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Charlotte V has shown up in the yard!
Charlotte V -- Leucauge venusta in evening sun

A few years ago, a car accident occurred in my front yard. Using the insurance payment from the at-fault driver, I had my front yard re-landscaped. Before that happened, I salvaged as many plants as I could from the front yard (knowing that it would be completely re-done).

I planted the salvaged plants in a side area, which had been completely overgrown with ivy. I cleared the ivy, planted the salvaged plants, and the resulting side garden is now starting to come into its own! The area contains tulips, many peony plants, plus coneflowers, Columbine, Balloon flowers, etc., and looks pretty nice. I think a layer of mulch would be the next step, but I'm satisfied with a 'salvaged plants' garden!
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Couch surfer #3 stayed with me again last night. Fun guy, dinner, wine, talking. Tired now and early bed!

Now that I deleted that Facebook account, I have lots more time to do things, like READ!

Bone. Bombs and tantrums, when the world grew bitter because the world fell somehow short of half-remembered Eden.

Pretty depressing book! Slow moving, but good book. And I enjoy puzzling out the church Latin -- Fiat Homo. Fiat Lux. Fiat Vountas Tua. Funny how I could still understand some of the Latin -- even after all these years!

Lots of (church) Latin in the book because the story line is a monastery in the southwest US, which is preserving artifacts during the Dark Ages that occurred after the 'Deluge of Fire'.

Depressing because the basic point of the book is that mankind will destroy itself over and over again, whenever it has the technology to do it. Basically, whenever man has nuclear weapons, it will use them to end the world ("Sic Transit Mundus" -- Thus the world passes.)
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Title is from a sign at the March for Science in DC today. Rainy and cool = kinda miserable...so after making an appropriately long appearance, the friend I was with texted other friends for brunch :)

Science March DC



Washington Monument


Apr. 19th, 2017 09:54 pm
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So tiring!

Dinner with my Portuguese speaking friends tonight. I have not been practicing, so my Portuguese SUCKED!

And towards the end, he pulled up a Youtube of a Brazilian singer, and had me listen and repeat what I could understand...so exhausting! And good for me. And nice that he's teaching. But so exhausting!

I gave explanations to him also though. Like the meaning of 'to curse' -- from a song he wants to sing at church, and 'bottom' -- I included the meaning of 'butt', lol! And 'to realize' -- both to accomplish, and also to suddenly be conscious of something.
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Back to the park tonight with a different lens...

Evening at the park

Evening at the park

Reflections at the Park

But I didn't quite get what I wanted. First, bats just seem hard to capture. Second, omg, bugs flying all over me. Not mosquitoes. I had on bug spray. Didn't seem to matter! This photo is pretty heavily processed.
Bats at the park

I wonder what I can do differently. I could bring along an extender for this lens...

And here are those fricken bugs that were ALL OVER ME -- even though I had spritzed bug spray! They were very small, flying, appeared to have 6 legs, a waist and a hard shell.



Apr. 12th, 2017 07:44 am
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Had a hard day yesterday, but I needed to get some exercise, so I walked to the park.
At the park tonight

At dusk, I did notice that there were bats over the pond there. I was not able to get good photos...but I'm thinking of heading back over with a longer zoom lens -AND- some bug spray. The mosquitos were surprisingly thick (and the reason for the appearance of the bats)!


Apr. 10th, 2017 07:18 pm
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But the third rope was still moving: the child too light was still breathing...
"For God's sake, where is God?"
And from within me, I heard a voice answer.
Where He is? This is where -- hanging here from this gallows..."
That night, the soup tasted of corpses.

I just read a book written by a child who spent time with his father in Birkenau and Auschwith concentration camps.

His descriptions are pretty shocking in places. The author, Elie Wiesel, died last year.

It's hard for me to believe that there are Holocaust deniers -- most of whose "talking points" seem to quibble with the number of people killed -- by the way, the "6 million" was a number that came from a member of the German SS.

Documentation exists for 3 - 4 million people killed, and when you read eye witness accounts like this book, listen to videos of eye witnesses, read excerpts from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goebbels_Diaries>Joseph Goebbel's diaries, it becomes patently obvious that a rounding up of people for forced labor, and then death by starvation, illness, shooting, hanging and gas chambers occurred. http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/how-to-refute-holocaust-denial

Eisenhower ordered documentation to be created -- https://www.awesomestories.com/asset/view/General-Eisenhower-Holocaust-Verification

Video of French survivor:

There are very few survivors anymore, which is why Ellie Wiesel's book and other sources are so important.

Will this sort of thing happen again? Almost surely. Hell, purposeful attempts at genocide have happened repeatedly already during wars.

Why do Holocaust deniers exist? Certainly, anti-Jewish bias is a cause. But there's more to it than that. I haven't been able to completely put my finger on it...but if the deniers admitted the Holocaust, they would have to change their opinion of 'the other' -- meaning the deniers would have to change their belief system and recognize other people and other cultures as valuable. It's almost as if the deniers are resentful of the attention that Jews got because of the Holocaust.

I didn't time this post to happen during Passover -- it's just the timing of finishing a book. But it is probably an appropriate post.


Apr. 9th, 2017 01:51 pm
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I did a couple more edits of photos from the fire spinners the other night. I like taking photos of the audience...and as I was looking at them, I decided that the common thread was that they were all human...




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I did a good job tonight explaining a pesky English phrase to my Portuguese speaking friend. I did this with the help of another friend here having wine with me tonight.

I received a message from my Portuguese speaking friend asking me to help him understand the phrase 'even though'. The request gave me pause as I tried to think of how to explain it.

With the help of wine, my other friend and I were discussing and searching Google, and the friend realized that 'even though' is an unexpected RESPONSE to a situation. The situation itself is not necessarily unexpected, but the RESPONSE is unexpected.

So, one of the examples I gave in this audio is "I bought a new car, even though I am quitting my job next week" -- buying a new car is an unexpected thing to do when you are planning to quit a job.


We native speakers "know" what phrases mean, even though it can be hard to explain them. (Do you see what I did there?)

And the Portuguese friend seemed to understand perfectly! I mispronounced 'resposta' in my recording, lol...


Apr. 8th, 2017 05:12 pm
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I went down to the Texas Beach trail today. I have a vacation coming up, during which I will have to carry my water for the night. So today, I stuck 2 bricks (weight a little under 9 lbs) plus my camera in my bag -- just to test it out. I did about 2 miles on Texas Beach. Definitely could feel the weight!

The James

Spring comes to the river!

Garter Snake --
Snake at the river today

Remember that I often harvest a few Pawpaw fruits in late Summer? I kinda wanted to find the trees when they are blooming. Somehow I expected the blooms to be bigger!

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I always enjoy the fire spinners when they perform at Gallery 5...dinner and time with a friend tonight was nice!

Fire Spinners at Gallery 5

Fire Spinners at Gallery 5

Fire Spinners at Gallery 5

The Age of Recording


Fire Spinners at Gallery5


Apr. 7th, 2017 05:37 pm
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Thanks to whoever randomly paid for a my Dreamwidth account for a couple months! I don't know exactly what that gives me, but it's very nice of someone to have done!

I'm really glad it's Friday!

I've been busting a hump this week -- and I can feel it in my hands! When I'm rushing, I type fast, and bang hard with my fingers on the keyboard. Finally getting some more hands on deck for 1 of my projects, so I'm hoping I won't have to keep this pace up after a couple weeks.


Apr. 5th, 2017 05:29 pm
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Pardo -- brown (skinned).

Far be it from me to negatively judge how another culture handles the differences in skin color. Notice, I did not say 'race' because I think that word is not precise. I think we should just say 'skin color' and talk about the effects of darker vs lighter, and why those effects manifest themselves.

I found this article very interesting!


...how Fernando sees himself. He identifies as pardo, or brown: a mixed-race person with black ancestry. His family has struggled with discrimination ever since his white grandfather married his black grandmother, he told me. “My grandfather was accused of soiling the family blood,”...

The marker of race drifted away from a binary consideration of a person’s ancestry and became increasingly based on one’s appearance. Today, Brazilians see themselves as falling across a spectrum of skin colors with a dizzying assortment of names: burnt white, brown, dark nut, light nut, black, and copper are a few of the 136 categories that the census department, in a 1976 study, found Brazilians to use for self-identification.

The Department of Education in Para, Brazil’s blackest state, attempted to fulfill the decree with a checklist, which leaked to the press. Among the criteria to be scored: Is the job candidate’s nose short, wide and flat? How thick are their lips? Are their gums sufficiently purple? What about their lower jaw? Does it protrude forward? Candidates were to be awarded points per item, like “hair type” and “skull shape.” In response to the leaked test, one college professor from the state wrote on Facebook, “We’re going back to the slave trade. During job interviews they’re gonna stick their hands in our mouth to inspect our teeth.”

But black activists say such measures are unavoidable. “A person who does not look phenotypically black is not the one getting killed by police every 23 minutes,” said Santos, the law student and Coletivo Negrada member. “So long as this is how racism manifests itself here, we need to ensure that the people taking up admission spots in universities are the ones with these characteristics.”


Apr. 5th, 2017 07:11 am
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Not being on Facebook anymore, I seem to have more time to read! And reading is a much better use of my time. It's a pleasant side effect of quitting Facebook!

I was talking to a young guy the other day, and he said he 'hated' to read. He didn't say this, but I suspect he hated to read because it requires focus, in a way that a movie or a Facebook flamewar does not. It doesn't bode well for younger folks to be able to make long term decisions if they can't focus!

The Giver / Lois Lowry

This is actually a teen reader book -- so I easily polished it off in 3 sittings. I liked how the central character became the Giver, although not in the intended way. I also was surprised at the vague ending...but interpreted it as the characters dying, although the author has said she does not believe they died.

I Am Legend / Richard Matheson

I knew that the old movie, The Omega Man, was based on this book. And then there was the later remake with Will Smith. Although the Omega Man and I Am Legend were not exactly the same, I kept seeing scenes from that old movie in my head as I read it.

The next thing that surprised me was that only 1/2 of this book was I Am Legend -- then there were a series of short stories. I'm not a huge short story fan -- I don't like switching gears that often, and sometimes the characters from the different stories merge in my head.

But these stories were all nicely done, and were in sort of the same genre as the 1st part of the book. One thing that surprised me was that I RECOGNIZED one of the stories from another TV movie! And the movie and the short story were pretty much exactly the same!

The short story was called "Prey", and it was evidently the exact basis for one of the stories in the Trilogy of Terror, renamed 'Amelia' for the main character in the story. I was really surprised to start reading and to realize I had seen this story before!

Pôr do Sol

Apr. 4th, 2017 08:40 pm
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Sunset on Belle Isle tonight. Felt good to be outside, at the river, walking around!

And I found some of the Pawpaws are blooming. The blooms are small -- I'll probably head back down this weekend to see them blooming some more.
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It was a good weekend! Although no biking, I got some yard work done, got my Grandmother's lemon tree outside, had wine with 1 friend, dinner with another friend, and brunch with a third friend.

Not much on the camera side, except in the yard. I was pretty pleased with how this iPhone photo turned out -- just using the phone, and the built-in editing ---
Nature's Curves

Twice each year I move the lemon tree (in for Winter, out for Spring). And every year, it gets harder. One friend told me the tree must be growing, which was a much preferable answer than the sister who said I was getting older! The sister is, of course, correct, but I much preferred the other answer!

But it's outside once more!

I used the Canon with a macro lens to get a photo of a dandelion in the yard...then I ran it through Prisma for this effect --
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The Virginia Bluebells came up and bloomed nicely this year. I planted them a couple years ago, and although I tried to plant them in a 'natural-looking' way, I think they are too spread apart. But they should naturalize and fill in though.

In my continuing effort to plant something to the right side of front yard, I added some creeping phlox this year -- they bloom at the same time, and they are basically the same color as the bluebells.

I put some beans in the ground for the 1st time this year. I really don't have a lot of space, so finding places for veggies is hard.

The hay bales are almost too soft now! I pushed a finger in, and it was like butter! So, I think it's time to transplant the tomatoes and bell peppers, and I think the seedlings are big enough -- I transferred them outside this morning to give them a little while to acclimate.
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After Republicans in House and Senate voted to allow ISPs to sell your personal browsing history (and I imagine that Jabba will sign the bill), I began to look at how I could surf using a VPN -- to protect my browsing history.

I have no desire to share browsing history with advertisers -- do they really need to know about that personal 'thing' I might have had, lol? And how exactly would advertisers make use of my interest in Old French to sell me something?

It already annoys me when I look at, say, underwear online, only to see that same underwear offered as an ad in a website. Not only is it intrusive, it's the VERY SAME FRICKEN UNDERWEAR that I just looked at! I didn't buy it the first time -- why would I want to see it again???

As I get older, I have less need to buy shit. (I also am cursing more.) And I have no need for advertisers to come find me -- i'll find them when I need something!

Anyways...I digress...

Opera comes with a free built in VPN. I figure 'free' means maybe not as robust as it could be. But free is always good, and it probably serves my purpose. So, I have switched to Opera!


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"O seguro morreu de velho, mas o desconfiado ainda está vivo." -- "The safe one died of old age, but the suspicious one is still living."