Gambler Volume One

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Seeing the Port Huron Prowlers

A trip to see minor league hockey.

One of my New Year's resolutions was to attend a couple of minor league hockey games. For those who have followed me from WishesNetwork know that I'm from Detroit. We still have the Detroit Red Wings who won the Stanley Cup in 1997, 1998, 2002 and 2008. I was a big fan of the Red Wings during my teenage years and early adult years. I fell away from the Red Wings after Nick Lidstrom retired. You can expect Steve Yzerman, Sergei Fedorov, Darren McCarty and among a few others to play until the End of Time. As of this blog posting, the Red Wings are dead last in the NHL.

When it came to minor leagues, we had the Detroit vipers of the now-defunct IHL or International Hockey League. When they came to town, they said record attendance and we're competitive. They won the Turner Cup in 1987, just a few days before the Detroit Red Wings won the Stanley Cup. The Vipers went bye-bye in 2001 and so did the international hockey league which was a double bummer. In 2007, the United Hockey League or Uhl did a revamp and name themselves that IHL. In fact, the "new" IHL had its headquarters in Rochester, Michigan. The "new" IHL didn't last long, it went bye-bye in 2010. Detroit had a UHL team in the mid-2000s called the Motor City mechanics and they got some Fame wench Chris Chelios and Darren Hatcher along with a couple of other Red Wing players participated in a few of their home games. It was also on a documentary featuring the now-defunct Roanoke IceHogs.

Recently in 2017, the Federal Hockey League started a team called does St Clair Shores Fighting Saints. I attended a couple of games. They play their home games at the St. Clair Shores Ice Arena. The Fighting Saints did poorly and they were in last place in the 2016-2017 FHLseason. The next year, they became to North Shore Knights where the team folded before the season was finished.

A photo of the Fighting Saints in 2017 vs. The Prowlers.

For Detroiters who enjoyed minor league hockey, one would have to travel about 40 miles Northeast to the historic small city of Port Huron. And early 60s, Port Huron built its own small Arena and has hosted a hockey team pretty much since 1962. But for the most part, besides the Port Huron Flags (1962-1981), hockey franchises don't stay long in that City. However, they seem to keep one there each year. In 2019 to 2020, the FPHL (formerly known as the FHL) has the Port Huron Prowlers. Ever since its foundation in 2015, the Prowlers have had winning seasons ever since. I also saw the Prowlers when they beat the Fighting Saints big time. Also, the Prowlers picked up a couple of Ex- Fighting Saints such as Zack Zulkanycz and Johnathan Juliano.

For this game on 17 January 2020, I decided to do a little tour of Port Huron first and I went to a bar called Tio Gordos to have some hard cider in a shot of Jose Cuervo. I walked to McMorran Arena with my printed ticket I bought via Ticketmaster for $16. Later to arrive and see I could have bought one for $11 at the box office.

This one is for me:

Before they allowed us in, I was talking to some of the fans and we were discussing minor league hockey and how the whole system works. It led to a discussion with somebody there saying that the OHL is at a higher level than the ECHL. I have always known that the OHL is a Junior League, and later research concluded that to be true. Plus, I didn't want to argue, I have noticed lately with people and also which side you lean on in politics, people are so hell-bent on being right. The Prowlers were hosting the lowly Battle Creek Rumble Bees, who at the time, were 1-28. According to a few folks, the franchise and team were put together within a couple of months.

The seats at McMorran Arena weren't comfortable for my thirty-seven-year-old ass and back, but I wasn't expecting comfortable seats anyway. I think the arena has the same seats since 1962. The first period started with the Rumble bees taking a 2-0 lead, but the Prowlers were able to tie it up by the end of the first.

The Prowlers have quite an interesting player on their team by the name of Joe Pace Jr. Pace junior is not only a defenseman, but he's also the coach and the GM of the team. His father Joe Pace senior was previously the head coach and GM. Senior was behind the bench when I saw the Prowlers as visitors when attending the SEC my second and Final Fighting Saints game. He got angry about a call in that game and start cussing at the refs. Apparently, he later found something better with a Prowlers competitor and it's behind the bench for them.

The second period was a little more exciting as the Prowlers scored 7 goals in the second, taking a commanding 9-2 lead. Some folks in the crowd behind the Battle Creek goalie begin to sass him a little. The third period wasn't So exciting in the goal-scoring category, but I had around the 12-minute mark, one of the Prowler players Tyler Becker went to the Battle Creek bench and cussed a few players out. Some later research led me to his hockey database profile, he had played for the Rumble Bees until he eventually made it to the Port Huron side. I suppose someone he didn't get along with pissed him off earlier and he wanted revenge.

The game's first star was Austin Fetterly who got a hat-trick. It was also his late father's birthday, so that was a good moment for him. After the game was over, I felt a little sorry for the Battle Creek Rumble Bees. It's kind of crappy to take the long trip to the arena, ending with you getting your ass kicked and handed it to you, then taking a long bus ride home. According to one of the folks I was talking to before the game started, the owner of the Prowlers also owns the Rumble Bees and is committed to keeping them around. Hopefully, things improve with the Rumble Bees.

Also, roller hockey is coming to Port Huron. I definitely want to check that out. And also, prior to walking into the arena, I saw a flyer with Fleetwood Mac and bright letters. I thought to myself in disbelief, Fleetwood Mac is coming here? I got closer to the flyer and it said a Fleetwood Mac tribute band. Wow!

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Investing into 2020

From Pixabay

Note: this following blog posting is about investing in the stock market and ETFs. If you plan on investing in what I say here, it's at your own risk.

One of the items I will be talking about in this great blog here is investing in the stock market. I started investing on 28th November 2017. That was the 10-year anniversary when I had a lovely experience of having a gun pointed at my head and the six-year anniversary of losing my fellow writer friend Justin Dwayne Foxworth. I started with Stash Capital and been on there since this blog posting. I begin investing in ETF's at first due to the fact that Stash didn't have much to offer in individual stocks. I started with investing in technology mainly and later got into bonds.

It wasn't until the summer of 2019 when I took a chance on individual stocks. After reading quite a lot about AT&T and stash later had it available. AT&T at this time of this blog posting pays a $0.52 dividend per share. From August until now, each month, I buy 1-2 shares of AT&T.

The year 2020 has started out pretty well for my portfolio. Another item worthy of mention is marijuana. Once the MJ fund became available on Stash, I bought a few shares at around $30. It got a bit hairy In late September when the marijuana sector along with Aurora cannabis went down big time. Since the time of this blog posting, the MJ fund went from around $16 to $18.50 as of 16 January 2020. I'm looking into the Cronos Group as a possible buy due to the fact that the cost per share is still under ten bucks. But I like to do some research on them first and look at their quarterly reports. For help with my future decisions is taking a look at this chart here. Also, Departures Capital is also helpful as a good chunk of the videos talks about the MJ business.

A mutual fund I've got a few dollars with is VGT or Vanguard Information Technology Fund (referred to American Innovators in Stash). When I started investing with Stash, American Innovators was one of the mutual funds I selected. I would put $5-10 a month on 1st in late 2017 to the end of 2018. It wasn't until early 2018 is when I would put $20-40 in it at a time. Another lowly fund I was investing in was CIBR (referred to Data Defenders in Stash). From November 2017 to early 2020, the fund went up 19% with 321 invested and paid $383, a $62 profit. I sold it and threw some of it into VGT. The CIBR fund had a very low dividend rate and the expense rate was nearly three times higher than the dividend rate. And speaking of funds similar to Data Defenders, I also invested in ROBO (Robots Rising) and SKYY (Cloud Nine), both are similar to Data Defenders with the low dividend payout, but SKYY has a bigger dividend payout. I'm going to keep these two around and my plan is to put more into ROBO until I see a go past 10%.

As of writing this article on 16th January 2020, I see that some of my stocks and funds are at 15% or higher and my portfolio is at 9%. My plan is to invest more with AT&T, Cisco, Wendy's and I'm looking at add more to the VCIT (Big Business Bonds: Medium-Sized on Stash). VCIT and a couple of other bonds pay each month. Plus also, I want to do some defensive investing for this year.

On 24th December 2018, the stock market took a serious crap. My portfolio went to negative 10% so, this good streak with the stock market while it's going, can go down. I'm expecting that soon.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

The WishesNetwork EAS scenarios that sucked.

Note: This was originally going to be out on 10 Jan 2020, however, the news of Neil Peart's death kinda gummed to works here. 

As some of you would know, I had a two-and-a-half-year run doing EAS scenarios on YouTube. In my first half-year, I refer it to season one. Then the following two years as season 2 and 3. Season ones EAS vids were mostly short, not going past the 10-minute mark. It wasn't until Power Failure / Prison Break where I made them long-form. In today's blog posting, we (or actually just I) we'll discuss those piss-poor EAS scenarios I made.

NORAD System Malfunction (season one)

As of 9 January 2020, this one has surpassed 1,200 views and the number of thumbs downs is quite close to the number of thumb ups. With this one, I tried to be serious while being funny at the end, one commenter said my attempt at being funny sucked and I have to agree. And this scenario, to automated missile silos, launches missiles due to a computer malfunction at NORAD. The Department of Defense sends F-16s to shoot missiles at the missiles from the launch facilities and destroying them. The mission is successful and the EAS voice says you can change your underwear now. I received a few comments that what happens in the scenario isn't realistic. In conclusion, this one doesn't get the WishesNetwork stamp of approval.

Weeds Season 3 Finale (season two)

One of the things I wanted to do was that each last scenario of a season would be a flow blown comedy scenario. I did that with Soundboard Hack at the end of season one. I'm a big fan of the now-defunct show Weeds that ran from 2005 to 2012. I, trying to be funny again, decided to go for a scenario involving weeds. This one is based in 2007 and it features the late father of Rod Cambridge. Realistically, I took Rod's voice and knocked the pitch down. It also had audio clips of season 3, including Kevin Nealon playing the banjo. I voiced Theo Gilly who sounds like a damn moron. What a lot of folks were expecting part 3 of The Toxic Spill / Zombies scenario, in which I put that out a month later. Another bummer for this scenario was when I was about finished with it, the Paradise Fire happened. Perhaps I shouldn't have put this one out. People ain't digging this one, it has less than a thousand views as of this blog posting.

Great Lakes Bomber (season three)

New Year's Day 2019 was supposed to start with Toxic Spill / Zombies 3, but I put it out on 20th December 2018 as a Christmas gift. Great Lakes Bomber was my attempt to make an EAS scenario combined with an FBI Files type deal, and boy, I didn't do too good with this. This one features quite a few phone calls and an interrogation scene in audio-only where I play the suspect getting pistol-whipped by a female character voiced by a computer. I also provide the voice of a female character and I do a piss-poor job of that too. I was working on this beginning in February 2019 and it took a little too long due to some events going on in April / May of that year. Perhaps I should have tossed this one into the trash.

Neil Peart (1952-2020)

Over on YouTube, on the same day as the news of Neil Peart's death, I didn't have all the time in the world to make a post about the subject at hand. When I had some time, I made a YouTube video:

So now, I have a little time to make a post of the late Mr. Peart. Like I said in the video, I became a fan of Rush when I was 10 in 1992. When I had sat shotgun in my aunt's car, WCSX, one of the few (at the time) classic rock station would be playing. I became a fan of Journey, later a fan of Boston and Rush. The first song I heard from Rush was Closer To The Heart and I thought it was a woman singing the song. Later to hear Tom Sawyer and I noticed it was a man with a high pitched voice. I thought Rush was at least a 5-piece band and later was amazed that Rush was actually a trio.

At the end of the 4th grade, I got the news that I would be going to a regular class instead of Special Ed (I commonly refer to a regular class as General Population). In the summer of 1993, I discovered Stone Temple Pilots "Plush" and my love for Journey took a back seat. I became a fan of STP, Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains. When I got to 5th grade, loving all these grunge bands got me popular in school, somewhat. With all my "grunge" fans, I tried to get them interested in Journey, but they weren't biting. If you asked me in the summer of 1993 if Rush was still around, I'd say they weren't. Then one of my friends said, "Hey, did you hear the new Rush album?" Which at the time was Counterparts. Rush was still around and was still approachable to the grunge crowd. I remember seeing the "Stick It Out" video and seeing how the three guys of Rush looked like regular guys in their 50s (I thought they were in their 50s, but all three of them were just stepping Over The Hill at the time). I thought it was very cool that these guys who look like bankers are rocking and rolling.

From 1993 to 1998, I began to slowly buy albums of Rush, and when I got to Signals, it blew me away and Rush has become my favorite band since 1998.  My favorite era of Rush is their 80s stuff, going from Moving Pictures to Presto. Of course, Permanent Waves was released in 1980 and it's a good album, it sounds more 70s to me (it was recorded in 1979). I like keyboards and synths, so when they used more of it in the 80s, it became more of my liking. I've seen Rush 7 times, wish I saw them more.

Anyways, I could talk forever about Rush but I'll make this the last paragraph. It's a bummer that we lost Neil Peart and I must live life without him in this sick world (sometimes I wish I wasn't in this world, April/May 2019 was a good example). 

Friday, January 3, 2020

Visiting The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame / The Christmas Story House

Between Christmas and New Year's, I take a day trip usually to the thumb area of Michigan. I also usually do this during summer shutdown until 2019 when I got promoted at my job and I didn't see time off during the shutdown. The Only Exception besides this one was I went to Muskegon to visit my brother and my new nephew who was born in October 2018. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to me is a joke. One of the big pioneers of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is Rolling Stone magazine. Back when I was in my preteen too early teenage years, I would read Rolling Stone magazine as it would have news and interviews of some of my favorite grunge bands out there. I began to lose interest, mainly due to more political articles they had on there.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame cost $26 for an adult to enter. They also have a restaurant there that serves craft beer. They didn't have any Angry Orchard so I wasn't interested. The building has four levels with the basement level having a majority of the artifacts. It mainly starts with the 40s and 50s music and you eventually get to the 90s. One exception though, in the Elvis area, there was a separate room dedicated to the former Vans Warped World Tour. That's where I got the news that the tour ended in 2018. Kind of wish I attended one of those now, too late! Since I'm not a big fan of most music before 1970, I passed through the beginning arrows displays rather quickly. My least favorite genre of music is surf rock, that music makes me depressed.

In one section of the basement (as I call it), they had a wall dedicated to the Beatles and on the other wall, the Rolling Stones. I took an interest in the following:

Also, in the basement were some touch screen computers with information on one-hit wonders, hits from the 50s to the 90s and also legendary radio DJs from the 50s to mm by major city. With Detroit in the 1990s, it showed Big Daddy Arthur P who was with WRIF from 1971 - 2009. It also showed Terry "Motormouth" Young. He was in the Detroit area from the mid-80s until 1991 or 1982. He was a part of the fox 99.5 which played pop hits all the way until Christmas Eve 1992. On that day, did there's some special about killing the fox and it ended with a scary computer voice countdown from 63,752 to 1. About a week later, the station went to talk for a few months. After that, it went to country where it remains as of late December 2019. Apparently, Terry young is a part of Sirius XM on the 60s Channel now.

After the radio info screen, I advanced further into the basement to see an 80s rock and metal section and also a Grunge music section. Although looking at some of the stuff from the 60s was good, I felt a little more at home.

Also, in the basement was a small movie theater presenting a 30-minute documentary about American Bandstand. At first, I was thinking about Michael Moore when he confronted Dick Clark in Bowling for Columbine, the next his final Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin’ Eve.

American Bandstand started somewhere in the early 50s and ended when I was 7 (in 1989). Although I'm not a big fan of the 50s 60s and early 70s music (as they showed that in the beginning), it was very interesting to see all that. I got more interested in the 1980s previews on that movie though. Been getting a little repetitive with my love for 80s music, eh? Fast-forwarding a little bit, before I left the basement, I saw the Sirius XM broadcasting room for Rachel Steele broadcast on weekdays 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. on channel 25. She happened to be on vacation that day. Bummer, I wanted to see that in action.

The second story had The Garage where one can practice on the guitar, bass or drums. There happened to be some young musicians at the other end of the garage playing Enter Sandman by Metallica. The third story had a display for the 2019 entries of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Two personal favorites are Stevie Nicks and Def Leppard. Other "sort-of" favorites are Radiohead and Roxy Music. Radiohead is one of those bands I should listen to do to my enjoyment of psychedelic Rock, but all I can do is Creep. With Roxy Music, all I know is more than this, a very good track from Vice City and a minor hit called Avalon. I also got to vote for candidates for 2020. However, I think Rolling Stones will take their own picks regardless.

I had to get a picture of me and Rush. Sadly didn't get Neil though.

Let's go to The Christmas Story House, shall we? I left the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame after being in there for 2 and 1/2 hours. I walked around Cleveland for a while and later searched for some Mediterranean food. Google lead me to a place that was closing at 3 pm. I got there at 2:20 to see a closed at 2 p.m., with two written over three on their holiday hours sign. I took an Uber to the Christmas Story House Dulce free parking was available at Bumpas' house, Motherfuker!

One had to buy a ticket at the gift shop. The line was about 20 minutes long and the clerk who sold me the ticket it seemed pissed off. I got to go inside and view the house and took some photos.

Then some of the upstairs, I got to visit Ralphie and Randy's room. Visited the bathroom too with Ralphie's Journal, don't forget to drink your Ovaltine. I also got to use the phone too...

And the backyard, waiting for Black Bart.

The museum across the street was more like a behind-the-scenes look to the movie, with photos and letters from 1983.

I took an Uber back to downtown but stopping at Buffalo Wild Wings first. I was hoping that somebody was sitting at the bar, I wanted to have a chat with a Clevelander. Instead, I chatted with the female server with a lip piercing. We didn't say much to each other. I said that I was from Detroit. She asked if I was going anywhere else after this, I said I was taking a scenic route back home. After I was done with my late lunch, I thought about going for a ride on the trolley. Is stopped a block away from me, I tried to walk quickly to it but it drove off, damn. I walked back to my parked car and took off on State Route 2, which also becomes State Route 20 and US Highway 6. I stopped at Huntington Beach to enjoy some of the unusually warm weather on December 26th.

I kept traveling down U.S. Highway 6, (State routes 2 and 20 split off) and passed by Avon Lake, Sheffield Lake, Lorain, Vermilion, and Huron. Route 6 was nice for a 40 mile per hour ride without people really slowing down or stopping. Unlike in Macomb County Michigan, people so down for no reason or drive under the speed limit most times and not. I eventually ran into State Route 2 and took it all the way to Oregon, Ohio. A town I pass by on route to was Bono. When I passed it up, it didn't look like a happening type of place. Heck, there is a small sign that shows the town name. But according to Google, the bar is a pretty happening place. During this whole time, I was driving on Route 2, I was able to drive study with no slow down when the road was going straight. Route 2 does have some twists and turns where you have to slow down. I've been on Michigan country roads where they are paved smoothly with hardly any twists and turns. And for some reason, drivers slow down for no reason or drive 10 miles under the speed limit.

I arrived to the Golden Corridor area where I live, and of course, somebody on Hall Road at a stale green light hits the brakes. Seems that Ohio drivers are better than us Michiganders.