Summertime in the Rose City

Summer Hangout
Frosty Boy opens annually during the summer in Jackson

It’s summertime here in southern Michigan, so that means a number of things: going to the lake, shaking out the snow white legs, eating ice cream outdoors, and watching a bunch of fringe sports until the real main attraction comes back in the fall. So far this summer, I’ve done every one of those things except the first because I guess we’re too lazy or tired to make the trip to a lake this year.

The real highlight of the summer so far though has been going to a June 9th baseball game at Comerica Park between the Tigers and the Cubs. The stadium sitting just across the street from the Lions’ Ford Field is magnificent and no matter where you are seated you get an excellent view of the game going on the field, as my folks did sitting in the third tier. The Tigers dominated and won the game, but it was Tigers outfielder Rajai Davis’ amazing over the wall robbing catch of a potential home run that I remember the most.

The Rose Parade is an annual tradition here

There was also the Rose Parade in my hometown of Jackson which I got all on video and have yet to do anything with. The 57th incarnation of it. It included around four local marching bands, three floats or cars of Rose pageant queens, two men in superhero costumes (Batman and “Captain Jackson”), one happy go lucky but equally creepy Ronald McDonald character and one marching Monty Python Spam-a-Lot ensemble. It was altogether a wonderful day at the parade, even if I was too old to receive candy from the throwers and gave a potentially free stick of cotton candy I found lying on the ground untouched back to the vendor who supposedly dropped it. There was a cop right across the street from where the cotton candy lay and I obviously didn’t want to look suspicious or fall for some unintentional bait.

Here is an excerpt from the Rose Parade website as to how my city got its nickname:

In 1922 the Town Improvement Society approved the idea of a rose garden for the Ella Sharp Park as a memorial to Ella W. Sharp, the donor of 550 acres of land to the city and the first president of the Town Improvement Society. Society members planted roses and developed the garden, which was dedicated in 1926. Five years later, the rose was chosen as the official flower for Jackson and we became the Rose City.

A pretty straightforward tale that I just found out today.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “In the Summertime.”

If it’s autumn or winter where you live, what are you most looking forward to doing next summer? If it’s spring or summer where you are, what has been the highlight of the season so far for you?


Let’s Go To Work

Unemployment offices are like the butler or the security guard – you don’t realize they’re there until you need them. They’re also the sign of a sad, pathetic fact in this world: there are a small percentage of “winners” and a much larger percentage of “losers”, the ones that got the short end of the stick when it came to life.

If the state of Michigan was to do one thing right before the end of 2015, besides casting a magic spell on all the torn up roads, I would love for them to mandate a rule that everyone over the age of 16 but under the age of 65 (the AARP threshold) in the state is employed in some way or at least has some sort of regular legitimate income, whether it be mowing lawns, donating plasma, or running a car wash. Get rid of the unemployment rate completely, have a productive society where everyone has a role and works to give the state a good reputation. No more of this homeless street corner bull or living off of unemployment checks. If you aren’t working, you get jail time, much the same way it is with delinquent grade-schoolers. The unemployment rate is like that stain you can’t seem to get out of the carpet, until you give up and buy a new one, preferably from IKEA.

Of course, it is a pipedream fantasy that every one of the legal working age could have a job, since there are only so many to go around, but if this requirement were forced into the minds of the lazy and good for nothings they would try anything they could to find work, even in another state. It would make more sense to keep track of those that aren’t working in some way by having them wear a tamper-resistant tracking device and report their location; if they aren’t at work during a certain period of time, it’s a penalty. If that sounds quite communist or like something from science fiction, well you’re quite correct, but there would have to be a way to enforce this new requirement to make it effective. I, for one, am part of the 7.5%, a major improvement by the way, and wouldn’t mind a little bit of motivation to really try and land a nice paying job. Even if I were forced to wear a SCEM bracelet (Secure Continuous Employment Monitoring), I would feel like a productive part of society. Of course, if I happened to win a million bucks than I would tell the law where they could stick that SCEM.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Dear Leader.”

If your government (local or national) accomplishes one thing this year, what would you like that to be?

Reflection Reveals

In my quiet mitten state town
A corner’s being turned
For Spring’s sweet airy sensation
Uplifting my spirits
Dreaming of warm weather vacation
While blue sky shines
In a clear vivid oasis
Fresh drops from earth’s
Fluffy pillows
Smiling back at me
Tempting the click,
Shutter, flash, record
Of year’s first peaceful walk
Without a traveling blanket around my back
Or the slippery ice beneath my feet
But it always returns, that white blanket of
Chilly annoyance
Wash, rinse, repeat

Drops of January

PTDC0011 PTDC0012 PTDC0014 PTDC0015 PTDC0016

The onset of January has finally come
The branching are freezing
The air is becoming numb
As I was walking northward
Towards an icy hill
I saw these trees
That were surrendering to the chill
The little brown pods
That had not fully bloomed
Being encased in an envelope of water
Waiting impatiently for Spring to loom
This is the winter that I always envision
Not the bare green of last December
That was still could for fishing
The time has come
It’s time to get on with season
Time for a long run of snow and ice
I’ll enjoy the chipper blue freezing

Share Your World – 2014 Week 51

I’m sharing a bit of my world a little late, in the final week of 2014, but it was fun to answer these questions provided by Cee. Read on to see another dimension of My Awesome Life.

Would you prefer snowy winters, or not, and why? 

0126 Bike on the HIll
Strategically placed bike in a snow bank

Yes, I would, because they allow me to think differently, to go outside and view the world as something more beautiful. Snowy winters are great because they make me feel like I’m walking in a winter wonderland, not to sound too cliché. That’s not happening so far this year in Michigan though, at least not where I am located in the lower part of the mitten, because there is no snow. We had a brief period of snow in November that had me all excited, seeing everything being covered under a hibernation blanket, but then it all melted. Last year at this time, we were experiencing one of the most brutal winters in a long time, snow getting to at least six inches high, having to be plowed away into huge hills such as the one that inspired the picture I took above for my 365 project this year.

So, you’re on your way out and it’s raining. Do you know where your umbrella is or do you frantically search for it all over your apartment/house?


I don’t have an umbrella, but should get one though! It does rain frequently here in Michigan and I usually get caught with my head bared when I am out in the open, drenching my clothes, on the brink of catching pneumonia. If I did have one though, I would probably keep it right near my coat, so I could pick up both at the same time when going out in the rain.

Do you prefer your food separated or mixed together?
Mixing my food together gives it a new, distinct flavor, in my opinion, and I usually enjoy it more because my taste buds are being overwhelmed with the delicious flavors of this fusion. The food being separated just doesn’t feel like a meal. Too bland, too boring. I love when my mashed potatoes, butter, and corn run together, or the cranberry sauce and green bean casserole end up becoming a little more than just friends at Thanksgiving…

What is set as the background on your computer?

An overhead view of the Amazon rainforest

This hasn’t been changed in a while.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

Last week, me and my family visited the eldest daughter in Wisconsin as well as her soon to be husband and his son. We had a mini Christmas in a Baymont hotel room (me getting everything on video). I am grateful to have had such a fun time, to have these memories to share forever, to have received a hug from my sister before we left her again for Michigan. Next week we will be in January (shouldn’t this be Share Your World Week 52? Unless it was started in the second week of 2014…), and I am looking forward to starting college at Western Michigan University, beginning my Bachelor’s degree program. I’m also looking forward to expanding my photography skills, maybe signing up for 500px. There has also been a bubbling idea of mine to do a project next year of taking a photo of one part of my body every day (I’ll have to calculate how this will exactly work though).


Amateur Tent-Makers Revisited

Daily Prompt: Hindsight (Rewrite your very first post)

Two large automatic doors open up with a whoosh sound. A burst of bright white light engulfs the scene, shining into my eyes, illuminating everything around me. As my eyes adjust to the light, something blurry is situated in the white light of the room. As my eyes get more into focus, I make out the blue outline of what seems to be a logo of sorts. Then the sharp lines of a letter come into focus. It’s a stylized “W” set in a circle and situated in the center of a pure white wall. I walk into this gigantic room and the sliding doors close and air lock behind me. All is silent around here. It is a pure white chamber. To my far left I see a pearly white podium; I slowly walk over to it, looking around carefully for any signs of trip wire or traps, but nothing happens as I reach the stand. Set into this podium is a tabletop computer and there is a program already loaded up on it. It consists of a blank writing box with a box for a title on top of it. There is a “Publish” button at the bottom of the page. Above the title box, in lowercase letters, is the word “macbofisbil”, which is a name I created, but as far as why it is suddenly being used here, I have no idea.

A voice suddenly booms in the still air. I look up, startled.

“Welcome to WordPress. Are you ready to write your first post?” It is a very Big Brother, “1984” sounding voice. Authoritative, commanding, mysterious.

I look around the futuristic clean room, wondering where this disembodied voice came from.

“Um, I don’t know. How did I get here? What is this place? What’s WordPress?”

The disembodied voice, seeming to come from all around this sanitized chamber, speaks again:

“This is the blog department of WordPress, a free and open source blogging website. You are in the user level section. If you recall registering for a WordPress blog yesterday, than you have come to the right place. You won’t remember how you got here because you were drugged and blindfolded so you wouldn’t see where we were located, how to get here, keeping our whereabouts secretive.”

“Oh, I see. Am I the only one here? Where is everyone else?”

“Oh, there are lots of others here, in different areas. This is your area, where you will write your daily posts, but you can communicate with other bloggers through our revolutionary built in system.”

I look around again at this room, something out of a dream no doubt. There doesn’t seem to be any doors other than the entrance way. The ceiling, walls, and floor are all alike, hard to tell which is which.

So this is WordPress. Why they don’t want me to know where it is located is a pondering question.

What will I write for my very first post? Thoughts of my summer so far are in my mind. Maybe I’ll write about going camping soon this summer, setting up the tent in my yard, all the trouble we goofs went through.

As if it was reading my thoughts, the voice softly spoke: “So you’re going to write about your pre-camping rituals? Are you sure that will make for a good post?”

“Yes, I believe it is a good start, a way to channel some of my thoughts. I mean, this is my first post, where can I go wrong? I have nothing to measure it against.”

“That’s a good way to think about it, but remember, first impressions are important, make your first post a good one, put your heart into it. It’s your decision to how you want to approach it but we are not liable for any mishaps you may have. Are you ready then?”

I stare at the blank screen, no idea of what I am getting into, what lies ahead, but the excitement of starting something so brand new in my life finally makes me say “Yes.”

“Okay. To get started, just touch the screen.”

I do so and the tabletop screen suddenly rises into an inclined position, enabling me to see it better. A keyboard is revealed after a sliding door opens in the podium. It is now the traditional desktop computer, though I’m not sure if this is Windows, Mac, or some proprietary system owned by this WordPress. A panel in the floor also opens and a chair rises out it. It is a nice looking chair, egg shaped, with a swivel bottom. I sit down in this and suddenly my mind is clear. A great burst of energy pulses through my body. I feel like writing! This seat is magical, soothing, releasing tension in my muscles. I press a button on the arm of the chair labeled “Forward” and the chair advances toward the computer station. My fingers touch the keys, and after some thought, I write down my very first words.

Surviving in the wild will be a interesting endeavor for me and a small number of others in my family. The new link in the chain, the bearded, obnoxious man named Charles, will be coming with us. As far as his anti-social cat named Bubbles, well, he’ll be eating food out the dish of one of Chaz’s friends.

Getting back from swimming, in which I received a job offer from the Nokia girl and tried to get the illusive tan, Uncle Jack said he had a present for me in the trunk of Emily’s car. Whenever my uncle says he has a “present” for me, I usually think it will be something small and worthless. But when he popped open the trunk, a medium sized duffel bag was before my eyes. This was the brand new tent for our camping trip in August, the one we will sleep in while trying to fend for ourselves in the ruthless wild. Okay, so it’s not going to be that bad, not like we’re going to have a bear walk into our camp and demand we give up our food or else. No, this place will be enclosed and monitored but will feel like old fashioned camping: cooking food over a fire pit of wood, fishing, fending off the mosquitoes, hanging clothes on a line strung from tree A to tree B.

The only other time I had been camping in my life was at Mystic Lake in fifth grade, when I was a naïve eleven year old with no knowledge of the world except what was in front of me. All I knew was what was in my innocent mind, my little elementary school, the then so-intimidating camp counselors looking like big responsible adults to me when in fact they were in about eleventh or twelfth grade, only a few years older than I. Unlike what we will have on our future camping trip, there were cabins and large heated bathrooms with showers. I had to get up and use the bathroom so many times during my first night that the counselor in our cabin who was in charge of us started to get annoyed. My flashlight led the way and I, scared of monsters popping out in the woods, ran to the bathroom and back up the stairs into cabin safety quickly.

Getting the ruddy tent up took a bit of work, but after some help from Chaz, the man with the know-it-all attitude and technology that could rival the U.S. government, we managed to pitch the tent in no time. The problem was getting those pesky poles into their foot slots. They had to be precariously bended, the tent being shifted to and fro, stretching it out. What we were left with was a modest 10 by 8 foot tent with enough room for about four to five people, depending on size.

Of course I wanted to sleep in the tent the first night so that’s exactly what happened, with the addition of Jack. With a few blankets and a small, uncomfortable pillow, along with my phone that I call my extended arm, I made it through my first night under the stars.

From my first day of school to now being an amateur tent-maker, I have learned the ropes and have experienced life. There is still a long road unwinding for me and where it takes me I will soon find out. Only I can decide that. Right now though, I am lying on the floor of a tent, listening to the wind and rain pattering the roof, the cars rumbling by, and the sound of water dripping and splattering into the mud pit we call a garden.

After I look over the post and add some finishing touches to it, I happily hit the “Publish” button. A congratulatory message pops up, telling me I have published my very first post and should tell the world about it on various social media sites. Why not? My first steps into this exciting world have been taken, my flag planted. Now I’ll wait to see what the response is from the other bloggers hiding away in their various compartments of this complex that is probably so enormous I could fit 2,000 copies of my house into it.

A few days later:

I check back on my first post. It received just 1 like and no comments. Oh well, it’s a start. I wasn’t expecting it to go viral or anything.

Photo 101: Day 15 – Landscape

Roadside Sky

As the car was speeding by on the highway, I took some pictures of this amazing night sky. The right side of the picture has motion blur from the car moving fast and incorporates the element of speed into this otherwise restful scene. This was featured in Solitude.

Silver Lake – Pinckney, Michigan

This would have been good for “Solitude” as well. There is something special about those two picnic tables touching and the tree to their left adds a nice simplistic touch. The single person swimming in the gigantic lake makes the environment look way superior in comparison.
mysterylakeSilver Lake again, or what I call “Mystery Lake” since there are rarely any people swimming in it and it looks so dazzling in the evening. I captured the rippling of the vast water that looks like a sheet of glass. Again, the three people near the shore makes the natural environment much bigger and humans smaller in relation.
0218 Rolling Clouds & Tromped SnowThis winter scene, taken in January, is probably one of the finest photos I have taken in some recent time. It didn’t start out in this breathtaking format though. I had to edit it in CorelDraw, adjusting the contrast to give it that “rich” look, and adding in a snowflake filter. It incorporates a disturbance to loneliness with the snow that has been tromped through by me.