What is something you wish you knew how to do? #bloganuary

I am blogging the month of January with inspiration from WordPress writing prompts. I am pleased that they have been supportive.

Something people rail against is the cumulative onset of time. There is seldom enough time. Time is scarce. Sometimes time is money. Sometimes we lose track of time.

I wish I knew how to turn back time. I wish it was no more difficult than, say, picking out clothes from the rack. This one, that one, this one, that one.

The Man of Steel turns back time at the end of the 1978 blockbuster, the one titled Superman. It’s the Richard Donner-directed special effects bonanza with Christopher Reeve in the cast as Superman and Margot Kidder as Lois Lane. In the movie, Superman’s asked to choose between keeping a promise or saving Lois. In his anger, Superman challenges the authority of his father and turns back the Earth’s rotation, turning back time, so that he has more time to rescue Lois before she meets her end.

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I am not angry that the time is beginning to run long behind me. That said, I wish there was a little longer left to perfect a few more things before the eventuality that possibly the best I’ll have done is behind me. That is an uncomfortable thought, and while perhaps ability is not yet lost, I am not sure I will have much time left for holding onto the passions of youth.

There could be mercy, that ambition dulls with time, the self-same progress, and satisfaction emerges from what mastery was achieved. It’s important to understand that there are many more young people. There is nothing terrible about having mellowed. I wish for it, as opposed to being irate that there wasn’t additional time. Every person has the same chances, give or take. Some people are lucky, and some are not.

Lois Lane was lucky.

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

A Difficult St. Patrick’s Day

It’s the end of March and two weeks ago was St. Patrick’s Day for 2020. The weather in Southern Ontario was reasonable in light of expectations. I found myself spending less time on Facebook. My sister telephoned me a couple of times.

A cousin of my mother, Cathie, along other lovely people, with a hobby of genealogy, ending with a nice account of the Irish my mother’s side of the family has. It looks like this St. Patrick’s Day, 2020, I’ll be a little less Irish.  It looks grim.

Photographer:
Tiago Almeida

change

the act or instance of making or becoming different.

I wish a lot of things were different, but I never would have chalked up the possibility of experiencing our pandemic catastrophe in my own life.  I read of environmental warnings, like that there could be, say, eight years until the damage to the planet caused by humans becomes irreversible, or that global warming will cause sea levels to rise, however active God is on the picture at large. I don’t know how human beings will fare.

To consider attacks between warring groups the world over, hellbent on decreasing each other to iotas, to very small pieces, I think also police and military unfairly treat peaceable citizens, because the police loathe the skin colour or addiction, behaviour that doesn’t toe the line for the safety of the public.  I think about these now and again, yet I hadn’t thought of what really descended three months ago. It is hard to contextualize that.

I always do my best to enjoy St. Patrick’s Day, as so many do with aplomb and style.  I welcome the end of winter. We are all called on to be, not so much Godfearing, as instead socially distant from one another.

Good on us all the same, that we can find solidarity in separating from one another, in a fashion that, like the lot of the unlucky addict, is no fault of our own.

Photographer:
Peter Hershey

We will have to come up with new measures to survive, and we have to do it at a time when I am sure many of us would be happier celebrating St. Patty’s in the usual fashion, wearing the colour green, and staying out late.  We’re told to stay out of bars and restaurants and nightclubs and still young people want to go to those kinds of haunts. I want to be young myself, but not to the extent I want to risk sacrificing growing old.

I wanted to think about a superb St. Patrick’s Day, and although I recall it every year, I don’t know I could say that any specific March festivity was better than some other.  A number of them were beautiful and left me feeling blessed. I am grateful to The Lord.

1998 occurs to me, becoming 21 years of age.  However, against how this spring is going, I don’t think the excitement of taking a visit back in time is going to especially cause me to feel better. I like to enjoy speaking a kind word at certain times, because a little kindness sprinkled in the mix, while not reversing the uncertainty that we’re facing, does help temper the darkness.

I would like to wish you a happy St. Patrick’s Day, dreadful or not.

St. Patrick’s Day isn’t to be overlooked, obviously.  Go with the luck of the Irish! Let’s have a safe spring!

You’re of course welcome to comment and to follow.  All the best to you, and to your loved ones.

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Why Looking Backward at 2019 is Worse than a Bad Valentine

I wrote this three months ago, the beginning of the winter that changed lives around the world. I realize that despite my intention to offer kind wishes, nobody got what they wanted when the last month became unprecedented in history.

I didn’t factor into the equation how long we would be at the same task. Speaking in terms of temperature forecasts, some days were more tolerable than others.

Today the Canadian provinces of Quebec and Ontario ordered all non-essential businesses closed. They had already begun reacting to the new restrictions. When I raised the point with my dad the last couple of times we spoke together, he said that a cemetery is considered an essential service.

Photographer:
Elliott Chau

My dad has a business and we have an agreement that I will do some work for the cemetery which the business operates. The agreement is becoming strained, of course, because of the recession.

My mom asked me quietly why I seem disinterested. I wasn’t sure how to emphasize sympathy was the issue, given that the present events around the world are tragic and discouraging.

I decided to update this because that was kind of one winter I might be happy to put behind me. Seeing a copy of TROS was nice, though.

A week or so after a lovely Christmas rest and a pleasant New Year’s Day, we finished last year rather indignantly when a brushfire spread to one of our trees, a fire which we had to extinguish.

    My mother turned seventy years old in December.  She has been enormous for me, obviously, beyond what I can succinctly talk. She said she was pleased when she saw for herself this post.

    I remember when Mom was asking me as Christmas approached what Christmas TV programming I might get to see, and she reminded me that a lot of the network TV shows are having their mid-season hiatus.  It’s sort of in their absence, especially, that the network shows feel relevant and add heaps of joy to the calendar year.

   I don’t have the foggiest idea whether you have a sentiment for January, or if nothing else be alongside associates with who you can explore the winter month of January.  I know from the weight of popular interest in romance, and relationships, that there is something intrinsically human and good about the romance of winter.

Seeing the tree that had been alight

    While I’m a Canadian, I live in the southern ranges, where lake impact temperatures are generally sensible, while keeping you inside a greater amount of the time than you may somehow prefer to spend. Some people have that flair to form a unit that stops a problem, and sometimes, even if it is as routine as waiting for the cast of, for example, The Bachelor, to reconvene.

    I risk appearing to be dismal if I reflect what getting in some Bachelor may accomplish for me.

    It could prove, by the fact that I help at a cemetery, that being morose lives for me in a heart of darkness, but tempering that with an appetite for uplifting and curious experiences, you have in me, not a pack animal nor a reptile, but, I feel, an effusive human being, making a sound perceptible in its absence.

No Perceptible Difference By Its Presence or Absence – Aristotle

You don’t have a clue what you have until it’s gone, maybe, but I don’t know now that our certainties for the future have been upset what to expect entirely, nor, I take it, does anybody. Remember that prayer often provides relief.

Why Skywalker`s Students Should Have Been Afraid

The Stupendous Wave on YouTube said yesterday that John Boyega’s people have said that an official trailer for Rise of Skywalker will air at halftime during Monday Night Football, and go to YouTube at the same time.

I wanted to say something more about the character of Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, played in 2017 again by Mark Hamill.

Luke Skywalker wanted there to be more Jedi Masters, heroes of the Light Side of the Force, who help police their galaxy.

The word disciple often refers to people dedicated to learning about The Bible from Jesus Christ, of course. The Last Jedi retells how Jesus could do only so much, as when Luke is unseated by Ben Solo, son of Han Solo, and Leia Organa. Ben Solo has betrayed Luke and murdered the other disciples, becoming Kylo Ren.

This is not that different than the Apostle Judas betraying Jesus to Pontius Pilate for thirty pieces of silver. Unlike Jesus Christ, crucified by the Romans, Luke has enjoyed the freedom to retreat to Ahch-To. He is done with enlisting potential Jedi, at least until Rey seeks him, and tells him what she knows is happening in the First Order, across the galaxy.

The difference between Ben Solo and the other Jedi disciples Luke was trying to train is that Ben is the son of Leia and Han. Luke had known when training Ben, that the young man could be trouble for the galaxy if the Dark Side of the Force continued to grow in him.

Some of the tragedy of The Last Jedi, tragic in the sense that the events of the story are irreversible, and of an ill-nature, is that what Luke could teach caused the apprentices’ demise. The Jedi dedication to the Light Side of the Force could not combat the darkness in Ben. Supreme Leader Snoke has corrupted young Ben Solo, as a transformation into Kylo Ren begins, not too different than the transformation of Anakin Skywalker into Darth Vader, in the prequel trilogy.

Snoke, a new character in The Force Awakens, has origins unclear, and likewise murky in The Last Jedi, but is an evil mentor to Kylo Ren, the opposite to how Luke was a mentor to young Ben Solo.

Dimensions: 3200 x 1967
Photographer: Luca Baggio

Not a big surprise, Luke Skywalker is my favorite character in The Last Jedi because of the reminders Mark Hamill creates of the original Star Wars trilogy. Luke`s powerful abilities with the Force, begun in Star Wars: A New Hope in 1977, and explored in the next two films, are what fans like about him. For Luke to be teaching the ways of a Jedi Master is great because Luke learned from Yoda, in The Empire Strikes Back, the ways of the Force.

“Pass on what you have learned,” Yoda finally tells Luke in Return of the Jedi.

Dimensions: 4500 x 2981
Photographer: Michal Jarmoluk

The Star Wars audience knows of events in the time between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens because they have been told to Rey by Han Solo when the two are aboard the Millenium Falcon after Rey leaves home. If Luke`s other disciples had known of Snoke`s influence, on Luke, and his protégés, they would have become afraid. No one facing death would surrender life voluntarily when a pressing objective very much requires the opposite: the objective to become Jedi Masters and to protect the galaxy.

Luke`s remorse is evident. Mark Hamill displays the emotion perfectly.

Dimensions: 4608 x 2592
Photographer: Mateusz Dach

Recollections of the murders are present in The Last Jedi, but that movie would have been better if it were more clear what Luke searched for in his years of travel before the events of The Force Awakens. Luke is a Jedi Master who can deter the First Order if only he can teach Ben Solo the importance of the Light Side of the Force. That can`t be done, not even by Luke Skywalker.

How is it that Luke, with everything he understands about the Force, can make such a dangerous error? Luke has decided, I think, in The Last Jedi that to wield the Force, with as much ferocity as he has, is an act of hubris. If Luke had reached Ben Solo on any other level than of training the young man to become a Jedi, the sway of Snoke on Ben Solo might have been dispelled, with Ben never joining the First Order.

Although the conflict in Ben has made unrest in the galaxy that Luke, Leia, Poe, Fin, C-3P0, R2-D2, and Rose together combat in The Force Awakens, Ben`s path could have taken him elsewhere instead of to the very center of the battle against tyranny in the galaxy.

Appropriate fear is usually an emotion evoked by the Dark Side of the Force on one vulnerable. That same emotion could have prevented tragedy and kept both Han Solo and Luke Skywalker alive. Luke`s powers mostly fail him in The Empire Strikes Back when Darth Vader confronts him on Cloud City in Bespin, after Jedi Master Yoda has told Luke that he isn`t ready for such an encounter.

In The Last Jedi, Leia has told Luke that she desires for him to teach the Light Side of the Force. If Luke could have drawn insight from what Yoda at the last had to say about teaching with wisdom the Force, long before Ben precipitated the murders of Luke’s apprentices, the drawback of overconfidence in Luke Skywalker could have meant a better outcome for all.

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

The Skywalker Saga draws to a close this winter beginning December 20.

How Halloween Resolutions are Making the World a Better Place

In What Ways Might We Find a Little Magic in Affirming Halloween?

Guy Fawkes Day, Bonfire Night and Firework Night, is a yearly remembrance on 5 November, in the United Kingdom. I was there twenty years ago, in 1999, and the festivities I saw that fifth of November delighted me. I drifted among village people carrying an effigy of the infamous Guy Fawkes in procession and then setting him ablaze, burned.

He had been a traitor. Here, back in Canada, on Halloween, 31 October, of course, I get a little remorseful that I have let some fine moments pass by since, without being in the same kind of high spirit that night in the English village I was visiting.

Years later, I continue to enjoy seeing the leaves change colour, and I like seeing candy on store shelves, and spooky house decorations. I always think I could get myself a few costume elements–maybe this year will be the year I make good on my promise. I experience occasional brief pangs of regret for having spent years with less beauty and sensation as I would have liked, in my youth.

Even with as much opportunity as we have in the West, fiscal and personal and soul-satisfying, too, the calendar pages keep turning. There could be so much in the world that invigorates. I can think of one example in particular.

On the off chance that you’re visiting Iceland in winter, you are most likely wanting to see the Northern Lights, or the aurora borealis. The Northern Lights can be seen from pre-winter to spring, with the most obvious opportunity being during the nighttimes of the winter months.

Dimensions: 1944 x 1320
Photographer: Hunter Bryant

I think of a kind of magic there could be, viewing a sky like that. If I think of seeing that, but never, I can start to feel sad. If you have the calling, you may need to go somewhere like that, to feel as though you have lived properly.

Where I live, we enjoy Halloween candy and costumes. Halloween is not officially celebrated in Iceland, so it can be thought of a blessing that in this culture, in Canada, we celebrate Halloween, Americanized Halloween. In the United Kingdom, individuals hold Halloween parties where they take on the appearance of phantoms, skeletons or other frightening figure. In that respect, Canada’s the same as there.

I tweet occasional content that I think could be valuable for the right reader, lots of it trending and about my life and yours. If you want to share in these riches, click me up at https://twitter.com/findingenvirons

Happy autumn!

Weighing What’s Next in 2019

Dimensions: 4818 x 5346
Photographer: sasint

It is the beginning of the Christmas season in my neck of the woods, and I can see from old posts how 2019 began.

When I reached two hundred followers with my WordPress blog.  I was satisfied with the achievement, and I was grateful to the people following this for spending the time they do.

Writing for prompts feels like a shared experience.  I miss the Daily Prompts organized by WordPress.  Back when they were daily posts, the prompts from WordPress were lots of fun. I had thought Publishous could be a great new opportunity for quality blogging.

An example of the style of blog post I write can be found at the following:

https://findingenvirons1.blog/2017/08

Since the last time I wrote, I received two more editions of Publishous.  I enjoy them, but I have not seen another writing prompt.  The newsletter exploded by 1500 subscribers in only several days.  Did they abandon their prompts?

Or the prompts are not weekly, contrary to an assumption I made. I feel like I’m getting behind.

Expert YouTuber Neil Patel suggests quality over quantity.  He pitches one post a week or once a month.  Neil Patel is a gentleman with an ad agency, but I don’t want to wait the entire span of a month to write posts.

#NeilPatel #ContentMarketing #Blogging

I try to think how I could deliver a better post. I don’t need as many writing prompts, but I do put into place tools, when writing for the blogosphere, that help me write me well.

I remember also learning some tips at finessing a personal blog when I looked at video lessons from bestselling author Jeff Goins. Although I believe that time for those lessons has gone by now, with those lessons he did a great job at getting new writers putting together great blogs. A few of my peers from that time I remain friends with on Facebook.

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Resolutions for 2019

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.

Maple Lawn Cemetery, St. Catharines

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.


Photographer:
Jiyeon Park

Thank you for reading my post here, and good luck with your own blogging in 2019. Take care, and all the best.

Passionate Ice; A Boy Desiring What Others Did Not So Much

Bruce Wayne decided as a boy that he would honour the memory of his mother and father by inventing himself as Batman and challenging many criminals in Gotham City.

I watched Justice League when it went to Netflix this month and I enjoyed it. The camaraderie between the members of the Justice League comes off as solid and the plot of the film is enjoyable. It is curious to see Superman return to life.

Some of the cool moments from my life were opportunities to see films, in movie theaters.  In 1989, cinema fans filled movie houses to see the DC superhero Batman on the silver screen.

Dimensions: 5213 x 3580
Photographer: Bruce Mars

I had a good time.  Actor Michael Keaton’s role as Bruce Wayne, with its heroism, detachment from wealth, and indifference to romance makes the character of Batman a reinvention.  I suppose Keaton was a surprise star turn, and the subplot of Gotham City TV news anchors unable to appear beautiful on television, owing to poison in beauty products deliverered by The Joker, is clever.

Jack Napier’s transition to The Joker is memorable.  In other scenes from Batman, Billy Dee Williams of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back and subsequently in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, appears as Harvey Dent.

The climactic confrontation of the film, at the Gotham City parade beneath a cathedral with the height of a skyscraper, is wonderful.

Dimensions: 3059 x 2175
Photographer: Yi Ling Tan

When the creepy little video store in the shopping plaza near my home began renting to customers Batman, the store displayed tapes of the film like a phenomenon.  Shelf after shelf were full of the Batman video.  The format was VHS, the cassette for running a film with a VHS player.

I’d been to see it, but I wanted that VHS.  Christmas came, and family placed hand-wrapped videotape-shaped objects under the holiday tree.

They were VHS tapes, but what titles were they?  Us kids wouldn’t know until Christmas morning.  At the appointed time, I opened mine, and to my delight, the tape inside was Batman.

As the family opened our presents, a second tape of Batman under the Christmas tree emerged.  My mother’s brother and his wife had arranged for the gift of the movie Batman as well.  Two VHS tapes of the same film–a double.

What did my dear mother decide, you might ask?  This was a bummer.  She would quietly return a copy of the film to its retail store.

As a twelve-year-old, the price of a brand-new edition of a blockbuster film must be extravagant, I reasoned.  The VHS copy of Batman we had would belong to us all.

I suppose that taught me a lesson, like not to count your chickens before they hatch.  It was as if my uncle and aunt had felt I deserved my own copy of Batman, and Santa Claus did not.  The VHS tape of Batman was a gift, what I wanted and what I was losing.

In 1989, fate unfolded for Batman mobster Jack Napier.  The criminal mastermind falls into a vat of burning acid.  He loses the pigment of his skin and becomes molded with a permanent smile on his face.

I hadn’t earned my own copy of Batman, and I suppose the real lesson was that I should share.  It is a state of becoming tantalized by the promise of something gold and being humbled by the requirement to give it up.  Maybe we didn’t know that doubles of the Batman film were under the tree, but no contingency plan was in place.

I was cheesed.

Batman fans typically embrace the trilogy of Batman movies years later directed by Christopher Nolan, but I didn’t get interested in them.

You’re welcome to like, comment, or follow if my recollection of dealing with a hot trendy thing like the above resonates with you.

Asking if Secularisation of a Society is Bad

Leonardo da Vinci

Just the other day, I saw a WordPress blogger asking for debate if secularisation is good or bad.  She defined it, and I take it she means the decline of the influence of religion, like, for example, the power of the Catholic Church, on society around the world.

 

https://lovableliterature.wordpress.com/2018/07/30/debate-is-the-secularisation-of-modern-society-a-bad-thing/

 

This year I made time to read Cormac McCarthy’s book The Road, a novel about a man and his son trying to survive some time from now in the future when society no longer exists as it did previous to the events in the novel.  I think of church attendance preventing circumstances in our world like that in this Cormac McCarthy book.

 

If strong leaders utilize the unitary values of religious institutions in a way that helps people lead lives of better prosperity, it would be likely, I think, that people will make better progress in the world, decreasingly supernatural as it is.

 

Reading The Road, I didn’t think much supernatural dread happened to the characters, probably in part because to create their own resources they were too hard pressed to deal with the spiritual implications of society being at an end.

 

If I think about secularisation as it could relate to the plot of the novel, I think that the leaders of the world which existed before the events of the book have failed in their ability to keep the structure of its society intact.  Maybe this owes to an overall weakness in the story’s idea of religious institutions, but I can’t that except by thinking it is a possibility, judging that religious symbols seem to exist in the book.  The man on the road is a little like Jesus, set apart from others by his singularity.

Leonardo da Vinci
Imitation of The Last Supper

There isn’t an explanation for readers of The Road why society ended–it is a question only that it is gone, and how a much harder reality supplants it, the “road” of the title.

 

Isolation is the new struggle to overcome adversity, instead of questions like how did the world’s institutions fail and what can be done now, in their absence.

 

The novel’s interesting because society as a whole is over and done and there is no solution available.  It is a story of apocalypse.

 

The man traveling in isolation with his son seems unconcerned if there were religious institutions before society fell to pieces.  I don’t see why there wouldn’t have been institutions–in every other detail I can think of in The Road it matches the world as it’s known today, which leads me to think that parts of the world in the book weren’t secularised, as our world in real life remains only in part secularised today.

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Photographer: Iryna Tysiak

I tend to think that order would fragment in the event of too much secularisation because people need to feel that there is something supernatural about their lives, that they owe something to God.

 

I am optimistic about trusting religious authorities because I see a sphere of religious influence making a more positive outcome for our world.

 

I am glad to have had an opportunity to write a few thoughts on how thinking back to reading The Road helped me articulate an opinion on secularisation.

 

I was likewise glad that I took time this year to read the book by Cormac McCarthy, as well as having read Bethany’s post asking about secularisation.  The Road is the only title of McCarthy I am familiar with, but the cover of the paperback copy I read advertised that it had sold well.

 

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