Magical Creatures

Fairies can be of human size or smaller, down to a height of 3 inches or less.  Fairies are known to be adaptable beings, they can live practically anywhere that takes their fancy, but some prefer to live inside of trees.  In fact, lots of fairies live in trees, as they simply love trees.  In a fairy community, all trees are magical and sacred to them, however not all are sentient.  The trees that are able to perceive or feel things are called treefolk.  These special trees can take humanoid form and move a short distance from their tree, to guard the forest that they inhabit.  Treefolk have a nurturing instinct and they often adopt fairies.  When they need to, these treefolk can uproot the entire tree and use the roots as a shuffling form of locomotion.  In their humanoid form, they will have trunk like legs, great branches for arms and wood for skin.

Treefolk are likely to grow in the center of fairy ring, to be a lone tree on a hillside or the oldest tree in a grove, to grow beside a welling spring, or to be one of two intertwined trees.  A fairy ring is a naturally occurring circle made up of mushrooms.  The mushrooms grow out of the ground in a circle shape.  Fairy rings are one of the most magical woodland spots.  It was said that fairy rings are caused by fairies dancing in a circle.  Some people believe that they are portals to another world, while others say that the mushrooms are simply used as dinner tables for fairies.  There are others that belief they bring good luck and that they are a sign of a fairy village underground.  It is thought that you should never step into a fairy ring, as this might make you become invisible, or you would become trapped there forever.

Written for KL Caley’s Thursday Write Photo – Fairy – Image by KL Caley.

Crab Mentality

Crabs are thought to be selfish, not shellfish, as they will undermine and halt the progress of other crabs, thinking that if they can’t have it, then neither should any other crab be allowed to succeed.  A man watched the way a bunch of live crabs behaved when they were contained in a bucket, and he found something very interesting.  Crabs tend to be aggressive, and they will communicate with other by drumming or waving their pincers.  Crabs will squirm around at the bottom of the bucket, but eventually their natural instinct will tell them to try and climb out and some of them are able to climb walls and trees.  If only one crab is in the bucket, it will have a good chance of crawling up the side in an effort to reach the top so it can escape, by clawing its way up and out, so it can return to the wild.  

When a crab is placed in a bucket with a few of its mates, this interesting phenomenon occurs.  Each time a crab makes its way closer to the rim, another crab from below will reach up and pull it back down to their misery and the group’s collective demise.  Then, another crab will try to climb upward, and again, some crab from the bottom would tug it back down.  Thus, once one of them tries to climb out, the rest will try to pull it back into the bucket.  The one that tries to escape is frowned upon by the others, and if that crab tries to climb out a second time, the other crabs will gang up on the crab again, and they may actually begin to break its claws to completely hinder its progress.  This means that none of the crabs end up escaping, because they are all working against each other.

Toxic people will always be around trying to manipulate you and upset your life.  They will piss on your dreams and try to drag you down to their level, as misery likes company.  Some people are takers and if you give them an inch, they will take a yard, as they become emboldened and they want more and more.  When dealing with toxic people, it is important to set boundaries and make sure that you stick to them.

Written for KL Caley’s Thursday Write Photo – Crab – Image by KL Caley.

Party at the Castle

Willow the white female deer asked Bruiser the red male deer if he was going to the party at the castle next week, and when he replied that he was planning on going, she suggested that they could go together.  Bruiser asked Willow if she thought that he looked like a fire hydrant and she replied, “Other than you both being red, I don’t see any resemblance at all.”  Willow said, “Why would you ask me such a question?”  Bruiser said, “Well that same male dog keeps peeing on my leg every day and I am thinking about crossing my wires to give him a shock the next time he comes by to try that again.”  Willow laughed and said, “I know for a fact that urine does conduct electricity and I guess the current could jump and give him the shock of his life, which would be something to see, and that would surely teach him a lesson.”

Bruiser said that he would love to go to the party with Willow next week and since she has spent most of her time checking out his butt, he thought that it was time for them to drop the charade about them being just friends.  Bruiser said, “We are a week into deer mating season and I understand the pressure that every doe is under at this time of the year, so just do what you need to do, as neither of us needs to pretend.”  Willow said, “Thanks Bruiser and I appreciate you saying that, so come over here and hold me and touch my body before I lose my mind.  With the days growing shorter and our nights growing longer, catching a whiff of your musky scent brings out all the signs of the rut that I am in.  You are required to chase after me, but I won’t run far, as I want you to catch me.  It would be nice if you stayed by me even after we copulate several times, as I know that you are polygamous.”

Written for KL Caley’s Thursday Write Photo – Deer at the Castle – Image by KL Caley.

A Red Metal Dinosaur

I searched everywhere for the Tyrantrum, a Pokémon toy that has craggy auburn rock-like scales covering most of its body and this store is my last hope of finding one.  Personally, I hate Pokémon, but when a six-year-old wants something, there is no reasoning with him.  Wesley is my great nephew and I would like to make him happy on Christmas morning, but I think that Pikachu is rotting away the brains of the children today, but since I never had any kids, I really don’t know much about them.  I am sure that watching the Three Stooges when I was young didn’t do too much to increase my brain level activity and it is possible that because I grew up on this stuff, this is the reason that I want to strangle Pokémon and all of his cohorts.

First off, if this store does have a Tyrantrum, I need to get to the toy aisle, as I am sure that this Personal Care Products aisle with deodorant, shampoo, oral care, feminine products, hand soap, body soap, shaving needs, sexual wellness products and personal use products is not going to have one.  OK there is a sign for toys, now where is that red metal dinosaur.  I watched the Flintstones when I was a kid and I always thought that dinosaurs were cute.  Jackpot, the last one left on the shelf and my Christmas shopping list is now complete.

Written for KL Caley’s Thursday Write Photo – Shopping – Image by KL Caley.

Life Under the Stones

My dad bought a half-acre of land up in the Poconos and he had a summer or vacation house built there.  It was a new development that had a lake and a clubhouse, with a swimming pool and a pool table.  It was very rural, as we were one of the first properties that built on the land and you had to drive on gravel roadways to reach the place.  It was fun to go up there and be with my family on the property, but my dad always organized work parties.  One of his first projects was to build a large barbecue pit and for that he needed stones, and on our property, there were stones everywhere.  My dad wanted to have a lawn because he liked grass and he asked me to try and clear out all of the stones that were in the front yard and on the side of the house, so he could plant grass seed.

The first stone that I picked up had a snake under it, which scarred the hell out of me and I told my dad that I quit and I wasn’t going to pick up any more stones.  My dad told me, “You never know what might be lurking under any rock, so take a stick with you and turn them over before you try to pick them up, otherwise you may get snake bitten.”  I knew that my dad loved having this property and that he also loved me more than this place, so I tried to be more understanding and compassionate for his needs and I went back to gathering all the stones, so he could have his lawn and barbecue pit, which I knew that I would make good use of.  The stick was a great idea, as I saw a lot of other snakes hiding under stones.  I learned that it’s a natural instinct for snakes to spend their time hiding in holes or under rocks and logs, as this protects themselves from other predators.  It is also cooler under the rocks, so this helps them to maintain a stable body temperature.

Rocks are made from stardust that was blasted out from exploding stars.  Space contains many rocks that just float around in it, from really fine dust, to pebbles, boulders and house-sized rocks that can burn up in the night sky to make meteors or shooting stars.  The Moon and some of our local planets like Mars, Venus and Mercury are basically just large rocks.  Some people have pet rocks, or at least that used to be a thing, and since rocks are generally made up of two of more minerals, I would say that rocks do have a purpose, because people need certain minerals.  Rocks are used mainly in construction and my dad made a wonderful barbecue pit out of the ones that I collected, plus it was snake free around the immediate vicinity of the house, which is always a good thing.  I am not sure if there is any life in the stones, but they can hold memories.

Written for KL Caley’s Thursday Write Photo – Stones – Image by KL Caley.  There is life in a stone. “Any stone that sits in a field or lies on a beach takes on the memory of that place” by Andy Goldsworthy.  What memories do these stones hold?  How did they get there?  Do they have a purpose?”

My Safe Spot

When I was younger, we used to play Hide and Seek in the woods and after I learned that I was immune to Poison Ivy, that was where I would hide put.  It is a low growing plant, being only about 12 inches high, so I had to lay down in the patches that were growing.  I guess it is not surprising that nobody ever came looking for me, when I was hiding there.  Poison Ivy is technically not a poisonous plant, but it does cause skin reactions to many people who come in contact with it.  The poisonous part of Poison Ivy is actually an oil found inside the plant, that makes its leaves very shiny.  Sometimes I would get bored laying on the ground in the patch of Poison Ivy, because I could hear all the other kids yelling and screaming and having fun and then I would get up and leave and try to find another hiding spot.

One day I saw this older man walking in the woods, which was strange, as usually only kids went in the woods, but he was walking his dog.  He told me that I should be more careful because those plants that were nearby were poisonous.  I told him that I was OK, because I was immune to Poison Ivy and that it would not give me a rash.  He said that he wasn’t referring to the Poison Ivy, that he meant those Hibiscus plants that I was standing next to.  He said that every part of the angel trumpet is highly poisonous, including the leaves, flowers, seeds and roots.  That they all contained toxic alkaloids, which could be deadly poisonous.  I told him that I thought they looked pretty and I was thinking about taking some of them home for my mother.  He warned me against doing that, saying if I touched them that residue could enter my blood stream or gastrointestinal tract, or it could get in my eyes or even some food that I might eat, which would lead to symptoms that include muscle weakness, dilated pupils and dry mouth, as well as a rapid pulse, fever and hallucinations.  He said that there was also a chance for me to become paralyzed or go into convulsions, which might cause me to go into a coma or cause my death.  I ran away and warned all of my friends about the deadly poisonous plants.

Written for KL Caley’s Thursday Write Photo – Poisonous Plants – Image by KL Caley.

When in Rome

Behind every deranged man is a bloodthirsty woman.  Poppaea Sabina was a scheming bitch and she got Nero to marry her, yea the guy who fiddled while Rome burned, but he was so much worse than that.  This fifth emperor of Rome murdered his own mother, Agrippina the Younger, as well as his first wife, Octavia.  Poppaea Sabina induced Nero to murder his mother, because she was against her son getting married to his mistress, while he was still married.  Once Agrippina was out of the picture, Nero divorced Octavia, claiming that she was barren, and he married Poppaea 12 days after the divorce.  Nero had Octavia banished to the island of Pandateria, where he ordered her to be put to death.  Her execution followed the traditional Roman suicide ritual, where Octavia was tied up, and then her wrists were slit.  Nero’s ex was apparently so terrified that her blood congealed, meaning that the executors had to change gears and suffocate her in an extremely hot steam bath.  Her severed head was delivered to Poppaea Sabina as a gift.

Poppaea was a woman of striking beauty whose charms and grace were overshadowed by her licentious nature, ambition and an inability to love anyone.  While Sabina was awaiting the birth of her second child, she quarreled fiercely with Nero over his spending too much time at the races.  In a fit of rage, Nero kicked her in the abdomen, causing her death.  Sabina didn’t die instantly and this cruel and devious woman laughed at Nero and taunted him saying, “Don’t murder me, I beg of you please don’t murder me, but it seems that violence is all you know and that will keep on repeating itself with sickening regularity until you get what you deserve.”   Nero became furious and he kicked his wife into this pit and he jumped on her and stomped her to death.  It was not a pretty sight, but this pit holds historical significance and I am thinking about having it turned into a hot tub jacuzzi.

Written for KL Caley’s Thursday Write Photo – Tomb – Image by KL Caley.

Coin Shortage

When I went to McDonalds the other day, they had a sign by the cashier window that said, “Please try to use change, as we are experiencing a coin shortage”, or something to that effect.  I have coins in my car and plenty of them in my house and years ago I would roll them up and take them to my bank, but I have become lazy and my piles of coins just keeps on increasing in size.  There actually isn’t a coin shortage, as this is just a bunch of people like me who are too damn lazy to roll them up and cash them in for paper money.  Maybe it is due to the pandemic, as we blame every other shortage on this, and I did go out and socialize a lot more before it began, but now I sit home and I am not spending money like I did before.  I buy things online using my credit cards, and there is no change in these transactions.

I see those Coinstar machines in the grocery store and I guess some people are using them to exchange their coins for cash, but I have never used one, because I think it is a rip off for them to charge 11.9% of whatever amount I am exchanging.  That would be almost $12 for each $100 and this is an extravagant cost for changing money.  Jesus drove the money-changers away from the temple, not because He had anything against them, but because He felt they should not be doing their business in front of His Father’s house.  The Romans ruled the Jews and everyone was paid in Roman coins, however since this Roman money contained images of Caesar and pagan deities, it was considered blasphemous to the Jews.  Herod struck his own Temple approved coins with Hebrew inscriptions and Jews often traded the pagan money for their own currency, thus making money changing a lucrative and respectable business of the day.

It is a pain in the ass, sorting and rolling up coins and let’s face it, money is filthy and you never know who touched it before you got it.  Coins are heavy and lugging them to the bank is a chore, so mine keep piling up.  If the banks had these money machines, which you could use at no charge, as I don’t see a reason why they would need to make a profit on converting money, then I would put all of my coins back into circulation, but mine are sitting in jars at home, instead of being inside of cash register drawers.

Metal coins are still being produced, it’s just that they are not being passed through the economy at the rate that they used to be, which causes problems for some businesses.  The Fed is producing enough coins, minting 14.8 billion pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, 50-cent pieces and dollar coins in 2020, a 24% increase from the 11.9 billion coins produced in 2019, but businesses and banks around the country are having a hard time getting a hold of that metal currency.  A lot of coins are collecting dust when they should be continually circulating through the economy.  I guess I am partly to blame for making less transactions at retail stores, not using vending machines as much as I once did, but if I didn’t feel like somebody was trying to pick my pocket, I would do my part to keep the coins flowing again.

Written for KL Caley’s Thursday Write Photo – Money – Image by KL Caley.

Delilah Jones

Delilah was the wife of gentle Jack Jones who worked hard plowing the fields, but they were not yielding crops like they once did and when the ox died, this labor became so strenuous that it caused Jack to start drinking.  He was a handsome man and the ladies always chased after him, and even though he was a religious family man, sometimes he was tempted to stray.  He started drinking whiskey from the jar in the 1920s, but when Prohibition came around, he decided to make his living by selling red-eyed gin.  He sold this for two dollars a bottle and it burnt like hell, and if you were able to drink down a whole bottle, you would be ready to kill.  Delilah Jones bore two sets of twins and all together she raised eight boys, however some of them were conceived out of wedlock when her husband was not around.

Seven of the boys turned out to be outstanding citizens and one turned bad, because he didn’t get the beatings that the others did.  Over time their house started deteriorating, till one night when it snowed so hard that the roof caved in and it was nothing more than a tumble-down shack in Big Foot County, or you might call it a folly.  Delilah Jones died that year and gentle Jack was never the same again.  I missed my mother because she never hit me, however I was the boy who turned out bad.  I ended up living in the folly after taking over the still for my old man and I kept making that clean liquor, while chasing after brown-eyed women.

Written for KL Caley’s Thursday Write Photo – The Folly – Image by KL Caley.

Photography Class

Shadows and reflections are the effects of light.  Without light, there would be no shadows.  Shadows are formed when objects block a source of light, so this is an is an absence of light, when light cannot get through an object.  Reflections are caused by light bouncing off objects.  Reflection has the ability to alter your images from something that may otherwise seem ordinary, such as a lake, a window, a mirror, or even a puddle and turn it into something abstract and creative.  Reflective surfaces exist all around us and utilizing them in our images can make for some truly beautiful works of art that draw viewers into the scene and allow them to see the world slightly different than before.

Students in the image that we are working with today, you will see a puddle with leaves and trees that are above it, reflected in the surface of this puddle.  If you get low to the ground and try taking your picture from different angles as you’re shooting into a puddle, the reflection becomes a viewfinder (the part of the camera that is used to frame and setup a photograph) and this provides a different perspective for your photographs.  A digital camera viewfinder allows the photographer to see the image that will be captured.  This tool quite simply helps you find the view that the picture should be of.

Puddle photos are captivating because they’re like mirrors, and they allow the world to be seen differently.  These photos also attract a lot of attention and can even be conversation starters because they produce painting-like effects.  Today we will be working with a puddle that is smooth and still, and eventually we will work our way up to those that have ripples.  Our photo was taken right after a rain storm, so it is littered with twigs and leaves and this adds natural context to the picture.  This photo was taken with the Sun behind the photographer as you can see its light shining on the tree leaves and the bright blue sky that is above it.  Notice the effect that the trunk of this tree’s shadow has on the reflections in the puddle, as the picture looks clearer in this area.

We had rain last night and I am certain that you can find puddles out there if you look hard enough, so I want everyone to get outside and shoot some puddles and bring them in for the next class where er will talk about them.  Try to capture nature at its best and I don’t want to see any cigarette butts or other trash in the setting that you choose.  You will also be required to write 100 words that describe what is contained in your picture.  We didn’t have a whole lot of rain last night, so most likely you will only find shallow puddles, so make sure to adjust your camera and have it focus on the actual subject (not on its reflection) first.  Then slowly bring your camera back to the puddle and lock its focus.  Also, be carful and try and keep your camera dry, but other than that, find your puddle and make a big splash, as this will be your midterm grade.

Written for KL Caley’s Thursday Write Photo – Portal concerning image by Rebecca M. Douglass.