NaNoWriMo is a bit closer . . .

. . . and I’m still trying to find a voice for my detective story. A plot  would be nice as well, but for now I will settle for something that sounds like a detective story. A few people were interested in my Test Sample No. 1, and that’s nice; we’ll see where I go with that, if not for NaNoWriMo, shortly after.

There are a couple of variants, or types, of detectives stories. I read that somewhere, but I don’t want to look them up. I’m going to do this based on what I think is a detective story.

Before I continue, let me take a short detour. A few months ago I wrote the author Mary Robinette Kowal. And I mean physically wrote her, as in a handwritten letter. I did it because I was intrigued by her “Contact” information.

She said that if someone writes her, she will answer in kind, with a physical letter. 

I wrote, she responded, and I just mailed off the reply to her response. That’s where it will stop, as I don’t know the lady personally, and as she is an established author, I’m sure she gets lots of ‘friends’ requests from people wanting to break into the field. 

It kind of sucks because almost anyone I would actually be interested in having a conversation with has to rightly be concerned with the motive behind anyone wanting to converse. I assume it’s the same thing for the stinking (or, if you prefer, filthy) rich. They can probably never be sure of the sincerity of “friends” unless the friends are also filthy rich. I imagine that is one reasons why authors have other authors as friends. 

But, the detour I spoke of is not about that. The detour is about my writing . . . I used to get compliments whenever anyone used to read anything I wrote longhand. I had skillz, or so I was told, in the calligraphy department. Here’s an examples of a world-building worksheet from way back when.

Story worksheet of old

Now, I say I got compliments, but I never thought my handwriting as notworthy . . . but I could write without making mistakes, and fairly uniformly. That writing was put down without a concern for penmanship or the thought that anyone would ever read it . . . that was for me, and written without being aware of the process itself.

That worksheet is from the late 80s . . . I just found it in a notebook, along with lots of other stories ideas, all written at a time when I owned a business and had no time to actually write stories. I outlined, but did not write. Now I write, but don’t outline.

My penmanship was still passable in 2011; I have proof, in the form of three handwritten posts spanning the time from February through August:

Handwritten Post

Handwritten Post 04MAR2011

Handwritten_13AUG2011

Three years later, and my writing is uneven, stilted, I struggle with writing letters clearly, and I make a lot of mistakes (wrong letters, missing letters, etc.)

I think in part it’s because I can type much faster than write longhand, and my brain has become accustomed to a certain speed of transcribing thoughts into words. Thus, when I write longhand, my brain is a few words ahead of what I am actually writing.

So, what does that have to do with NaNoWriMo? 

No, I’m not writing the whole thing longhand, but I did write the NaNoWriMo Test Sample No 2 out in longhand.

Yes, I need to practice writing more, and I aim to do just that, but mostly stream of consciousness stuff.

Just out of curiosity, could everyone read that? Yes, I’m asking the two or three people who actually clicked on the link.

Oh, by the way . . . that is what my raw story output looks like, even when typed on a keyboard. There are a few sentences I would reword, a couple of words I would swap, but for the most part, not too bad. Not too bad, that is, in my opinion and possibly the opinion of someone who can also read it. I mean, I can read it, but I’m not a doctor or a lawyer; I can read my own handwriting.

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.

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Note: if you are not reading this blog post at Disperser.Wordpress.com, know that it has been copied without permission, and likely is being used by someone with nefarious intention, like attracting you to a malware-infested website.  Could be they also torture small mammals.

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Please, if you are considering bestowing me recognition beyond commenting below, refrain from doing so.  I will decline blogger-to-blogger awards.   I appreciate the intent behind it, but I prefer a comment thanking me for turning you away from a life of crime, religion, or making you a better person in some other way.  That would mean something to me.

If you wish to know more, please read below.

About awards: Blogger Awards
About “likes”:   Of “Likes”, Subscriptions, and Stuff

Note: to those who may click on “like”, or rate the post; if you do not hear from me, know that I am sincerely appreciative, and I thank you for noticing what I do.

. . .  my FP ward  . . . chieken shit.

Posted in Creative, Fiction, Musings Stuff, Personal, Writing, Writing Stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

NaNoWriMo is still just around the corner

I came across a video earlier . . . this 18-years-old disabled kid is playing pranks on people. You can read about it HERE

Something occurred to me; the same thing that occurred to me when the show Scare Tactics was popular.

Let’s say I am walking in a parking structure, and a guy crawls out from behind a car, one arm and one leg gone, leaving what appears a trail of blood after him, and asking for help.

Immediately after, the sound of a chainsaw, and a guy wielding said chainsaw comes out and makes a move toward me.

Roughly one second later (two if I’m wearing a coat) there is a very good chance the guy with the chainsaw would have at least two bullets in him. More, if he did not immediately fall.

The thing is, it need not be me; it could be an off-duty cop, or some other person authorized to carry a gun.

I say that, but it could just be I pull the gun and the guys stop the act, both yelling at me not to shoot. Perhaps I hear them, perhaps not. Stress in what is perceived as a life-and-death situation does things to a person; it has physical effects. 

What bothers me is that while that would be my likely response, imagine someone with a weak heart. Imagine a healthy person who turns and runs, and slams into a car or wall, or runs, slips and falls, banging their head in the process, and so on.

The kid is held up as an inspirational role model, and perhaps his other efforts are such. This effort? Not so much. 

There are some people who enjoys watching videos of people scaring other people . . . not me. My typical response is a desire to beat the shit out of people who see it as fun to literally terrorize others . . . now, that would be funny to see.

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Anyway, I now have that off my chest . . . on to NaNoWriMo.

I did say I was doing a detective story, and that’s still my plan. However, while that’s still my plan, it’s been a long while since I read Mike Hammer and Philip Marlowe. Heck, I don’t even have the books anymore; I don’t know if I can duplicate in writing the tone I hear in my head (or imagine I hear in my head; I ain’t got no words yet). 

And that’s besides the worry about calling women “dames with great gams and not afraid to show them”. 

Them days have passed, and we now firmly reside in the PC era (and I don’t mean computers).

So, I tried a little experiment . . . an experiment in writing.

NaNoWriMo Test Sample No. 1
Copyright E. J. D’Alise – 2014

“Next!” I yelled out the word toward the open door as I reached for the next resume in the pile.

Even before she walked through the door I knew what she was. The resume had only a few words on it: “Mech with extensive training”

I don’t have anything against Mechs. The way I figure it, we’re all poor bastards trying to make it through our stinking lives, and what’s inside of each of us didn’t matter.

Mechs had won their independence just last year after more than fifteen years of legal battles and many clashes with people who did not think they deserved a place in society. Some people still thought they did not deserve a place in society, but the courts had spoken.

I looked up, and she was already in the room. I had not heard anything, and she was only five feet away. Spooky. Spooky, and pretty. Spooky, pretty, and tall. Had I been standing, she would have cleared my five-foot-eight by at least another half a foot, and that’s with flats on.

I motioned toward the chair. She sat, and I was struck by the fluidity of her movements. Think liquid cat.

I looked at the face because I did not want to look at the form below it. Well, that’s not true. I wanted very much to look at what supported that face, but Mech or not, I had been taught not to stare. I started to wonder if she had been an entertainment model. They were the most screwed up of all the models, still struggling to find their identity and self-worth.

“Military.”

Holy cow. I stared at her with what in retrospect I’m sure was an open mouth. Military. That meant a number of things. She had already served at least two tours against the Russian-Chinese alliance, and she had been in service for at least fifteen years.

I had never seen a model older than ten service years look anywhere near as good. Or move as fluidly. Or be as intuitive.

“Covert Operations. Decommissioned two months ago.”

I closed my mouth, gathering my wits in the process.

“Uh . . . are you reading my mind?”

She did not smile. Quite the opposite. Her neutral expression gave a little, showing instead . . . well, I could not quite read it. Perhaps sorrow? Perhaps frustration? A little resignation?

“No. It’s just that everyone has the same questions.” She stood as she continued. “I understand your reluctance. I appreciate you seeing me.”

She made to turn just as I spoke.

“Sit, please, Miss . . . there’s no name on your data sheet.”

She stopped in mid-fluid stride, looking back at me. She hesitated for a few seconds before returning to the chair.

“Raven”

“Just Raven?”

“Raven . . . 17”

I regarded her for a few of my own seconds, and then stood.

I went to the door, looked out at the waiting room, and told the rest they could go home. I did not wait for responses; I closed the door and went back to my desk.

Raven looked at me, no emotion showing.

“How do you know I’ll take the job,” she asked.

“I haven’t offered the job,” I answered.

“I see.” She stood once more.

“Covert operation did not include any entertainment functions.” Her tone had taken an icy quality.

“Well, don’t expect me to teach you. I’m kind of way out of practice.”

I leaned back into the chair as I spoke, used one foot to pull out the lower desk drawer, and rested the same foot on it. It felt good taking the weight of of it.

She hesitated, then sat back down.

“Is this the interview?” Her question was formed as she straightened her shoulders, composing herself in preparation to questions she assumed I would ask.

“Yup.”

We sat there looking at each other for a good two minutes. Enjoyable minutes I used to memorize her face.

“I’m ready,” she finally said.

“Great,” I answered, “ask away.”

“What?” Confusion just made her look prettier.

. . . . to be continued . . . .

I stopped right there because I was getting carried away . . . I was way past testing tone (which, by the way, does not sound quite like the tone I wanted), and into an interesting story. At least interesting to me.

Damn! Sometimes I hate being a discovery (meaning: seat-of-the-pants) writer. I want to read that story something fierce. 

If I do continue, and use that as the start of the NaNoWriMo novel, I’ll have to write at least 50,700 words. 

Damn and double-damn! 

. . . and I still have to do a few more writing tests; with my luck, I’ll have three or four new stories ideas all clamoring to get out into the world.

How the hell is a guy supposed to get any work done!?

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.

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Note: if you are not reading this blog post at Disperser.Wordpress.com, know that it has been copied without permission, and likely is being used by someone with nefarious intention, like attracting you to a malware-infested website.  Could be they also torture small mammals.

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Please, if you are considering bestowing me recognition beyond commenting below, refrain from doing so.  I will decline blogger-to-blogger awards.   I appreciate the intent behind it, but I prefer a comment thanking me for turning you away from a life of crime, religion, or making you a better person in some other way.  That would mean something to me.

If you wish to know more, please read below.

About awards: Blogger Awards
About “likes”:   Of “Likes”, Subscriptions, and Stuff

Note: to those who may click on “like”, or rate the post; if you do not hear from me, know that I am sincerely appreciative, and I thank you for noticing what I do.

. . .  my FP ward  . . . chieken shit.

Posted in Creative, Fiction, Musings Stuff, Personal, Writing, Writing Stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Crow, Hawk, Falcon and no Snowman

For them who don’t know it, I shoot birds. My weapon of choice is the D7000, and my caliber of choice, weather-permitting, tops out at 400mm.

Sunday was a beautiful day . . . so we went for a short drive on some of the unpaved backroads near where we live.

We drank coffee, listened to music, and spoke about potential places we might move to. Oh, and yes, I had my Nikon D7000 with the 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D VR lens.

That’s right . . . I was hunting hawks.

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

For them not familiar with birds, that’s a crow. There were two crows on that partial fence, and I so bad wanted a picture of them so I could caption it ‘Attempted Murder’.

Unfortunately, by the time I stopped the car and grabbed the camera, one flew one way, and the other flew the other way. I settled for capturing one.

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

. . . I do like that lens . . .

The drive itself was about one hour, driving at a leisurely pace, and stopping to occasionally watch something or other. A few of the stops, like the one above, did involve birds.

By the way, as usual interested parties can click on the photos for a larger version, or go to the SmugMug Gallery HERE.

Although I had not been hopeful, we did see a few hawks. Many were circling high above, but some were perched on power poles.

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

These roads are not well-traveled . . . in fact, they don’t travel at all; they are always here, and, that I know of, have no plans to see the world.

Also, there’s not much traffic on them, and that makes the hawks kind of skittish when a car stops, an old man gets out, and he points something huge at them.

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

This one looks positively mean; they usually sport sort of a goofy look; you know, like teenagers . . . this one must be older.

Them who have read my many hawk posts know that a good signal a hawk is about to take off is that it . . . er . . . evacuates. I missed the act with this next shot, but not by much.

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

One last look back at the advancing human . . . 

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

. . . and it’s outta here . . . 

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

It’s been a while since I’ve shot hawks, so I was happy with these results, especially since the bird did not let me get very close.

This particular drive took us by an old barn I like. I like it primarily because of the texture of the wood.

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

But I also like the bird openings.

I’ve never seen birds in those openings, but I can imagine a time gone by when pigeons, doves, or baby dragons would poke their heads out to take their first look at a cold and uncaring world. They are all gone now; some exterminated, some moved into subdivisions, and some are off as extras on a popular HBO series.

We continued along the road discussing the plusses and minuses of various geographic locations. We like the idea of Alaska, just as we like the idea of Hawaii, of Washington, of Wyoming, of  . . . holy crap on a cracker! What was that!?

We had just turned a corner, the road emerging into an open area after having wound through densely wooded terrain, and a very fast bird flew in front of us, banked, and landed on a pole ahead of us. 

Too small for a hawk, too big for a Kestrel, I held my hopes in check as I neared. I parked at some distance so as not to spook the bird, still hoping for . . . 

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

Yes!

A Prairie Falcon!

I’d caught glimpses of them before, or what I thought might have been falcons, but had yet to photograph one. Obviously, one of the many imaginary gods (I’m hoping it was Zeus) had prompted us to go on this drive just so I could finally capture one.

The SmugMug gallery has more photos since I was following my bird protocol:
1) get out of the car, acquire target, and shoot off a few photos.
2) keep camera trained on bird, and advance 3-4 steps; shoot a few more photos.
3) repeat #2 until close enough or the bird flies off.

The photos seem like the same ones, but each were shot from a position closer than the previous.

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

Since I crop to the same size, successive shots show the bird as a larger portion of the frame.

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

Also, as the angle changed, I ended up nearly behind it, but that could not be helped.

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

And then it took off . . . holy crap on a cracker, look at that wingspan!

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

I would have loved a frontal shot, but I’ll take what I can get. 

Unlike hawks, these birds move once in flight. These are close crops of shots taken as the bird was moving away pretty quickly . . . did I mention I like this lens?

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

Beautiful bird, and I was happy for the chance to finally capture one for this digital canvas.

Did you notice it checking me out as it was flying off? It’s like if we were kindred spirits; it flying off to the freedom of the sky, and me stuck on this rock with politicians, celebrities, and people from various backgrounds with one thing in common . . . mostly, a professed disdain for critical thinking.

We continued our drive, Hawaii gaining points for waves and weather, but losing points for affordability and being able to get away from people . . . it’s an island, and a popular one at that; people are stuffed in every nook and cranny of the place.

On the way back home we chanced on another Red-tailed hawk, and this one played Power-Wires-Poles with me. The game works thus . . . 

. . . I pull up 40 feet or so from the pole where it’s perched, get out of the car, and start snapping as I walk closer . . . 

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

Note one leg pulled up under its plumage. Anyway, as I get closer, it takes off . . . 

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

Good take-off, and look at the shots it offered up . . . 

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

. . . awesome bird, and I’m really pleased with this next shot . . . 

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

Look at that form! Look at that visage!

Strength, determination, intensity, the very embodiment of qualities admired by humans the world round . . . except these birds, like many birds that are not crows, are dumber than a doornail.

You see, it flew a wide arc, and landed on a pole about a hundred yards ahead of our location . . . I hop on the car, drive to within 40-50 feet, and repeat .

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

. . . slightly blurred, but I included it to show it had landed . . .

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

More majestic flying, displays of agility and flying prowess as it flew a wide arc, and landed on a pole about a hundred yards ahead of our location . . . I hop on the car, drive to within 40-50 feet, and repeat .

This time it does not wait for me to get fully out of the car . . . it’s learning.

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

Birds, Hawks, Falcons

Again, magnificent bird . . . and it flew a wide arc, and landed on a pole about a hundred yards ahead of our location . . . I hop on the car, drive to within 40-50 feet, and repeat .

Except, something must have clicked on it’s tiny bird brain. This time it flies off toward a distant hill before I can get off a shot. I don’t even make it out of the car.

The rest of the drive was uneventful. 

Returning from these drives is a bit like returning to civilization . . . it’s kind of depressing even as we hold onto the memories of what we’ve seen.

Nothing has been resolved as far as places to move. Meanwhile, the world around us continues to go to crap, even as some myopic individuals continue to assert “no, no, it’s all good”.

Amazing how small the world looks when searching for a place away from the things of man.

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ o o o o o o ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Yodeling

Yodeling

Astute persons might have noticed these doodles, and correctly surmised they hold some significance for me, and perhaps for humanity at large.  

If you click on the doodle, and nothing happens, this is the link it’s supposed to go to: http://disperser.wordpress.com/2011/12/26/palm-vx-and-i/.

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Note: if you are not reading this blog post at Disperser.Wordpress.com, know that it has been copied without permission, and likely is being used by someone with nefarious intention, like attracting you to a malware-infested website.  Could be they also torture small mammals.

<><><><><><><><o><><><><><><><><><o><><><><><><><>

Please, if you are considering bestowing me recognition beyond commenting below, refrain from doing so.  I will decline blogger-to-blogger awards.   I appreciate the intent behind it, but I prefer a comment thanking me for turning you away from a life of crime, religion, or making you a better person in some other way.  That would mean something to me.

If you wish to know more, please read below.

About awards: Blogger Awards
About “likes”:   Of “Likes”, Subscriptions, and Stuff

Note: to those who may click on “like”, or rate the post; if you do not hear from me, know that I am sincerely appreciative, and I thank you for noticing what I do.

. . .  my FP ward  . . . chieken shit.

Posted in Birds, Hawks, Photography, Photography Stuff, Prairie Falcon, Red-Tailed Hawk | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

NaNoWriMo is just around the corner

In 2012 I wrote I did not see the point of NaNoWriMo, as I thought I already had what it took to write a novel.

Let me clarify that statement . . . I already knew I could write a 50K novel, the supposed reason for doing NaNoWriMo. That is not bravado; nearly anyone can put down 50K words in a month. 

The quality of those words? That’s another story, but one can certainly type 50K words in one month. 

Witness the 2013 NaNoWriMo, and me jumping into it. After a few updates (I, II, III, IV), I stopped writing because we were gone from home for the last few weeks of November . . . traveling is not conducive to writing, especially if the travel includes long days visiting friends, and longer days visiting Disney parks and resorts.

That’s right, I stopped NaNoWriMo with 14,000 words to go . . . and did not pick up the story again until February. Actually, I started posting chapters in February, concurrent to my other writing effort N.E.O. . . . and Fall of Angels . . . and a bunch of short stories.

I finished the Untitled NaNoWriMo novel in June. The entire (password protected) novel is HERE. The summation of my experience is HERE.

Some have suggested I should polish the story up, and send it in. 

What do they mean ‘polish’? I thought it was already polished!

Seriously, I know of at least one author whose NaNoWriMo effort went on to be published into a book. HERE Mary Robinette Kowal shows her outline for Shades of Milk and Honey, a novel she wrote for NaNoWriMo. Don’t worry if you have not read the book; the original outline was modified, so this version won’t spoil anything.

Outlining . . . I look at outliners with some envy even as I can’t see myself doing it.

HERE Ms. Kowal delves in how the sequel, Glamour in Glass, was plotted out, and HERE the process of outlining itself is expanded on and explained.

I link all that here because some writers (and people who are thinking of writing) might contemplate doing NaNoWriMo, and outlining might be just the thing to help them along.

I should also point out the books I mentioned above fall under the Regency genre, and their style and plot convention deriving from the works of Jane Austen.  

I have not read any of them, and are not likely to read them. I also have not read Jane Austen. I say that hesitantly as I was in a number number of advanced English classes in High School and University, so there is a chance I might have been given one of her books as an assigned read.

If I did, I do not remember, and that is a strong indication of my feelings about her works . . . I remember books that make even a mild impression on me.

Note to all the Austen fans: I’m not disparaging the author or her works. I am sure they are fine pieces of fiction worthy, perhaps, of even being considered classics, but they are not my cup of tea (pun intended). It it makes Austen fans feel any better, I don’t like Shakespeare, either (even as I write this, I know that if I ever “make it” as a writer, I will be despised and shunned by other writers – not a problem per se as I have a long history of being despised and shunned).

Where were we . . . oh, yeah . . . NaNoWriMo and outlining. 

In twelve day’s time I will be embarking on my second NaNoWriMo effort, and this time I don’t have any travel plans. Short of some emergency, disease, alien attack, or meteor strike, a novel will be written and finished next month.

Unlike last year, where I just started writing without a thought to character, plot, or even genre, this year will be different.

I am going to formulate a plan, and stick to it.

I plan on writing a detective novel. 

. . . what? . . . what do you mean “and?”

That’s it; that’s my plan. 

What? No, I don’t know the characters or plot . . . I assume that will come to me as I start writing. 

Hey! What do you mean “it’s not much of a plan?”  It’s more than I had last year! Baby steps, man; baby steps!

Look, I think I can draw on my experience and write a detective novel. Sure, my experience is not as solid as some authors in the genre, but I think writing about a private dick will come to me fairly easy since I am often referred to by that moniker, and I am a fairly private person.

Things will work out, you’ll see.

By the way, as I mention HERE, I will only post the first few chapters, and all subsequent chapters will be only accessible with a password.

Anyway, I need to go prepare for the ordeal of writing a whole novel in thirty days . . . I need to eat some blueberry pie with ice cream, watch some TV with melisa, snack some more, look at my pictures, maybe do some bills, check some e-mails . . . in other words, anything to pass the time between now and the GO! moment on November 1st.

For them who also plan to write a novel, you can join a community HERE. You can register, get tips, be offered support and advice, join word count competitions, and if you make it, you can get a nifty certificate.

Me? Oh, no, that’s not for me; that sounds like socializing. 

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.

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Note: if you are not reading this blog post at Disperser.Wordpress.com, know that it has been copied without permission, and likely is being used by someone with nefarious intention, like attracting you to a malware-infested website.  Could be they also torture small mammals.

<><><><><><><><o><><><><><><><><><o><><><><><><><>

Please, if you are considering bestowing me recognition beyond commenting below, refrain from doing so.  I will decline blogger-to-blogger awards.   I appreciate the intent behind it, but I prefer a comment thanking me for turning you away from a life of crime, religion, or making you a better person in some other way.  That would mean something to me.

If you wish to know more, please read below.

About awards: Blogger Awards
About “likes”:   Of “Likes”, Subscriptions, and Stuff

Note: to those who may click on “like”, or rate the post; if you do not hear from me, know that I am sincerely appreciative, and I thank you for noticing what I do.

. . .  my FP ward  . . . chieken shit.

Posted in Creative, Fiction, Musings Stuff, Personal, Writing, Writing Stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Sunday With My Thoughts – Death

I’ve mentioned before I hold death responsible for the birth, and continuation, of most religions.

I may or may not have spoken to the perspective the view of death gives on this life. Of course, I cannot realistically speak to a perspective other than my own . . . but I can give my observational perspective.

Death.

At first brush, it seems like a simple thing to define, but it turns out it’s not that simple. The definition, you see, is tied to how we define life. I say that because death is simplistically defined as the absence of life and ‘life’ is difficult to define.

For instance, we are organisms composed of matter arranged in an arguably complex, almost chaotic, system. The problem is we say we are alive, but matter itself is not “alive”. Just because we have some of the same chemicals found in a rock, it does not imply those chemicals, or that rock, are themselves alive.

Somewhere there is a threshold, the transition from inert matter, to parts, to an arrangement of parts that functions as a machine. We are, looking at it very simplistically, the same as an automobile, with nature playing the role of a car manufacturer.

Don’t laugh . . . we have an engine, run on fuel, operate with electrical signals, and fluid is a necessity for us to operate. In addition, we are loud, produce noxious fumes, and tend to need a lot of upkeep.

This idea is not new, going back more than two thousand years . . . and it may be what gave birth to the idea of a ‘soul’ or ‘lifeforce’ or ‘breath of life’, or any concepts of an outside agency being necessary for what are essentially raw materials assembling themselves into living organisms.

This then, I imagine, must have been reinforced when considering the cognitive abilities differences between, say, a politician and a weasel. Surely there must be more to a politician than a weasel!?

Well, no, but taking humans in totality and weasels in totality, one can certainly argue for a difference in favor of humanity (barely).

Where I am going with this? The weasel, you see, does not know it’s a weasel. It just wants to eat, sleep, and occasionally reproduce. Even using “want” may be generous . . . it has drives based on the needs of its form.

It turns out most complex forms we call “alive” have similar drives . . . they have a drive to survive (eat, drink, sleep) and reproduce.

Humans have the same drives (except some, like me, don’t have the drive to reproduce – a result of a higher cognitive ability than, say, politicians . . . or weasels; take your pick).

But, humans have something else, something lacking in most other organisms . . . a measure of self-awareness. As a direct result, they also assign themselves an amazing amount of self-importance.

Because of it, many humans find the need, the drive, to define themselves as more than just inanimate matter functioning in the guise of a sophisticated machine.

Death . . . I took a long detour to get here, and I’m only skimming the surface of very complicated subjects.

Are they really that complicated? Yes, when it comes to biology, medicine, law, and whatever other human consideration comes into play . . . but in some ways, not.

Regardless of the arguments and debates of what is life, and when it ends, we all recognize that at some point our bodies no longer contain the self-aware entity that is us.

In fact, the body may still be alive, and be artificially kept alive for months, even years, without anyone seeing the equivalent of a candle on a windowsill indicating someone is home. But we, as humans, as fellow inhabitants of similar machines, certainly know when someone is no more.

At some point the complex machine interacted, contributed, was compassionate, was happy, was hateful, was emphatic . . . and at some later point, it was a lump of matter, starting to decay.

We know we no longer are in a presence of a working machine once a car’s engine won’t turn, the electrical system won’t work, fluids are no longer circulating; likewise for humans.

Again, a long way here to give the background for the whole death thing . . .

You see, unlike a car, and more than a weasel, we want to keep going. The idea that we, the one and only us in the whole history of the universe, at some point will no longer exist . . . well, that idea scares the bejesus out of most people.

Many thus turn to one of any 2,000 or so religions promising death is not the end.

I won’t go into all the concepts of life after death, for they are not important.

What is important is whether one believes there is life after death, in whatever form it is imagined.

Let me give you my perspective before my impression of the perspective held by other people.

I came into being, I function, and as some point I will cease to be, preferably later rather than sooner.

This is my one and only life, my one and only time in which I will exist. If I’m fortunate, I will exist for 90 years or so. Could be a lot less, could be a bit more.

And then I will be no more.

It does not bother me.

Mind you, if I could live forever, with some caveats, I would. At least, as forever as the word means in terms of this universe. The caveats, of course, relate to the quality of life, the health, if my wife is with me, if salame e formaggio sandwiches survive in that same time span.

But the fact that I will someday no longer be, that does not give me pause. Yes, I care as to the manner of my demise.

For instance, dying in my sleep ranks way up there in preference, and dying by exploding after being force-fed twenty pounds of broccoli ranks somewhat lower.

Even then, whatever suffering I may have to endure, it is finite. At some point I will be no more, and my body will get a busy signal as it tries to convey its pain, hunger, cold, heat, or any discomfort to the me that was. There will not be a candle on the windowsill.

Again, it may not be my preferred path, but it’s not like I have a choice, so that’s that.

So, how do I live my life? How does that knowledge direct my actions?

I could go into all sorts of explanations, but here’s one I’ve come to like . . . I live my life so as to leave this world a little better, or at least no worse, for me having been here.

Not the whole world, of course; people who know and have known me (except them who be rear orifices), places I have lived, lives I have touched. Yes, some will not like me having lived (or living), but on balance, I try to live so that the needle is on the plus side.

That’s it. My purpose, my reason for living, my path in life . . . leave the place better for me having visited.

I will defend that as a worthwhile goal, and can even specify what that entails given a circumstance I might encounter. And I can do all that without resorting to a book.

“How are you doing with that,” you ask?

Fair to middling.

Now let’s look at them people who believe (without any cause to do so) they will go onto another life, another body, an eternal existence, or any of hundreds of ideas all aimed at stilling the fear of death,

How do those people live?

Well, Bob, I gots to tell you. I ain’t much impressed with them.

I can go into specific criticism, but to a belief they all have one thing in common; they care more about sucking on the security blanket of eternal life than to ensuring they do no harm while here.

Harm be done aplenty, even as they claim that is not the case. Sometimes they hypocritically profess piety by ‘helping’ others, whether such help is needed or wanted.

Even when they do good deeds, their motives are suspect . . . are they really doing it out of the kindness of their heart, or is the reward what motivates them?

Worse yet, are they doing it out of fear of eternal damnation?

I don’t know, and I don’t care; I don’t trust them not to do evil in the name of good; I don’t trust them to be true to their humanity; I don’t trust them, period. I don’t trust them because they are making up shit out of fear.

Most of all, I believe, I strongly believe, with evidence solidly behind me, that by en large they are causing immeasurable harm, thereby not only soiling the only life any of them will ever see, but the lives of people around them.

I see parents take their kids to church, and I know those kids will grow up with a fear of eternal damnation. Think about that. They can’t comprehend things like concepts of deities, but they can comprehend burning. They can’t comprehend eternity, but they comprehend that it will hurt.

I see adults do despicable things to other human beings because of their fear of death. They have bought into demented rules that call for the subjugation and mutilation of women, call for the killing of those who don’t agree with them, call for depriving rights of individuals who don’t conform to their imaginary ideals.

Many believers revel in their adopted role, joyously behaving as inhumanely possible.

“I’m not like that! I do good! I live a good life! I don’t harm others!”

So say some believers.

Sorry Bob; you might not see it, but all believers are part of the greater tapestry. They might not be the ones who personally do any of those things, but they are one of many threads indirectly supporting all those acts.

Not for any reason but their own fear of death.

Their fear of death has made them afraid of life. Their fear of death makes them the enemies of humanity.

I can’t think of anything sadder . . . it’s enough to make one look forward to death.

I can help you with that, even hasten it by many years,” say some believers, “unless it’s to stop your suffering. We might be afraid of death, but we want it to be painful for you.

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I’ve taken to including this for my opinion pieces. Of course, it says nothing for or against the merits of the content.

Reading Ease
A higher score indicates easier readability; scores usually range between 0 and 100.
Readability Formula Score
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease 72.1

Grade Levels
A grade level (based on the USA education system) is equivalent to the number of years of education a person has had. Scores over 22 should generally be taken to mean graduate level text.

Readability Formula Grade
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level 7
Gunning-Fog Score 10
Coleman-Liau Index 8.6
SMOG Index 7.2
Automated Readability Index 5.8
Average Grade Level 7.7

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Note: if you are not reading this blog post at Disperser.Wordpress.com, know that it has been copied without permission, and likely is being used by someone with nefarious intention, like attracting you to a malware-infested website.  Could be they also torture small mammals.

<><><><><><><><o><><><><><><><><><o><><><><><><><>

Please, if you are considering bestowing me recognition beyond commenting below, refrain from doing so.  I will decline blogger-to-blogger awards.   I appreciate the intent behind it, but I prefer a comment thanking me for turning you away from a life of crime, religion, or making you a better person in some other way.  That would mean something to me.

If you wish to know more, please read below.

About awards: Blogger Awards
About “likes”:   Of “Likes”, Subscriptions, and Stuff

Note: to those who may click on “like”, or rate the post; if you do not hear from me, know that I am sincerely appreciative, and I thank you for noticing what I do.

. . .  my FP ward  . . . chieken shit.

Posted in Atheism, Musings Stuff, Opinion, Philosophy, Religion, Writing Stuff | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Summer’s End

Hummingbird,

Mid-September, I look out the back, and here’s this hummer “guarding” the four feeders  . . . well, more like half-guarding-half-sleeping.

It’s sitting on the flower basket, dozing off against the morning chill (it was overcast, and the light was bad, so I’m shooting at a high ISO, meaning more grain), and woke at the sound of the camera snapping the photo.

Hummingbird,

That made it fly to the hanger for the feeder, where it promptly resumed his guard duties.

But, to its credit, the shutter noise did get its attention . . . really, I need to get a camera that does not make so much noise.

Hummingbird,

This time it realized where the noise was coming from . . .

Hummingbird,

. . . and gave me “the look”.

Hummingbird,

The title refers to this being the last of this year’s hummingbirds photos; the end of Summer per my personal way of marking these things.

To be sure, we had hummers until nearly two weeks ago, but I didn’t snap any picture of them. They were obviously not my ‘regulars'; probably migrating birds, and very reluctant to let me get close, let alone snap a photo.

My last two feeders are coming down tomorrow, it being two weeks since I’ve seen the last one. That’s the recommended wait time before removing feeders.

Last year we had bad weather by early October, and were worried for at least one hummer.

This year we think they are done passing through. But back to my friend. I’ll only post a few shots here, but the SmugMug Gallery HERE has the whole series.

Anyway, it had returned to the basket handle, still giving me ‘the look’.

Hummingbird, Hummingbird,

. . . and even posed a bit, giving me a bit of profile.

Hummingbird, Hummingbird,

Next it did what still mystifies me about birds . . . they leave a perfectly good, perfectly flat perch location, and go perch on a slope.

Look to the right!

Hummingbird,

Look to the LEFT!

Hummingbird,

Sleep!

Hummingbird,

And once again, the shutter noise startles it . . . and it don’t look pleased!

Hummingbird, Hummingbird, Hummingbird,

All of the above (and more in the gallery) were shot with my 70-200mm f/2.8 VR lens . . . but since I’m already shooting a high ISO, and the photos are already grainy, I done grab my 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR lens. Better zoom, but slower lens, so higher ISO and more noise.

Hummingbird,

Yes, it’s still trying to sleep.

Vigilant!

Hummingbird,

. . . dozing off . . .

Hummingbird,

Vigilant!

Hummingbird,

. . . eyelids gettin’ heavy . . .

Hummingbird,

Must. Stay. Awake!

Hummingbird,

What’s that on the inside of my eyelids?

Hummingbird,

I’m awake! I’m awake!

Hummingbird,

I hope it made it to its winter-ground. 

Most of all, I hope it comes this way again, and perhaps even decides to stay.

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ o o o o o o ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Big Fat Kiss

Big Fat Kiss

Astute persons might have noticed these doodles, and correctly surmised they hold some significance for me, and perhaps for humanity at large.  

If you click on the doodle, and nothing happens, this is the link it’s supposed to go to: http://disperser.wordpress.com/2011/12/26/palm-vx-and-i/.

<><><><><><><><o><><><><><><><><><o><><><><><><><>

Note: if you are not reading this blog post at Disperser.Wordpress.com, know that it has been copied without permission, and likely is being used by someone with nefarious intention, like attracting you to a malware-infested website.  Could be they also torture small mammals.

<><><><><><><><o><><><><><><><><><o><><><><><><><>

Please, if you are considering bestowing me recognition beyond commenting below, refrain from doing so.  I will decline blogger-to-blogger awards.   I appreciate the intent behind it, but I prefer a comment thanking me for turning you away from a life of crime, religion, or making you a better person in some other way.  That would mean something to me.

If you wish to know more, please read below.

About awards: Blogger Awards
About “likes”:   Of “Likes”, Subscriptions, and Stuff

Note: to those who may click on “like”, or rate the post; if you do not hear from me, know that I am sincerely appreciative, and I thank you for noticing what I do.

. . .  my FP ward  . . . chieken shit.

Posted in Birds, Hummingbirds, Musings Stuff, Photography, Writing, Writing Stuff | Tagged , , , , , , | 15 Comments

October 2014 Bees and Butterfly

On a recent post I showcased flowers that are still hanging on; doing well, even.

That requires a small effort on my part . . . I need to water them every few day. A fortuitous thing that, because . . .

Bee, Butterfly,

Bee, Butterfly,

I’ve seen West Coast Ladies all summer long, and no way would they let me come close, or stand still long enough to photograph.

But now, now there ain’t much food about . . . this Lady was more intent on gathering what little was left than avoiding my unrelenting macro lens.

I have to warn people . . . I shot 120 photos, kept 80. All of them be residing in the SmugMug Gallery HERE, but while I will post many, not all 80 will appear in this post.

Here’s one I processed to show the detail you can see if looking at the full resolution photos . . . remember, the next three shots are all from the same photo, just cropped tighter.

Bee, Butterfly,

Bee, Butterfly,

Bee, Butterfly,

Remember, also, that you can click on any photo to open it to a larger view on a new tab or window.

This next photo has a decent view of the underside of the wings. The flower don’t look too bad, either.

Bee, Butterfly,

One thing . . . no, wait, two things . . . I normally have the focus set on ‘spot’ focus because I want to know exactly where the camera will focus, but in this instance I had a larger focus area.

That, combined with slightly breezy conditions, resulted in the focus being not as precise as I like. I was shooting with moderate f-stop, but I was so close that the actual depth of field was still pretty narrow.

“What do it mean, oh wise and wordy Disperser?”

It do mean some photos will not have the depth of detail I like to shoot for. Many people won’t notice.

Bee, Butterfly,

For instance, this next trio of photos are OK as photos go, but I sure would have liked a bit more of the Lady in focus. Oh well. C’est la vie.

Bee, Butterfly, Bee, Butterfly,

Bee, Butterfly,

These next shots shows there is still pollen on the flower . . . and the Lady.

Bee, Butterfly,

Bee, Butterfly,

Bee, Butterfly,

Here’s a few closeups, chosen for the selective focus on interesting features.

Bee, Butterfly,

Bee, Butterfly,

Bee, Butterfly,

Bee, Butterfly,

Bee, Butterfly,

Bee, Butterfly,

So, what do my readers find more interesting?

The setting . . .

Bee, Butterfly,

Bee, Butterfly,

Yes, those are nearly identical shots . . . anyway, what do readers find more interesting; those wide shots, or details of the Lady?

Bee, Butterfly,

Bee, Butterfly,

Bee, Butterfly,

Frankly, I like them both . . .

Bee, Butterfly,

Bee, Butterfly,

I know at least one reader that’s all “Yeah, yeah, butterfly, blah, blah, blah; where’s the beef . . . er . . . I mean, where’s the bees?”

Interestingly, I had just taken the above shot and lowered the camera when a bee landed right in front of the butterfly and shoved her way under it. A brief scuffle, and they both flew off . . . and I missed what would have been a great shot.

But, at least now I knew there were bees around.

This next shot is not showing the bee very well, but I like the flower.

Bee, Butterfly,

Same for this next shot.

Bee, Butterfly,

To really see the bee, and the pollen sacks it’s collecting, you need these shots . . .

. . . beware . . . lots of shots coming. Most are worth clicking on, or visiting SmugMug.

Bee, Butterfly,

Bee, Butterfly,

Bee, Butterfly,

Bee, Butterfly,

Bee, Butterfly,

The bee really wanted to work this flower . . .

Bee, Butterfly,

Bee, Butterfly,

Bee, Butterfly,

Bee, Butterfly,

Bee, Butterfly,

The butterfly . . . she was still there, one flower over.

Bee, Butterfly,

I tried capturing them all, but that whole depth of field bit screwed me up. I was going to up my ISO and shoot at f/16 or higher, but I did not want to mess with the camera and miss the action . . .

Bee, Butterfly,

The bees, unfortunately, are out of focus.

Bee, Butterfly,

Bee, Butterfly,

One bee flying, but still out of focus.

Bee, Butterfly,

. . . almost there . . .

Bee, Butterfly,

A least one bee (almost) in focus.

Bee, Butterfly,

. . . so close to being the perfect shot . . . still not bad, though.

Of course, the setting is nice with just the Lady feasting on meager stores of food . . . 

Bee, Butterfly,

But, come on! . . . the buddy shot has to be marginally preferred!

Bee, Butterfly,

OK, let me showcase a bit more of the bee . . . remember, windy, shallow depth of field, but you can see the pollen sack a bit more clearly, and some of the bee anatomy.

Bee, Butterfly,

Bee, Butterfly,

Bee, Butterfly,

Bee, Butterfly,

Bee, Butterfly,

Bee, Butterfly,

. . . the setting . . .

Amo end on the Lady because she was the reason I ran to grab my camera, and ended up with this whole series. So, in honor of the Lady . . . 

Bee, Butterfly,

Bee, Butterfly,

Bee, Butterfly,

Bee, Butterfly,

Bee, Butterfly,

Bee, Butterfly,

Bee, Butterfly,

Honest, had you told me I would be shooting flowers and butterflies and bees in my yard in the middle of October, why I would have thought you loco.

But here I am, letting you see proof of it. 

I hope it was enjoyed. 

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ o o o o o o ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The Large Intestine

The Large Intestine

Astute persons might have noticed these doodles, and correctly surmised they hold some significance for me, and perhaps for humanity at large.  

If you click on the doodle, and nothing happens, this is the link it’s supposed to go to: http://disperser.wordpress.com/2011/12/26/palm-vx-and-i/.

<><><><><><><><o><><><><><><><><><o><><><><><><><>

Note: if you are not reading this blog post at Disperser.Wordpress.com, know that it has been copied without permission, and likely is being used by someone with nefarious intention, like attracting you to a malware-infested website.  Could be they also torture small mammals.

<><><><><><><><o><><><><><><><><><o><><><><><><><>

Please, if you are considering bestowing me recognition beyond commenting below, refrain from doing so.  I will decline blogger-to-blogger awards.   I appreciate the intent behind it, but I prefer a comment thanking me for turning you away from a life of crime, religion, or making you a better person in some other way.  That would mean something to me.

If you wish to know more, please read below.

About awards: Blogger Awards
About “likes”:   Of “Likes”, Subscriptions, and Stuff

Note: to those who may click on “like”, or rate the post; if you do not hear from me, know that I am sincerely appreciative, and I thank you for noticing what I do.

. . .  my FP ward  . . . chieken shit.

Posted in Bee, Butterflies, Macro Photography, Photography, Photography Stuff, Spiders and Insects, Stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments