WordPress Discover: Grateful

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

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

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

Articulating

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

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

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

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

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

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

January 5 2018 collage experiment

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

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

WordPress Discover: List

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

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

Photo by Kristin Hardwick from StockSnap

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

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

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

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

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

Photo by Morgan McGregor from StockSnap

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

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

WordPress Discover: Hidden

Today’s WordPress Discover theme is the idea of “hidden,” organized by Ben Huberman.  Last night on Twitter, I saw a tweet that included a landscape by fantasy painter Boris Vallejo.  The landscape is Cloud City, the Star Wars locale where the Sith’s Lord Vader captures Han Solo in preparation to return the smuggler and hero to an otherworldly gangster who Solo owes.

The Empire Strikes Back

    The landscape of Cloud City, the carbon freezing chamber which Vader utilizes to hold Solo without fail, is painted hidden by steam, except for the sight of Solo’s friends and the traitor Lando Calrissian.  Cloud City is hidden in the painting much as Darth Vader is hidden underneath his Sith mask.  The Sith Order is an ancient order of Force-wielders devoted to the dark side of the Force, as starwars.fandom.com/wiki/Sith explains.

    The Force is an energy field that is wielded by Jedi on the side of good and Sith on the side of evil.  An enduring saga, the timeline for this hidden landscape of Cloud City refers to the culmination of events in the 1980s The Empire Strikes Back film.  Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia swears her love for Han Solo.

    Billy Dee Williams, as Lando Calrissian, does his best to rescue the Princess from Darth Vader, but at the cost of surrendering Solo to Vader, and Anthony Daniels as droid character C-3P0 is in pieces, having been shot by a laser blaster when he strayed around the wrong corner a few scenes earlier.  Fortunately, C-3P0 is mechanical.  C-3P0’s master at the time of events in The Empire Strikes Back is incongruously absent from the painting.

It would be Jedi apprentice Luke Skywalker, who comes to the realization that his friends are in terrible danger from Vader and that he has precious little time to train as a Jedi.  The order of Jedi is a counterpart to the evil order of Sith.

Today Disney explained on Twitter that they have an interest in taking advantage of May the 4th tweets with the hashtag #maythefourth. May the 4th is a long running day that commemorates the Star Wars film franchise with the idea that the Star Wars toast “May the Force be with you” translates to “May the Fourth be with you,” as is well known as Star Wars fans. Disney announced today that hashtagging a tweet with #maythefourth, while making it eligible to be celebrated by Disney on Twitter, automatically makes that tweet the property of Disney themselves.

It isn’t a doable contingency. Clownfish TV on YouTube explained today that while Disney does own the trademark “May the Fourth,” the trademark is only guarded where apparel and events are concerned. There is no protection for Disney when Star Wars fans tweet #maythefourth about their love of Star Wars.

However, Disney clearly is trying to get protective of the trademark with the idea of putting their authority to use in the face of anyone who would tweet #maythefourth. Even that idea that Disney would like control of the hashtag #maythefourth could be enough to dispel an interest in tweeting the hashtag. The recognition from Disney would be nice, but implying that Disney has control of the hashtag isn’t right when they really don’t.

I would hope that Disney’s posturing to defeat tweets that don’t meet the bar that Disney would like to hold presents the idea that the sequel trilogy of Star Wars films, while fine movies I think, is somewhat irresponsible when it comes to respecting the film fandom. Clownfish TV didn’t even watch The Rise of Skywalker.

The Empire Strikes Back

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.

SAMSUNG

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

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

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

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

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