Haiku ~ Bitcoin

Haiku ~ Bitcoin

It’s funny how things pan out. I was searching Amazon for a new powered USB hub as my last one seems to work no longer, and I am shown USB devices to mine bitcoins. Further reading and I stumble upon this alarming article from The Guardian explaining the effects on this activity as “…a competition to waste the most electricity possible by doing pointless arithmetic quintillions of times a second.”

Has the world gone (even more) stark, raving mad?

Heating our planet

To feed insatiable greed:




The Perils of Free Ranging

Today we fell ‘victim’ to the circle of nature in our quiet little semi-rural home. We have three chickens that we let range freely during the day over the property in exchange for their delivery of their daily egg, and three more youngsters who should soon be ready to join the growing flock.

As mentioned in a previous post, we also have a local fox, with which we have already had one close call. So, we have been very careful of late in only letting “the girls” out when we’re in and around the garden.

Then today happened.

It was a dark, wet day and I naively thought that there wouldn’t be a problem with the usual routine. I was wrong and the seemingly inevitable happened, with one of the hens being taken by her nemesis. We spent a good hour hunting around the yard and adjoining properties, but all we could find were a few clumps of feathers. We are all pretty upset about it, unlike her two “sister” hens who now seem to just be annoyed that we’re keeping them in their (large) pen.

Ain’t nature strange…?

The Gift


A new focus from the High Line in NYC

Yesterday’s trip to the Big Apple was a bit of an eye opener for me. Despite trying to get inspired by the dogwood52 challenge that I have forced myself to participate in for the last 19 weeks, I have really been neglecting my photographing activities on the whole. One could say I have lost my focus (appalling pun intended!). Thus, knowing that I would have several hours free time in NYC yesterday I made a point of packing up my bag to include my Panasonic GX-8 with a 20mm f/1.7 and a 45-200mm f/4.0-5.6 lens.

I also took along my trusty Panasonic LX5 and removed its external LVF so that I could keep it handy in my pocket. I thought about getting some decent street/urban shots but, to be honest, I still feel very self-conscious about this and don’t want to intrude too much into people’s lives. It’s just my opinion, but I strongly believe that the ways of the Garry Winogrand “in yer face” approach are long-gone and people are much more suspicious and unforgiving than they were even 20 years ago. I want to get home in one piece.

Anyhow, as I mentioned yesterday I took a leisurely stroll along the High Line and was pleasantly surprised not only by the art installations but also the views of the buildings and the creativity that has been used in the area. This extends from the place itself into the neighboring buildings and also into some of the graffiti in the area.



Being alone in the city as a tourist can be a little strange; for example, there is no-one to share your thoughts or discoveries with but on the other hand it does afford a time of quiet self-reflection from the normal busy day. I used the time to wander aimlessly along and to “see things again” through my cameras, unfettered by a tight schedule or the wants of others.

Part of Untitled (Swan) by Matt Johnson


After an hour or so on the High Line, generally making myself a nuisance to other users and drawing some confused looks from tourists, some of whom wondered why the old guy was taking photos of a wall or getting low to the ground*, I felt as though I had reset myself. As I headed up to Central Park it was as if I was able to focus on my photography like I used to.



* as an aside this is a great way to get strangers to look at all sorts of odd things and almost start a chain reaction of crowd behavior. It’s surprising just how few people will actually ask what you are trying to see!  


Urban Landscape Redux

Yesterdays’ post as part of the 52 week challenge also produced a second shot (if you’ll pardon the pun) as I was walking back down the stairs from the 6th floor.



Friday is meant to be my philosophy day, and it certainly made me think and get a different perspective on this quiet(ish) county town. I thought it was a bit too negative for my weekly challenge shot, but after a day I thought what the heck…


Horrified and Humbled by Humanity in the same day

Yesterday Donald Trump “swept to victory” in the five US States he was contesting in his race to become the Presidential candidate for the Republican Party. The previous day he was in my town, at the university, preaching to his followers and proselytizing to others. I didn’t attend but a friend made a passing visit and said it was an unbearable atmosphere.

Over the last few months The Donald has managed to rile up a nation, spouting negativity and hatred for his fellow human beings in a way that we haven’t seen since the rallies of the National Socialists in post-Great War Germany. And worryingly he seems to go from strength to strength. We are living in frightening times and I shudder at the consequences for the nation and the entire World should we, as a people, be hoodwinked into falling into this self-obsessed, narcissistic trap, like angry wasps lured to a sticky end by a honey-filled mason jar. No good can come of anything that is so driven by unthinking hate and lack of long term vision.

The same day I was reminded by another friend, of Ukrainian descent, that this week is the 30th anniversary of the appalling Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Dreadful as this event was – its effects are still being felt today – it was also a time of unbelievable acts of self-sacrifice for the bigger cause. Although there were many, many stories and images of great heroics, the one that stood out to me was the story of Alexei Ananenko, Valeri Bezpalov and Boris Baranov. These three heroes volunteered to undertake a suicide mission in order to dive into radioactive water and open a stuck  valve thus preventing an explosion and escape of radioactive steam which would have affected millions of people and a huge swathe of countryside. They all died excruciating deaths within a few days and their bodies were so toxic they were buried in lead coffins that were soldered shut.

Alexei Ananenko and Valeri Bezpalov (I could not find an image of Boris Baranov) [image rights unknown, used for editorial purposes and out of respect!]
It is stories of such selfless bravery and heroism, of individuals faced with dire decisions that have no personal upside that give me hope for humanity, where self-preservation is cast aside for the good of fellow humankind.

As I struggle to comprehend a time of insane, spittle-filled rhetoric and bombastic sound-bites from the person who wants to rule over me I make but one comment:

He is not worthy to represent The People.

~ Richard

Friday Philosophy?

According to my loosely followed schedule today I am due to post a “philosophical” thought or two on this blog. But where to start? Given the unexpected death of yet another celebrity musician/artist yesterday, with the untimely demise of Prince, I could perhaps ramble on about how we are losing so many celebrities this year, but I already did that a few months ago (which perhaps proves a point?!). Instead, I will witter on for a short while about Earth Day, for that is today’s designation.

According to the Earth Day Network the concept of Earth Day emerged from a growing awareness of humanity’s impact on the world through Rachel Carson’s seminal work, “Silent Spring,” in conjunction with the hippy movement that channeled a more introspective viewpoint on the world. This was a fairly slow grass-roots (pardon the pun) movement which became much more active following a particularly bad oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara, California in 1969 that fueled (I promise that’s the last pun) Sen. Gaylord Nelson to found an environmental movement in 1970, that is still going strong.

I will admit, that I am not generally a great fan of these “(Inter)national days” that seem to be thrust on us from all sides almost every day, and have been largely denigrated by crap like “national chocolate covered cashews day”, “national get to know your customers day” (both yesterday) or “national jellybean day” (today) and “national hanging out day” (tomorrow). Yes, really! However, I do think that Earth Day is special.

Although we should always be cognizant of our environment, and the impact we make on it; whether it be the human environment, natural environment and, yes, even the office environment; how often do we really do this? Personally, I do make the effort to turn off lights (sometimes), re-use and recycle (when I remember), walk instead of drive (when I can be bothered), but I still waste a heck of a lot of resources in my daily life. In fact, more than many people on this spherical rock even start out their day with.

So, perhaps having one day set aside to actually focus on something as important as the planet upon which we live is not a bad thing. Today I will try my fallible best to do something, however small,  “for Mother Nature” and I hope you will too.

By way of celebrating the day I also offer up the Flag of Earth, created by Illinois farmer, James Cadle, in the wake of the moon landing and unveiled the same year that Earth Day was started. It was designed to represent us all as passengers aboard the earth as a spaceship.

What a fitting way to consider our relationship with our home planet!


Personal Relativity

Yesterday was “one of those days,” as we like to say. It’s not that anything went wrong, far from it in fact, but it was a work day which seemed to drag on for longer than it should. Why is it that the evenings and weekends seem to rush us by, like they are only half-days and yet sometimes workdays seem to have hours that contain ninety minutes instead of their allotted sixty, and you can almost hear the second hand of the clock drag itself from one digit to another?

I guess it’s a subtle form of relativity – although in this case it’s not time passing at different rates for two people in different places, but rather one person experiencing time in two different states of mind. Good times rush us by whilst the more mundane days drag.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, sometimes we even find things to support our self-inflicted mood and keep us in that state (or at least I do). Sometimes this can even be with objects that are meant to inspire us, which is perhaps yet another form of relativity. By way of example, I give you the recently decorated “inspiration wall” of our building. This is meant to reinforce our corporate ideals and keep us all aligned to the work we do.

Strangely, the one word that jumped out at me from the wall yesterday was the following:

I know it was meant to portray an unstoppable drive to a goal, or some such meaning, but yesterday it seemed an appropriate adjective to sum up a slow day.


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