For them not interested in reading, you can see photos in THIS<<link SmugMug Gallery. 

When you click the links, 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 near the top-left of the screen with the transition set at about 5 seconds. Note: Above the play/pause button there’s the option to go full screen. Most of these look really good viewed full screen. You can then still use the”<” and “>” symbols to the left or right of the photos (this will pause the slideshow).

If you want the full experience, keep reading.

Them who might have noticed me not doing much online these past four days probably knew I was traveling. Them who didn’t notice me not doing much online these past four days probably don’t read my blog.

Well, I was traveling, and when I travel, I travel with my photography equipment (plus the phone camera).

Readers are doing a decent job of trying to make the “Z” stories voting block the one with the most votes ever. It’s also nice getting feedback letting us know this is one of the best batches of stories yet. I mean, we always try doing our best, but it’s nice to read we’re ending the Alphabet Challenge on a high.

And you, yes, YOU, can help smash all previous voting records! Helping doesn’t mean just reading and voting for the stories, but also going the extra mile and urging friends and family to read and vote (presuming you have friends and family who like to read). This being the last group of stories, it’s not like they have to commit to much, especially since there’s only one day left.

That said, only read and vote if you have the time and inclination. Life can throw loops at people and if something keeps you from these stories, that’s perfectly fine.

But if you’ve been a reader of our offerings and someone who votes — even if only occasionally — know that 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) tomorrow Thursday, April 8th, 2021.

Since I don’t want to keep you long, just a few photo offerings . . . 

Some sights from our 2015 travels to Yellowstone NP.

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.

I think I’ve figured it out . . . people are tired of these reminders. Basically, the constant reminders about the V” stories block voting deadline is just an irritant. Don’t worry, I’m not here to remind you there are twenty-four hours remaining before the voting window closes — although, you know, that’s true when this post goes live — but rather to tell you a few corny one-liners.

What did the fish say when he hit the concrete wall?
“Dam!”

What do Eskimos get from sitting on the ice too long?
Polaroids.

What’s the difference between roast beef and pea soup?
Anyone can roast beef.

What do you get when you toss a hand grenade into a kitchen in France?
Linoleum blown apart.

Anyway, if you’ve already voted for a favorite story, the writers thank you. If you haven’t voted, and you spent time reading this, you now have less than 24 hours before the voting round ends. Links to the stories and the poll for voting for “Alphabet Challenge V-Stories” are HERE(link) Votes will be accepted until Noon (Central Time) on Tuesday, January 5, 2021.

So, a more birds . . . .


This was taken from the lanai of the condo we rented while in Kailua Kona, on the Big Island of Hawaiʻi. The bird is flying up to grab seeds from the upright pod. The pod contains a lot of seeds, and they are light enough to get blown all over the place. I know I shared the seeds in a post but I can’t find it right now.

Around this point of a voting block, we see a bit of a rush in voting, and the V” stories block is no different. The last two days typically see big moves by one or more of the stories, usually those that were lagging.

. . . and we are at the last two days of voting.

Going forward, I plan fewer reminders (reminders take a fair amount of time, and daily reminders don’t seem to make a difference in the voting), and I’ll bunch them up near the end of the voting block. Again, between generating the photos for these posts and spending time putting them together, the effort related to these posts impinges on time I would rather use to work on other posts.  Mind you, it’s not like these take hours but . . . no, actually, in aggregate, they do.

Anyway, if you’ve already voted for a favorite story, the writers thank you. If you haven’t voted, you have less than 48 hours before the voting round ends. Links to the stories and the poll for voting for “Alphabet Challenge V-Stories” are HERE(link) Votes will be accepted until  Noon (Central Time) on Tuesday, January 5, 2021.

So, a dash of red . . . .

This was taken from the lanai of the condo we rented while in Kailua Kona, on the Big Island of Hawaiʻi.

Wow . . . just yesterday we had the beginning of the new year, and it’s now the second day already! These days are going by so fast it’ll make your head spin, and before you know it, BAM! . . . the year will be over.

Not to mention, only three days left to vote for your favorite of the “V” stories. I mean, just yesterday, there were four days left, and now one day has disappeared. Poof! Gone.

If you’ve already voted for a favorite story, the writers thank you. If you haven’t voted, did I mention there are only three days left? Links to the stories and the poll for voting for “Alphabet Challenge V-Stories” are HERE(link) Votes will be accepted until  Noon (Central Time) on Tuesday, January 5, 2021.

Again, I’m looking back a few years for these photos . . . .

This was taken in the parking lot of the Costco in Kailua Kona, on the Big Island of Hawaiʻi.

I hate starting the year off with a reminder there are only four days left in the “V” stories voting block. However, as everyone winds down from the holidays, perhaps this is the perfect opportunity for people to relax, read a story or two, and cast a vote.

And, if that’s what you did (or plan to do), the writers want to add their thanks to their wishes for a great 2021. Links to the stories and the poll for voting for “Alphabet Challenge V-Stories” are HERE(link) Votes will be accepted until  Noon (Central Time) on Tuesday, January 5, 2021.

I dug back a few years for these photos . . . .

This was taken from the beach located approximately 7 miles north of Kailua-Kona, Kohanaiki Beach Park — also referred to as Pine Trees Beach — located on the Big Island of Hawaiʻi.

The “V” stories voting block asked me to intercede on its behalf. Apparently, it doesn’t know why it’s in the doghouse with voters. I tried to explain this is a bad time of year — and a bad year overall — but this voting block is really insecure and would have none of it and wanted me to plead readers for more reading and voting.

Now, me, I don’t like doing that. I figure these stories have to stand on their own, and if there’s no word-of-mouth traffic generated by the few readers we’ve had, well, then, there’s nothing I can do about it . . .

. . . except thanking them who voted for standing up for their favorite of the three stories. Links to the stories and the poll for voting for “Alphabet Challenge V-Stories” are HERE(link) Votes will be accepted until  Noon (Central Time) on Tuesday, January 5, 2021.

Just a few photos today . . . .

The photos in this post are all from the lanai of the first condo we lived in while on the Big Island of Hawaiʻi.

The “V” stories voting is likely to stall as people celebrate various religious holidays, and that’s perfectly fine.

For them who take the time to read our stories and vote for their favorite, thank you in advance. Links to the stories and the poll for voting for “Alphabet Challenge V-Stories” are HERE(link) Votes will be accepted until  Noon (Central Time) on Tuesday, January 5, 2021.

Today is Christmas and to them who celebrate it, I wish a Merry Christmas . . .

Now, you might be asking “You be an atheist! What are you doing wishing people a Merry Christmas?”

The “V” stories voting block is off and running . . . Once again, we have three decent stories vying for the attention of discerning readers. One thing I would ask of readers . . . if you like a particular story, in addition to voting for it — and if you feel like it — get friends and family to read it (and also read the others in case they don’t agree with you).

No matter how you come to them, 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 V-Stories” are HERE(link) Votes will be accepted until  Noon (Central Time) on Tuesday, January 5, 2021.

Just a few photos today . . . .

The photos in this post are all from the Old Kona Airport State Recreation Area<<link in the Big Island of Hawaiʻi.

A gentle reminder before exploring sausage-making . . .  

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 U-Stories” are HERE(link) Votes will be accepted until noon, Chicago time, on Wednesday, December 16th.

So, on with a fairly quick post about how the sausage gets made. We begin with this photo (as shot on  Nikon D200 with a Nikon 80-400mm VR lens) . . .

Coyote in a field
As shot. RAW capture output to JPG.

I mean, it’s not a bad photo. It’s a little soft and overly bright, but it was the middle of the day in Colorado, the sun beating down something fierce. Well, first we crop and sharpen using Topaz Sharpen AI.

I’m not going to mention the current progress . . . embarrassed, I am, and not by riches . . . Doh! I doggoneit done gone and mentioned it! Look, all I want to say is . . .   

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 U-Stories” are HERE(link) Votes will be accepted until noon, Chicago time, on Wednesday, December 16th.

I’ve had a couple of busy days, but this afternoon — evening, really — I grabbed my camera, attached the Nikon 80-400mm lens, and went to sit outside for a spell (66° it was … nice, it was).

Since all I wanted to try a few different settings, I just shot random and mundane things.

I’m writing this a day before publication (since I’ll be busy) so I don’t know how the views/votes for the “U” stories is progressing. Not well, I’d wager. Not a big deal since we have enough votes to declare a winner (one vote). OK, OK, I know a few readers are still planning to vote, so I’m assuming by the end of the round, we’ll have at least two votes. If we get three votes, I can hope for a three-way tie.  

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 U-Stories” are HERE(link) Votes will be accepted until noon, Chicago time, on Wednesday, December 16th.

OK, so these are the last photos from a Still Life contest I had entered. I mean, I had more, but this rounds up the ones I thought worth-while sharing.

Still Life

Two things about this set of photos. One, I’m not going to explain what you are looking at. Two, I’m presenting them in reverse order of how much I like them.

I mean, like all parents, I’ll say I like each one as much as the others, but, you know, in a different way.

The “U” stories are still struggling to generate views (let alone votes). Not sure what’s going on, but I assume it has a bit to do with the world going to crap, the holidays, and COVID-19 parked on everyone’s minds. 

As this is, has been, and will be an effort just for the fun of it, it means the drastic reduction in readership is of no practical consequence . . . other than to the fragile egos of the writers. Poor sods are anxiously following the poll and watching their self-esteem shrivel-up. It’s actually worse for the other two writers than for me since I’m not the one mailing out notices to friends and family. Anyway . . .   

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 U-Stories” are HERE(link) Votes will be accepted until noon, Chicago time, on Wednesday, December 16th.

I’m continuing with photos from a Still Life contest I had entered. Today’s photos can be said to be loosely related; not quite a theme, per se, but at least peripherally related.

Still Life

Yes, them be toothpicks for people with very big gaps between their teeth (or massive cavities). OK, OK . . . they’re crochet needles and a few other implements I’d be hard-pressed to name.