2016 Dragoncon Adventure

2016 Dragoncon Adventure

From Julie Frey

Funds raised for this campaign go towards my Dragoncon 2016 travel expenses. I collect media for essential online engagement purposes to support my websites and social media pages. View past events here.

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Recent Updates

Update #29

over 3 years ago

New campaign levels added!

At the $90 and $150 levels I will make you a simple mobile app from your business card.

Check it out!

More Info

Since 2008 I have attended Dragoncon every year. Each time I have been able to afford the trip largely by saving money on my travel expenses. I am pretty good at choosing the most economical route while making sure I have a good trip.

Dragoncon 2014

I have photo proofs of my trip. This is an important part of my work to build and maintain my websites and social media pages. I prefer to get my own fresh content outside my own area for greatest value.

Take a look at my Cafepress store I built using images captured on my Gallifrey One 2013 and 2014 trips.

http://www.cafepress.com/finditcat

Don't ever think trips are for nothing but pleasure and relaxation. Running a website and/or social media page REQUIRES original media content in the form of images and videos. One of the fundamental means of growing a site is through engagement. This means traveling to other locations to collect material to use. People support others all the time for various goals. (remember potato salad?)

If you support long distance travel as a healthy activity, support people who are brave enough to go beyond their usual boundaries and comforts. It takes skill, time and logic to figure out how to live in another area within a budget and without any mishaps.

If you do not support fundraising for travel purposes, share this with someone you know who does. This is a different way of offering products and services in the form of the perks. One perk is a potential home business - simple mobile app design. Would you support the development and launch of a service that many would benefit from? Can you think of how a mobile page could benefit your business? (Chances are you are into Avon, Tupperware or other work at home sales business. Someone in your area with a mobile phone may be looking for your services. Plus it's a new way to hand out your business cards to Smartphone users. Think about it.)

Dragoncon 2015

I successfully completed my 2015 goal. Thanks to all who supported me mostly through offline donations and purchase of used items by Facebook members on rummage sale groups.

Dragoncon 2016

I have paid for next year, so it's a sure thing. I hope to have your support.

Some perks are services I can perform for you such as getting you your first mini mobile site just from your business card. Perhaps you are not ready to pay $300 and up for your first mobile site. Here, you pay either $90 for a Fan Track Leader donation a $150 Guest Of Honor donation. You supply your business card. I'll make a mini site for you.

If you are a Dragoncon fan, why not donate and get a mobile page? If you lack technical skills or time, this is your chance to be cool and have a mobile page. If you are a vendor at Dragoncon, this is a MUST!

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Help Julie raise $600 by making a donation.

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Julie Frey posted a new update:
over 3 years ago

Update #31

New campaign levels added!

At the $90 and $150 levels I will make you a simple mobile app from your business card.

Check it out!

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Julie Frey posted a new update:
over 3 years ago

Update #30

I have a membership, but no hotel or funds to get there and back.

Your donation will help as I continue to seek steady employment. There have been a few short-term jobs and projects. Thanks to all who have donated in the past year. It's really helped.

Last year I sold my stuff to pay for Dragoncon 2014. I don't have much to sell, perhaps a few things left.

It's important that I go and for one, use my membership I purchased last year. I have my card in front of me. Also, this is one way of getting photos that I use for my website and Facebook pages. The best way to get fresh photos is to travel. Check out my photo albums on Facebook for all my past trips. For me it's a part of what I do as a website developer. I need this content to keep my pages fresh and original.

There's no better way than travel to connect with others and experience life in ways you can't at home. Conventions like Dragoncon are a great way to get ideas, stay focused on one's goals and perhaps find others who can help.

I have added more cool perks so you have a better choice. The top perk is a design your own perk where you play master and help to improve a crowdfunding campaign.

Please support and share. There are many here at Fundly.com waiting for someone to come along and help. Do it because it will feel so good!

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Julie Frey posted a new update:
over 4 years ago

Dragoncon Trip Proof - Photo 8

I really enjoyed this very special Astronomy Cast presentation where Frazier Cain (on the left) asks astronomers (all panelists to his right) the toughest of questions to ask. You can get an audio version of this on this site when it becomes available. http://www.astronomycast.com/

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Julie Frey posted a new update:
over 4 years ago

Dragoncon Trip Proof - Photo 8

This was a very cool Virgin Galactic panel. Want to go into space? Now you can if you can pay for a $250,000 seat!

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Julie Frey posted a new update:
over 4 years ago

Dragoncon Trip Proof - Photo 7

This was a very cool "Ask A Scientist" panel presented on Sunday by Science Track at the Atlanta Sheraton.

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Julie Frey posted a new update:
over 4 years ago

Dragoncon Trip Proof - Photo 6

Doctor Who panel Sunday morning presented by Brittrack.

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Julie Frey posted a new update:
over 4 years ago

Dragoncon Trip Proof - Photo 5

This panel discussed science in science fiction topic hosted by Dr. Kevin Grazier and a panelist subbing for Phil Plait, who was not in attendance (as usual) this year.

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Julie Frey posted a new update:
over 4 years ago

Dragoncon Trip Proof - Photo 4

I got to see my favorite podcast live, "The Skeptics Guide To the Universe". This event will be available in audio form at the very least for your amusement on their site probably by this Saturday. http://www.theskepticsguide.org/

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Julie Frey posted a new update:
over 4 years ago

Dragoncon Trip Proof - Photo 3

Brian Brushwood at a Skeptrack panel.
You can view the full length of the same lecture recorded at another location here:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLB716E25A7AB7D21B

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Julie Frey posted a new update:
over 4 years ago

Dragoncon Trip Proof - Photo 2

One reason to attend a media convention like Dragoncon is to get the latest updates on your favorites such as "The Hobbit" movie series about to finish up with the final movie. Go to the http://www.theonering.net/live/ if you are big Tolkien fan.

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Julie Frey posted a new update:
over 4 years ago

Dragoncon Trip Proof - Photo 1

1st panel at Dragoncon I attended at 10 AM Friday morning. This Space Track panel located at the Atlanta Hilton covered the topic women astronomers throughout history.

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Julie Frey posted a new update:
over 4 years ago

Campaign Ended Successfully - I Went To Dragoncon

I raised enough money with donations and my apartment rummage sale to attend Dragoncon this year. I cut costs by reducing hotel nights to just two and bringing my own food. I also chose the route with the lowest miles.

Thanks to all who supported me with both cash and gas gift cards! It's much appreciated.

Below is one image from my trip. I got to get cool photos like this! Can you guess who this is I saw at Dragoncon?

It doesn't end here! There are more trips to come in need of your help to make them happen while my income is low.

I ended up not getting that Manpower job earlier last month I thought I was getting. I was too slow to complete the online orientation though I did get it done by Friday. Plus I did not find the right hearing test building while getting there (probably across the street). I called to get help choosing the right place because there was road construction confusing things. I was unaware that things little things were a part of being selected for hire. Anyway that's all behind me and perhaps it was best I was not hired as then I had time for Dragoncon.

This is my life - self-employment. I have found new work at oDesk that's much better for me. Please support me because I need to pay for past due bills and time lost while waiting for merchant disputes to be resolved.

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Julie Frey posted a new update:
over 4 years ago

Good And Bad News

Good News!

I have found regular employment in the form of general labor in Mukwonago, WI through Manpower, a Pewaukee branch. I've been in the office to complete a few procedures. I've got a hearing test scheduled on Friday.

It looks like a good job, the type I had back in the 80's and 90's. It pays $10.56 per hour more than I recall that kind of job paying back in 1992, the last year I had a regular factory job. I am open to any kind of work but back in 1993 I walked away from that and towards a professional career in business management systems.

The last 8 years was purely independent contract work through one employer. It was self-directed after being given basic work requirements. It was cool to use my computer skills towards building a kind of business but with a steady and reliable income source. There's always the risk of not getting paid if the employer's client check bounced or a disgruntled employee caused the loss of a good client.

When that came to an end in February 2014 I moved on to find a new opportunity with 1st National Services in March, this time a chance to flex my web building, social media and business contact skills. I launched with a Facebook page and a new website created to help my employer get visitors to his business which was relying on an outdated phone book friendly name. I worked to improve the site over time by researching ways to improve the appearance, gain trust and making is a pleasing alternative to many capture pages I see online.

Unfortunately, my page has not drawn the visitors I want. Some are drawn to other, better funded pages and finding themselves getting lots of calls and emails.

Getting a business loan or advance should be a friendly and safe process. I think most visitors want to speak to a qualified person and not spend too much time filling out forms and giving away too much data too soon. The contact financial company should be identified and method of contact specified on the page. There should be an email with entered data that the lead receives within a reasonable time for reference and records. Phone calls should be in the time as stated on the page.

Lack of visitors means lack of sales and no income. So I turned to lead seller companies in hopes of using leverage to buy a few loan seekers and use the money to grow my site and fund my Facebook ad campaigns. It seemed so straightforward and an understood sales procedure. Why would any qualified business owner enter all that business data and then not want a loan when offered?

I tried this method, but it did not work out. I was shocked to see how poorly the data had been maintained when I saw it in my Excel sheets I paid for. When you buy something like data, you don't expect to see blacklisted spammers. For me this was a sign of poor data entry practices and poor data management. When I confronted a rep about this, I had to instruct her in how to find out if a record is bad. In another call I got denial as a response. This was professional assessments of their data and online security and consulting advise. It was an opportunity for them to improve their service and regain what was lost. At best I got my money back thanks to my credit card company that ruled in my favor.

Now Some Bad News

I have two major distractions. One is my car, which I can fix with a trip to the nearest service center, but I am sure it will cost me something. I rely on my car to get to work. It must be safe to drive. My car needs a few repairs one wiper system problem and brake service. Plus it's a recall vehicle. I got a letter saying that the DRL headlight system has a fault. I must take it in to a Chevy dealer to have it inspected and repaired if necessary. While the service will be free, it will be time out to get it done.

Another more disturbing distraction is a very improper email I received that contained my social security number. (!!!) It also contained my bank name in bold type. It's a threatening letter to collect a debt, but it's improperly formed and serviced. When I did some research I find that it's listed as a scam and that I am not to respond to the threat. I have reported this email to my bank and the credit bureaus. Later when I have time, I will file a report to the FBI.

When you are short of money for whatever reason you get these sorts of distractions. Calls from people who appear to be offering help, but not really. Emails promising relief but more problems in the future if you sign up. And some if not satisfied hammer your phone with continual calls costing you minutes and your sanity.

Each call or each email takes up time which might otherwise been spent looking for work, completing work-related tasks and paying bills that are due. Then something unexpected happens, like a breach in bank account security or unanticipated withdrawals that throw all plans out of whack. That means more calls to resolve each issue. Replies to emails received. Creating reports. Printing emails. Calling to report improper emails to the authorities.

All that time lost that should have been spent towards increasing income which is the real solution to the whole problem. Now I have more reports to file and a complicated mess to sort out. All because the transference of personal data is so easy and those who collect and distribute it are careless or not professional data managers.

My profession being in IT and my specialty data, this is very disheartening and illustrates why you hire professionals who demand quality to manage your data. If you let blacklisted spammers into your system, what else do you let in or out? If you don't check to see if your leads really want a loan or tell your lead in large print that they are going to be called and who is going to call and in how many hours, then you get applicants who aren't going to remember or connect the caller with the blind online application.

I've seen this lead capture business from both ends -- as a buyer and an applicant myself. What's missing is respect for the applicant and transparency of the business offering a service. When you set up a system you have to walk through how it works in the design process and then how it works in real life. Applicants should be able to identify your business with proper branding and honest conveyance of services and contact information.

I hope gain your trust and keep moving forward despite the distractions that cost me time and money. If you donate here, you are supporting good, professional web practices. My trip to Dragon Con is in part a business trip to gain media content for my pages and perhaps contacts via cards and flyers I put out for merchants who gather once a year and may want my employer's company services. It's my primary work. It's what I do for a living.

If you want to make the world better, here's a good place to spend that spare $10 you have no other use for. The next time you get a call from a scammer, here's a really cool way to respond: Tell them that for each call you get, you will donate to a cause (anything you want). It might be me or someone else, another in the IT profession who works on websites and has the power to shape the web and create services that you rely on. Like the idea?

Make a difference now! Thanks for all that you do!

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Julie Frey posted a new update:
over 4 years ago

Goal Increased Due To Issues With Car

I had to increase goal of campaign due to several issues with my car. Generally I have had no problems with it since purchase back in February 2008.

(1) Brakes need servicing. Past services have been lowest level to fit budget. It really needs full attention. I get scraping noises on occasion. I don't think it's fit for long trips in it's state. Locally I drive it minimally for needed trips.

(2) Windshield Wipers Lock Up
The enter system needs to be replaced. The main wiper jams into the second wiper. I only learned this when in a heavy rainshower. It may be the replacement is wrong for my car or the wiping mechanism is out of whack. ???

(3) I received a letter that my vehicle is a recall vehicle due to a faulty DRL headlight system. I own a Chevrolet 2007 that is involved in GM safety recall 14093. It appears to be a minor repair job that waits for parts. The only issue I have had with the headlights is a burned out bulb that an auto store clerk replaced with some difficulty probably due to car age.

Taking a vehicle in for maintenance at minimum costs time and trips to the dealer (Holz for me) for service. Time I could be spending working on this campaign and my contract work.

You can help with your donation and then sharing this on your social pages.

=========SUGGESTED POST/TWEET===================
Goal increased due to car problems. #Fundly Click to read more: http://fundly.com/help-fund-my-dragoncon-trip
=================================================

Or some other message you think would work better.

I don't see any other viable alternative to driving. If I choose any other option, the lodging costs go up. Access the hotel requires reliable and constant local transit that operates late at night. I also need a car to stow my stuff after checkout. (It cost me $50 extra to store my luggage the year I opted to take Greyhound in 2012.) It's extra time and hassle to have to travel back and forth just to retrieve luggage and other things I bring. (I won't be able to bring chair and tripod for Dragon Con Parade if I can't drive.)

Car is fully paid off and otherwise in good shape with new tires purchased a year ago for last year's Dragon Con trip.

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Julie Frey posted a new update:
over 4 years ago

More Donations!

I have had a number of donations in the form of cash and rummage sales, which I include as a part of the fundraiser.

Thanks to all kind people who support in any way they can. Some receive small rewards they can use at home or as gifts.

Not everyone understands what it's like having misfortune and suffering losses due to bad choices. Most bad consumer purchases simply result in lost money and time. You complain and you are likely to get your money back in time if you follow the steps and present the facts clearly with supporting evidence.

If the product or service is something that's for a business or job-related purpose, it's more complicated. If an advertiser fails to deliver in time or makes a mistake in the ad, it's a loss in sales and future income. If a piece of equipment fails to work, customers are not served. If a data product is filled with errors, how is that useful?

This fundraiser is about a trip to Dragon Con in part for the business of building social media pages, obtaining source materials (photos and videos) for my sites and networking with potential future clients. As anyone who travels as a part of business understands, there is only so much you can get online. You have to get out and get your own fresh content.

When you support this campaign, you are also supporting quality web services and shining a light on those things that annoy you. Don't like robocalls? Support good web capture practices. Don't want too many emails or phone calls? Don't fill out blind capture forms.

Support independent web builders who provide services that you use for research and fun online.

Please support this campaign in any way you prefer. If you like to receive things for your donations and are local (Waukesha-Milwaukee area), come visit and join local Facebook rummage sales groups where you can buy used things at a fraction of regular price. Save money and help me clear out my place.

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Julie Frey posted a new update:
over 4 years ago

Biggest Donor Is First In Line!

If you are the first person to top my fundraiser, then you are first in line to view this limited edition print sale.

If you donate and respond that you want the print, I will post all my images on my Facebook page and send you a link. This blog format limits what I can show you. You can examine it there and name your price.

It is a Jerry Gadamus Limited Edition 702/850 Framed Print entitled "Windowsills And Whiskers". It was purchased at the Channel 10/36 Great TV Auction by my sister, Debbie. I paid for framing at Ben Franklin in Oconomowoc a year ago.

It's best if you live locally (Waukesha area) for easy delivery or pickup.

This print would make an excellent addition to your home, office or place of business.

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Julie Frey posted a new update:
over 4 years ago

April 15th 1999 - Everything Changed That Day

BLOGATHON

While the main theme of this fundraiser is trips and adventures, at its core is an event that occurred on April 15th, 1999 that changed my family. It's long and sad, but there is new hope that emerges in the end.

1999 - A Very Bad Year For The Frey Family

After that date, what happened was more or less consequences of that. Dreams were lost. A major source of income suddenly gone. A source of brilliant mechanical engineering creativity and focus on quality was lost. (Do you own a wooden style Radio Flyer Wagon? That's his design.) All due to an ongoing health issue that picked tax day (of all days) to cause an aortic aneurysm and a quick death.

It was this day I lost my father, Sydney William Frey, Jr, without any warning. It started for me as a phone call on April 14th from my mother telling me that my father was to be at the Elmbrook Memorial Hospital (Broofield, WI) for a night and that it was going to be fine. Late at night probably between 3 and 4 am I got a call from my mother that my father had died. I was the first to receive notice of this. I got up and went to the hospital where I got confirmation of this. It was the most horrible and devastating thing in my life that had ever happened. And this is after being bullied and harassed by people in my childhood up through my teen years.

Not only that, it became my burden along with a friend of the family with me to inform my sister Debbie and my brother Will that day. Will was living in the Milwaukee area southside apartment at the time. (Don't remember anymore who I saw first.) Debbie was getting treatment for her mental health issues at the Milwaukee County Mental Health Complex. At the time we were tenants together in a Wauwatosa two bedroom apartment with two cats. Debbie had suffered terrible mental illness relapses over the February through April months that kept her away from our apartment home in Wauwatosa. We had lost our beloved Dr. Frazer Snyder in February. My last grandparent had passed away the previous summer.

Who knows if these terrible events might have triggered more stress in my father (along with excessive physical strain) leading to death? It was not a good time for anyone at the time. I was worried about my employment. Will was seeking a best job that worked despite his dyslexia. My mother was already seeking to retire from her teaching job at Muskego High School. She and my father (according to mom) had talked of mutual retirement but no plans to move and make best use of their home in Brookfield.

Aftermath

My father's death changed everything. One complication was the discovery of mom's breast cancer shortly afterwards. In July 1999 my job with IATN, Inc. came to an end. It was the last salaried job. I think family distractions played a role. To try and get some funds to help bridge the gab between jobs, I accepted a phone offer for get a credit card or loan. It turned out to be loan by fee scam. I lost my bank account and my financial standing was ruined. I fought back with the help of the FTC and won some money back that I received in 2002 (about $600).

Life Changes

In 2003 I moved out of my Wauwatosa apartment to an apartment in Hartland, Wisconsin encouraged by my long contract employment at Humana, Inc. through Adecco. Debbie by then was in group homes from then on so we were separated. She changed to Waukesha County residency with the help of my mother so she could get services there. My brother Will moved to Mesa, Arizona to work for US Airways at their Phoenix location. Our last Thanksgiving together was in 2002. Then in 2003 my mother sold her house and moved to Arizona for permanent residency largely for health reasons. She ended up in a nice, but expensive gated community home in Green Valley. By then she had beaten her breast cancer.

Nothing came of my 10 month commitment with Humana. I was let go at the end of my contract period. I loved the work and people there. In 2004 and 2005 I hit a low point financially and risked losing my car and my apartment in Hartland. It was too costly to live alone in a two bedroom apartment, but I loved my life there. I did not want it to change.

Solutions

In January 2006, my mother convinced me to move to a one bedroom apartment. I used my tax refund to save my car. I chose Fox Village Apartments in Waukesha.

I got the cheaper rate because I chose a unit that had issues. The kitchen cabinets were worn. There was a huge stain in the carpet. The bathroom had a sticky medicine cabinet. There was no dishwasher. But it did have a nice view of the north with no sunlight in my windows. The storage locker was across the hall from my unit. The laundry room just down the hall to the west. No more stairs! I loved it and moved in with the help of my mom to fund a moving service. I moved in on May 1st.

Independent Contract Employment

At the same time I found new work as a data collection independent contract worker. This job changed everything for me for it was the first self-directed job. I was given a set of instructions and requirements, but after that it was up to me to make it work. After 8 years I created a new life for myself. I got myself back on track paying my bills and reestablishing my credit after that bankruptcy back in April 2001. I was really happy with this work. I used my professional skills to make it better. I rode the mortgage wave from 2006 to 2014 as mortgage data was the main thing I collected. There were side projects, like the menu collection project in the summer of 2007 for allmenus.com and sadly the foreclosure collection project in 2009. The ARMS mortgage collection in 2007 was in my mind a way to warn home owners of this problem.

The Present

Early in 2014 it was time to end it and move on to something better fitting my increased computer skills and making use of all that education I paid for (and am still paying) from 1980 to 1995. My 2006-2014 job was largely a data entry job, only self-directed. I hoped for something better after February. In March I got new hope with a new employer who found me via Freelancer.com. The project was to get leads for his business financial company. I started by creating a Facebook fan page. I then discovered that I had an unused domain credit with my Bluehost account. So I created "getcashforbusiness.com" amazingly available. I tried various designs and most recently settled upon one that's like an office lobby with a green plant. Business funding is a chore and not very pleasant like going to the dentist. I wanted to convey a friendly and informative environment for incoming visitors. I found a low cost form maker (JotForm) and my employer wanted to receive contacts via email. I also wanted to be a different lead capture service that respected the visitor providing destination of entered contact information and keeping it minimal before the initial, personal phone interview. The bad experience the bad lead company only convinced me that the best way to process incoming leads is to send them directly to a service that can actually help them and not relay too much information at the start. I wanted to create a better service with the use of my web skills and hired help (Fiverr) when it was something I was less experienced with.

Looking Back

From 1999 to 2014 I have grown in many ways professionally. It was my father who helped me with my Milwaukee School of Engineering education from 1993 to 1995, my second attempt to get a degree to get me employable skills. (Previously I attended U.W. Madison from 1980 and 1984 and earned a B.S. Degree in Astronomy-Physics.) It hasn't turned out quite as well as I imagined when I graduated in May 1995 with honors. I am still in debt with my student loan at $400 per month. I have paid over the $22,000 principle sum from 1995 up to the last payment in February when my income dropped.

Understanding The Problem

We are a fiercely independent type of people my family, but there are times to seek help. It's not knowing where to find it that's the problem. I have found that when I try to do it all myself that's when things go wrong. The wrong people (scammers, con artists, bad companies, incompetent contact) get to me first and have me going for awhile but leave me with losses in time and money. Even when I tried to go with an apparently reliable employment platform that I was paying to use, things can go wrong as what happened when I tried an eBay job last year. If someone makes a really big donation I will tell about my very bad experience my first time trying eBay sales.

We're Happy & Thriving Now

At this point everyone has settled down to some kind of good life. Nothing's perfect. It can never be. Mom's living in a good, but expensive, difficult to sell home. Her health keeps her there in that dry climate. I've seen my brother at work the last time I visited mom and my brother in December 2009. My sister dreams of living in her own unit, but is limited by funds and must get her type 2 diabetes under her control first. I am her only means to leave her group home. Only relatives are permitted to remove residents. We travel to our meetings and local events together. We hope to attend Chicago TARDIS this year Thanksgiving weekend. If she needs a ride from the hospital (as has happened occasionally) I am the only person who can drive her for free. Her wages are minimal (piecework). I don't think it's right but what can I do? Apart from work at home I manage several websites. I am Publicity for a local science fiction club. I answer phones for public television four times a year. And I make at least three trips per year to events. I added GallifreyOne in 2013 as my new event. I love it. I purchased membership to attend in 2015, but I lack funds to buy airfare and lodging.

What You Can Do

If you've made it this far in my long and sad story then perhaps you finally get why some people turn to others for help. A fundraiser for a trip is just the thing that attracts your attention, but it points to a much bigger problem. If you are a truly giving sort of person who likes adventurous, brave people with amazing stories, then by all means donate without judgment. Is there truly a right and wrong cause to support? If you laugh and give to the "potato salad" man then I think you are a right fit for this campaign.

Go and be at peace whatever you do. All people have potential to be the best. But we have to look out for each other especially now in this more complicated and interconnected world. Don't let scammers and incompetent companies ruin lives and dash dreams. Do it not just for me, but for Debbie, Will, Patricia and for Sydney lost to us back in 1999. We all win if you help. Thank you! It really makes a difference!

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Julie Frey posted a new update:
over 4 years ago

Why Crowdfund For A Trip?

BLOGATHON

Unless You Think Travel Is Easy Let Me Remind You

There are many challenges and mishaps that can happen when you risk going on a trip like a mega media convention. If you do it the hard way by driving or taking a bus, the challenges are even greater. Could you work out strange city bus and train schedules? Drive on roads you do not know? Make bold plans that may not work out so well if it rains or it's too crowded or something along the way breaks down.

Panels can be changed or shifted at any time. What looked like it was going to be fun may turn out to be boring. A long wait may turn out to be a waste of time if the panel room fills. You may underestimate the difficulty of getting from point A to point B if there's a huge crowd of costumed and sometimes inebriated people in between. You can get lost by taking a wrong turn or forgetting to go up or down one or more floors.

You want your experience to be fun and memorable and have something you can take back, even if it's just stories like this one. Over time I learned how to manage a huge event like Dragoncon. I used my Excel skills to create plans so that I had the best chance of seeing everything I wanted but was flexible enough that it was OK if something changed. I would actually take time to attend lots of events over the summer so at the very least I got lots of walking done to prepare for Dragoncon. If I know that I will be out of shape, I simply decide to stay in one room or hotel mostly and avoid too many trips across hotels.

Some things I loved to see are gone. Last year a number of favorite events were missing. This year some are back. Nothing stands out for me as special guests this year. That's OK. I focus on discussion panels, fun events (Monty Python night) and the space track panels. I might see some shows or presentations.

I'm just dreaming now of Dragoncon 2014. You can help to make it happen despite unfortunate events starting February 2014 when my eight year contract with my previous employer came to an end.

2014 The Year of Changes

I thought I could move on and start something new with 1st National Services, but it went horribly wrong when I trusted in the nicely crafted presentations and offers by a lead seller.

People employed to get sales for a company depend upon lead sellers or lead capture to earn income. I was new and placed my trust in a company based upon what it told me on their site. I have read this is how it works from my last job so I tried it.

I was wrong. The leads were very bad. My employer reported that the people on the list did not want to be called. There were notorious spammers in the list. The lead seller company was keeping a poorly maintained data service but did not seem to be aware of it or to care.

What can you do if a business you have decided to rely on for quick and easy income gives bad service and is in denial that there is anything wrong? The best I could do with the very limited money I had was to dispute the credit card transactions, report it to the BBB and then report it to the FTC claiming misrepresentation of a service or product.

My Solutions

Starting early on this year I turned to crowdfunding as a solution. Others have been successful. It looked so easy. But I haven't gotten it to work for me and even got some negative feedback from people who don't understand crowdfunding or freelance contract work.

Hollow Success

On July 12th I had my credit card charges refunded but to my credit balance. I paid down my credit card balance back in April and May so that I could use my credit for best funding option in case something went wrong (as it did). When I paid off my card sooner it did not count towards June and July payments (as normal). I still owed for those months, but missing $1,114, a thousand dollars my normal minimum working checking account balance.

At best after waiting many days my victory against this bad lead seller turned out to be very hollow. The funds were locked in fact because I was late with payments. I have a chance now to pay with help from mom's check and was about to when my cell phone lost power earlier while I was on the phone with Barclay. (Grrrr!)

What You Can Do

Do bad companies like this one make you mad? Others have been scammed by this same company but because it's B2B it's much harder to get the usual consumer complaint process going. I tried, but it's not a "traditional" type of consumer complaint like fake loan scams. I'd have to go with the state Attorney General. What are my chances for success in my state? (Wisconsin)

Crowdfunding For Working Freelancers - Protection Against Employment Fraud & Lost Income

This is where crowdfunding can be a true blessing. It's a way of fighting back against those forms of consumer fraud not covered yet by the usual support groups.

People who are employed in the usual way in a corporation may not appreciate what it's like when the usual protections are in place. My form of employment (contract) has proven by past experience to be the best fit for me and my skills. I have used my professional skills to improve my work and produce results faster and with greater accuracy. I love using Excel to solve business problems. I have learned to extract what I need from public records and use it for marketing and research.

I have grown so much professionally over the past 8 years, but I needed new challenges and a chance to use my web skills first practiced on my club website, The Milwaukee Time Lords. Please look it up and see how it's seen on more than two Google pages.

This Is My Life - This Is What Works For Me

This is the right place for me doing this work. Nothing else has worked very well in the past at least not lasting more than a year. The last contract job went for 8 years a record for me.

I Will Work For You Here!

Here's a deal: Do want to see more of my formatted for this blog photos like this one? My toad commands you to ask for photos! I want more photos!

I traveled and worked hard to get them. I also have wavy kitty photos my earlier traveling mascot. He did not work out so well. He was too fragile to travel with and he leaked glitter everywhere. He is now retired on my shelf (now with less of my precious books surrendered to Half-Priced Books for needed cash). Toadie is now a better travel mate and last year road on the back facing outward to hypnotize drivers who drove too close.

You can see more if you donate at least $10. You are sure to get retweets, follows and likes from me and future support from someone else who likes people who donate.

This is my life and what I love to do. If you accept that and want this to continue as is this year, then please support me with your money, support button, tweet, like, pin or your other favorite social media site.

Next: A major reason for things not being the same after April 15th, 1999.

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Julie Frey posted a new update:
over 4 years ago

Dragoncon 2013 - Day 5

BLOGATHON

This is now a "blogathon". I have been posting here a series regarding my Dragoncon experiences. Here I talk about Mondays. If you are here for the first time, please go back to the beginning to read about this fundraiser. Understand why I created it and why it's for a good cause.

Some people give for potato salad. This blog is about a yearly trip to Dragoncon as part of my work at home as a contractor building my social pages and providing original content. If you believe that it's OK to invest in freelance contractors who actually rely on support when in between projects, then read my series and donate at your comfort level.

Some donate without thought to corporations and may not really get anything back even years ahead. If you give to individuals however, there's a potential for future help when you create your cause. Do you read blogs and support your favorite sites? Is it worth it to you to see your favorite people in original photos like the one featured here? Think about it as you read this article.

Day 5 - Monday The Last Day

Dragoncon is special because it has a 4th day of official events. It's shorter with most last panels at 4:00 PM. Monday is a good day for celebrity panels. They tend to have smaller crowds. And they can be more intimate. It may or may not be structured.

It's also check out day for most attendees. You have to clear out of your hotel and find a place to park your car and stow your stuff. In most cases I had my car parked at a lower priced surface lot or at the Chamblee free parking lot.

In 2013, I opted to stay one more night at my cheap place so I did not have to check out of my hotel. I had time to spend all day at Dragoncon and even register for next year. I have paid for my 2014 membership. I left early Tuesday morning with the plan to drive all the way to arrive home by evening.

Monday morning I left my hotel and drove to the Chamblee MARTA station and took the next train to the Peachtree station. When I arrived I took the very long escalator at the Hyatt up to the Peachtree Center Food Court.

Unfortunately, the escalator broke down and stopped when I was about more than halfway up. This escalator had been having serious issues. The previous year it was shut down for maintenance. Riders had to access the station via the entrance from the south end a few blocks away. The underground station is VERY HOT --- in the 90's! That year the down escalator was commonly broken down (up only available) so I had to use the stairs. It's very dangerous to go down a long flight of stairs when it's hot and you're alone! I did not like that at all.

In 2013 after the Peachtree Center station escalator broke down everyone had to walk all the way up. I was very exhausted at the end and worried about getting to my first panel on time with all the Monday delays.

I did get to the Crystal Ballroom at the Hilton and saw this panel scheduled at 11:00 AM. Do you know who this is? I will leave it to you to supply the name of this person.

This is one of the reasons I go to Dragoncon -- to get cool photos like this one. Monday when many people leave to catch their planes or have to get home in time to get to work on Tuesday is the day to attend these panels.

If you want original, cropped photos here then donate. Make me work for my money!

Next: Why Crowdfund For A Trip?

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Julie Frey posted a new update:
over 4 years ago

Dragoncon 2013 Day 4

This is now a "blogathon" to help bring in much needed donations. I have been here all day after my trip to my bank to deposit mom's support money and then go shopping at Pick N Save. If you are here for the first time, please go back and start from the beginning to understand what this fundraiser is all about.

Today I want to give you some value and entertainment for your time viewing my page. I go to Dragoncon to have fun and come back with valuable resources for my social media pages. This year I hope to support my new employer. My job is to find people to love the company I work for. You might be familiar with that kind of work. Getting out of my home is a way of reaching out and getting content that I cannot get at home or by surfing online. I want my content to be original and captured by me.

Day 4 - Sunday

Sundays are a weird day for me at Dragoncon. I can never predict how it's going to go. I have missed the most panels on Sunday. it seems like it could be an easy day for panels, but in the past I have had to choose other panels. This year I decided to go off the track a bit and choose longer panels to sit through and not rely so much on the hourly panels. At Dragoncon most panels follow the schedule starting at 10 AM and run for an hour with 30 minute breaks in between panels. That gives attendees 30 minutes to get from one panel to another. Sometimes it helps to leave a panel early to get to a more popular panel or if it's very far to walk.

This year I selected the Parsecs Awards that did not have a dinner with it this year. It was different and actually quite entertaining to me to see a mix of various presenters, some celebrity guests, some regular guests.

In this photo of this awards presentation panel that went beyond the hourly schedule we see the panel host and actor Sylvester McCoy sharing the podium for one of the awards presentations.

I will leave it to a challenge question to you to name the host. I am looking for some more engagement. If you answer and send me a Tweet with the answer it will be retweeted everywhere I have Twitter.

Sometimes you just have to try a new approach and break an old pattern to get it to work. Also, sometimes you have to make difficult choices. When making a schedule I have to choose which panel I want to attend. And then there are empty hours where I can't think of anything convenient to see. I make those my "free" hours to go to the trade mart or have a full dinner at the food court.

Or there is a sudden rain shower that makes waiting in line not possible. On Saturday I had a cool experience of attending "The Hobbit" movie preview panel when a huge thundershower began outside. It made just a perfect back audio for this panel, which I enjoyed. Not all panels need to be celebrity panels. Those take the most energy to attend and use up lots of time and you end up in the back of the room and perhaps miss most of it.

My best panel types are discussion, science/space track, selected Skeptrack panels, event panels and quiz shows. Entertainment panels vary in type and my likeness. I have gotten bored easily and opted to leave early when I got my fill. I always stay all the way through the space track panels. In 2012, I chose space track as my closing panel on Monday.

Next: Monday at Dragoncon

If you really can't donate, you can support me. Click the Support button and you get your face see on Fundly. If you decide to start a fundraiser yourself for your cause, you'll be in a better position to get the help you want.

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