Weekly Photo Challenge: Prolific

In response to WP Weekly Photo Challenge: Prolific.

The prompt prolific can be interpreted as pro-life. It’s in there: pro-lific and pro-life. Looks like these two might have something in common, right?

I’m not speaking of pro-life in the sense of anti-abortion—let’s not even look in that direction. It’s pro-life more in the sense of obsessively bringing things to life. Regardless of whether said things wish to be alive in the first place or would rather choose not to.

Spring is a quintessentially prolific season, hence my tulip photo. I never post tulips while omitting to quote my pet poet Sylvia Plath. I think I get her, or she gets me, whichever way you put it. She wasn’t particularly pro-life, which we have in common, as manifested by her choice to quit and put her head in the oven. And since we live in an age when you can’t say anything without offending someone, please let it be recorded that I’m not pro-suicide. Which is quite a feat, for a suicidal person.

But now, rest your eyes on the tulips and consider how they feel. That’s how tulips feel to Plath:

The tulips are too red in the first place, they hurt me.
Their redness talks to my wound, it corresponds.
They are subtle: they seem to float, though they weigh me down,
Upsetting me with their sudden tongues and their color,
A dozen red lead sinkers round my neck.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Beloved Kitty

In response to WP Weekly Photo Challenge: Beloved.

I recoiled in horror as I beheld the prompt for this week’s challenge. It’s been here before a thousand times and it doesn’t allow as much manoeuvring space as many other prompts. I’ve responded to this question earlier and my answer remains the same. Cat.

Well, this wasn’t much of a challenge. Giddy up, guys, and come up with something nice next time! Say, Hated? That’d probably inspire me. Not to a hateful post, but to an inspired post in which I’d actually have to do some thinking. This one I’m posting while asleep.


That’s a Lot of Leaves

I think I like leaves. I’m not sure but I probably do since I take so many pictures of them. What do you think?

Flowers, Grass and Shit

Don’t worry. There’s no literal shit here, just figurative shit. All snaps snapped on my way to Tesco because I don’t go anywhere else. I don’t have a life. What’s life anyway?

Photo Gallery: Colourful Landscapes

My preferred mobile photo editing app, Snapseed, got a makeover. I hate it because they shuffled the buttons and now I can’t find a thing. I love it because they added filters. Filters! *happy dance* Scratch that. I’m neither happy nor do I dance. Ever. Here are some happy colourful filtered photos instead.

Developing Your Eye II: Nature Bits

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

The photo prompt for today is asking for a picture of nature. The extra task is to focus on strong leading lines. Nature photos are boring, so I took a snap of a bit of nature in the civilisation: my new heather plants. I tried to do something with the pattern of the shopping trolley and the floor. Like, make it into leading lines or what. Also, I’m kidding, I took this totally on random.


What I Hated the Least Today 221/365: This Be the Verse

Very ugly and totally unrelated

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

—Philip Larkin, “This Be the Verse”

I blame my parents for everything bad that happens to me (when I currently don’t blame myself, which is even more common). The parents are the obvious culprits. After all, they brought me to this world in the first place.

At the moment, a rare family constellation is occurring when I talk both to my father and mother. Not simultaneously, but concurrently; plus, one mustn’t know that I talk to the other (they divorced in an uncivilised manner ages ago but still bear grudge).

However, I don’t talk to my brother, who is my only sibling, and who doesn’t wish to talk. If I had a larger family, I’m perfectly sure there’d be more members with whom I wouldn’t be on speaking terms (or vice versa).

The nice thing about my talks with parents is supposed to be that I’m being a well-behaved offspring and am doing the right thing (or what). The downside is that these communications put a bit too much strain on my clinically depressed nervous system.

Talking to both of my parents, it becomes rather obvious how come I grew up to end up in the hands of psychiatrists. Some kids are naturally resilient, shut up, deal with it and survive their upbringing. Inconveniently, I was apparently a fragile, impressionable child who internalised a gazillion harmful thinking patterns.

On the thinking note, I think I forgot what my point was (if any). In lieu of a point then, let’s make a (supposedly) therapeutic selective list of what I learned from my father during our today’s phone call. (I called him once, after a year of not speaking, to say hello, and now he calls me anytime he’s drunk and feeling frisky – which is often, he is alcoholic.)

Father: How’s your so-called depression? 
Me: Not great, but I’m trying to cope.
Father: Look, it’s a question of will, you just lack the willpower. 

Father: So, are you finally earning enough to support yourself?
Me: No, but business is improving, this month is my best so far.
Father: “Improving” is a shitty business model, I told you you wouldn’t manage.

I probably shouldn’t take my father too seriously, but it’s difficult for me to tell apart what’s my own thinking and what’s a thinking conditioned by my upbringing. Somewhat tragically, I tend to agree with my father: “improving” isn’t good enough and depression isn’t a thing (which doesn’t prevent me from having it).

Changing Seasons 11/12

In response to Cardinal Guzman’s Changing Seasons challenge.

Changing Seasons 10/12

In response to Cardinal Guzman’s Changing Seasons challenge.

What I Hated the Least Today 194/365: Minimax


Minimax is a time-saving (and ultimately life-saving) strategy in which you achieve maximum effect with minimum effort. I utilise this strategy the other way round. I often find myself undertaking maximum effort and achieving minimum effect. Such as today, when I spent a few hours copywriting an obscure article for an even more obscure online magazine on a subject which I had no knowledge of and no interest in (which no way stops me from writing about it).

The article was to be delivered in my mother tongue (which I hate using, by the way) and I threw it together from a bunch of English-language sources. It didn’t occur to me to look first if Czech-language resources were available. After I finished the article, I viewed the source code of one site from where I was going to steal a picture to go with the text (legitimate theft, the site allows reuse of images if credited). I went in the source code so that I could open the picture on the attachment page and save it on my drive in the original size. Part of my maximum effort–minimum effect strategy. In the source code, I discovered a link to a Czech mutation of the site.

I could have saved myself probably an hour or so on translating, had I looked properly to start with. I wouldn’t have of course copied and pasted any text, but I wouldn’t have had to bother trying to figure out how to translate some tricky terms. The nice discovery was that I translated it more or less in the same way as the official translation, in some cases better, in one case worse. Another curious discovery could be that I’m losing the ability to read output text and gaining the ability to read input code. I wish.

To make up for the time wasted on working with maximum effort for minimum wage, I applied the minimax approach in the right way on the featured image of this post. It’s completely irrelevant to the post content and it’s edited in two clicks. One click was a one-click smart fix in Corel PaintShop, another click was to apply a filter in Perfect Effects. The photo looks about the same as it would if I devoted fifteen minutes to fiddling around with it manually, as opposed to auto filters. I suspect it may even look better. May I serve as a cautionary role model. Don’t be me. Use minimax in the right way.