Stuff and a bit of Tarot Flash

If I followed the advice of some people, I would have at least a few posts a day, drive amazing traffic to this blog, become rich and famous, and eventually, die beloved by all. Or, something like that. 

All I have to do is shorten my posts. Alas, that ain’t me, Bob. 


The frequent complaint I get about this blog is that because of the amount of content I share in each post, and the number of photos I include, and the size of the photos I include, my blog is slow to load. I recently addressed that fact — and it is a fact —in response to a comment on another blog.

I am trying to slow the pace of today’s entertainment. “From breakneck, to glacial!” is my motto. People need to slow down and enjoy life.

I’ve given my suggestion before, by I’ll repeat what I consider the best way to enjoy my stuff:
1) bring up any of my posts.
2) go make a cup of tea (or coffee, as one prefers)
3) call parents or sibling as you sip tea
4) make a run to the drugstore (or equivalent) and buy eye-drops in case you forget to blink.
5) get a few snack ready along with another cup of tea.
6) sit and enjoy the brilliance that is me (allow a minimum of 15 minutes).

Alternatively, get a faster internet hookup.

Yes, I’m glib, and I understand in today’s world many things are clamoring for your attention. I also understand most people do not have the time and patience to sit in front of the computer for a whole minute while photos or other content loads. 

I understand it because I know most people have never experienced sitting in front of a computer connected through a modem and watched a picture of something appear on the CGA screen one line at a time over the span of ten minutes. 

Amazing, it was. Photographs sent through telephone wires in the form of strident and incomprehensible noise and resolved onto your screen as if by magic. People would sit mesmerized as the tiny cursor slowly filled the screen with 256 muted colors. They were blown away when that changed to 32,768 less muted colors. 

Today, if we have to wait a whole minute, we feel we are victims of a universe conspiring to rob us of some imagined privilege or other. 

But, I can tell you who it’s to blame for my posts loading slower than the attention span of most readers . . . WordPress. 

I used to upload small photos and link them to the photos in the SmugMug gallery. That made the page load faster and still gave easy access to larger versions. 

But, WordPress started wiping out outside links. Go back to my earlier posts, and odds are the links work. Eventually, I got tired of rebuilding them and we have the current system; I upload a large file and insert it here in case anyone wants to click on it. 

Oh well, here’s another photo . . . 


As usual, you can click on the photo and a larger version will open up in another window or tab. Or, you can go to the SmugMug Gallery HERE and you can examine the photos in any size up to full. 

Anyway, people have little memory of times gone by, so they no longer appreciate the content . . . they only appreciate how quickly they can glance at it and move on. Well, this ain’t that kind of content. 

Speaking of times gone by, have you ever heard of a Curta Calculator? No? Well, neither had I, and I am shocked I had never heard of it since it was still around when I was going to college. The last of them were replaced by electronic calculators in the 70s. 

Courtesy of Wikipedia

I came across mention of the Curta Calculator in THIS article about the plans having been made available so you can construct your own using a 3D printer. Well, a larger version of it since the original had very strict tolerances you cannot achieve with a commercially available 3D printer. There’s even a dedicated site HERE that is all about Curta. 

Amazing stuff. 



I like that reprocessing  . . . looks like something that would look at home on the bathroom wall of a diner that has seen better days. 

I like reprocessing stuff I processed before. For instance . . . 

20160626_dsc6736_1_digi 20160626_dsc6736_1-processed_digi

The attractiveness of reprocessing photos is the immediacy of it. Also, it’s a distraction from the stuff that is going on around us, none of which is any good. These days, I get to wonder just how much time is being wasted by people discussing the current presidential election . . . and I wonder how much stress is heaped upon us by the current presidential election . . . and I wonder if we’ll step back and learn anything from it. I don’t think so, no matter how many articles like THIS are written and read. 

Ultimately, I think we are screwed. Not by self-serving politicians or megalomaniacal captains of industry or semi-literate buffoon born with a silver spoon up his ass, but rather by our inability to demand more from those seeking to govern us. But more than that, by our inability to understand, to compromise, to tolerate, and hold to universal ideals easily recognized as beneficial to society as a whole. Ideals that occasionally demand some personal sacrifice.

Here, look at more photos as you breathe deeply and slowly to regain your calm.




Really, I’m not here to bring everyone down. Let me show you something you might like . . . 


Neat texture, ain’t it. Let me show it to you from another angle . . . 


I love finding patterns in inanimate objects . . . this one looks like it could be some type of Marine Elephant. You know, if Marine Elephants existed and if they looked like that. 

Don’t see it? Here, let me make it easier.


Writing is another escape for me. 

I do that sometime; I write. THIS Viable Paradise XX alum threw up a flash fiction prompt. She says that every Tuesday she will pick a random Tarot card and a random object and offer up an Instagram photo people can use as inspiration to write a flash piece. 

This was today’s photo:

My readers know I like flash fiction and I like responding to writing prompts. In this case, I also wanted to explore a few things I’ve always wondered about with the type of story I present below. See if you can spot them.

The Ancestor
© 2016 – E. J. D’Alise

Josie looked around her. Everything was ready. She glanced at the clock. Directly linked to the Denver Atomic clock, it should give her as precise a reading as humanly possible.

This was her seventeenth try at reaching the beyond. Nine times she had been in the wrong time zone. The correct Midnight turned out to be Greenwich Mean Time -10 hours. Seven times she hit Midnight too late or too early because her clocks were not accurate enough and the Guardians shut her down before she could lock The Passage open. Her hand poised, she fixed her eyes on the digital readout approaching twelve midnight of the twelfth day of the twelfth month of the year. Seventeen years of research and frustrating failures were about to either bear fruit or end her quest.

At the instant the readout read 00:00:00, her hand smashed the egg over the ancient glyph carefully drawn onto the only item she possessed of her great-grandmother; a baking pan handed down through three generations of first-born girls. The egg signified rebirth and as the glyph took on a white glow, Josie used her fingers to spread the yolk and ensure complete coverage.

Her surroundings darkened as swirling shapes sought to isolate her from the glow. The Guardians. She was ready for them. Without taking her eyes from the glow, she reached for the sea salt and sprinkled it over the glyph, now burning with a cool brilliance. The effect was immediate; a yellow glow formed in front of her. Fighting the urge to rush, Josie pushed the pan until half of it was engulfed in the glow and then laid a strand of her hair atop the glyph, thus locking The Passage open. Satisfied, she called out.  

“Evelyn, I beseech you, speak to me.”

Josie waited. She had done all she could do. The matter was now up to forces outside her control.

She waited what seemed an eternity, but she knew that only seconds had passed in the real world. And then, she saw a change in the glow. Subtle at first, it solidified in the amorphous shape of a human head. Even as everything kept shifting and fading in and out, the eyes came into sharp focus.

“Josie,” a voice said, “you’ve grown into a fine young woman.”

“Thank you, great-grandma,” Josie replied.

“What is it you seek, child?” Evelyn asked. “I cannot tell you much of the world beyond or of your future, but I can answer one question, and one only.”

“Lemon Meringue pie recipe,” Josie blurted out, interrupting.


“The lemon meringue pie recipe,” Josie repeated. “Mother lost it some years ago and what we eat now might as well be store-bought.”

“That girl would lose her head if it weren’t attached,” Evelyn replied. “I must hurry for we don’t have much time. Take three eggs, a one-and-a-half cup of sugar, one-third cup plus one tablespoon of cornstarch . . .”

Josie furiously wrote what Evelyn dictated. She was also recording the session, but better to be safe than sorry.

A few minutes later, the glyph’s white glow began to dim as Evelyn rushed to finish.

” . . . and make sure you cool it away from any drafts and then refrigerate it for at least a day before serving it. There, did you get . . .”

The glow disappeared, and the room’s normal light came on again. Josie spoke her goodbyes hoping Evelyn could still hear her.

“Thank you, Evelyn. I’ll see you next year for the chocolate chips cookies recipe.”

Josie slept in late the next day, having been up half the night baking lemon meringue pies like her great-grandmother used to make.

The End

So, let’s see how well my few readers did . . . 

Did you catch the Midnight references? When reading these kinds of tales, I’ve always wondered about phrases like “at the stroke of Midnight.”  How exact does one need to be? In some movies, the procedure involves doing the deed — whatever the deed — while the clock strikes the twelve chimes of Midnight. That always seems very sloppy to me. Chimes differ in duration. Few clocks these days still chime, so does it mean the window of opportunity no longer exists?

Also, very few clocks keep good time. Unless adjusted daily or weekly, most are off by as much as five minutes or more. What happens if you start the ritual a minute or two early or late?

But, there is even a bigger issue . . . time zones. There are two issues with that. The first relates to what kind of time system the spirit world keeps. One would imagine they are outside our own time and space, so for all we know, their “day” could be the equivalent of one of our seconds or maybe the equivalent of a thousand human years. We just don’t know.  

The second issue is that even if they keep the same time reference as Earth, which time zone are they using? For instance, if you live near the border between Utah and Nevada, you could live through one Midnight, walk ten feet, wait an hour, and live through another Midnight. Well, which is it? Which Midnight is the correct Midnight? 

I tried addressing some of these points by establishing a few rules. There is only one specific Midnight, and one has to find it. You have thirty-six different time zones around the world so, good luck. Josie found that Hawai’i-time is the correct one, and before someone suggests GMT should be the correct one, let me remind you that too is arbitrary . . . plus, just recently, we found out it’s not as exact as we thought. These days we use GPS to account for continental drift and stuff, so one hopes the various atomic clocks coordinate with each other. 

Anyway, I had fun writing that. I hope people enjoyed reading it. 


I’ll leave you with a photo of a sea slug . . . and the post-processed version of it . . . 


Wait! . . . there’s one more thing. For the intersection of people interested in trying Scrivener and are doing NaNoWriMo, there’s THIS. It’s a discount on the Software. 20% for everyone and 50% if you are a NaNoWriMo winner. If you already own the software, there is a template in case you are doing NaNoWriMo. In case you are not sure, there is a 30-days free trial. That’s usage days, so not necessarily consecutive. 

Think about it; you could use the trial period to do NaNoWriMo and if you finish, you can buy it half-off. Not a bad deal. Heck, even at 20% off it’s not a bad deal. 

Oh, what the heck, let’s really piss off people by adding a bit more content. The following song is a favorite of mine:

It was the early 80s and I was languishing as a non-descript cog at GM. I heard this song somewhere, I don’t remember where. I went out and bought what I think is the only single 45-rpm record I ever owned. At the very least, the only I remember owning. 

More than thirty years later, and this song is still in my music rotation, and I still pay attention to it when it plays. You can read about Wondering Where The Lions Are HERE. Or, you can just listen to it and enjoy it.

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


Note: if you are not reading this blog post at, 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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. . .  my FP ward  . . . chieken shit.

Finally, if you interpret anything on this blog as me asking or wanting pity, encouragement, or advice to better my life, know my subtle mix of irony, sarcasm, and humor is blowing right by you.