A poor showing

Since January, I’ve averaged exactly twelve (12) posts per month. That is a huge drop from years past. In 2015, for instance, my average was more than one post a day and that’s when I was working. It’s not just posts. I used to write more opinions, more fiction, and shoot and process more photos. 

Wait . . . that’s not exactly true. Through the end of May, I’ve shot 4,330 photographs. That’s on track with the 8,394 photos I shot in 2016 and I’ll easily beat the 5,804 photos total for 2015. 

However, 2016 is an outlier year because a lot of those photos are for the items we were selling on eBay.  But, 2014 had me shoot 11,982 photos. 

Of course, it’s not really the number of photos that matter. It’s the number of photos I post; that’s the number that matter . . . but WordPress doesn’t make it easy to get those numbers. 

Anyways, where was I . . . oh, yeah . . .  

Not that many posts. Not much content. Not much writing.

I cannot deny part of the reason is an increased feeling the world is spiraling out of control. I could easily blame the man-child currently in office, the duplicitous ideologues on the Right, the clueless wingnuts on the Left, a flaccid short-sighted media industry, religion sticking its nose into private crevices, a shaky and unsustainable world economy, strife, deteriorating race relations, wars, terrorism, overpopulation, greed, intolerance, hatred . . . I could go on, but I don’t have all day. 

A part of me wonders if I’m just getting tired. Imagine “tired” is another word for “old and slowing down.” 

Could it be things I used to enjoy are slowly losing meaning? 

Whoa! Damn; I forgot!

I have to be careful what I write. Sure as liquid effluent, someone will read the above and be filled with an overwhelming desire to shore me up, reassure me, tell me I’m OK and the world doubly so.  

If such thought crossed your mind, cast it asunder, stomp on it while wearing army boots — if don’t own army boots, beat that thought with a two-by-four or any sufficiently hefty implement. 

By the way, WordPress must have tweaked their editor again because it’s behaving strangely. Those rear orifices can never leave well enough alone. 

Perhaps that’s the problem; I’m pissed off and irritated.

Yeah! That’s it!

There’s so much stuff these days, so many rear orifices, so many people irritating the flowing effluent out of me that I’m left with (paradoxically) too much effluent to write about; how do you tackle an expanding pile that grows faster than you can spread around? 

I don’t know, but I’ll eventually figure it out. 

Meanwhile, Guardians of the Galaxy 2.

Huge disappointment. Not just for me, but for Melisa, as well. There is not much in the entertainment horizon that excites us. We watch a couple of TV shows that will have the occasional clever line but that, on the whole, are poor reflections of the truly funny shows of years past. 

Maybe it’s me. Maybe that’s what getting old means; losing one’s sense of humor. Let me check . . . 

Nope; still got my funny bone. 

Anyway, GOTG2 . . . well, it’s a sequel; my opinion of sequels has been chiseled out of the dead weights typically used to sink original ideas into a morass of commonality and the lowest denominator cleverness. This sequel was no different. 

I mean, if you like CGI, miles and miles of CGI, some trying for cuteness, some trying for epic, and some borne out of what for sure was a bad acid trip, then you’ll love this movie.

If you like redemption stories . . . atop redemption stories . . . atop redemption stories . . . atop resolving daddy-issues stories, well gorsh nobit, then this movie is for you. Mind you, there’s not much of a plot. The acting is also suspect . . . my thinking is whatever motivation the actors had, it got sucked up by the green screen they must have practically lived in during the shooting. 

I mean, don’t get me wrong; I like Chris Pratt. He seems like a nice and down-to-earth fellow. Has himself a decent sense of humor, but the man has limited screen range. The “play catch” scene was literally painful to watch.

OK, OK . . . you can’t blame Chris for that one; even Kurt couldn’t make that scene work. Badly written, badly directed, vapidly acted, and framed in a CGI creation straight out of an adult coloring book on crack. 

But that’s only one of many pointless scenes.  Some were shot for humor, but they too — flopped. Baby Groot is cute and all, but you can’t have him carry a ten-minute scene. Some scenes looked specifically shot for an eventual ride at one of the theme parks. 

But, you, know, redemption.  

Redemption and a pointless death. Why is it screenwriters can’t write emotion into a scene unless they kill someone?

And here’s the thing . . . it wasn’t really a hero’s death. It was an idiot’s death. 

Lemme ‘splain . . . say I’m a space pirate. Heck, never mind pirate; say I fly around in space for a living. You know; vacuum, cold . . . kind of inhospitable to living tissue. You can bet your bippy I’d always have one of them instant space suits and jet packs strapped to my belt, especially since they don’t seem much larger than a wallet. You press a button and boom! you got yourself a bubble-wrap spacesuit. 

Sure, sure, there’s no air reservoir, and there’s not enough room between the covering and your breathing orifices, so it’s a bit like wearing a plastic bag over your face, but hey! . . . if it keeps you alive for the two minutes it takes for rescue to arrive, you can bet I’d have one of them with me all the time. 

Wait . . . wherever they were, it wasn’t “space.” I mean, sound traveled, so no vacuum. 

. . . I miss Firefly . . .

Look! . . . the CGI world looked a bit like that; pointless odd multi-colored shapes and patterns along with the cheesiest cross between animatronic puppets and cartoons representations of what I can only presume were supposed to be humans. 

And, get this . . . the god-daddy-figure was an actual brain that lives out in space. A human-looking brain. I mean, they could have chosen a truly alien artifact, but no . . . a huge-ass brain, complete with the trailing remnants of a spinal chord.

Anyway, if you liked the movie, I’m glad for you. Having liked the first movie, this was a major disappointment for us.  

So far, Marvel had exactly one sequel I thought was on par with the original . . . the first two Captain American movies are both movies I would watch again. Can’t say that for the sequels to Ironman, Thor, and the Avengers; they all fail on many levels.

Frankly, I’m not hopeful for whatever crap they’re throwing at me next. 

I don’t know . . . perhaps, I’m losing it. Or, perhaps, I’ve lost all my tolerance for mediocrity. Perhaps, I’m tired of getting what little intelligence I have left insulted. 

Sure, it could be these offerings are at a higher plane of consciousness, a plane that escapes me. That would be the charitable thing to think. 

What I actually think is that up-and-coming generations are as distracted by shiny stuff as the Indians who sold Manhattan for a few marbles.    

As long as there’s a lot of noise, lights flashing, rapid movement, and driving music, today’s moviegoers are happy.   

I couldn’t decide which I liked best, so I put up both versions of the processed photo. The original photos can be found in THIS post. 

Lessee (or, is it lesse), what else can I complain about? 

Politics and religion I’ll leave for some other time . . . but, wait! A related topic comes up, also in the form of a movie: Zootopia

So, for them not up on it, it’s a kid’s movie. What’s then surprising is that it had a plot. In fact, a halfway decent plot. In fact, in fact, it had an ambitious plot for the time allotted. But, the premise . . . that gave me pause. 

Animals living side by side, all at peace with each other, their . . . uh . . . animal instincts suppressed and mapped into the equivalent human-world stereotypes. For example, foxes are con artists, rats thieves, tigers are cops, etc. etc.  

This is typical Disney fare insomuch that it purports to have a moral while ignoring glaring problems. In this case, a heavy-handed yet muddled presentation of political correctness, gender bias, racism all wrapped up in a too-quickly-developed buddy story. 

Yes, the message means well . . . the execution? I found problems with it. In a way, it’s a testament to the movie that it had me thinking about the presentation long after I finished watching it. 

After I decided to write about it (about ten minutes ago), I did a quick Google search about the movie. 

You see, writing about racism, gender bias, political correctness . . . them be ways to get people calling you names. I wanted to check if I was off-base with what I saw. 

The initial results were disheartening . . . awards, praises, accolades . . . had people watched the same movie I watched? I mean, I liked the movie as a story but had found lots of problems with the message(s) and presentation. 

It turns out I be not the only one who looked past the facade and analyzed the actual message, one I hope the movie-makers did not intend. 

. . . and that lets me off the hook . . . read THIS and THIS commentaries. If you are only going to read one, read the first one. 

I have to be careful as I write these next words because it will sound like I’m giving myself airs, possibly sounding as if I’m smarter that other people. Please, understand all I’m saying is that for me — someone who tends to overthink as a matter of course; someone who looks at things from multiple angles; someone who has the luxury to do so — the movie went beyond what the movie-makers probably intended. I say probably because I don’t read minds. With that said . . . 

BIG CAVEAT . . . most people will watch the movie and come away with a warm feeling from the happy ending, a simple message of inclusion leading to harmony resonating in their core, reaffirming the goodness of human nature’s desire to aspire for more. This is probably what the movie aimed for and it’s the basis by which it was judged and received.

Unfortunately, I can’t help thinking that even if only at the subconscious level, the movie reinforced some racial and gender stereotypes even as it sought to have us look beyond them. It’s a tad disappointing that the moviemakers seem unaware of the possible duality of the message.

Finally, some might call me to task for going beyond the scope of the movie and reading more into it than is warranted. I hope they are right.

I should mention something about writing . . . I’ve resumed writing my second Michelle “Mich” Maul story. 

It’s difficult starting up where I left off on November 9, 2016. I had made a few notes about where my writing was leading the plot, but I should have shared more extensive and detailed notes about what I was thinking at the time. 

The good thing is that it’s an easy and enjoyable read — speaking for myself, here — and doing a couple of read-throughs fired up the ole plot-generation engine. I hope to have that story finished relatively quickly. When finished, it will be offered up in a password-protected post. 

What’s that? You want to see a sample?

Well, I had posted a small sample when I started (HERE) but I suppose it won’t hurt to share a bit more. This is a continuation of the original bit, so if you don’t remember — and who could blame you — go back and re-read it, although this could stand on its own. 

NaNoWriMo 2016 – Story 1
© 2016, 2017 – E. J. D’Alise

“Michelle, you should know that I can be quite persuasive. Still, I would prefer if you took the offer of your own free will.

“I will make you a deal,” she continued, “listen to what I have to say, and if you still want to turn down the job, I’ll walk out of here and the matter will be closed, no adverse consequences to you.”

The contrast between her smile and the coldness of her eyes still had me wanting to cut and run, but now I was curious. I nodded.

“I know you were recently hired to find Sasha Revnik. Her brother fears the worst, and unfortunately, he’s right.”

“She’s dead?”


“Did you have her killed?”

“Now, Michelle, is that a question you would expect me to answer if I had?”

I didn’t answer her because I was looking at Ninette’s eyes. There was absolutely no response, no indication of anything. I might as well have been looking at a painting.

“No matter,” she continued, “because I will answer it; I had nothing to do with Sasha’s death. In fact, I want you to find out who did.”

“Would you answer another question?” I asked.

“Depends on the question.”

“Why do you care?”

“Because Sasha was under my employment. I take it as a personal affront when my employees are killed.”

Again, no reaction of any kind. She would do well on the poker circuit.

“Why not do your own investigation?” I asked as I motioned toward the reception area.

“Isn’t that why you walk around with Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum?”

“Their skill set lies in a different direction and does not encompass your unique talent,” Ninette replied. I could not tell if she was trying to be funny or was completely serious. “And that’s enough questions for now. All you need to know is that Sasha is dead, that I am not responsible for it, and that I would like you to find out who is.”

“One more question if you want me to consider your request,” I said, ignoring her no-more-question request, “why me?”

Ninette looked at me for what seemed like thirty seconds but was likely no more than ten. I can play the inscrutable game as well. At least I hoped I could. She finally broke her scrutiny.

“Joshua was a shrewd and tough obstacle. You removed what was a roadblock to my long-range plans. I was impressed.”

Just about a year ago I’d had my first run-in with the Russian Mob in the form of one Lukian “Joshua” Desny. Joshua ended up kind of dying. That had created the opportunity for Ninette to move in on his territory.

“Aren’t you worried I might remove you as well?”

“We are not enemies. We have nothing to gain by going after each other. But, just so we are clear, any inkling indicating a change in the status quo, and I will not wait for an actual confrontation.”

I looked up. Dee and Dum smiled, real friendly like. Kind of gave me the creeps. I looked back at Ninette.

“One thousand dollars a day plus expenses,” I said.

“That’s more than twice your usual fee,” Ninette said as she produced a phone and started typing on it.

“Extra time in the shower removing the stench,” I replied.

Ninette smiled. Funny thing, it looked like a genuine smile.

“I understand. I just sent you an e-mail with what little information I have. I look forward to working with you.”

As she spoke, she got up from the chair and offered me her hand. I stood as well, but when I took her hand, my other hand now held Matthew in Condition Zero and pointed at her stomach. She was standing in the line of sight of her killers, so they did not react. Ninette looked down but showed no reaction.

“Just to clarify things some more,” I said, “I don’t like people pointing guns at me. Even less so when it’s in my own office. We’re even now, and we should strive to keep it that way.”

She looked at me and smiled her Cobra smile. We shook hands and she left.

# # # 

Awesome stuff, I think, and that’s just the beginning. 

You know what? I’m happy with this post. It’s definitively long enough — but not as long as I would like — to annoy a few readers who lack the attention span and too short for people favoring longform posts, thus leaving them wanting more.  

The full-size versions of these photos can be found in SmugMug HERE. Clicking on individual photos will get you a larger version. The gallery for this post follows:

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

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ o o o o o o ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Insert Doodle

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 intended destination:  https://disperser.wordpress.com/2011/12/26/palm-vx-and-i/.


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

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