The “Z” stories voting block is progressing at a decent clip . . . but it could do much better. Unfortunately, this is the last chance for the voting to smash previous records. That’s right . . . it’s now or never.

And you, yes, YOU, can be a part of it and help us reach that goal! I don’t mean just reading and voting for the stories, but also pushing them onto friends and family (presuming you have friends and family who like to read). I mean, it’s not that much of a commitment (for them or you) since this is the last group of stories. Still, I get people may be busy hiding or hunting eggs and stuff, so do if you can, but don’t feel bad if you can’t (or, don’t want to).

Just know that if you’ve been a loyal reader of our offerings and someone who votes, you have the writer’s unending gratitude.

The links to this last trio of stories and the poll for voting for “Alphabet Challenge Z-Stories” are HERE(link). Votes will be accepted until  Noon (Central Time) on Thursday, April 8th, 2021. That means you have less than five days left.

For many people I know, today is kind of special. Whatever celebration you might be having — even if it’s just to enjoy being alive — I hope it is a grand day.

. . . I should probably express that more often since it’s my desire for readers and non-readers alike regardless of which day it is.

But, seeing as today is a holiday for some, I thought I would do a quick reminder post, and what better way to do “quick” than take previous photos and artsify them? That’s right; there is no better way. 

All of the photos are treated with Topaz Restyle, Topaz Impression, and framed using Topaz Studio.

The “Z” stories voting undergoes bursts of activity and — since this is the last of the stories — I figure I would do a bit more reminding and prodding. You know, to maybe have this last block smash the previous voting records.

And you, yes, YOU, can be a part of it and help us reach that goal! I don’t mean just reading and voting for the stories, but also pushing them onto friends and family (presuming you have friends and family who like to read). I mean, it’s not that much of a commitment (for them or you) since this is the last group of stories. Still, I get people may be busy hiding or hunting eggs and stuff, so do if you can, but don’t feel bad if you can’t (or, don’t want to).

Just know that if you’ve been a loyal reader of our offerings and someone who votes, you have the writer’s unending gratitude.

The links to this last trio of stories and the poll for voting for “Alphabet Challenge Z-Stories” are HERE(link). Votes will be accepted until  Noon (Central Time) on Thursday, April 8th, 2021. That means you have less than five days left.

Yellowstone NP is (so far) our favorite National Park. I mean, there may be parks out there we’ve not seen and that would supplant Yellowstone’s lofty position, but they have a lot to live up to. 

I mean, Yellowstone has the views, the animals, the mountains, and valleys . . . and then there are the geothermal features.

For them not interested in reading, you can explore the photos in THIS SmugMug Gallery.  

For a SmugMug slideshow click HERE. When you click the link, it will open in a new window and you have two options:
1) Manually scroll through the photos by clicking the “<” and “>” symbols to the left or right of the photos.
2) There’s a PLAY/PAUSE button at the bottom-top of the screen with the transition set at about 5 seconds. Note: clicking the PLAY arrow will run a full-screen slideshow. You can then still use the”<” and “>” symbols to the left or right of the photos as this will pause the slideshow.

If you want the full experience, keep reading.

Yellowstone June 2015

One can easily argue the duplicity of people when it comes to the value of being smart. 

There are many definitions of smart. Some relate to specific metrics (IQ) while others place the emphasis on matters that are harder to measure (street smarts, political smarts, corporate smarts). Therefore, before going too far, I should define smart, and do so in a very self-serving manner. 

Smart (intelligent) – a person who is aware of the limits of both his knowledge and abilities and in that awareness, constantly seeks to expand said limits in all manner of disciplines, each prioritized based on the person’s current needs and desires. 

By the above definition, I am smart. No surprise there; the person making the rules always does well. Practically speaking, being smart gives me confidence in myself and my decisions, confidence in my ability to solve problems, confidence in my ability to recognize when I don’t know something and to seek help. Confidence in taking risks and learning from failure. 

Before I go on, Yellowstone 2015, Mammoth Hot Springs. Nothing to do with the above; just thoughts on photography and Yellowstone.

Yellowstone June 2015
Yellowstone June 2015
Yellowstone June 2015
Yellowstone June 2015

All these photos are from our 2013 and 2015 trips to Yellowstone. Click on them for a larger version. Go to the SmugMug Gallery for the full-size 2015 versions. The photos for the 2013 Yellowstone shots are in THIS SmugMug gallery. 

I should warn people . . . I may not be around much during the next few months. 

Wait . . . is that clapping and cheering I hear?

I’m still going to post stuff here whenever I need a break or need to unwind or both. I won’t completely stop, but reading the sixty blogs I subscribe to will take a back seat to other stuff. 

Yellowstone June 2015

By the way, all these photos are from our 2015 trip to Yellowstone. Click on them for a larger version. Go to the SmugMug Gallery for the full-size versions.

This next shot is a panorama with Yellowstone lake in the foreground. 

20150604_DSC8564_1_DSC8564-Processed-2_DIGI

You can click on the above photo for a larger version, but if you have a fast Internet hookup, click HERE for the full-size version (8MB). After you click and it loads, click again to zoom in and out. 

Note: Based on feedback I received, posts on this blog are now longer and with more photos.

I don’t know the exact age, but around eight years of age, I feasted on a zombie . . . er . . . received my First Communion.

I do remember doing a lot of thinking about god . . . and testing god. She . . . He . . . it failed miserably. 

Over the next few years, I graduated from testing god to challenging it, trying to provoke a response. That was also a form of testing, albeit a bit drastic. I’m not sure exactly when god became a non-thing for me. I still went to communion, but before going to communion one had to go to confession. I had a standard list of “sins” I confessed instead of kneeling there in silence . . . I claimed disobedience of my parents, telling a few lies, speaking the name of god in vain. Admittedly, I didn’t exactly know what that last one was. I sort of knew it had to do with cursing, but I didn’t typically curse. At least, not that I remember.

June 2015 trip to Wyoming

By my early teens, that whole church thing was a mild but bearable annoyance. Sometime during my high school years, I told my parents I wasn’t going anymore. Used logic and everything, something along the line that it made no sense “faking” going to church; if there was a god, it would know.

It would be many years later I would learn the word “atheist”, and years after that I would hear the word skeptic and learn there were others like me. 

There are noises on the airwaves. Some of them relate to Freedom of Speech. 

But, before I get to something that means a lot to me, I want to touch on the underlying reason I’m writing this. 

June 2015 trip to Wyoming

I am referring, of course, to the 2016 Presidential Election.

By the way, I’ll go on record right now . . . for the first time since I’ve been eligible to vote, I will choose not to.

I’ve argued the eventual rebuke before, but I’ll briefly summarize it here . . . I am not responsible for whatever happens. Instead, I hold people who do vote as responsible for whatever is to come.