Photos and writing

I’m not sure I mentioned it before but just in case, I am going to the Viable Paradise XIX workshop. Tickets are bought, arrangements are made, and all that’s left is the waiting.

Some poo-poo the idea of a writing workshop. Some are excited for me. Other attendees are excited about their own participation. 

Before I continue, here’s a photo from my recent trip to Yellowstone NP.

Yellowstone June 2015

It’s a flower. 

Now, where was I? Oh, yeah . . . VP XIX. Honestly, I have no way of judging what benefit I may derive from the workshop without first attending it. This much I have already said. 

What I have not said is that I’ve not done much writing in the past few months. Sure, a few flash fiction submissions here and there, but no sustained writing effort. 

It’s not like I don’t have any ideas. In fact, I have two ideas I am very pleased about; the kind of ideas that are fresh and nothing I have read or heard of before. Well, I’ve also not read much lately; it could be my ideas are already old hat.

Here’s another photo from my trip.

Yellowstone June 2015

It’s either a number of different rocks or one big rock breaking up. And water. A lake, to be precise.

I also have a couple of projects I started and are now sitting in limbo (the place, not the dance contest). Designated is one of them; I have a good idea where I am going with it but have not got back to tackling it. For them interested — even though it’s only three chapters — the posts are HERE, HERE, and HERE.

Another is the continuation of the elven stories; two complete short stories (HERE and HERE) comprising the beginning of a longer story arc.

Perhaps my favorite is . . . wait; time for more photos. These are two more from my attempts at capturing my efforts to skip rocks. 

Yellowstone June 2015

Yellowstone June 2015

For them not familiar with this, I was at the edge of Lake Yellowstone, the shore littered with great skipping rocks. Unfortunately, Melisa was back at the car and me wanting to capture the skipping stone meant throwing the stone with one hand, swing up and grab with both hands the five pounds worth of camera and lens, acquire focus and capture the photo before the stone sank beneath the water. 

Not as easy as it sounds.

Anyway, perhaps my favorite are my two dragon short stories, HERE and HERE. There too I have an arc in mind. In fact, I’ve thought up the general idea for the next part of the story just after writing the second one . . . and that was  a year ago.

So, what’s keeping me from continuing any of those efforts. Well, I’ll tell you . . . I don’t know. I’ve written lots of other stuff since then, including a whole novel (my second NaNoWriMo effort), all of it material I liked and enjoyed writing. 

And yet, the two exciting ideas and three existing story arcs I just mentioned constantly pop back into my mind, whispering, pleading me to give them life, to breathe substance into what’s already there and grow it into complete works.

Say, here’s an interesting photo from my trip:

Yellowstone June 2015

Tell me that does not look like some kind of elephantine creature munching on a wooden crab-like creature. 

Anyway, with all them stories itching for me to do them justice I sat down this evening and wrote this:

Untitled

Copyright 2015, E. J. D’Alise

The Sepras’s colony ship had crash-landed in the plains of Colorado and the military had been quick to respond. Per protocol, the first wave of human troops and equipment came with weapons trained and armed. The troops were armed but less trained. Someone fired a shot, killing one of the Sepras. The response had been immediate and deadly. All the troops and equipment were destroyed, as were planes, helicopters, and tanks that pursued the retreating Sepras. The die had been cast; war it was.

As technologically superior as they were, the Sepras faced the largest and most advanced war culture in history. It took time for cooler heads to prevail, but the negotiated peace came too late for many individuals on both sides of the conflict.

~ ~ o o ~ ~

Calling them Hens was, and still is, a slur. Sepras don’t look like hens; if one squinted a bit they looked vaguely humanoid; bipedal beings with two arms, about six-foot-four, with flat facial features and distinct sexes, they are long limbed and solidly built. The Hens nickname came from the comb-like fleshy ridge atop their skulls, likely used to radiate excess heat.

Humans had never captured a Sepras alive or dead, so that was just conjecture. Based on their skull size and assuming it was all brains inside, their brains were about twenty percent larger than the average human. Most people forget they are fierce, proud, and honorable, and see them as no more than conquered aliens. In actuality, it was the Sepras who refrained from the wholesale slaughter of the human race.

Their technology and weapons are that good, and had the situation been reversed we humans would not have shown similar restraint or been willing to sacrifice as many of our own for the sake of not wiping out a species of sentient beings.

Actually, most people do not see Sepras. Similar to negotiated Indian treaties, the terms of the peace agreement specified they would live in reservations, each reservation limited to only so many individuals and located in remote places seldom visited by anyone but truckers. Truckers like me.

I went through the double gates. The armed guards, all human, looked bored and barely gave me a second look. Once into the reservation, I made my way to the central warehouse.

Turook was waiting for me. He sported scars from the last, and decisive, battle his race fought on Earth. A battle the Sepras had won. It had been the Sepras who requested reservations in exchange for a cessation of activities. It had been humans, fearing the idea of sprawling alien cities, who insisted on limiting the population of each reservation to no more than ten thousand. Their sophisticated communication systems kept the Sepras in touch with each other, and a regular and healthy exchange of individuals between reservations provided the genetic mix to sustain their numbers.  In the fifteen years since the reservations were established, two new reservations had been added to accommodate the growth in Sepras population.

I waved and negotiated the trailer to the loading area. I brought raw material and food supplies. Once empty, I would load Sepras products for sale to a human population who already took for granted the technological wonders offered by the Sepras. Electronics, power cells, medical devices, get-well pills . . . and weapons. Weapons the US military used to keep a firm grip on their superiority over any other military force on the planet. 

Neither of us spoke as we watched the transfer of goods.  The Sepras unloading the trailer suddenly stopped. To a man, they turned to watch something outside my field of view. I peered around the trailer.

I saw a squad of heavily armed human soldiers, armed with Sepras-designed weapons, marching toward us. The Sepras put down the goods they were loading and spread out. The farthest individuals moved to form a semicircular formation. Even without my long history with the Sepras, I knew a tactical formation when I saw it.

There were no weapons in plain view, but I was certain each of the Sepras was armed. 

I looked at Turook. He motioned for me to step back. I stayed where I was.

The soldiers also fanned out stopping at a signal from the Staff Sargeant. They did not have their weapons at the ready, but neither were they casually carried. These men were ready for action. If anything did break out, I wondered if they knew they would be as good as dead.

“Turook,”  bellowed the Staff  Sargeant,  “We’re here for Sleith. She was ordered to turn herself in and she’s now twenty-four hours overdue.”

“No.”

Turook’s one-word reply could be heard by all despite not being spoken very loud. It seemed as if the whole compound and everything in it had stopped. I became aware of the silence. It had a vaguely funereal feeling to it.

The Staff Sargeant looked around. He had to have noticed the secondary layer of Sepras that had joined the first. He did not seem concerned.

“Turook,” he said, “I’m asking nicely. If I have to come back in here, I will not be so nice.”

“Idiot!”

The word had everyone turn toward the speaker. Me.

I stepped around Turook, jumped off the loading dock, and strode up to the Sargeant. I noticed the soldiers repositioning, covering me from two sides.

I stopped in front of the Sargeant. He towered over me by at least six inches and I had to look up at him.

“Stand down, Sargeant, before you and your men get hurt.” I too spoke without much volume, but I know I was heard by all that were watching.

“On whose’s orders?”

“Mine,” I answered.

“I don’t take my orders from a truck driver.”

As he spoke, he put his hand on my shoulder, intent on moving me aside.  I dislocated his shoulder. At the same time, ten near-silent spherical drones descended out of the sky. Eight parked themselves a foot in front of each of the soldiers. The other two hovered just off my shoulders, one on each side.

“You will this time,” I replied. I let go of his wrist at the same time that he made a strangled noise.

Before the man could answer, the sound of approaching vehicles broke the silence. Two armored vehicles and three personnel carriers stopped fifty yards from us.  A staff car kept going, stopping not ten feet from where I stood.

The man that got out was used to throwing his weight around. I had read his file and knew him to be cautious and less than honorable. He was also in charge of all the Western Serpas reservations.

Forty soldiers in full combat armor and gear jumped out from the troop carriers, fanning out to encircle the area. Two remotely manned drones did a fly-by before stationing themselves above the warehouse roof, giving them a commanding view of the loading area.

I queried my implant. Four more long-range drones sat high up in the sky. I accessed their live feed. Two had me targeted. The other two drones targeted Turook.

I looked back at the uniformed man. He remained standing by his car after exiting the vehicle. He may have been fearless, but he was not stupid. He faced something he did not understand, and although he probably thought he held the upper hand, he was in no rush to test the matter.

“What have we got here?” His words sounded more like a challenge than a question.

“General Peters,” I replied, “I would advise you to order your men, including your six drones, to stand down.”

I made my words as much of a warning as a suggestion.

“Oh?” he replied. “And why would I do that?”

“Because I have jurisdiction, and you don’t. Also, I could kill you and your men before they get off a shot.”

I had to hand it to the man; he asked the right question.

“And you are?”

“Someone you should listen to; someone who is trying to save your and your men’s sorry asses.”

I accessed the drones through the implant and had them dive into the surrounding desert. I did not look at corresponding balls of flames as they impacted the ground.

As I stepped toward the General two of the soldiers swung their weapons at me and were immediately taken down by my drones. They would wake up dizzy and disoriented; focused sonic weapons did that to humans.

Before I could speak to Peters, tactical informed me of a shift in the positions of the surrounding Sepras. I stopped and turned toward Turook.

“Call them off; my warning goes for you as well,” My voice carried as I added one word in the Sepras language, “Xithx.”

The Sepras word translated into something like “with respect, I warn you.” I even pronounced it correctly. The Sepras stopped.

Turning back to Peters, I spoke in a low voice as I flashed my red-framed ID showing my name and rank in the Extraterrestrial Treaty Enforcement Organization.

“Matters of treaty violations are handled by ETEO. We’ll discuss later why we were not informed of this situation but right now you are going to turn around and drive out of here.” I motioned toward the Sargeant and his squad. “And take them with you. Also, move all perimeter guards to the outer positions. I want no humans within the confines of this reservation until I square this out.”

I did not wait for an answer. I turned and walked away. My two defense drones held their station. The soldiers began retreating before I had walked all the way back to Turook.

“Turook; we need to talk,” I said. “We need to talk about your daughter, Sleith.”

That’s it for now.

That’s right . . . two great ideas, three ongoing and interesting story arcs, and I come up with something completely different. I have a long arc — roughly worked out in my mind — for this new effort as well.  

See what kind of massive problems I face? 

What I need is for a publishing house (or possibly a movie studio; those guys buy and produce all sorts of junk, so it might as well be my junk) to come rushing through my door and beg me to run with any or all of those ideas, offering me a hefty advance in the process. 

Actually, they could just e-mail me; I don’t particularly like visitors dropping by unannounced. 

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 DisperserTracks.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 Musings Stuff, Opinion, Personal, Photography, Writing Stuff | Tagged , , , , , | 14 Comments

July 4th – thoughts and photos

First of all, I hope everyone is having a great 4th of July celebration; a safe one, without any fingers being blown off, and a quiet one, without idiots disregarding local ordinances and regulations about shooting off fireworks. 

That said, on this Independence Day, a couple of things are on my radar. Did I say my radar? I mean in my immediate sphere of concern. I’ll tackle one of those things in this post and another in a following post.

Believe it or not, I am strongly motivated to keep to myself and live a happy and near-carefree life, much like this slice of bagel.

i-cDd6xbb-1564x2085-Processed_DIGI

OK, that does look like a scowl, but that is, unfortunately, the same as my face. You see, 60+ years of dealing with people left traces I cannot erase. My relaxed and beatific visage might be, and occasionally is, mistaken as an expression signifying Foxtrot-Off.

Anyway, we have now (mostly) established I am a happy-go-lucky dude going about his life . . . except for these lines in my “About” page.

“I am tired.  I want to live the remaining of my life trying, for the most part, to enjoy it.”

. . . and . . . 

“I am not blind to the problems of the world, the suffering of literally billions, and to the gathering darkness.  I give to charity, I help others, I keep up with what is happening, and cast my small voice hither and fro to join other voices in opposition of bad stuff and support of good stuff.”

One controversy, if that is even the correct word, currently crossing my path is the confederate flag. More precisely, depending on which mouthbreather one argues with, one of THESE flags. 

Pedantic mouthbreathers will make this or that excuse for the variations and the legitimacy of each. Let’s cut the crap . . . two crossed bars with stars in a field of red is universally accepted as a symbol of the South-That-Was from 1863 onwards.

Now, go back to that link and read the following:

Note: It is necessary to disclaim any connection of these flags to neo-nazis, red-necks, skin-heads {sic} and the like. These groups have adopted this flag and desecrated it by their acts. They have no right to use this flag – it is a flag of honor, designed by the confederacy as a banner representing state’s rights and still revered by the South. In fact, under attack, it still flies over the South Carolina capitol building. The South denies any relation to these hate groups and denies them the right to use the flags of the confederacy for any purpose. The crimes committed by these groups under the stolen banner of the conderacy {sic} only exacerbate the lies which link the seccession {sic} to slavery interests when, from a Southerner’s view, the cause was state’s rights.

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That throws my calm out the window; Whiskey Tango Foxtrot are they talking about!? That, for sure, is now a scowl.

Let’s parse that down a bit  . . . the first thing that irks me is the duplicity and faux indignation of this passage. 

. . . it is a flag of honor, designed by the confederacy as a banner representing state’s rights and still revered by the South.

Oh, it’s revered, OK . . . but representing state’s rights? Read a bit further:

The crimes committed by these groups under the stolen banner of the conderacy {sic} only exacerbate the lies which link the seccession {sic} to slavery interests when, from a Southerner’s view, the cause was state’s rights.

Very Clintonesque . . . but ponder me this; what state rights were these honorable Southern States so up-in-arms (pardon the pun) about? Oh, yeah . . . the basis for their one crop economy and the cheap labor required to make it profitable. They claimed the right for a slave-based economy and the expansion of such to the Western States.

By any gauge reasonable people can apply, these god-fearing-slave-owning southerners were really not all that honorable. I say god-fearing because one cannot divorce the religious angle in the sordid affair of slave ownership, but that’s a horse to flog another time.

Now, I could be wrong and I am willing for someone to educate me otherwise by explaining to me which other state rights were under contention. That would be tough because of THIS, the actual declarations of secession for the states now claiming a history of honor. The declarations specifically state slavery as the reason for secession. Go ahead; read them and count how many times the word slavery appear in the writing. 

Following the end of the Civil War, the flag then existed for roughly eighty relatively quiet years. Until . . . from THIS link . . .

In 1948, the newly-formed segregationist Dixiecrat party adopted the flag as a symbol of resistance to the federal government. In the years that followed, the battle flag became an important part of segregationist symbolism, and was featured prominently on the 1956 redesign of Georgia’s state flag, a legislative decision that was likely at least partly a response to the Supreme Court’s decision to desegregate school two years earlier. The flag has also been used by the Ku Klux Klan, though it is not the Klan’s official flag.

Gee . . . I wonder why segregationists back then, and neo-nazis, red-necks, skin-heads {sic} and the like” now, would pick this particular flag to represent them? Something to do with the flag representing honor, perhaps? Standing for individual rights and equality for all? No, wait . . . it was specifically in response to the movement of equality and civil rights for all that triggered both the formation of the Dixiecrat party and their adoption of this particular flag.

Understand this; the Confederate Flag, whatever its incarnation, is overwhelmingly favored over the Nazi Flag as a symbol of hate and intolerance. That’s saying something; it’s not often the Nazi flag comes in second to anything in a race to represent hate and intolerance.

OK, I’ll stop here . . . basically, I am in favor of anyone who so desires to fly the confederate flag (or variations thereof). Keeping in mind what I say above, it tells me one of two things:

1) the person has little or no education and has no idea what that flag stands for (i.e. an idiot), and hence is not someone I want to associate with.

2) the person knows exactly (and agrees) what the flag stands for and should thus be considered a lower form of human, and hence is not someone I want to associate with.

I am not in favor of the flag flying over any government facility. Regardless what the original intent behind the flag, it has come, rightly or wrongly, to serve as an identifier and symbol for hate and intolerance. To claim anything else is to deny clear and often bloody evidence.

As an important part of this country’s history, the confederate flag should not be forgotten . . . but neither should it be venerated, and it certainly does not deserve a place of honor in our history.

Further reading:

http://www.sonofthesouth.net/leefoundation/Confederate_Flag.htm
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/29/civil-war-confederate-flag_n_7685970.html

. . . and especially read:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/22/confederate-flag-racist_n_7639788.html

Edited to add: I came across this link as I was doing further searching on this contentious topic. It’s what I do; I want to read reasoned arguments both for and against any given position. The operative word is “reasoned” but I also include “researched” and “knowledgeable” in my criteria. Proponents for the sanctity of the flag invariably have arguments from emotions stirred by a decisive lack of facts as to the history of the confederacy and the flag itself.
http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Politics/Politics-Voices/2015/0623/How-Confederate-battle-flag-debate-is-twisting-history

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 DisperserTracks.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 Musings Stuff, Opinion, Personal, Politics, Writing Stuff | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

My artistic side

As I get to know more about my fellow Viable Paradise 19 class attendees I am corrected about a major misconception. The class is not as “young” as I thought. I assumed the majority would fall into the 20s-30s range of ages, and while there are some in the 20s and 30s, there are more in the 40s and up. There are even a few approaching my age, but so far I maintain seniority (age only). 

In hindsight, that stands to reason; tuition is not cheap, travel is not cheap, and lodging is not cheap. Someone farther along in their real-world career probably has a bit more resources than someone just starting out. 

Regardless, the level of enthusiasm is still high, and people are looking forward to the experience. It’s because it’s so high that I assumed a younger crowd . . . I must be the only old person with a subdued demeanor.

. . . won’t I be fun at the informal gatherings . . .  

There is a hashtag of “#VP19″ for people to connect and easily track posts about the workshop. Past workshops attendees identify themselves as, for instance, having attended VP XVIII (Viable Paradise 17).

The class I will attend will be Viable Paradise XIX or VP XIX.

Following that logic, attendees could be called VPers XIX . . . to me that sounds like the word “vipers”, so I suggested an idea for a logo.

I suggested this class call itself Vipers XIX and run a logo of a viper rising from a book in place of the letter “s” and biting into the roman numerals. Of course, descriptions are difficult to visualize, so I drew a sketch . . . 

VipersXIX

One thing should immediately be evident to all . . . namely, them people who insist there is an artist within me are a tad generous with their assessment. 

I suggested the above as a starting point for someone with actual graphic art skills to embellish and take to the next level. For instance, perhaps the snake should be biting into a book since we all have aspirations of getting published. 

The conversation then morphed into possibly getting tattoos, t-shirts, or mugs.

Well, crap . . . if we are going to do something serious with this, I thought I should give it a better effort. I grabbed a freely licensed snake sketch from THIS SITE and made a more serious effort using Photoshop.

VipersXIX-psd

I know at least one person (not a fellow Viper) said they preferred the one with the anemic snake . . . I’m not sure if he was serious or not. 

Honest, I’m not married to the idea or even this logo; I reiterated my suggestion other VPers, VPers with actual talent, put forth their suggestions. We’ll see how it goes.

The above is the most work I have done in Photoshop in the last three years or so. I mean, I use it for photographs, but only to merge panoramas, merge layers, and so on. I don’t actually edit the photographs in Photoshop.

. . . and then I chanced on THIS POST which pointed me to THIS CHALLENGE

For them too lazy to click on the links (or them with a pathological aversion to doing so), let me briefly summarize the challenge. Take an existing book cover, in this case, this one:

Longwayhome

Using one of your own B&W photographs, perform a cover makeover.

Well, shoot . . . Photoshop was already open, so I gave it a shot:

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I was not happy with the impact of the name; I thought it blended in too much, so I tweaked it a bit. 

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It’s a subtle change, but I think the name stands out more. 

. . . I still had Photoshop open . . . 

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We have arrived at the reader participation section of the post:

. . . and . . . 

I should stress I have not read the book or even heard of Louise Penny. I assume there is a high likelihood both covers are a serious mismatch of the book’s actual content; I was just going on the title.

If the story has a Metropolitan setting, neither covers make any sense.

Anyway, that’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ o o o o o o ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Tress in Tension

Tress in Tension

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 DisperserTracks.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 Black & White, Black & White, Musings Stuff, Opinion, Personal, Photography, Writing Stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Grammarly, Flowers, and Stuff

I use Grammarly. Because it’s a plugin for both the browser and Word, it ‘sees’ most of the stuff I write. Grammarly sees it and then tells me about it.

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Once a week I get a report on my writing. Some weeks it’s a little skewed because I might be writing a story and edit it a number of times. Grammarly does not keep track of stuff I already edited, so the weekly word count can be off by quite a lot. 

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Say, for instance, I open up my NaNoWriMo novel or, as was the case one week, I was beta-reading for a fellow writer. Well then, my word count goes up a whole lot, and my errors statistics get all skewed. 

Here’s some music for them interested in it:

However, for the weeks where it’s mostly me writing this blog, e-mails, comments on various blogs, or comments on my blog, the statistics are fairly consistent.

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On a typical week, I write between 10,000 and 20,000 words. That is enough to rank me on the top 99% of Grammarly users. 

The odd thing is that I traveled one week, and only wrote around 3,000 words . . . and that still ranked me in the top 97%. Makes me wonder why people have Grammarly if they write that little.

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The number of errors per week put me, depending on the week, in the 55% to 87% range as far as accuracy, again, relative to other users. That is, I’m more accurate than 55-87% of Grammarly users.

That is unlikely to get any better because . . . 

That’s right; . . . 

You see, I get an error for using “unnecessary ellipsis”, but it does not stop there. With each one of those there is an associated “incorrect spacing”, “wrong punctuation” (as in the previous two words paragraph), and “failure to capitalize the first word in a sentence”

And that’s not even counting what I call stylistic issues; I am wont to use incorrect verbs and words for effect, humor, or just plain orneriness.  For instance, Grammarly flagged ‘wont’ as a possible mistake . . . there, it done dit it again . . . plus the ellipsis and the “past participle with an auxiliary verb”. 

. . . and more punctuation . . . I throw stuff in there because I want it there. Plus, whenever I save a draft, all the issues I already dismissed (ellipsis, for instance) get flagged again.

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I do get high marks for “dynamic writing”. That is calculated by the number of unique words I use. In that regard, I am again better than 97 to 99 percent of Grammarly users. 

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So, should I feel good about my general and/or fiction writing?

Who knows? 

Here’s another piece of music I like:

Well, OK . . . I do know few people like my writing, be it fiction, opinions, or comments. Be it on Facebook or blogs, my opinionated comments seldom (rarely, infrequently, not often – just trying to keep up my unique words count) get any of the “likes” people liberally throw around like confetti at a clown wedding. 

The sad truth is that I know few people (probably ‘no people’) who want to hear my opinions. That includes friends and family, so you can imagine how strangers react to me having an opinion about something or other. Imagine harder, as I seldom fall in step with the marching masses. 

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I am rarely B&W on any subject. In part, that comes from a lot of reading, discussions, and listening to people with differing opinions. Some I adopt, some I reject, and others I modify per my reasoning. I’m constantly modifying my understanding of “stuff”, but that does not happen unless someone can articulate a good reason for me to do so.

Here’s what surprises me; people today are not interested in hearing anything outside their own interpretation of “how things are”.  Name a topic — religion, race, politics, or any of today’s hot-button issues — and if one does not entirely and fully agree with the narrative of a given speaker . . . well, let’s just say I usually walk away promising myself to avoid such discussions.

But, that’s the other thing . . . it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that a) others genuinely want to hear and debate a given topic, and b) that people will respect the fact there is never a non-nuanced position to any subject. 

The stuff I like to discuss is especially interesting because it’s chock-full of nuances and gray areas. I won’t discuss, for instance, broccoli. The stuff if foul, and it weaponizes flatulence just a shade this side of radishes. Broccoli is not a nuanced subject. 

But take politics, religion, or any subject people are passionate about, and you will find a tendency to turn complex subjects and ideas into absolute truths. 

Even if that were possible, something can be an absolute truth for one person and be completely different from the absolute truth a different person holds on the same exact subject.

Take politics . . . people have a tendency to imagine all Republicans think alike, as do all Democrats, or all women, or all men, or all gays, or all African-Americans, and so on. That’s just not the case. People, intelligent and curious people, can generally agree on stuff but still hold vastly different opinions on the particulars. Important opinions on important particulars.

How are we ever going to solve anything, affect change, make meaningful progress toward a better society if we don’t even acknowledge other people may have worthwhile opinions? How does one even assess the opinion of others if the starting point is their opinion has no value?

That is the sad state of affairs, and I fear the Internet has exacerbated the situation. Few people like in-depth discussions; nope . . . a blurb is all that is needed to fully explore any given subject; Republicans bad, Democrats bad, Liberals bad, Conservatives bad. 

Where I a conspiracy nut, I would suspect a large and nefarious organization is at work undermining useful communication, casting people against each other based on very strict battle lines that allow for no concessions of any kinds and aimed at keeping the state of society and the world in constant unbalance . . . after all, if we solved a lot of our problems why would we need activists, pundits, politicians, etc.? 

. . . sometimes I wish there was such an organization for then there would be some hope of improving things by eradicating it. But no . . . it’s just people.

So, I keep resolving to avoid discussions; sure, I fail here and there, but less and less frequently. Soon I will reach perfect harmony with everyone around me both in real life and my virtual life; we’ll just talk of puppies, food, and the weather as the world goes to hell in a handbasket. 

. . . hopefully after I have left my corporeal manifestation and reverted back into star stuff.

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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 DisperserTracks.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 Flowers, Musings Stuff, Personal, Photo-effects, Photography, Photography Stuff, Stuff | Tagged , , , , | 13 Comments

Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness: The Letter “K”

Leanne Cole does a weekly Monochrome Madness post consisting of all the B&W photos she receives. It’s not a contest, but a place for photographers to show their B&W work; anyone can submit photos.

Every four weeks she has a themed post. This week, for MM2-17, it was the letter “K”.

Before I get into my submission, here are the photos I submitted since my last post about Monochrome Madness.

Flowers, C-130, Bugs,

Fall Leaves,

So . . . the letter “K”

Immediately, I thought of kaleidoscopically but not only do I not have a kaleidoscope, I also have no idea how to apply it to the theme if I had. I mean, I could photograph the dang thing, but it would just look like any other tube.

So then I thought of kinaesthetically . . . perhaps a blurred photograph? Nah, think of something else . . . Knickknackatory? 

That would be perfect were it not for the fact we’ve been divesting ourselves of such things.

There are plenty of subjects to illustrate kakistocracy, but how do I get access to photograph them? 

If I knew where the Kamchatka peninsula is located I could photograph a few Kamtschadales. I think there may be travel involved. 

I considered kneecapping in conjunction with kakistocracy, but that could get me in trouble.

I went down the list . . . keraunograph, kattinumdoo, karpholite, koluschan, kiefekil, khutbah, knight, khond, knar, kra . . . . wait! Knight!

I called the local Medieval Fair, but there were no knights to be had. BUT . . . OK, I admit I was rushed; we had gotten back from checking out Evanston, WY, and I had chores, bills, and snacks to take care of. I went and grabbed my now-many-years unused chess set, and set it up on a black glass table.

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I did not take great care with the lighting because B&W is way more forgiving . . . and it was already dark outside, and I was in the lower level, and the flash was upstairs, etc. 

So, I then started to play around with the image. By play around I mean frantically throwing adjustment switches every which way.

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A tad too bright and not enough details where I wanted them . . . 

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A tad too dark . . .

I really liked this next one . . . 

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. . . but wanted to keep in the black/gray/white family.

I decided on this one:

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Again, you can check all of the submissions HERE.

Monochrome Madness is open to all. As mentioned, it is not a contest . . . it’s a showcase for people’s adventures in B&W photography. Professional or amateur, all are welcomed. If you have a favorite B&W photo or even a not-so-favorite, consider contributing; you will not be judged, and the photo might provide enjoyment for a pair of eyes or two.

The next themed challenge, for MM2-22: Bridges. I’m assuming the structures so-named, and not the various actors with that name. The MM2-22 is translated to Monochrome Madness Year 2, Week 22.

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 DisperserTracks.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 with recognition beyond commenting below, refrain from doing so. I will decline blogger-to-blogger awards. I appreciate the underlying intent, 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 Black & White, Photography, Photography Stuff | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

July 2015 Calendar

It is late (or very early, depending on your point of view) and I am tired. 

I know, I know . . . people have come to expect amazing words and pictures introducing the monthly calendar. 

Sorry; I’m all tapped out, can hardly keep my eyes open, and my brain has retired for the night.

I even struggled with what photo I should use to best represent the month of July. Nada. Niente. Niets. Nihil. Ingenting. I probably got some of those wrong, but what I am trying to say is that I have zilch; a big dead log . . . say, that give me an idea.

Many things to see in this log. Animals, tortured visages, lumbering giants, fallen creatures . . . you pick.

Here’s the calendar.

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July 2015 Disperser Productions Calendar

Right-Hand Click anywhere on the pictures, and Choose “Save Link As . . . “.

Note that clicking “Save Image” will download the resampled image (640×954, 72dpi) WordPress created for the post. Suitable for viewing on the screen, but not suitable for printing.

Save link as” downloads the native size of 11×17, 300dpi, but can be printed smaller. Printing larger may have mixed results depending on how knowledgeable you are.

Of course, saving is not required . . . one can just ignore the post.  If you are adventuresome, and it does not work, let me know, and I’ll try to fix whatever WordPress screwed up.  

Disclaimers:  I do not guarantee the accuracy of the calendar. My general understanding of time is limited to it being (mostly) an arbitrary demarcation of the unidirectional flow of existence. Many instances in my life demonstrated to me the disconnect between any hard measure of intervals of time and the perception of said time intervals.

Why so tired, you ask? Well, I’ll tell you. We went on a trip to check out yet another possible relocation site. Less than a day there and we accomplished something; we are not moving to Evanston, Wyoming.

It’s good to scratch something off the list, you know, like Illinois and most of the Central and Southern states.

Speaking of motorcycles, did I ever mention each day I more and more dislike people who buy loud motorcycles? Like now, as I listen to a pezzo ti merda gun the engine as they go up Monument Hill on I-25. You can easily hear him for at least two miles around, and probably more. People ask me why I am not against the death penalty . . . isn’t obvious? It’s after midnight, and that piece of inconsiderate slime not only gives no thought to others but probably purposefully bought a loud bike so that he (or she) could do that very thing.

Remember, you don’t have to use the calendar portion . . .  you can cut out the bottom part, and you have a picture to hang on your wall.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ o o o o o o ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Visible Layers

Visible Layers

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.

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Please, if you are considering bestowing me recognition beyond commenting below, refrain from doing so.  I will decline nominations whereby one blogger bestows an award onto another blogger or group of bloggers.   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 actually mean something to me.

Should you still nominate me, I will strongly suspect you pulled my name at random, and that you are not, in fact, a reader of my blog.  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 personally 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 Calendars, Photography, Photography Stuff | Tagged , | 16 Comments

50 Words Flash Fiction Challenge: Wounded

Colonialist’s Blog is running a 50 Words Flash Fiction Challenge. The writing prompt is “Wounded”. If you want to participate, leave a 50 words (including title) flash fiction piece in the comments of his post. 

My contribution is reprinted below . . .

. . . BUT FIRST . . . you must suffer through some photos (unless, you know, you scroll past them).

Every once in a while I look back at photos from years back and have a go at reprocessing them. Meaning, processing them to my current preference. 

I’ve gone through numerous phases through the years . . . vivid processing, dark processing, saturated processing . . . sort of like buying different types of film.

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All of these shots are from a 2009 visit to Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.

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All of the shots were taken using my then Nikon D200.

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Let’s see . . . what can I entertain you with as I present my repurposed photos?

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I know . . . I can express my pleasure at the SCOTUS decision affirming equal rights really should mean equal rights.

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At the same time, I marvel at Scalia’s rabid rants. Really, I think I might be more qualified for his position than he is. For one, I don’t believe in imaginary friends, and for another, I actually read the Constitution. Most of all, I don’t think it’s all that difficult interpreting what it says. It is, after all, written in English, and while it is my second language, I think I have a pretty good grasp of it.

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Still, I admit to being surprised at the decision. This Court has worked very hard at proving (at least to me) that its job was not so much interpreting the law as to bend it to political and personal agendas.

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Of course, I now have to listen/read to the bitching of conservatives and many religious folks. They, you see, think they have been wronged.

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Apparently, despite them folks having some of the highest divorce rates in the world, they feel marriage is somehow sacred and only applicable to people they approve of.

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Damn, it’s tiring listening to them trying to spin being all charitable and stuff but wanting to shove their myopic views down everyone else’s throats. 

I heard them put forth the argument, again, that as the majority they should be able to have their own interpretation of “equal rights for all”.

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You see, they are all for upholding the Constitution . . . except, they don’t see why the minority should have any rights at all. After all, they are the majority.

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Honest, they are no better at reasoning things out and respecting other people’s rights than people who want to ban guns.

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Sometimes I feel it’s easier discussing things with a tree than to attempt reason and logic with the vast majority of human beings.

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Depressing, it is . . . but, here’s my contribution to the flash fiction fifty words challenge.

~ ~ ~ o o o ~ ~ ~

Wounded

” No disease, no drugs.”

“How much?” Volpe asked.

“$200 per pint.”

“I’ll take two,” Volpe said.

Mary let her blood flow, filling the container to the four cups mark as the vampire hungrily watched.

The wound in her arm was a godsend; Mary had many bills to pay.

© E. J. D’Alise, 2015

~ ~ ~ o o o ~ ~ ~

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 DisperserTracks.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 Musings Stuff, Opinion, Personal, Politics, Religion, Stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments