Adirondack Candids

The photo challenge this week is to post candid shots: photos of people or animals that were not posed, but just captured what the subjects happened to be doing at the time. This was an extra challenge for me, since my policy is not to post recognizable photos of anyone on my blog. But I was able to get through my files and find three images from a visit to a friend’s cabin in the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York that would work.

First: water skiing on the lake

A boat pulling a water skier on a lake surrounded by dense trees. The skier is in the background, well up on her skis; the boater, in the foreground, is looking back, concentrating on keeping her safe.

Next, a quieter, more solitary moment in a canoe

A woman paddles a canoe by some water lilies near the shore of a quiet lake surrounded by trees

Finally, Mia the dog at the dock, watching intently for fish. I’ve actually posted about Mia the neurotic dog before. She’s my Zen master.

A shaggy dark-furred dog, about the size of a collie, perched on the edge of a wooden dock, peering down into the waterPosted in response to Lens-Artists #67: Candid, with thanks to Leya for posting this week’s challenge.

Boldly Go: Thinking About Heroes

A red shirt with a Star Trek communicator pin. Text: Something for Sunday; August 11, 2019; Boldly Go

Space: the final frontier
These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise
Its five year mission:
To explore strange new worlds
To seek out new life and new civilizations
To boldly go where no man has gone before

Do you recognize those lines? They’re from the TV show Star Trek. Not long ago, someone on Twitter asked people to identify their first character crush, and my immediate answer was Spock. The original Spock, that is, an alien played by Leonard Nimoy on the original Star Trek series. It was first broadcast in 1966, when I was in my early teens, and I actually made a scrapbook with pictures and quotes from the show, especially those featuring Spock. (I’ve remained a fan ever since. The communicator pin in the image is mine, and it makes a chirping noise when you tap it! I won’t say what it means that I’ve photographed it on a red shirt. Those who know, already know.) What I loved about Spock was that he was intelligent, rational, and able to make tough choices to do what was right, though others might disagree. His loyalty to his ship and its crew and officers was unquestionable. In my mind he was, to use the lingo of the day, dreamy, even though he wasn’t conventionally handsome.

Photo of Mr. Spock, as played by Leonard NimoyThis got me to thinking about what it was that drew me to that particular character. I thought about other characters who’ve been my heroes, and discovered something interesting about myself and my characters that relates to my current WIP (Work in Progress).

Another character I’d hold up as a hero is the Doctor, a character on the long-running BBC show Doctor Who, whose real name is never revealed. The Doctor is a Time Lord, from a race with the technology to travel throughout time and space and build things that are bigger on the inside than the outside. He (and I use the masculine pronoun merely as a convenience; a Time Lord’s gender is fluid) is eccentric, brilliant, crotchety, compassionate, and has an inexplicable fondness for Earth, which he has protected from a truly endless series of evil aliens. His approach to solving problems is to think them through and figure out what needs to be done, no matter how outrageous it might seem to lesser beings. His choices are always based on doing what is right, even when it is hard or dangerous. He frequently risks his life to save others who clearly don’t deserve it, but he has an especially ferocious loyalty to those he travels with. He only has one weapon, the sonic screwdriver, which can manipulate objects but not hurt anyone. The show began in 1963, but I didn’t start watching it until the early 1980s, and I’ve been hooked every since. The character has been played by many different people (14 of them in the continuity of the TV series, plus a few others in movies and other rare events). My love is for the character, not specific actors, so it doesn’t matter that some are gorgeous, some are not, or that they come in all ages and both genders.

Composite photo of all 14 actors who've portrayed Dr. Who on TV over the yearsAnother of my celebrity heroes is MacGyver, as portrayed by Richard Dean Anderson in the original show, from 1985-1992. He solved problems by improvising offbeat devices out of whatever was handy, using his broad knowledge of all fields of science and technology. He frequently championed the downtrodden or less fortunate, and would never abandon anyone who needed his help, and he hated violence. MacGyver never used a gun except to take one apart and build something else out of the parts. As you can see, Anderson is a very handsome man by most standards, so it’s not like I have anything against conventional standards of attractiveness!

MacGyver, as played by Richard Dean AndersonI could go on to list a few other character crushes of mine, but with just those three to go on I can come to the following conclusions about the kind of character I see as a hero:

  • Smart and knowledgeable
  • Unswervingly loyal
  • Inclined toward science and technology
  • Adhering to a strong moral code, even if it’s a bit eccentric
  • Brave about stepping up to save others
  • Practical about doing what needs doing, no matter how hard
  • Somewhat eccentric or offbeat

I like this list, especially because it turns out that it also fits one of the characters in my WIP. He’s a strong supporting character and turns out to be the romantic interest of my main character. It’s good that he is a hero in my book!

What makes someone a hero in your mind?
Who are your favorite hero characters?

WW Photo Challenge: G is for Genesee Brewery

G is for Genesee Brewery

Genesee Brewing Company has been making beer in Rochester, NY for around 140 years. They make good beer, and we’re proud of them around here. A few weeks ago I was visiting the lovely lakeside town of Sodus Point and saw this terribly atmospheric old industrial plant, and was surprised to learn it was once a Genesee brewery! It was a wonderful structure to photograph, and a touch of home for me.

If you’re interested, you can join in on the photo challenge! Pick any image you created you can label with the letter G. Will it be grapevines or the Grand Canyon? I’d love to see what you come up with. Here’s how to participate.

  • Post an image on your own blog or website.* All types of images are welcome. If you have serious equipment and serious skills, that’s awesome! If you snap pics on your phone (like me), that’s also awesome!
  • Post a comment on this page with a link back to your post. If you post a comment that includes a link to your blog, I will add a link to your post below.
  • Check back over the next week to follow the links. That way you can see what other people did with the theme and join in the fun.

Olga Godim is participating in the challenge with her custom-designed book covers, and this week she gives us a gargoyle! Check it out here.

*Just so we’re all clear, you post your photos on your own site, which means you aren’t giving control to me or to anyone else. We’re all invited to view the images you post (and comment if your site allows for comments), but nobody has the right to use your images in any way without your permission. Got it? Great!

Y Haiku #atozchallenge

~ seasons come and go ~
~ the earth goes around the sun ~
~ another birthday ~

It’s Y day on the A to Z Blog Challenge, which means today’s haiku suggests a word starting with Y. Can you guess what it is? If so, let us know in the comments.

We get Sundays off in this challenge, so you’ll have to wait until Monday for the last entry for this year. Try to contain your excitement!

Climbing to the Moon

On September 27, 2015 there was a total lunar eclipse, and I went with many other folks to the Strasenburgh Planetarium in Rochester, NY for the event. After a show explaining the science of what was about to happen we climbed up to the roof to watch the real thing through their telescopes. I wasn’t able to get good photos of the eclipse itself with my little phone camera, but I snapped this shot looking back down the stairs. The experience helped me feel connected to my fellow science lovers and to the giant, impartial spin of the cosmos outside our little world. Keep looking up!

Posted in response to the WordPress photo challenge: Ascend


Here’s my photo experiment, from a couple of months ago when I decided to try my hand at reflection photography. The water is in the marina where we keep our boat, with other boats’ masts reflected in the quiet water between the docks. I kind of like how it came out. What do you think?

Posted in response to the WordPress photo challenge: Experimental

A to Z Theme Reveal – More Haiku Puzzles!

More haiku puzzles!
They were lots of fun last year,
so I brought them back.

This time there’s a twist –
The words are from fantasy
and science fiction.

Nothing that demands
serious fan knowledge, though.
I bet you know them.

Join me in April
for a little poetry
and some fun puzzles.

The A to Z Blogging Challenge happens every year in April. Each of the 26 letters in the alphabet gets assigned to one day in April, and bloggers who participate post something that relates to the letter of the day. I had a ton of fun doing the challenge last year, and I’ve decided to do it again. Each day will be a haiku, a little poem based on a Japanese concept, with five syllables in the first line, seven in the second line, and five in the third line. The haiku of the day will somehow suggest or relate to a word that begins with the letter of the day, just as I did last time. The difference this time is that all the words relate to something in fantasy and science fiction. The challenge is to figure out what word I’m thinking of, based on the haiku. I’ve picked ideas that are in the mainstream, things that most people will know, so even if you’re not a diehard FSF fan you still have a good shot at knowing the word. We’ll find out how well I did as April goes on. Join me! 

10 Minutes a Day – Update

On January 11 I pledged to write at least 10 minutes a day on my work in progress, and to post how it’s going with my Wednesday Words each week. I changed my mind about how to post it, since this little update feels jarring stuck at the end of an essay on some writing topic. So I figured out a different way to do it. In the sidebar on the right side of the screen (or down at the bottom on the mobile version), you’ll see an update with the number of days that have passed, the number of days I hit the 10+ minute goal, and the percentage of successful days. I don’t expect anyone else to actually pay attention to that, but updating it regularly should keep me on track. I hope!

Free the Music!

InstrumentsThis unusual arrangement decorates the wall at one of my favorite restaurants, Tin Pan Galley in Sackets Harbor, NY. It serves really interesting and delightful dishes, including an appetizer of white-bean hummus, roasted peppers, caramelized onions, balsamic reduction, and toasted pita points that makes me swoon (and is more than satisfying as a full meal). Mostly we eat outside, in the garden with the live music. Sometimes, though, we take a seat indoors, and that’s where I had to snap this photo. It’s an interesting artistic arrangement, but as a musician I feel a pang of sympathy for the instruments. What are they doing cooped up in that little frame? Music needs to be free!

Posted in response to the WordPress Photo Challenge: Frame