Monday, November 30, 2015

Beaver Jim's

Buffalo River above the low water bridge near Ponca

Long time readers will remember that my parents own land adjacent to the Buffalo River National Park in NW Arkansas and I've spent a significant portion of my life down there over the last 35 plus years. We started out boating the magnificent river but soon expanded to mountain biking and my favorite, hiking. The million plus acres of land has hundreds of miles of trails and I can easily lose myself in the beauty.

So when my wife found out that this year she could have Thanksgiving week off, we decided to spend the week hiking in the park with my brother and his family and our parents. Due to obligations, we couldn't leave until Tuesday morning and were leaving knowing that a significant rain storm was approaching the area. So when we arrived late in the afternoon on Tuesday and the sun which was forecasted to disappear the rest of our trip was still shining brightly, we opted to drive straight down to the river for a couple hours to stretch our legs before heading back up the mountain to the cabin.

Buffalo River above the low water bridge near Ponca

As you can probably guess, the river level at the low water bridge was shallow and not easily float-able. The Buffalo is definitely float-able during periods of high water which is mostly limited to spring runoff. I have often set off in a canoe or kayak at the low water bridge and spent the day floating the river beneath huge sheer mountain bluffs.

Beaver Jim Villines barn

Across the river and up on high ground is the old homestead of Beaver Jim Villines. He is one of the first settlers to this area and his relatives, judging from the number of Villines names on mailboxes, still hold much of the surrounding area not in the park. The park itself was formed around the Buffalo River in 1972 and was the first river declared Wild and Scenic in the United States. It is also one of the few deep canyon rivers in the lower 48 without a dam. After the park was formed, current inhabitants were allowed to live there until dying but then their land was reverted to park land. As a result, many old structures of the previous inhabitants are found throughout the park though they are disappearing rapidly to nature and only those preserved by the park have signs of remaining behind for a significant amount of time.

Barn siding

The chinking in the barn logs has long since disappeared and walking around the barn, it was obvious that they used the best logs for the house construction.

House of Beaver Jim Villine
I'm sure this house was occupied in 1972 when the park was formed but it was built much earlier in the century if not the century before. Life in these remote parts of the world were much tougher.

Beaver Jim's kitchen
The forecast before we came down said that the following day would be cloudy with rain moving in on Thanksgiving day and sticking around until after we left to go home on Saturday. With that in mind, we soaked up the sun and let the kids burn off excess energy from the eight hour car ride before driving back up the mountain to the cabin that we would call home the rest of the week.

View back towards the Buffalo River from Beaver Jim's house

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Murphy's Law Applies To Smoking Turkeys


 Anything that can go wrong will go wrong. I proved it as we were preparing for our trip by smoking a couple turkeys in advance. It just seemed much easier than hauling a smoker all the way down to the Ozark Mountains and wasting an entire day that could be spent hiking or boating keeping the smoker going. So on the morning I had set aside to smoke the turkeys, I opened my eyes and noticed that the light coming in the bedroom window was much too bright. It was reflecting off something bright. A look out the window confirmed that there was six inches of snow on the ground.

So I cleared the driveway and smoking area on the deck to prepare for my day. I knew I had not enough propane to completely smoke the turkeys but wanting to get all the goodie out of my propane tank, I was just going to run the smoker until the propane ran out, drive to the grocery store to exchange the tank and continue on with the process. I hooked the nearly empty propane tank up but due to the cold weather and little volume left, I couldn't get the smoker to light. So I decided I would sacrifice some gas and go get the refill right then and there.

At the store, I paid for the exchange along with a few Thankgivingish groceries and went outside to exchange my tank. The clerk struggled for 15 minutes with the lock and finally gave up saying they would have to refund my money and I would have to get it somewhere else. He was working with an extremely heavy set of wool gloves on his hands and didn't really seem to know what he was doing so I asked if I could try. I certainly didn't want to drive clear across town to the big box store no doubt packed with weekend before Thanksgiving shoppers to make an exchange. I breathed some hot breath onto the lock and found that the slot he was trying to insert his key was actually a groove for a protective slide that covered the actual lock. Less than a minute after I took a stab at the lock, I had it unlocked and was carrying my now full tank back to my car.

Back home I hooked up the tank and lit the smoker. I could hear gas leaking out from around the coupling you see above at the top of this post. I gave it a slight twist to tighten it and that is when it shattered into a dozen fine cracks with gas now hissing out at a good clip. I may have said a few words not of good cheer at this point. I gave up and went into tell my wife that there would be no smoked turkey this year but she asked if I could get a replacement. I told her definitely not. But then I wondered and went out and looked at the issue again. I found that I could get a socket and twist off the metal part of the coupling to free the broken plastic part. Now all I had to do was find a replacement broken plastic part which I thought would be impossible short of the internet and some time which I didn't have.

Never the less, I drove down to the local mom and pop hardware store which I figured was my best chance over the big box stores which probably only sold entire smokers. The mom and pop hardware store had the whole assembly including regulator and hose which I didn't need and it was $20, but the coupling was there and would work. When I got my purchase home, now $40 in the hole for a new tank of gas and new coupling, I tried to get the metal part off the new one using a socket like I had used on my old one but it was some sort of specialty fitting which I didn't have anything to fit on. Again, some more non cheer filled words followed by some head scratching and then I got the hacksaw and just cut the fitting right off at the threads next to the regulator rendering it completely useless for the rest of its life. But I was able to get the coupler off and a few moments later it was installed and my smoker was at last working without leaks.

As you read this, I'm off hiking in the mountains somewhere but write after I wrote this before leaving on our vacation, I made a mental note to make sure I have batteries for my flashlight because after taking all this time to get the smoker up and running, it is going to be a late night. I hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving and I hope it was full of cheerful words!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Adios!


We spent a Saturday afternoon recently down on the farm celebrating the birthday of my dad and my youngest daughter who were both born on the same day. On the way back home, it was overcast and cooling off due to a front moving in but we decided to pull over at a local park and walk off some of the cake and ice cream. This is my second time to the park and like the first, everywhere I looked felt like a photo opportunity. Perhaps it is just being out in nature that makes me feel that way. I definitely know that I tend to shy away from taking (or being in) pictures with people in them. I am always more interested in a picture of the landscape sans people.

Speaking of landscapes, we decided to head south for Thanksgiving this year and spend it hiking, boating and perhaps a little turkey eating in the Ozark Mountains of Northwest Arkansas. I'm sure I will have some stories to tell everyone when I get back. Until then, hope you all have a great day on Thursday with friends and family.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Building a Flatware Chest


Well I finished my project which as you can see is a flatware chest. As a brief recap for those of you new to my blog, a few months ago my wife and I were invited to a formal dinning group where about once a year, we entertain four other couples in our home and fix a formal meal. My wife and I being fiscally conservative people, have been eating off the same chipped and well used plates we got when we were first married and our flatware were all garage sale/auctions specials that we have picked up over the years. Definitely not up to snuff for such an occasion not to mention, I don't even think we had enough to set a ten place setting without resorting to plastic.

Now it is easy to shell out a lot of money of flatware, especially if you get the real silver kind but it made no sense to us. So we picked out a economical stainless set that looks nice but didn't break the bank. Unfortunately we didn't have any place to store them except in the cardboard box they came in. I got to thinking that I could make a box to store them in and make them look much finer than they actually are all in one go. So I built a flatware chest. There weren't any plans for flatware chests that I could find online but I did find a nice looking humidor/jewelry chest plans that I thought I could scale up and refine for my needs. It was also a different style of building small boxes than I have done in the past. Most of mine have been using dovetail or rabbit joinery. This one involved using mitered corners and splines along with veneer for the top surface which I have never used before. Although the process for building the box took a lot more time, I think it ended up nice and it is definitely a style I will attempt again someday when a need for a box arises.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Fall Potpourri


Fall is definitely leaving for more southern reaches and though I am sad to see it go, we've had a good run this year. It seemed as if we are well into our third month of cool night time temperatures and pleasant daytime temperatures. We had a dry start to fall which put a damper on the leaf color which wasn't as good this year as it can be. It was still nice.

My old cellphone was disappointingly wearing out. For some reason, it didn't last as long as the one I had before it. The buttons were not functioning properly some of the time, there were large dead spots on the touch screen and the battery life was a matter of hours with light use instead of the days long with heavy use that it was in the beginning. All those I was able to live with but it got to wear it was extremely hard to charge. The plug would go in and as long as I pushed it to apply some pressure it would charge but when I let go, it would stop charging. Not wanting to stand there for several hours holding the cable while my phone charged, I would futz with it for several minutes until I got it to charge without me holding it. However, anyone who walked by and bumped the table where we charge our gadgets would disrupt my charging zen and I would come back a couple hours later to get my fully charged phone only to find it with less charge than when I started. So I cringed and bought a new phone. The above picture is the first one I took to check the new and improved camera functionality of it.

It was fairly breezy that day so all the leaves are a bit blurry but it did a good job for being a panoramic photo. As you can see, I'm not big on raking my yard. For starters, I like the free fertilizer and try to mulch them in as much as possible. Secondly, I have a lot of oak trees which hang onto their leaves well into winter and even on into spring so it is a never winning project. Finally, since we live in southern Iowa, are major snow periods are January and February. In November and December, we typically don't get much snow but do get winter winds. Just a few nights ago, we got some 50 and 60 mph winter winds whipping through the area so all my leaves were replaced by those from somewhere upwind of me. It couldn't help but snicker at those that have been out raking leaves for the last two weeks to make their lawns look immaculate. Not only is it time consuming, but they have to pay to buy bags to put their leaves in to get hauled to the recycling center where it is turned into mulch. Now after the wind, they have to pay and redo all that labor to do it again, all so their lawn looks "clean" until it is covered in snow... or the next wind storm undoes it again.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Wrapping up the Details


It's been busy month and if the past is any indication, it's only going to get busier from here until next year. Still I manage to find some time here and there to fuss over the details of my box project that I'm building. Although it is probably pretty obvious with this post what it will be for, the glue is still drying and I need a post, so I will show you pictures of it before I put the contents into it. Once that happens, I can do one final post.

The above picture shows the finish on the outside which I chose to go with a darker color even though it doesn't make the accent inlays stand out as much. I think it just gives it or more antique feeling that I seem to like in most of my projects.

Below shows the inside of the project. This was by far the most time consuming part of the project. I made an inside liner for the box that was rabbited to hold a tray that can slide back and forth or be removed completely along with with some customized pieces in each part for the end function of the box. I used some new type of hardware that I haven't used before to keep the outside of the box completely barren of accessories. The hinges are concealed barrel hinges, one of which you can see on the right side of the box. When they came, their diminutive size had me worried but after installing them, they see big enough though I wouldn't make a box any bigger and still use them. I also used an inset lid stop to keep the lid from falling over backwards.

I lined everything in black felt which was actually harder than I thought to find. After stopping in at the local fabric store, I was unable to locate any and the only other possibility was a trip to the urban jungle or the local super Walmart, neither very appealing to me so I took a gamble and ordered some from online. I ended up selecting some that was labeled as black velvet upholstery hoping that it would be fairly heavy in weight and it was which made it perfect.

I still have to attach the leather bottom to the project and then fill it with the intended items and it will be done. Next up I need to get cracking on the office/spare bedroom remodeling project because June and my brother-in-law will be here before I know it.


Friday, November 13, 2015

Meeting of the Bogleheads

I became a Boglehead about five years ago when I read the book Boglehead Guide to Investing. It was definitely an epiphany kind of experience. I had always known that there was something more to investing that I was missing. After all, stories of Wallstreet managers getting rich are numerous and stories of suburb investors aren't. The Boglehead Guide to Investing explained why Wallstreet was getting rich and also showed that we as investors didn't have to help them if we wanted to keep the money ourselves. I did want to keep the money myself and so I have over these last five years.

For those who haven't read my past posts on this subject, a brief recap is as follows. I began my investing career as most do by investing in my companies 401k plans. They always did okay during great times and spectacularly bad during bad times. They never seemed to do as well as the market. Then I realized that the big factor was the limiting number of funds that I had to choose from, many of which were heavily weighted in very volatile categories like Real Estate or Technology. I then hired a financial adviser whom I had to pay extra money off the top to manage my retirement accounts. He balanced my funds so that they weren't so volatile during volatile times but as before, they just never seemed to grow as fast as the market was growing in good times but kept pace with the market when it was plunging. This just didn't seem right to me.

That is why I started searching for the answer which I found in John Bogles argument. There are two main reasons why my retirement investments didn't go up as much as the market. The biggest reason was because I was relying on fund managers and financial advisers to predict the future of the market and that is statistically impossible. In any given year, 80% of them do worse than the market. But what about the 20% that do? Bogle then laid out the second reason which is that hidden and non-hidden management fees eat up the investment return making those Wallstreet cats rich. Of those 20% who beat the market in returns, 75% of them don't if you deduct out all the management fees. So of the original 100% he studied, only 5% of all investment managers beat the market that year. Now if you compare the 5% who did year to year for performance, exactly 0% of all investment managers beat the market over the long term. So if the numbers are completely stacked against you and you are definitely going to lose, what do you do?

John Bogle's solution is to invest in unmanaged total market index funds that mirror the market performance. By doing so, I no longer pay some 3.5 to 5% of all my investment money to manage it using financial advisers or 401k plan managers. These people are not cut from the loop but mutual funds still have managers in Wallstreet (the fellows getting rich) that take up to another 5% in what are referred to as "hidden" fees to actively manage those funds. Index funds don't require active management since they just follow the market so the hidden fees can be reduced from that 5% down to ,05%.

So by investing my money by myself into unmanaged index funds, I went from paying 3.5% of all my retirement funds to have someone invest them plus another .75% to 1.5% on a yearly basis of everything I make to just investing them myself and paying 0.05% of everything I make on a yearly basis to pay someone in Wallstreet to keep the funds mirroring the market.

For the last five years, the investments I have been doing myself have mirrored the market exactly in returns and have beaten my financial adviser by 2 to 3% every year. At that rate, by the time I plan on using those funds, they will be double what they would have been if I had continued to stay with my financial adviser. That's a lot of money that I'm not leaving on the table for someone else.

All this is a prelude to a meeting that took place a week ago when I drove to a nearby urban center to meet with other like minded individuals who refer to themselves as Bogleheads. Thanks to some publicity of late on PBS and NPR about all the stuff above, the movement is starting to catch fire. The turnout at the event I drove to was the largest in their history. Although I find lots of information online and in books on the subject, it is still nice to meet other people face to face who have seen the light and realized that they can make themselves rich instead of Wallstreet. Besides being Bogleheads, all of us wished that we had followed this idea back when we first started investing for our retirements so that we would be that much further ahead. It cracked me up when a college student there said the same thing!

We had a fine lunch and a lot of fun talking about investing for our retirements. Since my "local" chapter (two hour drive) holds a meeting twice a year, I will most likely try to attend more of those meetings to connect with others who are like me. Perhaps though what I would really like to do is try to start up a truly local chapter here in my own town and start passing on what I have learned to others. I think it would be a lot of fun.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Trail's End


Across the street from the park, is an old hotel built in the late 1890's to mimic the steamboats that used to come up the river this far before turning around. It was falling apart at one point until someone bought it, fixed it up and turned it into a bed and breakfast. I brought my wife here once for a weekend away and nine months later our first daughter was born. It may be a coincidence but the old hotel will always have me convinced that it played a part. This visit however, the old hotel looks like it has slipped back into non-usage and it is such a shame. But for a poor rural community like this, there just isn't the money to maintain such a place just for posterity.

The one thing that has remained over the years is the rocket ship seen below that I played on as a child. All the other pieces of playground equipment have long been deemed unsafe to play on by modern kids and have been replaced by plastic versions with rounded corners and no sharp edges. I'm not sure how this one escaped the wrecking ball but it warms my heart to see my kids playing on it thinking it is the coolest thing in the park. Perhaps one day, God willing, I will be able to see my grandkids play there as well.


Monday, November 9, 2015

Wood Art


I am captivated by trees in the woods and some of the many shapes they take. Here in the U.S. though I pass by them and occasionally take a picture. In the Philippines, someone would have take the root ball of that tree, polished it out and turned it into a work of art. If I had the ambition and the strength to carry that tree over a mile of rugged trail back to the car, perhaps I might have done something similar.


There had been a lot of wind damage along the trail from a storm earlier this summer as evidenced by all the downed trees with dead leaves on them. I found this stump in an area with several downed trees, including one blocking the trail that we had to walk under. This one had exploded at the base of its trunk and fell over with someone coming along afterwards to cut the top part of the tree away. Looking at this, I felt I was looking at a giant wooden flower.


Just a picture I was trying to be artsy fartsy with a yellow leaf and some sort of nest that had fallen beside it in the leaf litter.


I've been hiking this trail for well over three decades so I'm sure I knew this tree in its glory days but they have long passed by. I've never seen a tree decay in quite this way and found it neat enough to take a picture.


When I arrived at the city park to pick up the kids after my walk back to the vehicle, I was putting the off road stroller back into the vehicle when I noticed a stick in it. Thinking it was just another stick that my kids are always picking up, I tossed it into the leaf litter on the ground, put the stroller away and thought nothing more about it. We decided to eat dinner at a local cafe a couple blocks away and as we were sitting down to order, my asked about the stick which I told her I had thrown away. She was upset and I couldn't convince her otherwise because she said it had been a special stick. So while waiting for our food, she and my wife walked back to the park and found the stick again. When they came back and showed it to me, I understood why it was special. Other than the the new wood visible where I cut off about a foot of the branch that was 'extra', it is as they found it. It is also the first initial of my youngest daughter.

Friday, November 6, 2015

River Hike


With our summer hiking experience up in Northern Minnesota under our belts, we have felt more confident on taking the kids hiking with us on longer trips that are further away from "help" so to speak. One of my favorite fall hikes has been in our plans for awhile but with our busy schedules, it kept getting bumped until finally one afternoon when our oldest got out of school early, we made it work. It is still a beautiful hike but several weeks past peak leaf season.

The hike is along the river seen in the satellite picture that I use for my header of this blog. In fact, the bottom left side of the U in the river is where we hiked. There is a small state park there that preserves the area from development and there is a fine two-mile hiking trail there to enjoy that few rarely do. Nine times out of ten, I have the trail all to myself and this time was no exception. The  trail starts at a low area on both sides of the river where the Mormons crossed it on their way west to Salt Lake City and it is named after one of their members.

As is typical in winter here, it was an overcast day but there was still enough fall left in the air that coats were quickly shed once we got underway. The trail goes up and down the river bluffs following along the river and only sometimes deviating to find an easier crossing of some of the many side streams that are dry this time of the year.


The trail goes from the Mormon fjord of the river along it to a bridge which crosses into our small county seat town. I walked most of the way with my wife, kids and mother-in-law but due to our late start, the sun which finally made an appearance was quickly going down. It was either turn around for everyone or everyone but me would continue on into town and play at the park while I hiked back and drove our vehicle into town to meet them. The kids were in favor of the latter so I hiked back.

On the hike back, the sun was shining on the opposite bank of the river while I was hiking in the shadows of the river bluffs which made for really beautiful scenes. I found myself stopping several times to take pictures of the river and the sun lit far bank. Because all I had was my phone, I found myself taking panorama pictures since the app makes it as easy as pressing the button and sweeping your phone in an arc to capture the scene. It is the best way to take a picture that comes close to feeling like I actually am there... like I was.


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

So Much For Affordable Healthcare

As many of you know, my mother-in-law from a foreign country is mid way through her process of immigrating to the U.S. and becoming a citizen. She has her greencard but now must stay here for the majority of five years before she can apply for her citizenship and she is just starting year three and will be about halfway done sometime this winter.

Healthcare was a big issue for us when we were discussing whether to attempt this or not. She has healthcare back home but it would mean flying home every time there was a problem. Not only was this expensive, if might not even be possible for serious health issues. We were looking into buying an insurance policy for her to cover catastrophic health events and just paying cash for her routine health issues. This was an expensive option however it was the only option at least until Obamacare intervened.

Once Obamacare was online, I along with millions of others suffered through months of website errors trying to get quotes on what it would cost us. Because we don't qualify for "aide", we had a lot of hoops to go through first before we were able to apply for healthcare. We had to first prove she wasn't eligible for Medicaid or state aid which was surprisingly difficult since both require citizenship. After months of filling out more forms, submitting proof and getting denied, we were able to go back to the Obamacare website, which by this time was working a bit better, and five months after I started, was finally able to get her signed up for a healthcare plan.

We have a high deductible plan that is quite a bit better than a plan we would have been able to purchase privately as far as benefits go. (As a result of Obamacare, it is now impossible to buy plans privately as they are no longer available for non-citizens.) However, it still had a pretty hefty price tag on it and I know in my area, one of the poorest in the midwest, it was out of reach of the majority of the population. After the first year of paying the premiums, when it came time for renewal, the premiums went up by 50%. We paid the premiums for a second year with still not a claim on them and guess what, I just got a notice that the premiums had gone up another 25% this year which puts it at 2/3rds of our monthly home mortgage bill, by far our biggest single expense.

I always laugh at the names politicians come up with for some of the legislation they pass like the Freedom Act which was all about giving up freedom. I think the Affordable Care Act is turning out to be just as much of a misnomer as the Freedom Act.  Hopefully we will be able to afford the next two increases for my mother-in-law's health insurance until she becomes a citizen.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Not a Healthy Enough Imagination

Because I have the time to do things that interest me these days, I attend a monthly meeting at the local library that reminiscences about historical subjects, mostly pertaining to our neck of the woods but not always. This month the meeting was supposed to be about the "Myths and Truths About Ghosts and Apparitions." I was expecting a talk about that had some subjectivity to it but instead, what I listened to was a young lady who hunts ghosts for a living basically tell us the names of all the things in her world. As near as I can relate, it was like reading the Hobbit and having Tolkien name all the things in the Hobbit worlds. It wasn't about laying out an argument for ghosts.

After an exhausting hour of listening to the speaker talk of how they classify everything and what they use to record their research which happened to be mostly cameras and voice recorders, the speaker quickly showed us some examples of paranormal activity that she has witnessed.

She had three sets of camera stills taken "back to back" where in one, there was something that to my eye, looked like a light reflection from the flash since of course, all were taken in darkened rooms. I put the words back to back that she used in her speak in quotation marks because either through bad editing or movement between frames, they weren't composed in the exact same spot. You could notice differences in the margins of things that were visible in one but not the other. To me, this points to possibly reflections from angles instead of "mists" or "apparitions staring out windows."

Ninety percent of her evidence that she presented was audio recordings. According to her, they routinely ask questions to ghosts that aren't visible to them and are not audible but when they play back the audio they recorded, often times they hear responses. Now I had several problems with this evidence. First, it was played in some sort of program where you could label sections of the audio and she had done so with what the ghosts supposedly said. If I closed my eyes before seeing the labels, the audio just sounded like static and background noises. If I opened my eyes and listened (and thus reading the labels as the player got to that part) on maybe two of them I could hear something that vaguely sounded like what she was suggestions. On most of them, it still sounded like random noises. The second thing was that on most of them, she increased the playback speed to two or three times normal and also increased the volume on the portions of the playback in question. What I got was incredibly loud static with some subtle sounds in the background that she interpreted as answers to her questions by paranormal subjects.

Perhaps it is the engineer in me but while listening to this evidence, I couldn't help but think that if I were wanting to make a believer of someone, I would take some high definition high speed video of a paranormal event. But of the list of her equipment, there were no video cameras listed. But she did include one very grainy video that was taken in a darkened room showing a lady holding dowsing rods. Camera flashes were going off as people around took pictures which made the camera struggle to keep its focus. After about 30 seconds of watching this, the lady holding the dowsing rods bends her hands at the wrist and the dowsing rods moved. The speak asked, "did you see the dowsing rods move?" As the dowsing rods moved, what little light was in the room reflected off of the ends of them as they moved which the speaker pointed out was an apparition jumping off the rods which she has never seen before or since.

I don't think I was the only one not buying what this lady was selling because towards the end of the speech, people started walking out and by the time I left, the audience was half of what was started. I have never seen anyone walk out of one of these library meetings before so to me, that was saying something. During the question session, someone asked if people who were willing to believe were more likely to see "things" than those who weren't so willing to believe. She responded with some long answer about everyone having abilities but with different levels like someone who plays the piano really well but can't play an oboe. I'm not sure what her answer really was.

Not one to be rude, I remained seated during the question session as three people, who obviously were believers, kept asking her what she thought about various paranormal events that had happened to them in their lives. Two of the three were people I have never seen before at these events and were young females compared to the largely retired status shared by most of the crowd. The third was someone I know but based on other experiences I have had with her, I take what she tells me with a grain of salt. The questions kept on coming and people kept on leaving. Had I been the speaker I would have said thank you all for coming and if you have more questions please feel free to come up and ask me. However it never came and since I obviously didn't have a healthy enough imagination to believe what she was selling me, I finally gave up and joined the crowd heading for the doors.