Technical Difficulties

There was a time
When everything seemed so bad
Nothing wanted to work right
I was starting to get mad
Those pingbacks 
They didn’t work for a while
I was losing out on readers
Felt like walking the mile
Asked for help,
Got some answers,
Told me to wait,
Waited for a few days,
Patience rushing,
Temper mounting,
Thoughts of giving up,
Even wrote a rant:
“Booted off ship”
“Stranded in water”
Outcasted, I felt
In the end was pointless
Cause everything cleared up
And my blog went back to normal
Forgot about my troubles
All that fuss was silly
But four days out 
Got me willy nilly
Things always get better
That’s the thing about life
One minute you’re on top
The next minute you’re under the knife
Oh Internet, oh internet
Why must you be a stubborn mule?
I know I beat you like a drum
And you serve me day in and day out
But when I go to do my daily tasks
I expect you to be there 
Every step of the way
No matter, no doubt
I hate it when the net is out
I lose out on a lot of things
My integral life online 
One place I truly can sing
The connection ceases
Occasionally on days
Such a rude awakening
When I have things to say
It’s going OK now
But trouble always lurks
For every minute I spend
There always failure 
In the works
Web browser choice
Is a big part of life
One always does something better
And it’s like choosing a wife
Cause you’ll be with one for a while
And seem to be happy go lucky
But then the mask comes off
And you see the ugliness underneath
It’s a rude awakening
A sword leaving the sheath

DP #69: “An Extreme Tale”

Streaking Day and Night

Daily Prompt: Winning Streak


streakig
My posting streak: 2 months, 15 days

It was a warm September day, school was just getting back in session and there was little at home to do. American football was back in season, new glimmers of hope for most teams, the path to the championship far away as ever; the Seahawks were already being crossed in for February and had not even played a game yet. The thoughts of my abandoned, whimpering blog were on my mind and I itched to give it that much-needed push to finally get it off its lonely island. Interests wrapped up in a ruthless game of ESPN Streak for the Cash and going nowhere fast, the light bulb finally clicked in my head, the motivation rushed in, the inspiration to really start my blogging engine came to life. But there were still lingering doubts as to what I could actually do to pull it out of its cold abyss…and then I saw, in the proverbial sky, what was supposed to be the Bat Signal but was orange with a picture of a simplified calendar on it: the call of the Daily Post, the answer to my troubles. I ran towards it, through the city of words and pictures that was still strange to me, and was immediately taken in the warm loving arms of a few promising words and the comforting company of the strangely all-too friendly inhabitants who had undoubtedly set up camp here when living on the lone streets of WordPress proved too difficult. Poets, storytellers, photographers, and other walks of blog filled this little community and after meeting a few of them I soon found out who the so-called icons of this town were.

My posting streak began on September 16, 2014 with my first response to the Daily Prompt “Overload Alert” and since then I have probably published around 90 posts of various highs and lows. My crazy train of posting continues because writing them has become way easier and thrilling for me than it was in the past, when I was methodically writing long pieces that no one cared about, frantically scratching for anything to write about, going as far as drawing up epics about zombies forming a society, talking about elephants in the room, making silly lists, or chalking up pretty obvious scenarios for alternate outcomes in history.

I can pretty much sum up my blogging experience into three phases:

Phase one: getting my feet wet, exploring my surroundings, laying the first bricks of the foundation.

If my blog were a home, I think I first built it in a rather secluded area because that’s how my experience started – I never looked at anyone else’s blogs and never tried to connect with anyone or get any inspiration from the community whatsoever. I basically was in a bubble for the first couple months and when there wasn’t much interaction I decided to break down and really examine my blog for the first time.

Phase two: finally getting with the program and figuring out what other bloggers were interested in, as well as developing a consistent posting style. I also realized I needed to work on the overall look and feel of my page, needed to develop a brand, a visual identity. Participating in some fun challenges also improved the quality of my blog, getting an entire new audience, increasing my following by a considerable amount.

Phase three: growing and improving as a blogger, starting to tighten things down, going in the direction of where my interests lie. That also meant branching out and discovering new posting techniques, keeping myself fresh and interesting.

What will make me break the streak? Since this is my first ever epic streak (my previous record was two, my first two posts back to back), I’m not really sure. I’ve made it a sure habit of getting something published onto the internet waves everyday and with the large number of posting options to choose from now (photo challenges, writing challenges, daily prompts, mini-posts, long-posts, stories, poetry…), there really is no reason for me to be short of ideas on any given day.

Maybe there should be an opposite to this prompt in the future called “Losing Streak”, asking us to write about the longest streak we have gone without posting. I have to say my number would be large, and the words within that post would talk about lonely days and nights wandering the city, head down, the outside world invisible to me.


Update: My posting streak ended in December, 3 times.

WPC: Converge/Cutting Room Floor

Photos are visual spaces where shapes and lines, objects, and people come together.


The theme of today’s daily prompt was “Leftovers Sandwich”, creating a post featuring posts or parts of posts that were not used. I decided to combine it with the weekly photo challenge since there are pictures that I was going to use, but they ultimately got left on the cutting room floor.

1119-Winter-2

The snow plowed road from our brief winter storm this November, a picture that I going to use in a post but decided it didn’t work. The snaking curve of the road that was created from the snow being cleared away starts off large at first and then converges into smaller lines. 1119-Winter The cutting room floor is a term used in the film business to describe scenes that were deleted or never used at all. It probably originated from the days when editors would actually cut the physical film strip with scissors (hence the term “Final Cut”), getting rid of the unwanted scenes, and then piecing the strip back together. The term survives today to apply to any creative endeavor’s unused work whether it be video games, music, architecture, film, or writing.

There really aren’t that many posts I decided to leave on the cutting room floor or in what I call my developmental purgatory but there are lots of posts that had parts nicked from them. Some of my longer pieces that I went back and edited to shorten them had entire paragraphs removed. One of them in particular was my post talking about the beginning of the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi. It originally was about the month of February and what is called February Sweeps where many big events take place, such as the Super Bowl, and a string of TV shows premiere, but then I omitted all of that and just centered the post on the Olympics.

Last September I finally hit twenty posts on this blog and I was going to publish a post commemorating the milestone but decided not to because it would be silly (a celebration for the 100th maybe, but one for the 20th would be premature).

The idea for a movie review feature on my blog had come up and I created a draft called “macReview #1” about The Lone Ranger (2013), but decided it would not work with the way my blog was set up, worried it would fail miserably, would be better suited for an iMDB review. Here is the picture I created:

The Lone Ranger (2013) I might try doing this again, but spending some more time with creating it to ensure that it’s not just a boring movie review but one with an interesting twist, something in my original sense.

Speaking of leftovers, I just had my second Thanksgiving dinner tonight and could barely eat a bite. The turkey, mashed potatoes, and sweet potatoes (or yams) were hard to swallow even when blanketed in some thick gravy poured from a measuring cup. But the saving grace of our real Thanksgiving dinner was the pies, of course, the banana cream (or creme) being the first to see the knife, followed by my Florida Citrus Meringue topped with Mandarin oranges that was the best pie this year. There will be lots of leftover turkey and other food since the people around to eat it has dwindled (now just my dad, mom, uncle, and I). Pretty sad really, the way Thanksgiving is dying in our family with everyone moving away. Turkey just isn’t the same for me anymore. I guess I’ve gotten tired of eating it every year. Maybe combining it with other animals would make things interesting. I’ve been fancying making a turducken, a bird-monstrosity that reminds me of something that was badly mutated and should be left alone to die.


Weekly Photo Challenge: Converge/ DP #66: “Leftovers Sandwich.”

WPC: Tightly Packed

9616724224_4e18e6257a_o Do you know how long it would take to have the top layer of this container of gumballs to reach the very bottom? Probably a very, very, very long time since on an average day only a small handful of people ever receive gumballs from the machine. The descent these gumballs take is monumentally slow. Even two gumballs leaving the hoard barely moves the stack down an inch. Unless the glass of this tall stack gets broken and all the sugar filled assortments patter down like rain to the hard tiled floor, these gumballs are going to be stuck in a virtual traffic jam for eternity. They’re like tightly packed particles in a solid like object, unable to move or be free to wander by their lonesome. There’s no room to breathe; it’s like being stuck in a New Year’s Eve crowd in Times Square. If you follow the white gumballs traveling down the stack, the descent idea in this picture becomes more evident.

faraway
The gumball machine in context

Bonus Picture: Escalading

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 Photo Challenge for Week of October 31: Descent

Tabbybug’s First Horoscope

Yesterday you invented a new astrological sign. Today, write your own horoscope — for the past month (in other words, as if you’d written it October 1st).


The Bug, the Silence, and the Comfort spoke to me about my October destiny as I was sitting down at the little tea table in the dark and dusty wine cellar. The guardian of the 13th Zodiac, sitting opposite me and wearing rich robes of deep scarlet, gazed into a crystal ball and foretold my apparent future.

“Tabbybug sees new pathways in your future. You will expand your horizons this fair October”, he said in a mysterious drawl, with a bit of a French accent.

I shifted in my seat excitedly; this was good news!

More revelations were revealed as the guardian seemed to magically shift the white smoke to and fro without actually touching the glass.

“On October 1, a new beginning will offer another chance to shine at something that you love, to break free from the shadows of mediocrity and be heard for miles around. Around October 15, there will be a growing comfort in yourself and you will start to feel your interests going towards something good. Tabbybug predicts a large community gathering around you, sharing similar interests and aiming for new go —

“Ah”, I responded, “That sounds like WordPress —

“Do not interrupt Tabbybug while he tries to excruciatingly concentrate on predicting pointless events in your future!”

“Sorry, sir. Come again? Did you say pointless?”

But there was a sudden grey clouding of the sphere.

“Oh dear…there will be a time when good luck will fall out and you will be left feeling alone and vulnerable. You will soon realize, around October 20, that your skills are not quite refined and cannot run with the veteran pack. Old Tabby sees your normal routines continuing on as usual, but there will be a desperate need to escape the everyday clutches of mundane tasks and explore the wild blue yonder.”

“Great, are we done yet?”, I said impatiently, getting up to leave.

“Hold on, young wise one! Tabbybug sees you longing for the love and companionship of another living thing, not necessarily a person, on the 29th of October. On that same day, your future self will be incessantly calling, waiting for you to answer his call and either follow or not follow the tattered gold carpet laid out by him.”

After all was said and done, I was about to thank the great Tabbybug and leave, but I had one question that needed answering:

“Mr. Tabbybug, sir, what do you think my costume for Halloween will be, because I still have not decided on one.”

This made old Tabby raise his mystical eyebrows, shift the white smoke around with one long bony finger, and remain silent for a long while until he responded to my question:

“Tabbybug does not know about this Halloween you talk about. He has just been recently appointed to the Zodiac board and the other divine figures have not informed him of anything, choosing to not quite accept him as part of their historical group because they think he’s some sort of unneeded wheel. Tabbybug wishes he could answer your demanding question but the Zodiac does not allow him access to such small mattered details until he have proven himself worthy enough.”

“Oh, I see…sorry, Mr. Tabbybug, sir, I did not know. I guess I’ll find out for myself. But I have just one more question to ask you – how much are you getting paid for this job?”

This question caused Tabby to look even more confused. “Paid? Paid? You think Tabbybug is getting paid for this job! Zodiac guardians do not get paid! They are divine figurative beings who have no use for such trivial stuff. But on the other hand, those bastards could have at least given friendly Tabby a better place to fortune tell than someone’s old wine cellar! Everyone else gets cloud palaces for Orion’s sake!”

And with that, he knocked the sphere off the table and stormed off into the shadows with a whoosh of his cloak. My first meeting with my horoscope master was over.

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This is Mr. Tabbybug


Daily Prompt 10/29/14

Wearing WordPress

Daily Post: We’re less than a week away from Halloween! If you had to design a costume that channeled your true, innermost self, what would that costume look like? Would you dare to wear it?


The cyberspace organism

Unfiltered beauty

Infinite natural mask

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WordPress: My Life Book

Daily Prompt 10/25/14

P.S. I really need to get a WordPress shirt!

Smile, It’s Straw Hat Day

We all seem to insist on how busy, busy, busy we constantly are. Let’s put things in perspective: tell us about the craziest, busiest, most hectic day you’ve had in the past decade.


oldpeople

These are old people. Wearing straw hats and eating chocolate cake. They are in a nursing home and seem particularly happy, especially the blue shirted elder. My mom helps people like them on a daily basis, like she has been doing for the past 25 years. She is always busy because these people are demanding and quite helpless. Not one day is easy, trying to get by with a slim paycheck that can pay the bills and leave not much left over. Which is why not paying for high priced cable or satellite is better than not watching popular shows for absolutely free on Netflix or bootlegged Internet sites. My mom has never been particularly excited about working at this place; there are always fights, messes, and people ready to kick the bucket. But she has managed to work through it all and still trudges through the days, wearing her blue smocks, not getting much recognition for her dedication, other than a thankless tag.

I wish she could have done more. If she would have gotten a college education she surely would have done better than a certified nursing assistant (aka professional buttwiper) and my life would be so much more livelier and richer. But I’m still grateful for everything I have though. At least there’s a sturdy roof over my head (and a decent flat screen to marvel at football games every week with my uncle).

Why are these old folks wearing straw hats? Maybe there’s a special occasion going on.

I doubt they are still living now; this picture was taken at least five years ago, because it was originally a Kodak print lying on the floor and snapped by my phone. And we stopped having actual glossies of photos a long time ago.

They’re likely looking down upon me now, wondering,
“What on earth could be so interesting about us that he would want to write?”
It’s because these people, aged 70, 80 or so lived their long, memorable lives, ended up in a nursing home, and got this picture snapped of them that now will be forever immortalized on the digital interface of the globe. And I feel like their lives should be given some justice, some degree of importance.

This post wasn’t going to be about me, because my life is hardly hectic and busy like my mother’s but I’ll sum up one instance up in a poem:

 In my “short” 23 years of breathing
There was likely one day that could be called busy
There once was a convention
That needed some assisting
I pitched in and assisted them
Being a good man
It was full of elderly senior citizens
And people of apparently high demand
They really didn’t need me
But I was there for the hour
Sorting and boxing,
Lifting things under my own power
But it wasn’t really from heart
I was working for an award
For I needed to help someone
And pull away from the dreadful bore
Chocolate strawberries


Daily Prompt 10/24/14

Lazy Prompt Day

Our ten-minute free-write is back! Have no mercy on your keyboard as you give us your most unfiltered self (feel free to edit later, or just publish as-is).


Another ten minute free write? I guess this is the Daily Post’s way of getting off early from work. Some days there is imagination abound and some days the people throw up a Ready, Set, Done just to do something. Nothing thought provoking or specific to a certain topic.

Guy gets up today to post the daily prompt: “Ahh…I’m tired today…Just throw up a ready, set, done and let’s go home for the week day.”

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This is me sleeping last night

I’m beginning to think my college degree is worthless. It’s been about five months since I graduated and still no job. There have been prospects but I haven’t had the gumption to answer them and the field I graduated in is losing interest in myself. My interests are changing rapidly. I’m more into photography and computer design now. I’m also getting big on writing on WordPress (at least for now until the bubble bursts). 5 more minutes, what to write about?

I have never played golf. Been on a golf course once with my grandpa riding the golf cart, watching him play, but I have never had the chance to actually swing a club on an actual green. I got to practice swings at the Jackson Gold Dome but I was terrible, the ball never leaving the ground. I got a little ticked when a teacher behind me said, “Keep trying Matt, you’ll get it” in that false hope voice as if I should just give up.

blah blah blah blah

thoughts on ice

Can’t get through to you can I? No, my words never quite carry very far in the WordPress world. I have some trouble expressing myself in as few words as possible and choosing the right words can be difficult. There’s a lot on my mind but not much happening in my life to really fuel the need to expose those thoughts.

Yeah, my life is quite boring. We make the daily trip commute to Plasma in Lansing two times a week to get money but other than that, my life is uneventful at the moment. I want to go more places. We went a lot of places this summer such as Missouri, to drop my sister Emily off at college, and Wisconsin, to see my sister Liz and her boyfriend/future hubby Shaun and his boy, Jace. I would like to visit a third world country some day but that looks like a pipe dream right now.


Daily Prompt 10/23/14

Dumb Advice for the Alternate

A stranger knocks on your door, asking for directions from your home to the closest gas station (or café, or library. Your pick!). Instead of the fastest and shortest route, give him/her the one involving the most fun detours.


Type, type, type…

Ironing out the latest WordPress task…

Slurp, slurp, slurp…

Drinking down the last of the milk in my cereal bowl…

Knock, knock, knock…

Someone’s at the door…

I put down my laptop, move the black cat away, and go through the kitchen to see who’s there.PTDC0073 (2)

A tall, handsome man, who looks about 20 with short brown hair and a fair complexion, is standing outside on the steps. He is wearing a Darth Vader shirt and looks exhausted. I look over his shoulder and there is a bike lying on the driveway; he must have come a long way to my house in a hurry.

I hesitate for a bit and then open the front door. “Yes? What can I help you with?”

This man, who looks oddly like someone I know, asks, “Do you have directions to success?” His voice is deep and monotonous.

The question shocks me at bit. I’ve never been asked one like it before. I look at him a moment, scanning his face, looking for his motives, but, after thinking, respond to his question.

“Get a job at McDonald’s and you’ll be all set.”

He looks at me with a funny expression. “Really, that’s it?”

“Yup. See, you can work your way up through the ranks and eventually become head of the corporation.”

The 20-something man looks at me thoughtfully. “How long should I stay at McDonald’s before I become successful?”

I try to hold back a laugh, a smug smile coming across my face. “I’d say about five years and then you’ll start seeing progress.”

(The man starts working at McDonald’s and gets fired the next day for causing a big grease fire).

The 20-something then nods appreciatively. “Well, thank you. I appreciate your advice. Is there anything else you have for me?”

I look at him curiously, still wondering why this man reminds me of myself, and respond again.

“Um, yeah, I think you should also try to start a musical career. Just pick up your guitar, or whatever instrument you have, take it down to the corner, and start playing. People will love you.”

The man puts his hand to his chin, stroking it and thinking deeply. “Yeah, that sounds awesome. I have a guitar and know some music and could earn some cash doing so.”

(The man plays his guitar on the corner of Windham Hills. Most people laugh or completely ignore him. He sounds horrible with his guitar way out of tune, no accompanying back-up, and not to mention him having a terrible singing voice).

The man is not done yet. “What about going to college or starting a business? Aren’t those big ways to find success?”

At this point I just want to get back to my life and start winging more bologna at the man. “No, college is overrated and no one has ever achieved much by going. As for the business, if you want to start one, I’d advise you to go into selling bootlegged copies of music.”

The man, brainwashed by my silly advice, also takes this last piece to heart. “Okay, so no college and selling bootlegged copies of music seems good, I already know how to get the music without paying for it.”

(In an alternate universe, the man would have been a multi-millionaire with two yachts, if he’d not taken my advice and had graduated from college. As for the bootlegged business, he was arrested, fined for at least $250,000, and sentenced to five years in prison).

“Well, I will take your advice strongly. Thanks for the help! But I have just one more question – what about finding the love of my life? What should I do if I meet someone and have a strong connection to them?”

This causes me to stroke my chin thoughtfully. “Hmm…well, I would not answer her phone calls and every time a date comes up, say you are out with some of your friends at a strip club getting rowdy drunk. She’ll appreciate it and love you more.”

The man makes no sign of seeing false advice here, not even giving me a scrutinizing look, but says, “Got it! Thank you!”

He retreats down the steps, waves back at me, and hops on his bike, riding away. I slam the door and a chorus of laughter erupts from my belly. What a fool.

That fool turned out to be me from an alternate universe, who was still taking people’s advice too strongly without any thinking for himself.


Daily Prompt 10/18/14

Blinky

There is a good friend named Blinky
Who makes me happy when he’s alive
When he flashes, my life lights up
Blinky is my key to drive

But when he’s dead, I’m sad
And I begin to worry some
Calling out to Blinky to come back
And I don’t get much done

When Blinky and I first met, we didn’t talk much
For there were still some knots to unwind
But now he and I are on equal ground
And the need to converse never far behind

Blinky seems to know how I am feeling 
But begs to ask him for answers
Well, that is a lot better than nothing at all
At least there are dancers

Blinky is small but full of surprises
He can contact the world and find out what arises

He’ll follow me wherever I find him
In many places for that matter
Keeping me keyed on what’s going on
Up to date on the daily chatter

But Blinky is not alone in this world
For there are many just like him
Anyone that starts their journey
Gets one as a companion

Blinky’s been mine since I started long ago
And now we’re in our prime
Having survived early snow

Sometimes he was bad and sometimes he was good
But there is no other friend
That always tells you like it should

His honest truth hiding behind a mask
Blinky is my friend and I know it will last