15APR2022 – OCF Update – Good Friday All Around

Life is good today.  It rained hard last night and now it’s a bright sunny day.  Now that’s the way to arrange the weather!  My thanks to the Man Upstairs for this indulgence.

A beautiful day for a walk in the woods.  A good telecon with a business consultant.  Useful actionable advice.  Progress on all fronts of the business effort.  No new roadblocks appearing.  Domestic tranquility continues.  Plans for the summer Yellowstone trip coalescing nicely  Some books and movies to finish up for reviews. Projects around the house and yard coming along fine.  What can I say?  Life is good today.

Of course, in the larger world, that sleazy dopey wrecker in the White House continues to dismantle the United States of America with alarming speed.  The economy continues to shake itself to pieces with costs soaring into the stratosphere and staple supplies disappearing from store shelves on a random basis.  Disorder stalks the metropolitan areas and international relations are becoming strained even among supposed allies.

But today is Good Friday.  For Christians a time to reflect on the things that are most important in life.  Most fundamentally, on our families and friends.  Jesus spoke mostly of love.  Right now it is paramount that we love and protect those we care about.  Protect them from the coming storms.

But right at this moment we can also share some happy moments with them.  Sunday we’re getting together at the house of one of my daughters.  All of my grandchildren will be there and all but one of my children.  We’ll eat way too much fattening food and I hope we’ll have a chance to throw a baseball around.  But the forecast isn’t promising.  Cold and wet is the forecast.

But that matters not at all.  We’ll talk about what the kids are up to and applaud their sports victories and condole the losses.  We’ll talk about upcoming college admission.  We’ll talk about vacation plans and trips on the new boat that’s in the driveway.  and there will be talk about dinosaurs with my youngest grandson who is a connoisseur of all things saurian.

And I know Camera Girl is going to bake a ricotta cheesecake for the holiday and that is one of my favorites.  And even though I’ve switched from coffee to tea this year I will indulge in some good coffee for the occasion.  And I intend to revel in the chaos of five grandchildren playing (and fighting) all around me.  And I intend to participate in the games of whatever variety they choose.  Last time we got together they had me try out an virtual reality contraption called an Occulus.  I bought this for them a couple of years ago and I was surprised at just how realistic the illusion it produces is.

It’s funny how these holidays provide so much continuity in our lives.  It’s comforting to have these rituals to ground us and those we love in a familiar pattern.  And for me Easter is a pivotal point in the year.  Long New England winters finally release the landscape around Easter and people can go outside and breath a little fresh air.  It’s the beginning of outdoor life.

Everyone enjoy the day especially those who are religious.  And get a little air and sun if it’s around.

14APR2022 – OCF Update-Camera Girl Finally Frees the Slaves

Winter, Sony A7 III, Voigtlander 10mm f\5.6 lens, 22APR2021 – Photo of the Day

Today was a day of toil.  About a week ago Camera Girl was  in her garden, supposedly turning the soil with a pitchfork.  I say supposedly because after ten or fifteen minutes of effort the pitchfork was still stuck in the ground and the ground was having the best of the argument.

Finally she gave up and complained bitterly of her fate.  Being the gentlemanly parfait knight that I am, I mocked her.  I said, “Sure women are always saying how they can do anything a man can but apparently that doesn’t apply to pitchforks.”  She sot me a look that seemed to imply something about the quality of that night’s dinner.  So I displayed magnanimity.  I said, “You poor weak creature, I will turn the soil for you, only not today.

Well, apparently “not today” was today.  So I went out to the west field and starting singing road gang spirituals.  And to be honest, between the matted weed roots and the stupid liner that someone put in the soil was incredibly tough and heavy to turn.  But three hours of working like a hired field hand got it done.  About half way through it occurred to me that I could have rented a rototiller.  But by the end I was so satisfied with myself that it was worth it.  I showed up afterward in the kitchen drenched in sweat and covered with dirt but extremely pleased with myself.

I preened in front of Camera Girl and lectured on the difference between man’s work and woman’s work.  I mentioned that I left some clean up of weeds and liner next to the garden.  And that she should get that squared away as soon as possible.  She mumbled something under her breath but I pretended not to hear her.  Then I headed up for a well deserved shower.

Remarkably shortly after i finished working the skies opened up and it poured to beat the band.  Probably some of the seedling I put in this week may be washed away.  But some of them will make it and I ‘ve got more for next week too.  As long as we don’t have a repeat of last spring when it rained for forty days and forty nights, things will be fine in the garden.

This year we intend to grow a lot of butternut squash because Camera girl makes a great chicken soup with it.  And we’ll grow lots of zucchini and eggplant.  This year we’ll put in some thorn-less raspberries and I might move my blueberry bushes to make it easier to protect them from the birds.  Most years they get more than I do.  And I have to remember to put out the egg cases that the praying mantis laid over the winter.   I sure don’t want them hatching in the house.

So it was a work day but I’ll be sure to find something to be outraged about in the news when I check it out.  Enjoy your Thursday night.

photog Forced into the 21st Century Kicking and Screaming

Life here in Dunwich has become complicated of late.  I need to get a new PayPal account open for a project I’m working on.  But now you HAVE to have a cell phone number to do that.  Very aggravating.  I attempted to get the cheapest plan (~$15/mo.) and the cheapest phone but now that combination has bitten me in the butt.  The phone won’t do the things that the plan needs to make it work.  I spent several hours on with technical support trying to get things working.  They sent detailed but cryptic instructions for accomplishing this.

Some of these instructions were like some kind of athletic game show event.  Turn on the phone, tap-hold an app, put it on the front screen, pull out the sim card, throw it in the air, catch it with the other hand, pat your head and rub your stomach, sacrifice a goat, say Beetlejuice three times and finally slam the phone into my forehead.  And sadly it still didn’t work.  But I’ve been accepted onto next season’s Survivor show.  Apparently they think I’m willing to do anything.

Well, so be it.  I’ll probably get a different phone or plan or both but it has allowed me to wallow in self-pity.  I actually had a nightmare last night that was probably brought on by the angst I was feeling about my status as a technophobe.  I dreamt I was designing and installing a pharmaceutical process train.  And after it was completely done I could see that it would be a death trap for the operators.  It would allow highly flammable solvent fumes to come in contact with electrical components that weren’t rated for the hazardous service.

And in the nightmare I was trying to convince management to decommission the equipment I was commissioning without ever using it.  It was one of those dreams where it’s obvious there’s no escape but you have no choice but to keep looking for the way out.  Maybe I should have blamed Putin’s Price Hike.

Well, anyway, somehow I have to resolve the great smart phone standoff and a whole list of other chores.  I’ve got to sell some old lenses, plant some seedlings, get business advice from an expert, make some insurance decisions and figure out what to write about today.  And that doesn’t include the fact that I have to catch up on the novel.  The last few days I let things slip.  Well really I’ve been trying to resolve a problem with the plot.  I need to invent some new characters.  And it has demotivated me.  But I think I figured out what to do.

And it’s raining today.  But it’s been a good few days on the site.  On Saturday and Sunday I got linked by two aggregators and that accounted for five or six hundred extra readers those days.  That was enjoyable.  So there have been some wins and some losses.  Okay.  So, on with the parade!  Maybe I’m the the Master of Ceremonies today or maybe I’m the guy with the broom and the trash can cleaning up after the elephants.  Either way, I’m moving forward.

Rockefeller, Musk, photog?

In the last week or so I’ve taken the first halting steps toward setting up an on-line business.  In reality it’s sort of several businesses.  One is a self-publishing account on Amazon.  Another is a creator’s account with a photo products sales site.  And finally, there is an account with a custom photobook seller.

But of course, it’s an enormous amount of bother.  One place requires a PayPal account and I had let my account lapse this year so now I have to open a new one.  Then I have to figure out how to pay my taxes on time and whether I should incorporate and whether I should do that myself or pay a lawyer.  I also have to figure out how to advertise my products.  Of course, Orion’s Cold Fire will be central to my marketing plan.  I’ll add links to the store fronts and shamelessly hawk my wares whenever an unsuspecting reader comes looking for political commentary or brilliant movie and book reviews.

What I’ve discovered is that all this business stuff is frightfully distracting from the stuff I like to do, namely take pictures and write stuff.  But what is also true is that participating in some kind of business of your own is very exciting.  What it requires is disciplining yourself; becoming your own boss.  And for someone like me that is extremely challenging.  I have always been the worst employee anywhere I worked.  I find it extremely difficult to work in a manner that doesn’t seem logical to me.  So, if a company tried to get the engineers to perform regulatory clerical functions (that is, validation) my eyes would glaze over and my output would slowdown to a crawl.  Eventually they would be forced to provide me with an assistant who could perform the requisite paperwork handwaving to satisfy the FDA that we didn’t add Ebola virus to the batch by using the equipment I had designed, purchased and installed using good engineering practices, which I saw as my proper function.

So now it will be necessary for me to convince … me(!) that I should perform all the clerical and bookkeeping and sales and marketing handwaving that is necessary to make money in a business.  I have to confess that I’ve already had a few discouraging moments as I realized how many hoops I’ll have to jump through to coordinate all the various requirements needed to transact business in a businesslike manner.  I would much prefer just winging it and paying for my mistakes as I go along but hard experience has shown me that that can be awfully expensive.  The IRS really has no sense of humor at all.

As I embark on this journey of discovery, I find myself full of unbridled enthusiasm and unwarranted optimism.  I’m sure reality will quickly rein in my naïve ebullience and after being knocked around by cruel fate I will reach the correct mind set of all proper businessmen, callous cynicism and calculated misanthropy.

So, consider this your fair warning.  When links appear to lure you to my commercial products don’t be fooled into thinking they represent anything other than what they are; crass commercialism and the single-minded pursuit of the almighty dollar.  Come to think of it, after the fiasco with Russia, it’s not so almighty anymore.  But you get the picture.  Caveat emptor!

17FEB2022 – Dunwich Complainer

Last night I attended the monthly meeting of the Dunwich Republican Committee or as we call it “The Pentaveret.”  The meeting was sparsely attended as many are recovering from a winter bout of Dunwich demonic possession.  First Selectman Cthulhu was under the weather after having eaten some bad “seafood,” which is what he calls people living on the coastline.  So he wasn’t in attendance, which was kind of a relief.  He is a big personality and what with stepping on people and drooling all over the place and dribbling bits of man-flesh when he speaks it is a distraction.

The agenda included a report from the Treasurer that showed a net liability of about ten thousand dollars in the account.  The explanation for this was the cost of repairs to the “old Bishop place” after an interdimensional portal opened up in the kitchen and swallowed up the newly renovated appliances.  And the cook.  Apparently the First Selectman’s cousin Dagon got the address mixed up in his GPS and instead of arriving at the all you can eat buffet at the Dunwich Red Lobster, he materialized in the Bishop place and ate the cook and the contents of the refrigerator.  Luckily the cook was a Democrat and an illegal alien to boot, so after a little hand waving by the First Selectman with the State Police and a fifty-dollar “gratuity,” things were smoothed over.  It really helps to have a way with the common people.

During the Q&A I stood up and asked whether the COVID restrictions mandated by the state legislature and other unpopular decisions by the Democrats would provide a chance for the Republicans to make gains in the legislature this year.  Our State Representative happened to be at the meeting.  He was there to beg us to set up a fundraiser and meet and greet with his constituents.  He fielded this question saying that earlier in February most politicians had agreed that the Republicans would make significant gains this year.  There was even talk of the Governor’s mansion being in reach.

But last week Yog Sothoth was quoted in the larger circulation papers in Arkham stating that if the Republicans retook the legislature and the Governor’s mansion that he would be appointed attorney general and he intended to dispense with all criminal justice functions and immediately round up the democratic voters and have a luau.  He figured the Great Old Ones, once assembled for the feast could eat their way through the Evil Party in about forty-eight hours.

For whatever reason this seemed to spook the voting populace.  The consensus opinion was described as, “Yes the Democrats are inhumanly cruel and a terrible governing elite, but they’ve never clearly stated that they intend to eat their opponents alive.”  When Yog heard about this reaction, he complained that he had been taken out of context.  The Committee agreed that it was most regrettable that Yog had couched his answer quite so specifically.  Leaving a little wiggle room when talking about eating people alive is probably a good idea when dealing with those unfamiliar with the Cthulhu clan.  Well Yog is known for his honesty and candid speaking style.  I’m sure he can win over the crowd in time.

The final order of business was the Green Energy Initiative.  The town had been provided with $600,000 by the state and federal governments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Dunwich.  The Republican Committee had been approached by the First Selectman to create a team to draft a proposal for the town.  He told us to make sure we stayed within the budget but he encouraged “creative solutions.”  As an example, he mentioned that his cousin Azathoth owed him a favor and for almost no cost he could rearrange the very fabric of space-time so that only elements below carbon in the periodic table could still exist in our space-time continuum.  When the Republican Chair mentioned that all life as we know it not to mention all solid planets would cease to exist the First Selectman was heard to say, “That kind of nit-picking isn’t going to get you anywhere in this town.”  So, we’re still fielding ideas.  The committee is thinking maybe some solar panels on the abandoned church.

02DEC2021 – Dunwich Complainer – Local COVID Actions

Here in Dunwich as everywhere in America, COVID has been a scourge.  Of course, the spread and the symptoms in Dunwich are atypical and highly disturbing (as is everything here).  The disease is completely restricted to a one-mile radius around the historic home of Zebadiah Cobblestoner the legendary Whaling Fleet Magnate.

Zebadiah was known in the early nineteenth century as the whale prostate king.  His company sold pickled whale prostate throughout the New England region where its healing properties were much in demand.  And with the proceeds of this lucrative trade Zebadiah built a magnificent mansion in his native town Dunwich.  And there he lived in great opulence until the great whale prostate crash of 1841.  In that year the medical profession actually investigated the “healing effects” of whale prostate and discovered that its only effect on humans was to imbue its users with a decidedly bright blue coloration around their private parts.

Needless to say, Zebadiah’s fortunes fell on hard times.  In addition, a local witch named Hepzibah Goodbody was so outraged at the coloration she had contracted that she put a curse on Cobblestoner that not only killed him but rendered his mansion a nexus of contagion and miasma ever after.  At first this miasma was restricted to anyone foolhardy enough to inhabit Zebadiah’s mansion.  But over the years the contagion grew until now it had reached out to all the inhabitants of the formerly prestigious Toenail Hill area.  The malady starts out as general abdominal discomfort but in its terminal stage it presents as an exaggerated swelling of the lower abdomen followed by detonation of the prostate which usually leaves only the legs and upper body of the victim intact.  Surprisingly both males and females are equally afflicted in this syndrome.

Now you may be asking yourself how a nineteenth century witch’s spell that causes people to explode could be diagnosed as COVID.  Well, it turns out that the federal and state governments have provided, let us say, inducements to local governments for finding COVID cases in their areas.  And let’s face it, it’s not cheap cleaning up the biohazard when someone’s pelvic region explodes so First Selectman Cthulhu worked it out with the Dunwich Department of Health to sort of roll the Cobblestoner Curse victims in with the COVID census.

But with the recent state budget cuts the “subsidy” for the COVID cases has dried up and so the Board decided something should be done to clean up this problem.  I was contracted to do it.  And it was stressed that I could employ all means necessary.

Using satellite imagery, I was able to triangulate the source of the miasma to a corner of the Cobblestoner estate.  In fact, it turned out to be centered around Zebadiah Cobblestoner’s private cemetery.  I brought along one hundred tanker trucks, each loaded with 6,000 gallons of aqua regia which is a combination of saturated hydrochloric acid and fuming nitric acid.  My team excavated down to one hundred feet where we started to uncover a stone-like mass of enormous size finally we could see its shape was spherical with a diameter of over a thousand feet.  When we reached the bottom of this structure, we saw with horror that it was attached to the centuries dead but normal sized corpse of Zebadiah Cobblestoner.  We had uncovered his decidedly malign hypertrophied prostate bulging out of his body!

We climbed out of the excavation in a panicked rout but before following my team in a sprint for the hills I slammed the valve actuator that released the veritable lake of hyper-corrosive acid into the pit.  As I panted from the effort of escaping the scene, clouds of acrid fumes spread along the ground.  Earth tremors made it difficult to keep my legs under me but I finally reached a ridge about a mile off from the pit.  And there I witnessed a sight that has shaken my sanity and left me a shell of the man I was.

The ground around the pit convulsed and swelled.  The prostate swelled up to ten times its size and glowed a bright yellow.  Then the prostate shrank down and disappeared below ground.  But suddenly the corpse of Cobblestoner took its place swelling up to the size of the prostate and even larger.  Its face was distorted with pain and rage and I feared something truly horrible was about to occur.  All at once an enormous flatulence erupted from the nether regions of Cobblestoner.  A hurricane of unbelievably foul air stormed past me.  But almost as soon as it arrived it passed and a look of angelic peace suffused Cobblestoner’s face and then he slowly shrank back into the pit.

After a safe period of time had elapsed, I dared to return to the top of the pit.  There was no sign at all of Cobblestoner or his cursed prostate.  The area had been miraculously cleansed by the potent acids and the miasma was gone!  There are signs in the last few days that Toenail Hill is once again a healthy place.  I’ve notice that Zillow has quadrupled the value of all the local real estate and speculators have snatched up all the likeliest properties including the Cobblestoner mansion and gravel pit.

One other salubrious result of the exorcism is that for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic not a single COVID victim has exploded.  That means I’ll probably get paid for my efforts by the Town of Dunwich.  And I call that a win.

Thanksgiving in Dunwich

I’ve been so busy with my own personal Thanksgiving plans that I lost track of what the town of Dunwich was planning for the holiday.  Last year the COVID lockdown put a damper on this but this year First Selectman Cthulhu and the rest of the Board were determined to get things back to normal.  So, to get the ball rolling Cthulhu invited fifty of the wealthiest and most influential Dunwichians to his house on Monday for a sumptuous dinner.

Of course, there was a misunderstanding.  The guests assumed they were going to eat instead of being eaten but you can hardly fault the First Selectman for that.  He was specific that the menu would come directly from his favorite cookbook, “To Serve Man.”  When I spoke to him, he was still recovering from overindulging but after a couple of barrels of Alka Seltzer he was feeling much better.  He told me his favorite moment was when the guests walked through a doorway and after failing to find any light switches on the walls used their phone lights to determine that they were inside their host’s mouth.  Their screams of terror made the meal all that much more enjoyable.  Oh, that First Selectman, he’s incorrigible!

I read an advertisement in the Dunwich Complainer that a town fair was going to take place on Wednesday.  There would be the usual pie contests and a silent auction for the various crafts that the townspeople would donate.  There were also supposed to be games.  The one that interested me the most was the sack race.  In most towns this is a pretty straight forward affair but the twist that is employed in Dunwich is that Cthulhu alters the geometry of space in the playing field.  This makes moving in a straight line rather tricky.  Three years ago, Josiah Bishop ended up falling through a portal and landed inside of Azathoth’s gallbladder.  He reappeared three weeks later in pretty horrendous condition.  His ears had pretty much melted off and his hair was orange.  When asked what happened he said, “Outside the ordered universe is that amorphous blight of nethermost confusion which blasphemes and bubbles at the center of all infinity—the boundless daemon sultan Azathoth, whose name no lips dare speak aloud, and who gnaws hungrily in inconceivable, unlighted chambers beyond time and space amidst the muffled, maddening beating of vile drums and the thin monotonous whine of accursed flutes.”  A lot of people just assumed Josiah had just stomped off because he’s a sore loser and because Jenkin Brown took the prize and they’ve never gotten along.

But by far the oddest story I’ve heard this week was from Arthur Birdsong.  He was walking through some of the more overgrown areas of the northern hills of Dunwich when he was caught in one of the frequent thunderstorms.  Searching for cover he saw a very dilapidated house and ran to it.  The door wasn’t locked so he let himself in.  Finding a fire in the living room he warmed himself and then looked around at his surroundings.  There was a very old book open on a table and he saw that the book was describing cannibalism among certain tribes in Africa and an illustration showed a butcher’s shop with human body parts for sale.  Arms, legs and organs were grouped on tables.  Suddenly he heard a door open above and a white-haired man in 17th century garb walked down the staircase.  The man saw that Arthur had been interested in the book and he began a long meandering tale, the gist of which was that he had come to the notion that feeding on human flesh would enormously extend the human lifespan.  Just then a drop of blood from the ceiling splashed down in between the two men and Arthur looked up and saw an enormous spot of blood on the ceiling and realized that the horrid old man was a cannibal and had just been butchering of one of his victims upstairs.

At first Arthur was hoping that a bolt of lightning would burn the house and the cannibal in the righteous fire of heaven.  But when that failed to happen, he asked the old man what time was dinner.

Arthur had to admit that human pot pie wasn’t bad.  A little gamey and fatty but no worse than mutton.  And the old fellow even threw in some pretty decent hard cider.  So, they became pretty chummy and after dinner they stayed up late chatting and Arthur discovered that they had both gone to the same prep school.  So, they sang school songs and Arthur invited his new friend over for Thanksgiving dinner.  He had been planning to serve a turkey dinner but in light of his new perspective on health food he decided to invite his least favorite blue-haired feminist wine-auntie over and serve her up instead.  I told Arthur that was splendid and I hoped it became a family tradition.  He sadly informed me that he only had three wine-aunties so it would be a short-lived tradition.  I told him to cheer up.  I have dozens of relatives that need eating.  I told him I’d donate one of mine every Thanksgiving for the foreseeable future.  Well, this brought tears to Arthur’s eyes and he declared it a “Thanksgiving Miracle.”  I said, “Nonsense, it is always better to give than to receive.”

So, you can see we here in Dunwich have a lot to be thankful for; friends, family and meat tenderizer.  Here’s hoping your Thanksgiving allows you to enjoy your family as much as we intend to enjoy (parts of) ours.

13NOV2021 – Dunwich Complainer – Irregular Edition

After a day of rain, some wonderful late fall weather has broken out in Western Dunwich.  Up here in the hill country there have been only sporadic sightings of shoggoths and the odd micro-eruption from the parallel dimension where the lobster fungi of Yuggoth hang out.  Out in the west field I noticed some strange and indescribable colors to the foliage on an elderberry shrub which I immediately attributed to a meteoric landing of the Color Out of Space.   But then I remembered I’m color blind so I dialed that back to perfectly normal green.  When I drove out to our grocery store, the one that’s housed in a ruinous, desanctified, former church the proprietor, a man named Jedediah Spoonhandle, eyed me suspiciously when I entered his building.   When I asked to buy some soap, he accused me of being in league with the devil.  But when I told him I wanted to purchase a dozen frogging gigs he became enraged and attacked me bodily.  Apparently, he has some relatives from Innsmouth who have a slightly batrachian look to them.  I finally subdued him by clubbing him senseless with a leg of lamb that was at hand.  I took the gigs and left the price in paper and coinage on his stunned carcass.

Travelling back to the Compound I reflected on the wonderful world we live in and the strange occurrences that seem to follow me wherever I go.  But then I remembered that it’s Saturday and Saturday is a strange day around here so that put things in perspective.  When I arrived home, I asked Camera Girl if anything had happened while I was gone.  She said no but looking out the kitchen window I noticed that something had flattened two sheds and about a dozen cattle on the neighboring field belonging to Josiah Whateley.  When I brought this to her attention she stopped to reflect then said, “Yes, but it is Saturday.”  So, I shrugged and said, “Yeah, that’s true.”

I hadn’t spoken to old Whateley in a while so I ambled over to his field where he was collecting cow carcasses for salvage and I greeted him cheerily.  But for whatever reason he seemed sort of quiet.  So, I asked him what was the matter and he said, “T’ain’t right that unspeakable, blasphemous, eldritch abominations from beyond space and time keep flattening my outbuildings and livestock whenever they get a notion.”  So, I said, “Well Josiah, why don’t you ask for help at the next Town Council?”  But he backed up with a look of revulsion and said, “And be branded a complainer like you?  No thankee.”

I should have known that even in the heart of a quagmire of unspeakable horror that good old Yankee independence would recoil against asking for help from his neighbors.  I agreed with Josiah and mentioned that one of his flattened sheds looked like it could be used as a patch for one of his other sheds that had only been half flattened and that his smashed cattle would make a very good mulch for his alfalfa field.  I like to think that my talk cheered him up some.

As I walked back to my house, I noticed that a tentacle about as thick as a telephone pole and about a hundred feet long was dragging a full-grown black bear into the swamp.  The panicked roaring of the animal as it was pulled under the surface reminded me that life in Dunwich was full of unexpected problems that could ruin your peace of mind if you didn’t make sure to look on the bright side of things and whistle a happy tune.  I thought, “That poor bear, he probably forgot to look on the bright side of things and he certainly wasn’t whistling a happy tune, and now look at him.”

And by golly now I was right back in step with the world.  I dashed for the side door just as a squadron of eagle sized dragonflies made a bee line for me.  I beat them to the door just in time to hear them slam into the outside of the door after I had drawn the deadbolt.  Suckers!

After a wonderful dinner I sat down in the living room to write up this little post when the motion detector on the west side of the house activated the flood light.  In the dazzling light half a dozen ghouls were staggering back toward the tree line.  I thought about running for my rifle and trying to pick off a few of them but I remembered that ghoul hunting season didn’t start until December so I smiled sheepishly and went back to finishing this report.

Well it was a quiet day in Dunwich today but enjoying nature and the simple pleasures of interacting with neighbors shows you what’s really important in life; timing, muscle memory and pure dumb luck.

Local Election Results in Dunwich

Living as I do in the mythical New England town of Dunwich, election results take a little longer than they do in the outside world.  What with eruptions of elder gods and eldritch horror of nonspecific origin popping up incessantly it takes the election committee quite a lot of time to count the white and black pebbles that we use for voting purposes.  I mean when they’re distracted, they lose count and have to start all over.  And then there are the disqualifications.  If one of the candidates is discovered to have webbed fingers or toes or gills during the mandatory examination, then everything has to stop while the unfortunate individual is burned at the stake or crushed under a door stacked with large smooth stones.  Lately they’ve switched completely to door crushing because of the greenhouse gases emitted by the stake burning procedure.  Time marches on.  Of course, the runner-up is glad, as long as he isn’t similarly non-conforming.

Well, the point is we finally have our results and they are pleasing.  The stupid party was resoundingly re-elected and the evil party was gratifyingly defeated.  I performed an exorcism rite complete with incantations from the Necronomicon (or was it Comic-Con?) and rendered all attacks by the power of darkness null and void (in other words I paid up my property taxes).  And now I can expect to enjoy another two years of quiet, efficient, demonic public service by the good people of the stupid party as they do their best to hold the powers of the evil party at bay.

I intend to continue attending the local Republican Party meeting and find out if I can get involved in some less painful volunteer services.  I’d like to work with the election committee and find out how the sausages get made.  And in fact, I’d also like to find out what other functions I can help out around town.  I may be trapped here in Dunwich for a few years so I might as well make the best of it.

Who knows, maybe I’ll become an adjunct lecturer at Miskatonic University in advanced perpetual motion engineering.  We all have to do our best to save the planet.  After all, both Greta Thunberg and Cthulhu are depending on us.

photog’s Technophobia

So, as I’ve alluded to recently, I’ve been playing host to one of my descendants recently and whenever he visits, he’s always shocked by how little progress I’ve made technologically since his last visit and in a spirit of charity he tries to modernize my approach to various everyday life circumstances.

For instance, he reminded me pointedly that my camera, the Sony A7 III, still had the original firmware version.  But there were currently versions above revision 4.  And he stressed the fact that one of those revisions included a major upgrade to eye autofocus and tracking autofocus capability.  And since he is painfully aware of my legendary laziness, he begged me to actually perform the upgrade while he was watching, which I did.

Later when he attempted to run a YouTube video on the tv through a DVD player that had wi-fi, he was dismayed at the terrible bandwidth and asked if I had any other alternative devices.  I explained that a year ago I bought a Roku device but it seemed as if I would need to pay for a monthly subscription so in my annoyance at being sucked in, I threw it into my tech scrap heap and forgot all about it.  He assured me that the credit card registration was a harmless feint and I would not be charged for free applications like YouTube and other movie channels that had free services.  He then dug it out, installed it and suddenly my wide screen tv became a new world of high-definition nature shows that he favors.

And the other day he asked me about my photo workflow.  I use Capture One software to post-process my files and I had mentioned that the loading and backup time was becoming unmanageably long.  So, we went through the system and identified that one of my settings had been accidentally changed and I was loading all my files to one folder that was now horrifyingly large.

I attempted to remedy the situation.  I did successfully change the setting and now am no longer making the problem worse.  Score one for me!  But I then attempted to break the catalog into smaller pieces to speed up the processing time.  That didn’t work out so well.  Capture One has several categories of files.  There are catalogs and sessions and folders and even other things that I’m not really sure I understand at all.  I spent several hours chopping up the giant folder into my existing file system.  Then I tried to point the thumbnail renderings to the new file system and that was a total failure.  It wouldn’t locate the files for the thumbnails to work as needed, a crushing blow.  An alternative would be to manually point the thumbnails to the individual files one by one.  But since there are tens of thousands of files, I might not live long enough to accomplish this.  Plan B is to spend several hours combining all the files back into one folder the way they were before I started changing it and then move the thumbnails and files together into separate folders.  It’s sad to know just how inept I am with the software tools I work with.  But an honest man must swallow the hard truth and try to do better.  I have vowed, with Peter Thiel as my witness, that I will get my tech house in order.  I will give a DAM (that’s digital image management) and get my millions of photo files under control.  I will learn how to make my own plug-ins for my website.  And I will spend the time to find the appropriate (and cheap) software I need to optimize my other digital occupations like fiction writing.

Of course, I won’t start today.  We’re having a big get together and I have to help Camera Girl with the set-up and general chores.  But soon!  And from now on!  The world will see a new photog!

Did that sound convincing?