Weekly Photo Challenge: Beloved; or, My Precious

In response to WP Weekly Photo Challenge: Beloved.

The other thing I love, besides my cat. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to have a Mac to love your computer. I have a Lenovo called Lena and she’s perfectly lovable as she is. Of course, Windows keep on trying to ruin her, but nothing’s perfectly perfect.




Weekly Photo Challenge: (The Sound of) Silence

In response to WP Weekly Photo Challenge: Silence.


The prompt of this week’s challenge is inspiring me to multiple responses. Which is probably counter-intuitive because the prompt ask literally for silence. Here you go.

Developing Your Eye I: Monochrome Architecture

Part of WordPress’s photography course Developing Your Eye I.

The final task in this photo non-challenge is to paint architecture black and white. That’s a bit too obvious. So let’s twist it a little, pick a non-architecture and add some grunge. Now, much better.

Developing Your Eye I: My Most Treasured Treasure

Part of WordPress’s photography course Developing Your Eye I.

Today’s photo prompt is open to abuse: it asks for a portrait of treasure. Well, if I had a treasure, the last thing I’d do is to flaunt it for thieves and murders to get. Since I don’t have a treasure though, it’s a no issue. In lieu of treasure, I present my beloved laptop Lena. Sure, I wanted to present my cat, but you know her already.


Developing Your Eye II: Light Mystery

Part of WordPress’s photography course Developing Your Eye II.

Today’s subject of the photo challenge is Mystery as conveyed by light and shadow. I think this impromptu snap of my ceiling light turned out quite right, no?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Waiting

In response to WP Weekly Photo Challenge: Waiting.

In railway halls, on pavements near the traffic,
They beg, their eyes made big by empty staring
And only measuring Time, like the blank clock.
—Stephen Spender


Changing Seasons 7/12

In response to Cardinal Guzman’s Changing Seasons challenge.

I hardly go out these days for various boring reasons. I however did go to a cemetery — to see what my next stop will be and to pay a social visit to deceased relatives. I figure a graveyard is as good a place as any to record changing seasons, hence graveyard photos follow below.

To balance it out with something less morbid, there are sunrises, sunsets, clouds and rain as observed from my flat. For the next month’s instalment of this challenge, I challenge myself to present a set of photos all taken without me setting foot out of the flat.

What I Hated the Least Today 181/365: Stet, Let It Stand

Let it stand, let it rust
Let it stand, let it rust

I’m trying to learn to become more of a stet person. Stet, let it stand, is a proofreading mark indicating that a correction should be ignored and the text should be left as it is. Letting anything as it is comes across as an extremely difficult skill to me as someone who, even when she’s not proofreading, spends time poking around, finding faults and, ideally, fixing them.

The urge to perfect what’s imperfect (which is everything) comes with a load of disadvantages attached, including that you spend all the time fiddling with things and have no time left for doing things. The only advantage is that I make a hell of a proofreader, and I’m sure I would make an excellent software tester, which I’d really fancy doing for money since I’m already doing it for free with all software I use.

Blogging assists me a little with developing some stet skills. When I started blogging in a text form rather than just posting uncommented pictures, I took forever to write a single line. I double-checked each word I used and was unsure of (you’re never sure, so each word) and devoted hours to writing and rewriting a tiny hundred-and-fifty-word post.

A year or two later, the present, I’ve grown a bit in the practice. Not only have I been writing a post on an everyday basis for the last half a year—that’s my 365 blogging challenge this post is part of—I also occasionally end up with thousand words or more written on the spur of the moment within a single sitting.

I don’t produce good quality, unless accidentally (I’m still intrigued by how my personally least favourite posts regularly become the most popular ones with readers). A fact of life which I don’t particularly like but have no saying in has it that the point today isn’t quality. While I’m unsure what the point is then, I’m pretty sure quality has become irrelevant. You can trust my keen discerning eye on that.

Blogging is a good example of quality playing no role from the greater perspective. That’s nothing to be necessarily depressed about, it follows naturally that a blog post is a text for fast immediate consumption, to be read and forgotten. No one is going to read my posts twice and ponder on them. In terms of efficiency, there is zero sense in crafting my posts as though they were to be carved in stone.

I may not know what the point is (and being an existentialist, I maintain that there is no point), but I should know what my point is. Well, my point is that the above is good news really—I’m learning to blog freely and carelessly, and I might even learn to extend this stet approach to other, non-blogging activities. Imagine the time I’d have and the stress I wouldn’t have.

What I Hated the Least Today 177/365: Sounds

Homely home sounds
Homely home sounds

Do you ever think of the sounds your home makes when it’s otherwise quiet? I don’t, unless I spend a night out of home and am confronted with an entirely different set of sounds. Moving homes a year and half ago also made me more attuned to the peculiarities of soundtracks of places, so to say.

My current home produces some sounds that were not entirely straightforward to get used to. In winter, the fuses tend to buzz when the floor heating kicks in; which sounds like electrical overload to me, but I had a technician checking the fuses and insisting that nothing was wrong with them. I eventually got used to the buzzing.

In all seasons, the water heater tunes in with random screeching sounds. It sounds as a train braking in distance. It’s sometimes hard to tell from actual train screeching, which I get as well, since I live near a cargo train depot.

In summer evenings, I have noise from the pub across the street, which is actually quite pleasant. It’s good to hear that there is life going on outside even when I’m locked inside working or blogging. The pub shuts its outside seating area at 10 p.m. sharp, which is probably the standard curfew to keep if night disturbance charges are to be avoided.

The best sounds of all are the cat sounds. I don’t mean the noise of the blinds being torn down or the squealing of the toy mouse being chased around, though in the case of the latter, I appreciate it when the cat  engages in human-approved, furnishings-friendly activities.

What I’m quite in love with is the sound of the cat’s paws tappity-tapping on the hard floor. I can hear her in my sleep as she is prowling around. It doesn’t disturb me, it’s a comforting heads up that the cat is live and well (and up to no good, but never mind that).

Speaking of good sounds, here’s a good song called “That Sound”. Whatever it is that works as that sound for you.


What I Hated the Least Today 163/365: Academic Encounters

Lost in a gritty city
Lost in a gritty city

I met my favourite professor in town today. Academic encounters tend to be highly humorous because academia means social awkwardness. A high degree of it.

I recognised the professor straight away though he was pacing—not very steadily, as he was juggling his deep thoughts while walking—some distance in front of me. I sped up, caught up with him, said Hello, professor and introduced myself, in case he didn’t remember he spent the last n years collaborating with me. He did remember. He also acknowledged that it wouldn’t have been odd if he hadn’t recognised me because he had broken his glasses. (Damn it, I’m probably not getting this tense shift right and I need a tense even more in the past than past perfect. Yet, such a tense does not exist in English grammar.)

In lieu of a conversation, the professor and I exchanged our individual mutually unrelated streams of consciousness. In a rare moment when we actually actively interacted, the professor inquired whether I was still unemployed. I said I was, however, I now officially called it being self-employed. It’s the same, minus the social security benefits, plus the self-employment expenses on taxes and insurances. The professor complained about his low salary. I didn’t tell him that he should be glad he can earn enough to pay his bills, even if just enough. I also didn’t ask how much he earned.

The professor expressed some concerns about his four-year-old son, who, surprise, is a prodigy, reads in two languages and, surprise again, no one in the kindergarten likes him. No one likes smartass people. I advised the professor (because in academia, no one expects you to behave adequately, which allows me to dispense with advice to my professor) that as long as he discourages his offspring to follow a career in the humanities, everyone will be just fine. I didn’t recommend a career in IT, which I do recommend.

Owing to the lack of his glasses, the professor was more disoriented than usual. When I inquired which tram he was waiting for, he gave a me a bus number. While waiting at a tram stop. After a metaphysical discussion concerning trams and buses and the meaning of life, the professor decided for tram number seven. I made sure to wait with him and put him on the tram. He really looked lost. The encounter cheered me up. It’s refreshing to see someone who is more lost than yourself.