WordPress Discover: Magic

It has become known that Ben Huberman is finishing us out for the April 2020 WordPress Discover challenges.  This month the WordPress Discover challenges have assisted bloggers come up with blog posts for each day of the month of April.  I have done my best to keep up with them.

His word, marking his return to the trenches, is the popular concept of “Magic.”  I have a chart ready for magical monsters corresponding to the twelve signs of the Zodiac.  Usually, astrology has the intended purpose of a different kind of magic, but today an alternate visual will stand in the place of the twelve signs.

Twelve magic monsters

I am born under Pisces, and the monster charitably suggested to best envision this sign is the Loch Ness Monster.  Loch Ness is a channel of water in Scotland, where, according to legend, kind of a dinosaur lives in its depths.  Each year tourists approach Loch Ness intending to possibly sight and photograph the Monster that swims in the water’s depths.

I have never before thought that Pisces would be menacing, but I would feel fear of the possibility that the Loch Ness Monster would emerge from its hunting ground.  It must be a test of nerve for some to search the horizon for the sight.  I would not trust Nellie any further than I could throw her.

A common interpretation of the interests of one born under Pisces is that the individual is a sensitive, artistic soul.  Photos of the Loch Ness Monster, when they exist, are characteristically dark, blurry affairs.  I am not sure she is real, but it is a popular legend kept alive by what is probably dramatic numbers of sightings that keep people returning time and time.

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.

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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: Music

For April 2020, to get bloggers in the same spot, WordPress Discover has returned.  This week WordPress Discover is helmed by blogger Krista Stevens.

Today’s theme is “music.”  Krista asks about favourite albums.  My favourite album going is the Indie effort Groove Denied, by Stephen Malkmus, which came out on the Ides of March last year, 2019.

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It was exciting to learn about it.  It’s the second reinvention of himself Malkmus has presented, the first his solo career that followed his famed 1990s band Pavement, and now with what I’d estimate is a trilogy of albums so far, after five years between album releases.  What I mean is that Pavement did albums in the nineties, which were Malkmus along with several bandmates, and then there were several Stephen Malkmus solo records in the 2000s and 2010s, which ended with what to me was a fairly loud silence, a paradox.

After five years, Malkmus reinvented himself with kind of a second solo career.  The highlight for me was the album from 2019, Groove Denied.

If you don’t know about record albums, the groove is what the arm of the record player reads to play the music.  I take that the expression “Groove Denied” is a reference to streaming services that play digital recordings.  A record player is an analogue machine.

It is interesting for me that Malkmus’ vocal delivery, although perhaps a little dimmed by the passing of years, remains, to my ear, identical to how he sounded when he played with Pavement.

The songs Stephen Malkmus composes have always been brilliant, in my humble opinion, but Groove Denied seems outstanding.  There are three music videos for Groove Denied, handled in the United States by Matador Records, and it was a treat to watch them last year on YouTube.

Last year was the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Pavement record that went into the Top 5 of the year, Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain, in 1994.  The X shape on the cover of Groove Denied reminds me of the X Stephen Malkmus is wearing in the Pavement Slow Century DVD, when he comments on Pavement’s feud with the Smashing Pumpkins.

WordPress Discover: New

For April 2020, the WordPress Discover challenges are back.  Ben Huberman is leading them this week.

Today’s Discover theme is the word “new.”  The challenge suggests reflecting on a new activity.  “New” sometimes carries with it a connotation of “young,” and what is younger and as delightful than the going platform for fifteen-second video, TikTok?

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Photo by Jakob Owens from StockSnap

It is clear that the social media video service TikTok appeals to the young, but some adults use it, and while I suppose it requires discretion, there are a lot of funny fifteen-second videos that are wonderful.  Teaching myself the use of TikTok has provided the biggest payoff for me of late, in terms of an activity that doesn’t do anything short of providing enjoyment.

Why should youth culture be exclusive to the young?  If you have any interest in cultural phenomena that characterize youth culture, whether you’re an adult or not, TikTok provides video-format feedback for your interest in a way that is mostly unique to the platform.

I invented a strategy to discover videos.  The most popular entries among the fifteen-second video presentations don’t always interest me, but I devise ten phrases at a time, which is how TikTok works, that I use to search for people who have cool videos.  I run through them and see what jumps out of the results for me.

For example, any short phrase, like, for example, the two-word phrase “next message,” provides a variety of random but potentially interesting video results.  It certainly isn’t scientific, but that’s the tact I take in my pursuit.  Obviously, fifteen seconds is a very short time, but even a few minutes on TikTok can pay off.

For example, specifically, any interest in, say, Star Wars is easily accommodated.  There are so many Star Wars fans on TikTok, and, as I’ve said in another post about TikTok, the phenomenon of identifying yourself by a Lego Star Wars picture is persistent.  Although the latest film trilogy has concluded, with Season 2 of The Mandalorian and also Season 7 of the animated prequel-era Star Wars series The Clone Wars, Star Wars continues to be a “presence,” like Obi-wan Kenobi was for Vader in 1977’s Star Wars film, aboard the Death Star, it is true that any interest in Star Wars is easily met on TikTok.  Wonderful, all in all.

I appreciate the April 2020 Discover challenges.

WordPress Discover: Scent

The month of April 2020, WordPress has reopened daily Discover challenges, hosted this week again by Ben Huberman.  Today’s theme is the word “scent.”  I thought of food that instantly makes me hungry:  pancakes.

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For many years running, my family ate a Sunday family breakfast of pancakes, after returning from church.  It was nice.  Sometimes there would be a cassette tape of music playing, and sometimes there would be for me a cup of tea, as I didn’t drink coffee until beginning in my mid-teens, I think.

 

Later that day we would go around to my mother’s parents’ house and have a visit.  The smell of pancakes remains quite pleasing for me.

 

Last night was the last quarter of the moon, my wall calendar tells me.  I know things are hard.  My readership for the blog is small but consistent.  I have benefitted in terms of expanding its reach, from reading the daily Discover essays this month, and many days writing in response.

 

It interests me to read where the blog’s visitors say they are coming from.  In these days of social distancing, WordPress is among the best socializing I enjoy, as far as interacting with new people goes.

 

My present routine, to publish, discover, and comment, has helped me with the focus I have for writing in my blog, and for feeling better organized to be interested in it and to work at it.  While it is purely for interest’s sake, I am part of a small business that my father operates together with me.

 

We take care of a small cemetery, usually every week.  We are on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/LouthUnited

 

Although I have temporarily shelved my editorial calendar, owing to the emergency, you do have the option of visiting me on Facebook and following and commenting on this blog post.  I appreciate your time and I wish you well during this spot of bad luck.

WordPress Discover: Book

Today is my niece Clara’s tenth birthday.  Happy birthday, Clara.
I have been perusing the April 2020 WordPress Discover articles.  This week they are again driven by Ben Huberman.
Today’s Discover Challenge:  book
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Clara is in the third grade.  At the point when I was in the third grade, I think my preferred intrigue was beasts, and obviously, she is a young lady.  However, I think my favourite book, when I was a third-grader, was the classic, The House with a Clock in its Walls, by John Bellairs.  It’s a 2018 film.
My nephew Mack, Clara’s brother, is in uni, and when I think back of books I read in college, that weren’t on the syllabus, I remember reading The Mosquito Coast, by Paul Theroux.  I think I wanted something familiar to read.  There is a film, the 1986 film featuring Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren.  Harrison Ford had starred in the Star Wars films which saw son pitted against father.  I think he was following that set of motion pictures with another film that was about the idea of Father’s relationship with the child, and furthermore about the connection among machines and nature, likewise a topic in that first Star Wars three.
If my mother were to ask me, I would recommend Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff … and it’s all small stuff: Simple Ways to Keep the Little Things from Taking Over Your Life, by Richard Carlson.  It’s an antidote to stress.
For my dad, who has likewise been my supervisor for quite a while now, I would prescribe a progressively unordinary book, the novel Humans by Donald E. Westlake.  It’s a novel truly about a fight among God, and the Devil, for the whole planet.
If Kris was still with us, as she loaned me her Holy Bible, which I wish I’d demanded to return, I figure I may have gained favour with her if I’d brought her A Million Little Pieces, the splashy novel by James Frey, that transformed into contention, with Oprah Winfrey.
These books I felt were appropriate.

WordPress Discover: Light

Ben Huberman again has the reins of the April 2020 WordPress Discover challenges. Today’s theme is light.

I think of feeling light when I look at the effect upon myself by something as kind as a few words on the Internet, from a person I respect, as is the case with the blogger behind the Beauty Beyond Bones blog. Her blog is one I enjoy reading, perhaps paying her a compliment at times when it is more appropriate, to someone who is a talented writer and who gives back time. She is a proud Catholic blogger, as well, and, as today is Easter Sunday, I know this will be a challenging day, given the circumstances of the holiday this year.

Her blog is about her experience in life celebrating Jesus, and she sometimes recounts current events and her response to those, or sometimes how life continually gives back to her and what she, with her perspective and intent, makes of it. There are qualities in her that I admire, and some of the design elements of her blog appeal to me when I look at what she thinks to assemble. Her blog is here:

https://beautybeyondbones.com/

I want to also include a found photo of the hospital located in Fort Erie, not too far from where I live, in Canada. You can see the light about the place. It is an alternative interpretation of the word light and a symbol of triumph, all the more so south of the Canada-U. S. border, where, the news is saying, the crisis is mad.

found photo of Fort Erie hospital

I hope that the blogger who writes Beauty Beyond Bones gets through unscathed, as I hope every American who I think is the bee’s knees likewise manages to pull through the current troubles without being afflicted.

You may comment and/or follow, of course.

WordPress Discover: Bite

WordPress Discover has returned for April 2020, and this week the writer Michelle Weber has taken Discover bloggers on a wander, with a word every day, to get bloggers looking at shared encounters.  Today’s word is “bite” and, while I don’t like to offer advice, one phenomenon I have observed is that, by the time you are responding to somebody’s food on the Internet you know that you’ve reached a rhythm where likely the best you can do is effect what positive change that person contributed, and go from there.  I would prefer not to seem as though I’m presenting a false rationale.

It’s a perception given the fame of those sorts of delineations.  The inclination I have is to connect cautiously when nourishment is in question, and I’ve had the experience of family, kinfolk mentioning objective facts on the Internet of what they’re keen on eating, individuals that you could never avoid, and even with them, I attempt to evade a lot of input on their dishes.

Adage

Suit yourself.  Ideally, you’re not inhabiting a scene of the TV show Survivor. However, a decent approach is to sit about and eat.

You don’t have to do a huge amount of that.  A drink may improve the pot, yet not to the degree you’re under the table, I’m certain, and there ought to be openings where no such cure is important.

I’m a hopeful person.  I wouldn’t deliberately steer you wrong.

As today’s Discover essay points out, it’s a Saturday, and while it doesn’t touch on the holiday, you probably know that it’s the Saturday before Easter Sunday.  Trouble or not, I am making my usual jaunt tomorrow, to my mom and dad’s house, to celebrate our faith.  It will take us faith to get through this.

You’re welcome to follow and/or to comment.