The voting for the best of The Alphabet Challenge “S” Stories poll continues to be close. This either means the stories are near-equally good . . . or near-equally bad. 

Regardless of who wins this round, it’s nice to see a close race. For them keeping track, there are two more days before this round’s voting closes in two days.  

If you are a reader of our stories and have a strong opinion about which of the stories you liked the best (or disliked the least), and if you participate in the poll, thank you in advance. Links to the stories and the poll for the “Alphabet Challenge S-Stories” are HERE(link) Votes will be accepted until noon on November 8th.

I’m going to post a few “Westernized” photos. I mean, the post-processing is such that it gives the photos a “Western” look (or so I imagine).

Colorado scenery - fence and some red rocks
. . . Don’t know if I succeeded. I mean, the photos are all of Western scenery (Colorado), but I don’t know if these conform to people’s idea of Western paintings  . . .

The voting is unusually close (at the time of this writing) for The Alphabet Challenge “S” Stories poll. Perhaps as a reflection of what’s happening elsewhere, the race for the top spot is tight. Unlike what might be happening elsewhere, this voting is not fraught with contention, and voters are not under any pressure since the results won’t matter much to anyone other than the writers.  

If you are a reader of our stories and have a strong opinion about which of the stories you liked the best (or disliked the least), and if you participate in the poll, thank you in advance. Links to the stories and the poll for the “Alphabet Challenge S-Stories” are HERE(link) Votes will be accepted until noon on November 8th.

So, I was having some issues with the theme I had chosen. Specifically, photos were not being presented as I liked, especially in older posts.

Red-tailed hawk perched on fencepost
. . . so, here it is, a different theme. There are a few things I like with this theme . . .

The Alphabet Challenge “S” Stories poll has picked up steam and is now a hotly contested race the likes of which I can’t imagine being matched in the real world.  

If you are a reader of our stories and have a strong opinion about which of the stories you liked the best (or disliked the least), and if you participate in the poll, thank you in advance. Links to the stories and the poll for the “Alphabet Challenge S-Stories” are HERE.<<<Link Votes will be accepted until noon on November 8th.

I’m still trying to digest the change in theme. I’ll be trying some new ones, possibly tomorrow.


I’ve seen some interesting themes and I’m actually considering exploring some drastic departures from the usual . . .

A quick reminder that The Alphabet Challenge “S” Stories poll is still lagging in votes with only five days remaining. Of course, I realize we’re probably all a little occupied with a little election that’s going on. 

Still, if you are a reader of our stories and someone who would like to express an opinion about which of the stories you liked the best (or disliked the least), and if you participate in the poll, thank you in advance. Links to the stories and the poll for the “Alphabet Challenge S-Stories” are HERE.<<<Link Votes will be accepted until noon on November 8th.

And . . . readers who are on a PC might have noticed something . . . a different look for the blog. But, before I discuss that, here’s a photo . . .

Yellow VW Beetle covered in snowBack in the days when we were still living in Colorado and I was still working, we’d experience our first snows in September . . .

I assume it’s near useless doing a reminder for this blog when two idiots are duking it out on the world stage. But, The Alphabet Challenge “S” Stories polling is still lagging with only six more days to do. We’re now hoping for the usual late-voting surge, but I fear most of the people will be all voted-out by the time they return from pissing on the opposition while ignoring the piece of crap that is their choice. 

Still, if you are a reader of our stories and someone who would like to express an opinion about which of the stories you liked the best (or disliked the least), and if you participate in the poll, thank you in advance. Links to the stories and the poll for voting for the “Alphabet Challenge S-Stories” are HERE.<<<Link Votes will be accepted until noon on November 8th.

OK, there’s only one photo in this blog post . . . and this is it:

Let me explain . . .

After a small surge, The Alphabet Challenge “S” Stories polling has again lagged. We’re now hoping for the usual late-voting surge, but I fear all the talk of voting may have put some people off.

You see, it might be they assume this has to do with some election or other. I wouldn’t know much about that, but I thought it best to change vote/voting to poll/polling . . . although that too can have negative associations.

Still, if you are a reader of our stories and someone who would like to express an opinion about which of the stories you liked the best (or disliked the least), and if you participate in the poll, thank you in advance. Links to the stories and the poll for voting for the “Alphabet Challenge S-Stories” are HERE.<<<Link Votes will be accepted until noon on November 8th.

OK, there be no photos on this blog post . . . only screen captures.

Let me explain . . .

The Alphabet Challenge “S” Stories voting has picked up a bit, which was nice to see. Interestingly, all the votes have come from the US. Frankly, I’m surprised the rest of the world is letting the US show them up like that. But, I suppose it’s still fairly early in the round and people from other countries may be more deliberate in their . . . er . . . deliberations.

If you are a reader of our stories and someone who votes, no matter your country of origin, thank you in advance for casting a vote for your favorite of the three despite all that’s probably occupying your mind. Links to the stories and the poll for voting for “Alphabet Challenge S-Stories” are HERE.<<<Link Votes will be accepted until noon on November 8th.

I suppose I owe a photo . . .

Open country, shrubs and big skySo, the Block Editor (ptui!) . . . First, let me say it’s a powerful editing tool . . . for them who have a need for it. Having used it for this past week or so, I . . .

Because the Alphabet Challenge “S” Stories voting round is off to a very slow start, I decided I’d do a few more reminders. I suppose it’s to be expected, what with the Big Scary Day approaching . . . and just a few days before that, Halloween.   

If you are a reader of our stories and someone who votes, thank you in advance for casting a vote for your favorite of the three despite all that’s probably occupying your mind. Links to the stories and the poll for voting for “Alphabet Challenge S-Stories” are HERE.<<<Link Votes will be accepted until noon on November 8th.

I redid the voting post so that it looks more like what it used to look like. Perhaps that was the problem and not the possibility we might suck as writers.

And now, a horse . . .

That’s a photo captured on the first day I owned my Nikon D200.

Anyway, in case no one noticed, the fonts in the blog are different. Until last week, the Adobe toolkit was available to us bloggers . . . specifically, we could set what fonts to use on the title of the blog (above the header photo), what fonts to use for the menu and post titles, and what font to use for the body of the post. Now . . .

This is the second day of the Alphabet Challenge “S” Stories voting round. Given all that’s going on in the world, I’ll be happy to get any readers and voters at all to stop by.  

If you are a reader of our stories and someone who votes, thank you in advance for casting a vote for your favorite of the three. Links to the stories and the poll for voting for “Alphabet Challenge S-Stories” are HERE.<<<Link Votes will be accepted until noon on November 8th.

I know the voting post is a bit of a mess, what will all the warnings and colors and stuff . . . but, the poll works (as far as I know) and a few votes have been cast.

And now, onto a few photos that were processed using Luminar 4 . . .

John Deere Model "B" TractorThat’s a John Deere Model “B” tractor<<link that has graced these digital pages before.

So, you might wonder what’s so special about using Luminar 4. I mean, it’s not like that post-processing has made the shot amazing . . . well, I’ll have the original in the gallery at the end, but . . . .

So, Photoshop dropped an update with significant changes. Here, I will explore one of the many new features . . . Neural Filters.

“What be they?” you ask?

Well, Bob, it’s like everything else in this screwed up world. We apply massive computing power to AI algorithms for entertainment purposes. I mean, we should apply them to solving the world’s problems, but that probably makes too much sense, and so we leave that to deeply flawed individuals motivated by religious dogmas, driven by greed, and wading in deep pools of ignorance.

So, what do these filters do? Well, let me show you . . . but first, let me warn you. This has nothing but pictures of me, and none of them flattering. Not that I would have ever won any beauty contests — I do bikinis poorly — but I’ve definitively aged poorly.

By that, I mean that at 57, I looked like 42 . . . but now, at 67, I look like . . . well, here . . .

That is a photo of me I took for an ID card. As I mentioned before, I try extra hard to make ID photos as ugly as I can get them, and, as I’ve gotten older, that’s gotten easier.

Enter Photoshop’s neural filters . . .

Tomorrow, the Alphabet Challenge “R” Stories voting round closes at Noon, Central time (Chicago time). For them who have patiently waited until the last minute before voting, behold! . . . it is nearly here.

If you are a reader of our stories and someone who votes, thank you in advance for casting a vote for your favorite of the three. Links to the stories and the poll for voting for “Alphabet Challenge R-Stories” are HERE.<<<Link Votes will be accepted until noon on October 20th.

And now, onto a few photos for them who already voted (or have not voted and don’t plan to vote) . . .

A cone flower artified

That would be a cone flower adorned by a bug . . .