Peter's Blog - An interview favorite; Craig - A young man addicted to drugs who makes some bad choices & more!
Hello, fellow WOE Friends!
It's Wednesday and your week is at the halfway point. Hope you're making progress on your projects; whether it's a large one for work, or weeding that garden.
I have been taking on other projects, including one for Jennifer. She wants to start creating new, fun activities for the young ones to do while at home (school-wise). I offered to help her with designing them on the computer. I will also be learning more on how to shoot video and edit, really edit, to make the videos look better. This will also help me with new videos for Peter's Pics, which I hope to expand.
I am also planning on making changes to the website, expanding the more popular sections and cutting back on the others. I would love to hear your opinion on what you would like to see more of or less of. Send me an e-mail to email@example.com
WOE Cares Need to Know weekly topic is Smoking. More than 400,000 people die each year from smoking and smoking-related diseases. The WOE Cares Need to Know smoking information will be available shortly.
I decided to bring forth one of my favorite interviews, Craig. We met him on our first family vacation. I hope you enjoy it!
“Hello Mr. and Mrs. Spout, my name is Craig. I have your drinks for you,” he said.
“Hi Craig, “I said, “nice to meet you. The service here is wonderful.”
“Thank you, sir. I’m glad to hear that.”
“How long have you been working here, if you don't mind my asking?”
“Four years now. This month is my anniversary.”
“That’s wonderful! Do you get anything special for your anniversary?”
“Yes sir! I get four paid days off, plus recognition at our employee’s monthly dinner and $400 cash to spend, as my gift.”
“Dang! That’s pretty good.”
“Yes, it is. I am so happy here.”
“I am interviewing employees here for WOE’s Tenth Anniversary and would like to interview you if you’d like?” I asked Craig.
“I’d love to tell my story.”
Before beginning to talk with me, he pulled out his transponder and hit the button “talking with a guest.” Just like Julie, the waitress we met Thursday, employees can feel free to talk with guests and not disrupt the service for other customers. The level of service is superior because the wait staff is not in a rush to serve you and move on. They don't need to worry about tips and how many tables or guests they must wait on. If guests want to talk, let them talk. Craig then pulled up a chair and told us his story.
“When I was sixteen, I had a part-time job washing dishes. I spent that money on my girlfriend, Jenny, and to buy marijuana. You know, when you smoke dope, you act like a dope. So, I made some pretty bad decisions while being high. One of them was my lack of attention at school. My studies were affected because I didn't study. My grades went down, and my girlfriend and I skipped a lot of school. I wound up getting her pregnant, and then things really started to get out of control. I had a tough time accepting the responsibility of being a father and started using more drugs, some serious, to escape. At eighteen, I was stealing money from my parents and friends and soon robbing others to pay for my addiction. I wasn’t there for my son or my Jenny. I dropped out of school and just became a bum with a few arrests under my belt.
Since I was an only child, my parents were devastated. They tried getting me into treatment several times, but I would always run-away part-way through. I could hear my mom crying at night and my parents fighting over how to handle me. It got so bad that I wound up hanging around a few people that were even worse for me. They would supply my habit if I did their dirty work.”
“I would rob stores and people and give them all the money. I stayed at their place, and I was told that if I ever tried to leave, they would kill my parents. This went on for over six months. I had no phone and no way to contact my parents to let them know where I was. They kept me high enough for me not to care about anything too much.”
“One night, I was awoken by a female’s blood-curdling scream, the kind you know is horrible. I went to go find out what was going on but was confronted by one of the people keeping me captive. He pointed a gun at me and told me to go back to my room and mind my own business. As I went back to my room, the screaming kept going on, for at least ten minutes; then it was just her crying and begging for them to stop. I heard the girl cry for her mom and dad repeatedly. It was the toughest night of my life and one that would change my life.”
“As the night rolled on, her voice became quieter, and I soon fell asleep. The next morning, I walked out of my room and didn't see anybody at home. All the rooms were empty. Without giving it any thought, I went to the front door and opened it. I didn't see any vehicles in the driveway. So, I took off running, as fast as I could down the road. I saw this blue car coming up the road and ran up to the driver’s side window. The driver stopped, and I asked if he could help me.”
“He immediately said to get in, and I locked the doors. As we drove off, I ducked down so no one could see me. He told me his name was Jay and that he would help me. He lent me his phone, and I called my parents. My mom answered and immediately began bawling as soon as she heard my voice. I told her I was okay, and I would see her soon. She kept telling me how much she loved me and how excited she was that I was okay.”
“Jay took me to this private home, where I met several other people. I washed up and was given clean clothes and a nice meal. Soon, we were all in the living room, where I shared my story. I told them I would never use drugs again because I was too scared, and I was worried about my parent’s safety.”
“Jay scooted to the end of his seat and looked me in the eyes and said, ‘Craig, you and your parents are safe now. We’re here to help.’ I asked Jay who they were, and he said, “we’re good people looking to help others.’ I stayed at that house for three weeks. They helped me through the withdrawals and helped mend me back into a decent human being. My parents were brought over to see me several times, as well as my son and Jenny. On their last visit, my parents, son, and Jenny were visiting when Jay said to Jenny and me, ‘How would you both like to work for the WOE? We can provide everything you need; jobs, medical care for you, and your son; housing, education, everything.’ Jenny and I couldn't believe what we were hearing and said ‘Yes!’ immediately. My parents were so happy, they started crying because they knew we were going to be just fine.”
“I asked Jay how he could do this, and he said he was an Employee Scout for the WOE and the other people helping him were also employees. Fast forward Four plus years later, and here I am. I finished high school here, my girlfriend, Jenny, is now my wife and my son is Six and attending First grade here on property. We have our own apartment and are doing great! We are both taking college classes to earn a degree. Jenny now works in housekeeping. We both love our jobs and everything about this place.”
I asked Craig what happened with the charges from the robberies, the other people that kept him captive and that girl that he heard screaming that night.
Craig said, “They took care of the charges by saying they would take care of me. So, the state dropped all the charges. I asked about the people who kept me captive, and they said they had disappeared and were never seen again. As for the girl, they said it may have been a nightmare because no one was reported missing. I am so grateful, and so is Jenny. My son is everything to us and doesn't know about anything that happened.”
“I enjoy being a server. I get moved around every few months to a different area for a change of pace. Once I hit so many hours in college credits, I will be given time to work in other areas like engineering, which is what I’m thinking about doing as a career. Both of us work thirty hours a week and then take nine credit hours in classes. We get paid for forty hours, and all our expenses are covered. Jenny is studying to be a teacher.”
I asked Craig if there was any contract or specific time they had to stay there to repay them for the college courses or housing.
“Nope, we can leave at any time, even with the money in our pocket form our savings. But why would we want to? We love it here and plan on retiring here with a house,” he said.
Jennifer asked how his parents were doing.
“They’re doing great. In fact, we took our four anniversary days off to go visit them. They are so happy for us and come here on vacation to see us and have fun.”
“You know,” said Craig, “I love telling my story. It gives me an opportunity to tell others that there are still good people out there and they do help those in need.”
I asked Craig if he felt meeting Jay was an accident or planned.
“I was told our meeting was a coincidence,” said Craig. “Jay once told me, ‘many people want to work for the WOE, but some deserve to work for them, and some need to work for them.’”
Thanks for reading. Send me your comments and suggestions. Until next time,
Peter's Monday Blog - WOE Expansion update: New Synchronized "Live" Music Concerts & writing update.
Greeting, my fellow WOE Friends!
I genuinely hope you enjoyed your holiday weekend. The WOE did it up right, with all the Americana; LED fireworks in the State Fair Dome ceiling, hamburgers, hot dogs, concerts, and of course apple pie.
I updated Peter's Pics on Saturday evening with pictures and a review of the Hatfield and McCoy Dinner Feud, in Pigeon Forge.
If you haven't read this week's WOE Cares on E-Cigarettes, please do.
I have taken a slight break from writing. I will be writing again soon, but may not have the same time release consistency as before. I feel like the deadline pressure, with all of my other responsibilities at the WOE, could weaken the stories. I will keep you updated on my blog here and let you know when something is released on Facebook or Twitter. You can find our social pages by clicking on the social icon at the bottom of the other web pages you wish to go to. Our Facebook and Twitter name is @WorldofEntopia
WOE Complex Expansion Update: Synchronized "Live" Music Concert
The WOE has started a new concert concept called Synchronized "Live" Music Concerts. It began on Thursday, the 4th of July. As you know, there are many concerts and live performances going on throughout the day and night. The WOE Music Channel; The Power Station, has expanded it's technology and can now broadcast the sound and video of any stage from around the property, and re-broadcast it to its radio and TV station and other screens around the Complex, as well closed-circuit TVs in the hotel rooms.
They have always been able to broadcast concerts. But now, they can broadcast any stage or remote location and put it on any screen on property. If you're watching performances on the World Stage, you'll now be able to see other performances from other stages, including the Harmony Theater, on your video screens in front of the World Stage.
So an act may be performing on the World Stage and be broadcast to other screens around the Complex. When that performance ends, an act from another location will start playing immediately, and you can watch it on the video screens, with all the music playing over the speakers.
Here's the best part: They can also communicate with each location and coordinate between all of them. On the 4th of July, they showed bands playing from six different stages. They would show a different band or performer after each song. On the 4th, performers included ZZ top, Rush, and six other bands all taking turns playing. It was awesome! The new Synchronized "Live" Music Concert event lasted about one hour and ran four times on the 4th and two on Friday - Sunday.
All the music is also playing on the Power Station music app, as well as the web channel; WOE Live.
Once the new Complex opens up, they will expand the number of stages to add in their broadcast.
Thanks for reading! Until next time,
Hello, fellow WOE Friends!
I hope you all had a safe and enjoyable 4th. We decided to venture down to the waterfront off the WOE property and watch the fireworks. The rain held, but the humidity was very heavy. We also had a group of people setting off their own fireworks nest to us. The smoke from the fireworks, people smoking, and the bugs made for a slightly unpleasant experience. Next year, I think we'll stay in.
I will be adding more pictures to Peter's Pics tomorrow. I'll let you know on social media when they're available.
This week's WOE Complex tour: The WOE drinking policy explained.
I have received questions about the WOE's drinking policy and why it's so strict. So, here is a rundown of what it is and why.
First off, Steven C. lost a close friend many years ago to a drunk driver. The person who ran the red light and sideswiped his friend was drinking for seven hours at a local bar. When other patrons were questioned the next day, they acknowledged that the man was drunk, but the bar kept serving him. The bar owner said it wasn't their responsibility and his customers are adults and should know not to drive.
Well, that answer can be debated on both sides. Sometimes, people don't know they've had too much to drink before they get behind a wheel. If you know someone is impaired and keep serving them, knowing they are going to drive at a party you're having at your home, then you, as a host, are not helping.
Should the host be held responsible if their guests go out and kill someone? Maybe they didn't notice or were too busy. Yes, people should take responsibility for their actions, especially when drinking. But sometimes, we all need a little help. Sometimes, we could use someone to take the keys and offer a bed to sleep on. Now, there is no chance of an accident or DUI.
Responsibility: Both as the server and the customer or guests. Alcohol makes bar owners a lot of money. And in the end, that's what they're in business for. But if you're willing to push past that responsibility and make more money, then it should fall on the person serving.
Steven C. decided they would share in this responsibility and monitor its guests on how much they drink. If you're a Daily Visitor, then your drinking is limited to a slight buzz, and there is no drinking an hour or so before the Complex closes. If you're staying on property or at the Brand Name Hotels, then you're allowed to drink more.
Security has stopped people who got past the system and became too intoxicated to drive. They were given a bed to sleep on until the morning.
Steven C. put's it this way; "We need to strike a balance between not serving any alcohol and allowing guests to be responsible and enjoy a few drinks. We are not here to make money off of alcohol, but to support everyone in having a great time; families and all."
Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoy your weekend. Until next time,
Ola, Fellow WOE Friends!
It's Wednesday and for many, their Friday, due to the national holiday. If you're going out tomorrow, please be careful and watch out for those who may be drinking and driving. Also, leave the fireworks to the professionals.
I have attached the latest HR Picture: Wounds will Heal. The burned-out section of the forest you see is from Gatlinburg and started in The Great Smokey Mountains on November 28, 2016.
WOE Cares Need to Know weekly topic is E-Cigarettes.
This week's Interview/Story: Say hello to Maxine!
I first met Maxine, an elderly lady working the visitor information counter in a Georgia Welcome Center. I was taking one of each of the many brochures they had available from the many attractions and activities offered around the state.
While taking a few from around her counter, she asked me where I was heading. I told her Gatlinburg. She asked me about my family, and I told her what I do. She seemed absolutely intrigued and fascinated with everything I told her.
As others came up to the counter to ask for information, I overheard the same questions with the same enthusiasm for them as well. But I also noticed she seemed to be giving visitors a bit more than they asked for. She was telling them about certain places along the way they could stop at and enjoy. Certain attractions or activities the family may be interested in, but would otherwise not know about.
I couldn't help but be mesmerized by how well she was reading people, just by asking a few questions. A few times, she didn't even ask any questions, but either gave advice or recommended something they try to help with the long car ride.
I watched for over 45-minutes, while Jennifer and Sally were resting and looking around.
There were guests that she had interacted with before come in and say, "Hi Maxing! Thanks for the advice or information. It really helped."
How did she do this? She made people feel special and made their road trip better. She soothed parents, calmed children, and cheered up strangers.
When she went on break, I asked one of the other employees about her. I was sad to hear she lived by herself, and had no children or husband. She also could barely afford her rent and food each month. She was only part-time, and at 69, couldn't work another job because of her cars non-dependability. .
I was able to get her full name and when I got back to the WOE after our vacation, gave the information to Steven C. He, in turn, gave her information to our Employee Scouts.
The other day, I was asked by Steven C. to check on a new employee at the information booth, next to the World Stage. As I approached it, I couldn't believe my eyes. I lit up, and so did she.
Maxine now lives on the property and is having the time of her life. With no more worries about rent or food, she works as long as she likes and dispenses advice to the WOE Guests to help make their experience even better.
So, when you visit the WOE Complex, make sure to stop by the information desk and say hello to Maxine."
Thanks for reading! Until next time,
Peter's Monday Blog - WOE Expansion Update - Journey through Time - A new family coaster experience & more!
It's the first Monday in July! In just three days we'll be celebrating our nation's Independence. The WOE is unpacking all the Americana for the special occasion.
Back in 2011, Jennifer, Sally, and I had the great opportunity to visit Washington, D.C. for the 4th of July holiday. We spent a week there and watched the entertainment and fireworks from the Capitol lawn. On that trip, we also visited and toured the White House. We saw the very rooms where every president (except Washington) and world leaders sat and dined in.
We visited The Library of Congress, The Washington Monument, The Lincoln Memorial, and the Ford Theater. In 2012, we stopped for a few days on our way to N.Y. We visited Arlington National Cemetery.
No matter how you feel about your country and the other party, there is something about watching the fireworks on the lawn of the Capital. If you allow it, there is real patriotism that can seep into you and make you proud, maybe not of what we have, but of what we can make it. That, to me, is democracy.
I have released a new writing in Reflections: Should it be a Choice?
I do hope you enjoyed the conclusion of the WOE Short Story: Back to the Elevator in the Graveyard. If you guessed the last line in the story left room for a third story in the series, you're correct!
In case you missed it, I updated Peter's Pics with pictures and review of Dollywood.
WOE Complex Expansion update: Journey Through Time.
Back to the Science and Discovery Section for a fantastic new attraction, made for the whole family. It will be called Journey Through Time. You will enter a science lab with Professor Inglepop. He has invented the first new time machine for tourists, that promises to take them on a journey through time.
Of course, Professor Inglepop is no engineer, and along your journey, there will be a few problems. But I'm sure he'll help you get through them (hopefully).
Each time machine vehicle holds 16-passengers and has the ability to go up to 125 m.p.h. The track is over one mile long and wraps around and intersects throughout the entire Section and even out past the Complex. There are no loops or major drops, but a lot of acceleration, turns, and pure fun!
But be prepared, as, with everything in the Science and Discovery Section, you will be edutained (Education + Entertainment). Meaning, you will love learning and not even have a sore brain after.
Thanks for reading! Until next time,