This is the seventh round of the Title Writing Prompt Challenge. For them not familiar with the challenge, a quick summary: three writers offer the fruit of their labor and inspiration based on a given title.

The Round 7 Title — Side Jobs — was chosen by Me. Gary will choose the title for the next round.

The writing challenge has no restrictions and the stories span a wide gamut of genres. The majority of the stories fall in the G and PG rating range with a few perhaps pushing into the soft R-rating. Those ratings are guidelines but they are subjective. If you find a story disturbing because of the topics, language, and/or plot points, stop reading and move on to the next one. The same goes if you are not interested in finishing a story. It may seem like obvious advice, but these days many people go out of their way to experience outrage (and then complain about it).

This, then, is Perry’s submission.

Oh, before we begin, I solicited blurbs from each writer. Here’s Perry’s:

Maynard Ballcock wanted only to create the perfect bourbon. History and happenstance, however, had other plans. Plans that included the making of an American president, and perhaps the unmaking.

This is the seventh round of the Title Writing Prompt Challenge. For them not familiar with the challenge, a quick summary: three writers offer the fruit of their labor and inspiration based on a given title.

The Round 7 Title — Side Jobs — was chosen by me. Gary will choose the title for the next round.

The writing challenge has no restrictions and the stories span a wide gamut of genres. The majority of the stories fall in the G and PG rating range with a few perhaps pushing into the soft R-rating. Those ratings are guidelines but they are subjective. If you find a story disturbing because of the topics, language, and/or plot points, stop reading and move on to the next one. The same goes if you are not interested in finishing a story. It may seem like obvious advice, but these days many people go out of their way to experience outrage (and then complain about it).

This, then, is my submission, written today (September 25th, with only three days to spare before the voting deadline). I had three stories in various states but didn’t get inspired until this morning. Don’t worry if you’ve already voted. Just enjoy reading it . . . or not.

This story needs a bit of background because it’s set in the world of a previous story. Specifically, one of the Alphabet Challenge stories, Permeability Police (LINK). If you’re not familiar with it, I’d recommend reading it, but here’s a brief description of the world set up in the story:
The barrier between the “real” and “fantasy” worlds turned permeable, and the two worlds began to see intrusions, with fantasy creatures— some magical, some not — wandering into our reality, and regular people popping over to the fantasy worlds for a look-see. The CRAFT Treaty (Crossover Rules and Fit Together Treaty) established acceptable rules of conduct as well as an agency to review and approve all crossovers. During one crossover, some unknown sorcerer made dogs sentient. Nick, a member of the Permeability Police, has the uncommon ability to nullify magic in his vicinity. The story deals with the case of stolen magic staves.

And, here’s the blurb for this story:
Nick must solve the case of the disappearance and possible kidnapping of both his partner, Dana, and the daughter of Anubis (yes, the Egyptian god). Along the way, he joins up with Chip, the wolf, and a Griffin named DuskHunter.

I’ve had two posts about sewing and quilting (HERE and HERE), and the 2021 Holiday Greetings (HERE) had a couple of themed quilts. It’s now time for an update.

Specifically, updates on quilts mentioned before and that have since been finished, and updates on ongoing stuff. This update is limited to large quilts, ignoring, for now, all the small stuff she works on.

I mentioned in the previous post about the difficulties of photographing large quilts . . . well, I came up with something that worked reasonably well (but added a bit of work).

The drawback with that setup is that it’s difficult to get the quilt to hang flat, or, for that matter, to ensure it’s square to the world. Also, it’s inside, which poses a lighting issue, not to mention the pattern of the drapes in the background is a distraction.

I think I worked out solutions for all those issues. . . let’s see if I’m right.

In brief, these posts serve to introduce new readers — and reintroduce regular readers — to photos from the early days of this blog and, occasionally, to photos from days before this blog came into existence.

Only one gallery this week . . . and, in contrast to last week’s, a short one. Just 22 photos and four videos.

There’s one blog post associated with the photos — HERE — and the photo gallery is HERE.

The photos and videos were shot with the D7000.

The place is Laupāhoehoe Beach Park on the Big Island. Site of a deadly tsunami, it’s a bit of a drive both to get there from where we were staying and to get down to the park itself (narrow 1.5-lane road winding down the side of a cliff).

When you stand on the shore, the waves coming at you look taller than you, obscuring the horizon and making you think they’re going to inundate the ground you stand on . . . but the rocks break them up . . .

So, rather than writing my story for the challenge, working on my photos, or doing anything productive, I occasionally return to playing with AI Art Generators.

I’m old, you see, so I don’t feel the push (or pull) to achieve anything in particular. After all, it’s all I can do just to put on my pants in the morning without falling over . . . most mornings, at least.

So, when the mood strikes, I do what the mood wants, and today, I wanted to share balls; crystal balls.

For these AI Art Generators renderings, the prompts contained words like crystal ball (occasionally misspelled as balll), dystopian, realistic, copper, detailed, and so on. I ran those with both cyberpunk and steampunk qualifiers, and I’ll begin with the cyberpunk renderings.

As I’ve been doing in these posts, I open with the renderings from Dream by WOMBO.

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these. Let me explain . . . on Monday, Labor Day here in the US, I started the day by sitting outside and photographing hummingbirds. Mind you, there were lots of other birds around, but I concentrated on the hummingbirds. Then, throughout the morning, I shot more photos.

For the record, 170 photos were snapped, of which I kept 123. The SmugMug gallery (HERE) has 75 of those 123.

How many am I going to show here? Don’t know yet, but not that many.

These photos are all cropped from the originals. Even after cropping, the photos are about 2400 pixels per side, and I’m linking photos about half that size (meaning, SmugMug offers larger versions, as will the slideshow at the end).

The Throwback Today posts are a chance for me to get my D100 and D200 out, make sure the batteries are charged, that there’s a fresh CF memory card waiting to receive photos, and go out and shoot with them old workhorses.

But, sometimes, it’s me revisiting past captures to see how they might benefit from postprocessing techniques and tools that were not available back then. Today, we’re looking back eleven years to photos captured in 2011.

Specifically, to the day when a Tarantula walked from my forearm to my fingertips across my palm.

I should mention all these photos were already shared in THIS post, where I documented our visit to the Butterfly Pavilion in Denver, Colorado.

I always feel weird adding the state when I mention cities. I mean, sure, if I say Marion, there are a number of them strewn throughout the US, so it makes sense to say Marion, Illinois. But, Denver? OK, there are 19 places named Denver in the US, but how many readers know the other 18?

Anyway, let’s continue.

In brief, these posts serve to introduce new readers — and reintroduce regular readers — to photos from the early days of this blog and, occasionally, to photos from days before this blog came into existence.

Only one gallery this week . . . with 311 photos!

Well, not really . . . there are only 288 photos, and the rest are animations using some of those photos.

There’s one blog post associated with the photos — HERE — and the photo gallery is HERE.

The photos were shot with the D7000 coupled with the Nikon 80-400mm lens as most of the surfers were out there a bit, and this was pre-P900, so it’s DSLR from start to finish.

As interesting as that photo is, there are many photos, and for this post, I’ll limit myself to mostly the animations from the photos. Anyone interested in perusing the photos can visit the gallery.

There are a lot of action shots, so if you’re into waves and surfing, the gallery is the place for you. Here are a few before I jump to the animations, and, by the way, you can click on any photo or animation to open a larger version in a new window . . .

Yes, more AI-Generated art. For the few who might not know what is meant by Steampunk . . . well, you can click on THIS LINK. Basically, imagine no electricity and everything powered by steam. So, for instance, you could still have computers (HERE) but not run by electricity.

I ran a number of prompts on all four AI Art Generators (DALL-E, Dream by WOMBO, MidJourney, and NightCafe). Understand, there may be more AI Art Generators, but these are the ones I’m currently playing with.

The prompts ran from simple to more complex, and some incorporated other stuff besides ‘Steampunk Computers’ such as: drawn by Michelangelo, in the desert, made of copper, and some I currently don’t remember.

For instance, this was Dream’s concept of a steampunk computer as drawn by Michelangelo.

Dream By WOMBO

As we’ll see later, quite a different interpretation from MidJourney.

Just a quick post because it got late as I was playing with more AI Art Generators.

Yes, I wasted time I should have spent writing, but I had a good reason. I had credits that were expiring in a few days, and I didn’t want to waste them, so, first up, MidJourney.

But what prompt to give? Obviously, “robots playing chess in a desolate landscape“.

Well, that didn’t go so well, now, did it?

I used to do monthly calendars, but I discontinued the practice beginning of 2016. The last monthly calendar I posted prior to this year was for December 2015.

This is the September 2022 Calendar I created at the beginning of the year (actually, the end of last year).

Really, I don’t expect anyone — in this digital assistant age — to actually use a paper calendar (although many still do; they get them for free at banks and other places) . . .