Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Things I want:

Things I want:

Better high tech password authentication. This should be easy for someone to come up with a way to authenticate for every website, it should be sucker proof and easy to use.

Better security for online purchases. This has to be fixed. What we have today isn't anywhere near good enough. If they fix the first item on this list this one will get a lot better. Maybe the first problem needs a two fold solution?

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Digital and Film

My photography has progressed over the years, with the magic of digital cameras it makes learning and taking more pictures possible. In a year I have take almost four thousand pictures, that would have been over a hundred and fifty rolls of twenty-four exposure film. Just processing would have made that almost impossible for me to afford doing.

Don't get me wrong, I think shooting film is great. With the ability to scan slide or negative film into the computer, shooting film still has a place in my life. But digital makes learning easier. I can see what something is going to look like while the shot is still set up and I don't have to completely set the shot up again a week later when I'm shooting digital. That's pretty cool. I like that.

Wish I had someone to talk with about what i'm doing right and what still needs work in my photography. Looking at my FlickR stream, I see I'm all over the place with my images, there is a lot of different kinds of shots. Which is good I'm versatile. I have posted about 6% of the photographs I have taken. I could use some feedback about how to get better results. Anyone?

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Color Photographs: Color Temperature

Color Photographs

As you progress in your experience with photography, one of the things you need to think about is color temperature. You have probably seen the setting on your camera that says: "AWB" this stands for Auto White Balance. Which means that the camera will try to set the color temperature for you. This is fine under some circumstances, but not great if your shooting in the shade or with studio lighting, using a flash, or mixed lighting.

In black and white you don't have to worry about the color temperature because it doesn't often make a difference. If your working with color it makes a big difference. If your taking more than just a few photos, having the color balance set correctly will save you a lot of time in Photoshop. One way to get the right color balance is to use a white card in the first image then correct the white balance in photoshop and save the setting. Then apply the setting to the other images that were taken in the same session. I can tell you a way that is better.

Set your camera up, use a white card and expose the first image. Be sure to get the exposure right and just where you want it. Load the first image into Lightroom and choose the develop menu. Select the eye drop tool and set the white balance from the white card in your properly exposed image. You may want to move the color temperature slider around a bit to make it warmer but when you find the right temperature then:  See the color temperature on the right side? Write that number down, then set the white balance in your camera to that same number. Then every image you expose under this condition will be exposed with the right setting without having to correct a lot in photoshop.

When your finished with your photo shoot, be sure to set the white balance in your camera back to "AWB" so it's ready to go for your next shoot.

The color temperature in Lightroom shows that you have blues on the left of the slider and more yellow on the right of the slider. Your job is to find the right color temperature that looks most natural for your image. Too much blue and it looks cold and unwelcome, especially photographs of people need to be warmer in tone unless your trying to make them look like a villain.

Learn how to see the color temperature in Lightroom and Photoshop, this will add to your abilities in color photography and will enhance the look of your photographs.

Shutter Speed, F-Stop, ISO: Measurement of light

Good photography is simply the correct measurement of light. There are three ways light is measured by, the ISO, the f-stop, and the shutter speed. Each of these three pieces must be correctly understood to get the best results.

The first thing to understand is the ISO, this is how we measure the sensitivity to light. Whether it's film or digital the sensitivity to light is measured by a number, these numbers span from 25 to more than 8000. The lower the number the less sensitive to light, the higher numbers are more sensitive to light.

What does this mean? Simply put an ISO of 100 is about normal for daylight photography, while giving good quality images. The higher the ISO the more noise or film grain will be visible. If your working in low light you may need a higher ISO to get the shot. Most digital cameras do not go lower than 100 ISO, but some will go much higher.

Here are the most common film ISO speeds: 25, 50, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, 12800. These are in one stop increments, notice that the numbers double every stop? That's normal one stop increments. There are also half stop and one third stop increments too, you may see these settings with some digital cameras. Just remember that the higher the number the more sensitive to light and the noise increases too.

The second thing to understand is the f-stop. This controls how much light will be exposed to the film or sensor. Note this only controls how much light will be visible, the shutter speed controls how long the light is seen. The f-stop works in the lens, you can sometimes see it when you look into the lens and press the shutter release button, it opens and closes depending upon what setting you use. Wide open the f-stop may be somewhere as big as f2.8 or as small as f32, it depends upon what your lens can do; you may want to see what settings are available on your camera.

Some common f-stops are as follows going from more light to less light: f2.8, f4.0, f5.6, f8.0, f11, f16, f22, f32. These are full stop increments and there are half stops between each of these numbers. Sometimes half or one third stops are useful to get a more accurate exposure. Remember correct exposure is how accurately we measure the light, more accurate we measure the light the better the quality. The f-stop also controls the depth of field which I will talk about in another post.

The third part of understanding exposure is how long the film or sensor is exposed to light. This is called the shutter speed. Shutter speeds are set by the camera most of the time, values range from a second or more to fractions of a second. Going from slow shutter speeds to fast shutter speeds, common shutter speeds look like this: 2, 4, 8, 15, 30, 60, 125, 250, 500, 1000, 2000, 4000. Remember there are half stops and one third stops between these numbers to help more accurately measure the light.

Fast shutter speeds stop motion, while slow shutter speeds will cause motion to blur or camera shake that will both cause blurry photographs. If your photographing a fast moving subject you want a shutter speed fast enough to capture the action. For still life you may want a slow shutter speed while the camera is on a tripod, with a small f-stop to get the best depth of field possible.

Measure your light carefully and your results will be best. Understand how your camera measures light and you will be a master in no time.

Saturday, July 18, 2015


The winter scene outside my window is easy to deal with. Everything is easier in the winter, it's the summers that I hate. I can explain why the summer months are so detestable to me, the shortest explanation is that summer comes and love does not. it's easy to be alone in the winter, but spring when new things begin and come alive, it's always a heart break when there is no love in my life.

To fully understand you will have to know that I have been alone many years, this winter will mark a total of twenty years of isolation. Sometimes I believe that I'm better off alone in this world. There are things I want, it seems they have been withheld from me.

My home is my refuge, no one comes to disturb my peace and quiet. NO one calls, writes, or comes to visit. If they did come to visit they would overstay their welcome, I'm sure of it. I want friends, what I don't want are trivial conversations about the weather that go nowhere. My life must have depth, I expect the same from my friends. Life shouldn't be all talk and no action, to really live life one must do things that challenge and bring forth change. To live life you must grow everyday without fail.

I want to remark that I was brought up with a life that the status quo was never challenged. The monotony was dreary, and growing up was bitter to my soul. Yet I could not change my early years despite the hatred I have for what was done to me. All that matters is what I do from this day forward. Deep down I know that to live my life on my terms, I must take action.

The simple pleasures that most know, have no meaning in my life; perhaps they have a place in my life, however I don't know where they go. It's almost dusk outside the cold of December is upon me and even in bitter spirits I must take my walk through the small woods and hear the stream; it's one comfort I still afford myself.

I walk through the house turning on lights in the two rooms that will be dark when I return from my walk. Before I go out that door there is one thing to take with me, my walking stick. the leather handle that I wrapped myself in my prime is worn and smooth from many years of walks; an average person would find the walking staff too heavy for comfort, it's not for them so it really doesn't matter.

The air is dense, like a rain is scheduled for tonight. under foot the damp earth is not dusty, with my left arm holding the walking stick I pound the tip into the earth every two steps. sometimes the marks can still be seen weeks later. if someone were to walk my path they would see this has become old habit and i walk about the same stride every night. sometimes I can see where the old mark was and aim for the same spot. why leave a new mark in the earth when one will do just fine?

walking down the hill and to the south, the road ends and a path comes into view, it's not a wide path only myself and the wolves use it in the winter. the dry brush on either side are broken down from winter, they will be fresh in the spring, i think it's easier to see them in the winter, despite the fact I like their green color when spring comes.

the stream with fresh water from the melting snow in the north mountains is still icy cold, in spring it's banks are wide and full, this is just half of what comes when the rainy season is here. the path follows the stream on the left bank, with the water running from north to south towards the ocean. 'Oh what a long journey the water must take to reach the ocean from here. No doubt other streams find their way until the water flows in a river to other far away places. My life unlike this stream is not connected with anyone else, either the waters run dry or the water returns to the ground only to be forgotten.

I hear the water flowing downstream, the leaves silently passing as all dead things do. I have to wonder if the tree's miss their leaves and the joys they brought in the summer months? The tree's thin here and a meadow opens, the edge of my walk always stops here. I go no further, many years ago I piled a group of stones in this place to mark my area, the deer can have the field, and the wolves can have the deer.

on my left I see the waning crescent moon still burning, i think to myself: "Don't be too jolly, the new moon will break your heart." it's always the same, the old moon follows the new moon, even the heavens are clockwork of renew and decay. it seems the moon is always ready for more, it never seems to give up, I don't believe the moon will stop until after the sun does.

my walk back is through a half mile of dark trees and the north path is cold with a southern wind that was at my back on my way here. the cold feels good as does the isolation, the only things that brings sound is the stream and the wind. my silent steps and the marks my walking staff leave are the only sign of human life here. That's good, I Like it this way. up the hill and in the distance I can see the light on in my home, only there is sound that isn't the stream and it sounds like a car coming up the road.


The sound is unmistakable. The computer is always on, the sound only happens when new messages are received. Which doesn't happen often, it really only happens after an error in someone else's computer makes the mistake of sending me something I don't want, junk mail. All the same, today could be different; perhaps there is hope that someone would write me. I won't know for twenty seconds, the time it takes me to login and switch to my email application. my inbox to my surprise shows one message, the senders address is: Amber Constance.

I open the message and read it silently to myself,

Dear Calvin,

I want to thank you for sharing your poetry on your blog, you have no idea how your writing effected me, I am still in tears from how your words ring so true in my heart and soul. Thank you for being so honest and truthful, it is rare to find a mind like yours that has suffered the same hardships and trials.

I don't want to be nosy, I however have a question if you feel you want to answer me I would appreciate a response. After reading the poem "The Fall of Light", I was moved to write you, I have never found anyone that feels like I do, where does your inspiration come from?


For the first time in a long while, I feel a hint of surprise and something else, something that I have not felt in many years; a thrill.

Well better not get too excited at first, seems if I think I have any fans it will go to my head, before long it will bring my ever ready spirit back to life. No I won't answer this letter, the fact she cared enough to write doesn't mean anything, it's only a very sincere thank you letter and nothing more. If i ignore it, a few days will pass and there will be nothing else to be done. it will drift away like my life, until there is nothing left.

The thing that strikes me odd now is the title of the poem, "The Fall of Light" that was years ago, I have to check the date; I don't believe someone read my blog that far back, it had to have been five years ago I wrote that one. I open my web browser and type the administrators address for my blog, a few seconds later a list of hundreds of entries comes up, I find the search box and type the poem's title. the page shows one poem.

I open the link for the page and read the poem, hmm….. It would have been better to have burned those poems. Only now they are on the internet and that is quite impossible.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Poem: Defeat

Edgar A. Guest

No one is beat till he quits,
No one is through till he stops,
No matter how hard Failure hits,
No matter how often he drops,
A fellow's not down till he lies
In the dust and refuses to rise.

Fate can slam him and bang him around,
And batter his frame till he's sore,
But she never can say that he's downed
While he bobs up serenely for more.
A fellow's not dead till he dies,
Not beat till no longer he tries.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Poem: Failures

By Edgar A. Guest

'Tis better to have tried in vain,
Sincerely striving for a goal,
Than to have lived upon the plain
an idle and a timid soul.

'Tis better to have fought and spent
your courage, missing all applause,
Than to have lived in smug content
And never ventured for a cause.

For he who tries and fails may be
The founder of a better day;
Though never his the victory,
From him shall others learn the way.

Essay 01

Do you think if you were enlightened you would be happy? I have an answer for this question that requires a longer explanation than normal. Without getting too technical this is a brief introduction to zen enlightenment.

Which part of the sentence do you focus on? Do you focus on the word enlightened or do you focus on the word happy? There is a big difference and depending upon your goal you can certainly be happy without being enlightened. The real question is can you be miserable and enlightened? The answer is yes you can. Nirvana is happiness, enlightenment is different.

Enlightenment does not come from anything but experience, it's like being wise about your heart and mind.

When you become enlightened it's not something you can teach to another person, there is no way to explain it, you just feel it. Does it make you happy? Maybe. It causes a sense of peace, however it can be frustrating because when you interact with others who are not in the same mind set, you will find there is no way to teach them, except through example.

Being enlightened is a conscious state of being you really feel no more happiness than sadness; the two are balanced. What you will find is that your mind will accept things more peacefully. It's like the peace after having fought a war with yourself for many years and having finally won.

To be enlightened is to know one's self very well. To have fought that internal war of the mind and heart and then having peace that never really ends; granted you can live with yourself for that long. The problem is most people are fighting with their heart and mind, the battle between consciousness and sub-consciousness. Once you master the balance, you find you can never really teach it. It's not even possible to explain clearly. You can see it in yourself by how you judge others, an enlightened soul knows not to judge.

In truth i'm not a very good zen student, I am trying.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Tough as Nails

It began over a cup of coffee in a world that looked much like this one, some five thousand years ago. many of the people looked the same, some of them even had the same names. you may wonder at how those of us that know the truth would know such a thing. the answer is simple, we used to vacation here, before the enemy came and ruined what was once a good thing.

Her name is Amber, we met at a locals hang out that catered to those who rode motorcycles in the canyons at speeds faster than sanity would allow.

She was there with her twelve friends all on matching green bikes and yellow riding gear; they looked tough, in a world of softies they could still pass, yet something told you they were driving nails in with hammers on the inside.

she sat at table ten by herself and watched the wanna bees as they approached her friends and got shot down like mamma's boys who couldn't handle the heat. having been a regular i didn't bother to ask if i could sit at table ten; i just pulled up a chair and sat down. we didn't say a word for some ten minutes, neither of us asked each other for a name, it wasn't necessary.

Finally when the timing was right i asked her if she had a full tank of gas, she nodded her head once in a downward nod that neither gave anything away or confirmed anything what so ever. she pointed to her bike which was backed into a spot by itself and said, "if you have the guts and can beat me to the springs without dropping below a hundred and five, i might think about seeing a local movie with you; beware that isn't a date, it just means you might get to see me again."

No words were necessary, i signaled two fingers on my left hand, and said, "you can have a sixty second head start." she laughed and said, "you won't ever catch me" with nothing more than a nod i waited for her to get on her bike and hit second gear twenty feet out of the parking lot. true to my word it was sixty seconds later when my bike hit forty two miles an hour and pulled out onto the street. there was light traffic on the surface streets, nothing we couldn't navigate, the only rule was red lights you had to go through backwards and the if you ever dropped the bike in the pavement you really lose points.

The springs were some twenty miles to the east, time was of the essence. with only one more light before the on ramp to the freeway the light turned yellow, i shifted the bike into fifth gear and watched the mirror for the light to turn red, which it did half way through the intersection, i spun it around and pulled the clutch doing some seventy five miles an hour when she came through the intersection, cut me off and turned her bike sideways making the turn into the freeway on ramp and hitting sixth gear, i turned the bike around and let the clutch out in sixth gear and pulled the throttle to where it opened the pipe full open.

ten minutes later...

We were sitting at table five zero one at the springs and food was on the menu, we each ordered and not long after having eaten, we were standing outside in the parking lot discussing something at that point it didn't matter, everything was as good as gold. we knew the times were changing, there were bad things on the move no one wanted to talk about. we didn't go there, some things like that you just don't talk about with anyone. we spent a lot of time thereafter together riding and training for impossible shit. my teams were on the move and kept a close eye on our safety. we had a radio com link implanted in our right ear just for such things as emergencies.

Amber and her team of twelve were known as the Anarchists, they all had bad boyfriends, who were off the record, most people never met their boyfriends twice, especially if they were trying to score a date with an anarchist. those that rode with me all had very tough girl friends who were on the record, and proved to be the jealous type.

The world however was changing, it wasn't the people, it wasn't that god was angry with anyone, it was that the true enemy from afar was going to arrive any day and someone had to turn the system on to the most dangerous mode possible when the enemy got there. it was the same routine, it even looked like the same life as this one. it's not. what used to be a vacation spot has turned into hostile territory.

The world changed when the enemy arrived. those of us who were awake when it hit, we remember what happened. the whole world ended, everyone was moved to different bodies and given different names, and no one had to tell us we were to never trust anyone ever again. from there we have been fighting the likes of an enemy that outnumbers us a thousand to one, and when they die they seem to come back faster than we do. which most of the time isn't a good sign.

Now in the year two thousand and one, we are sixty five thousand strong, our sports are not as wild and we don't show off that were skilled; as you never show the enemy what your good for until after they have tried to strike. our sports include but not limited to placing black and yellow bumper stickers on old peoples cars that they will never be able to get off, sometimes in broad daylight as it ups the thrill of doing it without getting caught. we leave large letter A with a circle around it, all over the place. we pretend to drive faster than the speed limit in our heads, sometimes covering as far as we can see in a split second.

We look peaceful, we are peaceful most all of the time. we keep the names and phone numbers of those who piss us off in a database, someday after the world has gone to hell we might make a collect phone call to those s.o.b.'s. we don't bother using drugs, were on high alert for incoming. we know the schedule: "Up at five ten, cup of coffee and a hot shower, eat, second cup of coffee, do days work and before sun down brew more coffee, cold shower, second cup of coffee, supper and not to sleep before midnight."
We don't have time to get drunk. what a waste. been there done that. nothing good ever happens when you mix seven day week with booze. it's a mess.

Yet i count the days that she's been gone, in my spare time i print black and yellow car decals that say: "Gottcha" and walk around putting them on peoples cars who hopefully won't be able to get them off; then i drive around town looking for people who don't have one and find out where they live. finally one gloomy day in june, a blonde on a bike pulled up and asked, "who are you looking for?" i noted the color of her riding gear and said, "looking for my Amber, have you seen her?" she shook her head and said, don't bother trying to find us, we know where you live, we will find you." i nodded once and she floored the bike taking off in second gear.

After that i spent many days pounding nails and didn't care about printing decals. i walked out to check the mail, it was the usual rubbish save but one letter that wasn't from anyone and addressed to me. i opened it to see it contained a note in a fems writing style, seems it was my chance to meet my amber or at least find out where she is. the instructions said to go to the club on main street known as the blue falcon. i showed up five minutes late and wondered around, the place was packed so i found a table in the back corner and waited. nothing and no one bothered me for some two hours.

until the bar tender said there was a problem with my bill and asked me to step in back to speak with the manager. from there it was a little strange, the manager asked me if i was carrying anything and i told him, "just a single edged knife in my front pocket." he asked for it and then had the bar tender check me for other weapons. "you will get your blade or one better back when you leave here." the manager said in a almost silly tone that made me want to mock him. from there they took me upstairs to where the real party was, and it didn't take five minutes to meet half my team from days of old. they knew the question on my mind, but we didn't breath a word of it.

we knew the first rule was someone had to throw a pizza party and make it look real. i told my top right wing man to setup the pizza party and i have reason to believe that we all hoped the anarchists would show up. seems there was more than one teem on top tonight and that meant everyone else was looking for the same things we were. in just twenty minutes time the top misfits had met and knew that things were going on. we didn't bother to discuss anything important, who knows what kind of trouble there was on the brew in the matter of a day or two.

as i left i stopped back by the managers office, he was waiting for me, seems i didn't notice the backpacks that were lined up in his office; or maybe i just thought they were employees bags, however second time in i notice they were almost all identical and it appeared to be fifty two bags that were in his office. the manager reached down and handed me one at random, "don't bother opening it here" he said to me, "just pull your bike about a mile down the road and to the side, sit in the dark and wait for your contact."

i went ahead and asked, "who should i be waiting for?" and the manager winked left once and said, "some anarchist in a real bad mood." i figured right quick things were going to get rough in a hurry. i put the bag over my shoulder and spun on my heals and walked out fast enough but not too fast to draw attention. i doubt anyone even saw me leave the place. i swung one leg over the seat of the bike and brought it center, pushed the kickstand back to riding position fired up the bike and hit second gear before i made the pavement. there wasn't really any good place to pull the bike over and wait, so i drove an extra mile turned it around and put the bike on the other side of the road right at where the mile marker would be.

figured if anyone asked me what i was doing, i would tell them i had to take a piss. it was some ten minutes later, a bike doing about a hundred and twenty came by going the right direction, whoever it was passed me, five seconds later locked it up, and came back my way, it was defiantly a fem, and she demanded, "What's your name?" i told her my usual code de arms, and she said, "leave your bike here, and get the fuck on, were all relocating tonight with new gear too."

i could tell by her voice it wasn't amber so putting my arms around her was kind of out, this one was just doing us all a favor. i held on to the back handle bar and leaned forward as much as i dared. ten minutes later at a speed i knew to be over a hundred we arrived in boxton flats, where as odd as it was there were two semi trucks and about fifty two people looking over the wares. i got off the bike and thanked the rider for a safe trip and found someplace out of the way to watch what was going on. there wasn't any cars on the big rigs, just bikes, and from looking around most of these people didn't have the backpack i was carrying, they must be getting theirs later.

i saw some of my team show up about twenty minutes later, they were carrying their backpacks on both shoulders, i could wait to open mine until the time proved itself necessary, if they were all the same they were packed per protocol and i could find anything i needed in the dark with my eyes closed in under twenty nine seconds. not that we do it that way except in training missions. this was no drill. i heard the sound of foot steps coming up from behind, about ten paces back, the fem knew i had heard her because i signaled two with my right hand and her voice gave her away, "you about ready to ride?" i didn't dare say her name, nor did i turn around and give her the hug i so wanted to.

i simply said, "yeah, ready when you are, what's the floor for this one?" i could have swore she smiled and said back to me, "were riding solo, no less than one twenty until we refuel. and no showing off. something bad is going down." i followed her back to the bikes that had been tuned and ready to ride, we put our riding gear on, black on black and yellow bikes. we hit the road in fourth gear and in less than sixty seconds were doing a hundred and forty miles an hour headed east, although our helmets had com links we didn't use them unless a turn or exit was approaching.

we rode for two point eight hours at those speeds, and no doubt amber knew it was me, she stopped just behind me at the fueling station and walked up to me and tried to land a head punch at me, i blocked it but didn't swing back. she knew. she was pissed off. seems that i had blown the only cool hang out for us a few years back and we had to go solo all this time. though no fault of my own, seemed the second team was watching my back the whole time, someone had actually tried to kill me. i looked back at her and wondered if i dare give a her a big hug yet, but something told me the hanger still had ice in it.

from there after we fueled the bikes, we rode into the city where a small flat was waiting for us. we parked our bikes in the garage and took the steps in the back up to the first floor and amber had the key to open the door. we went in and placed our bags by the door, after which we spent a long time talking about the last twenty one years that we had been missing each other. 

time passed....

Life After Death: The New Life

I'm standing in line at the intake booth for the departed, i've been awake for forty-five minutes and spent ten minutes in line. It looks like if my paper work was filed properly my next life should begin in less than two days time.

I've heard whispers that the world has changed since I left it, almost two centuries ago, I hear they need good strong people that can make a difference in a world of hostile and sometimes downright aggressive people.

Standing here now, I see five people in front of me, at least I'm stable, the woman in front of me is in tears and doesn't stop sobbing but for a minute before breaking down again. At least the line is moving, I wonder why I slept for so long? Two centuries of total rest is a long time.

Ah, the line has moved again and now it's down to just three people in front of me, I'm looking forward to a new life and all the times that come with it, good and bad. I've been doing this for almost as long as I can remember, living life on earth and sleeping for a while in death before coming back to earth to live again. I seem to recall it was four ages ago, that's ages of the earth, nothing you can relate it to in terms of years, it's a long time.

I've seen people in this line often, never anyone I knew personally; there must be a lot of people in this place. Looks like the line has moved again, I should be getting my paper work when the woman in front of me steps before the assignment operator, that's the person who keeps the schedule for new assignments.

I wonder how they keep this place so clean, it's always looking like a cleaning crew of a thousand just finished a through detailing of everything. No, it's not heaven, it's just a gateway to a new life on earth.

Ah the woman in front of me just stepped into the spot to discuss her arrival to a new life, she's stopped crying, maybe when she read her paper work she got good news. Looking to my right the second attendant is reaching out his arm to hand me mine. I reach out and take the paper work, it's stamped with a green circle with a number in the center, the number is the serial number for how many lives i've lived, looking at it some people get overly impressed and think too highly of themselves. To me it's about the quality of life I have and not the number of lives I get to live. Besides when wars come it usually takes me fifty to a hundred lives to see it through before things really become peaceful again. My number is a modest five digit number, it's a good number because it means I'm going to get to live again.

Sometimes people don't get an assignment, which usually means wild life detail, meaning they have to go through the entire cycle of animal life from start to finish only becoming what ate them last. It's hell. They don't get a number and the stamp is in red ink on the paper work. It looks the the woman in front of me just finished and she's not in tears, maybe she got a good life. I hope so. As I step forward to the attendant I hand him my paper work which he opens, and begins to read, he looks at me, looks at the paper work, smiles ever so slightly and says, "Your on the two o' clock train for planet earth, looks like they need you this time around. Have a good life." he hands the paper work back to me and I step through the gate to the boarding area, I won't have time to look at the assignment until after I get on the train, right now I have to find the boarding area for the train I'm scheduled for.

Walking through the crowds that are lined up, along the hallways it looks like many of these people are all getting new lives on planet earth, anyone on wild life detail almost always goes against their will, it's not the kind of thing you forget.

Looking down the hallway nearly half way down I see my gate, it's marked with green lights and has a number on it, I look down for the first time on the paper work to read the number below my serial number, the number for the gate to the train, it's number seventeen, how interesting I'm scheduled to be born on the seventeenth into the world. Most new people wouldn't know this, i'v been through this a few times, hell i've been through wild life detail twice.

I hear the bell, and the doors open letting people who were lined up in front of gate seventeen, they pour into the landing area only to see the train hasn't arrived yet. But it's coming. I walk in and hold my paper work in my left hand and for the first time reach up to touch my face. I don't feel anything. It never ceases to amaze me that this place is real. You can't touch anything, not even if you tried.

That must be the secret of how they keep everything so clean. In the distance you can hear the train coming in, it's a low rumble that sounds like a thousand engines and a million wheels. It's odd, this train will be taking people up the line as they are born in different years, people never go backwards, but they do make stops in the future. Looks like there will be a few hundred people on my train, being that I'm in seat two hundred means my stop should arrive near the end of all the other stops.

Looks like I'm going in near the end of this era and the end of a world. Those are always most difficult times for everyone. This happens to me a lot, they only put me in when I'm really needed and it usually comes at the end. Hate to miss all the fun with times in between. I have no memory of my last life, it's been blocked from recall in this place. It's too stressful, they can't have people breaking down in puddles on the floor, the clean up would be too expensive not to mention people wouldn't go back if they knew how bad the last time was.

I take a spot near the end of the line and stand with my back to the wall while the train pulls into it's landing zone. Looking down the rows of others like me, it's strange to see them. They might have been people I knew, not likely though; these people look fairly fresh, I'm sure some of them had to be helped into the gate being that they were unsure which train they were on. Everyone that lined up is fairly new.

I look up and see the train is standing waiting for the conductor to open the doors. There isn't any passengers on the return trip, no one ever gets here via train. As the conductor opens the doors, people who are totally unsure of themselves or where they will sit are moving forward to finding their seats. I'm going to wait a few minutes, looking at the wall where the digital clock is printing the time in green ink shows that we have one hour before the train will move an inch.

I might wait ten minutes. It's not likely anyones assignment on this train will change, that almost never happens. Just hope my assignment is good; I'm looking forward to a new life.

The line moves as people shuffle into the train holding the only thing that matters until they get to their next life, their paper work and instruction for their next life. I can hardly wait to read it.

As the crowd has boarded the train I go to find my place, entering the train and looking down the right side of the train for the seating chart. I have to look at my paper work again to see I'm in seat two hundred I walk down the isle and smile at other passengers. Some of them are reading their paper work, this is one of the places people could have a nervous breakdown.

Anyways I find my seat with little to no trouble and get comfortable, not difficult to do. Looking at the clock on the back of the chair in front of me I see it's thirty minutes until two o' clock. I take my paper work out and look at the front of it, and as I do so the doors to the train are closed and the conductor makes his all aboard speech. It's about ten minutes later, after everyone has made sure their on the right train, the conductor wishes everyone a happy birthday, welcome to the seventeenth via the express route.

Now I unfold my paper work to see about two pages of detailed information about my next life. The top is stamped with the train time stamp for departure from the train and arrival into the world. Mine says 5:50 AM, uh! It's one thirty now and my stop doesn't get here for over fifteen hours.

This I can deal with. I will need the time to plan my life based upon the assignment that has been given to me. I read it once and think about it a bit. I read it twice and think about what needs done. The train begins to move, where rolling now. I hear the whistle blow seventeen times and and were headed for a new life.

The hours pass, passengers have no choice to dis-embark, their not given an option. It just happens. Could you imagine the delays we would have if people were given the choice to get off the train? No one would make their stops. It would no doubt be a huge mess and total waste of time. This system works at least.

It's been ten hours I'm tired from sitting, my assignment weighs on me. So much to do. It sounds like times will be tough. At least their isn't a major war taking place. It could have been worse.

Things are going good enough. Everyone has stayed stable. It's never good to start a new life in a major tizzy, the people that have been here before know this. A few of the new people are still laughing over the conductors speech. That's good. They won't know what hit them until it's far too late.

The hours roll by, and my stop is next.

Chapter One - To Error Is Human

The computer had been spitting out garbage for the last half an hour, the computer operator noted that to really screw things up requires a computer. They used to keep track of people on paper with check boxes and roman numerals. Now days the computers were keeping track of everything and only printing reports as needed. However the last few weeks it seems every report was just a garbage mess, they didn't make any sense. The man who operated the computer called tech support and asked someone to come in and tune the reports again so they could make sense of the last months reports.

Alex isn't the computer operator, he isn't even the tech support. Alex is amber's boyfriend unofficially and off the record. They meet in random places and ask each other for a name and find some excuse to go off and have fun when their not riding motorcycles together. You see both alex and amber live in a time when dating is not permitted, they are both to be married to different people by a pre-arranged system that is way out dated. They do however love each other, so it's all good as far as they are concerned.

The computers that keep track of who and where people are works off a twenty-seven digit pin in the mobile phone everyone now carries. People are tracked based upon proximity to each others phones, and the reporting detects people that spend too much time together. What most people don't know is that amber is a computer hacker and alex built a box that scrambles the twenty-seven digit pin code into a different number every time their phones enter a hundred foot proximity.

Alex figures they can see each other a few thousand times before they have to either get new id's or figure out a way to get married. Amber keeps track of patterns to make sure things stay random and chaotic, alex makes sure the bikes are tuned and in tip top shape. The computer operator doesn't know it, the data being spit out of the computer system in number nine south west is accurate, but no one in their right mind would believe it. Amber's program makes sure that the reports always show her leaving just five minutes before alex ever enters the area. Sometimes it's true if you count where alex was a week ago and where amber is now.

Alex is headed north by north west, amber is headed west and fast. At over a hundred and thirty miles an hour she's the fastest thing on the road; maybe except for alex who is doing one ninety eight.

Alex in his spare time works as a water garden sculptor, which his clients pay premium prices for his service of knowing how to create the most "Zen" garden with koi imaginable. His current project has been on the clock for some three thousand hours, he spends his time putting the perfect finish on the black rock that makes the water falls look like black ice. Before he's finished he will have used 1/2 ton of black rock and about 2 tons of rock and pebbles in a ten thousand square foot area with a large koi pond at the bottom.

Amber's family is independently wealthy, old money so they say; amber spends her time in books, writing letters to friends, and dreading her upcoming marriage in just two years. She's got no idea who they have her paired with and she doesn't want to think about it, all she cares about is seeing alex again and riding on her motorcycle. Alex hasn't received his notice of marriage, however he's due for it any day now.

Karen and the Hibachi

The hibachi wasn't the problem, she had lived with cooking her meals some five years on the hibachi that worked great. What most people including her family didn't know was that she lived a secret life, deep down inside somewhere Karen is an anarchist. This wasn't much of a problem, she knew the rules and played by them like the book. What comes to mind and where the problem is, that book her aunt gave her some four years ago, the one entitled: "A young woman's primmer on becoming a lady" just the thought of such a book in her present state of mind was enough to send rage down every vein in her body. Karen was the kind of woman that rode motorcycles, carried a single edged knife in her front pocket, and generally caused trouble for people who weren't intellectually armed.

The thought of the book her aunt gave her seems to always make her mad, her real friends come over and see the book which always gives them something to poke fun at her about, today has seen it's last beam of light. Karen looks through her bookshelf at the books that she is proud to have bought and own, about a hundred books from notable authors. Yet the one that grated her nerves she had put under the sofa in the hopes it would simply disappear. Today she was cooking prime rib, and then she was most defiantly going to cook her book in revelry.

Twenty minutes later the prime rib was fully cooked and turned out nicely. She wondered if she felt like eating first and then turning the heat up to sear the pages of the books she hated most. She figured her appetite would be best if she cooked the book first and ate second. Might even make the prime rib taste better she thought.

The Space Disaster

"The launch is scheduled for T minus five minutes." the project coordinator said into the bullhorn. Jack looked at his watch and noticed that they were running twenty seconds late; not a good sign for this kind of project. It had been ten years in the making, the first trip outside the solar system using dark energy as fuel.

It was considered by some that the dark energy would be safer not to mention the fact it's a few thousand times faster than conventional rockets. Jack who was to pilot the ship would be the first to make such a trip. They assured Jack that everything would be tolerable, the testing in the labs showed no signs of danger to the mission or human kind.

The time for doubts was two weeks ago before the project was given the final green light; now they are 100% dedicated to moving forward regardless of being right or wrong. This project means everything to Jack and his crew of a hundred and three space cowboys.
"We're looking at T minus three minutes." the project coordinator said this time in the PA system that was also piped to the crowds outside the launch site. There were several thousand people outside to watch this launch and billions of people watching television anywhere possible.

Jack and his team made the necessary preparations last week, the final check list to be followed during the launch sequence. Right now there on line number 222 which is the point of no return for Jack and his crew. Once the quarks are released into the dark energy booster the ship must take off or risk blowing up.

Jack who knows he has a limited amount of time says, "Were on line two hundred and twenty two. Should anyone have reason to abort the mission, speak now or forever hold thy peace." The line was silent. Jack waited five seconds and flipped the switch to release the quarks into the dark energy booster. 'Now the ship will lift off regardless of the count down.' Jack thought to himself.

This left just five lines in his checklist, he waited for the ships computer system to show the temp of the dark energy booster; the digital LED from the computer read: "330k" the dark matter would reach "500k" in just ten more seconds. Jack waited. "Were looking at T minus one minute for lift off" the project coordinator said into the PA system.

Jack thought, 'less than that' as the dark energy booster reached max temp and Jack flipped the final switch which ignited the dark matter, quarks, and oxygen in a blast that lifted the sixty ton space carrier from the ground at a rate of a hundred miles per second.
The crowds weren't disappointed, the show was unbelievable. One second the space carrier was on the ground the next second it was in outer space. Mission control was still counting down from nineteen, someone had the brains to turn the countdown off due to the fact Jack had jumped the gun so to speak. Guess he was a bit antsy to get going, maybe it was the fact they were twenty seconds behind schedule and the time wouldn't wait.

Once in orbit of the planet, the crew could plan for a long haul space ride of over a billion miles, for which they would release the first booster into outer space and really light up the second dark matter booster. Check lists were followed, lights and switches were turned on and off as needed, everyone was alert and awake.

Jack was on the com link, "Please prepare for separation of first and second stage boosters, be sure we only disconnect stage one booster." Check marks were made on paper and knobs turned to the right spot, plastic shielded switches were uncovered and switches flipped to on. Jacks crew chief Dan was on the com link and said, "Are we ready for separation, we show the green light and need verbal conformation on this one." Kate the ship specialist looked at her checklist and then the instrument panel. She double checked it and said on the com link, "We have no problems in separating the stage one booster. Your a go."

Dan looked at Jack and says, "We're good to go. When your ready." Jack checked the temp on the stage one booster once again, it looked cold enough. Jack turned the com link on and said, "Releasing stage one booster now." he waited five seconds and flipped the switch, the ship didn't bounce an inch when the stage one booster was released.

"Crew, please prepare for ignition of stage two booster. Please double check our flight sheet and the instrument panels, so we don't have any screw ups. Thanks." Jack signed off and closed his eyes for ten seconds. 'This is the part were we find out if were any good.' Jack thought to himself.

Jack got on the radio and spoke with mission control, "Looks like were good to go, stage one booster has been released and were looking at lighting stage two booster now. How did the launch look from earth? It was hell of a ride for us!" mission control came back on and said, "Good work guys, looks like a successful launch to us." Jack opened the radio link again and said, we will call you back after our next separation." Mission control said, "Roger that."

The flight team made the final adjustments for the second dark energy booster to be lit up, Dan looks at Jack and says, "were looking at less than two minutes." Jack went through the check list and flight plan of how to light the second booster.

Two minutes later....

"Preparation of dark energy stage two booster complete, all checklists are go." Kate confirmed as Jack reached out and uncovered the switch that would ignite the stage two booster, 'I have an awful feeling about this.' Jack thought to himself, he opened the com link and asked, "Anyone think this is a bad idea?" the line was silent, he waited a full twenty seconds and no one said a word. With that he committed to flipping the switch and when he did.

The view from earth told the story best, thank god we didn't all burn that day, there was a fire in the sky; all space was on fire and burning. It didn't last longer than two days, the whole universe actually burned down, yet some how stayed afloat. Now the sky is yellow we shall never forget the men and women of space carrier #2048.

Head On

As he sang along to the pixies in a tune every punk knows by heart, he lit another cigarette and threw the match out the window. Alex doesn't believe in using disposable lighters, not today, not likely tomorrow. He was on holiday in the least likely place of places the Florida keys, he was there solo on the motorway as he was about to take a drink of coffee fresh brewed and hot when a big rig going the other way comes into his lane and hits him head on.

The loneliness is what bothers him the most that and he isn't able to smoke a cigarette in the hospital. He looks at the calendar, he scratches his chin and feels the stubble, two days since he last shaved. It was twelve weeks ago that tragic day he was driving to see the oil slicks in what was once a beautiful place. He thinks it must have been a damn stupid idea now. He hasn't had one visitor since he checked in, besides having broken ribs, a fractured arm and two broken legs things are fine. At least it was all a clean break.

He remembered in a past life that he had been on vacation to the keys most of it was hell, not much different than being here in traction; except he flew home and had a safe trip. He gets a bit of mail from time to time, a get well card from another person who is some three thousand miles away. He checks the calendar again where the circle is through a two day stretch, his expected release date. "Damn!" He's thinking he's going to be happy to be back home. He looks at the week long area between where the days are marked off and where the days are circled.

He counts the days down, looking forward to his first drag on a cigarette in almost fifteen weeks, that and the trip home in a wheel chair for another two weeks before he can walk again. Somewhere between the airport and home is another hell waiting for him. Somewhere fear creeps in and makes you think about what could happen next.

July 10, 2010 @ 15:31:02

Alex is working on his second cigarette in ten minutes. A complete stranger among mortals who have never known what it's like to be run over by a peter built at sixty miles an hour. the cafe isn't packed, it's the usual crowd most of the people who knew him, pretend not to know him now. He doesn't look the same, not to mention the isolation of laying in that hospital bed had upon his psyche.

Alex flicks another match and lights up, throwing the burning match to the ground where it goes out in mid air; he wonders if anyone is going to join him. As it turns out no one does, he sits in silence for the better part of an hour and packs it up to head back home. There are no new messages in his in box today, the voice mail system shows no new messages. He thinks back to before the accident and remembers he didn't really have any friends to start with.

Alex thinks, "after thirty five years of life a person would have some friends with some deep roots". Those that care about each other through it all.


by Edger A. Guest

This is courage: to remain
Brave and patient under pain;
Cool and Calm and firm to stay
In the presence of dismay;
Not to flinch when foes attack,
Even though you're beaten back;
Still to cling to what is right,
When the wrong possesses might.

This is courage: to be true
To the best men see in you;
To remember, tempest-tossed,
Not to whimper, "All is lost!"
But to battle to the end
While you still have strength to spend;
not to cry all hope is gone
While you have life to carry on.

This is courage: to endure
Hurt and loss you can not cure;
Patiently and undismayed,
Facing life still unafraid;
Glad to live and glad to take
Bravely for your children's sake,
Burdens they would have to bear
if you fled and ceased to care.

Poem Between Unknown Friends

This poem is for us;

may our memories of each other never haunt us!
rather they are there to remind us of whom we love and why.
Through it all there is no one but each other
that could fill the shoes of our best friend.
I shall not fear even the worst from you,
and I welcome all the love my heart
can hold that you share along the way.
It's not that I'm invincible to your ways;
rather I know you share the love I have for you,
and you would only share with me
what's in our best interests.
may my love keep you alive as long as you wish to continue.
just remember I too need a sparkle of your love to keep living;
I'm not without hopes and dreams.
Were made of the same stuff.
May our hopes and dreams no matter how wild or far out there
be the things we would both agree upon.
And together we will do more than anyone ever dreamed possible.
I'm wishing you the best and sky's of blue ;
I just hope I've been the sort of friend you have been to me.
by Christopher

Thursday, October 17, 2013

in the spirit of beowulf

From across the oceans upon stormy waters arrived the men of fame. The legendary tronwolf introduced himself saying, "We are geeks, programmers from old, we have come from the grid to rid your land of a monster." the wise king replied, "How can you rid our land of these windows?"

Tronwolf replied, "We shall go through the matrix and fight them at their source." The king thought about these words a long time before saying, "Tis certain doom to enter the matrix from here, even for a hero."

Tronwolf from the fold in his armor brings forth an install disk and says, "We've brought with us the installer for Macintosh OS X, behold!"

The great and mighty king could have cried from joy that a hero has come from the grid to rid his land of the monster windows. "Oh tronwolf, should you purge our lands from this monster, you shall be remembered always as a hero."

Tronwolf replied, "Tis not fame we seek, nor your gold, if we die it shall be for glory."