When I was young, when a girlfriend and I went to the regional butterfly conservatory, I took a photo of her smiling and seeming happy while seated in the semi-tropical environment. I took it with an old-fashioned camera. The negative is likely lost, and the photo has begun to curl. I was happy to think of it, though, when I read the prompt from WordPress.
Nowadays, I have a Sony camera that I take pictures with, from the time of Windows 8. Looking through the photos app on my desktop, I remember a photo dated the afternoon of one Wednesday in September 2014. It’s a photo of the field near the building that used to be a church, and which belongs to my dad, most of it being maintained by him and a few others. I had a FinePix Z1, and it was easy to get the photo. You can see the clouds peeking through the trees are a little bright, and the sunlit grass of the field is a little bright too. By then, I’d had a couple of years’ experience of being self-employed. The riding mower in the background is how I cut the grass every week.
It meant a great deal to me, and I’m afraid some of my enthusiasm has waned. I surmise I’ve run into burnout. I do enjoy maintaining a tiny presence on Facebook for the cemetery. It’s the core of my dad’s business, and I do a lot of other social media that isn’t all geared to Maple Lawn Cemetery, which is our cemetery, or about Catholicism, or anything else like that. For example, I am participating in these January writing prompts because they are fun for me, and they are making January more fun than it would have been.
My better half nowadays is magnificent. It’s not the girl from the butterfly conservatory, but what can you do? I don’t think she characteristically wants her photo taken, but maybe I’ll ask her again.
My father has put energy into a venture during his retirement called Maple Lawn, a cemetery. With help from family and friends, including me, the cemetery makes a good impression on visitors. We began in the fall of 2012, nine years ago, and I’ve been blogging on WordPress in this space of time, kind of about whatever.
We’ve always had a Facebook page, so we can be contacted by means other than the phone, and what Facebook is doing now has been almost mindboggling for me, in a good way, but strange, too.
Again, today, news reports indicated that Facebook is continuing to combat efforts by Russians to have control in the Presidential race, efforts by Russia that already took aim, in 2016. I am trying to keep my interest in social media sort of unbiased, but I am perplexed by how Facebook is represented in the news.
In his lifetime author Kurt Vonnegut wrote the novel Bluebeard, he says in the foreword, to reflect on how it was to feel he was starting to get old. The novel has an ironic, but serious, tone. When I read it, I felt better about my passing regard for abstract expressionism.
When I was a kid, I had the good fortune to see abstract expressionism. While I didn’t know anything about it as a kid, I was impressed that an artist could make works like that, and people would admire it as art. When I was trying out an image to cover my blog, I thought that, in the style of abstract expressionism, the colours blue and green, arranged in solid lines and similar shapes, might prove adequate for the purpose I wanted to blog.
In the very early 2000s, a girl I’d met while she was panhandling for spare funds indicated she had an interest in Livejournal, and to understand her life journey, I needed to “visit” her on both mySpace, and on Livejournal. That’s where I got a start on the ideas I have about social media, especially blogging (and microblogging), thanks to her.
Both of my grandmas painted. Before I was adequately brilliant to comprehend, the grip I had was that my grandma, on my mom’s side of the family, painted, and that made her creative. I didn’t think to separate earning enough money to pay the rent from having a grandmother do some painting, for a diversion.
Not too many people take photos with a camera these days. It is usually with a phone. Or else people are more interested in video.
I am glad I can take reasonably intelligent photos. If I shoot a video I am never as pleased with it as when I take stills. When I place pictures in the blog, regardless of whether they are messy stock photographs or pictures I save from Google, or photos I have taken myself, I like doing that part especially, adding in the pictures.
The odd time I include a photo by family, and as a matter of fact, on the weekend, my godmother left me a comment that made me wonder if she was thinking that I need to do Facebook posts a lot better than I currently am. I am wondering a little what people make of Zuckerberg’s new idea about the metaverse (and Meta).
There is a very decent possibility I will grind away for the year ahead–it is my intention. I do what I can with my time. If you want, you can like this post or follow or comment.
You can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
May I begin by saying that, in 2017, USA Today said that a Realtor.com study had about a third of respondents state that they would think about an opportunity to live in a spooky house. Numerous film and writing have investigated the possibility, and I know a particular case of music investigating the hereafter. That’s what this post is about, a song about living with a ghost.
By the way, from time to time, I work for a cemetery, called Maple Lawn Cemetery http://www.maplelawncemetery.org/24701.html I’ve been doing it since 2011, ten years. We care for the grounds of the cemetery, handled inquiries, and maintain a Facebook page for the business.
It’s not in isolation–on WordPress, author Jim Adams has come up with good blogging prompts, for October. His style is daily blogging that’s in good fun and shows a good aptitude for writing and a healthy interest in music.
For October 25, 2020, Jim’s prompts include the word, “ghost.”
I’m discussing today, “There’s a Ghost in My House,” a Fall song, a hit for the underground Manchester band. The Fall recorded a version of a 1967 northern soul song, which is a style of UK dance music. The northern soul was a variation on the style of the day, in U.S. clubs.
With “There’s a Ghost in my House,” The Fall’s songwriter, Mark E. Smith, took the notoriety of The Fall’s noisy stage act far and wide. The Fall received some critical acclaim, despite their strange sound, and despite a large number of personnel who were members of the band over the years.
The member who was a constant was singer Mark E. Smith. “There’s a Ghost in My House” got a second life when The Fall did it for their album called Domesday Pay-Off.
I’m not sure Mark E. Smith took the northern soul scene all that seriously because he didn’t take rock music real serious, but he did work on the band a great deal, putting out a lot of records over the years, with many different directions evident. Smith drew the name The Fall from an existential novel, by Albert Camus, nothing to do with autumn time, in case that’s a point of confusion.
I assume “There’s a Ghost in My House” was The Fall’s choice to more readily relate to American music.
“There’s a Ghost in My House” is not characteristic of The Fall’s music, nor did the band, with any line-up, want to play it much. I bet that The Fall wanted radio and club play by DJs of the day. The decision created a popularity for The Fall and took them in the direction of pop.
Their earlier record albums, however, showcased few pop elements.
Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, and Eddie Holland, of the famed Motown Records label, wrote, “There’s a Ghost in My House,” together with R. Dean Taylor. Motown Records had originated in Detroit and moved to NYC.
Without any commercial success, a music single, however ingenious, remains a failure. However, it speaks to the artist’s intentions, and there are dozens of Fall albums, going back to the beginning of the nineteen-eighties. Smith’s singing has the odd characteristic of extra syllables he added at the end of words he sang, no joke.
Mark E. Smith’s lyrics could be described as semi-nonsensical. As an artist, Smith had a lot of power because he had so many ideas by which to explore a unique approach to rock music, and by an apparent willingness to change about. By that I mean Mark E. Smith and his band always remained The Fall, but tackled different experiments, of noise-making, for their music.
I’ve read Camus, the writer whose novel The Fall inspired the name of Smith’s band, but I don’t know that Camus was an influence on Mark E. Smith’s music. H. P. Lovecraft, according to Wikipedia, is one such influence, Lovecraft the sci-fi author who died in 1937, leaving a pantheon of stories behind about monster gods ruling Earth. The difference between Camus and Lovecraft is night and day, Camus thinking very much about man’s solitude in this lifetime, Lovecraft exploring what came before and themes of despair in the face of utter monstrosity.
Despite the decline of The Fall in the late nineties, Smith found a resurgence for The Fall in the last decade of his life. Smith died when he was sixty, in 2018.
He had remained interested in experimenting with rock music and had a great career throughout his time in The Fall. Some of his remarks about other rock musicians were harsh in tone, despite his contemporaries’ respect for his music. A 2011 article in the New Yorker recalled that, despite Sonic Youth having played covers of Fall songs on BBC radio, Smith only returned the favor by declaring that the BBC should revoke Sonic Youth’s “rock license.”
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.
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.
What the app does is to find webpages for the purpose of putting content on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Looking at it after its overhaul, I saw I needed to think of keywords for content that were both honest about what I am interested in doing, and valuable to people looking at me on Facebook, and on Twitter. The reality of whether the more fringe areas of my research were or weren’t going to fly in the face of other people squarely confronted me.
I don’t want to inadvertently confuse people.
Some of my ideas just weren’t going to work, I saw. Our Facebook page is small, but those people aren’t going to be swayed, I now believe, by where I had been putting my nose if I am being transparent.
There is an idea in business that employees don’t work for the boss, that in fact, the boss works for the employees. I work for the people who like the page. I don’t have the freedom to indulge every avenue I want to, if I don’t want to turn off the people I speak to, and it is probably true that new people I might possibly interest will have similar sensibilities to those who are already involved.
I hadn’t been aware the more fringe elements of my keyword research was a potential problem, and, without my input, a solution presented itself.
I had envisioned that I would find a strategy to make this work when the time came. With fresh eyes, I began to see how to better use my content tools going forward. In the process, I became, in a small way, a more honest person, at least more honest about what I am doing on social.
As the Buddhist maxim asserts: “Never lie, cheat, or steal.” I got a little more spiritual, yesterday, you might say. It was unexpected all the same.
Seeking ideas for this small blog of mine, I began last month to refer to the weekly newsletter Publishous. Publishous is a little more than a year old, with about 5800 supporters. The newsletter is a collection of semi-connected ideas about content and the like and includes a writing prompt.
Formerly I would refer to WordPress’ own daily prompts before that came to an end, owing, I presume, to WordPress no longer wishing to organize their once-a-day prompts.
The prompt for the current newsletter is Resolutions. I am late because I did less work between Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
As you know, the custom among many New Year’s revelers is to identify resolutions for the coming year that mark a life change. Resolutions can be in the spirit of fun, or they can be difficult to declare if a resolution requires the kind of change that is hard to make.
I kind of hate resolutions because I cannot think of useful ones. I do have a few tactics ready, for better productivity in 2019.
I was inspired in 2018 to read Robert Greene’s book The 48 Laws of Power. This book was a difficult read, but rich enough with great ideas to benefit from having read the book. Even though 2019 was far off, I thought to resolve to make some attempt to apply the book to my strategy in the year ahead.
I was not confident that I could apply much of The 48 Laws of Power until I came across a Twitter account that helps by mentioning ideas from Greene’s book– https://twitter.com/48tweetsofpower
I want to apply more commitment to the areas of work for which I am already present.
My digital social interactions are largely confined to Facebook and Twitter.
At the cemetery, we have been working together since 2011, and we soon thought that a page for the work we do would be useful.
On Twitter, I don’t specifically refer to details of the work I do with my dad. Instead, I tweet a few articles, generally about tech, and some about charity and a few other concepts. I have the idea that, if I do this, it could prove useful.
On Facebook, real “real estate” is hard to market, because of the competition among business users, to make ads which are interesting. I wish my dad and I had a marketing budget, but we don’t.
Most of the work I do for my dad’s little business is done on a volunteer basis, and I rarely include a call-to-action that deliberately invites business (you could say I leave money on the table). It’s just not my responsibility.
That’s all part of why I struggle with effective New Year’s resolutions. It is frustrating to think that life improvement could be worked out without a yin and yang down-side, that depletes the benefit of strategy in business, and in life. I want to check the work in case there is a down-side, that I am blind to, that could defeat me.
I want to blog at approximately the same pace at which the newsletter prompts are e-mailed, in Publishous. You may wish to check it out for yourself.
The spirit of the blog is to put out an “ask” identifying that I’m interested in taking “real world” work online and also that I’m capable as a creator, to use the buzzword, to keep active in a role which for now is valuable to my dad’s business in terms of the results I effect. I’m an optimist.
Thank you for reading my post here, and good luck with your own blogging in 2019. Take care, and all the best.
November 8, 2017, I published a post the day after Twitter began to permit tweets of a length of two hundred and forty characters, rather than the traditional hundred and forty. It was one of those days that felt to me a touch helpless, or certainly awkward, and I’m not sure I responded adequately at the time considering many people on Twitter were clearly unhappy with the decision.
That was six months ago. The social media conundrum has certainly multiplied since then.
In November I was thinking about WordPress’ Ben Huberman, who contributes essays to the WordPress photo challenges, and who wrote that bloggers should focus that week on the idea of Temporary, how it is things can be seen in the image that will no longer be there, as with autumn leaves in October.
Letting it out of the bag was a busy time. I looked back at a photo I took Wednesday, October 15, 2014, when I was purer as a blogger, meaning not seen by as many (compared to me there are a lot of good ones).
It’s the trees shielding the cemetery and you can see the lane running behind Louth United Church. Ben seems to be an understated champion of photography and also of blogging, with WordPress.
Where before I would have argued, if necessary, that the video capture look of the sky overhead reflected the idea of temporary all the more because everything that was in the sky had passed on, not content to be passively captured.
Now I think that desaturation in the photograph better suggests that the sight of the church is indeed temporary, where it had a congregation at one time but no longer does. The sky overhead no longer looks so artificial and there is a hint that with time, as the church has grown very old, so too has the color of the photo faded and dispersed.
I am a junior member of a not-for-profit that permits me some freedoms to explore possibilities with a blog, which you can see here for yourself. We care for Maple Lawn Cemetery and we’re active on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/LouthUnited
Eventually, following Twitter’s decision in November to begin its fateful change, I decided to do the free ten-day WordPress Developing Your Eye I email course, which for me meant ringing in the New Year with it, the end of December and the beginning of January.
When Twitter began to include tweets with a character length of two hundred and eighty rather than plain a hundred and forty, I was dismayed the same as the others who disagreed strongly with the corner it turned.At the moment, I didn’t know what that would say about the future… or the past, either.
Twitter continues to prosper and while I have adjusted my strategy, I remain interested in the modicum of relevance it possesses. You’re welcome to “like,” “follow,” and/or comment.
I am updating this a year later–this is the early morning of August 12, 2018, and I published this post after curating it from something I did October 20, 2014. I am the SMM and junior operations director for a small not-for-profit cemetery. I have my hand in as a blogger to complement my research and social media skills.
How is your content doing? Are you keeping records?
There’s nothing intuitive about being outfitted for killer content. It’s Internet 101. There’s engagement and then there’s conversion.
Be relevant in a sprawling web environment
You won’t be able to see the horizon on the world wide web. It goes on and on, and your time can disappear into it the way tree leaves lose their pigment and then fall.
I hope that you have a plan because goals are incredibly important. You have an uphill battle to face already, and without clear goals for you to pursue, you are spinning your wheels and going nowhere. I definitely wish I’d tackled it more systematically years ago.
Try challenging yourself by investigating new techniques for setting goals, and see what you can put into effect. I realize this is advice for a beginner, but if you are new and you read this, please understand that I am doing my best to run over some basic tips that you can put into practice for yourself.
You can prioritize what you want to achieve if you put some planning into what you are about. If you have the spontaneity and creative mindset to be headstrong, I’m sure that’s ok. If you are overwhelmed, and you could be, you need to throw down some controls on what you are doing.
Read success stories and compare them to yourself
The world wide web is cool, so don’t fret. You do need a plan of attack.
Organize your efforts so that they resemble the kind of list in which you might write what groceries you want to buy. It’s a start!
Don’t dismiss the inspiration you find by learning about what people who are achievers did to get where they are today. Above all else, there are plenty of people with good intentions to who you can reach out on your journey across the Internet.
Find release in a second hobby
The world wide web has a lot to offer, but you probably need a second hobby if you’re feeling troubled. Something that you can do in the outdoors might be good, to keep your mind active on more than one front (on more than just your life computing).
Maybe you should be writing offline, to keep your engine fresh. Reading real-world books is a good idea, especially if you can learn something from them. That’s a concrete example of how and when doors will open for you.
Speaking of the real world, interaction outside the digital corridors of the Internet has its place for you, distinctly. Don’t go too far afield by forgetting what’s out there physically.
Are you struggling with your brand identity? Leave a comment for me if you think of something I strongly need to see. I’m curating this based on a blog post I did the twentieth of October, 2014, which rather needed an update.
I wouldn’t mind hearing of others’ efforts as you keep on descending into the backwaters of the Internet. I know readers may be reluctant to comment, but you’re very welcome to note here where your online journey has taken you. And if you do relate, and in fact have found help.
We care-take a disbanded church, Louth United, formerly of the United Church, and also the cemetery which is on the church ground. We’ve done this for about four years, and I’ve helped design a little website for the cemetery, which you can find here:
I frequently take photos of our church and cemetery we care-take, I thought I would include one I took October, 2014, which shows the church, and includes the sight of headstones which mark graves. It is grim but that is where I am once a week, and I maintain the cemetery’s presence on Facebook:
Thank you for reading this post and if you have any interest in visiting elsewhere on the Internet, feel free. You can also, “like,” “comment,” and/or “follow” if you would like to (I draw inspiration from prompts and challenges).
I’ve decided to return to my explanation of the Marvel Comics game Marvel Avengers Alliance, through the “lens” of the renowned treatise on military strategy, The Art of War.
1. The Laying of Plans, Calculations and Estimations
In Marvel Avengers Alliance, you have to “earn” gold, and this is achieved by spending money (such as $5 on ten “gold”). Gold can be exchanged for command points. A combination of silver, which is available for free in the game, and command points together, train your superheroes at the ready–so that they go up a level.
2. Waging War – The Challenge
The game Avengers Alliance consists of a number of challenges between its “bosses,” who are wicked opponents to the Avengers, and yourself and your heroes. Come each time you defeat a “mini-boss” or a “boss” you have won a game mission, and the next mission awaits. That’s the gist of the game, which is good fun.
3. Attack by Stratagem or Planning Offensives
In the game, you have a ready store of gear, supplies and more so that with “research”, carried out inside the game, your superheroes at the ready can advance to more dangerous fights than they have previously taken on. You can also recruit heroes and send them into battle (when they are not “busy” getting you silver) at the outset of each fight, so that you have enough superheroes at the ready.
4. Tactical Dispositions or Positioning
Tactical determinations aren’t a major concern in Marvel Avengers Alliance, but there are opponents against whom you must battle, that protect their own by getting in the way of your attacks.
5. Energy & Direction
There is an energy component to Marvel Avengers Alliance which restricts you by the number of fights you can lose, at which point you need to wait until your energy comes back. Or, if you have energy in reserve to use, which is an extra in the game, you can bring your energy back instantly.
6. Weak Points and Strong / Illusion versus Reality
The game is entirely about illusion, and the superheroes at the ready are the Avengers, who you know from comics, and film. The Avengers have many illusory powers which they wield. Likewise, the villains are monstrous!
7. Maneuvering and Dealing with Direct Conflict
Typically, the fights of the game are three against three, or occasionally fewer. The maneuvering in battle consists of directing your team’s attacks so that the enemies are reduced to zero and fade away.
8. Variation in Tactics aka The Innumerable Changes
Your team has their equipment and superpowers so you can choose your tactics while in the heat of battle. That’s a major part of the game, and if that kind of diversion interests you, Avengers is good fun.
9. The Army on the March / Moving the Force
To collect silver, which goes with training and research, you can send heroes to various parts of the world as it is understood in the game, where your heroes spend time “policing,” which plays into the game to help with your advancement.
10. Terrain or Situational Positioning
The game doesn’t include a terrain component, which is good because the app would be all the more challenging. Each fight resembles good or evil at the centre of the fight.
11. The Nine Situations / Terrains
Author Elish Bul-Godley discusses Chinese philosopher Sun Tzu in: Why Wall Street Loves “The Art of War” – A 13 Point Plan To Mastering Business Strategy, and if you have a thirst for combat, perhaps Sun Tzu’s strategy will appeal to your better judgement. Bul-Godley quotes Sun Tzu saying: “Strike at its head, and you will be attacked by its tail; strike at its tail, and you will be attacked by its head; strike at its middle, and you will be attacked by head and tail both.” Indeed, often your fights will be against a trio of evildoers, and you have to decide how best to attack your enemies.
12. The Attack by Fire
Fire-dealing weaponry is part of the game, and an arsenal is available both to you (who is the “Agent” in the game), and to the superheroes who have fire attacks at their disposal.
13. The Use of Spies / Intelligence
Fortunately, Intelligence, by which you gain information, factors into the game as much as the story does, keeping the fights coming, as a mission is always ready for your heroes.
14. There is no #14
Sun Tzu must have won the war at 13, for The Art of War stops there.
If you have an interest in a game like Marvel Avengers Alliance, feel free to blog about it and I shall enjoy reading you!