Year in review, job change

12/21/14 No Limit Texas Hold 'Em session lasting about fice hours ended with a $368 profit - $1500 grew to $1868.
12/21/14 No Limit Texas Hold ‘Em session lasting about five hours ended with a $368 profit – $1500 grew to $1868.

I reflect upon some highlights of 2014 in both my personal and activist life & discuss some changes taking place for 2015.

2014 included many milestones: I purchased a car; obtained my driver’s license; left my hometown to live more independently in a shared house; lost about 40 pounds through exercising; completed two more semesters of graduate school; reached a two year work anniversary; and excelled in both online and casino No Limit Texas Hold ‘Em play following considerable study, play, and focus.

Although some have doubted my ability to profit from playing poker, I’ve had considerable support and have demonstrated that I am a winning player through online results. If I can excel in online play — a more competitive environment with more skilled players compared to casino players — I will excel in casino play as I have been during my last month of play spanning almost 175 hours.

Following many attempts to advertise on County of Lackawanna Transit System (COLTS) buses, an advertisement promoting the NEPA Freethought Society — a Northeastern Pennsylvania group of secular freethinkers I lead — was accepted and displayed thanks to supporters. I challenged government-led prayer at Wilkes-Barre City Council meetings and provided a secular invocation during a council meeting. I again protested the annual National Day of Prayer event held on Public Square in Wilkes-Barre. I attended and reported on the James Randi Educational Foundation’s Amazing Meeting thanks to supporters.

My work with the Arc of Luzerne County’s Transition to Community Employment (TRACE) program — an initiative to prepare adult learners who have intellectual and developmental disabilities for the workplace — has been especially rewarding and meaningful. I especially enjoyed attending and speaking, as an Arc of Luzerne County Employee, at the Pennsylvania Disability Employment and Empowerment Summit (PADES) event in Harrisburg.

I’m resigning from my position with TRACE to play poker, dedicate time to exercising at a local gym, and continue pursuing my Mental Health Counseling degree which would interfere with my [TRACE] work schedule.

I would like to thank students I worked with in the TRACE program since its inception in 2012 for their cooperation and motivation which easily made my job the best I ever had. I’d like to thank co-workers/staff for their assistance and dedication. Keep in touch.

As always, feel free to comment below and check back for happenings in 2015. Have a happy new year!

Justin Vacula

Justin Vacula hosts the Stoic Philosophy Podcast; serves as co-organizer and spokesperson for the Northeastern Pennsylvania (NEPA) Freethought Society; and has hosted monthly Stoic Philosophy discussion groups for the Humanist Association of Greater Philadelphia. He has appeared on and hosted various radio shows and podcasts; participated in formal debates and discussions; was a guest speaker for college-level courses; was featured in local, national, and international news; and has been invited to speak at various national, local, and statewide events. Vacula received bachelor's degrees in Philosophy and Psychology, a minor in Professional Writing, and the distinguished W.A. Kilburn Memorial Award for Philosophy from King's College in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. He is currently living in the Scranton, PA area attending Marywood University's graduate-level Mental Health Counseling program and has worked with the Arc of Luzerne County's Transition to Community Employment program as a teacher's assistant and job coach alongside adult learners with intellectual and developmental disabilities. He also plays poker; volunteers as a member of the website and media team for the Greyhawk Reborn Dungeons & Dragons campaign while playing at events in the Eastern United States; and enjoys metal music.