Clouds and shadows

It was a dark cloudy start to this Halloween morning. It had rained overnight and although it had ushered in a cold front, it did nothing to dispel the clouds.

I could have stayed home but I was determined to shoot something. So I thought of the old Tampa graveyard that is downtown. It was the bay area’s first official graveyard.

I knew it wouldn’t be open but decided that maybe a shot of the entrance might help give my images a Halloween flavor. And I wasn’t wrong.

I continued from that shot into the Cass Ave area where the old bridge makes way for any river traffic in its almost perpetually “up” mode. CSX had security cameras allover it, so I can’t be too surprised later if there is a knock on my door later with a ticket for trespassing, but I couldn’t resist.

I walked the length of rail that goes out over the Hillsborough river … another step and I would have been in the river. The huge rusty frame and the warm lighting that comes across from the other side, makes it very appealing to the wide lens on my camera. And the views of downtown from halfway across the river are also worth taking a shot of.

Given the day that was in it, the heavy clouds and lack of sunrise provided exactly the mood I was looking for.

There are a few images at the end of the blog. Hope you enjoy.

Driving home, my mind went back onto the graveyard and while the history of the place doesn’t compare to older cemeteries in Ireland and such, it reeks with people who were once some of the most important people in the region.

It has the city’s first mayor, a governor, and many renowned judges and lawyers. There is a grave of someone who was murdered, right next to the man who was hanged for it.

So, the thought that occurred to me is how the passage of time steals any fame or notoriety from almost everyone. I am pretty sure that in their time, most of these people were household names. Yet I can’t imagine that anyone reading this could tell me a single name of anyone buried here without having to look it up.

Which only serves to remind us of how foolish the pursuit of fame is, in the grand scheme of things.

So look around you now at the people that hog the headlines today and take it as a given that three generations from now, no one will even know they existed.

I mean there are some names that are historical figures that will be taught in the history books. Some might be written about for their accomplishments and others for their infamy, but while their action may be noted, at the end of the day the person gets totally lost in time.

Julius Caesar, probably the most remembered person in all of history … what can you tell me about the kind of person he was? Who did he love? Who loved him? What did he enjoy doing? What did he want to be when he grew up? Where did he get his first kiss? What kind of dreams did he have?

All of the stuff that makes us who we are today dies with us. Our children might be able to recall a small percentage of it, but by the time our past is two generations gone, so too are we.

So the most important things we can do in life, have to do with the present … the lives we touch, the loves we share. Are the people around us better off for having spent part of their lives with us?

If the answer is “yes” then our life was worthwhile. If “no” then, rich or poor, we become simply a carved name in an old stone, that fades to obscurity with each passing year.

… just a thought!


It was just after two yesterday afternoon and I had literally just put out the food for the raccoons, birds, and possums.

I had walked away to get a dish of water for them and when I came back with it, Ricky was already there, digging into one of the dishes. She backed off as I put the water down but then swiftly returned as I got a few yards away.

Up until a month or two ago, I had been putting the food out around four or five, but Ricky’s early arrivals were giving me reason to do so a bit earlier.

She is the early adventurer and in my opinion is a real reason to organize things early. I hate the thought that any of these wild little creatures would come to one of the food stations only to find no food.

My intent is to give any of these little guys a safe place to come for “guaranteed” food. I imagine that life in the wild is difficult, so anything I can do the mitigate the difficulties for any of these creatures, reinforces my purpose.

I managed to take a bunch of shots with my big lens, which allowed me to be a good distance away from her and still bring the view close. While I absolutely love shooting these guys, I hate to feel that I am imposing on them and making them nervous.

The lens does a good job and I have put a whole bunch of them here at the end of the blog. Hope you enjoy!

As I went back into the house, I felt proud not just of being able to get the shots, but having the food out in time for the early arrival. And Ricky being hungry that early, gave me the affirmation i needed to understand that I am doing the right thing.

As I went through the images on the PC , I began to muse over the whole concept of affirmation and why in moderation, it is a very positive influence over our lives.

There are many times where the results of our actions are invisible to us and for years now I have been putting bowls outside for wayward strangers. For ages, their arrival was always in the dark, so the only real feedback that I got was picking up the licked-clean bowls each morning after.

There was that one moment a couple of years ago, when one actually left a present for me – a shiny bauble that they carried to the site of my bowls and rested it on the edge of a bowl. I definitely understood that to be a thank you and it very much made me feel good about my efforts.

Receiving positive feedback can be a real motivator and most parents instill this behavior in their parenting in order to encourage their children to continue the good they are doing. Of course some parents never tell little Johnny he is doing good and oftentimes little Johnny becomes a low-key under-achiever because of it. Then there are other parents that lavish false affirmation on their kids no matter how pathetic their performance is and those kids grow up to be entitled adults that think life owes them something.

There is a fine balance and when we lose track of it, we end up being those losers that drive around with stickers on the back of our car telling their world that little Bradley was named student of the week for having perfect attendance.

The schools that hand out these stickers are also the kind of bad influences that give every child in the race a medal for participation.

Well done Frankie, you may have finished seventeenth in the race but hey you managed to make it into school every day this week. You, my son, are a winner!

When balanced properly and genuinely recognizing something that a child has done, affirmation can be all a child needs in repeating or even exceeding an achievement.

The same is true for adults but the world we live in doesn’t hand out gold stars when we do something right. Most parenting falls by the wayside in our adult years and work, which houses our new set of familial bonds rarely contributes affirmation on a sincere level. Work will very quickly let you know when you have done something wrong, but unless you work in an environment that I have yet to see, rarely do they give you a sticker for your car for your perfect attendance this past week.

So, we need to look outside of work and home for most affirmations and oftentimes this affirmation will come like I describe here with the raccoons.

But most affirmation needs to come from within yourself.

Knowing that you have done something positive, knowing that you have given it your best, knowing that you have positively affected a situation with another person or creature … these are the kinds of things you must recognize as you put your head on the pillow and call an end to the day.

In so doing, we become that voice that says “well done, Johnny. Keep it up and maybe one day you will get a sticker too.”

And isn’t that all we really need as we close our eyes on life for the last time?

A sticker on our life that reads more than we were here every day and participated. I aim for one that says “He wasn’t perfect, but he did his best.”

… just a thought!


It never ceases to amaze me how much the camera can see while I can’t.

It was about 45 minutes before sunrise and that little corner of Lake Parker is as dark as anywhere, which is why I repeatedly choose it.

You see, they have added light poles in certain places close to my favorite haunts along the shoreline and in so doing, they have completely destroyed early morning photography.

So, I am limited to a single spot down by the place where the boats launch. If they get around to adding a light there, I will have to give up lake parker entirely.

The only light was a 1/8th moon overhead behind some clouds and it did its best to light up the night sky. But to my eyes, the only thing above that I could see was a collection of stars and a completely black sky.

So, I pointed the camera skywards and as you’ll see in the first shot, it looks like I was shooting in daylight.

I hung out at the pier for a while and was joined by a lone guy on a tricycle. I had seen him once before when he was with his significant other who was hooping, but this time he was alone.

He emerged from the darkness and caught me a little by surprise. He set about sorting out his fishing tackle and began to fish, while I moved around and took a few pics with him included.

I made a little small talk but apparently I talked too much because he tuned me out and didn’t even answer the last few things I said. So, I figured it was time to shut up and leave, which I did. By that stage, it was apparent that the clouds were having a party on the horizon and were going nowhere. They completely smothered the sun and not even a hint of sunrise made it into the morning sky.

As I drove home, I could see the sky was brightening. But that was it.

Anyway I have a small few pics worth sharing at the end of the blog. Enjoy!

As I drove home, I was thinking about how this guy arrived alone and chose to stay alone, as the new day dawned. He wasn’t being rude to me. He just stuck with his choice of being alone and I can appreciate that.

Humans are such a social creature that we spend so much of our time in the presence of others. Family, people at work, fellow-inmates, whoever.

I am sure the percentage of alone-time varies to a certain degree from person to person and from one time in our lives to another. But, in general, I suspect that other than sleeping, the average person spends over 90% of our wake time in the company of others.

Often time we spend this with people we love or like. But sometimes we spend it in the company of people we can barely tolerate. Sometimes we spend it in an effort we enjoy and other times in an effort that we are obliged to do.

Sometimes the company is direct and they are physically beside us, other times we are on a phone or online or some other way connected.

So most of our life is spent pushing any feeling of solitude into our bed-time. Maybe even only when we close our eyes and go to sleep.

But what I have discovered in recent years is that we humans do our most creative and functional thinking when we are alone. When we are in the company of others, we do what I call communal thinking… where our thoughts are somewhat fashioned or affected by those around us. We might be using approval or disdain to help hone our thoughts. But however the thought ends up, it isn’t just ours.

Solitude is an important condition for thinkers and for creative people. It allows us to delve deeper into our own mind and pull together some thoughts or analysis that be quite life-affecting.

For those of us who believe in the one life to live approach, solitude is therefore even more important as it means that our life choices become somewhat fashioned more by our own thoughts and plans than others.

Some people are skilled at meditation and find their solitude there. Through breathing and relaxation techniques they can find a mental escape that helps create a feeling of being removed from their current environment.

And while I am not saying that is a bad thing, it doesn’t accomplish the real benefits of being truly alone for a while. Alone to the point where you can gain clarity of thought and focus of wish.

We need to know where we want to go in life and if we don’t give ourselves the chance to decide that in a clear and focused manner, then we run the danger of ending up where someone else wants us to be and not where we would have chosen ourselves.

… just a thought.


it was a perfect fall day here in Tampa Bay. The first one we have had yet this year .. .temperature at 5 o’clock was around 60 degrees and though the day hadn’t yet started for most folk, I was already decided on a lake visit.

I had to take care of all the babies first though, so it was closer to 6 by the time I was on the road to Lake Parker. Still plenty of time as sunrise was a little after 7:30, which meant as long as I was there by 6:30, then I was in plenty of time for nautical twilight.

There really isn’t much to see at nautical twilight and while I have included one shot of it at the end of the blog, it really isn’t worth taking pictures. But it gave me a chance to finish my coffee and breathe in the fresh air long before the business of capturing colors became an issue.

Also it gave me an idea of what was happening with cloud movement … kind of an advance notice of whether it might actually be a good civil twilight or not. So, with that little spray of clouds a few degrees above the horizon, I must admit to having a quiet sense of confidence by the time the last drop of caffeine worked it’s way home.

I was sure the actual sunrise was also going to be good, but in truth I wasn’t really interested in catching that. The colors and the way the clouds split them across the sky was awesome and gave my new day a real lift.

What actually made me decide not to linger until sunrise was the sudden arrival of six pick-up drivin’, flat-boat-pullin’ morons. As if their ultra loud mufflers weren’t enough, the sounds of their boats screaming into action and their 0 to 60 race from the shoreline as if their lives depended on it…. well, frankly it was all too much for me.

It completely ruined the peace of the morning. But, dammit, I was set up at a boat launch, so what did I expect.

I guess it would have been nice if someone had just said “hope we aren’t ruining your shots” or something. But no. Not one of them showed the slightest bit of consideration of the old man with the camera.

They were all solo-seat boats, so it was very much a boys with their toys moment. I call these kind of guys The Peter Pan Brigade … they may get older, but they never grow up.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the shots.

So, as I drove away home, I was a little miffed at their lack of consideration. I wouldn’t have objected to them launching. Not a bit. But it would have been nice to be just acknowledged, I guess.

It also bothered me that their screaming at speed from the boat launch also disturbed the herons that had been quietly fishing along the water’s edge until their arrival. I have little doubt their breakfasts were scared away.

Consideration used to be a quality that was valued in the past. But like many others in the politeness-end of the behavior-spectrum, it has been long since abandoned.

There are some people that are considerate; don’t get me wrong. But that is mostly linked to their still being some good people out there. Good people will always show consideration to others and to the environment, and to the creatures we share the environment with.

But consideration and respect, and politeness, … qualities like that are no longer taught at a serious level. And they are no longer recognized at a level to where children might aspire to.

No, we hold up as icons and leaders, people who espouse negative qualities like bullying, obstinacy, intolerance. And then one day we wake up and look at our world and wonder how come it has become so polarized, so mean, and so inconsiderate.

The way social media has morphed into a tool of bullying, trolling, and lying, should not come as any surprise to us. It had every opportunity to become an inclusive, expansive, and positive experience that bridged divides, opened doors, and broadened discussions.

But unless you’ve been living under a rock, you will have seen its descent into a chaos of hate-filled, polarized view-sharing, garbage that is a reflection of the society we have created.

There should be no surprise.

People nowadays are only kind and considerate when there is a light shining on them and they are conscious of how others might see them. They only open a door for a lady when there is someone there to see them do it.

There is that wonderful Seinfeld episode when the guy behind the counter doesn’t notice George putting a tip in the tip jar, so he reaches in to take it out. The fact that he got caught is what made the moment funny. The fact that such a situation could even be considered to happen is what makes mankind sad.

Being considerate, being nice, being gentle, … these behaviors should all come naturally to us. But when our lives are all about us and the toys that we get to entertain ourselves with, then so what if we kill a few fish, scare off a few herons, and make the old guy with the camera head back to his car a few minutes early.

As long as our toy makes more noise and moves faster that the other moron’s … sure isn’t that what life is really all about?

… just a thought.


The thing about Lincoln, is that I love her to death and I crave her love back. But she doesn’t trust me … not even an inch.

Now, it’s possible that she knows me better than most and that her mistrust is therefore totally justified, but in reality she is the one that got trapped in the engine of my car as a kitten and traveled on a 20 minute journey in complete panic and terror.

If you aren’t aware of the story, the synopsis is that as I was walking into Walmart, I heard a little kitten’s cries from inside my car engine. The poor baby was so overheated and dehydrated and terrified, and disoriented … it took me an hour an a half to get her out and she bit and clawed for her life when I finally got her in my hands. By the time I got her safely back home to her mom, two things were set in stone: she had the name “Lincoln” and she would forever be terrified of me.

All of the eleven other cats have been warm and loving to me. Some even dote on me. One follows me everywhere and even sleeps on my feet in bed at night.

But she won’t allow me to get within three feet of her, under any circumstance.

I love her dearly … she has a wonderful character, climbs trees, catches little creatures, and plays endlessly with her sister, Everest. Mom, Daisy and the two daughters, Lincoln and Everest are nearly identical and I have huge trouble telling them apart.

The only way I can, is by looking at their behavior. Daisy is super loving and happy to let me pick her up, hug and kiss her. Everest climbs all over me (hence the name) and will meow at me when she wants me to rub her. Lincoln wants nothing to do with me.

Yesterday evening on my way up the back stairs, I saw Lincoln resting and she kept a watchful eye on me in case I suddenly leaped the 20 feet between us and caught her off guard. Until she saw me, her eyes were totally wide and normal cat-like, but completely stayed in hate-squint mode until I was gone back indoors.

Anyway, I put a few of the shots at the end of the blog and included one that I got of her early morning in the office today as she drank from the fountain. She is the only one that I ever see drinking this way, but she always drinks with her paw placed at the top of the fountain like that.


Anyway, she got me thinking about this whole trust concept this morning and that is what I wanted to express.

There is a saying that trust should be earned not given and it is amazing to me how few people even know that.

Whenever I hear someone lead off with a phrase like “trust me…” I immediately become suspicious. It is often followed by something like “… I won’t cum inside you” and the intent is clearly to disarm the other person’s natural suspicions and defense mechanisms.

What amazes me is the percentage of people that have their gullibility bar set so low that these simple words can persuade them to forego what the rest of us might regards as common sense.

There is a large number of humans that want to believe and they look for any reason to do so. They leave their logic at the door and step into a world where they are mislead, taken advantage of, and even having to take a Plan B the morning after.

Humans generally have the intelligence to know better, but look for an easy way to live their lives without having to think about what they are doing. They quickly develop a trust in leaders that are political, or church, or social and they allow these people to set the rules for them by which they live and behave.

In most cases they don’t even question the most insane of statements and just continue to blindly follow on a path to sheepish foolery. “And we’re going to the Capitol” the dotard says and all the sheep follow. Only they are so gullible they don’t even realize that the dotard isn’t there with them. He said he would be and he has their trust, so they blindly follow.

Only a moron could believe the depraved statements of a deranged lunatic and yet, humans have proven again and again that they will do so, rather than think for themselves. How do people like Putin in Russia, Maduro in Venezuela, Jong-un in North Korea, get the blind trust of millions that prop up their regimes?

The answer is very simple; laziness.

It is easier to believe what you are told than to question it. And political despots the world over rely on the laziness of their supporters to rule in the most lie-filled adventures ever.

Hitler nailed it when he said ” If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.”

Just look at today’s “Trump Won” contingent, if you don’t believe how true that is.

And if you can’t see the similarities in the way Trump has marshaled his sheep to the way Hitler organized his regime, then it’s time for a shearing because the wool is getting in your eyes.

In personal life or political life, in religious or in social life, the moment you start giving your trust without it being earned, is the moment you need to hit pause and ask wtf you are doing. Logic has left the building that houses your brain and you have allowed it to leave for a reason. If the reason is laziness, then don’t be surprised if you end up with a mouthful of cum and him saying “you are just so awesome, I couldn’t help myself. Best blowjob I have ever had”.

Do you know how many women are out there thinking they give the world’s best blowjobs?

Millions ….trust me.

Just a thought!


A couple of days ago, I was sitting at my desk, with the door ajar so the cats could come and go.

That’s my everyday setup here. Cats don’t like locked doors and they have trained me well. It’s a true open-door policy here and has led to all sorts of visitors, lizards being the most common. I’ve even had a couple of gorgeous snakes come in for a perusal.

But most recently, it has been the lovely Ricky … a gorgeous juvenile Raccoon.

Tuesday, I was sitting here and while working on my PC, felt that I was being watched. So, I looked over at the doorway and there she was looking in at me.

When I stood up, she moved away and as I stepped out the door, she was over by one of the two food stations that I set up each evening. She was standing behind one of the empty bowls from the previous night and was running her hands through it to show me it was empty.

So I made up a quick mixture of wet and dried cat food for her and she wolfed it down.

I was saying to Morgan how fabulous it was that she had figured out how to communicate that she was hungry to me. There is a huge sense of wonder when a wild animal communicates with us on a level that we understand. Dr Doolittle must have been a very happy man.

Morgan guessed that now that she had seen that I understood, she would probably be back.

Fast forward to an hour or so ago. I am sitting here at my PC, door ajar and suddenly sensed I am being watched. There was Ricky looking in at me. I didn’t need to follow her to the empty bowl, because I knew I had taken them in already anyway. So as I stood up, she retreated and I filled up a bowl with a mix of wet and dry cat food and followed her over to the spot.

She stood about five or six feet away in a cluster of Palmetto bushes and when I stepped back, she came over and started eating it. I was thrilled. I grabbed one of the old cameras from upstairs and took a few pics of her. They are at the end of the blog.

It can’t have been more than fifteen minutes later and I was just finishing resizing the pics for this blog and sure enough, I see her walking over this way again. I rattled off a few clumsy pics in the excitement as she approached the door and asked for more. As I stood up, she backed out of the door again and so I mixed her up a second bowl, which she duly polished off to the last morsel. Those three pics are at the end of the blog also.


Anyway, since then, I can’t help thinking about how such an intelligent species as ours have been able to figure out how to land a space vehicle on Mars, create untold technical marvels, and can automatically translate any language to another instantly on Google.

Yet, we have never figured out how to communicate with animals or how to understand their communication to us. Don’t you find that curious?

I am not a conspiracy person, but in this instance, I know full well that the reason we haven’t is not because we don’t know how. It’s because we don’t WANT to know how.

How on earth could you live with yourself if you were able to hear the fear of animals being led to the slaughter? How could you look into the eyes of little creatures being killed for their skins and furs, or creatures that were being “culled” because we have deemed there are too many of them. CULLED … see, we can’t even call it the murder it really is.

When we displace millions of creatures so we can build big theme parks, golf courses, or distribution centers we don’t want to know how they feel.

When we hunt and fish for fun, is it really fun if the creature we are about to kill can talk to us?

Of course not. Humans are wonderful at killing. There is no creature on the planet better at it than us. But we like to do so anonymously.

That’s why we drop atomic bombs from planes and hand bars of soap to those we send for showers.

Willful ignorance is a form of cowardice that we have gleefully extended into our handling of creatures other than human. We assign no real persona to these guys, so that we minimize the empathy we would otherwise have to get over in our dealings with them.

And then there is the great oxymoronism (new word alert!!) of how we single out creatures like dogs, where we treat them like babies and can’t understand those savages in Asia that eat dogs. All the while, trowing Fido a bone from our plate while we chew on the flesh of some poor creature that wishes he were born a dog. Just not a dog in Asia.

… just a thought.

Time heals all wounds

Well, that idiom is a crock of shit.

I don’t know who came up with that “feel good” idiom, but they obviously didn’t experience real loss.

My Dad is dead seven years today and I went down to Lake Parker to spend twilight in remembrance. I lit a candle and while I want to say something cute like “we visited for a while”, I’m afraid that isn’t true.

It is impossible to momentarily visit with someone who is always with you.

Dying doesn’t erase the memory and most days it only makes the memory more vivid. Because the cruel truth is that you never know how much you love someone until they are gone.

You heart has a peculiar way of taking a love for granted until that moment when you suddenly realize they are no longer alive.

It isn’t as bad as taking someone completely for granted. He knew I loved him. I knew I loved him.

I just never knew how much.

… that’s all I have to say today.

Fears and Phobias

For years now I have avoided flying like the plague. I do it, but only in extremely important situations.

But yesterday I did a one day return to Newark to explore a business situation and other than a little bit of turbulence, the flights were quite uneventful.

Both planes were absolutely full, and I quite suspect that I might have been the only one even feeling the turbulence.

I took a few shots out the window as the sun went down and given that I was over a wing and the window was none too clean or scratch-free, they came out decent enough to share.

They are at the end of the blog. I hope you enjoy!

Earlier in life I had been traveling all over the place by air. There were stretches when I was doing a trip a week and sometimes more than that. I traveled throughout the US, into almost every country in Europe, Scandinavia, and even as far afield as Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore.

Somewhere along the way, there were a few nasty flights and a couple of close calls. One in particular that I can vividly recall as being when the doors of hell opened up and were about to welcome back their prodigal son.

So, I can understand the development of fear that began to rear its head about ten years ago. It was grounded in some real threatening moments.

But somewhere along the way, I allowed the fear to turn into a full-blown phobia to where I have been going to insane lengths to avoid flying.

Convincing yourself that a 16 hour each-way drive to Baltimore to visit for a couple of days with your daughter, is serious delusion. Yet, I managed to talk myself into that one with all sorts of justifications.

So, facing my phobia yesterday was an important action for me and I took it consciously. It needed to be tackled. It had become ridiculous. I have also booked another flight (for fun) and am planning one with Victoria who is now in Chicago for when she next manages to get Erin away from the piece of shit lowlife that kidnapped her baby a few years back.

These sudden decisions are becoming a small source of pride and while I don’t for a minute think that I won’t be fearful on the next encounter with turbulence, I hope I am one flight closer to being free of this phobia.

You see, phobias are enormously disabling and they can have a marked effect on how we travel through the life experience.

In reflection, much of my own development of this phobia has related to handing over control to a third party (the pilot) rather than the simple fear of dying. I have been fearless in situations with alligators more than twice my size, so it isn’t as simple as being afraid of dying. I am not. A number of years ago, I pushed my way into the home of a couple of aggressive young men that had been holding and raping a friend of mine in downtown Tampa and successfully extracted her. So it isn’t even the aspect of being in a dangerous situation.

No, I recognized some time back that, while I don’t particularly want to die right now, I am not afraid of dying.

But I am most definitely a control freak and this is something that can really dominate decisions and actions. I know how I got there.

There are many of us living in fear of certain things. These things might be a creature, an event, or a situation. And some of these fears might even be linked to something we experienced earlier in life. For example, a person badly bitten by a dog when they were young, might be terrified of all dogs now.

And that is understandable.

But all fear is treatable. And that is the important thing for us to realize. No fear is bigger than ourselves. In fact the fear is within us and we give it power. The “thing” that gives us the fear is more often than not, unaware that they cause such fear in us.

For example, many people are so fearful of spiders that they run away or attack the poor creatures. Even though the spider has no idea what it might have done to cause such a response. In most cases spiders (and snakes) are every bit as normal as other creatures that we fawn over. Most of these creatures look at us and have an immediate fear response based on the fact that our species has already killed them by the billions. So, at least their fears are founded in fact.

When I say all fear is treatable, some people rush to psychologists and counselors, looking for answers. Sometimes, we are just told to take medicine … “here have a Xanax before your next flight. That’s help.”

But my belief is that rather than treating the symptom, we owe it to ourselves to examine the cause. We need to examine the source of the fear and try to determine the degree to which it is nonsensical.

Most of them turn out to be without foundation and that is where we shine a light on it, pull it out of the dark reaches of our minds, and then set out to tackle it.

When I had Jax’s spider walking on me a week or so ago, I loved every second of it. Yet there were several people that I shared that with that recoiled in fear at the very thought. And a few weeks ago when I sent a picture of a snake that I had encountered to a friend, he almost died after the image opened on his phone.

Arachnophobes (if that even is a word) would be well served to find a spider and let them walk on their hands. Talk to the little guy and identify that he has much more to lose should the exchange go wrong between you both. And let a snake wrap around your hand. Talk gently to him and show him that he has nothing to fear.

These are the kind of exchanges that will chip away at the wall of fear that we so carefully craft for ourselves.

Bear in mind that once we address something we fear, it will also bring a source of pride in our bravery. There is no such thing as bravery in a world of no fear. Bravery is the act of doing something of which you are afraid to do.

In the absence of bravery, we are very much likely to turn our fear into a phobia and at that point it actually begins to shape our lives.

So, I guess what I am saying is, address your fear and exert a little bravery before your life spirals out of control. Then again, that is exactly the advice that a control freak might give.

… just a thought!

Putting things off

So, yesterday morning I was sitting at my desk. The babies had all been fed and my breakfast was eaten and I looked at my coffee.

I thought about whether I should journey out with it then or leave it until tomorrow. The deciding factor was that it was really only 5:20, so time was very much in favor of me getting somewhere to catch twilight.

Camera and coffee beside me, I was on the road by 5:30 heading in a general west direction.

I hadn’t really decided where but I knew the skies were clear overhead, so it didn’t really matter where, as long as there was a body of water that would give me some reflection in the images.

The other guiding factor was that I needed to get home in time to watch my Wolves play Aston Villa in an early game on TV. So, that kind of boundaried my travel into the general Tampa Bay or St Pete area.

By the time I hit the interstate, I decided on the Gandy Bridge, which is one of the lower bridges across the bay. I saw on the maps app that there was a spot where people could launch canoes on the west side of the bridge, so I figured that would give me access to be able to shoot eastward and hopefully get some of the bridge in the shots.

The bridge is pretty much east-west, so I had difficulty imagining which side of the bridge would give me view of the brightening skies and for a while after I arrived there, I was none the wiser. It was too dark.

So I bounced a bit from the north side to the south side trying to get some shots before finally settling on the south side of it.

The upshot is that the north side had a better land mass to shoot from, but most of the coloring seemed to be more visible from the south side. As I walked away from the road, deeper into a tree line, I wished I had brought my Glock. Because it was almost pitch black in there and I had no idea who or what I might encounter. So, in all honesty it wasn’t very comfortable.

Then when I did go onto the south side of the bridge, I was walking (slowly) across wet rocks and mushy sand in order to be able to get a decent angle to shoot from. I heard voices nearby but I didn’t see anyone.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the shots at the end of the blog. Despite the fact that it was a mostly clear sky, they turned out decent and I even got to visit with a lovely Great Blue Heron who walked up to within six feet of me and we had a chat. Well, I say “we” but it was pretty much all me doing the talking. He was just looking at me in that “don’t you disturb the fish” type of way.

It was really this morning, that the thought for the blog occurred to me. Yesterday’s thoughts while driving home were more focused on my lack of respect for my own safety and risking another broken wrist on some wet rocks in the dark.

But this morning, I checked the weather and there is dense cloud over me for the next several hours, so I was glad I hadn’t put it off.

And that is how “putting it off” became today’s blog thought.

You see, we humans have an innate defect in making decisions or taking action. We often will just defer a decision or a course of action until sometime in the future and in most situations, this deferment is simply us being lazy.

The sad part about that is that putting things off is almost never a better position to do something. We either create a new time pressure associated with our decision or sometimes we even leave it too late to accomplish what we want.

There are many phrases out there that try to drive this point home such as “Carpe Diem” or “Strike while the iron is hot.” So, there is already substantial logic in front of us that informs us of the benefits of doing something now rather than later.

Therefore it can’t be that we don’t know. We do know.

It has likely even been beaten into us. By our parents, our educators, our life. We are even likely to have encountered situations in the past where we have been victims of our own inaction.

So, why aren’t we learning?

I mean, yes, we are probably improved in our decision making and actions based on such input. But why isn’t it second nature to us, like breathing?

If we put off breathing for a while, we learn very quickly that it might not be the best decision we have ever made, so we don’t even think about it. We just do it.

If we had a real record of our delayed decisions or actions being good for us, then I would understand. But how many times have we benefited by inaction to where it becomes reasonable to do so?

I mean, OK, if you woke up in Southampton on April 10th, 1912 and said “ah fuck it, I’ll wait until tomorrow for the next ship to America” and then rolled back over for a snooze … then I understand.

But most of life doesn’t play out to where putting something off actually was a good idea. Most of life happens in the now.

When we realize that our lives are lived in the now, it requires us to deal with things in the now.

Tell little Johnny you love him today. Maybe something will happen that takes him away or takes you away. Don’t wait until it is too late

Today is in the now. Tomorrow is in the future and unless you know something that I don’t know, tomorrow isn’t guaranteed for anyone.

It’s why when the company hit the skids a few months ago and I had nothing to do, I decided not to do nothing. I decided to do something. So, I wrote a book. And a month later, I wrote a second book. And now in my third month, I have started book three.

It is irrelevant if anyone ever publishes them or if anyone reads them. But it is important that I wrote them. Important for me. It was something I had mused over for years but I kept putting them off, thinking “ah, I will do it sometime.”

If I was lying on my deathbed, wishing I had made the time to write the book that was in my head, I would be seriously pissed at myself. And while there may indeed be reasons that I will be really pissed on my deathbed, that won’t be one of them.

If I had a dollar for every time I have heard a friend tell me that they should write a book, I wouldn’t need change for a twenty. But of all the people I have heard voice that thought, I don’t even know one of them who has.

But life is not about writing a book. At least not for everyone. But I can guarantee you that there is at least one big thing that you wish you had done, but haven’t. And it probably isn’t that you decided not to do it. It’s just that you will do it “some day”.

The truth is … you won’t. You will lie on your deathbed and right there in the middle of all the things you wished you had done better in your life, there will be that one “thing”.

So, either accept that your deathbed is going to be a pretty miserable experience or get off your ass and do the “thing” today. Even if it is so big that you can’t get it finished, it doesn’t matter. Get it started.

Then at the very least on your deathbed, you can take consolation in the fact that you died trying.

… just a thought.


I have to stop saying I got up early, because truth is, getting up before 5 is now very much my norm. In fact, I am sure if I wasn’t releasing all the kitties and have everyone fed by 5:20, they would probably assume the old man finally died.

So, yes, by 5:45 I was on my way to St Pete armed with my camera and a cup of coffee. OK, hang on … I will also have to stop saying “cup of coffee” because all my blogs have me traveling with one within arms reach.

Anyway, this morning I selected Demens Landings as my port of call. I had only been there once before and it was a good shoot, so I figured “why not?”.

I was on the interstate talking to myself (there’e no one else to talk to at that time of the morning) and I noticed I was pronouncing it like demons, instead of de-mens which is how I think it is supposed to be pronounced.

It was this pronunciation that determined the blog today, but I will come back to that in a moment.

It was a wonderfully fresh morning and even though the sky was a bit too clear for a nice sunrise, the shots ended up pretty decent. I have put some at the end of the blog and hope you enjoy!

So driving away, I was totally invigorated. It was a wonderful way to start a day, but I gradually returned to my train of thought from the drive down to St Pete.

This is the problem with a long drive (it was about an hour) … is that I end up with a lot of thinking time.

I began with a recognition that I have so many demons in my closet that I need to take out a self-storage unit for the overflow. It is dreadful and something that I am genuinely unhappy with myself about.

These demons come in a variety of shapes and sizes and their main goal in life is to make a person feel bad or feel guilty over something. They are generally not around when we are doing that something. No, they wait until it is too late to stop yourself and they come in afterwards and make you feel miserable about it.

Demons generally come with conscience … you open up a fresh box of conscience and lo and behold a few demons jump into your bowl. They should have a warning on the outside of the box – Beware, Demons Inside.

Of course, being raised in an Irish catholic country, having a conscience is ingrained into each and every child at an early age. If you have impure thoughts, feel guilty. If you touch yourself, feel guilty. If you murder a few english tourists, feel guilty.

It’s all designed to get you into the confession box so that you can share all your dirty thoughts or doings with an old man in a black dress.

Hell, the catholics had the guilt thing perfected so well, that newborn babies are born sinners. The moment they breathed their first gulp of air, they are sinners and unless baptized they can’t enter heaven. How sordid is that? Have you any idea how many parents of newborn children who died before baptism were faced with their children dying as sinners and therefore ineligible for heaven?

But on the good side, these demons and the conscience they spring from are an important mechanism for making us humans better social animals. The demons remind us that we do nothing with impunity; that there is a consequence for every action. And if we don’t pay for it, then someone or some other creature does.

I know a few people who have no demons. They go through life as though they are perfect creatures that never do anything wrong. They apologize for nothing. And they never learn.

And due to their lack of demons, they also tend not to be very empathetic folk. They are unable to identify with the poor, the old, the infirm. They tend to be very black and white in their interpretations of things and their way is always the correct way. They tend to be very militant and unforgiving (yet invariably profess to follow a god that was all about forgiveness).

So when we talk of demons to those kind of folk, they tend to identify the demons as others. People who have an abortion, people who wear masks, people who educate children about racial inequity, black people, and of course, immigrants.

Unfortunately, I am one of those (well, several of those actually) so that might go someway to explaining where my demons come from.

It must be because I am a sinner. Bless me father, it is 50 years since my last confession.

No, the truth is that I have demons because I am not perfect. And I know that I am not perfect.

I like to think that I try to get better each year in certain ways, but I am not sure that is even true. Does living longer mean that we become better as we get older? Nope, sorry!

It just means we have been around longer opening up boxes and letting the demons runs riot inside us.

Eventually, do the demons just drag us away screaming at death, into the shadows like in the movie Ghost?

Perhaps that’s where they got the idea for that, but they got it wrong. The demons weren’t in the shadows waiting for us to die, they were within us all the time.

Demons and our conscience are likely the last things within us as we say goodbye to this world. As the outer world shuts down and we are left alone in our head with our thoughts, do the demons invade and remind us of all the things we did wrong? Do we lie there wishing we could have done differently?

They talk about our lives flashing before us, as we are on our way out, so unless you are a republican then you probably are going to question yourself and be forced to examine what you did and didn’t do.

And that brings me to the real point of this train of thought. The things we did right, the lives we touched and the loves we shared. These are not just the things we did with good conscience. These are the things we did that impacted others around us in a positive way while we were alive.

These are the things that gave value to our lives having been lived.

Sure, there will be things we didn’t get to, or mistakes we made. But we are merely human and therefore flawed. And that’s ok. The demons know that.

That’s why, the bit of that movie off-camera that we didn’t see, was the demon putting his arm around the dead guy, saying “it’s ok, you did your best.”

You did, didn’t you?

… just a thought.