15 Amazing Looking Back Pictures

The last 3 posts I published had more energy to them, I suppose, than what I had previously been trying.  I did that by taking a post I’d been editing and breaking it into three parts.  The anticipation for readers that there was more to come helped with the posts, I think.

Also, I used original photos for the posts, which are more interesting than stock photos, although I also enjoy selecting those, or photos saved from Google Images, if I want, in specific cases, to illustrate a film, for example.  Here I am going to show fifteen original photos with copy. I am also including a story I’ve written. If you find the post agreeable, you’re welcome to like it, to comment, or to follow.

My mother taking my arm at a family wedding.  It was the wedding of a sibling

I think my mother underestimates the satisfaction that I gain from my lifestyle.  I think in this photo she is feeling self-conscious because she knows she is being photographed and we are trying to look nice.  If she looks like regrets have occurred to her, and she didn’t say anything about it, I don’t know if that is what she was experiencing, if it is me that is causing remorse.

I remember looking through the shelves of the children’s section of the branch of the library where I most frequently got my books, as a kid.  That library isn’t there anymore.  As a child, I sometimes thought it would be great to grow up and be the kind of person that might write books and get them sent into libraries everywhere.

As it turned out, there is a lot of competition to be that kind of thing.  What I positively didn’t anticipate was the popularity of Internet in the nineteen nineties going forward into the future.

With the invention of social media in the early 2000s, and in particular the gold rush on ebooks in the 2010s on Twitter, there is no reason I couldn’t have turned my hand to trying that kind of thing.  Hindsight, as it’s said, is 20/20.

Today I renewed a five dollar donation to Wikipedia.  While five dollars doesn’t sound like a lot, if enoug readers do that kind of thing it can make a world of difference.  I felt good making the donation.

My father peering at the floor space that we intend to complete.  Concerns about the strength of the floor of the church, my dad Peter mostly single-handedly rolled back the interior, you might put it, and found himself challenged by the handiwork might best suit the building’s needs.  I’m meaning the church that for years maintained a congregation of the devout.

When we took on the operation at Maple Lawn Cemetery, my fathers seemed convinced that the building would fall in upon itself if we didn’t attempt repairs.  The church had disbanded in the year 2006.  While appearing nice from the outside, the building houses junk now, although it provides us with shelter when we are there in cold weather.

When I was in college, I learned the definition of the word amortization, costs incurred when necessities of a business go to seed.  This is certainly an instance of amortization.

Completing a calculation in the field of Louth United Church

The riding mower in the photo is the first we one we had, which lasted several years.  Although my dad is in the background, what I think he is doing, looking at the photo, is looking at his phone.  The sign behind him, next to the tree is the sign that once indicated that you are at Louth United Church.

That’s the name of our Facebook page, too, Louth United Church and Maple Lawn Cemetery.  You can see the vineyard across the way.  https://www.facebook.com/LouthUnited/

My dad does things like measuring the lengths of cemetery plots so that families that own adjacent plots of land in the cemetery get their fair measure among the graves that have already been laid.  I don’t know what occurred to him that I took this photo, but from the distance I am away from him, I think he must be checking his phone.  We aren’t heavy into the phone arena at Maple Lawn.  I do a lot of my social media and things of that nature on a desktop, decreasing functionality but also working with a fair handicap.

Many of the people I interact with on the Internet are elderly and sometimes lack some of the same insight I have into social media in 2021.  It is funny, as, in the 2000s, I wasn’t adequately trained to get the work I wanted, when even people who landed office seats thanks to their good looks had, perhaps, less understanding of getting the job done than I have in my own right.  Life isn’t fair in that regard.

I think of that when I consider my mother’s consternation for my lifestyle.  While I believe she would prefer that I work a straight job, I don’t know how to convince her that what I do is right for me.

From the inside, a look at a window as night comes to take the light

Once Dad and I handled an afternoon funeral that ran so long, that afterward, it was turning to night by the time we wrapped things up.  It was spooky.  Both Dad and I felt it.

Inside the church, where I’d never yet been after nightfall, and have not been since, I though to take a photo of one of the windows in the twilight.

This is a photo I edited, two photos actually, one a photo of the church and cemetery in the snow, in wintertime, and one a picture of the sign, inserted into the picture as a whole.  I thought it produced a neat visual effect.

A rowboat abandoned in the creek back behind the cemetery

My father pointed this out to me one day years ago.  Someone dragged a rowboat, I presume, into the creek at the bottom of the hill behind the cemetery.  I take it it was probably intended as landscape art, ingenius, I suppose, if laborious.

A book of photographs illustrating cemeteries

This was a Christmas gift from my mother several years ago.  I also have a calendar beneath it, in the photo, and an old photo of a girlfriend’s bedroom, which I held onto from when that girlfriend gave it to me.  You can see she was a creative soul.

Righting a headstone

More ingenuity, my father here has devised a contraption to get an old headstone upright.  He has a mind for invention.

The street where I live

I took this photo to illustrate where I live, along with a caption I inserted that is meant to be a little cheeky and a little funny.  I like how this photo turned out.

The interior of Louth United Church

Unfortunately, the interior of Louth United Church looks a little like this.  Our repairs have never been completed.  Occasionally I press my father for an idea of what will happen in the future, but he has never told me.

The strange globes of light in the air I can’t identify for certain, but I am not above the speculation that they could be informing the supernatural.

At home in my apartment, I took this selfie, which is blurry but not too bad, I don’t think.  I have a look of intensity on my face which I have seen on myself in other photos of me.

A selfie with a Batman cap

I am channelling my inner cartoonist, you might say.  This is a selfie which I coloured blue.  I have a dopey smile on my face, and I am holding my face with my hand.

I think my idea is that it is a “night” selfie.  That I am wearing the Batman insignia on my cap gave me the idea that I was in the act of being a creature of the night, like a vampire.

The Louth United Church sign after a car drove it.

We never found out who was responsible.  When I made it known on Facebook, a few voices of outrage sounded at once.  It was a lesson for me to watch the tone of what I project in a Facebook post.

We’ve never done the repair to the sign, so in a sense the damage became permanent.

My dad checking the lay-out of the cemetery

Dad here is looking for a specific grave, I think.  You can see the back of the church in the background of the photo.  That’s frost on the grass, if you didn’t know it is cold.

The colour tones of this photo have a pretty aesthetic to them, I think.

Digging a grave for a casket

If ever we need to dig a grave for a casket, my father rents a backho and handles the dig himself.  I was on hand this time, too, and decided to take a photo of the action, although with the glow of the sunlight on him, and the distance from the camera, the image of my dad is out of focus.

Photo by Monoar Rahman on StockSnap

Having put together here a sample of my photography, I thought I would go the extra mile and give you a draft of what my fiction can be like.  It is only part of the story but I do have a complete draft that I am a little unwilling to post for free in the event that I could actually make something of the story.  It is one of a few stories that I have written.

Having heard warnings but shaken them off, the main character refuses to heed the warnings and signs when they learn of the dark lord that steadily grows in power that seeks to consume all in their path.

Photo by Joshua Ness on StockSnap

“One for the books,” Jake Sullivan thought, “made the first bus for a change.”  The bus rolled toward him where he was waiting at the stop half a block up from where he lived, Jake feeling glad that he had made the effort to get downstairs and to align him in the path of showing up at the office.  He worked for Cryptodel, it was even kind of a choice job, in the sense that he did a lot of what he wanted and that there was a video game arcade around the corner among the magazine retailer and the laundromat.  Jake was in his twenties and had held the job as a designer for two years, since finishing college and beginning his career in computers.  Jake worked a lot, but that arcade grabbed his attention time and time again.  It got purely mesmerizing for Jake when he started to win at whatever particular game he was playing at the moment when he was in there.  Jake seldom put much distance between himself and computers, but he did like to forget about the hustle and frequently put himself in recreational visits to the arcade.  The escape kept him happy.

The game Jake liked to play at the moment was Vanish into thin air, and it scrolled horizontally and Jake could see he was among rocks and vines beneath an expansive sky.  He was jumping and running.  Blinking occasionally, as he coolly manipulated the game environment with the joystick, Jake suddenly saw in front of him an unusual-looking tree, gnarled and knotted, and as weird as anything else he was interacting with inside the game.

How do I make that vanish? Jake wondered as he came nearer.  The tree was odd because of its incongruency with the other plant growth in the game, Jake could tell from his experience in the simulated game environment.  There hadn’t been other trees looking like this one, and it indicated to him that this tree was likely special, being one of a kind and therefore significant.  Jake expected to find a treasure chest beneath it.  Suddenly the image of a hand appeared between him and the tree.  Jake was amused.

The hand clenched, forming a fist, and then pointed, and Jake was startled.  Instead of pointing at Jake’s avatar inside the game, the hand from the tree was pointing outward from the game to exactly where Jake was standing on the arcade floor, where he was comfortable and relaxed.  The techie who had drawn the hand had done it in the sweeping curves of vector graphics, to be a shape in the game that was clearly representing an organic hand.  How do I get inside the treasure chest? Jake wondered.

“Jump now,” Jake’s instincts told him, and his avatar rose into the air.  The hand of the enemy opened then, palm up, and snatched Jake from out of the air.  Jake thumped the game trying to get his alter-ego free, and it retreated, the vector-rendered 3D environment scrolling as Jake cheered mentally, his character free from its opponent’s grasp.

Jake blinked as his game icon steadied itself on the ground, only partially under his control, he felt.  Bonus round? thought Jake.  Light flashed about the video screen before Jake and it became visible what was opposing the character on the screen.  It was tall walls of stone and a single source of light in the air, a flame in the air, guiding forward to where the bony humanoid had retreated to and the focus of Jake’s concentration.  Jake began to proceed to the cave floor.  Was there a “boss” near indicating progress had been made in the level?  Friend or foe? Jake wondered.

Let’s make it foe, Jake reflected briefly, readying his high-power fireballs, levelled-up and sorcerous weaponry Jake had at his disposal.  He looked at how he would explore the cave, when suddenly an instinct occurred to him that he hadn’t previously known was coming.  What was that?  Briefly adjusting his consciousness as his gaze scanned momentarily the arcade, he saw the sunlight behind her in the door peaked like a shaded window, the game in front of him asking him to fight briefly lost to him.  He reevaluated what he was doing.  “I was ahead that round,” Jake lamented out loud.

A cell phone ringing.  A girl’s voice speaking cutting through the hubbub in the arcade.

Jake’s attention returned to the illumination of the game he favoured once more, asking him to play a reset round.  He didn’t quite feel like jumping back into it.  The girl he’d seen was on the phone.

“Spaceship,” Jake’s unconscious said to him.  Was that sight real?  Wait, he thought.

She was at the controls of a game twelve feet away, her attention completely intent, by all standards, on the game she wanted to play.  She knew videogame action.  There was something urgent about her intentions, something that clued to Jake that there was something different about this individual, something saying to him internally to pay attention.

The energy in the arcade was usually palpable, like a group of mostly aimless young men mulling about looking at games, sometimes with girlfriends among them, sometimes not.  Jake seldom took much of an interest in what the others were doing, anyway, and he always had to leave before too long to get back to Cryptodel.  This one was a little different.  It was obvious, anyway, that despite whoever she was on the phone with, she was by herself, in a game arcade.  The other factor Jake was aware of was how naturally controlling the game came to her.  He was impressed, taking an almost childish interest in her.

Jake’s attention was diverted and he thought of leaving the arcade.  An unusually pretty girl or not, he had work to do.  With only a shade of reluctance, he stepped away from the game and strode outside, where the sunlight illuminated his vision the way only afternoon sunlight does, when the day has begun to go and, work notwithstanding, ultimately evening will come and the day will resolve as it always days.

It was fifteen yards to the office building of Cryptodel, a two-storey building completely occupied by the computer vendor.  Inside Jake got on the lift and rose to the second floor, got out and walked down the hallway to the door to his office.  Inside it was quiet as always and still, unlike the bustle that he’d mostly ignored in the street outside.  He sat down at his desk, his computer blinking to life as he commanded it to boot.  Information signals silently bouncing back and forth in the computer, it became as alive as a tool like that does and he opened a browser, waiting to resume his work.  A notification window opened in the bottom right corner of the monitor for the computer and his attention briefly turned to that, as it was an odd message that reminded him, a touch, of the game he’d been enjoying playing.

“If you can get to your loved ones, it is highly advisable to take measures as though under a state of emergency.”  A photograph of the heavens above was invisible with the odd message, where among the blue and white a NASA-looking vessel appeared to be kind of hanging in orbit, an irregularly oblong design with pyramid-shaped wings extended at either side of it.

“There’s… a spaceship?  In the sky?” Jake looked more astutely at the computer notification, talking out loud to himself.

He opened his computer telephone software and selected Leo as the recipient, his friend.  Six rings and the call was diverted to message-recording.  “Stay safe, bro,” Jake said.  “I’m in the office but I’ll call you back.”

Another quick call out and he got his wonderful girlfriend, Rosalie.  “Hello?” she said breathlessly.

Rosalie was beautiful.  Whenever he was near her, he felt inspired in a way different than working for Cryptodel inspired him.  Rosalie was brunette, buxom and tasteful.  She had more than her share of tech insight, which Jake loved about her, and her brown eyes when she looked at him spoke to him on the level of being soulful.  He really was in love with her.  They got along great with each other and when Rosalie spoke to him, he felt a rush that was better than just about anything else he had going on for him.  He enjoyed his work, it was true, and he put in a lot of hours at it, but the time he had to be with her when the two of them were free and together, was some of the best times of his life.  He felt like she was a very good part of his life.

“You know what’s happening?”  Like Leo’s, it was voicemail.  Jake wondered where’d she got to.

“This can’t be for real,” Jake said.

Outside in the street running past the Cryptodel office, the day was oddly quiet.  Even the arcade, where often a pack of kids would be hanging out given the chance to play some choice videogames, was mostly quiet.  Jake wasn’t aware of the locale any longer, but the girl coming out this minute might have continued to interest him, dedication to Rosalie or not.  She was staring at her phone.  Somebody had linked her into the news broadcast.

Another invasion… she was idly aware.  If she’d cared more, she probably wouldn’t be alone.  Ezezzud, the newcomer to Earth said his planet’s name was.  Sounded grim.  She needed something and she didn’t know what.  Bicycling away, she felt oddly mixed up, as though something had intersected with her and she hadn’t bothered to notice.  It wasn’t this business with the interplanetary visitor.  Something in her instincts was talking to her.  What was it saying?

Components, she decided.  That’s what she had coming to her, fingers crossed.  Might as well give it a go, she was thinking.  You never knew what to expect.

Suddenly a male voice filled the air.  “Sullivan,” said the voice.  Was it from the computer?

“I am riding a Variable Atmospheric Light Bomber, with effectiveness so complex that experimentation is required to fulfill its capabilities.  Your planet, Earth, will be at the mercy of a rapid assault of high-intensity if you refuse to assemble the hardware I need.  I assure you this will be of relatively minimal trouble to you if you agree to cooperate with my wishes.  The alternative is death for you and for every species of organism on this planet.”

Jake was emotionally and intellectually stunned by the threat he was hearing, and in Jake’s life he rarely gave up without a fight.  “What is this all about?” he managed to ask.

“It is in your hands, Sullivan,” intoned the voice.  It continued.  “To bring to me what I need.  You are in a rather unique position, among your kind, to have access to a very specific facility, that will give me back comprehensive control over my ship–and return to me the power to return home.  If you want your planet to continue to exist, you must bring me the computer function you know as Hound Rippersnapper,” the voice finished, not without an impact.

In this case, the impact was the sound of rapid car-honking from down in the street, not an unusual sound.  Hound Rippersnapper, Jake reflected.  That’s April’s AR design.  Cryptodel had at least a few advances in progress when it came to consumer computing.  April was another programmer working at Cryptodel.  As with any female in a male-dominated profession, April had to work hard to compete with the boys, and she did.  She always went the extra mile at all times to make sure her work was as good as anything that her co-workers were doing.  Hound Rippersnapper was her concept for an augmented-reality framework whose main facility was to be on top of an organization scheme for office environments which permitted layers of data to be explored and accessed through an AR infrastructure making working with data much more pliable than the functional apps that were more typical of what the Cryptodel bunch were working with.  What would an alien creature want with something as relatively mundane as that?  It must believe Hound Rippersnapper would give it restored power to the bomber spacecraft.

“What will you do with that?” Jake asked.

“I will use it to forward-drive, Jake,” the voice said.  “To leave your skies and return to my own galaxy.  Otherwise, there will be…” A pause permitted Jake’s attention to shift.  “…Consequences.”

“No more than a half-hour, Neal, I mean it.”  Something was occurring to Jake that made him think of more down-to-earth business than the conversation he was having with this… –alien monster?  Was this for real?

“Just band me for a half-hour of access to her lab and I’ll be out of here before you know it.”

“There is no need for threats,” Jake said out loud, suddenly subdued.  “I can get you Hound Rippersnapper.  It’s still in the test stages, you understand.  A brilliant design.  Let me just get April on the phone and maybe I can explain to her what I need, putting Hound Rippersnapper into your hands.  If that’s what you want…” Jake finished up by saying.

“With that strategy, I anticipate resistance,” said Degub.

“What?  Resistance?  No, April will understand.  I know her.”

“You must do things a different way.”

“A different way?  I can’t just stroll into April’s workstation, and put Hound Rippersnapper in my pocket and walk out.  I need her sign-off.”

“There will be no sign-off,” said Degub.  “You must act as catpurse in this matter.  You must steal Hound Rippersnapper for me and bring it here for me to recoordinate.”

“Recoordinate?  Okay, I’ll just get a key pass from our security office and go in quietly and get it.  I can do that.”  The offices at Cryptodel were protected by remote security officers who could look in to see when and where doors were unlocked and by who.

“Good,” Degub intoned.  “Don’t let me down, Sullivan.  The fate of your planet is on your shoulders.”

“I thought that’s what that was,” Jake quipped.  “Let me get somebody from our security team.  Don’t worry about a thing.  And please, try not to detonate any bombs in our solar system.  You’ll have an army of government if I know a thing or two about bureaucracy.  It just won’t be pretty.”

“Get me Hound Rippersnapper,” Degub said.

Under the circumstances–Degub claiming he would spare Planet Earth in exchange for Hound Rippersnapper–Jake was starting to feel worked up.  It wasn’t that different from playing Bomber in the arcade, he told himself.  Degub had been persuasive, though.  It wasn’t just the threat of complete planetary destruction that had Jake worried, it was the fact that Jake personally was chosen to take care of this.

In another neighbourhood in the city, in Phat City Café, a certain arcadehead sat and ate her soup.  There was something different than what she normally felt playing at the arcade.  She couldn’t quite put her finger on it…

On the phone with Cryptodel’s security agency, Jake got a person in no time.  That’s what they paid them for.  It was Neal, who Jake didn’t know personally but understood the protocols established to keep Cryptodel’s offices secure.

“Neal, how are you?” Jake asked.  “Keeping tabs?”

“Well, yes, Jake.  Everything all right?”

“Yes and no, Neal, yes and no.  It’s April, Neal.  She asked me to grab something from her station.”

“Let me just call there and see if anyone answers.”

“To tell you the truth, I’m not sure she’s there.  She just asked me if I would come by and get what she needs.”

“Let’s see, Jake, I’ll just give her a ring.”  Jake could tell Neal wasn’t aware of the situation.

“To tell you the truth, Neal, I was kind of hoping to surprise her.  I didn’t want to come back here but something occurred to me that I can put with her pet project that might just sell it to upper management and make it a go.”

“Really?” Neal crowed.  “Upper management.  Now, what do you know?”

Neal must like her, Jake thought.  “It sure would help her out, Neal, and you know she could use a home team advantage.  Budgeting, you know.”

“Well, I know, Jake, but I”m not really sure…  I mean, I haven’t had any advance warning that April was even making a pitch.  It’s not like she’s said anything.”

“Well, she is and she has, Neal, to me.  It isn’t nice being turned down when your heart’s in it, eh, Neal?  And you know, if I could work some magic, it could make a real impact on her future here at Cryptodel.”

“I always did like that April,” Neal said.  “Sure would be nice if she was planning on sticking around.”

“She is real nice, I know, Neal.  Just think about it.  I mean, I just need the key pass to her lab and if I could get in there…  Well, then, who knows what the future might hold?  I could drop a friendly remark.”

“Well, tell you what, Jake, why don’t I just put a time-sensitive access code on your key pass that will band into her security lock.   You can get in and out of there as long as the access code is active.  How much you think you’ll be up there?”

“No more than a half-hour, Neal, I mean it.  Just band me for a half-hour of access to her station and I’ll be out of here again before you know it.”

“I always did like that April,” said Neal.  “Sure, I can do this for you, Jake, just give me your membership ID for your keycard and I’ll put on an access code override.”

“I appreciate it,” Jake said, “I appreciate it more than you know.”

Diagnostics for Jake’s keycard complete, it was now authorized for an hour of access to April’s lab, having the understanding, between Jake and Neal, that Jake was doing April a favour for the company.

Keycard ready, Jake made his way to the lift which would take him up to where the engineering staff at Cryptodel had their workstations.  Jake was counting on access to Hound Rippersnapper.

The software was at the other end of the floor, in April’s station, he reflected.  Making his way to her door, Jake swiped his card for access and the door to her station opened.

In Cryptodel, the laboratories, which number two, were secured with excellent keycard technology.  Both “operators” of the keycard system had specific accesses to different parts of the building, and as April was the other senior technician at Cryptodel she had private access to her station, which meant that Jake was not supposed to be there at all.  He tried not to think that Planet Earth could be on the verge of major trouble, but that seemed to be the case and if he wanted to avert the threat of destruction, he needed to get in April’s lab and get Hound Rippersnapper.

He tried a knock in case April was there.  The resulting silence told him she was not.  “Spacecraft troubles,” Jake said to himself, not wondering if Degub was listening.  “I’m going in there.”

Inside April’s work quarters, the room was neat and clean, around the perimeter of which were a number of computer components and, apart from those, sink, door to the bathroom, and desk.  Hound Rippersnapper was the name of the design April had come up with the end result in mind of providing a comprehensive VR organizational structure for office managers to better structure their employees.  Jake knew April was ambitious, and that she was working so hard on this project to climb the corporate ladder at Cryptodel.  Jake didn’t envy the hard work she did for the company, but frequently had lunch with her at Phat City and found her charming.  She was also well-liked at Cryptodel.

Her Hound Rippersnapper was the VR facsimile of a spreadsheet or a database, depending on what application you required.  Jake knew from past conversations with April that the beta version was finished.  And he knew from what Degub had instructed him that he needed to take Hound Rippersnapper, as it were, to the stars.

The heroine mistakenly burns the evidence, believing it to be the forgery.

Looking around the lab, Jake could see which was the master of the systems working there and he sat down on the chair at her desk, where April sat to do her most focused of work.  “I got to make this quick,” Jake said.  He logged in.  An outpouring of letters and numbers ran across the monitor that was central to April’s station.  Jake himself was really quite a good programmer, and he knew a little about circumventing digital security, in addition to busting ass at the arcade where’d been playing earlier.

If his presence in April’s computer was detected, Jake could get into trouble.  It was a possibility Jake would get caught, but there was a chance he wouldn’t.  He was hoping for the latter eventuality.

Jake was thinking solely about what he had to do.  He manipulated April’s computer files with relative ease, understanding intuitively what to do, as he knew April was as good a programmer as he was, although he didn’t like to admit it.  He needed to transfer Hound Rippersnapper to a flashdrive, so that he could provide it to the alien for its spacecraft, and optimistically, spare the Earth from Degub’s threat of destruction.  Hound Rippersnapper began to write to the flash drive in the node, and Jake tried to relax as he grappled mentally with the severity of the objective he was undertaking.

Photo by Matt Bango on StockSnap

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

15 Ways the Most Youthful Adherent to Video Research is Totally Overrated. Part I

November 22, 2018

By video research, I mean watching video content to gain information about a topic.  To render the inscrutable meaningful, I am trying to re-envision specific ideas I have about video research.  To try to make this fun, I am re-envisioning 15 ways that the progress I try to make utilizing video research actually makes an impact (for me).

This will include examples of why it is I am conjecturing the phrase video research isn’t dropped onto the page constantly.

  1. The first thing that I am focusing on is when I actively became aware of the possibility of video research.  You might say the stars aligned (nearly) and I think it was when I was compelled by my younger friend B. pointing out that I could listen to youths crying out with the Internet.  This is so sensitive.
    In my defense, I both saw I could get into hard-to-tackle specifics with a computer, and also I discarded the idea to pursue B.’s style of research, which is a misnomer, as it wasn’t video being researched, it was more like gamer hack-and-slash.  In B.’s defense, he became a teacher for a living.
    [I hope he is still doing that.  He dropped off Facebook a long time ago (without an explanation).]
  2. With an awareness like that, it has to be tempered with the recognition that humans require respect.  Interesting uses of Internet video express things which are unfathomable and also perhaps too sensitive to extrapolate.  The very most interesting experiences with the Internet, I think, and when outside elements of the world beyond the Internet enter and, I suppose, reflect the viewer experiencing the video, which is hard to concisely explain.
    If there is a simple explanation for this, perhaps from lecture halls or elsewhere, and you know of such a thing, forgive me.  Leave me a comment if you like.  On the simplest level, people can leave user comments for a creator who responds.
    I am pretty sure I have a few variations of that straightforward element of the Internet.
  3. I think in 2018 WordPress turned 15 years old, didn’t it?  A technique for growing your blog readership, if you’re on WordPress, is to leave user comments on other bloggers’ work.  The point is that if you do this respectfully and consistently, eventually sympathetic or otherwise interested bloggers who you have contacted will reciprocate by interacting with you.
    Now you may ask me, and I am prepared for this in the eventuality it happens, “How do you know that?  You don’t seem to have much readership of note.”
    “Yes,” I will reply, not impudently, “but I simply have not devoted the focus to constantly read blogs and interact with them.  My blog, as yet, is an amateur effort.”  At that point, I hope you do not disappear abruptly, although if this is the case, that is fine, as I hope to better strategize in 2019 than I have in the past.
  4. I hope to pursue this as long as it is a possibility.  What I’ve observed is that WordPress techniques are not the same as those on a more characteristically “social” platform.  I would argue that during what I’ve learned, I’ve enjoyed the process.
    I am tempted to leave this point there and then, but even with confirmation bias indicating that if I am predisposed to a set of beliefs that highly values an “art for art’s sake” attitude, the argument I want to make is that this specific confirmation bias is perfectly fine and I want to run with it in 2019.
    How then, what can you, you might ask, do to make your blog more readable?  Well, you can take it on Facebook and ask people you’ve met to read it.  That’s a tactic that can help you start a blog and potentially get results that are interesting for you.
  5. We’re beginning to talk about video research, but the first thing I think of trying to approach something that’s sensitive is some obvious problems coming up right away.  These fifteen points are geared to getting your attention away from what you should do with the video you watch, and what you are already doing with your blog, or how it is you could start a blog.  The conclusion that can be drawn, and it’s not science, but a method, is that you can draw on video research to formulate something that you’d like people to read and you can put it on WordPress.

    I had quite a bit to say just to introduce this, so I am ending this post shortly below and picking up in the next blog post.

This first part of the 15 ways has been about a few generalities that have worked for me and a few tips that could apply to what you are doing.

These first five points are trying to get to the point, saying you can take video, turn it into blog content, get a running start with your blog, and go from there.  I am going to return with what shall be two more posts, aiming to illustrate ten more ways that you can do something more with video than just watch it.

Thanks for reading.

When I last asked my niece to let me have a photo, she was in high gear to play a frivolous game of Candy Land.  She suggested I show her in the midst of unpacking the enduring board game.  My niece is in the third grade.