets - or gasp, maybe even be discovered. None of it happened and in 2011, after struggling to get by, I packed it in and moved back to GA.

A year later adjusting to the shift in life, dreams seemingly dashed again, the questions surrounding surviving a serious scooter accident (this time not pink) - things began to take some vague shape in my mind. Whatever I was doing wasn't working and I needed to figure out what that was. Separation, divorce, a couple jobs later and all of a sudden I'm back in the film business but as a grip this time. My persistence had paid off and I was thrilled. So thrilled that I didn't mind living out of my car for six months as I soaked in the glory of having a reason to get up in the morning. (This blog was started in my car one night when I was sitting there thinking about what to do with my free time.)

Now it's 2016 and my brain hasn't stopped churning as I've come to see that my whole life was a bunch of bullshit. I had tried to live by someone else's handbook. It felt like I was a wrench some asshole had been using to hammer in nails on his dream home. The fear and guilt engrained by other people interpreting god had kept me prisoner because it was attached to who I knew myself to be. It was like a false persona a spy put on but became stuck with after a smart rap to the skull by the villain induced amnesia. As soon as you start pulling the threads the entire thing comes apart and rather quickly at that. At first you think you are just ripping a thread off the edge but then all of a sudden it catches way down the fabric and bunches up. Once you start pulling at your ego things you didn't realize were connected to it are torn off as well.

I remember seeing the red carpet laid out in LA, Hollywood Blvd shut down and watching my first Oscars in LA with some cool friends I had made when I was there for the first the months in 2008. It seemed like the most amazing event to me. I imagined myself attending and giving a speech some day accepting an award for somethin. But the string cannot be unplucked and the note that at first sounded sweet is all gnarled up with pride, greed, ego, insecurity, lust etc. I'm sure it's the same it nearly every industry but that's not the world I want to live in. Actors are just people. Most of what is created as entertainment is mindless drivel and does nothing to raise the consciousness of our world. Junk food is nice from time to time but our world is falling apart and needs some drastic nutrition. Awards have always seemed rather meaningless but I did hold some reverence for things like an Oscar or a Pulitzer. That is till now. Being me every single day, that's the best award I can think of. It doesn't depend on anything that's happening around me or what other people think. Whether you win an award or not, doesn't really matter. Were you the best you, that version of you where the opinions of other people are irrelevant?

One of those ink blob tests labeled me as a " realist" earlier today. The truth I see is that all the things I thought meant something before now seem trite. We're all like a bunch of little kids thrust into a pageant trying to just be good enough and stand out. I don't mean to demean something other people love but it turns out that it's just not core to being me. Self examination is very much like the red pill and the blue pill in the matrix. You can ignore the threads or you can tug on the ones that don't make sense. Just beware, they connect to places you don't expect and soon you will feel very naked - but if you don't stop, eventually you will feel free.

As a "realist" I'm conscious of my predicament at the moment. It feels like the water once again is rising threatening to overwhelm me. I'm no longer terrified because in my mind I can see that if I sink below the water, gills will form and I will paddle around finding a way to whatever is next. I guess when we crawled out onto land the last time we forgot where we came from and how to go with the flow of the universe. We've all got gills and whatever else we need in our hearts if we keep looking for solutions and aren't too attached to our form. I fit into the world about as well as a T-800 and I've accepted that. Screw gold statues, I want a heart of gold.

Post Script: I've been studying math again in my own way through books, websites and YouTube. There is much that I still don't understand but some elements are starting to click. It's never too late or pointless to pursue what interests you.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Voting - The Little Drip

I arrived at 8:30 and there was already a line of 30 plus people forming a U in front of the Social Security office that doesn't open till 9. Some of those folks had probably been there since 7 and all because we are required to have a series of nine digits attached to our names. Even with the internet, you must show up in person for most cases so as to avoid fraud. The irony being that the government has committed the biggest theft from the fund of any member in the organization.

Another ten minutes pass as I sporadically chatted with the woman in front of me. The line is now growing behind us. Our conversation is in bursts like morse code, as it is many times with people you don't know. Shoot out a packet of thought, the subtext being "are you willing to talk and do we have common ground?" I enjoy engaging random folks from time to time because it gives me an opportunity to see how another individual thinks. It can blow up in your face though, like when you find out they are incredibly racist and equally as vocal. The good thing is I don't know them so if I tell them that I disagree I have little regard for any offense they may take.

Discovering someone else's perspective on life is fairly easy (or at least the perspective they are trying to convince the world and themselves of) when you are strangers. Just listen for a few minutes as it flows out of their lips. Our discussion mostly centered on the police, tickets and government bullshit. We both had a bad taste in our mouth from dealing with the system but I became instantly aware of a difference between us when she described having to change her drivers license twice in six months because her apartment was being remodeled forcing a temporary move. I commented that I probably would have just ignored it to which she matter-of-factly replied "well you know when they pull you over, you better have the address correct or you'll get a ticket." She stated it like getting pulled over and ticketed was the ever present reality. I realized that despite having some common ground, our experience of life and view of the world were divergent. It's a pretty safe bet to say that a it probably has a good bit to do with being a white guy driving a mini-van that is only a few years old.

As our conversation waned, I thought "what is the entire scene before me saying?" People standing in line at a government office usually are dealing with some kind of struggle in their life. The aggregate of humanity in front of me seemed no different. I was acutely aware that my visit involved leaving the past behind while most patrons were there trying to survive the future. Sharing the hallway with the SSA in the mini-mall was a storefront church and a dialysis center. All three establishments dedicated to helping people eek out an existence but providing little hope (except the church which mainlines visitors with promises of Heaven).

Proper forms filed, I was about to drive off and saw a sign in the parking lot to vote early for the presidential primaries. "I can do it later." I thought followed by "not that it really matters". I'm accosted everywhere by suffering, misery, hopelessness and want to do something so I paused. I write  and talk about what I see and think but who am I to say anything if I don't even vote? Filling out the form to cast a ballot, I felt some hope arise. Does my vote count? Who knows, but taking action can effect your mind. I felt a little less powerless as I stood there staring at the screen confirming my vote for Bernie Sanders. If you want change you must do something more than just talk. You can dissuade yourself from action by saying "my little effort doesn't matter" but even a small drip can wear away a rock over time. If you can only be a drip now, be a drip but picture yourself as the ocean with waves so powerful that they carry boulders about like feathers. We become what we focus on. Motivational speaker and author of Think and Grow Right, Napoleon Hill said that the specifics of your plan aren't so important - what's important is having a plan. A plan gives you a destination and preliminary heading to focus on. The intermediary details are unimportant because even if you take a wrong turn, you can always correct and still be gaining on the objective.

Words without action are like letting the air out of a balloon while holding onto it. It might squawk a lot but that's it. If you let go at the onset, it will fly off making loops and sputtering till it runs out of air. Keep talking and keep moving. Don't be afraid to course correct along the way or be dismayed if blown off course. Sometimes when, on reaching the destination, you discover it's just a stopping point on the way to show you another journey before unimagined. With an open mind keep a steady hand on the helm, drop canvas and let the wind drive you where it may.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Tickle Me Über

My first Über fare on Tuesday took me to the front gates of an apartment complex at the end of a road pocked with abandonded commercial spaces. I was directly off one of the main roads in my city but just far enough back that it felt secluded. Both security gates were open which I was thankful for (I don't like call boxes) Truth be told however, their open state appeared to be permanent seemingly rusted in the tracks. Pulling in past the clearly old and well used mailbox, I turned to the left and was immediately confronted by rows of decomposing, boarded up tenements. A few Hispanics men who appeared to be contractors (based off of their truck) were the only humans I witnessed on that side of the complex. A cat, the only other life I witnessed, walked across a retaining wall holding in a small hill. Two of the men looked at me like I was in the wrong place and for a second I thought maybe I was. See, when I had initially clicked the button to accept the fare, I was directed to an address that was incorrect. Waiting in the driveway I sent a text to let the rider know what my vehicle looked like. When they called to say they didn't see me, we quickly determined that somehow I had been sent to an improper address about 4 miles away from where they were (ironically, I was right next to the correct address when I accepted the fare - but that's another story for another time where I list the epic fuck all, Über is)

Using Google Maps, I navigated to the supposedly correct address but other than the construction workers and the cat, the place seemed uninhabited. Maybe Über had screwed me over again? Did I mention that this was my first ride of the day? Oh yeah, that's how I started this post. Hell, I'm just trying to be helpful to anyone thinking of pimping out their car to a bunch of strangers - DON'T DO IT!!! 

*Phone ringing*
"We're up here on the hill". At the top of the rise the retaining wall was holding back, I noticed two people waving. "Copy, I'll drive around" I say more than once because they can't hear me due to the terrible phone relay system built into the Über app. I backed up and entered the gate on the right side this time. More dilapidated homes. It was like an infection was slowly spreading. Circling back around the complex I thought "I can't believe people are living here". I mean I've been in the projects. When I was a child, the church my family went to was in Bridgeport Connecticut. Google Father Panik Village it if you don't know about it - or take my word, it was pretty rough. I think the only reason we quit going was because they tore it down. The pastor and some church members (including my entire family) would go into the village to put on puppet shows for the kids about Jesus and try to give gospel tracts to the adults. From what I recall there was little to no vegetation. Whoever built the place poured a giant concrete slab and then plopped down rows of brick cells with bars on all orifaces. I don't recall there being any thing but some candy wrapper type litter on the ground. The starkness and lack of hope are what I remember. That and the spent shells we would find.

A funny side note:
One time we were "ministering" I remember running into an older woman who was in love with Jesus. She grabbed my 8 year old hands and loudly started trying to get me to "praise Jesus with her". I was mortified. I think I finally croaked out some half assed shubbabubbading (ask a Pentecostal if you are lost). She stops, still gripping my hands and says "we gonna see Jesus" and then kisses my forehead. I don't remember what happened after that because all I could think of was burrowing into the earth and dying. It all seems so ludicrous now - like how did that story ever happen? It's like someone played fifty-two pick up with Cards Against Humanity decks 1-75 (no, they don't go that high but I don't know if I could handle more than seventy five years of this shit before needing a better way to write a life story)

The point is, I've seen some shit in my life but this struck me differently. Maybe it was the "what that fuck are you doing here" looks I received from several people standing outside one of the few rows still not boarded up or lacking windows. Maybe it was just the fact that I haven't seen this as an adult before. Maybe it's nothing except the 286,101.6 hours that I have experienced and are continuing to steam ahead at the speed of light. Things I had no control over gave me a rather odd perspective on life. 

Dragged into this sad sight while trying to make a buck for my own livelihood, I was shocked that things like this, and worse existed so close to where I live. I am always aware of the fact that someone somewhere in the world at every moment is being tormented in a horrible fashion and it's worse than whatever I'm going through. Somehow that was drilled into my brain and though I'm not totally positive, I feel like that would be a fantastic way to manipulate people. Sarcasm aside, there is a nugget of truth to it but I just had no idea the situation was so close to home. 

There's more to it though. It's not just the current suffering - the buildings looked like a ghost town that is still slowly forming as the air is slowly being squeezed out of its lungs. Not only was it sad, it was eery. I've never been in a dying village before - it's heart breaking. It felt like it was gasping, not for help anymore, but just to slowly inhale and exhale trying to simply hang on. The status quo felt pretty well accepted which is understandable because many of us have believed a lie: There is no way out except somehow making it big or illegal activities. That's the system we've bought into. History has proven that those who are oppressed eventually object but it's not always successful. The problem is that just because your body is free, that doesn't mean your mind is free. Society brainwashes you before are old enough to know better. 

One of the first things most parents start correcting children for as they start to socialize with other youngster is sharing. "Share! If you don't share no one is going to want to play with you." You get the impression that if you don't give up what is yours you are going to be alone. It's especially damaging if the parents act disapproved because that tells the child "I am upset with you having a boundary". It's one thing to teach a child to not take what isn't theirs - that's called respecting other people's boundaries. You might think that that I'm making a big deal about forced sharing but I think it's damaging to the psyche of a child - as is tickling. 

Sitting on the couch earlier my girlfriend tried tickling me during an episode of Justified. I didn't feel like being tickled and thought I expressed I was pretty clear in my expression. However if you are ticklish, you'll probably be instinctively laughing while asking the other person to stop. Protesting seems to be the universal sign for "tickle me more". The rest of the show I spent holding her hands because I was afraid she would keep tickling me. That struck me as odd - I know that I trust her but why do I feel like I couldn't all of a sudden? Brushing my teeth it hit me. People laugh when they are tickled because their personal space is being unpleasantly invaded. They are squirming to get away and laughing so that they don't have a panic attack. I realized that I wanted to know that even if someone was joking around with me, if I asked for it to stop, it would. Unless a child has done something wrong, I don't believe their choices for what happens to their things or their bodies should be overruled. 

Most people are fed some form of a powerless mindset their entire lives but only thing we ever have complete control over is our mind and our choices. Some try to "make life their bitch" to quote one fellow I knew, while others acquiesce blaming anything and everything. To quote Arthur Ashe once again:
Start where you are
Use what you have
Do what you can. 

I truly believe in that method. It has helped me immensely over the last few years. This Über pickup reminded me of why I need to focus harder. Listen to Imagine by John Lennon and then come back here. It's cool, I'll wait....... Can you imagine a better world or do you mentally throw up your hands saying "well it would be nice" in a voice riddled with unbelief? I heard about a study of societies perspective on war.  The gist is that 80% of those interviewed said they didn't believe we could ever be without war. Why? "It's just human nature" most claim. 

Basically we believe that we are all shitty people incapable of being anything different. It's really quite stupid when all that's required is a simple shift of conscious choice. It's one of the hardest simple things to do because you are fighting the bombardment of sensory information that tells you otherwise. Life is a lens. Whatever you focus on, you see more clearly and it becomes your reality. From an early age our power to focus is overridden and programmed into a rut that we accept thinking it is our personality. 

What can I do? They say the truth will set you free and it does. As I've accepted life one day at a time surrendered in the now, I look back and realized why I had such a hard time up till now - I felt powerless because I had been raised to be. Many people abdicated their power by handing it over to addictions, religion, blaming others because they don't want to swim upstream against the flow of life they perceive. That's why you laugh when you're tickled, so you don't freak the fuck out from feeling suddenly and overwhelmingly invaded and powerless. It's like a pressure relief valve so you don't lose your mind. 

This isn't a hate letter to tickling it's just an example of how innocuous the programming can be. Societal programming isn't a conspiracy (or not most of it anyway) it's subconscious. Parents feeling powerless, passing it on to their children while blaming the grandparents. We all have the choice to live in the Now which is where the best version of yourself lies. Youtube Eckhart Tolle or buy his book The Power of Now. He does a fantastic job of explaining it so I will not try to reinvent the wheel. 

Humanity needs to change and the only relevant time is now. Stop accepting that you are powerless. Children love to say no until they are shown that it doesn't matter what they think. Of course those who are allowed to take what isn't theirs are highly likely to grow up into awful people having never faced an immovable object. It's a pretty simple structure: don't take what isn't yours and accept responsibility for your life. You can never control everything as hard as you try so why bother? Control your mind and subsequent choices and you will find your road. If you aren't taking things from others than you don't need to give a good god damn about what they think. They say that everyone has a price but I don't think that's true. We sell ourselves to retain whatever is the most precious to us. Most people blame life but unless someone has a gun to your head (or some other deadly implement) you don't have to do anything really. But what about a life or death situation? If you were told to kill an innocent person or you would be murdered would you do it? At that point you are deciding what is more precious to you - you're beliefs or your furthered existence in this body. We afford and make time for who and what is important to us. Stop ceding control of your life to others. That doesn't mean things will be easy but you'll be way happier knowing that you are living life on your terms projecting an authentic image of you. This isn't some wish it, want it do it bullshit - it can be hard work; however, it's not hard if you walk through one moment at a time only focusing on the now.

P.S. For anyone wondering, once I finally collected my riders, they asked to go to the dollar store less than a mile away because didn't want to walk in the sprinkling rain. I made about $3 for 30 minutes of my life but the amount of mental insight into my past more than made up the difference. Don't Über if you think it's going to make you rich. I would only recommend it if you want some good practice interacting with strangers and living in the moment.