Say No More


What does it mean?

What does it mean?

It means whatever you want it to mean. Me? Current situation. It could mean some high techie thing, but my interpretation Is about the world as we currently find it.

Confused. Too much information. Not enough information. Too much noise. No signal. It seems that the world has become an unforgiving place.

Social media hasn’t helped.

Facebook has become a hellhole. You can’t post anything without being attacked or belittled. You could say that the sky is blue and you’ll be called a Democrat, liberal, terrorist, a Republican, right wing, fascist, atheist, Christian, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist. And, those are the good words.

It’s the same on other platforms.

Sometimes people are followed from one platform to another. They are trolled to tears.

Why?

There are too many people who never had a voice, never had group of friends, and are now sidelined because of the virus. They are taking out their frustrations online, hiding behind their screen. They don’t even use a real name. No platform can tell if your screen name is your name.

So.

Although Storyteller is distributed to Facebook and Twitter, I mostly play on Instagram. For the most part, people are civil. I also hangout on Quora, where there are experts in just about every topic who are civil and generous. Even disagreements are “gentlemanly” and last for about two posts.

Just don’t go to any photo group. Most are kids who want to know what the sexist picture is of some unknown model. I’ve yet to find a group that wants to talk about actual photography.

For the rest Quora is great. Just go when you have some time.

The picture

Experimentation was the rule last night. I started with one version of what you are looking at and just kept going. The finished image looks nothing like the original or many of its subsequent versions. I couldn’t even begin to tell you how many layers there are in this picture. I did it because I felt like doing it. That’s enough for me.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. You know what to do. Enjoy every minute.


Disney Center, Los Angeles, California.

The past.

My journey through the past. A couple of you said that you’d like to look at my work prior to your arrival at Storyteller. Very cool.

I thought that I would work from June and as far back as I could go.

I made this photograph in downtown Los Angeles. California. 20 miles from where I grew up.

In those days I worked for a lot of travel publications. Since I owned my work, the unselects were marketed through various agencies. Most of that has been blown to bits. Pictures aren’t worth what they once were. Or, anything if you listen to WordPress.

Ain’t no thang.

My archives are rich. I still like the photographs. That matters. This one is a favorite. The contrast between the metal and the spring flowers is wonderful.

Stay safe. Enjoy enjoy every sushi roll.

The Junkman Cometh


Looks like the Joads move to California.

A short story.

I wrote about the very strong discussions in two groups that I follow. I fixed both of them. I dropped out of the groups. Too much noise, no signal.

There is today’s comment. Unless you can peek behind the curtain, and really see the action, you don’t know the truth. The commenter was nice. My reply was nice. But, screw it. I’m too old for this nonsense.

Stop putting me in the box of an old white colonial man. Never put Ray in a box.

As much as I tell you, most of you don’t know me. It’s likely you never will unless we meet in real life.

Going forward, I’ll post a picture, write a feel words about it, and say good day because…

“Those who know don’t talk. Those who talk don’t know.

The picture

I’ll likely get pilloried for calling the man who picks up abandoned stuff, a junkman. This is New Orleans. That’s what he calls himself. He was picking up some other junk when I saw his trailer. I love junk. I love abandoned buildings. I had no choice but to make a photograph. We know each other. He laughed when he saw me making a picture.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Enjoy every bowl of gumbo.

Anyway The Wind Blows


Everything starts with an experiment.

This new way of design is a great example of that. According to the revision counter I’ve made 29 changes. Most of them center around type sizes.

Arrrrgh.

I still don’t really have an understanding of them. Nor, do I know how to do a copy wrap around the picture.

Enjoy my journey. Soon, you will be on your own.

Stafe safe. Enjoy every sandwich.

Big yellow flower.

Dreaming


Shimmering in dark red.

Well.

I won’t be doing that again, anytime soon. Depending on which version arrived in your mailbox, you were either mystified or confused. Follerer and online friend, Frank wrote a long comment. Every word he wrote is correct. Luckily, I’m sure these block templates are not locked in, unlike whatever we chose when we started. They are available to give you a semblance of creativity.

I suppose once I learn this way of not coding coding, this might give me more freedom. The problem is that the previews don’t show everything. Most of the framework is not available visually. I’ll get used to that, just as long as I can see what’s new on the daily template.

Since I’ve been asked, The all seeing dog is feeling a little better. The pain meds seem to be working. We have to wait for her dental appointment for her to complete her healing. She can hardly wait. I can hardly wait. The other dogs can hardly wait. Everyone else can hardly wait.

On another note.

The picture. My neighbors seem to think that more color is more color. You know me. Normally I would agree. Not this time. We have plenty of indigenous growth in the swamp. Some is quite pretty. The flowers, or wildflowers, that I mostly post are all native to Southeastern Louisiana. These red flowers are not. They came from a nursery.

No matter. They still look good when they are photographed. Of course, I couldn’t leave well enough alone. I tinkered around until made the flowers a lot richer and darker than they ctually are. That’s it.

One of the tenants of good page design comes under the heading of conventions. You create your own. One of my evolving conventions for Storyteller using the block system is that every new subject on the page begins with drop cap.

These drop caps are ridiculous. The minute I can figure out how to modify them I will. I may have to do that in the text setting by making the text bigger so the drop cap works with it. We’ll see.

Stay safe. Enjoy every sandwich.

I Will


In early spring.

Early spring.

At least it was for us down here in the swamp. This picture was made in mid-February. Before the storm. Before the war. Before the killing era of the virus. It feels like years ago. Time may have become flexible and meaningless, but that translates into some kind long term distortion.

For sure, people with deadlines or a lot of online meetings know the time. On the other hand, if you allow the meeting planner to schedule a meeting via Zoom it just pops up on your calendar. Press the code on your planner and you are taken directly to the meeting. You don’t need to know the date. Or, wear pants.

Since most people can’t focus for more than about 20 minutes in those little boxes, the leader usually sends an email with the goals needing to be met prior to the next meeting. I’m probably like most people. Once I’ve discussed my issues I tend to drift off or find other things to do. I answer email, work on a picture, fine tune my calendar so that I don’t have to look at it for another week. And, find my pants.

Of course, a lot of us can be very productive working from home. Normally, that’s mostly where I work from. I’m used to it. Many newbies to this are having a tough time. If children are in the mix, it triples the problem. Parents are expected to raise their kids, teach their kids, work from home, cook meals and keep the house tidy.

Those of us who are used to working at home have all sorts of tips and tricks. That’s assuming we have to use a clock and a calendar. Even with that, the most important thing to know is when to change from your daytime pajamas into your sleeping pajamas.

And, we might not have to teach our children. And, baby sit them. That’s something I’ve been discussing with my teacher friends. They worry about how parents will manage without having a sort of built in babysitter. I keep reminding them that isn’t their problem. They teach. A couple of their principals agree. Teach. Don’t worry about the rest.

That’s for later, when school becomes sort of normal. For now, it’s a juggling act. As the days turn into weeks and the weeks turn into months these issues should settle down. That’s good, not just from a short term perspective, but for what will likely be on and off over the next two or so years.

This is our new normal. The virus isn’t magically going away. A vaccine will not be created, tested and properly vetted in less than 18 months. Even that is extremely fast. If our so-called leaders aren’t going to settle down, stop playing politics and get to the real work of leading, the virus won’t be going away anytime soon. More importantly, if we don’t settle down and stop taking chances, it’ll be on “we the people” when the virus keeps cycling through its fifth and sixth year.

The picture. I was sitting outside thinking how nice life was, never thinking that the world was about to turn upside down, when I looked up and saw what you are seeing. I took pains to make sure I kept the picture light and airy.

Stay Safe. Enjoy every sandwich.

Downhill From Everywhere


General spring growth in southeastern louisiana
Life, and life itself

Yesterday was a day.

Did you ever have a day when technology was not your friend? When saved passwords were not saved? When nothing loaded? When the internet was so slow that you had to perform a hard reset?

That was yesterday.

Let’s hope things go a little better today. Let’s hope people settle down. Actually, all of the silliness of yesterday stopped in mid-stride when the parish leaders extended the lockdown period by another 15 days. Orleans Parish had it right. The adjoining parishes signed a letter of agreement and I suppose the people drinking outside were sent home. I just hope none of them end up in the ER in a few days.

Other than that, I have no idea what the news of the day was. That feels pretty good.

I was so busy fixing all things digital that I didn’t even think about who was lying about what to whom.

It got so bad that at one point my credit card was declined.

WTH?

It has a really high limit because it’s a business card and zero balance. I asked the clerk if he could call the manager over. I showed her my bank’s actual website on my phone. I asked her to match credit card and account numbers. She saw what I knew. No late fees. No balance. No problems. It’s true I haven’t used it in the last seven weeks because I had no work that would need me to float a loan for a client. I’m not alone. Neither has anybody else.

Luckily, the manager is proactive. She got on the phone and asked my bank what was wrong. What do you think it was?

Digital glitches.

Just one more during my day of failed technology. The bank had to approve my purchase the old school way, but there was no problem. They were apologetic. I was understanding. All the wheels fell off.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. When every system starts to crash, all the wheels fall off of all the cars. Luckily, it wasn’t something important like me buying you lunch. That would be really bad. Heh!

So, the picture.

I saw this little scene and I just had to get down on my knees and photograph it. It looks like life to me. New grass, new wildflowers, and little three leaf clovers are growing over the dead leaves of last fall. That’s not only hopeful. It’s happening right now. In real time.

Stay safe. Enjoy every sandwich.

Together Now


The color of royalty.

Some things seem to be getting better.

Don’t hold me to that.

Georgia opened up all sorts of close contact businesses. Guess what? The state now has a surge of infections.

Meanwhile, Jimmy Buffett’s management team thinks that it’s a good idea to restart his tour in early July. They had to cancel a couple of shows because the municipalities where they wanted to reschedule said no. That’s what everyplace should say. I predict wherever he plays will see a surge in the city and surrounding locations.

Why are so many people in such a hurry? I get it. We all need to earn a living. But, if we rush back to nonessential businesses we may not have a life for which to earn. That doesn’t sound so smart to me.

Normally, I am a kind of dive into the pool guy. Not this time. I’d rather get back in the water a toe at a time.

I’ll tell you why.

We were doing some grocery shopping yesterday. We started down an aisle and about twenty feet ahead of us was a woman who was coughing, sneezing and dripping. She made no attempt to cover her nose. I told her to put on a mask. She replied that she had a constitutional right not to, and that I could go f*uck myself. I told her that I had a constitutional right not to be killed by her. She started screaming and yelling so loud that we could hear her three aisles away, where we retreated to.

What the hell is wrong with people?

We arrived at the check out counter at about the same time. She started yelling at us again. The manager heard her, came over and asked if there was a problem. I told him. He wouldn’t do a thing. I can assure you that I’ll be writing to the corporate office and taking our business elsewhere.

I wish we could just leave the state. Too many extremists everywhere. New Orleans is a blue city surrounded by nothing but red. But, there is nowhere to go. This isn’t like evacuating from Hurricane Katrina.

This didn’t start out to be a rant. Sorry about that.

The picture. More purple flowers. I added a lot to this image. Enough to make the flowers look metallic. Let’s hope that it works.

Stay safe. Enjoy every sandwich.

Once In A While


Spring’s rebirth brings a little hope.

Seeing the flowers of spring gives me a sense of hope.

In order to fulfill hope, we must work hard. All of us. Especially now. What are you doing? What will I do?

In New Orleans, the mayor has put out a call for volunteer help. I may do that. A lot of it involves food prep and delivery. The food is destined for first responders, front line medical staff and anybody who is hungry.

The only thing that is holding me back is my own compromised immune system. Before I join in, I’d better call my doctor to see what he thinks.

Now that most of my back and hip pain have left me, I may be a senior citizen but I don’t feel old. And, now that the all seeing dog is starting to feel better we are taking walks without stopping except to do her “business” and for me to make pictures. We went on a pretty long walk yesterday.

More drugs. More drugs. That’s what the doctors gave me. I had Bursitis that should have been treated two years ago. Don’t get me started. I’m humble and happy to have the pain removed. I’m a little angry that I was misdiagnosed for so long.

That mini-rant over, I cannot stress the importance of helping out your community in some way. If you are unable to do that, keep doing what you do. Only, do it more. After all, in these terrible times we are all we have.

The picture. I saw the flowers, I made the picture. I worked very hard to soften it in post production, but that’s about all. I posted another version on Facebook. I added a lot more. It went from being a picture of a flower to something else.

Yesterday, I found a huge amount of these swamp flowers. There were dozens and dozens of them. You’ll see some of them soon, but not tomorrow. I try very hard to vary my pictures. I think of my collections as music on a stage. If you play five down tempo songs, you’ll lose the audience because they’ll be asleep.

Stay safe. Enjoy every sandwich.