This month, January 2022, WordPress has kindly offered a blogging challenge, presenting a prompt for each day of the month to help bloggers, new and established alike, get into a mode of writing daily. I take a gander at it, since I appreciate composing, but am not, in every case, totally certain what road. I know that some bloggers become successful by capitalizing on trendy niches or that kind of thing, and that is great. They are welcome to their success. I mostly enjoy the exercise of writing, and I like the feedback I get from people who I manage to reach, who sometimes have a great sense of style to their own blogging.
I can remember doing well in high school English classes, and I was kind of neurotic, trying to write well and feeling I might be but not confident of success. I’ve altered my style since high school. For one thing, when I am blogging in my own “voice,” I tend to emphasize more simple meanings by what I say. There are a few reasons. A favourite quotation of mine is the Einstein quote where he is remembered to have said something like, “Unless you can explain it to an eight-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.” To meet that challenge, and I tend to fall into the trap of wordy sentences and poor word choice, as the grammar app Grammarly characterizes those problems, I try to keep my words simple and also, quirky I suppose, I don’t usually emphasize negative expressions, as in trying to make an explanation by outlining what an idea is not. I lean toward positive perspectives that set forth what I need to catch or explain, rather than taking contradicting worries out of the air.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
A TikTokker followed me, this weekend, with the offer of a shoutout if I were to follow her account, and to tag three friends and to share her video to get an upswing startedhttps://vm.tiktok.com/JN4odUw/
“Are blogs still popular in 2020?”
“Yes, blogging in 2020 is still popular and is serving even more purpose than ever before. …68% of marketers now see blogging as a useful marketing tool.”
Just so we’re on the same page. 🙂 It’s a decent rivalry.
It is now summer. Even though the winter doesn’t usually get too severe here in Southern Ontario, we have summer which feels pretty scorching, and that is surreal. That aspect is well-intensified by strange circumstances. Writing this, in July 2020, I am beginning year no. 9 of writing my blog.
time and tide wait for no man
A blog, as you know, is long-form writing. It’s the opposite of microblogging, like how blogging is on Twitter. A Personal Plan on WordPress, an option on the blogging platform, lets you design a blog by choosing from among a variety of special themes, that shape how your blog looks.
On WordPress, as mine is, a regular domain doesn’t look bad, but a more ambitious blogger might start with a Personal Plan if you want a more professional-looking blog. In fact, in WordPress, the Block Editor is the design page that helps you put together blocks of paragraphs, to make writing a post easy.
I use a lot of white space, to keep my blog readable, and to keep it feeling like typewriter text transported to a computer screen, which is what early word processing programs were like. If you know about adventure games in the nineteen-seventies and -eighties, like, for example, the game company Infocom’s game Zork, or a different, earlier, hit game called Adventure, you know they consist of a paragraph of descriptive text followed by a blinking parser, at which you would enter a two-word command to play. I have that period of gaming as a primary concern, one wellspring of motivation.
My intention presently is to reach several dozen people or so with each post, possibly a hundred visitors per post, which is the typical reach I have at present. I appreciate that the odd post I’ve composed gets a couple of guests, to boot. With WordPress, the stats dashboard gives you an idea of how many visitors have turned up for your blog posts, and what they are saying their country of origin is.
I have had this blog for eight years. That’s the level of expertise I have with it, Level Nine, you might put it.
In the first edition of the former game company TSR’s classic game Dungeons & Dragons, Level Nine was known as Name Level. That is the famous tabletop game. It features in the plot of the Netflix hit Stranger Things.
Name Level means that your Dungeons & Dragons character has made a name for himself, as in “Merlin” becoming “Merlin the Wizard,” to take from Arthurian mythology an example. In Arthurian mythology, Merlin is the wizard who helps King Arthur rule at Camelot. Like Merlin and King Arthur, here on WordPress, I am leet.
Likewise, with different parts of life, you have goals with your blog, and blogging makes unobtrusive notoriety for yourself (as it is the Name Level guidelines in Dungeons & Dragons sway interaction.)
On occasion, I draw extra thoughts from patterns I see via web-based media, stages like Twitter and YouTube, and TikTok. On WordPress, I get to blog as much as I make time for it, which is a luxury I know many aspiring writers would enjoy themselves if they had it. With that sort of extravagance, I am happy with the opportunity to continue without too many time limitations. I am not too hard on myself.
My intentions, also, are to keep posting in a way that other people might relate to. When WordPress offered a fourteen-day prologue to composing verse, quite a long while back, I composed through that fourteen-day arrangement. Actually, at the time, I was kind of pleased with a few of the ideas I came up with, as I think my approach is a touch singular.
I in some cases loan support to other little bloggers. I have seen that quite a few bloggers do that. Those are probably the kind of people that I am trying to reach.
Another source of inspiration, outside WordPress, is the real world Nashville Tennessee writer Jeff Goins, an inspiring voice in blogging circles. I think Jeff Goins worked in marketing when he decided he wanted to begin writing. In fact, for his first book, he presented the title You Are A Writer.
The Art of Work is a book that explores all kinds of inspired case studies, of people who bring a special touch to the work they do. It became a bestseller. I think Goins wrote that unless your heart is in your work, it isn’t right.
As well, my father’s sister’s husband, Rick, and his wife Sue, both residing in Nashville, have written some books. They are my godparents.
To the reader, if you have ever read my blog and are returning, by all means, thank you. Such a great hobby. You’re welcome to comment or to follow.
Have a wonderful day and a terrific summer. I wish you well!
Starting, for April, I participated in many of the new Discover challenges that WordPress organized, to help bloggers write posts during the crisis. Each morning, 6 AM in most cases in my time zone, a new word with additional suggestions became available for WordPress bloggers.
Each word theme was accompanied by suggestions about what to post. I found the exercises helped me feel better about blogging because some things I enjoy discussing became the subject of new posts at the same time other bloggers addressed the same themes. With each post, I had several visitors, and if you are among those and returning, please accept my thanks.
Now, today is May the 4th, Star Wars Day. Star Wars The Clone Wars concludes its season 7 run today, a season devoted to the Seige of Mandalore. I think the entire animated series lives on Disney+.
Today is also the day that all nine films of the Skywalker Saga are available with a Disney+ subscription. “This will be a day long-remembered,” to quote Peter Cushing in Star Wars Episode IV.
I have a new strategy, I am starting by trying a serious-in-tone critical thinking post. I was already writing the odd observation about techniques that might contribute to someone’s existing take on the science of being a blogger, tempered with humour, I suppose. I reckoned that I was enjoying myself, that’s mostly what counted.
A definition of a hobby is this:
n. pl. hob·bies
An activity or interest pursued outside one’s regular occupation and engaged in primarily for pleasure.
The pleasure of blogging comes from the interaction on the world wide web with people who also blog. I believe that social interaction is important at any age. Why is social interaction important for psychological health, I asked Yahoo!.
“Social engagement is associated with a stronger immune system, especially for older adults,” Yahoo! answered. “This means that you are better able to fight off colds, the flu, and even some types of cancer. You will enjoy better mental health.
“Interacting with others boosts feelings of well-being and decreases feelings of depression.”
There are so many avenues that if you have access to the web, there are so many ways to reach people, and fulfill that desire, I know you know this. It is always about more than the dollar, as it should be. I’m not out to make a buck at all, I’m just experimenting with being an optimist.
Recently I found a website page that takes a gander at the satisfaction that goes with the joy of a decent diversion. Human resources psychologist Jessica Beltran addresses it in The Value of Hobbies https://blogs.psychcentral.com/thrive/2014/05/the-value-of-hobbies/ “We are at our best when we are relaxed and in tune with ourselves.”
While we are capitalists, the playing field becomes more narrow if you consider that you can address people with the confidence of having many of the skills that they have. There is any number of stations in the lives we lead, but lots of motivation speakers give the advice to get started with your creations, however possible. “Do hobbies help with their careers?” I asked Yahoo!.
“While it may seem counterintuitive to make time for something outside of work to get ahead at work, career coaches have confirmed that having a hobby can help make you better at your job. Having a hobby helps you learn how to handle work-life stress and think creatively,” answered the search engine.
“What skills are needed to be a critical thinker?” I went on to ask.
In response Yahoo! informed me of several qualities, ten in fact, that you need to be a capable critical thinker:
5 Critical thinking.
10 Logical thinking.
I have additional input.
Accuracy, for starters, I learned about in high school science. Accuracy in that environment is measurably collecting data. To determine accuracy, you might perform the same process several times, with only minor variants, to learn if your method is accurate.
It’s important. Troubleshooting a computer station, for example, requires accuracy.
You need to determine what changes have gone on before and after a problem has happened at your terminal. There is a joke about hapless computer users calling the Windows system crash the Blue Screen of Death, dire-sounding, but which means that you are losing your unsaved work, a bummer. By the way, I enjoyed computer science in high school a lot more than I enjoyed chemistry and physics.
If what you were doing meant nine out of ten times you got a system crash, and then one out of ten times it worked out, hypothetically speaking, you could, if the measurements were accurate, you’re determining that those nine times of system crashes mean that you can’t proceed in that manner. If five out of ten times, your computer works, and five times it doesn’t, you don’t have an accurate idea of what of your commands are leading to the system crash. The results aren’t too useful in that case.
You need to check variables that contribute to your procedure’s success or failure and come up with a more accurate idea of what’s going to work. Once you establish the variables that work out okay, by trial and error, you can figure out which instruction is awakening the Blue Screen of Death.
The second term in Yahoo!’s list is the word adept. Adept means are adroit. Critically, you have to be adept at forming interpretations.
Those I think of as the external–the external is the object or scenario you’re critically thinking about. You need to know what you’re examining, to form a critical judgement. I have two ways for you to do this, and you can read about them a little further in.
Like for me, to decide whether, say, a popular film is “good,” in the sense that the motion picture proves that everybody involved did a good job, you have to understand enough about what makes a good film to be adept at reviewing it. It would help if you’d contributed to the completion of a motion picture, to be properly critical, but it probably suffices to understand the structure of a film, the symbolism in the film visually, and previous attempts to make similar films.
The next term, the word analytical, this is a word like adept, but analytical is more about looking at a critiqued thing that calculates whether you should take it seriously or not. You know what the thing is and what it’s for, but being analytical towards it means judging it in a way that you can comprehend additional specifics about it, forming your external. What does it mean? is an analytical question that you might have about your object or scenario.
You would be analytical concluding that your problem works at all levels.
Next is creativity, a lovely word, for I feel I am creative, as would many bloggers regard themselves. Creativity is reworking an established idea and making it yours. It goes on constantly.
Like, back to film, when a successful film franchise follows up with a sequel, or a reboot, that’s an instance of creativity that is often quite impressive. As with, say, the 1978 horror film Halloween, directed by John Carpenter, when two years later in 1980 the sequel Halloween II came out, again starring famed actress Jamie Lee Curtis, the film continued the story of the first movie by showing a lot more of what happened later that Halloween night, when the mad masked murderer had returned, (ghastly!). However, John Carpenter was no longer directing the film.
Do you like horror films?
Halloween II has the same characters and the same locale and a continuation of the plot of the first film, all interesting for fans of the first movie, just with the point that somebody else is now directing. That’s the creative part, in this example.
Next, Yahoo! repeats the phrase critical thinking. I mean that Yahoo! includes critical thinking among the terms for critical thinking, which begs the question, Yahoo!. I interpreted that as meaning that critical thinking refers here to the overall level of ability the interpreter brings to the noun being thought through critically. It is having the skill to return to thinking critically, in a manner that applies other additional criteria.
In this case, we’re using the handy number ten. The words, I derive, make an agenda for surveying an item or a situation. It is redundant to include the phrase “critical thinking” in a list that explains critical thinking, pointing to a rabbit hole, a burrow that goes on and on when it opens.
You have to be firm with yourself what decisions you will make in the process of critical thinking or you will never conclude. I have a little more to say about that in the conclusion.
Detail-oriented refers to the organizer’s ability to put together a mental assessment of the details that have gone into the subject being thought about critically. A job interview often includes a question along these lines, as in, “If you were taking this job, would you consider yourself a detail-oriented person?” It means getting everything right.
Efficiency is the ability to get things done promptly. You don’t lose time by making redundant decisions; everything works. If you value efficiency, you want your scenario or your object to function smoothly, a swift external.
It means saving time. A lot of people who need to complete many tasks highly value efficiency.
Industriousness refers to having the initiative to take bold steps. Being industrious is good in that a person shows, say, leadership. If what you are critical of is a tool for industriousness, it lends itself to a nature that assists people who have a success rate at reaching goals.
Innovative means thinking outside of the box. Someone innovative has solutions that circumvent traditional stop signs that cause headaches. Being innovative is positive. You should recognize when innovation is happening and that it can have positive results.
Logical thinking is great for being “right.” I first read a little about logical thinking in a high school English class. I was daunted at the time because I’d never known that logical thinking existed like that, and I doubted I could learn enough about it to become competent, bizarrely, I suppose.
I was a diffident youth. I wish I’d got that information earlier in life. My teacher, Ms. M., outlined twelve specific styles of logical thinking and in fact, I wonder if I as yet have that same document.
I should have read it again and again. At times I’ve been proud that I’m not completely obligated to be logical, but I don’t disregard logic. I value things like the structure of an external, and that, for example, requires logic.
Logical thinking when it comes to being critical of a specific external is very useful, for if you can make a logical argument about the nature of your object or situation, you’re external, you are on your way to answering a riddle about it. It is a regret I have that I didn’t take the introduction to logical thinking I got in high school more gravely and go to work at understanding it.
The ten criteria words stop at the letter L. This is all about setting your sights on critically interpreting an external and taking it apart in a way that you can better understand what it means. The terms are building blocks for evaluating your external.
There are some points where the process isn’t going to be scientific. Starting with accurate, you need to look at more than one external and compare them to see how accurate your method is. This word accurate is exciting because you can find parallels that aren’t necessarily immediately self-evident.
You are being analytical because you are trying to make a process occur that is accurate. Those two a-letter words work together to open a method of diagramming your external to better understand what it is.
The next word, adept, is applicable because you need to run your process with adept skill. What I’m doing here is being creative with Yahoo!’s list of critical thinking terms. I’m making the argument that they are useful.
The search engine believes it. So, too, should you. Together the terms have an impact that you can draw upon for inspiration.
It does bother my sensibilities that critical thinking could itself be a term for critical thinking, but as there is a connection between all three a-letter words, so too I noticed a connection between the two c-letter words. Critical thinking and creativity are two different sides of the same coin.
I’ve had to stir my reserve of critical thinking to identify what that means, but it is so. Creativity is letting reason fly in the wind, whereas critical thinking is unearthing the truth about your external that wouldn’t be evident if you didn’t possess some definitions that assist in critical thinking.
For d, we have detail-oriented, taking your analysis and better developing it.
For e, we have efficiency, reducing creativity in favour of a strategy that is more pure critical thinking and not as open-minded as the word creative would imply.
Next, we have i-letter words, industrious and innovative, words that strengthen the process of analyzing the external by accelerating the process. Those words apply to the analyst as much as they apply to the object or scenario being looked at. Being industrious is keeping at it and being innovative is keeping open-minded.
Both these reflect the analyst as much or more than the external being explored. Logical thinking is a phrase that means much the same as analysis. If you took these ten terms, you could assemble them this way: You have the creativity and you have critical thinking (the c-words).
If you want creativity to rule the process of investigating the external, what you have is industriousness and innovation for the matter at hand.
To proceed down the avenue of critical thinking that is more logical and detail-oriented, you can reduce your creative input and begin letting a process unfold without the benefit of a creative assignment. In either case, you need to be adept at thinking, and further, to return to the a-letter words, you are being more purely analytical and accurate if you pursue critical thinking without the requirement of innovation ruling your process. So, your basic process either follows one c-path or the other c-path, critical thinking or creativity and then to round out outreaching your external you have the accuracy, the analytics, the detail-oriented questions, the efficiency and the logical thinking; and down the other c-path, you have industriousness and innovation.
These are subcategories from the ten we started with.
The terms favour an analysis-heavy approach to critical thinking, meaning there are more components of more purely critical thinking than terms that include creativity. Where that leaves us is what I started with, the word hobby. A creative design is better for a hobby; analysis is better suited for more profound comprehension.
All the same, creativity can be as hard to comprehend as analysis. If you reach an external by analysis, it is beginning to fall outside the field of the hobbyist and more closely approach the realm of the expert.
A more complicated external lends itself to critical thinking; a simpler external is suitable for creativity. This isn’t always true, but that’s a guideline that you could start with if you are deciding whether you want to approach an external with a lens of more complicated and comprehensive critical thinking or with a simpler but also effective creative paintbrush, so to speak.
That’s the rabbit hole, that if you don’t have a handle on your creativity, flights of fancy can take you far afield of a suitable stopping place. That’s why creativity isn’t a super useful strategy for analyzing an external that’s become complex. That’s when your critical thinking approach needs to take over.
I’ve enjoyed writing about this, my first post since the April Discover challenges ended. Do you like the idea that a simpler object might benefit from creative analysis and a more complicated object require a more detailed critical analysis? You’re welcome to follow and/or to comment.
Blogging can be an interest for someone who writes, or, perhaps, takes photos, or who wants insight beyond that individual’s regular life and is attainable. In 2019 blogging champions continue to show heart, talent and drive to command gigantic followings, and blog consistently and excellently. While blogging is inventive by nature, innovatory bloggers get all that comprises Internet fame.
1a: public estimation : REPUTATION
b: popular acclaim : RENOWN
2archaic : RUMOR
Engagement rate in influencer marketing is used to measure the level of interaction an influencer typically receives on their content. Simply put, it is the percentage of the influencer’s audience that responds to their content. –Google: What is influencer engagement?
A reader infers that the successful blogger is charming beyond the scope of that blogger’s posts and social media; we are persuaded that the blogger is likable, an excellent chap, full of cheer, and enviable. Likewise, when one compares herself to the other, especially as she is rendered in a blog or on social media, there is a propensity to try to reach that same level as the other, even if many of the details of her life exist chiefly in the imagination, the perspective of the visitor. She becomes human from expectations in the mind.
If you blog, and you are in the early years of your experience as a blogger, and you wish to rise to a level of success you already see in your favorite blogs, you will find yourself learning, if you persist, how and when to post. “Younger” bloggers play a part in the blogosphere. I know that by the time you join, you won’t be thinking about the same conundrum you have now.
You’re welcome to like this post, to follow and to comment, if any of this finds you sympathetic. Remember that bonds on the Internet have a similar significance to bonds in the real world.
I’m Patrick, and I help with the care of Maple Lawn Cemetery in Canada. Our website is this:
To think about pride, like for me familiarity with popular science fiction, it is true that in 2015, enthusiasm for the Star Wars films, Star Wars fandom, soared nearly beyond measure when Lucasfilm presented the Star Wars film The Force Awakens.
The realization was great that appreciation for the popular trilogy of films of the nineteen seventies and eighties was “striking back,” an achievement again like the success of Star Wars in the spring of 1977. George Lucas nearly didn’t get his 1977 film made, according to accounts of what happened, and even though it is true that most film projects whether original in scope or not fail to get made, it is an endearing success story that Lucas made the movie. The phrase “success story” lacks the weight behind what Star Wars actually did to Hollywood cinema, which was as expansive as what became of the Star Wars galaxy a long time ago and far away.
The fervor for Star Wars returning in 2015, helmed by J. J. Abrams, was awe-inspiring. In fact, Star Wars’ ability to create awe is what gives it such a punch. For The Force Awakens, original cast members from 1977 joined a new cast for a continuation of Return of the Jedi.
The Force Awakens was a giant success and seemed to bring with it the promise that Star Wars would be once more returning with aplomb and dedication. Despite unravelling the plot of the original Star Wars films by undoing the Rebel Alliance’s success destroying Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, and failing to bring Harrison Ford, the late Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill together in The Force Awakens, it was implied that untied ends and more importantly the reunion between the actors from the original movies would appear in Star Wars Episode VIII in 2017, directed by Rian Johnson.
Discouragingly, Johnson’s film about Star Wars horrified and divided the Star Wars fandom, by dismantling thoughtlessly a trove of Star Wars lore, failing to shoot what would have been an extremely important reunion of Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa and Han Solo, and, also front and centre, bringing identity politics into the movie.
There has always been a deep-felt pride in Star Wars and while I’m a Canadian, I felt pride when Star Wars returned loud and strong in 2015 with The Force Awakens. Then I felt that pride evaporate when I realized that The Last Jedi is potentially ruining Star Wars, which sounds catastrophic and yet is indeed a possibility. There is every chance that the best science fiction, at least science fiction on film, the best of the entire twentieth century, will be undone if Episode IX fails at the box office.
The rest of Star Wars will be history.
There are voices on the Internet, the fandom, divided by The Last Jedi, that organized and presented a call to Disney to save the glory of Star Wars by insisting CEO Bob Iger and Kathleen Kennedy do the work to successfully market Episode IX, for which we have not yet heard a title or seen a trailer. Star Wars Celebration is in a few days, helping Star Wars on its way. Youtuber and filmmaker Star Wars Theory has promised to upload video he’ll shoot at Celebration. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8CbFnDTYkiVweaz8y9wd_Q
In the event that Episode IX is good, the Star Wars fandom will unite, and pride will spread throughout.
If the film flops, Star Wars will go to that great “clearance bin” in the sky. I hope very much for pride but chances are it is through.
You are welcome to click “like,” to follow the blog, and/or to comment.
I think of The Beatles being a radical success in music history, given the enormity of their popularity, even decades later.However, how does that view of The Beatles relate to contemporary ideas about success, and how it is won?
I have ten reasons I’m suggesting that success like what The Beatles enjoyed is actually a weak link in terms of what it means for the individual to pursue preconceived notions of success and how it is misleading. The first four were presented in a previous blog post. The remaining six are presented here.
Netflix is the leader of the pack, I believe, for video streaming. They devote an enormous budget to original content and their selection of existing content is good. That said, Disney is in the streaming video service market. Netflix in my region is compatible with my Tivo, as are other video streaming services. The selection of videos on Netflix is good. I want to step out of the chain of logic to ask if that implies that Tubi, a free video streaming service also compatible with my Tivo is a weak link. Netflix is a completely enjoyable experience and Tubi is likewise an extra addition to the Tivo I use. It isn’t too hard to say which could be better assessed to be a radical success, in the future. That said, while Netflix has been successful remaining ahead of the curve, Tubi is probably under far less pressure. Does Tubi’s relative weak link status mean that it isn’t a success? It is free to use.
Going forward with the theory that radical success means enormous difficulty, consider the contender that could grab much of Netflix’ market share, Disney. Disney is unlikely to be going anywhere, given its weight as an entertainment brand, being known for its films, television, toys and theme parks.
Which of the two, Netflix or Disney, will be more of the radical success–that a good streaming service can be? Or will they both amount to great success? Disney has built in family appeal, given its products are for both adults and kids alike. Netflix has been building that kind of appeal from scratch, but persistently. Will either Netflix or Disney be a weak link? It seems important to me that entertainment be good, when it is accessed, or experienced.
Netflix has a reputation for spending extravagant amounts of money on shows and films. Disney already has an enormous built-in capacity for success in the future, in addition to plans for its video streaming service.
3. I started this post by saying there is a fiftieth-anniversary release of The White Album coming 11/9. From what I understand about music streaming services, Spotify has a great conversion rate bringing customers from free use of Spotify onto the premium version. I would ask, if taken to task, whether Spotify will be a “weak link.”
From everything I can say, music with Spotify is magnificent. It seems to be an awesome service.
It is understood that The Beatles essentially recorded The White Album live to 8-track tape, and for everything they’d done in the name of their music, they were in fact recording music that would be a bit of a farewell to their fans. If less scrutiny was being given to the music emerging on The White Album, would The Beatles have lasted longer? And recorded songs for longer than they did? I think it is possible, for when something is intended to be “perfect,” it is often a departure the way a pinnacle climbed must then be descended.
4. If you are following my argument, you might guess that the weak link I’m referring to is the former President of the United States, Donald Trump. An example of someone about who there is much to decry that could be a weak link is the President.
As he is someone who was a TV star, I think it is worth mentioning here the radical success that he is known for enjoying and how at the same time the President has mounting problems that he is both a radical success, being wealthy and commanding power, but also a “weak link” in that he could bring down the whole show if he is not effective. President Trump has a knack for appearing with ferocious emphasis again and again in the news, and yet he faces so much criticism and real-life repercussions and consequences that I think he makes a great example of a “weak link” who is at the same time a radical success.
The President brings to mind so many components and elements of radical success gone wrong that it is becoming clearer all the time that the President of the United States is an extremely divisive man. Donald Trump Says China Remix
Motivated to Entrepreneurship
5. The ninth reason I want to assert that a weak link can be very much undermining is the idea that if you begin to succeed as an entrepreneur you can find yourself under more pressure than you ever anticipated facing. Making money is many people’s idea of success, but you usually have to put in years of work to make your dreams come true. And in this scenario, ironically, you yourself could be the weakest link if you don’t meet obstacles well.
Unless you keep improving, day in and day out, you could end up being the weak link in your organization simply owing to the fact that your luck could change. If you have found a strategy that makes you King Midas, turning everything you touch to gold, if all of a sudden your luck changes, you may now be suddenly be faced by weakness. The Secret to Self-Motivation | Gary Vaynerchuk’s GREATEST Motivational Speech Ever!
You need to keep improving and being good. Everything that took you somewhere is behind you; you have to continue to make great decisions. I suspect you’ll see for yourself if you falter.
6. The final reason I want to take back to Geeks + Gamers. If you have someone, like Jeremy, who is comfortable discussing games, films, and sports, an articulate individual, who sees success coming from YouTube, from a Facebook group, from Twitch I suppose, who challenges who is at the top, as with The Last Jedi, I think it is a philosophical note to say that if you are at that pinnacle, there is any number of reasons your descent will be hastened by those who come after you. You have to reach that pinnacle in excellent form; and you have to leave it in such a way that it endures, that there could be a fiftieth-anniversary, that there could be another billion-dollar blockbuster, that there could be a second term. This is all vital, from a philosophical standpoint, what must be done if radical success, like the kind that spreads all around the globe, is to be achieved and then preserved. CLICKBAIT : A YOUTUBE STORY
If you have read this, please feel free to “like,” “follow,” and/or comment.
Too much stress, “bad” stress, can weaken you, deplete your resources and waste scarce time if you are not dealing with your lifestyle well. Everybody endures stress.
Getting older, I believe that lifestyles of Generation Z are significantly common, but I am from a small town. It is important to obey the Biblical commandment, to honor thy mother and father. As the father did before you, if you are of a certain age, you too need to heed that you are following appropriately in his steps.
That being said, there is lightness. I think with a touch of envy of the comparative ease of the generation of young people often collectively referred to as Generation Z. That doesn’t mean that I can compete with the energy of the young and of the attitudes which characterize them, different than for someone my age.
Someone like me, I feel, is part of a culture that values stress, that putting a great deal of work into a lifetime is a necessity. There’s nothing wrong with that.
However, it means fulltime people endure an enormous amount of stress. The more hours of work we take on, to make ends meet, the more stress we cope with.
I believe stress can easily bend one to its will rather than the other way round. It is all very hard to manage.
In the film sequence preceding the climax of the 1978 feature film Superman, Lex Luthor conquers Superman with a chain of Kryptonite, until Superman makes a personal promise to Luthor’s beautiful assistant in order that she remove the powerful amulet–but a promise that puts at risk the woman who has his heart, Lois Lane. All in all, it is an excellent film.
What I did, in my life, is an irregular passage through the years. In 2008 when my employer closed its doors, I went on to work a part-time job while reflecting on what to do with my future Then I went full time on government disability, as it was felt that I’d been “compromised” enough to give up on making a living through the avenue of work.
I had been reading some books on self-management and I didn’t think the stress of a new workplace was going to benefit me enough to do it.
A few years later, my father, perhaps frustrated by my reluctance, had an idea. He was retiring from many years with a municipal cemetery, where he’d helped manage it from its offices.
A small cemetery in our town was searching for new operators. It attracted him, and the trustees of that property were pleased to turn it over to him, so that he could direct it, pleased to have a focus in his retirement.
To my surprise, my dad invited me to help handle the operation of the cemetery. We commenced in 2011. The church at the cemetery, formerly of the United Church of Canada, had disbanded in 2006.
We maintain the property ourselves, and work in the interior of the church in dire weather, setting our sights on attending to the cemetery once a week. We made a not-for-profit out of it. While I am junior, and there is no certainty how matters will proceed, in the seven years or so, lucky seven, that we’ve handled the cemetery, it has been a luxury of time and experience for me and an opportunity to enjoy the company of my father in his golden years.
We have had outside help from brothers of my father, my uncles. On a few brief occasions we have talked about growth, but I don’t know if I can turn this venture into something in which I can continue in the long-term. This post is intended to be expository writing, but working for a not-for-profit, when financial gains are generally hard-won, can lead to burnout, and to a minor degree that is what I am experiencing.
You see, I contribute several hours a week of work to the cemetery, and as my dad has spoken reassuringly of the flexibility to set our own hours, I have lately started to reduce my workload to a four-day week rather than a five-day.
I can’t help, for example, but want to relax on Saturday. I think the decision to work less on Fridays is somewhat deleterious in that if you want to get ahead, you should probably be hustling with the same energy on a Friday that you do on a Monday.
I couldn’t help, in the past several weeks, to admit that the stress of putting nonprofit work at the center of my life, was making me feel a touch sick, by which I mean I was experiencing burnout. I am sure this is common.
Whether this transition, to four days of focus on the cemetery rather than on each and every business day, will contribute to a soul-searching decision by my dad to relieve me of my work, I don’t know. I think what will determine my chances of staying on are the quality of work I can produce in the time I devote to the not-for-profit.
How this has me feeling, perhaps, “sick,” is that I do care about working and I do feel some prestige enjoying the privilege of doing work that is shaped by our own efforts. This is in contrast to working for a firm that is structured in predictable ways, with employee equity and positions and demands which could easily contribute to a high-stress load.
I am taking this risk because I believe I can do better work if I make strategies to cope with the burnout before there are related consequences. I am counting on my own experience and abilities to do the same quality of work in a four-day structure than I would be getting done by committing the entirety of the work week to headway and progress.
I am sick to think of losing what I have worked for, and I am sick to think of bringing shame onto my father if the quality of my work does suffer because I am having trouble being afield of all that we do. I feel like I should write something about feeling troubled by what I have to do to manage my role as operator, and maybe even think on how I could express an appropriate apology for how I am feeling.
Writing is the act of discovery. – Natalie Goldberg
If my father does finally decide, which I know he won’t do lightly, that I should be dismissed, it will be a sad day and for that, I will pay a price, of having the failure on my shoulders. If that scenario comes to pass I will take time to mend. It may be a self-centered attitude, but the best that can be done in the face of failure is to learn from what happened.
Everyone has experienced failure, and usually many, many times, sometimes with adverse consequences.
If you have never failed, you have stayed well inside your comfort zone. Life needs to change and grow.
If my role in the not-for-profit does end in failure, I will at least have work experience. I think I can draw on the time spent at this to draw conclusions that will inform my life in the future. The situation that I think could result, however, is not going to be completely ideal.
It will be back to being “sick,” resorting to making ends meet with the help of a pension for disability, and with the support of my mom and dad. Ain’t no one got time for that. I will have then have the opportunity to look for a job if I feel I can weather the stress, or return to freelancing and try to find my niche doing that.
Many members of Generation Z work as freelancers in the digital economy, and I would be competing with all of those people, which is daunting. That being said, there are a few paths ahead for me to take and I will have to ask for guidance from fate and the intentions of The Lord. I know I shouldn’t emphasize feeling sick about all this and I know I shouldn’t take on a job post that gives me more additional stress than I can handle.
For now, I will bide my time–for as much clarity as I can muster.
You are welcome to like, follow, and/or comment if you have feedback. Lately, the blog has been fairly quiet, in terms of visits it receives, but you never know when some I’ve published here will pique the interest of a reader.
I appreciate the time of those who are visitors. I have been tying my blog to the not-for-profit, and also trying to be jovial as I know it is as yet an amateur effort. I feel blogging will continue to play a role in the time I have to write, as it is a splendid little spot of fun that has a pragmatic purpose.
“let us remember that ending poverty is not a matter of charity but a question of justice.”
— UN Secretary-General, António Guterres
A few weeks ago Facebook faced a big data breach, which isn’t helping, I understand, in efforts to keep people’s trust invested in the social media platform.
I probably shouldn’t have overlooked the existing structure for receiving donations when I published this post this summer. I meant to say that the volunteers who run Maple Lawn Cemetery, where I work, don’t presently ask for donations on Facebook, because we are only a small page and we don’t have the budget with which to work.
Perhaps in the future, but admittedly unlikely, we could bring onboard someone younger to help with carrying out our operations with the help of Facebook, but at the present I am aware of the mess Facebook has run into owing to its exposed dealings with Cambridge Analytica and what that has done to Facebook’s credibility as a social media platform and to its use for small business (and in recent news the data breach). I want to give Facebook the benefit of the doubt that they will continue to improve their situation and remain effective as a tool for small business. I am optimistic that it will remain a good idea to publicize our work on Facebook.
Now is almost certainly not the best time to try to begin raising funds on Facebook, as the bad publicity is undeniable, I feel, but with Giving Tuesday still ahead in November I do want to keep my hand in the game in case the situation changes for the better. A little more money could certainly serve our needs. I am more concerned that Facebook will continue to grow to mean that the business page for our not-for-profit remains useful… https://www.facebook.com/LouthUnited
I am involved with a small business. We operate a cemetery which otherwise has no one to care for it.
This blog is nominally tied to it. I believe blogging is an opportunity to be involved with others who are similarly inclined to write blog posts.
I am the junior employee, and I help with grounds keeping. I also assist work inside the disbanded church which is on the grounds of the cemetery, and provide some of the cemetery’s presence on the Internet (on Facebook, and also here: www.maplelawncemetery.org).
The senior employee is Peter.
Occasionally volunteers lend a hand with the maintenance work. We have had work done by my nephew Mack, by family friends Bill and Gerard, and by my father’s brothers Paul and Dave.
We began in 2012, six years after the church closed its doors for the last time. The cemetery is small.
To write this post, I researched federal Canadian controversies over nonprofits. LIVE WELL, DO GOOD‘s David McConkey has provided specifics about giving or receiving charitable donations.
What he is saying on his website inspired what I thought about making donations.
One of the reasons that we see ourselves a little like volunteers is that, although typically we would accept donations, we are not a registered charity. In Canada, it is my understanding that only donations to registered charities qualify for an income tax credit. This means that there is less incentive for parties interested in what we do to bestow us with any kind of gift.
This isn’t a big problem, as there isn’t a lot of overhead to go with maintaining a cemetery of this size, but it does make campaigns such as November’s annual Giving Tuesday affair somewhat troubled waters. We can’t return the favor of a donation with an income tax deduction.
Statistics Canada has found that almost everyone (ninety-four percent of those fifteen years old and older) makes charitable donations. Sometimes these can be valuable art items.
Despite not being able to provide a tax break, I imagine we would consider accepting donations. While we are a touch cautious about the possibility of a federal audit, I will probably make some noise again about Giving Tuesday come November.
I don’t like to spin my wheels, but nothing good comes easy. Perhaps by repeating an interest in Giving Tuesday, I will start to unlock chains that keep us out of what works about Giving Tuesday. We’re working at a cemetery, which demands solemn thinking and which is literally a retreat for visitors who miss their loved ones.
Statistics Canada has found that donors who plan ahead give more than others. As we are involved year-round with people choosing their final resting place or the resting place of their loved ones, perhaps this is something we could investigate if we were looking at how to raise funds for the cemetery. That being said, to date we have not had a problem caring for the church and cemetery, so we are not under any pressure to need to strenuously keep up the maintenance of the place running smoothly.
CanadaHelps.org is a registered charity that facilitates online donations. They work with thousands of charities. They issue receipts and forward your donation to a charity you specify, less a three percent transaction fee.
Although my dad is a senior citizen, I can foresee us working until any set point in the future. I really don’t know at this time how far into the future we should project, but as helping with the cemetery is the best bet I have for autonomy and independence, I will do the best I can to keep working at caring for the cemetery and for the disbanded church. I also intend to keep an active presence on Facebook, and here on WordPress.
Bill Clinton’s book helped inspire David McConkey’s thoughts on income tax credits and how to take advantage of them. I invite you to visit us on Facebook. You may also ask any question you might have of me here on WordPress, over on Quora, or on Twitter.
If you have a question which I might possibly be able to answer for you, I would be glad to help. I appreciate that you took the time to visit.
To visually illustrate this post, I have included a couple of shots taken myself, and in addition a couple of stock photos intended to better illustrate some of the information, without being verbose. Thank you for bearing with me.