Peace and Quietness

Superstition Mountain ~ Arizona

Do you like the above picture?  I sure do.  It evokes certain feelings in me.

For one thing, it gives me a sense of fresh air.  I can imagine breathing in deeply the cool and invigorating climate.  There is also a sense of peace since the sun is almost down, the moon is rising, and the light is getting dimmer.  Dimmer light triggers chemical mechanisms in the brain that helps one to calm down.  (I read this somewhere…can’t remember where.)

Imagine a campfire at the foot of this mountain. The heat is enough to give you a bit of warmth.  And the sound of wood crackling is enough to perhaps break the dead silence.  What thoughts would run through your mind in this kind of setting?

Let’s look at another picture.

Baby Alligator ~ Dupuis Wildlife Management Area

I took the above picture one time when I went camping. This little guy was in a lake, which was next to my campsite at DuPuis (pronounced: Du-pwee).

What feelings come to mind and heart when you see a picture like this?  Me: I’m not alone.  She is as curious of me as I am of him/her.  Around this lake too I saw a snake, turtles, frogs, squirrels, and especially at night, raccoons.

"Uh...excuse me...please read on..."

Let’s look at one more picture.

Grand Canyon

I love the Grand Canyon.  It is so massive and awesome.

What kind of feeling does a picture like this evoke in you?  Notice the calmness of the water.  The rafters are setting out for a voyage.  What lies ahead I don’t know…maybe they don’t either.

Look at the walls of the Canyon…what feelings do they evoke?  Do you feel a sense of being boxed in? Do you feel a special sense of security because the walls are massive and the only way, it seems, in or out is by water?  What would it be like to stay there all night?  Would you feel lonely? Would you enjoy the total solitude?  Would you feel scared?  Would time just seem to stand still?

Edited to add: Click any image in this post to enlarge it.  They’re really much nicer when viewed at a larger size. More detail can be seen.

Published in: on Mar 13, 2012 at 7:34 PM  Comments (4)  

Darcy Isla and Ship of Fools

Wow!  What does it mean to be a fool?  That is a question posed by Darcy Isla in her post:  Ship of Fools.  It is a deep question coming from a deep person.

So what does it mean to be a fool?  Is it someone who does not act prudently?  Someone who acts unwisely?

It seems that the question cannot be answered short of cultural context and what people consider to be a fool.

How about this?  You work your butt off all your life for your possessions,  whatever they might be,  and then you die.  Is there any wisdom in that?

But then again,  I feel it is better to have than to not have,  especially to have the things deemed necessary for one’s survival.  Of course,  there is more to life than just surviving,  although we have little choice but to engage in the first activity,  which is to survive.

It will be interesting to see how Darcy’s first writing commission turns out.

Published in: on Mar 8, 2012 at 9:15 AM  Comments (2)  

Some Good Soup

Let’s talk about soup for a moment.  I like to make soup.  Here is what I like to put in my three quart pot to get things going:

  • 2 quarts of water
  • 1 tablespoon “BETTER THAN BOUILLON” Beef Base

I bring the above two ingredients to a boil and then add:

  • 1/2 cup brown rice

I cut the heat and allow that to simmer for about 20 minutes.  In the meantime, I get a fresh onion from the fridge, dice it up, and then set it aside.  Also, I open a small can of mushroom stems and pieces, pour the juice into my pot, and dice those up and set them aside.  At the end 20 minutes, I add the following to my pot:

  • 1/4 cup brown lentils

I continue to simmer the added ingredients for about the next 15 minutes.  In the meantime, I take one or two cloves of fresh garlic, dice them up, and allow it to rest for about 10 minutes.  This will give the beneficial components in garlic an opportunity to work on behalf of my health, or, if you’re coming over to my place for a bowl of soup, your health.

So about ten minutes have passed, and I’m now ready to add:

  • diced onions
  • cut up mushrooms
  • 1 can of Chili Beans
  • 1 can of Golden Sweet Corn

I allow the above to simmer about five minutes. During the last five minutes of cooking, I’ll add:

  • my chopped up garlic

In addition, I’ll add:

  • 1 tablespoon 76 degree coconut oil

Now I have a nice soup that is not too watery and ready to eat.  Notice I added no meat to the soup. The brown rice, beans, corn, and lentils give me a whole protein.  I’m not a vegetarian.  But still, this is an easy recipe that calls for relatively non-perishable items.

Try it some time.  Maybe you’ll like it.

Published in: on Mar 6, 2012 at 11:26 AM  Leave a Comment  


I really don’t like what is going on in the Middle East.  It seems that Israel feels threatened by Iran’s possible ability to produce an atomic weapon. Israel feels threatened that she will somehow lose control of its future because Iran is so close to Israel.

How would you feel if you lived in Israel?  Would you feel threatened?  I think the answer depends on your level of knowledge about Iran.  The real problem, it seems to me, is trying to figure out the “intentions” of the other side.  What is in the heart of Iran’s government?  What do they intend to do?

The U.S. Government, it seems, takes nuclear capabilities seriously.  But so does Israel.  Threat can provoke anger and lead one nation to become violent with another nation.

So what is the solution to this crisis?  There is now talk of a preemptive strike against Iran.  There are concerns that Iran could cripple movement of ships in the Strait of Hormuz.

I hope there is a diplomatic and non-violent solution to this issue.

Published in: on Mar 5, 2012 at 11:29 PM  Leave a Comment  

Fifty-seven and two and Persia Walker

Well, I found someone else on the net, and that is Persia Walker.  She is “government”.  But she is also a crime fiction author, who has authored a few books.

Not too long ago, someone hacked into Persia’s website, and it sounds like the hacker might have messed things up on her website.  One thing I noticed when I visited her website was that I had to use the horizontal scroll to read all of a sentence. The sentence went off the webpage so to speak. That is annoying to a reader, as the visitor has to use the mouse and scroll from left to right to read each sentence.

So this brings us to the subject of 57 and 2.  What do I mean by 57?  Well, one day I was surfing the net and reading up on the subject of typography.  I wanted to discover the “ideal width” for a line of text.  By “ideal width” I mean a line of text that is the most easiest for a reader to read.  Somewhere, in some book by some respected author, I found that the ideal width is 57 characters.  And that includes spaces between words.

So how do you get a line of text that is about 57 characters in length?  Well, I’m not a computer expert.  I’m not an HTML expert.  I don’t have an expert answer.

But I do have an answer for the width of a line of text here at my blog.  The answer is two.  I mean indent  two times. That’s right.  I write my post usually using Notepad, then I copy and paste it in WordPress, and finally I highlight the entire post and click the “indent icon” twice, which indents the left side in and towards the right.  The result is that I end up with lines of text throughout my post that are just about 57 characters in length.  The count includes spaces between words.

Now there are a couple of other things I want to talk about. The first one is that I like to leave two spaces from the end of a sentence period (dot) to the beginning of the next sentence.  I learned this little trick, if I remember correctly, from Donald Knuth. It makes it just a little easier for a reader to read. The disadvantage, for now at least, is that I have to manually put in that one extra space at the end of each sentence.  But I don’t mind.  Everything is for you, the reader.

The next thing I want to talk about is font.  So what is the easiest computer font to read?  There is a general consensus that “Trebechet MS” takes first place.  Following that is Verdana and then Arial. The font for the text you are reading now is Arial. This is the default text that comes with my new WordPress theme, Skeptical.

I hope this post is helpful.  I know that for me personally, if I visit a website that is hard to follow along or read, I tend to leave it immediately.

Edited to add: I just changed my theme again, and this time I changed it to Quentin. I’m still experimenting and trying to find the best one.

Published in: on Mar 5, 2012 at 7:13 PM  Leave a Comment  

Leave a way out

Have you ever been involved in a rear end collision? Have you ever accidentally rear ended another motorist on the highway?

There are ways to avoid rear end collisions.  One known way is to keep plenty of distance between you and the motorist in front of you.  But this entails not being distracted in any way, such as texting on your cell phone while operating a motor vehicle.

But there is another principle that can help you avoid a rear end collision with a motorist in front of you, especially at a red light.  Let’s say that you and the motorist in front of you are intending to make a right turn at a red light.  The car in front of you begins to move forward to make that right hand turn, and you turn your head left to see if the coast is clear and safe to also make a right hand turn.  The car in front accelerates as though intending to make that right hand turn, and you move your head left again, and seeing the coast is almost clear, you accelerate to make that right hand turn. Bam!  You hit the car in front of you because you didn’t anticipate that he would stop.

What can you do to avoid the above scenario?  The answer is to leave yourself a way out.  “Leave a way out” is a principle I learned when I attended truck driving school to learn how to drive a tractor/trailer.  The idea is that if a motorist were to come to a halt or perhaps even stall or is just there and not moving, you are not so close that it is impossible to go around the vehicle in front of you. You always leave yourself a way out in the event the vehicle in front of you cannot move.

Leaving a way out is the best principle to apply at all times when driving.  You’ll avoid rear end collisions. And if you are far enough behind a stopped motorist that is front of you, even if the motorist were to accidentally put their transmission in reverse she most likely would not hit you because of the distance involved and coming to the realization that she is in the wrong gear before her vehicle makes contact with your vehicle.  (Don’t ever follow too closely!)

So always play it safe and leave yourself a way out.

Published in: on Mar 2, 2012 at 10:15 PM  Leave a Comment