Five-Hundred Word Challenge 769: Outside my Window

There’s the sound of a kicking and occasionally that kicking comes with the sound of a round object scuffing against a hard and perhaps slightly rough surface. At times there is a loud smack that comes from the the impact of the object hitting something considered metallic and thin. One could say it is the sound of a ball hitting a fence as it is indeed a fence that experiences a slight reverberation which, due to a bunch of factors, leads to a perceivable sound being created.

There’s also the sound of a leaf being gently blown across a hard surface. The sound of birds doing their thing. Some are chirping, hooting and so on. Others are moving across a roof. They’ve been doing so for a number of consecutive days, so perhaps they’re building something. I do not know, for I am not one of the birds.

I hear this all outside my window. It is bright out there and in here it is dark. It is not as dark as it was a few hours ago, but it still might be too dark to work in for sustained periods. As such that means that sooner or later I will have to switch the room’s light on so as to be able to diminish the impacts of eye strain.

There is some music playing and I should be paying more attention to it as I will be talking about it a little bit later. After work; not before. I’ve listened to this album a few times now and whilst it is interesting I think it might suffer from being a little too long and unmemorable, but sometimes that is the way things go. Oh well. I’ll just have to remember to include that when I talk about it a bit later.

It’s a little cooler this morning than it has been on a few prior mornings of recent times. That’s okay though. I don’t mind. It’s not uncomfortably cold and that’s fine by me.

I think that of course it is affecting my pace. Cold hands and all that. Should probably put on some gloves but I find that gloves slow down my writing. Still, better for the keeping of the warmth within the hands than not, so perhaps after I finish writing this I’ll put on gloves.

However, there will also need to be the re-potting of a recently-purchased plant of the tree variety. That needs to come before putting on gloves. Then there needs to be the getting ready for work, which may or may not include wearing gloves.

Should probably switch the light on before then.

The sound of kicking an object is gone, as is the associated resultant sounds. However, there remains the sounds of birds making their bird sounds. It’s a bit spaced out, but it’s pleasant at the present moment. I don’t know what their calls mean, but they certainly help make the morning feel a little calmer, and that’s a nice thing.

The time it took to write five-hundred words: 07:10:40

Not bad. Not good, but not bad.
This is a very relaxed writing. It’s lacking in fantasy (for most of it, at least). Nothing magnificent came forward. It was just a describing of some of what was happening at the time of writing.

Written at home.

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Reflection of a Bridge

I know that I was trying to capture this particular scene in a specific way, but I can’t quite remember what that specific way was. Pretty sure this is close.

Anyway, here’s a photo of some of the area underneath the bridge I recently shared a photo of (here’s another shot from last year), as well as a small portion of its underside. I think this shot does a good job of capturing some of the bridge’s reflection and creating an image more symmetrical in some parts than others.

I also think the shot has a really urban feel. Part of that is due to it being taken in an urban area, but I think it’s also due to the bridge’s prominence contrasting against The Cooks River.

This is my submission into the one hundred-and-sixteenth Lens-Artists Photo Challenge.

The theme for this one is “Symmetry“.

The challenge is hosted by four people and cycles weekly:

Week 1 – Patti

Week 2 – Ann-Christine aka Leya

Week 3 – Amy

Week 4 – Tina

Patti is hosting this challenge. Amy is hosting next week’s.

I recommend checking out how people are interpreting the challenges. I also recommend joining in. It’s a growing, fun community.

I hope you enjoy.

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Paradise Lost: Obsidian Review

So I started editing this and ended up re-writing a bit more than I expected. Not the whole thing, but close to half of the draft I had.

I’m not sure as to what I think about this review. It’s something a little different but mostly the same as what I usually write. It’s a little tighter in terms of pacing but I don’t feel as though I got enough into the songs. I may have also used the word “drama” and its variations a little too much.

Most of my interview and review work now appears on Culture Eater.
My colleague and I set up a Patreon to further develop Culture Eater as a source of good quality arts coverage from both ourselves and our contributors.

We’re looking at what we can give to supporters as we don’t want to set up a one way relationship, so suggestions are welcome. Podcast Eater is one of the things we’ve got going. We’re going to do a live broadcast of the podcast soon and are looking to add more things for supporters.

Please consider supporting, or at least sharing the Patreon page with others. Please also check out what our wonderful contributors are contributing.

I hope you enjoy.

Gentle, quiet and tense. Super-moody. Quiet vocals and quiet playing. Strings come in, punctuating and emphasising. Some extra vocals followed by more strings. A deceptively-quiet and tender start “Darker Thoughts” provides to Paradise Lost’s Obsidian. At the right moment the band kick into high gear and the song becomes much more dramatic. Everything gets louder, the vocals switch to a scream and the drama piles on. It’s a grandiose opener for a grandiose album.

What’s on Obsidian? Hooks: lots and lots of hooks and high melodic sensibilities. Big choruses, often with repeated vocals and verse / chorus / verse structures with occasional bridges and side-segments. A few shit-hot solos. Vocals, vocals and lots of vocals, and rock-solid drumming. Careful, considered use of instruments creating an expanded, specific atmosphere contained within tight-sounding performances and slick songs.

So much drama you won’t believe it’s not a soap opera.

Alright, in all seriousness Obsidian is quite dramatic. Whilst at times it does get verbose, quite often the dramatics fit the marriage of heavy riffage with pop sensibilities. At other times the verse / chorus / verse structure gets a little tiring; it’s difficult to not wonder if a different approach would serve to better some of the songs. That said, this is clearly a band that know what they’re doing. They know how to work well with said structure to create hooks without sacrificing weight or intent.

The vocals have this thrust and graveness to them that clicks with the rest of the band; they’re direct, hard-hitting and swing from clean to harsh with the greatest of ease. The percussion pounds away with a great deal of punch and precision; they’re a great driving force, though unfortunately sometimes buried. The bass has this great dirty, rolling quality to it that really helps to fill out the songs a great deal whilst the guitar finds space among everything and helps to drive home the drama and intent.

Whilst Obsidian is full of great performances, on closer “Ravenghast” Paradise Lost really deliver. The song starts with piano and (alongside what sounds like vague vocals) quickly builds an ominous atmosphere. Guitar comes in soon after, followed by drums and bass. Once into the swing of things the vocals find their way, sitting quite comfortably on the music whilst pushing outward with a great deal of force. A couple of “clean” sections interspersed within the grind make an appearance, allowing for just enough breathing space before the band switch gears.

Paradise Lost start ascending; at first slowly before switching to something more galloping in sound whilst an impassioned solo makes itself apparent. Once it’s time, “Ravenghast” switches back to its main riff, keeping things sounding big and conclusive. Rather than have it all end on one definitive riff, instead the song (and by extension, Obsidian) has the band come to a stop; Auxillary sounds and sombre piano sound wrap it all up. It’s a bit of a far cry from how the album started, yet at the same time it’s wholly familiar.

There’s a fair bit of gloom on Obsidian, but it’s not a depressing listen. At times it gets melodramatic, but often it’s fun and groovy. Perhaps creating a dramatic sound whilst sticking to some rather tight structures and keep it all sounding enjoyable is where Paradise Lost’s focus mostly sat for this album; If so, it’s hard to fault them for it as – quibbles aside – it was a resounding success. From beginning to end, Obsidian delivers a satisfying experience, even if you don’t quite fall under its spell.

Obsidian is available here.

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A Short Poem About Desiring to Create

I’ve been seated here for most of the day (due to work), but (aside for a slight distraction) the last twenty-or-so minutes have been spent  trying to think of something to write.

This is what came out. The first two lines were when I started and the rest came out within maybe the last minute of working on this.

It’s really rough, but I think it gets across what I want it to get across quite clearly.

I hope you enjoy.

Well within a grip
Caught in a vice
Seated here
Desiring to move
Firmly anchored
Desiring to create

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Overheads

Just a photo that I feel mostly focuses on some of the overhead stuff along a railway.

Only just now noticed a transmission tower and a bird in the shot.

Anyway, I like how there’s a lot of rigid-looking lines and angles in this shot, as well as how it contrasts against the sky.

This is my submission into Leanne Cole‘s TPM photo challenge for this week. The theme for this challenge is “Simplicity”.

I feel that this is a rather simple-looking image; hence my using it for this challenge.

I suggest checking out Leanne’s photography, as well as checking out what other people submit into the challenge.

You can find the challenges here.

I hope you enjoy.

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Five-Hundred Word Challenge 768: Grumbling, Grouchiness

Grumbling, grouchiness and more grumbling: These are the targets for today.

It’s a low bar.

Anyway, these are the targets. I need to stomp my feet at least twice and take care of a few other things whilst stomping my feet. I need to make sure to say something that expresses my grouchiness. I need to do a few things to ensure that the intent carries across. However, the issue that I have is that, whilst I am tired, I feel neither grumpy nor grouchy.

This is a problem as it makes the performance feel insincere. How am I meant to get the whole thing across with a certain sense of effectiveness if what I am doing does not feel as though it is truly the case? I don’t think that I can do that fake it til I make it malarkey, so I’m going to have to try and find a way to become grouchy. I can still grumble, but it lacks the  stuff to make it proper grumbling, really. I don’t know what to do.

You see, part of the reason as to why is that whilst I am most certainly tired, I feel quite alright at the moment., I’m rather calm and relaxed. I’m, taking it easy and just being a bit lazy. I don’t really have much to worry about, or much to add pressure. There are some things I need to edit and work on but right now I’ve a fair bit of time to work with and as such that means I’m gliding through things at a decent pace, though to be honest I’ve spent the last hour doing nothing and it was alright; perhaps needed even. I don’t feel grouchy at all. I don’t feel a desire to be grouchy. I feel a desire to relax. I don’t want to walk around and grumble and stomp my feet and have people go “Wow, he’s really grouchy today”, but at the same time I kind of need to so as to get across a certain something of which I am yet to decide on, so there is the possibility that I’d be going in and having to wing the whole thing until I know what it is that I want to get across.

Maybe it would be my grouchiness.

I don’t know what to do. I could just go forward and carry on as I am right now and not show any grouchiness and not grumble, but then what would be the point in that? It’s not something that seems like a good idea to go forward with. Surely there is a time and place for that, but right now the time and place calls for the grumbling, the grouchiness, the stomping of the feet, the aimless, yet striking pointing and a slew of other things that get across something that I am not feeling able to get across right now.

All this calmness is not helping. It’s starting to make me feel grouchy.

The time it took to write five-hundred words: 07:20:12

Took my time a bit more than I had expected, but it’s fine.

I think I did alright up until the end where I seemed to have dropped the proverbial ball. Oh well.

Written at home.

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Manorina melanocephala

This was taken whilst on a recent walk. There was a shot of this noisy miner I took just after it commenced flight, but unfortunately there was a power cable that was really distracting to the shot, so here’s this shot instead.

I think this one is pleasant enough. The miner looks odd from this particular angle, but it still looks distinctly like itself.

I hope you enjoy.

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One Thousand Word Challenge 66: Stuff on Science

I have no idea as to how I’ve squeezed so much into so little, but somehow I have and now I’m here and probably more ready than usual. That is a plus. However, I need to do other things. Getting the things done. It’s a process. It is a thing. A thing that involves doing things to get things done. All a process. It is a web, though only sometimes.

So I think I have a few things to say this morning but I don’t really know what I want to say, if that makes sense. There are so many things that I’m hoping to get done by the end of the day. I don’t know if I will or will not; it’s going to take time to see if there are any results. However, there will be at least some things done. Hopefully.

I hope.

So anyway, it’s been a bit of a busy morning and that doesn’t add anything to the conversation of which I’m trying to have right now, but then again this isn’t really a conversation. This is a monolog dressed in a polemic disguising itself as an aimless, pointless diatribe. Surprising I know.

That all said, I really should try and make sure that I find some sort of thing to at least focus on. I don’t want to do one of those lengthy rambles that goes nowhere as, whilst those are good for working on my speed, phrasing and expression, as well as working on the stream-of-consciousness stuff, I don’t feel like doing such a thing. I want to write something meaningful and get all that expressiveness forward; something that is focused and gets to the point whilst being poignant the whole way through; something that stands tall and shows that not all of this writing is a total waste of time. However, that probably won’t happen and, to be honest, I don’t necessarily have an issue with that.

What I do have an issue with is those that are happy to accept science until it’s inconvenient.

Being a scientist is both awesome and incredibly difficult. Assuming that a whole slew of factors don’t prevent it from happening, you get to do research and build up on data, evidence and information (I’m aware that data and evidence cover information pretty thoroughly, but I felt the flow of the sense worked better including the word “information”) to help make informed decisions. You get to contribute to building and strengthening a greater understanding and knowledge of the world.

That’s one of the greatest things anyone can do and it’s humbling as it helps to build the understanding of just how little we know, despite our efforts. Of course scientists often end up knowing a lot about whatever it is they specialise in, but it ends up making you realise just how little we know about the world and how it functions. This is of course part of what makes being a scientist so awesome. This is of course (again) assuming that a whole slew of factors don’t prevent you from doing research, as there are quite a few (some of which I disagree with) but that’s not for here today.

It’s incredibly difficult as some people will actively reject anything deemed inconvenient, despite how minor or major an inconvenience that inconvenience may present. Often said rejection is through indifference or some sort of derision, but sometimes it is with hostility. I don’t understand why; well, I think I might but I don’t feel like getting into that right now.

There is plenty of inconvenient information out there and you can’t just bury your head in in the sand when you come across it. Well, actually you can, but why? Why wouldn’t you want to have an opportunity to know more so you can be more informed and thus make smarter decisions? Why wouldn’t you want to do that? Why, instead of that, would you want to make it harder for scientists to help us better understand the world? Why would you want to harass and abuse them for writing about something you don’t agree with, despite all the information and data out there suggesting that what they’re writing about is strongly supported?

Of course there are a few problems when it comes to science; that I cannot deny, but this is not what I’m covering at the moment. I can talk about that another time. I’m pretty sure I’ve talked about it before, but that was a while ago and I haven’t beaten the subject to death (unlike some other things), so maybe I just will sooner rather than later, but I digress.

You know what would be massively beneficial for science? If there was more support for it. That’s not to say that support already isn’t massive, but there certainly is enough against certain things that seem to see more picking and choosing than others.

More support would mean less stress and more focus on getting information to the public. Being aware of that information would mean being better equipped to make informed decisions. Making informed decisions would take pressure of scientists and as such they’d be able to spend more time focusing on research without having to deal with a whole load of unnecessary stressors.

Besides which, the research produced is often not meant for creating convenience or inconvenience; it’s meant to provide information. How that information used is another thing entirely.

Anyway, I think that at this point I’ve made my point. I know there is some unnecessary repetition in there, but really I think the thing I’m most trying to say is that many scientists in various disciplines are doing something that can ultimately lead to the betterment of everyone and everything, but it only works when people aren’t actively resisting stuff that they might find inconvenient. There are worse things out there; so long as more people start listening and learning and being more aware, those things can hopefully be avoided.

The time it took to write one thousand words: 19:01:25

This is a big dumb rant and the point has been made many times by people better equipped to make the point. Still, I’m fairly certain I got my point across.

I thought a lot about what I was writing, which is why this took longer than some of my more recent writings of this length. I’m fine with the length as despite this being a big dumb rant, I think it reads (mostly) well.

Written at home.

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Deep Clean

Just a photo of an ibis cleaning itself.

I’m not sure as to why I didn’t share this sooner. It’s easy enough on the eyes and due to being a simple, pleasing shot.

I like how part of the ibis’ neck doesn’t quite appear distinct from its body, creating a slightly odd visual.

I hope you enjoy.

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Five-Hundred Word Challenge 767: On Time

Sometimes it is easy enough to wonder as to what time it is, but of course all you need to do is check the time to know the time at the current point of time in which you are wanting to know the time. However, how do you know what the time is if you are unable to check what the time is for some reason, or another reason?

Well, you see, time is a thing that is considered to be an artificial construct, which in some cases is true. That said, it must be considered that time is also a way of helping us measure and understand observable phenomena. It is a form of measurement and, on top of that, it is a few other things. Generally for most situations time moves at a rate of one second of time per second of time. In understanding these things, it becomes a little clearer as to the understanding of what time is.

What time isn’t is a series of numbers with no relation, a series of bricks, a series of crocodiles, a series of houses, a series of sayings, temples, hats, flowers, shades, eggs, gloves, cars, motors, engineers, landscapes, winds, gases, solids, liquids, soils, plants, vacations, papers, drafts, businesses, loafs, organisations, pancakes, breakfasts, dinners, vegetables, products, placeholders, names, sayings, characters, stories, letters, pens, payments, divergences, convergences, litigations, breaths, beats, sounds, arms, misgivings, understandings, misunderstandings, rotations, turbines, panels, clouds, worms, birds, signs, expressions, paintings, sketches, impressions, notes, guitars, drums, keyboards, wagons, flutes, clarinets, ensembles, trios, duos, quartets, records, crowds, audiences, scenery, screens, pictures, motions, actions, movements, destinations, awards, celebrations, commiserations, consecrations, galas, horses, races, journeys, destinations, expanses, views, discoveries, realisations, creations, ascents, descents, acceptances, preventions, reviews, analyses, commodities, retaliations, reactions, plots, deceptions keys, ideas, successes, failures, oceans, waves, ripples, whales, fish, reptiles, tetrapods, mammals, angles,  lines, curves, shapes, designs, imprints, endeavours, crises, flows, ebbs, rules, measures, expectations, problems, solutions, fingers, eyes, ears, hairs, organs, blinks, presents, openings, closings, rejections, opportunities, denials, fortifications, windows, doors, foundations, mountains, hills, rocks, tides, granules, materials, kilns, talks, conversations, breaks, rests, beds, floors, skies, flights, trains, hydroplanes, submarines, unicycles, erhus, hurdy-gurdies, drones, vamps, snapshots, photos, a series of lines, a series of words, a collection of stamps, a murder of crows, a congregation of ibes, a series of inexplicable feelings, transients, a pile of waste, a consecutive series of declarations,  a consecutive series of proclamations, twists, turns, revelations, accusations, a moment of catharsis, rainfall, flooding, drying, deserts, plains, forests, jungles, waterfalls, rivers, estuaries, dunes, caves, caverns, glaciers, storms, strikes, yelling, debating, pyramids, slides, ladders, whistles, smiles, frowns, tears, heartbeats, notions, trips, falls, leaps, bounds, jumps, climbs, hikes, jaunts, pedals, computations, programs, stages, benches, pathways, tunnels, communities, confrontations, lights, shades, hazards, rows, touches, obligations, personifications, cuts, scars, postponements, restrictions, boulders, slumps, clumps, paragraphs, spaces, formations, experiments, data, spheres, graphs, slices, spices, transactions, costs, consequences, suits, clothes, sternums, beetles, corpuscles, macrofauna, phytoplankton, chordata, zooxanthellae, or ephemera.

However, time can involve all of these things at any given time.

The time it took to write five-hundred words: 26:05:44

This took longer than I thought it would.
I feel as though the effort was worth it, but not sure if the result is. That said, I’m happy with what I did here.

Written at home.

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