Monday, October 12, 2015

Back In Black

Longwood Gardens is a beautiful botanical garden in Pennsylvania. Last March, I visited it with my blogging-friends Meghan and Megan Mae. (Report and photos here.) When I heard the garden was having a special outdoor light-show, I decided to return, this time with Robin. We went on Saturday with nice weather and a large, polite crowd. (You could tell we weren't in New York any more by all the "Excuse me"-s and "Thank you"-s.)

Inspired by the setting, I tried to make my photos more artistic than usual. I hope you enjoy them. We had a wonderful time and I highly recommend you visit the garden.









Saturday, October 10, 2015

Artistic Niagra Falls

Here are two pictures of the falls I took last week to which I just added some artistry. The water in the falls is actually green from the minerals it carries.


Friday, October 9, 2015

Why We Blog

We blog for different reasons. I realize and respect that. So when other bloggers talk about objectives that differ from mine, I accept and support their efforts. For them. My goals differ.

Like me, you probably see a lot of young bloggers consumed by the goal of attracting large numbers of viewers to their sites. Often, they pimp for sponsors and seek to make money from their audience. They give advice (often erroneous) on how to draw a crowd. And they seem oblivious to the corrosive consequences of blogging for sponsors instead of themselves.

All of us would like to be popular but, early in life, I learned that's not a good path to happiness. In childhood I discovered that it's more valuable to be interesting than popular. I can be happy in a room by myself; I don't need approval from others. My contentment is not dependent on the opinions of other people.

My blog reflects that. I'm not trying to be the most popular blogger; I'm trying to be the most interesting blogger. I reveal my authentic self to you; I play with self-expression; I exercise creativity with surprising results. These activities give *me* joy. If sharing them amuses you, that's great but, ultimately, I'm blogging for myself. And it works. After more than five years, I'm as enthusiastic about blogging as when I started.

How 'bout you? Why do you blog?

Pumpkin Minion

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Social Progress

Social progress for groups like women doesn't come easy and isn't always smooth. Often, it encounters obstacles.

Last night I watched a baseball playoff game (Yankees v. Astros). I instantly noticed that one of the three broadcasters was a woman. She provided "color commentary" which is useful analysis of the players and game. Her contributions were smart and interesting.

I later learned that the female broadcaster, Jessica Mendoza, made history last night as the first woman to call a nationally-televised MLB playoff game. I also learned that Jessica was an accomplished softball player. She was All-American four times while at Stanford University and a member of the United States women's national softball team from 2004–2010.

That's the good news. The bad news is that there was a large sexist backlash against her appearance. Many men, mostly young, objected to Jessica's presence. They tweeted offensive remarks like these:

"Why do i turn on baseball and hear a woman's voice in the broadcast booth?!? we watch sports to get away from women."

"No one wants to hear a woman in the booth.. i will not listen or watch those games she is on."

"SOS there's a woman talking during my baseball watching."

"she stole a MAN'S job!!!"

I'm not making this up: it was reported here. One woman responded, "It's not surprising that so many men hate the idea of a woman talking baseball, it's surprising that so many are okay SAYING it."

Many people like to believe that we've overcome sexism but comments like these show there's still work to be done. Telling women they aren't welcome in male-dominated environments is not only wrong, it's harmful. It holds women back from being full members of society.

What do you think?

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Niagra Falls

Niagra Falls is intense. Nature at its most powerful and majestic. Really beautiful.

Downstream from the waterfalls are turbulent white-water rapids. Class-6, the most forceful in the world. Watching them is hypnotic.

Robin enjoyed the trip. She turned off her phone and immersed herself in the experience. The scariest part occurred in an underground cave leading to the main waterfall. As you approach the cave's opening, the roar of falling water grows louder and louder. Just before Robin and I exited the cave into a thunderous, wet unknown, she turned to me and said words I will never forget. She said, "You go first..."










Wednesday, September 30, 2015

In Requiem

It's gone. My beloved Yamaha motorcycle is gone.

I woke up this morning, looked out the kitchen window into my backyard and... this is what I saw. Or, more accurately, what I didn't see. No motorcycle. My baby was gone.

I reported the theft to the police. A detective told me there's a group of kids in the area who are stealing motorcycles for joy-rides. He suspects it was them because my bike is old and not worth a lot of money. A professional thief wouldn't have bothered with it.

I'm in shock. I can't believe my baby is gone. I still expect to be able to take it for rides.

I bought this motorcycle twelve years ago. It was the only bike I've ever bought new; all my others have been used and worn when I got them. This one shined like a bright penny. Every mile on it was put there by me.

The bike, a 2003 Yamaha FZ-1, was fast. Rocketship fast. I took it to the racetrack a few years ago and got it up to 140 mph. It was nimble and could lean into corners like a true racing machine. Those capabilities pushed me to improve my skills; the bike was always luring me into faster, more challenging riding. Honestly, the most exciting moments of my life happened while I was sitting in the saddle of this beast. As well as the scariest. Thank God the brakes on this machine were phenomenal.

It's gone. My baby is gone.