9 Things Your Boss Expects You to Know About Justice League

Is your boss fun to work for?

Given your familiarity with DC superheroes, you have some idea that the Justice League is Batman, Superman, The Flash, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, and other heroic entities.  The director of the blockbuster of the title film Justice League is Zack Snyder, and as the troubled first version of the film nearly sank the DC franchise, a mini-series version four hours long has been announced by HBO Max, after demand for a better cut of the film.

They had conflicts making the movie, with Warner Brothers replacing Snyder to direct, at the eleventh hour.  If you are a fan, you may have passionate feelings about the theatrical version of the film, and the miniseries.

But would your boss expect you to know anything about the Justice League?

Superheroes among the Justice League

Maybe your boss is like Michael Scott from TV’s The Office.  While Michael Scott keeps impersonating famous standup comedians, maybe your boss wants you to be the hero of your own story.  When I had supervisors coach me on the job, they would try to get me feeling good about the work.

For example, when I was a salesman at a computer business, my own supervisor liked to say to me, “You’re the boss.”

Superman

Dishearteningly, the film Man of Steel from 2013 was the main Superman film in some time, not doing a lot to restore the name of the DCEU- – there was no continuation of the film series until Batman v. Superman, which didn’t do a great deal to restore trust back to DC:  I don’t know that everyone needed Superman to kick the bucket at Batman’s hands.  It just isn’t that nice an idea.

2013 Man of Steel Set in the DCEU

2016 Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Set in the DCEU.

Suicide Squad Set in the DCEU. Won an Oscar.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_films_based_on_DC_Comics_publications#Live-action_films

That last one- – loathsome title, eh?

I once blogged a review of Man of Steel:  https://www.findingenvirons1.blog/2017/01/27/discovering-the-man-of-steel-discoverwp/   Man of Steel’s an underestimated film.  All the same, many in the audience were disappointed.  

Films like 1978’s Superman, starring the late Christopher Reeve as Superman, and 1989’s Batman, with Michael Keaton, are pretty nice.   Now Justice League in 2021 will be a four-hour miniseries that could make your emotional investment the DCEU feel worthwhile again.

In the years 2007 and in 2008, I was a salesman,  holding down a stressful low-level telemarketing job.  To boost morale, my sales team held a special draw, where supervisors awarded prizes for good work.

Some of the prizes were movie units on DVD, this the 2000s.  A couple of them went into my coat pocket:  I won them, Godzilla with actor Matthew Broderick and 16 Blocks with actors Bruce Willis and Mos Def.

All our bosses wanted from us was for us to make sales calls so that we could say we earned the sales contract.  Hand me movies?  In a perfect world, everybody would be a film buff, I’m sure.

By the way, Josh, who is my brother, and his wife, are consistently changing themselves increasingly into film buffs.  Back about the time I won those movie DVDs, my friend on the job, whose name is Brandon, pointed out snidely one day that I was not the film buff I should have been.  He must have been having a bad day.

“Do you know how many people are doing that?”

Yeah.

Today, years later, I thought I would point out nine things at work that you can only learn if you have at least a passing familiarity with the film Justice League.  Here goes.

Budget

The budgets for Batman v. Superman and Justice League were immense.  At work, I suppose it’s about how much money is being spent on the job at hand, like payroll, upkeep, amortization, and other details.  It may not be Superman’s Arctic Fortress where you work, but if the lights are on, and you’re putting money in your pocket, you’re alright.

Cast and crew

Who’s your supervisor?  Who are the day people (or the night people, if you are one of the day people)?  Who is greeting people?  Remarkable positions.  I wonder if Bruce Wayne handled conference calls when he was kicking it in the Batcave.

Costume

Batman

Everyone in Justice League has a sensational, superhero-worthy costume to identify themselves, of course.

I certainly didn’t, but we didn’t have to dress in suit-and-tie.  For fiscally-challenged sales reps, like myself, what is the dress code?  How are we to match?  Do we get a casual Friday?

I wasn’t under much demand to dress smartly, but I gave it a go.

Self-Promotion

Like a winning free ticket, for instance, how do you get thinking outside the box?  Do we need to be guarded with our business, or can we extol once in a while how great it is that we’re in the trenches doing it?  How liberal can we be with feedback for the ruling class?  How sensitive are the bigwigs to rabble rousing?

Would Lois Lane get the headline?

Transmission

Alfred at Wayne Manor

Do we have to put away our phones while we work?  Is it too much to ask that we get to multitask?

Would Alfred the Butler look after more than just dusting the modest decor of Wayne Manor?

Is there valet parking for our Batmobiles?

Computer knowledge

We proved in the interview that we know the system.  We know all the most important commands.

I feel like I am frequently bewildered, despite my competence as a blogger.  Dealing with gadgetry is a proper skill, your Batbelt, your communication lasso, and in all sincerity you, reading this, have a knack for that.  I just know it and between you and me, I believe it.

I don’t think spear-wielding Aquaman is too high-tech.

Musical score

Any chance you can wear just one earbud?  That doesn’t have anything to do with the Justice League, but it could make work more tenable with a little music to enjoy.  I remember film director Kevin Smith geeking out on YouTube about Hollywood science fiction.

The book The Four-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss recommends music any time you like.  It’s the tried-and-true bestseller about productivity.  I like the readership.

Popcorn in the aisle

Some people swear by microwave popcorn.  Popcorn and an excursion to the films is a popular custom.  It is strange, though, if, when at work, someone cooks popcorn in the staff kitchen.

When that happens, the aroma of popcorn catches uncool people unaware and there are both envy and odd recollections of being to the movies and experiencing happiness and satisfaction, if you ask me what is happening there.  I was never invited to get in on the buttery treat.

Sequel

Any possibility we’ll be back?  What about our friends?  Any shot at getting more and better work, whether or not a steadfast go?

And you need it.  I’m talking to you, the DCEU.

You’re welcome to like the post, to follow the blog, and/or to comment.

For several years I have been lending time to my dad’s business, a cemetery which has been since attended by myself, my father, and as well an uncle of mine and another friend of the family.  

http://www.maplelawncemetery.org/31601.html

Will this post make or break me?

My Most Graceful and Honest Intentions with the findingenvirons Blog

A TikTokker followed me, this weekend, with the offer of a shoutout if I were to follow her account, and to tag three friends and to share her video to get an upswing started https://vm.tiktok.com/JN4odUw/

“Are blogs still popular in 2020?”

“Yes, blogging in 2020 is still popular and is serving even more purpose than ever before.  …68% of marketers now see blogging as a useful marketing tool.”

https://techjury.net/blog/blogging-statistics/

Just so we’re on the same page.  🙂  It’s a decent rivalry.

It is now summer.  Even though the winter doesn’t usually get too severe here in Southern Ontario, we have summer which feels pretty scorching, and that is surreal.  That aspect is well-intensified by strange circumstances.  Writing this, in July 2020, I am beginning year no. 9 of writing my blog.

time and tide wait for no man

Photo by donterase from StockSnap

A blog, as you know, is long-form writing.  It’s the opposite of microblogging, like how blogging is on Twitter.  A Personal Plan on WordPress, an option on the blogging platform, lets you design a blog by choosing from among a variety of special themes, that shape how your blog looks.

On WordPress, as mine is, a regular domain doesn’t look bad, but a more ambitious blogger might start with a Personal Plan if you want a more professional-looking blog.  In fact, in WordPress, the Block Editor is the design page that helps you put together blocks of paragraphs, to make writing a post easy.

I use a lot of white space, to keep my blog readable, and to keep it feeling like typewriter text transported to a computer screen, which is what early word processing programs were like.  If you know about adventure games in the nineteen-seventies and -eighties, like, for example, the game company Infocom’s game Zork, or a different, earlier, hit game called Adventure, you know they consist of a paragraph of descriptive text followed by a blinking parser, at which you would enter a two-word command to play.  I have that period of gaming as a primary concern, one wellspring of motivation.

My intention presently is to reach several dozen people or so with each post, possibly a hundred visitors per post, which is the typical reach I have at present.  I appreciate that the odd post I’ve composed gets a couple of guests, to boot.  With WordPress, the stats dashboard gives you an idea of how many visitors have turned up for your blog posts, and what they are saying their country of origin is.

I have had this blog for eight years.  That’s the level of expertise I have with it, Level Nine, you might put it.

In the first edition of the former game company TSR’s classic game Dungeons & Dragons, Level Nine was known as Name Level.  That is the famous tabletop game.  It features in the plot of the Netflix hit Stranger Things.

Photo by Freestocks.org from StockSnap

Name Level means that your Dungeons & Dragons character has made a name for himself, as in “Merlin” becoming “Merlin the Wizard,” to take from Arthurian mythology an example.  In Arthurian mythology, Merlin is the wizard who helps King Arthur rule at Camelot.  Like Merlin and King Arthur, here on WordPress, I am leet.

Likewise, with different parts of life, you have goals with your blog, and blogging makes unobtrusive notoriety for yourself (as it is the Name Level guidelines in Dungeons & Dragons sway interaction.)

On occasion, I draw extra thoughts from patterns I see via web-based media, stages like Twitter and YouTube, and TikTok.  On WordPress, I get to blog as much as I make time for it, which is a luxury I know many aspiring writers would enjoy themselves if they had it.  With that sort of extravagance, I am happy with the opportunity to continue without too many time limitations.  I am not too hard on myself.

My intentions, also, are to keep posting in a way that other people might relate to.  When WordPress offered a fourteen-day prologue to composing verse, quite a long while back, I composed through that fourteen-day arrangement.  Actually, at the time, I was kind of pleased with a few of the ideas I came up with, as I think my approach is a touch singular.

I in some cases loan support to other little bloggers.  I have seen that quite a few bloggers do that.  Those are probably the kind of people that I am trying to reach.

Another source of inspiration, outside WordPress, is the real world Nashville Tennessee writer Jeff Goins, an inspiring voice in blogging circles.  I think Jeff Goins worked in marketing when he decided he wanted to begin writing.  In fact, for his first book, he presented the title You Are A Writer.  

The Art of Work is a book that explores all kinds of inspired case studies, of people who bring a special touch to the work they do.  It became a bestseller. I think Goins wrote that unless your heart is in your work, it isn’t right.

As well, my father’s sister’s husband, Rick, and his wife Sue, both residing in Nashville, have written some books.  They are my godparents.

To the reader, if you have ever read my blog and are returning, by all means, thank you.  Such a great hobby.  You’re welcome to comment or to follow.

Have a wonderful day and a terrific summer.  I wish you well!

I’m on Twitter, https://twitter.com/findingenvirons …but you won’t find that verified.

For Critical Thinking and an Equivalent, Creativity

Starting, for April, I participated in many of the new Discover challenges that WordPress organized, to help bloggers write posts during the crisis.  Each morning, 6 AM in most cases in my time zone, a new word with additional suggestions became available for WordPress bloggers.

Each word theme was accompanied by suggestions about what to post.  I found the exercises helped me feel better about blogging because some things I enjoy discussing became the subject of new posts at the same time other bloggers addressed the same themes.  With each post, I had several visitors, and if you are among those and returning, please accept my thanks.

Now, today is May the 4th, Star Wars Day.  Star Wars The Clone Wars concludes its season 7 run today, a season devoted to the Seige of Mandalore.  I think the entire animated series lives on Disney+.

Today is also the day that all nine films of the Skywalker Saga are available with a Disney+ subscription.  “This will be a day long-remembered,” to quote Peter Cushing in Star Wars Episode IV.

Star Wars Celebration last spring in Chicago meant a week of hours and hours of daily streaming on YouTube.  I said something about it:  https://findingenvirons1.blog/2019/04/19/star-wars-celebration-on-youtube-whered-you-go-chicago/

I have a new strategy, I am starting by trying a serious-in-tone critical thinking post.  I was already writing the odd observation about techniques that might contribute to someone’s existing take on the science of being a blogger, tempered with humour, I suppose.  I reckoned that I was enjoying myself, that’s mostly what counted.

Photo by Lukáš Rychvalský from StockSnap

A definition of a hobby is this:

hob·by

n. pl. hob·bies

An activity or interest pursued outside one’s regular occupation and engaged in primarily for pleasure.

The pleasure of blogging comes from the interaction on the world wide web with people who also blog.  I believe that social interaction is important at any age.  Why is social interaction important for psychological health, I asked Yahoo!.

“Social engagement is associated with a stronger immune system, especially for older adults,” Yahoo! answered.  “This means that you are better able to fight off colds, the flu, and even some types of cancer.  You will enjoy better mental health.

“Interacting with others boosts feelings of well-being and decreases feelings of depression.”

There are so many avenues that if you have access to the web, there are so many ways to reach people, and fulfill that desire, I know you know this.  It is always about more than the dollar, as it should be.  I’m not out to make a buck at all, I’m just experimenting with being an optimist.  

Recently I found a website page that takes a gander at the satisfaction that goes with the joy of a decent diversion.  Human resources psychologist Jessica Beltran addresses it in The Value of Hobbies  https://blogs.psychcentral.com/thrive/2014/05/the-value-of-hobbies/  “We are at our best when we are relaxed and in tune with ourselves.”

Photo by Snufkin from StockSnap

While we are capitalists, the playing field becomes more narrow if you consider that you can address people with the confidence of having many of the skills that they have.  There is any number of stations in the lives we lead, but lots of motivation speakers give the advice to get started with your creations, however possible.  “Do hobbies help with their careers?” I asked Yahoo!.

“While it may seem counterintuitive to make time for something outside of work to get ahead at work, career coaches have confirmed that having a hobby can help make you better at your job. Having a hobby helps you learn how to handle work-life stress and think creatively,” answered the search engine.

“What skills are needed to be a critical thinker?” I went on to ask.

In response Yahoo! informed me of several qualities, ten in fact, that you need to be a capable critical thinker:

1 Accuracy.

2 Adept.

3 Analytical.

4 Creativity.

5 Critical thinking.

6 Detail-oriented.

7 Efficiency.

8 Industriousness.

9 Innovative.

10 Logical thinking.

I have additional input.

Accuracy, for starters, I learned about in high school science.  Accuracy in that environment is measurably collecting data.  To determine accuracy, you might perform the same process several times, with only minor variants, to learn if your method is accurate.

It’s important.  Troubleshooting a computer station, for example, requires accuracy.

You need to determine what changes have gone on before and after a problem has happened at your terminal.  There is a joke about hapless computer users calling the Windows system crash the Blue Screen of Death, dire-sounding, but which means that you are losing your unsaved work, a bummer.  By the way, I enjoyed computer science in high school a lot more than I enjoyed chemistry and physics.

If what you were doing meant nine out of ten times you got a system crash, and then one out of ten times it worked out, hypothetically speaking, you could, if the measurements were accurate, you’re determining that those nine times of system crashes mean that you can’t proceed in that manner.  If five out of ten times, your computer works, and five times it doesn’t, you don’t have an accurate idea of what of your commands are leading to the system crash.  The results aren’t too useful in that case.

You need to check variables that contribute to your procedure’s success or failure and come up with a more accurate idea of what’s going to work.  Once you establish the variables that work out okay, by trial and error, you can figure out which instruction is awakening the Blue Screen of Death.

The second term in Yahoo!’s list is the word adept.  Adept means are adroit.  Critically, you have to be adept at forming interpretations.

Those I think of as the external–the external is the object or scenario you’re critically thinking about.  You need to know what you’re examining, to form a critical judgement.  I have two ways for you to do this, and you can read about them a little further in.

Like for me, to decide whether, say, a popular film is “good,” in the sense that the motion picture proves that everybody involved did a good job, you have to understand enough about what makes a good film to be adept at reviewing it.  It would help if you’d contributed to the completion of a motion picture, to be properly critical, but it probably suffices to understand the structure of a film, the symbolism in the film visually, and previous attempts to make similar films.

The next term, the word analytical, this is a word like adept, but analytical is more about looking at a critiqued thing that calculates whether you should take it seriously or not.  You know what the thing is and what it’s for, but being analytical towards it means judging it in a way that you can comprehend additional specifics about it, forming your external.  What does it mean? is an analytical question that you might have about your object or scenario.

You would be analytical concluding that your problem works at all levels.

Photo by donterase from StockSnap

Next is creativity, a lovely word, for I feel I am creative, as would many bloggers regard themselves.  Creativity is reworking an established idea and making it yours.  It goes on constantly.

Like, back to film, when a successful film franchise follows up with a sequel, or a reboot, that’s an instance of creativity that is often quite impressive.  As with, say, the 1978 horror film Halloween, directed by John Carpenter, when two years later in 1980 the sequel Halloween II came out, again starring famed actress Jamie Lee Curtis, the film continued the story of the first movie by showing a lot more of what happened later that Halloween night, when the mad masked murderer had returned, (ghastly!).  However, John Carpenter was no longer directing the film.

Do you like horror films?

Halloween II has the same characters and the same locale and a continuation of the plot of the first film, all interesting for fans of the first movie, just with the point that somebody else is now directing.  That’s the creative part, in this example.

Next, Yahoo! repeats the phrase critical thinking.  I mean that Yahoo! includes critical thinking among the terms for critical thinking, which begs the question, Yahoo!.  I interpreted that as meaning that critical thinking refers here to the overall level of ability the interpreter brings to the noun being thought through critically.  It is having the skill to return to thinking critically, in a manner that applies other additional criteria.

In this case, we’re using the handy number ten.  The words, I derive, make an agenda for surveying an item or a situation.  It is redundant to include the phrase “critical thinking” in a list that explains critical thinking, pointing to a rabbit hole, a burrow that goes on and on when it opens.

You have to be firm with yourself what decisions you will make in the process of critical thinking or you will never conclude.  I have a little more to say about that in the conclusion.

Close up white cup of Coffee, latte on the wooden table

Detail-oriented refers to the organizer’s ability to put together a mental assessment of the details that have gone into the subject being thought about critically.  A job interview often includes a question along these lines, as in, “If you were taking this job, would you consider yourself a detail-oriented person?”  It means getting everything right.

Efficiency is the ability to get things done promptly.  You don’t lose time by making redundant decisions; everything works.  If you value efficiency, you want your scenario or your object to function smoothly, a swift external.

It means saving time.  A lot of people who need to complete many tasks highly value efficiency.

Industriousness refers to having the initiative to take bold steps.  Being industrious is good in that a person shows, say, leadership.  If what you are critical of is a tool for industriousness, it lends itself to a nature that assists people who have a success rate at reaching goals.

Innovative means thinking outside of the box.  Someone innovative has solutions that circumvent traditional stop signs that cause headaches.  Being innovative is positive.  You should recognize when innovation is happening and that it can have positive results.

Photo by Matthew Henry from StockSnap

Logical thinking is great for being “right.”  I first read a little about logical thinking in a high school English class.  I was daunted at the time because I’d never known that logical thinking existed like that, and I doubted I could learn enough about it to become competent, bizarrely, I suppose.

I was a diffident youth.  I wish I’d got that information earlier in life.  My teacher, Ms. M., outlined twelve specific styles of logical thinking and in fact, I wonder if I as yet have that same document.

I should have read it again and again.  At times I’ve been proud that I’m not completely obligated to be logical, but I don’t disregard logic.  I value things like the structure of an external, and that, for example, requires logic.

Logical thinking when it comes to being critical of a specific external is very useful, for if you can make a logical argument about the nature of your object or situation, you’re external, you are on your way to answering a riddle about it.  It is a regret I have that I didn’t take the introduction to logical thinking I got in high school more gravely and go to work at understanding it.

The ten criteria words stop at the letter L.  This is all about setting your sights on critically interpreting an external and taking it apart in a way that you can better understand what it means.  The terms are building blocks for evaluating your external.

There are some points where the process isn’t going to be scientific.  Starting with accurate, you need to look at more than one external and compare them to see how accurate your method is.  This word accurate is exciting because you can find parallels that aren’t necessarily immediately self-evident.

You are being analytical because you are trying to make a process occur that is accurate.  Those two a-letter words work together to open a method of diagramming your external to better understand what it is.

The next word, adept, is applicable because you need to run your process with adept skill.  What I’m doing here is being creative with Yahoo!’s list of critical thinking terms.  I’m making the argument that they are useful.

The search engine believes it.  So, too, should you.  Together the terms have an impact that you can draw upon for inspiration.

It does bother my sensibilities that critical thinking could itself be a term for critical thinking, but as there is a connection between all three a-letter words, so too I noticed a connection between the two c-letter words.  Critical thinking and creativity are two different sides of the same coin.

I’ve had to stir my reserve of critical thinking to identify what that means, but it is so.  Creativity is letting reason fly in the wind, whereas critical thinking is unearthing the truth about your external that wouldn’t be evident if you didn’t possess some definitions that assist in critical thinking.

For d, we have detail-oriented, taking your analysis and better developing it.

For e, we have efficiency, reducing creativity in favour of a strategy that is more pure critical thinking and not as open-minded as the word creative would imply.

Next, we have i-letter words, industrious and innovative, words that strengthen the process of analyzing the external by accelerating the process.  Those words apply to the analyst as much as they apply to the object or scenario being looked at.  Being industrious is keeping at it and being innovative is keeping open-minded.

Both these reflect the analyst as much or more than the external being explored.  Logical thinking is a phrase that means much the same as analysis.  If you took these ten terms, you could assemble them this way:   You have the creativity and you have critical thinking (the c-words).

If you want creativity to rule the process of investigating the external, what you have is industriousness and innovation for the matter at hand.

To proceed down the avenue of critical thinking that is more logical and detail-oriented, you can reduce your creative input and begin letting a process unfold without the benefit of a creative assignment.  In either case, you need to be adept at thinking, and further, to return to the a-letter words, you are being more purely analytical and accurate if you pursue critical thinking without the requirement of innovation ruling your process.  So, your basic process either follows one c-path or the other c-path, critical thinking or creativity and then to round out outreaching your external you have the accuracy, the analytics, the detail-oriented questions, the efficiency and the logical thinking; and down the other c-path, you have industriousness and innovation.

These are subcategories from the ten we started with.

Photographer:
Tim Gouw

The terms favour an analysis-heavy approach to critical thinking, meaning there are more components of more purely critical thinking than terms that include creativity.  Where that leaves us is what I started with, the word hobby.  A creative design is better for a hobby; analysis is better suited for more profound comprehension.

All the same, creativity can be as hard to comprehend as analysis.  If you reach an external by analysis, it is beginning to fall outside the field of the hobbyist and more closely approach the realm of the expert.

A more complicated external lends itself to critical thinking; a simpler external is suitable for creativity.  This isn’t always true, but that’s a guideline that you could start with if you are deciding whether you want to approach an external with a lens of more complicated and comprehensive critical thinking or with a simpler but also effective creative paintbrush, so to speak.

That’s the rabbit hole, that if you don’t have a handle on your creativity, flights of fancy can take you far afield of a suitable stopping place.  That’s why creativity isn’t a super useful strategy for analyzing an external that’s become complex.  That’s when your critical thinking approach needs to take over.

I’ve enjoyed writing about this, my first post since the April Discover challenges ended.  Do you like the idea that a simpler object might benefit from creative analysis and a more complicated object require a more detailed critical analysis?  You’re welcome to follow and/or to comment.

Read more about me here:  about.me/patrickcoholan

Happy Star Wars Day

Photographer:
Thomas Kelley

WordPress Discover: Grateful

The WordPress Discover challenges are blogging prompts that help bloggers originate additional ideas to include in a blog. This month, April 2020, the Discover challenges continued one-word prompts that expanded upon detailed suggestions to keep bloggers going in these days of an emergency. I got interested in the second day of April, when I learned unexpectedly, from another blog, that the prompts were back.

Today is the thirtieth of April, and it means it is time to bid the challenges farewell.

Today’s challenge is the word grateful and I am grateful for having lucked into writing prompts as often I felt I could. I am sure others are grateful for the same prompts. Many days of the month this go-round I was able to blog, and this week the prompts wound down to their finale under the guidance of Ben Huberman, who in the past has helped me think of other posts to put together, particularly well-focused I think, this month.

Articulating

Today in the peninsula the weather is gloomy and wet, and it reminds me of a writing prompt I came across in the twelfth grade in public school.

I was learning the foundations of the programming language C, in a classroom setting, and an exercise in word processing came my way. It was a writing prompt. I’d seen many writing prompts in school,l but seldom in a computer skills classroom.

The prompt that day was to write about a spooky house, presumably despairing, or at least that’s what I would flavour such fiction, given a prompt of that kind. It was twenty-five years ago, but I remember vaguely what the prompt was like, given that the exercise was to write a page of flash fiction and input it. Being high school I was writing all the time.

I doubt that I knew the phrase “flash fiction” at that time, or even if it was the going nomenclature for the writing. Somewhat zealously, I suppose, I wrote a piece of flash fiction for the instructor, dutifully inputting it. The teacher had no real interest, knowing that it was a simple exercise and that computers, not creative studies, was the department.

The exercise was at best a distraction, I think, a few minutes to come up with a little tale of being lost all on your own and approaching a spooky house for help. It was likely the fall, when Halloween comes, not the springtime. The lesson was to adopt the role of being a writer and to try filling those shoes by inputting the tale in a word processor.

If I’d had leanings toward finding it interesting for the sake of being computed, perhaps I would have tried a career choice of software if I’d pursued the ambition of computer work. Curiously, the mere interest in writing the flash fiction signalled to me that I would need a creative endeavour to keep myself feeling like I was honouring myself, you might put it.

January 5 2018 collage experiment

I am glad that WordPress Discover prompts returned and I am looking forward to devising a plan, a calendar, to keep a hand in as a blogger. I continue to believe that a blog is an integral part of the world wide web. I am grateful for this practice put in at writing on a schedule that means a consistent effort at blogging, and I think the habits utilized could remain in place if the momentum grown from doing the Discover challenges this month continues to breathe life into my site.

God bless you. You may follow and/or comment on the blog if you like.

WordPress Discover: List

This has been a different kind of month for me in the blogosphere. Obviously, the province which is my home is on lockdown, but as you may know, Ben Huberman helped devise the WordPress Discover challenges again for April, which were lacking for some time as, I suppose, the nature of the beast changed. Don’t take it from me.

I finally began to rest where most previous days of the month I published something in response to the challenges, and it isn’t because of them, it is just a lot of work to keep those up again and again. That’s why it’s a challenge, though.

Photo by Kristin Hardwick from StockSnap

I looked today, and the test was distributed the previous evening. I weighed my options and decided to read what the challenge had to say.

The WordPress Discover day by day challenges has been important for developing as a blogger. It is pleasant that this was available last night, and I looked at what the challenge is, and I noted that Ben actually went so far as to say in the post that the decision to put it up early was deliberate and that he hoped participants are making good use of the time.

I made a mental review and weighed how effectively I actually did spend last night, against what would have been best. The list challenge had what I perceive was the intended effect, of jumpstarting interest in the winding down Discover challenges.

The word last night for today is List, so I took a dice game score sheet that I was keeping on hand for an occasion like this, and made a random list of the some of the more effective pursuits I made in the time between last night and this morning, that was, perhaps, shaped by the continuing interest in being part of the blogosphere, and of being motivated by the Discover challenges. I could hypothesize whether I am attempting exercises because of the endgame of searching better for being in the blogosphere, yet I don’t think so. The activities I was, you might put it, afoul of, were only what I might pursue with an interest in amusing myself.

I wasn’t deliberately mindful that the test had just begun. Ben included the line “we hope you make the most of the extra time!” regarding the decision to present today’s challenge early. Indeed, even without the cognizant exertion of setting up a post, I thought about whether I could make the contention that I was getting ready for the post by attempting typical kinds of exercises I embrace if I was effectively mindful.

Photo by Morgan McGregor from StockSnap

The challenge is good, too, and even though I stated previously that I expect the reason for the early availability is to galvanize participants into writing, I also think Ben felt he had a strong idea on his hands and he wanted to give a solid opportunity to address it, by making bloggers interested in it more eager and more thoroughly than they may have if it only became ready this morning. I can’t say for certain, but I know at least that he is aware that we’ve been looking at these Discover challenges all month and now we are beginning to wrap up, and he felt we all merit a strong finish.

I would prefer not to state an excessive amount, however, I might rehash my appreciation for having gotten the open door for WordPress prompts every single day of April. I haven’t written this in a while, but you are welcome to follow and/or to comment.

WordPress Discover: Elixir

The month of April 2020, the WordPress Discover challenges have reopened. This week the Discover challenges are being handled by Krista Stevens. Her idea for today’s Discover post is the word, “Elixir.”

Elixir is a curious word, a word that means, as I understand it, potion. I suppose I have simple tastes, but my favourite elixir is tried-and-true Maxwell House coffee. When I was an adolescent, my godfather explained to me the significance of the Maxwell House slogan, “Good to the last drop.”

I don’t want to give away the story that accompanies the famed slogan, but if you know it, you understand why it can make someone brand-loyal, essentially, for life.

Later, in high school, I had a part-time job selling concession wares, and my duties included brewing coffee and cleaning the coffee maker when closing down. I surely did that routine a hundred times.

It was the early-morning shifts that got me to take the plunge and to begin drinking the odd cup of coffee. I associated it with being an elixir for grown-ups.

Placing the milk

It was like second-nature for me to the extent that, in the years I did spend working fulltime, many a lunch break was spent in line at the coffee shop waiting to get my cup of brew. I had a couple of wonderful espressos and casual discussion about that, and truth told, I was never extremely cognizant at the time, and those days passed by before I perceived what had passed.

I wasn’t really happy working full-time. I was so distracted by what I perceived as “lack” that I feel looking back I missed some of the happiness that I was experiencing, only to notice sometime later in life, when I realized there were times of fulfillment that I wasn’t growing during, amid my preoccupation.

I wasn’t the only one who experienced such a thing. I can remember talking about it discreetly from time to time.

It may have been evident from my demeanour, or perhaps that is a common subject that people bring up when they are bonding. I am not sure to this day.

I can remember people reflecting similar. If I knew more about what was happening at that time, I might have fared better at the time I was grappling with concerns of that nature.

The difference between then and now is that, while I do a lot more of what I want to do for myself now in life, rather than back then when I was doing a lot more to fit in, at this time in my life I understand that I can be happy with a cup of coffee with milk in it, and not want a lot more than what a cup of coffee like that is.

I am more grateful for what I have that is simple but welcome. I am not sure I would be as grateful if I had never made sacrifices to earn what I wanted. I gained a clearer understanding of what I needed to be happier.

Waiting for that drop to splash

I imagine that is a normal part of the years going by, but I bet it doesn’t work like that for everyone. It was only with luck that I gained that realization, I infer. Again, I am not sure if that is true or not, or it is merely how I choose to interpret the life I’ve wound up leading, but I tend to think that being lucky contributed a great deal to things turning out as positive as they have.

I wouldn’t make the same decisions a second time, but I am grateful that I didn’t fare much worse in life, as far to these days as I have lived, with the understanding I do have that I got here, you might put it, on my own two feet.

WordPress Discover: Tempo

In April 2020, WordPress has reopened its Discover challenges.  They are essays each day of the month to get bloggers to think about what to write.  This week Krista Stevens is writing the Discover challenges.

Today’s prompt is “tempo.”  One of Krista’s suggestions for tempo is a photo that shows motion.  I looked at photos I took recently, and one I snapped December 11 last year represents motion well, I feel.

I have been contributing my time to a small local cemetery, and at the back of the cemetery, away from the avenue, is a hillside sloping down to where a creek runs.  You can see many fallen tree leaves, blurred by chance.  I think the blur is representative of the motion that the leaves made when they fell to the ground.

DEC/11/2019

There is likewise brush in the photograph, with smoke spiralling endlessly high up.  The smoke also indicates motion.

The water in the river, out of sight, itself is movement, as well.

These elements, the blurred leaves on the hill, the smoke from the fire, and the water in the background perhaps all contribute to the idea of “tempo” in the snapshot.  There isn’t a great deal of movement occurring in the photograph.  However, those visuals I’m bringing up add to a feeling of rhythm.

I wouldn’t necessarily have thought the photo would serve the purpose of showing motion or tempo, but I like how the photo turned out.  It is easy for me to assign a label like motion, or tempo, to this specific snapshot.

I must have been enjoying myself, to illustrate a moment like that in a way that has some beauty to it.  I am glad for the opportunity to show it off.

I am appreciative of the brief.

WordPress Discover: Instrument

For April 2020, the WordPress Discover prompts have returned, which are thoughts that have as their starting point a solitary word, the brief.  This week Krista Stevens is organizing them.

Krista’s prompt today is “instrument.”  When I think through what would be the challenges of learning to play an instrument, I think of the 2000s, and what the English pop band McFly did to celebrate breaking up. I think McFly did a few albums that were successful and, oddly I’d say, for young successful musicians, they finished with an album of self-parody, renaming themselves Son of Dork, what I think is a reference to the 1985 Robert Zemeckis motion picture Back to the Future, where Michael J. Fox and Crispin Glover both play characters with the name McFly.

SAMSUNG

One of the songs on the Son of Dork album is the ditty “Boy Band,” a woefully self-deprecating song that addresses the interest of a young man who day-dreams of being in a band.  That said, “Boy Band” does have a nice beat.

Anytime I feel like satirizing day-dreaming of being in a band, one listen “Boy Band” helps cool my heels.  I like the tune, as well.

Self-parody isn’t something I explore to get satisfaction with, it is just something neurotic that certain people play with.  Sometimes people who are both creative and successful resolve their neuroses with acts of self-parody, but I suspect too wide a foray into that avenue of thought is self-sabotage.

I try to keep an attitude to music that The Four Hour Work Week author Tim Ferriss describes.  Music is in, he writes.

When the Son of Dork CD was on my shelves, I’d arrived at the finish of the time in my life that I was finding myself and what my identity was, and I had unexpected interests in comparison to when I was more youthful and when I’d been bound to wander off in fantasy land, of playing an instrument.

WordPress Discover: Curve

A lovely word, curve. The curve is the subject of today’s WordPress Discover prompt, moderated by Michelle Weber.

I have a photo, from February 5, of the curving drive into the cemetery I help care for. It’s on the outskirts of town, just a little cemetery. If I was being honest, I would say I am not sure I’d like to be there after dark.

Louth United Church

I take the cemetery onto Facebook. We have a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/LouthUnited

Owing to the health crisis, I’ve had to slow right down on the number of times I post to Facebook, as I don’t want to seem too out of touch. I’m keeping it active, of course, until such a time I can resume, one might put it, my “editorial calendar.” 🙂

I was glad for the Discover prompts this month, from WordPress, as they provide fuel for the creative fires.

I find putting myself into something like that helps with managing stress, as anxious energy spills out onto words. I occasionally look to a guru like Tim Ferriss, who wrote The Four-Hour Work Week, years ago, or whatever source of advice that seems savvy that comes up, on Twitter, for example. I really have a couple of guidelines I borrowed from Four-Hour Work Week, although I’m nothing like that.

I haven’t been working that hard lately. There just hasn’t been a call for it. Funeral services are an essential service in Ontario, and it is usually just two or three of us at the cemetery, so I think we are okay to do some work.

There don’t seem to be too many people around most of the time. I would stay home without concern if I had to. My dad, who handles the monetary details of the work, among other details, is free to drop the duty in the short term, and he knows that.

It sounds pretentious, but at the moment, I guess it really is about playing the long game. I hope you like the photo. The congregation disbanded in the year 2006.

WordPress Discover: Hands

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For April 2020, WordPress has brought back its Discover prompts.  Each day a new blogging theme is outlined for bloggers taking an interest.

Today I saw the prompts have been taken over by Michelle Weber. Today she proposed considering hands.

About being a helping hand, I lend assistance to a family business, Maple Lawn.  My dad and I direct the operation of Maple Lawn Cemetery, a small cemetery in our town whose operations we manage weekly.  You can find us on Facebook here:  https://www.facebook.com/LouthUnited

This year we are managing cutting down a tree.  The cemetery is surrounded by trees, and when the winds pick up, naturally, tree branches come down from the air.  We usually burn the fallen branches.

This year sparkles from the blaze flew into the tree beside the fire. The tree caught fire from the inside, strangely enough.

We had to bring down the tree and destroy it, as a good deal of the care we provide, for the cemetery, is for the sake of visitors, making the cemetery looking peaceful and cared-for.

I have a photo of how the ground looked around where the tree crashed when we sawed it down.  It was very disorderly.

Cemetery after treefall

My responsibility at the cemetery is chiefly to be a helping hand to my father, Peter.  I also handle the Facebook page for the cemetery, a portal through which we are available.

I took both snapshots and video of the ramifications of lighting that tree in flame and bringing it down.  When Michelle today was asking interested bloggers to reflect on the idea of hands, I thought to point out again that I’m a helping hand to my father, who is in his seventies and getting eccentric but still dedicated to operating the cemetery.

I hope you like the photo, and that you are staying safe during COVID-19.