I must say this about trucking, and other brick and mortar trades vs online paper/idea non labor income.
Online you often hear korny catch phrase sentiment such as...
If you just set your mind to it, you can achieve it.hogwash
Just believe, and your dreams will come true.hogwash
Anything is possible, as long as you set your mind to it.hogwash
All those sentiments may work, may have effect in the cyber world of marketing and paper trading and sales, but in the brick and mortor blood and sweat side of the income scale...hogwash to all three.
In the brick and mortar side of things, your income is based on your equipment holding up, and the affordability of that equipment, and the reliability of that equipment, and your ability to finance or purchase that equipment, and your personal health sustaining you long enough to make a good financial return.
In the brick and mortar trade world, all that class room 'Oh just believe in your dreams hocus pocus' stuff doesn't translate to well.
In the brick and mortar world things have to work, repairs can be costly, and either you have the funds or you do not.
There is no in between world of puff the magic dragon, that comes to rescue you.
Trucking, as well as other brick and mortar type income sources, is about as far away as you can get from online marketing jobs as one can imagine.
But that's what appeals to some, cause they think all they will do is travel, see the world, like being on vacation or something.
And there are a few moments like that...but if that's the only reason why one wants to truck, they won't last long as soon as the honeymoon period ends.
For one, truck company employment adds are often misleading, where they show picture of 18 wheeler driving down some 2 lane state park mountain road.
There's a reason why 2 lane mountainous roads are closed off to 18 wheelers, and have strict weight, length and size rules enacted.
And many state, and county roads require permits before you can even take truck on them.
Trucking is a very dangerous job, and when you fail at it, unlike sitting behind some internet marketing desk, when you fail at trucking, or other brick and mortar type jobs, lives can be lost or damaged.
Trucking is not about 'fulfilling dreams'...trucking is about permits, DOT laws, fuel, expenses, safety, finance, taxes, fatigue, being away for weeks, or months at a time (if otr) and or working long 12 hour plus shifts if local, like tanker ect.
It's not a glamorous job, and very seldom do you work around glamorous people.
Truckers do not look like news anchor hosts, with make up on and fine hair doo's and smooth skin.
Think more Duck Dynasty.
That's all for now, I've got lots more to share, as time permits till then be safe and check your mirrors often.
Last Edit: Jan 19, 2014 9:44:30 GMT -5 by X factor
No matter how you stack it up, trucking is a very exploitive trade, whether an owner operator or company driver, you, your labor, your time, your energy, will be exploited to the umph most degree.
Sorry, but any job that asks you to stay out on the road for 2-6 weeks at a time, is exploitive.
Or any job (as a owner operator) where slimy brokers, shim 40-70% of your profit off the top from you, is exploitive.
Trucking is a very exploitive trade...even the companies get exploited by mandated Government fees, licenses, taxes, fuel, insurances ect ect.
Then the companies turn around and have to exploit their drivers in order to recover some of those costs.
As a truck driver, whether city or OTR or dump or anything in between, you will work harder, longer, than any athlete, politician, or Government employee, but will be paid less than them all.
You will run your butt off, and aside from driving, you'll have to do logs, hook to, unhook from trailers, in all types of weather. (if you think it's easy try it.)
Some drivers, after driving 10+ hours, then have to unload freight...40,000 lbs worth of freight, and stack and count. (if you think it's easy, try it)...
And then after words, when tired and exhausted and dirty, no place to shower.
Must leave Consinee/Warehouse, must find place to park, to rest, all rest areas cram packed...
(no parking signs plastered all over the snobbish NE areas)
And the few spots that are available, stupid 4 wheelers decide to park in truck area, instead of their own side, now fatigued driver must continue own down the road, cause some stupid Volkswagen thought it would be 'cute' to park in 40' long truck driver spot.
You will work, drive, be on duty, (unofficial duty) longer than any other job you've ever worked in your life, but won't get paid for it, just to have to hear snobbish talk radio host types tell you...'the poor are poor cause they don't work long and hard enough'...duh (the working poor are poor cause their labor is exploited, and they have no voice)(and cause GOP likes to destroy unions and collective bargaining where workers can unite and bargain for better, favorable working conditions...to wealthy GOP types that's baaaaaad.)
You've put in an 18 hour day...gone beyond the call of duty, and some talk radio host is telling their audience that 'The working poor are poor cause they don't work hard enough'...ye...ok.
Trucking is no cake walk...you have to love it in order to last...but sadly many do it, cause they have no income alternative, and so have to put up with being exploited.
Trucking is the only industry where a driver can bust his butt for 7 days a week, and get a check for $40.00
Stay away from Leases, unless you know what you're doing.
Lot's more to share, there's no rush.
Last Edit: Jan 21, 2014 22:13:41 GMT -5 by X factor
OTR truckers aren't the same as they use to be, nothings really the same anymore whether in trucking or in other industries.
The loving, crazy wild 'hippie-cowboy' types that country songs use to be written about in years past, that breed is pretty much all gone.
Instead replaced by grumpy old men, recluses, who drive around listening to hateful talk radio all day.
The last time I drove out west the only young drivers I saw were either Hispanic or Asian, or Afro-American, but it's rare to see younger, meaning under 30, European American drivers anymore.
Trucking just doesn't seem to be a trade that appeals to younger white males or females anymore. So instead you're seeing that void filled by younger Asian/Hispanic/Afro-American drivers instead, at least OTR.
But trucking does attract plenty of older, grouchy, anti-social European males, and that's the fact jack.
Gone are the days when truckers 'loved' each other, now truckers look at each other with disdain at truck stops.
Let me say this before I continue, what truckers do is amazing, what long haul truckers do, for this nation, for the world, is amazing, and totally under appreciated.
But yet we see more value in a golfer hitting a ball in a hole, than what truckers do.
Tiger Woods helps no one by hitting ball in hole...
Yet Tiger Woods, and other players like him, earn mega millions by simply sinking a ball into hole, while drivers risk life and limb, literaly, by driving through storms, ice storms, mountains, grades, rain, hail, tornadoes, hurricanes, extreme heat, and more, to deliver peoples products.
The trade of trucking itself is par with military service, or merchant marine service.
But yet for some reason the trade doesn't always attract the most desirable types.
Not anymore, since the 'Bond' has been broken.
(I know I'm jumping around)
I originally wanted to compare OTR drivers to local drivers, local meaning drivers that start and finish shift at home, not in truck.
Local as in fuel station delivery, ports, dump trucks, hoppers, natural gas delivers, class B delivers ect.
Heck even garbage disposal drivers are truckers.
You have to have a CDL (Commercial drivers license) in order to driver and operate a trash truck, so yes, even trash truck drivers are included in the family of drivers, but they're local, home daily, get to sleep in own bed every night.
Where as OTR drivers can be away anywhere from 2 days to 3 months at a time.
OTR is only fun when you're mentally at a point in you're life where you enjoy it.
Either you like, can tolerate being away for days, weeks, at a time or you can't...there's really no in between.
Once you tire of it, you'll do anything to get away from it, to get local job.
Many drivers have Sacrificed some of the best years of their life out there on the road, and get no recognition for it at all.
As a ghost rider...I'm torn, like serving in Vietnam or something, I know, have seen the sacrifices many drivers back in the day made, and still make, but the types the industry attracts today doesn't nessisarily excite me.
But none of that matters to brokers, or large companies who hire, all they care about is that load arrives on time to destination.
Brokers, dispatchers, load planners, shippers, recievers, they all only see one small part of logistics, they only see the business side of it, and have no idea of the spiritual side of trucking, the things that take place out on the road, at truck stops, rest areas, highways and bi-ways.
Sorry I got of topic, but we have so much to discuss...so much to share, and are barely getting started.
Last Edit: Jan 27, 2014 18:35:01 GMT -5 by X factor
Don't fall for the Looking to be your own boss', sham, that many companies promote, as a way of getting you to lease a truck from them.
If you lease a semi truck from a company, you are not your own boss, you become a slave for duration of lease.
Just because you make payments on someone else's vehicle, does not in no way make you your own boss.
It makes you an obligated fiscal slave.
With a truck lease, you have payments of around $300-$500 a week! That's just truck payment for lease...which means you have to earn that before you even begin earning money for self and personal bills.
That's not including fuel, maintenance, taxes, and other fees they tac on....
Fuel, depending on how your dispatched, can be from $300-$1200 a week! With Diesel prices at Pilots at around $3.99 a gallon do the math.
Don't fall for the whole 'Be your own boss' nonsense cause as long as you're financially enslaved, you're not the boss, you're a slave who must do whatever 'the real boss', dispatcher says in order to earn your way out of financial obligation.
Listen, your better off working as a company driver and just simply setting aside $200-$300 a week of your pay check into special savings, and in less time than it would take to pay off lease, you'll have saved up enough in cash to out right buy your own truck.
A 2 year lease makes you pay way more for truck than it's worth, you're basically paying used truck off second time for company offering the lease.
It would be like me offering to lease my vehicle to you for 2 years at $300 a month, even though car is payed for, so all you would be doing is giving me my money back, it would be a win win for me.
Don't sign a truck lease unless you have no life and just simply plan on spending all your waking hours out on the highway.
And hey, if I wasn't able to convince you, than do your own research and or read this.
I will not promote this post, cause this post is written more on my behalf, and won't be very helpful to others, and in fact, some might take offense to what I must express and get off of my mind concerning many or some truckers.
Most truckers these days annoy they hell out of me, just by sight.
In a store you can always pick out the truck driver, cause he's older, and looks like he's been living in the mountains for 20 years.
And dresses like its' still 1970.
Stupid truckers or drivers come in all races and colors.
But many I encounter just seem mind numbed and dense.
And many today drive like cut throats...no manners, no grace, just behave like piranha fish.
And trucker bathrooms smell like sewers, always trashy, waters always on counter, paper towel's thrown on ground next to garbage can, nasty scribbling on stall walls.
It's all just gross.
Port drivers, Over the road drivers, it don't matter.
Older drivers today are not to be confused with 'Old Timers'...there's a big difference.
'Old Timers' are a totally different breed of trucker that you don't really see out there today, most have retired or gone the way of the sunset.
Older drivers today are not 'old timers'...never confuse the two.
Older drivers today are just older drivers, who started driving late in life but no nothing about old time customs and ways.
It's very rare to see any 'white' driver under the age of 30 anymore...not sure why that is.
But you do and will see younger black and Hispanic and Asian drivers, just not white ones...most white male drivers are well over 40 or 50, and short...with that Yosematie Sam look.
You'll hardly ever ever actually see a young white trucker that looks like a model, that looks GQ.
And because most drivers, at least white ones, are so old, there's nothing fresh in the industry, no new fresh ideas, instead you just have old males driving around killing time I guess.
Many truckers liter, and are nasty, primitive behaving, not sure why driving a truck seems to attract the most socially base types, primitaves.
Truck stops are some of the most depressing places you can go, to see an accumulation of some of the most lonely, bitter, introverted, people in the work force.
Nothing worse than seeing a nice truck pull up, nice brand new semi truck, million dollar truck, just to see some old fat wrinkle bearded something crawl out the door.
For some reason though...Log truck drivers tend to be healthier, younger, as a whole, than other types of drivers.
Not sure why truckers feel they must grow beards, and get rough skin and turn into 'Orcs' on 'Lord of the rings'...
But at least Orcs had personality, loyalty and a purpose, where as todays truck driver is a isolationist.
There is no unity within the trucking communities anymore, none that benefits drivers anyways.
I have a lot more to say...this is not your normal commercial friendly truckers blog.
I don't do OTR anymore, not sure I could these days, just the social environment, I mean one has to be a real recluse to stay out on the road for weeks on end now days.
The glory days of trucking have long been over, now its just a job, verses it use to be a culture.
It's pathetic the drivers you see now, most I can't even look at without turning my head. Whatever happened to grooming ones self, caring how one looks?
When you spend your life on the road, with minimum social contact, I think that's what occurs, you just stop grooming self, have nothing to compare self to accept other non grooming truckers with crooked and tobacco stained teeth, scraggly beards, and withered skin.
Sometimes I think OTR driving (now days) attracts those with the lowest social IQ.
Many, just based on grooming standards, couldn't get a job anywhere else, they'd be turned around at the interview door, or mistaken for a homeless vagrant.
It kind of makes you appreciate Walmart drivers, who at least wear uniforms, and are conscious of their appearance, and I might add highly paid. In fact Walmart drivers are the best paid company drivers in the industry.
One can earn from $50-$80,000 a year driving as a company driver for Walmart.
Think about it, you're driving as a company driver, earning all that money, and still get money back come tax time.
But that aside, most modern day big rig drivers just don't inspire me, seems half are foreign now or can't speak English.
And the ones who can speak English can't comprehend a basic sentence.
That environment does it to you, years of that environment turns you into a road troll.
All you do is drive around listening to hateful talk radio, days, weeks, away from social events, family, regular adjusted folks...it turns you into something.
You just don't see young attractive types driving trucks anymore, at least not OTR.
UPS tends to attract the younger white male drivers, that and FEDEX.
Or ESTES or Southern Freight, any of the LTL type carriers tend to attract the younger, more groomed, in their 20's type of drivers where you can't grow beards like Moses, and are usually home every day.
Sorry, I'm just honest, and don't know how some of these drivers wives tolerate them when they get home, it's probably just for the pay check, then their off for 2-4 weeks again.
Being a truck driver, a over the road driver, doesn't mean you have to look like a homeless person who lives in the alley.
Same with Port drivers, who haul containers, cause most of them are about the same, same scraggly looks and attire.
Yes, truckers do a very important job, no ones questioning that, but most do it now days simply cause they want a paycheck and not out of some larger since of duty or pride.
Anyways, just had to get that off my mind.
I know you probably want to hear the nuts and bolts of trucking, like pay, being a O/O vs Company driver vs leasing a truck verses getting own authority and owning own equiptment.
Ahh, the good ole days of trucking, when drivers were really characters, each had own distinct personality, style and dress.
Back then drivers resembled WWF wrestling characters, or even bikers, back when independents ruled the roadway.
And that's probably when it all started changing, when the independents started getting flushed out by the big mega carriers.
Ahh, the good ole days, back when the CB radio ruled.
Back in the day, you just weren't a driver unless you owned a CB radio and had it tuned and 'tweeked' to perfection.
You would constantly here 'Break 19, could I get a radio check?', which meant driver wanted to know how his radio was getting out, know about his FWR's, how much he could move other drivers needles, power.
Back then drivers lived and died by the CB radio, back then all things trucking came from CB radio, weather reports; traffic reports; bear reports (speed traps); items for sale (truck stop auctions), fish tales (exaggerated stories of grandeur), romance, commercial, 911 or help, CB was everything, a life line.
Not anymore, now most don't even know how to use it, and instead use cell phones to dial home.
Back in the day no one called home, had to use pay phone or calling cards. Back then drivers dove into the moment of being away, enjoyed each others company.
Modern drivers are kind of geeks, in that they're constantly phoning home to 'my wife', instead of paying attention to the environment around them.
Geeks I tell ya geeks.
Now days drivers drive trucks like cars, actually honk horns in truck stops, back in the day all drivers had CB on so if you wanted to communicate you used CB...
'Hey driver, that's my spot', or 'Hey driver, you're about to back into post or my hood ect'.
Now days drivers beep their horns the same way a 4 wheeler would, which reflects the new mentality of drivers.
The brotherhood has been forever shattered, now there's language barriers, cultural barriers, age, generational barriers, it's like every driver for themselves.
Accept maybe in more rural areas.
So many legends of the past that are now gone, back when everyone had a CB handle.
Truck stops once felt like Carnivals, today they feel more like Convalescent centers at night where you can hear crickets chirping it's so quiet and dead.
Back the, drivers weren't afraid to interact with one another, now days drivers only speak to each other when forced to.
Trucking, now days, is a very lonely environment, other drivers give you cold glares and stares, instead of simply saying 'hi'.
Much more to follow.
Last Edit: Apr 12, 2014 12:08:05 GMT -5 by X factor
You don't have to be a rocket scientist to drive a truck, but you do have to be safe. And drivers who 'swerve' to miss something, just to end up destroying the lives of others, are a hazard.
Never ever ever swerve, when in a big truck, stay in a straight as line as possible and bring rig to as slow a stop as possible without jack knifing.
Better to 'bump' the car that cut or swerved in front of you, than to veer the semi truck off course, go into other lanes, and destroy the lives of innocent people. (at least innocent to that situation).
It's why when driving down the road you must, a good driver always, rehearses over and over in their mind different scenerio's of what could occur, and how to react to each one.
You must know ahead of time how you'll react, in order for your mind to follow in real life. It's why people practice at things, over and over again, until it becomes second nature.
And I've always had issues with drivers who reactively 'swerve' their semis into other lanes, simply to avoid XYZ, and then end up flipping or taking other drivers out.
Always minimize collateral destruction, and the best way to do that is simply brake as fast and steady as you can, without jackknifing.
More than likely what usually happens is whatever vehicle you're trying to avoid, usually ends up moving out of your pathway anyways.
Drivers need to realize there's a lot more to this job, trade, than just holding a steering while and staring straight ahead while zoning out.
Last Edit: Apr 12, 2014 12:57:49 GMT -5 by X factor
Back in the day, the trucking industry, like most other industries, blue collar industries, was dominated by younger white males...let's just be blunt and factual.
And there's nothing wrong with that, nothing at all.
But as intigration became the law of the land, and companies forced to hire on other nationalities, that begin to change, not only that, but after many of these companies begin growing, the need for massive labor made them hire all and anyone willing to drive, simply to fill trucks, to pull trailers, to meet customer demands.
Many owner operators where also 'white', in the beginning, cause in order to get a truck, many had to get loans, and way back in the day minorities traditionally had a harder time securing loans from banks.(it's all documented, lets not pretend 1948 was the same as 2014).
So in the past the standard driver, OTR driver was white, rural/suburban blue collar type.
Not so much now, at least in certain regions.
I mean you may still find drivers that fit that profile in rural States like Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Idaho, Wyoming ect, but as soon as you get into areas where populations are above 300,000, or regions like SE, SW, NE, most drivers are quickly becoming foreigners, at first Hispanics, then Slavic types (Eastern Europeans), and now even Asian...you now see more and more Chinese OTR drivers.
And in places like Florida and California, in some areas, 50 or more of the drivers are Spanish speaking.
So the question now becomes 'Hey, where all da white truckers at?'.
And the answer to that is, is...is the younger white male drivers have mostly shifted out of OTR type of driving and into local LTL type company jobs where you're home daily and run local routes in and around the city or a town.
In other words, this, the above, is where all the 'pretty white boys are at'.
LTL carriers pay the best, and with most, you're home daily, like a 9-5 job. These highly coveted driving jobs are some of the best you can get, outside of joining a Union..(some may be unionized, not sure).
But where these LTL Carrier jobs differ from your typical OTR (Over the road Carriers) is that they have grooming standards...yep.
When you work for these carriers public image is everything, brand is everything, and as such these companies have stringent grooming standards, short hair, no bangs, no long beards, uniforms, ect.
Unlike OTR companies where you may never ever meet your supervisors, with LTL carriers you're around your supervisors daily, managers daily, so companies like LTL carriers have a much more 'Corporate' feel to them than say Swift or Werner, where drivers are just out there alone, by themselves, isolated for weeks, and only communicate with dispatcher through remote qualcom system.
And is why OTR drivers are allowed to get so out of shape, so unhealthy, so unsightly, cause they spend most of their time in complete isolation...it's kind of sad actually.
Just visit any truck stop and you'll see what I mean, drivers who spend their life on the road are stuck in a different era or something.
But back to my 'where have all the younger aspiring white male drivers gone, they've transitioned into LTL Carriers which pay pretty good, have grooming standards, and are carrier driving jobs...
These companies are where drivers go now, who actually want to make a career out of driving, these LTL carriers actually allow a driver to have a life, be home daily, off on the weekend, lot's of time with family, with your kids, time to have hobbies, attend special events...LTL carriers are where the smart drivers go now.
Where you can work 9-5 or over night shift, and attend Orioles Baseball game that evening or weekend.
So much more to follow...a trucking blog like no other.
Last Edit: Apr 18, 2014 11:23:21 GMT -5 by X factor
Don't expect moral encouragement from other Truckers these days, you will not get any.
Doesn't matter how nice you dress, how distinguished you may be, or how bright you are, drivers do not compliment, instead they make you feel on the inside exactly how ordinary most of them feel.
As such don't expect any moral boost from drivers.
Most truckers tend to have a Jackal mentality, fighting for what few scraps, loads, there are out there, and as such, I guess, don't have time to notice or appreciate the subtlety's of life, or others around them.
It's like every Jackal for themselves now.
It's not like others industries, or working in entertainment or an office, where people actually take time to notice each other, and compliment each other on fitness, clothing, flair ect, little things that normal humans do to keep moral high.
Not in trucking...nope, all you get is cold distant stares and glares.
Unless you maybe work for small outfit where you're around same group daily.
Driving just seems to attract a certain class of person now days.
Slightly anti social, not like the Hollywood and flair type of drivers of long ago who had personalities larger than life.
Todays driver is cold and distant, no hello's, no 'how was your day', no 'Are you doing OK out here?', none of that.
All many of them do now is drive around listening to hateful talk radio and see every other driver as 'their enemy.
OTR trucking might still be fun if one is brand new at it, every thing is fun when new to it, but I don't see to many older drivers having fun out there anymore.
Where I stay, the bulk of the drivers are Hispanic now, cause most native Americans don't want to do it anymore. But to Hispanics from Cuba or Columbia or other South American countries, they seem thrilled, and are really becoming a growing presence, at least in the Owner Operator section.
And sadly, as usual, most 'black drivers' work as 1099's for the Hispanics who came or come over, bust butt, buy trucks, then hire Americans to work for them as contract drivers.
It just demonstrates a mindset in that even Hispanics can come over hear, climb economic ladder, and then barely able to speak English, turn around and hire 'black' driver to drive for them, or even white drivers.
I've seen both.
It's a mindset.
Lower class whites and blacks just aren't as motivated anymore as newly arriving immigrants.
But this refers to the O/O world, not company or mileage paid drivers.
Most immigrants slip into the O/O side of driving, as contractors.
They see the value of ownership.
If you fast forward the clock, I can see Hispanics becoming second only to 'whites' as being economically more sound than all others, and leaving blacks way way behind, at least hood types, who allow others from across the ocean to arrive, step on, then step ahead of them in every social and economic way imaginable, all do to different mindsets.
It's been a while, I don't post on here much anymore.
I haven't done 'the road' regularly in quite some time, and glad of it.
I could earn more if I did, but would be miserable, I mean have you seen the type of shape todays truckers are in? It's both sad and pathetic.
I'm still in the trade though, but local, home daily, just the way I like it, anymore than that and I'd seek new profession.
9-5, off on weekends, spent years seeking such a schedule, now it's up to me to make the most of extra time.
I'm picky now, and won't work any trucking job that has odd azz delivery hours, or work hours, that crap shortens your life, fractures your natural sleep cycle, and no job is worth that where if you work still poor.
No job is worth me running self into the grave for, that doesn't make you a millionaire at least.
I love being home daily, after spending so many years 'out there'...
Do you think I ever want to return to this crap?
Lonely as hell out there now, not like days of old when people actually had fun out there, partied, back when truckers were way more social, and when 'others' would visit rest areas, and make you feel like a superstar...those days long gone.
Now you just have second, 3rd, career type old dead beat men, Ward Cleaver types, Elmer Fud types, who are totally no fun at all, paranoid, scared, afraid of their own shadows, and castrated.
But back in the day, truckers were more like WWF wresters...they were wild and crazy, and fun..I suppose...
When I started, truckers had very loud personalities, were intimidating, some scared you, but that's what made it fun, they all had 'handles', CB radio nick names.
They were flamboyant road superstars, but now days it's like they've all been spiritually castrated.
You could have more fun at a Senior citizens center on Friday night than you could truck stop or rest area now days.
It's not the same anymore. I was lucky enough to be out there when it was still fun for a while.
But now, I enjoy my home time, home daily, to do as I please, no alarm clock BS...just wake up when I do and go to work. Although no longer O/O, had to step away from that for a while.
But really can't complain, with spare off time free to create own business, or get part time job I like on weekends or evenings, or just go Kayaking, or whatever, things I was restricted from doing while on the road.
I respect those who still enjoy it, cause stuff has to be delivered, but I'm not one of them.
I like being home, sleeping on couch or bed, where it's so quiet you think you're on the moon.
I look in back of sleeper trucks now, and hard to believe, once upon a time I enjoyed that, loved it in fact.
Thought sleeper trucks were the neatest things, thought I was so lucky.
I was wrong, cause I missed out on a lot.
The people I loved, should have been paired with, have all moved on, so when you come off the road years later...nothings the same.
Always trying to relive old ways that just aren't there anymore.
Everyone has moved on, so you feel like a ghost at times, stuck in the past.
Anyways, just thought I'd share a few thoughts on here since I've been gone for so long.
Maybe I'll start posting here more regularly again.