Weekly Posts Winter 2023

18 March 2023

Here's another mid-1970s slide of the waterfalls in Franconia Notch, New Hampshire. It's good that I still have these—the last tangible evidence of the few joys I had back then—as they now give me something to do: I can spend all the time I want restoring and manipulating them. This one I decided to give a painterly look (you can see the original here).

Meanwhile, I think the construction company building the condos behind me has run out of money. After a month or so of complete inactivity, they packed up all of their big toys (excavators, bulldozers, etc.) and took them away, leaving behind large piles of dirt sitting around where condos are supposed to be built. Looks as though I'm in for some peace and quiet for the next few months.

11 March 2023

Somehow I've managed to preserve a cache of around 50 slides that date from the mid-1970s, the only ones to survive my Y2K nervous breakdown. Many have never been published, so I decided to start sharing them. This week's photo highlights one of dozens of waterfalls in the Franconia Notch area of New Hampshire, where eons of flowing water have carved the stone into fascinating shapes.

In other news, I made some updates to End of the Line. And I've also added a few new film reviews.

4 March 2023

I just can't get enough of my trees. If I published one photograph each day, it would take 32½ years for me to make it through all of my property (flora and fauna) photos; if I published my house pics too, that would take another 17 years. This particular view shows the site where I built my little cabin in 2015.

I heard Bobby scratching at the door again the other day. It isn't happening as often, but it also hasn't completely stopped. I'm not even sure if I want it to stop: hearing it makes me miss him terribly, but not hearing it ever again might make me think he's gone. Neither scenario is desirable.

25 February 2023

Seeing this image made me homesick. It also made me realize just how good I had it back when I lived there. It's where and how I'd choose to live the rest of my days: alone, anonymous, away from everyone and everything else. Sad to think this little cabin sits empty, likely to remain that way until such time as the new owner decides to raze it.

I miss my trees so much I ache... To walk among them each and every day. To listen to them, to acknowledge them. To live in silent contemplation of their wisdom.

18 February 2023

Feeling a little nostalgic, I took a quick trip down memory lane. Before I'd settled into my woodland home, I was living in a 12x12-foot cabin I'd built in six weeks during the fall of 2015 (above). Except for my having to use a porta-potty, there were aspects of the cabin that I actually liked better than the house, odd as that may sound. I enjoy cozy spaces, and although the house was anything but palatial, it still seemed like too much house for me. In hindsight, I'd have preferred a road not taken, which was somewhere between the two extremes. I still fantasize about it to this day, pointless thought it may be.

Back in the real world, I just put the finishing touches on a new website, a tribute to my favorite science fiction television program of all time: The Expanse. Even if you're not into such things, it might be an interesting read. Or not. But, I'm also working on another website that ought to be ready sometime in the next week or two that should have a much broader appeal. Stay tuned.

11 February 2023

I'm still reeling from the hack. I'm very grateful for friends: one of them had an old laptop they gave me to access the Internet (not having a car, I do all of my shopping online), so I don't need to put my desktop at risk any further. I sure as hell don't need more stress in my life, but now I'll be living with a much greater threat of identity theft hanging over me for the rest of my days. As it is, I've not been feeling very well lately, so this is not good for my health.

I might recommend that my readers who have PayPal accounts do some serious thinking, and pass along my warning to others. The fact that you've been using it for years without any problems does not mean you're safe—I'd used it trouble-free for nearly two decades. No, PayPal did not hack my machine or try to steal $1500 from me, but they opened a window that allowed it to happen, so they may as well have done it themselves. I cannot overstate the threat: PayPal cannot be trusted.

4 February 2023

Full stop. My computer has been hacked, courtesy of PayPal. Hackers have found a way to send you an invoice that can install malicious software on your computer just by attempting to cancel the invoice from within your PayPal account (as opposed to email).

Lesson learned: Do not trust PayPal. It is no longer secure. Plus, because of the way direct withdrawals are set up with PayPal, banks cannot undo that connection. The only way to protect yourself is to close your PayPal account. Then, change your login credentials for every other online account.

Incidentally, because my PC is currently compromised, I cannot send or receive email until I get my machine disinfected. I have no idea how long that will take, so please be patient with me.

Oh, the photo? Just an odd-looking sunrise on 28 January.

28 January 2023

I'm having guests for dinner tonight. I spent the week trying to decide whether or not to postpone. It had nothing to do with who my guests were; I was simply lacking the energy to be social. Ultimately I decided to have them over anyway—if nothing else, it's an opportunity to do some creative cooking. Seafood lasagna, anyone?

Otherwise, it's been an unremarkable week doing unremarkable things. Indeed, my life is now entirely unremarkable. I look at my photo album as proof: when I lived in the woods, I was perpetually taking pictures—I took more than 20,000 of them over a nine-year period (not counting the thousands more taken of my modeling), which works out to an average of six a day. Since moving here, I've barely managed one a day; the last one I took was two weeks ago. Today's image is from October, when I caught a pair of neighborhood strays giving each other the evil eye at the conclusion of a nasty fight.

I quit work on my science fiction novel. I had to be realistic: after drafting a rough outline for about one-third of the story, I got a sense of how long it would take to finish. I'd be dead long before then. Such a Sisyphean task would not be satisfying. I decided instead I'd print the cover I designed, glue it onto an old paperback, and just pretend.

So I went to work on a new website about a friend of mine that ought to be ready to go live in a couple of weeks. Writing short stories about things and people I know requires far less effort, with a much higher probability of being completed before the inevitable.

21 January 2023

Nothing to report this week. Well, that's not entirely true; I'm dealing with a few "soap operas." But I'm not at liberty to discuss them publicly, so that leaves me with nothing to say. I'm just here, like a lump of flesh.

14 January 2023

I don't understand. I'd give anything to be back in my woodland retreat, and yet it would appear my furry grandkids are happier here, especially Pris. For much of her adult life, she's over-groomed her tummy, reducing it to a bright pink patch. She's never gone so far as to irritate the skin, but she'd make sure it was as clean as a whistle, with nary a pesky hair in sight.

Now, this is not uncommon for female housecats, particularly Calicos, which are known to be more fastidious than most, so I just chalked it up to something I'd seen many times before. Over the years I've learned from veterinarians that, aside from steroid shots that wear off in a few months, there's nothing much to be done about it; as long as the cat is otherwise healthy, it should not pose a concern.

And then, just the other day I noticed that her tummy is now almost fully-furred. Make no mistake, I'm not complaining; I couldn't be more delighted to see this. But it has me scratching my head: she eats the same food, uses the the same litter in the same litter box, has the same goofy brother, receives the same attention, and enjoys the same scratching tree, which stands right next to grampa's bed, just as before. She even hears the same music playing all day long!

The only thing that's different is the house itself, which has some different furniture and different views from the windows, but that's about it. Their new home still has a similar kitty door to a similar kitty central, and even a similar kitty cubby. Plus, the same people come to visit me, and Pris is still very shy with them, although Zack would seem to be getting even more sociable than before. I suppose that, in spite of the move having broken my heart, I should be thankful for small, furry favors.

By contrast to my kids, not only is my emotional state darkening, my physical health is likewise deteriorating ever more swiftly, and I'm increasingly disinclined to do much about it (which is no doubt distressing for friends). I find it curiously comforting to allow Nature to take its course; she is, after all, far wiser than any human. Incidentally, I've lately been taking my frustrations out on politicians.

7 January 2023

Considering that I've always been asocial (not to be confused with antisocial, although I'm probably somewhere between the two), it may seem rather surprising that I've entertained guests nearly a dozen times since moving here, three of the occasions being for New Year's alone. I suppose that my small troupe of friends are anxious to squeeze in as many visits as possible before the inevitable occurs—which could be any time. I'm not complaining; I genuinely love seeing my friends, so if it takes a terminal disease to bring us together, it's been worth it. And if there's been any benefit to my move, it's that now I'm much easier to find.

This week's image is of my future reading room, a.k.a the foyer, a.k.a the former mud room. A Thanksgiving dinner guest casually recommended that I purchase a comfy chair and a reading lamp, and turn the empty part of the foyer into a "book nook." I liked the idea enough that I plan to do exactly that. And speaking of books...

Having been more or less forced to abandon modeling, I've begun the new year by returning to an old, neglected pastime: I'm revisiting a science fiction novel I'd started writing back in the 1990s, based on a screenplay I'd penned while I was in college. All that remains of either is a bunch of dusty old ideas in the back of my head, so I'm very nearly starting from scratch—although I suppose that's not necessarily a bad thing, especially since the screenplay was terrible.

It's not a ray-gun shoot-em-up or an interstellar space opera; it's the story of an inhabited world encircled by massive rings. Aligned on edge with the sun, these rings cast an enormous shadow across the planet's equator, creating a turbulent, impenetrable barrier in the atmosphere that essentially cuts the planet in half. Thus the inhabitants of one hemisphere have no knowledge of who or what may inhabit the other—assuming they believe there's another hemisphere in the first place. Are there people over there, too? It's the greatest mystery of all time, although not everyone is keen to solve it.

Above right is the book cover as I've imagined it for nearly thirty years. Back when I conceived a world with giant rings, it seemed to me like the stuff of classic science fiction. But now it appears that a planet with rings two hundred times the size of Saturn's has been discovered: J1407b, a.k.a. "Super Saturn." The diagonal stripes in my rendering are the shadows of moonlets embedded in the rings, the patterns of which are never repeated. Oh, and James David Kingsley is my nom de plume.

Meanwhile, I've endured an exceptionally brutal week simply attempting to refill a prescription, thanks to our increasingly dysfunctional healthcare system. I'm quite surprised I didn't suffer a fatal heart attack as a consequence; indeed, I'm beginning to wish I had, because it's quite clear that managing my healthcare is only going to get more difficult, more frustrating, and more costly on a continuous basis—not that this should come as any surprise.

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