#project365: Day 10 - January 10
Title: Something Other Than Self
Hopefully this doesn't stir up any controversy.
We need something bigger than / other than "ourselves" to believe in. I'm not sure how or why or what the catalyst was, but we've become a very self-centered society... or at least that's what the media would have us to believe.
We talk the talk but do we walk the walk? This book does very little good to anyone if it sits closed on the shelf, collecting dust. But it also does very little good to read this book and not practice the teachings contained therein. I believe in His grace and mercy, yes, but I also believe that ... you can't just take His name and call it a day, and then go on being the same person we've always been. If we truly believe.... if we truly take His name upon us, then perhaps we should start walking the walk a little better? Are we all perfect? No. But we can strive to be a little bit better each day...whether or not we believe what is written on the pages of this book.
Unfortunately some of the most judgemental people, I feel, are the ones who sit in the pews of church each week. If we truly read the pages of this, and understand (or strive to understand, for I don't believe that mortal man can truly have a full and complete understanding of these words), then we should look in the mirror at ourselves, and ask ourselves a very deeply personal spiritual question. How that question is answered is how we should proceed forward.
Am I perfect? No. I never once said I was, nor will I ever pretend to be. But I can try. So can we all.
And THAT... is what our country needs the most moving forward.
#project365: Day 9 - January 9
Title: A Close-Up Look
I love macro photography. I love seeing just how close to a subject I can get, testing the limits of the lens. I have lens adapters for my camera, but I didn't use them for this image. This is the brand label on my piano.
I love seeing the intricate detail of the subject. When taking a photo of a flower, for instance, centimeters away from the surface of the petal, you can see the fibers of the petal, the brilliant color magnified.
Project365: Day 8 - January 8
Title: Endure... ?
Honestly, I don't want to do this. I'm angry. I've been angry for a couple of days. I truly have nothing to say to anyone. I posted on Facebook that "I'm not on your side, I'm not on anybody's side."
This blog is *NOT* going to be political. But I would be remiss if I didn't address the history that we're living through right now.
This country is on the precipice of collapse. One political party is hell-bent on taking us the direction of failed policies, economic depression, malaise, and misery. The other believes an election was stolen and made a violent demonstration of that opinion that obliterated all lines of decency and decorum. I'm ashamed of everyone involved.
But violence, murder, hatred, and insurrection have been occurring for the past several months. War has been declared against law and order ... and the same people screaming outrage at what happened at our Capitol ... were remarkably quiet over the summer when cities such as Minneapolis, Portland, Seattle, Atlanta, and others burned.
The same politicians screaming outrage now ... absolutely condoned the violence that took place over the summer. They vocally encouraged it.
Violence in all ways should be condemned. Violence is not the way to solve problems.
We are in a "cold" civil war.
Because nobody will talk to each other anymore.
At one time our nation's politics followed a Bell Curve. You had outliers on the far left and far right, but in general the country had a 'centrist' or 'center-right' philosophy. Those on the hard left and hard right were the fringe and had little influence whatsoever.
That is no longer true. The fringe speak the loudest. On both sides. The left side is aided and abetted by an all-too-willing news media salivating at the opportunity to undermine the other side. And those who simply just want to live their lives and keep their freedoms... are caught in the crossfire. Being moderate, or centrist, is now unacceptable. Trying to talk and come to mutual agreements -- mutual concessions -- is no longer looked upon as a favorable thing.
Compromise means that both sides come away from the table pissed off, but they come away from the table with an agreement. Nobody is happy with that agreement, but it's an agreement nonetheless.
Those days seem gone, and we're becoming further and further divided with each passing day.
I'm pissed off at everyone from what happened earlier this week. People who have been long-time friends (going back many years) have either taken an opportunity to spew something on social media, or they have, in fact, shown their true colors. FROM BOTH SIDES. You are ALL guilty.
This blog is NOT going to be political. I *REFUSE* to make this blog about politics.
But dammit we need to stop the violence and actually TALK TO ONE ANOTHER. AS ADULTS.
The generation of kids I teach at the school ARE WATCHING AND TAKING NOTES.
The United States of America is the greatest country ever established. Our Founding Fathers were extraordinary thinkers, but their work, our Constitution, is being undermined on all sides, from all sides. And it's hanging by athe tiniest of minuscule threads.
I repeat. This blog will NOT be about politics. But we are truly living in history right now.
Nobody thought it would happen, but it did.
Are we the next Rome?
Project365: Day 7 - January 7
Title: Roadway's End: An Explanation
Why "Roadway's End" for the name of a photography page? I'm a road geek. There are actually a lot of us around, there are Facebook groups and the like, such as Freeway Jim.
I've always been fascinated by roads. Their design. The materials used to make the surface. The lines. I think they make good photography subjects, when viewed from the ground or close to it, as in the image here. This is downtown Whiteville at about 3 o'clock in the morning, taken back over the summer.
On the Facebook page I've been building a collection of road images, "The Ground-Based Perspective of Rural Roads Collection." Yes, I'm weird. But the pics have been fairly popular. Some are not-so-rural roads and capturing the image is a bit tricky and somewhat dangerous.
When I was trying to come up with a name for my photography gig, a friend of mine told me since I enjoy taking pictures of roads, to name it Road's End photography. Unfortunately "Road's End Photography" is already taken... but "Roadway's End" was not.
And in June 2020, "Roadway's End Photography" was born.
Mundane things, like roads for instance, can be interesting if you allow them to be so, and take a look at them from a different perspective. Just open your eyes and see the world from a different point of view.
Project365: Day 6 - January 6
Title: Comet C/2020 F3 (Neowise)
Another image "from the archives."
I had photographed a total lunar eclipse, a total solar eclipse, but never a comet. This comet was a "binoculars comet" -- it was not visible to the naked eye. But it didn't escape the wide-open lens in a 15-second exposure. The comet was discovered by astronomers during the NEOWISE mission of the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer space telescope.
Why is this picture from the archives important to me? Again, it was a first. Taking the picture involved a lot of guesswork. I knew, relatively, where it "should" be in the sky, so I aimed, set the timer, and hit the button. I was ecstatic when I got home and viewed this on the computer to see that I got it.
Sorry there isn't a longer or more-thrilling tale behind this photograph.
Project365 Blog: Day 5 - January 5
Commentary: Chasing thunderstorms was one of the big catalysts that made me go back to school for a degree in Meteorology.
The awesome power of a thunderstorm is simply the atmosphere's way of maintaining balance at a local level. The atmosphere wants to be in balance -- just the right combination of temperature, dewpoint, pressure, wind, etc. But the atmosphere is a liquid, and it's ever-changing, ever-evolving. Sometimes things get out of whack. Dewpoint and temperature differences can cause great instability; other dynamics such as wind speeds and directions changing with height add fuel to that fire. A spark, or trigger comes along in the form of the sea-breeze boundary, or a front, or just instability itself, and the puffy cumulus clouds of a hot summer's afternoon become towering, menacing, incredible cumulonimbus clouds. This image shows a bit of the flanking line, the updraft, and mammatus clouds as well. This was a good thunderstorm. From July 13, 2020.
Project365 Blog: Day 4 - January 4
Title: Irony... or Meant to Be?
That end-of-the-day moment when it's almost time to leave, and you turn the computers off. The sudden and fairly dramatic silence that occurs at shut-down signals the end of a long day at the office.
I work at a local charter school, and my job this year is to teach online resources/electives. Normally these would be in the classroom, but this school year is like none other ever in the history of school years.
It's ironic that I'm here. Many of you who know me personally know that my wife passed away in August 2016. She was working very hard toward a degree in Elementary Education, and she carried 21 semester hours through UNCW online in the spring 2016 semester. Her lifelong ambition was to teach early elementary and she pushed through her studies with everything she had.
I, myself, was working on a Bachelor's degree in Operational Meteorology (which I finished in 2017).
My close friends know the story so I'll give the abridged version here. One of my son, Nathan's, educators said "you'd make a good science teacher for middle school kids." After failing to find work in a highly competitive meteorology job market, I took a job initially substitute teaching, which evolved into a role as a TA, and now to my current role online. The subjects I teach cover all grades, K-8, but the majority of kids who view my videos are in K-5.
To my employer, I merely fill a roll. I'm replaceable in a heartbeat.
To me, it's everything.
I love working at the school. I really genuinely love my job. And I love those kids.
I can't imagine doing anything else and being happy.
My wife was studying her hardest to become a teacher... and teaching was never anything even remotely seen on this meteorologist's radar screen.
Now I'm the one teaching at a school. Irony. ...or meant to be?
Project365 Blog: January 3
Title: Total Eclipse.
These are old pictures, "from the archives." Not even taken with my good camera. And instead of one pic, it's two. On the whole with this blog I want to use new content, but in going through the thousands of pics I've taken since 2012, there are some that still stand out as special to me. "My blog, my rules."
Anyway... On August 17, 2017, portions of the United States were in the path of totality in the solar eclipse. My son and I traveled to Manning, SC, and set up shop in a Walmart parking lot to view the eclipse. These pictures were taken by me with my old Lumix FZ47 camera. We had set up some binoculars on a tripod and with some careful "redneck construction" I made a shield so my son could safely view the eclipse.
This was likely a once-in-a-lifetime shot. I was thrilled to capture these pictures, especially the "diamond ring" even though it was somewhat out of focus.
Project365 Blog: January 2.
Title: Ticking Away.
Time keeps on slippin', slippin', slippin'
Into the future.
--"Fly Like an Eagle" - Steve Miller Band
Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
Fritter and waste the hours in an off-hand way
Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way
Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain
You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun
And you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it's sinking
Racing around to come up behind you again
The sun is the same in a relative way, but you're older
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death
Every year is getting shorter, never seem to find the time
Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines
Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way
The time is gone, the song is over, thought I'd something more to say
-- "Time" - Pink Floyd
We're always talking about time... more often it's a case of what time we don't have. "I don't have time to do [___________________]." (You fill in the blank.)
It's interesting how we choose to use the time we have. There are 24 hours in a day, according to our Earth clocks. In reality the Earth completes a rotation in 23 hours and 56 minutes.
But we have 24 hours.
Assume we sleep 6-8 hours. That leaves us 16 to 18 hours remaining. People who work a full-time job give 8.5 hours of that time. So we're down to 10 hours-ish. Figure in the time it takes to get ready for work, and the travel to and from... let's assume that takes around 2 total hours each day, so we're now down to 8 hours.
To be healthy, we're told to exercise at least 30 minutes a day... down to 7.5 now.
Roughly seven and a half hours to do ... "things."
"But I don't have time to [____________]."
We spend our time on what we prioritize in life. If you spend 2 hours sitting in a chair scrolling Facebook, that's what you just prioritized. Did you have other things to do? Probably. But you made the choice to sit and dawdle on your phone instead. Nobody forced you to do that.
We do have to work to live. I'm understanding of those who have to work multiple jobs, to make ends meet, and therefore time is a precious commodity... and how we spend those remaining minutes becomes even more important.
Single parents with multiple children have even less leftover time.
None of us is getting any younger, and we're not guaranteed tomorrow. The seconds keep ticking away. Like the pendulum on the grandfather clock, it's steady, and unending. "And then one day you find ten years have got behind you..."
How do you spend your time?
Project365 Blog: Day 1 - January 1.
I've played piano since I was 6 years old... took lessons until I was 18. I play... sporadically now... but since I joined the Whiteville Community Band I've discovered how much I miss it. So I dug out some of my old lesson books -- yes, 35+ year old books, and I'm "re-learning" the theory I've lost through the years.
I grew up listening to the music of Billy Joel and wanted to be "just like that."
Another reason for this pic is a song that has been in my mind lately, by one of my favorite bands, Nightwish. The song is called "Song of Myself." The second portion of this song has the following lyrics...
A silent symphony
A hollow opus #1, 2, 3
Sometimes the sky... is piano black
Piano black... over cleansing waters.
Resting pipes, verse of bore
Rusting keys without a door
Sometimes the within... is piano black
Piano black... over cleansing waters.
One day I picked up a camera. And discovered this is pretty awesome.