By scary, I mean me thinking, not anything I’m about to write. Although, some people find my writing scary.
The photos in this post are all from July 3rd, another holiday weekend.
What was I doing back then? Shooting bugs.
Specifically, a dragonfly that kept flying above the pool that sits below my balcony. Shooting flying bugs is good practice for shooting flying birds, planes, superheroes, and the like.
I did pretty good . . .
That is a crop from the above shot. I was happy with this as the sucker was moving at a pretty good clip and erratically, at that, and I was shooting at full zoom.
By the way, I don’t have a SmugMug gallery for these since . . . wait, I do have a gallery. A gallery appropriately called Sunday With My Thoughts. When I created it, I said therein will be contained all the photos from this and future SWMTs.
Mind you, I was just screwing around with these shots, so none of them are what you would call “Holy Mother of an Imaginary Infant” amazing.
Still, four shots at the dragonfly and all four were decent.
So, what am I thinking about on this fine Sunday? All in due time. First, I’ll mention that we just came back from watching canoe racing. Outrigger canoes. I’ll be doing a post with all the photos from it.
The photos since our arrival on the island are really accumulating. I have a number of them I’ve been meaning to post and I also have a theory about why I’ve yet to do so. Heat. Heat and humidity. They seem to literally suck the will to do anything right out of you.
No, I can’t use that excuse . . . we’re fairly active even in the heat. A four-mile walk every morning, cleaning (I clean more often here because the windows are always open), laundry (we do more laundry here because we shower more), then the gym for a few hours in the afternoon. So, it’s not the heat and humidity.
I think, instead, the reason is just plain ole laziness. I like looking at the photos, I have all sorts of ideas on how to process them and present them, I have additional ideas for the accompanying words . . . and then I get up and have a snack, or check out a video, or read something.
But, this is about Sunday with my thoughts . . .
Politics and Misdirection
In case readers have not noticed, we are in the midst of a presidential campaign. If you truly have not noticed, just skip to the next section and spare yourself the aggravation.
For instance, see if you recognize this conversation:
“I can’t believe what [insert any candidate name here] said/did,” the first person says.
“Oh, yeah? Well, [insert opposing candidate here] are just as bad. Let me tell you what they did,” the second person retorts.
“Wait; I grant you the other candidate did [insert stupid stuff here] but we are talking about your candidate. What do you think about your candidate saying stupid stuff like [insert pretty much any quote from either candidate].”
“Oh, yeah? Well, [insert opposing candidate here] are just as bad. Let me tell you what stupid thing they said,” the second person retorts.
You see, both sides have a few behavioral characteristics in common. First, they will always deflect any criticism of their candidate by trying to impugn the opposing candidate. If they are called on it, they go into a loop . . . still impugning the other candidate. At no time will anyone ever say anything negative, no matter how justified, about their own candidate. And FSM forbid anyone actually admits their candidate has ever done or said anything wrong.
Paraphrasing a famous buffoon, at this point, either candidate could literally shoot someone and skate free of any charges. That’s how fanatical their core supporters are.
The rest of us scratch our heads and wonder how we got to this point.
I raise my hand and say, “I know, I know!”
But, I’ve written about it before, so I won’t repeat it. What I will repeat is the choice is either a candidate whose sole interests are ego and power and money as they purport to care for us “ordinary folks”, OR a candidate whose sole interests are ego and power and money as they purport to care for us “ordinary folks”.
But then, we knew that at the start of this.
~ ~ ~ o o o ~ ~ ~
The first few weeks at this new rental had me still shoot boats along the coast, now about a mile away as the crow flies.
You see now why I’m interested in a long zoom . . . even with cropping, them be a long way off.
In case you can’t read it, that’s a NOAA ship . . . probably spying on some poor fish or other, it is.
For the first few weeks, I also photographed geckos.
For the love of Geckos
I mentioned before that I’m dedicated to keeping bugs of all kind and critters of all kinds from cohabitating with us. The first time I mentioned keeping geckos out of the unit I got a few honest “For the love of all that’s holy, why?” thrown back at me.
We’ve since met people who not only don’t mind geckos in their house but actually encourage them, even setting up food for them. We just met someone who bragged she has one living behind the toaster, one behind the refrigerator, and one behind the microwave. Every morning, she puts a little jelly on her finger and they come out in turns — apparently, they have a socio-jelly hierarchy — to eat the jelly from her fingers. She’ll tell you about how smart they are.
My main objection with the geckos is this . . . they crap all over the place (see above). I grant you they are cute. The thing is, I don’t like anything or anyone crapping on the walls where I live and especially not on the surfaces where I set my food.
“They eat the bugs!” is the common rejoinder.
Let me give you an example of how faulty that logic is . . .
- Tex Drive-In makes great malasadas.
- I like malasadas.
- Therefore, you are likely to find me at Tex Drive-in.
- At no time will I rid Tex of all the malasadas because if I did . . .
- Tex would go out of business and then . . .
- I would no longer be at Tex Drive-In.
You see, saying the geckos eat the bugs first and foremost says you have bugs in your apartment or house. Geckos neither control nor get rid of the bugs. They come to feed because you have bugs; they do not come to help you get rid of bugs. If they couldn’t find easy meals, they would go elsewhere. So yes, you are feeding geckos . . . by keeping bugs in the house.
The lady I mentioned above said they get rid of mosquitos. Yes, they eat mosquitos . . . in their natural environment. If the mosquitos are flying around your house, the geckos are not going to be worth spit; you will get bit. Then, she said they eat cockroaches. Well, that just told me she has a cockroach infestation at her house, much like Tex Drive-In has a malasada infestation. At best, her geckos are well-fed, but she still has cockroaches.
The next most common argument I get is that “this is the tropics; you are going to have bugs in the house.” Well, yeah, if you are going to give it up without making more of an effort than to let geckos in the house. Now, I don’t assert that I can be 100% bug-free, but I can keep this from being fertile hunting grounds for geckos.
We are renting, so I can’t do a proper job, but what simple steps I’ve taken have cut the incidence of bugs and geckos by a lot. Let me repeat that . . . A. Lot. I’ve not killed any geckos, but I have impressed upon them that they best go find jelly elsewhere, and they are smart because they don’t hang around like they used to.
Then again, not many bugs for them to eat here.
~ ~ ~ o o o ~ ~ ~
A quick iced tea interlude . . .
Writing and reading and submitting – two out of three ain’t bad.
I found a few places that will accept submissions of reprints. Reprints, in this case, are short stories and flash pieces which have appeared on my blog and have thus used up their FNASR.
I’ve had a bit of fun editing some of my favorite flash pieces and short stories and sending them out. Three of the flash pieces received the standard submission rejection (only one shown here):
“Thanks for considering Flash Fiction Online for your Reprint submission, “Unspoiled Offering.”
Unfortunately we have decided not to accept it.
We wish you the best of luck with your writing career and hope to see your name often (new stories, too!) in our slush pile.
Sincerely, etc. “
Honest, I don’t know what to make of this. I really, really, really wish they would be more direct because it would help me decide if I should continue submitting. By that I mean:
- is the writing crappy? Based on what they have accepted, I would be tempted to say “no”.
- is the plot for crap? Again, and I know I’m biased, but I think that story has a decent twist that most readers would enjoy (and have enjoyed).
- are the characters smeared in crap? Within the limits of a flash piece, I thought there was a fair amount of character definition and development.
- did I crap all over the typical story structure? I have conflict, I have action, I have resolution . . . in other words, I think I have the structure of a story pretty well covered.
- is the subject matter/genre something they object to? They say they are not bothered with genre restrictions. Besides, I gave them three separate and very different stories, and all were rejected.
I should be honest . . . I did not really expect any of them to be accepted. My nature is such that my expectations are very low, but I wish they would give a reason for their decision. And, it need not be an in-depth breakdown of the story and/or writing. But, a hint would sure be nice. For, if I am lacking, how will I ever improve?
There is one other possibility . . . social topics are all the rage these days, and if that’s the underlying cause of it, the fact I’m not expounding this or that real or perceived social injustice or cause de jour, well, then, I am royally screwed. If that is the case, I should quit submitting stuff right now. Heck, I should quit writing.
As it is, I submitted three other flash pieces for the same market and one short story in another market. I also have all my September 2015 short stories out again. Those four stories alone have garnered a total of eight rejections. It would likely be more except that a couple of them have a long period of time between when they were submitted and when I received an answer. In fact, one has been under consideration now for 260 days and I’ve yet to hear from them. The bad thing is that I can’t submit it elsewhere until I do hear from them.
Some markets reject very quickly (the shortest was one day). The next longest from the current record of 260 days was 181 days before the story was rejected. Most answer within two months.
One thing of note on the above rejection . . . I think there should be a comma after “Unfortunately”, but that’s just me.
Speaking of which, a couple of good resources for writers, at least writers like me.
One is the Guide to Grammar and Writing. Honestly, I had forgotten about that site, but it has a lot of decent information which can easily be accessed.
Another is Fifteen Thousand Useful Phrases, over at Project Gutenberg. That’s for anyone who might want to add some flair to their writing. This is another site I had bookmarked a number of years ago and then promptly forgot about. Then again, some say I lack not flair. Tell that to my faded, dusty, and largely immethodical, irregular, and inconsecutive unread blog. Yes, I got those from that book.
If it is to be that mainstream publishing eludes me, THIS link might come in handy.
For people wanting to get into the head of someone used to thinking sideways, The Idiomatic is a good place to peruse.
Just a few clicks gave me the following gems:
Imitation is stranger than fiction.
Beauty is the architect of his destiny.
Ignorance doesn’t fall far from the tree.
Knowledge is always 20/20.
You guessed it; the site takes a couple of familiar idioms and combines them to get a third, totally new idiom. I think it exercises one’s perspective something fierce, and as we all know, all the world starts with a single step.
I mentioned writing . . . soon. Real soon. But, anyone wanting to read what I write will have to ask for a password; I’m now guarding the FNASR of each and every piece.
~ ~ ~ o o o ~ ~ ~
The other subject I photographed a lot is . . . the Sun. Specifically, the Sun going down.
Yes, this is a subtle — or not so subtle — hint that we are approaching the end of this post.
Before I go, I want to point you to a few articles I found interesting and noteworthy. First up, Annie Oakley’s Grave. I was a young lad in Italy when I first read about Little Sure Shot. I will be writing about the books I was reading when I was young, but let me say that even then I immediately realized the benefit of being knowledgeable and skilled with weapons, the gun recognized by me as the most useful and desirable.
Second, I was peripherally aware of some of what one can read HERE. Tell me again how politicians — any politician — will look out for you and me.
Lastly, something that is both important and that few will bother with. It’s so important that I offer both the AUDIO and TRANSCRIPT links. Take your pick. The title is Racism and Violence in America. I’ll emphasize that you owe it to yourself to either listen to it or read it, even as I know few will bother. After all isn’t it much easier reading a Twitter soundbite? Why, yes Bob, it is.
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. . . my FP ward . . . chieken shit.