My Time Was Better Spent with the Gorgon

Today I intended to do some politics.  I read a bunch of articles I checked the various dissidents to see what was ticking them off and I thought about “what this country really needs.”

And I came up with nada.

Basically, the Democrats are convinced they’ve won everything and the country backs them up 100%.  And the GOP establishment think they’ve shut down Trump so they’re pretty smug too.  Well, they’re both mostly wrong but since nothing works better than to give the people what they voted for I can’t think of a thing to say.  Let’s see how bad they screw up the country this coming year.

So instead, I decided to have some fun today.  I did a couple more of those focus stack macrophotography exercises on Nancy Pelosi’s prettier and more personable younger sister, Medusa.

So, this is kind of a bone of contention between Sony and me.  They’ve never provided their cameras with a focus stack capability so I have to use work-arounds.  There’s a Bluetooth remote “commander” that will send a signal to the camera to move the focus back or forth by a small increment and then I can trigger an exposure and then repeat the process by however many exposures needed to get everything in focus piece by piece.  It works but it’s painfully manual.  I also have a tiny software program on my laptop that automates the process but then I have to lug the laptop around in the field.

Other camera makers have added the programming to shoot focus brackets automatically in the camera.  One camera maker, Olympus even has the camera “stack” the bracket into a single composite file automatically.  Now there’s a company that loves its customers.  Sony?  Well miracle of miracles they just added bracketing to the brand new A7R V.  So now the software exists in Sony’s system.  Will they retrofit it into some of the more recent cameras through a firmware upgrade.  Don’t make me laugh!

So here is poor photog, Sony’s laughing stock with his workarounds and his decade plus of Sony tone deaf customer service.  Will he never learn?

Here are some of the bracketed files.

For the first stack I used six files.  This didn’t quite get everything in focus in the first stack.

Next time I took sixteen files and the final product was a lot better.

Dunwich Complainer – Avalanche 2022 (In Rumble-Rama)

Yesterday as I lolled around in my lazy recuperative stupor, I was suddenly aware of a booming sound and the sensation of shaking.  At first, I assumed I was still goofy from the COVID and had imagined it but then I saw that the dogs had picked up on something too.  I thought, “Maybe a truck came down the driveway and banged into the house.  So, I got up and went to look outside.

And what I saw was a boulder sitting on the lower driveway.  I could see where it broke off from the wall.  What I had heard was it falling, bouncing and rolling to a stop.

I was still kind of lethargic yesterday so I left it as, “to be continued.”  Today I felt more myself.  So, I investigated.  It’s roughly 4’X2’X1.5’ and I estimate it weighs about 1,500 lbs.

Looking at the exposed surfaces it looks like over time the rock has been fracturing and finally the weight was too much for the remaining stone to support.  It’s these lousy New England winters.  Freezing and thawing incessantly wreaks havoc with structural integrity.  It’s why I’m the broken-down husk of a man that I am.

So, this boulder is a metaphor for how the world wears down even the best of us and then sends us crashing to earth abandoned and out of sorts like a modern day Humpty Dumpty.  Very sad.  Very abstract, so deep.

But now I have to move the darn thing and then figure out how to prevent the dirt that was being held in place by it from eroding away.  Camera Girl will see me like a modern-day Sisyphus toiling to roll this huge stone up the hill.  What’s next?  The extinction level asteroid strike?  Yeah, why not?

What Must a Good Science Fiction Story Have?

 

I’ve returned to the land of the living.  My eyes track.  I can walk through a doorway without colliding with a doorjamb.  I can even keep up a conversation without sliding sideways off my chair onto the floor.  Next week I climb the Matterhorn.  Bravissimo!

I looked through the news feeds.  And, so help me, I even considered watching the Georgia run-off.  But there just wasn’t anything the least bit interesting.  I even considered pulling a Jussie Smollett.  I was going to claim that a Canon camera enthusiast sent me a derogatory e-mail making fun of my many bison photos of the day.  But my hard-bitten honesty just wouldn’t let me do it.  I love those bison!

I thought, “I’ll just write about something I like.”  After all that post about nuclear war had some great comments and that stuff really interests me.  Why not do something like that?  So that’s why this is coming out of left field.  I just didn’t feel like beating a political drum that’s already been beaten to a bloody pulp.

So, for a theme I’ll select the question, “What’s the most important component of a good science fiction story?”

Is it the tech?  Is it a good plot?  Is it well written characters?  Or does it absolutely require some balance between the three?

Let’s explore this a little bit.  Start with tech.  I suppose that space opera has lost a lot of support among the modern readers of science fiction.  Stuff like the Skylark of Space, The Legion of Space or the Lensman books are probably disqualified as too naïve and hopelessly early 20th century for anyone under sixty to consider reading.  But is the inexplicable faster than light (ftl) drives of these stories any less plausible than whatever also implausible ftl drives are currently being used by modern science fiction writers?  I’ve got to say I don’t think they’re disqualifications.  I’d say the rule is it just has to be self-consistent with whatever “rules” you’ve made up for the tech.  So, it doesn’t have to be somehow scientifically accurate.  It just can’t be bone-headedly stupid.  What it does have to be is convenient.  The technology has to allow the plot to evolve the way you want.  If space travel takes centuries, then don’t kill off too many good characters by leaving them back on Earth.  Or if time travel can only go backwards then don’t leave your spare batteries for your ray gun in your other pair of pants when you head back to the neolithic.

And the tech should be a fun toy for the reader if you can manage it.  I always loved how Heinlein lovingly designed his “torchships” and made the passenger and service areas of his ships seem well thought out.  But I also know of authors whose tech is basically a black box and for all we hear we could be sitting inside the fuselage of a jet plane.

While tech is necessary (after all it is sf) it’s not the deciding factor whether a story works.

Well, how about characters?  Yes, they are important, in the sense that they must at least exist.  But I’ve read some supposedly classic science fiction where the characters are as flat as pancakes (Asimov and Clarke come to mind).  Now this may no longer be the case.  I’m not sure.  I enjoy a good amount of character development in my fiction and I’ve been able to find it.  But I could easily believe there could be a very good story where character was in short supply.

What about plot?  Well, I could imagine a story that had a strong tech component and interesting characters but the plot was almost minimal.  Maybe like some of Bradbury’s short stories like the one where the Ladies’ Sewing Circle is trying to ignore the impending nuclear holocaust by concentrating on their work.  It’s all character.  But I guess you still have to say there’s a plot or more like a scenario.

I feel like, for the most part, and except for very odd stories, the sine qua non of a good science fiction story is a good plot.  If your tech is passable and your characters are at least bearable but you have a plot that rolls along and interesting stuff happening then you have a chance.  But you can have great tech and witty, erudite, droll fellows populating your world and if not much of anything is happening except talk, then your readers will throw the book against the wall (or the digital equivalent) and go look for something better.  And that’s that!

Now I know there are many sf fans in the audience.  I’d love to hear your comments, especially if you disagree.  I’m always interested in the opinions of sf readers.  The floor is now yours.

The Decline and Fall of photog

So just when I assumed I was on the brink of health, tragedy struck.  Of course, in my case it’s really tragicomedy.  Last night I was preparing for bed and I had earlier taken one of those horse pills they call a 12-hour Mucinex.  Now I remembered that this medicine dehydrates the user but I never worry about such things.  I was brushing my teeth and I felt kind of wonky.  The next thing I know I’m lying on the floor near the sink with Camera Girl shouting at me things like, “Should I call an ambulance?” And, “Are you alright?”

Now it was the funniest thing.  I could hear her perfectly well and kept saying, “Calm down.”  But it was as if she couldn’t hear me.  I think she was in a panic.  But it was enheartening to see what a decisive manner she reacted to my impending death.  In retrospect I’m very proud of her.  But in the moment, I finally broke through her fear to convince her that I had just blacked out due to my policy of “sweating it out,” probably some combination of low blood pressure and dehydration.

As I attempted to get up, I discovered I was still clutching my toothbrush.  I flung it toward the countertop but was informed later that I failed in my aim.  Once I convinced Camera Girl that I hadn’t suffered a stroke I gathered my shattered dignity and impaired equilibrium and hoisted myself up onto my feet.

Word of my collapse has spread far and wide in the family.  Relatives were calling up and questioning me on when the burial service would be performed.  Eventually it seemed easiest just to say Tuesday.

This latest manifestation of my mortality has made me think.  I might consider extending my locked bathroom door policy to include tooth brushing.  But realistically Camera Girl is a resourceful woman she’d probably get a screwdriver and pop the hinges off the door.

So, I’ve discontinued the Mucinex and today I’m feeling decidedly chirpier.  Although my balance still seems a little iffy.  I’m attributing this to my ears being clogged.

But this morning I noticed a tender red welt on my jaw line.  I accused Camera Girl of getting me with a sucker punch.  This angered her.  She brought up that she would have had to hit me on the jaw standing behind me.  I defended the possibility gamely.  I said that an upper cut snuck in under the arm I was holding my toothbrush with was highly likely to cause just such an injury.  To her credit she just walked away.  Probably speechless in the face of such blinding intellect.

The less likely possibility is that I hit the sink countertop with my jaw as I was collapsing.  The funny thing is that I never noticed it until by chance I put my hand up to my face today.

Well anyway, I’ve recalibrated my recovery schedule.  I’m hoping by tomorrow morning I’ll be at 65% capacity.  Which is still pretty good.  And I’ll take the rest of today to convalesce and recuperate.  And based on my perusal of the news today I’m not missing anything.  Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time for Nurse Camera Girl to spoon feed me my mush.

photog Bound

The men of my family have an endearing trait.  Whenever we’re sick, even to an almost imperceptible degree we carry on like an antique hero in his death agony and expect our wives to baby us to an unhealthy degree.  Now this week as it happened, Camera Girl is seriously under the weather.  She’s been slowly recovering since Saturday.  Today she’s at 60% and improving.  But today I woke up with muscle aches, possibly a slight fever and a headache.

Ahhh, the perfect malady.  Just bad enough to be recognizably sick but not bad enough to distract me from my act.  So, all day today I’ve been an invalid caterwauling about my aches and pains and the bravery I was demonstrating.  Like the great titan Prometheus, I was shackled to a crag in the Caucasus Mountains (or maybe my recliner in the living room).  I could feel Camera Girl going through the slow burn.  It’s a delicate balance.  If I lay it on too thick, she’s liable to poison me or smother me in my sleep.  But with just the right touch, the day is passed for both of us in a tolerable haze of delirium.

I spent the day watching YouTube videos about artificial elements in the island of stability and mockeries of string theory.  With enough aspirin and turkey soup I almost felt human by dinner time.

But later my fever returned and I descended into madness.  To go along with this mania, I put on a pretty bad prison movie from 1947 called “Brute Force.”  Burt Lancaster is a prisoner who stages a jail break to save his wife from a cancer diagnosis.  The pipsqueak, Hume Cronyn is completely absurd as the sadistic captain of the guards.  But as ridiculous as the movie was it was perfect for my delirium.

When Camera Girl addressed me I started changing my “thems” to “dems” and “these” to “deese.”  Pretty soon I told her that no “twist” was gonna tell me how to run a jail break.  I reminded her that no prison could hold me for long and I added for good measure that no one would take me alive.

Eventually I passed out from a combination of malaise and bad acting.  When I woke up a mortally wounded Lancaster tossed Cronyn from the guard tower to the mob below who tore him apart.  Ahhh, those were the days.  No transgender prisoners, no pronouns, just good old prison justice for stool pigeons and screws, see?

Now I’m wrapped up like a mummy trying to keep from getting the shakes.  I think I’m done with bad movies for the day.  I’ll put on some country music and try to sleep my way through the worst of this.  Funny thing is Camera Girl now seems genuinely concerned with my health.  There’s a word in Italian that means pity; peccato.  Of course, in the dialect that Camera Girl’s people spoke back in the old country it was pronounced like “pea-cod.”  Well, my pathetic weakness and whining have finally broken through and I’m garnering the attention and peccato I so richly deserve.  I win again!

My hope is that I’ll be almost human tomorrow.  But one never knows, do one?

Nuclear Armageddon as a Plot Device

Recently Joe Biden made the news when he reversed a campaign vow and stated that under his administration the United States would maintain the right to nuclear first strike as a military option.  Now the idea of Dementia Joe mistaking the nuclear football for his tv remote and ordering up an all-out nuclear blitz on Russia and China while trying to access some kind of hair fetish programming is obviously concerning.

But really this article is more about fiction writing.  In a story that I have been working on (forever) I reached a point in the story where I considered that the best way to escape from the corner I’d painted myself into was by having thermonuclear war break out between Russia and the United States.

Admittedly, that seems like a sad statement on my writing abilities but in point of fact it provided a definitive solution to multiple plot problems I was faced with.  After all, there aren’t many scenarios that can put the US federal government on its heels.  But three 20-megaton thermonuclear ICBMs detonating over Washington is a leading contender.  So, I will confess that I considered the scenario very carefully.

One thing I noticed though is that the impact of a nuked United States is extremely disruptive to a storyline.  Even the most tyrannical US administration looks quite different after the mushroom cloud sprouts over it.  Because now all of a sudden millions of Americans are dead and the ones still living are stunned, scared and desperate for a path forward.  At that point they’d follow Satan himself if he knows where to get food and fuel.

So, everything in my story is turned upside down.  Instead of the plucky rebels fighting the evil feds in a series of hit and run attacks, suddenly they find themselves wondering how they’ll survive without the now non-existent FEMA agency to save them from starvation and hypothermia.  Now what happens to my rebellion story?  All of a sudden enemies need each other just to survive.  Freedom and independence suddenly don’t mean much when staying alive requires all hands-on deck.

So that’s the change in the atmosphere, the feel of the story.  Does it still make sense?  Can the story survive the change?  Not as originally conceived.  I was looking at a series of stories with the rebels taking on the Deep State one step at a time with the rest of the country sizing up the battle and the balance of power gradually tilting toward the rebels.  But now the battle is over but without the dramatic tension and the action.  Instead, we have a tale of catastrophe and dissolution.

And to make that story work will require a change in emphasis.  Now instead of a slowly building wave of battle we have a nuclear wipe out and a tide going out.  Instead of a war with winners and losers we have the flotsam and jetsam from a deluge struggling to survive and trying to rebuild some kind of patchwork of settlements.  That’s a totally different thing.  It becomes a bunch of smaller stories at the village level.  Instead of armies we have farmers and mechanics, men and women and their children trying to survive without supermarkets and gas stations, even without electricity.  It’s nothing like the story I was envisioning but somehow it makes sense.  Because even though we may have forgotten about the atom bomb it hasn’t gone away.  It’s still there and it has its own internal logic that makes it the executioner of last resort.  If we decide that the arc of history bends in our direction and we can do as we please no matter what, we may find that the arc is just the ballistic track of an ICBM.

So inexorably I think the story is telling me to make a turn.  Even as a fictional plot device it does make one pause.  Imagine the largest fifty American cities reduced to rubble and charred bodies.  Imagine fallout killing off a quarter of the survivors.  And food and fuel gone for the rest of the survivors.  The grimness of such a tale is hard to overstate.  How do you tell such a story so that people will want to read it?

Well, that’s a subject for another day.  But this one has helped me get my thoughts in some kind of order.  Okay, hit all those buttons!

Happy Thanksgiving 2022 to Everybody

What a splendiferous day.  Camera Girl, working on her early food preliminaries, busy as a bee and supremely skilled.  Me, lazier than a lion in the noonday sun, puttering around, anticipating the feeding frenzy to come.  I research anything that comes into my head.  I find solutions to problems that I’ve put off solving for years.  I’m profoundly contented.

I finally made a walkaround outside a little while ago.  That good, late afternoon sun, every photographer’s friend as it transmutes everything it touches into gold, gives me some subjects for my camera.  A frost-burned rosebud, a dying stalk of millet, some seared oak leaves on a branch.  Quite unspectacular subjects but with an obvious relevance to the season.  The walk was invigorating.  The fresh air did me good.

Tomorrow will be a full day of family.  I won’t spend much, if any, time on-line.  Which is all to the good.  The site daily content is all pre-loaded.  Hopefully the world will have the good grace not to explode until after I’ve enjoyed my holiday.  So, everyone will be so good as to amuse themselves tomorrow while I give thanks for all the wonderful people and things with which God has seen fit to populate his universe.

If something important or amusing strikes me and I decide to throw it onto the site tomorrow I hope most of you will be too busy or too groggy with food to notice.  There will be plenty of time on Friday or Saturday to catch up with my pearls of wisdom(?).

I’ll have to say the results of the elections have made me unexpectedly upbeat for the future.  I feel like the future is up to me to create and that greatly energizes me.  No more waiting for saviors or depending on luck.  I feel like the world is for those who seize the moment and wrest the future they want out of the indifferent present that we see around us.  The American dream was shown to be just that.  The fellowship with our American “brothers” on the Left has been revealed to be a lie.  But this revelation is liberating.  An open enemy is so much less dangerous than a false friend.  None of the Bushes or McConnells or Bidens or Obamas can surprise us anymore.  We know just how evil they are and we can anticipate most of their attacks at this point.  So, there’s no reason to think of them at all on a day of thanksgiving.  I’ll think about all the good people that I’ve heard about or met in the last year and I’ll be thankful for blessings that I know I’ve enjoyed.

I hope everyone out there eats and drinks way too much of some delicious things.  I hope that you have a chance to talk to some folks that mean something to you.  I hope everyone has time to think about this life and the good things that we should be thankful for.  And I hope you have a chance to enjoy yourself and relax.  I intend to stay up late tomorrow after everybody goes home and watch some old movies and get up late and then eat a lot of leftovers.

God bless you all.

21NOV2022 – OCF Update – We Go On

 

Good morning.  The sun is shining the cold has set in and everything is in motion for the Thanksgiving holiday.  And everyone has his part to play.  Even I, the laziest man in Christendom, have chores and errands and must play my part.  Wonderful.

We fulfill these parts even as the edifice of western civilization degrades and crumbles all around us.  And I say, okay!  No more whining, no more railing against the corruption and greed that fuels the destruction.

Play into the storm.  Look for the advantage.  Protect you and yours.  Intelligence and reason are real.  Even if the world pretends they don’t exist, they do. Teach your children that the hot stove burns and poison kills and a loaded gun isn’t pointed at a friend.

There are plenty of things to do.  Ferret out the things that have value and hold onto them.  Find the good people and show them your value.  Don’t waste your time on nonsense.

Do something to make things better every day.  It doesn’t matter if it’s insignificant.  Make each day count in some way.  Even if it’s something you have to do anyway.  In your mind find a positive aspect and accomplish it.

Don’t lose touch with your people.  Reach out to them even if they’re far away.  In our all-encompassing communication infrastructure, there’s never an excuse for losing touch with the people that mean something to you.  Take a moment and say something meaningful to one of them as often as you can.

There’s no need or room for despair.  What’s needed is work.  Find something meaningful to do and DO IT!

The Republicans are useless and evil.  the Democrats are in charge of everything and satanic.  How is that different from 99.9% of recorded history.  Maybe we had Camelot in this country for a couple of hundred years and now it’s over.  Suck it up.  Move on.

Keep your eyes open for something better that comes along.  Don’t give up on politics but don’t expect the good guys to come over the hill and restore us to the 1950s or even the 1980s.  That’s highly unlikely.  Settle for someone doing something that makes things a little less horrible.

Believe in yourself and believe in common sense and believe in the good that you can do for your family and friends.  There is good and evil and there is right and wrong.  Use the brains that God gave you to figure out the difference and make the hard decisions.

And keep your eyes open in case there comes a point where you need to jump out of the way of anything really, really bad.  That’s the one that worries me.  But worrying doesn’t accomplish anything so keep that in the back of your mind and do all of the rest of it today and tomorrow and the day after that.

And that day after that is Thanksgiving!  So, get on with it and there’ll be turkey and stuffing and pumpkin pie waiting for you on Thursday.  That’s good enough to keep me going.

20NOV2022 – OCF Update – This’N’That – Of Mice and Math

Sunday, the day of rest.  A good day to regroup and sets things in order for the upcoming week.  Especially this week.  Had a blast with the old grandsons yesterday.  Fun outing, good food.  Got home and skipped dinner.  Skipped all food and drink and maybe that was a mistake.  I was still recovering from that virus that was in the house the last couple of weeks.  But I figured I could skip the cold meds.  Big mistake!  Woke up at 4:30 am with a splitting sinus headache.  So, I beat a hasty retreat to the cold medicine and then sat up for a half hour to let it knock down my sinus inflammation.

But today I’m definitely on the mend.  So, I spent time working on minutia.  I’ve been using the Logitech M570 Wireless Trackball Mouse as my pointing device for the last six or so years.  It’s a great device in most ways.  But unfortunately, the switches for the left and right click buttons give out after a couple of years.  So now I have three of these things that double click when they shouldn’t.  I finally looked into the problem and found a YouTube video that shows how to replace the microswitches and eliminate the problem.  Now I’ll have to buy a soldering iron and some other bits of gear and become a technician.  Well, that’s kind of fun.  Plus, I’ll fix the other two mice and become mouse anti-fragile for the foreseeable future.  Yeah me.

The other thing today was about was to delve into vector analysis.  I never had the time back in the day to play around with the more advanced theorems to get a solid handle on the tensor notation.  In the past I’ve been exposed (as if to a disease) to Del Notation, Dyadics, the Laplacian and equally complex concepts.  The Kronecker delta and how to expand the determinant was something I had to memorize in order to solve some problems in physics.  But if I’m being honest there was very little comprehension on my part at the time as to how these manipulations made sense.  Now I’ve got some time I think I’ll take another whack at it.  The question as to whether I still have sufficient brain cells to thread my way around it and whether those brain cells can retain it remains to be seen.  But it might be fun.

So, amid my other occupations I’ve added electronic technician and math student.  That should make Thanksgiving week an interesting time.  Maybe I’ll buy the microswitches and soldering iron on Black Friday and get some huge discount.  I’ll probably also have to buy some kind of giant magnifying glass on a flexible arm just to see the attachment points for the switches.  It’s a pity I can’t purchase new eyes too.  But once again, the future we were promised all those years ago before Blade Runner hasn’t quite materialized yet.  Well, no need to get all whiny about it.  Magnifying glass works too.

So here we go into Thanksgiving Week.  Turkey, gravy, stuffing, pumpkin pie, old movies and family.  What’s better than that?

And the Wisdom to Know the Difference

The new schedule has begun.  Yesterday I spent the morning on fiction writing.  That was fun.  After that I wrote my post.  Today I headed off to the office for my first normal workday.  That was interesting.

I am under the weather.  Camera Girl and by extension Princess Sack of Potatoes gifted me some kind of cold-flu-virus-thingamajig involving sinuses, nose and throat suffering but mercifully no lung torture.  I’m doped up on over-the-counter marvelous miracle drugs that actually seem to abate most of the misery.  But I’m still only firing on seven cylinders which means this post may be a little off.

But all-in-all I’m feeling relatively upbeat about my new perspective on US politics.  I no longer have to agonize over whether Herschel Walker or Dr. Oz is going to squirm through the Democrat ballot harvesting dragnet.  It’s no longer my problem anymore.  I live in a country that has a single-party political system and it isn’t a party that’s going to favor me or my family.  All I have to worry about is whether I’m doing everything I can to produce a space where people like me can flourish.

And since I’ve just started this phase of my life, I’m cutting myself some slack.  I don’t have to solve all the problems of living in New England overnight.  But what I must do is begin thinking in this new way and continuously test and improve my assumptions about what can be done and what can’t.

So, for instance, my town is one of the few towns in my state that is measurably Republican in voting record.  So, we can elect Republican selectmen and school board members and a Republican state representative and state senator.  But we can’t elect a Republican US representative or senator.  So, that tells me that we can have quite a bit of influence in the local laws that are written and a little influence on state laws but basically no impact at the national level.

So that should be my basis for evaluating the future.  The state and federal government are the main threats to me.  They can increase my taxes, curtail my freedoms and poison the minds of my children and grandchildren with warped lies and dangerous fantasies about life.  Each of these threats require an evaluation to decide what preventative actions can be taken to protect against these problems.  And these actions have to be evaluated to see if there is a net positive or negative from having to implement them.

For instance, moving to a different state or a different country might protect me from losing certain freedoms or eliminate indoctrination of my children.  But what other things go along with that?  Would I have to sacrifice economic opportunities.  Or would I be forced to become a stranger in a strange land, someone who would always be thought of as an outsider?

So that’s why I’m going to cut myself a lot of slack.  Big changes like emigrating are not something you do lightly or quickly.  For now, I’ll concentrate on the small things like participating in local government.  And since I’ve made that move, I’m patting myself on the back and awarding myself all kinds of bonus points and participation trophies.

And that’s why I’m feeling so upbeat amid the wreckage and ruin of the mid-terms.  I don’t want to walk in the footsteps of the social justice types but I will quote one of their favorite messages, the Serenity Prayer, “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference.  I’m going to do what I can and stop stressing about things that just don’t seem to be happening.

If someone appears who can get things done, I’ll support him.  If my small efforts put me into a position to accomplish some change on my own, I’ll do it.  And if all else fails I’ll keep my eyes open to know when and where to jump to avoid disaster.  That’s as much as I can think of.  And that’s what I’ll write about when I’m not writing stories or taking photos.