March 9, 2018

Storytelling with Childhood Comic Books

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is to reflect on the idea of storytelling, with one picture or a few.  Jen’s essay Story on the subject is lovely and if you are a photographer who blogs, perhaps you should look it over.


The idea of storytelling has more than one meaning.  The ancient idea of a story is a great deed, and, now in recent times, many variations on story exist including the marketing idea.  A brand should engage its audience by telling a story, by representing itself as sometimes a great notion that people can feel involved in what the brand is about and how it functions in the space of marketing.  If people trust a brand’s “story,” they want to be a customer of the brand as it belongs to the space understood by both the storytellers and by the consumers.


If you watch Stranger Things, you know that the Dungeons & Dragons player who organizes game sessions is referred to as the “Dungeon Master.”  Being a blogger is a little like being a Dungeon Master because you are organizing some kind of storytelling effort for other people to read and otherwise consume.


For this week’s Photo Challenge, I am telling a story visually with what is a popular visual form of storytelling, comic books.  They turned up in the kitchen of the church where I work and they belonged to family years ago, which I borrowed informally on the suggestion of my father, who noticed they were there.


March 9, 2018
Superhero Story for WordPress Photo Challenge

I picked a couple of these that I did read when I was a kid and a couple more that reflect the interests I had as a kid.  I hope you like the photo I have taken, and that if you see this, you relate to how it is to come across something from the past that is a nice memory.


Blurring a photo is a normal aspect of photography and the blur in this photo was done with the camera.  The photo hasn’t been blurred by software.


Attack of the Video Content

Do you have an inkling what influencer marketing is?


Influencer marketing, I guess, is when a brand with an expansive and powerful Internet presence helps a newcomer gain exposure by sharing the smaller brand under the umbrella of the major brand who is widespread across the world wide web on several channels.


When the Hulu video streaming service was becoming a monster, I know they experimented with following various Twitter peeps in order to help make themselves a household name.


November 28, 2016
Hulu among other Twitter followers

Now I see commercials on TV for Hulu that make it seem all the more like a juggernaut, but for some time they were most alive in my mind as the entity on Twitter that seemed to be joking around all the time waiting for all those people to start transplanting their attention to Hulu instead of all the other options for video entertainment that likewise wanted consumer dollars in exchange for a wild consumption experience of the most dynamite video to be found.


Hulu kept adding all kinds of classic TV shows to their roster line-up, and beginning with The Handmaid’s Tale began to fill its slot of originals with more and more series, like Marvel’s Runaways.


It felt to me like the underdog Hulu challenging the king of paid content, Netflix, for a portion of its subscriber base.  Who had the best originals, Netflix with its incredible budget and seeming out-of-control finger on the market with a business model set to break all records?


But what happened… this is surely a simplistic interpretation of what was actually experienced… the Harvey Weinstein effect rocked the entertainment industry and pretty soon many respected actors were back to the drawing board.


I am not an analyst, but are these two events connected in any tangible way?


Netflix established an extraordinary budget for its current and future programming, all growing from a point of origin that was one particular Netflix original that was historical for being the first there was.  It was House of Cards starring Kevin Spacey.


Spacey came under stern criticism and was let go, costing Netflix a ton and generating at least a little bad publicity.


With their very first entry as a Netflix original series becoming a distraction, I felt I was seeing Hulu rise up in response and setting their sights on becoming a major competitor in the wake of the scandal around Spacey.


It can’t have been that direct a transition, I don’t think, but I would infer that with the breakdown of Netflix’ House of Cards at a critical time, when Hulu was beginning to launch its new originals, I think it certainly meant the time was right for Hulu to begin to market itself more traditionally, rather than with its jovial influence marketing that resembled stunt tactics.  Maybe Hulu still does play with influence marketing, I’m not sure, but all of a sudden it seems like all the more professional a brand than it had been previously when it was a minor competitor to the juggernaut Netflix.


Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale also demonstrated its penchant for winning many major awards and on top of that, it carried with it a feminist zeitgeist that was all the more effective in the face of the Weinstein effect that was leaving men everywhere clutching their walking papers.


November 16, 2017
A year later Hulu unfollows

These days when I see the TV ads for Hulu I smile.


I think the video streaming market is mad, but it is interesting to see that there have been many measurable changes in it in the last several months as Hulu grew into its mode of expansion and gained tons of credibility.


It will be interesting to see if there are more upstarts as entertainment continues to change.


Today’s WordPress Daily Prompt is the word inkling.


Solitude I Can Justify

Not to be idle, and also to say farewell to 2017 and to welcome 2018, I am doing the free WordPress course, ten days long, called Developing Your Eye, to help me get a little better as a photographer. Honestly, I am a week late, but there has been holiday fun, the intense winter weather, and other reasons to procrastinate.

To complete the exercise for Day Six of the course, I took to the idea of solitude. How I thought to illustrate solitude is to show the vantage point of a walking trail up the street from where I live, between an elementary school where some of my education took place when I was little, and a gospel chapel on the other side of the trail.

A gospel chapel the last day of the year

While I don’t attend the chapel, this point of origin symbolizes for me the distance between my home now, to the road to where my parents live, and where I spent my teenage years and most of my twenties. Down the street I live alone. The solitude is having left where I resided in my younger years.

On the path beside the gospel chapel

In 1978 DC Comics gave us the big screen adaptation of the Superman comic starring the late Christopher Reeves–I realize the film belongs to a generation older than mine. Superman, reflecting on his power, travels north to his Fortress of Solitude to find answers about his fate and his obligation as a hero.

The silver screen images of Superman’s Fortress of Solitude became so iconic that even in the present Henry Cavill version of the Superman saga the recreated Fortress of Solitude in his films strongly resembles the design of the 1978 film with Christopher Reeve. The nineteen seventies Fortress of Solitude has been translated to the current Superman films with a similar design that remembers Superman on film in the seventies and eighties.

Why does the caped superhero require solitude? Solitude can permit a person to approach life with his own direction, unimpeded by the feedback of others.

The town here is small but it is a city–it is never that lonesome. There is contact with people each and every day.

It doesn’t mean that I don’t cultivate an attitude of preserving solitude, and I imagine it shows in the style of the blog I write and in the appearance of the photos I take. I imagine many humans likewise treasure their solitude, particularly in that as adults there are so many demands and requirements for living in a Western culture that we have little choice but to conform.

When there is an opportunity for solitude, in contrast to what we are tasked with doing in the course of day-to-day work, solitude becomes extremely valuable, at least in small measures. In other words, silence is golden.

I realize it is ironic I am writing that when blogging can be seen as a search for a community (and WordPress is an inclusive community). Blogging is a given in this day and age–if you have even a basic amount of computer literacy, it is not surprising if you are blogging.

If you are doing business, and you personally have some computer literacy or otherwise a member of your team is computer-literate, you should have a blog. Even as I assert my blog is not making me money, that doesn’t mean I don’t want to pursue it. I suppose I am trying to have my cake and eat it, too, but I have the solitude that I think makes me truer and I am likewise active at participating in the Internet, which is millions and millions of others.

I don’t think foregoing solitude is the answer, but I respect those people for whom blogging is not just satisfying as an opportunity to make discoveries, but who profit financially by being business-savvy with the blogging that they do.

You can find my church at


The Silver Screen in the Storm

I am extremely late working on this free course from WordPress to help me get better as a photographer.  With the extreme winter, the busy holidays, and the relative difficulty of thinking how to proceed, at last, I am ready to make a post with the next exercise in photography at the ready and on the Internet.  Day Four of the beginner-level WordPress course “Developing Your Eye” asks participants to reflect with a photo about bliss–this is what I have for you.


Landmark Cinemas at the Pen

One of the cool things I got to experience when I was a boy was watching a film, and for a long time, we didn’t have cable television in our house (I suppose it’s lucky we had electricity–joking, of course, we certainly did)… but I did get to visit the movie house and it opened what I expect will be a lifelong cycle of happiness creating memories that contain a component of elusive bliss.


I can remember without being aware of much else famous movie titles that I got to see, and I suppose the end result of a childhood like that is an adulthood rich with “geekdom”–that movies continue to light a casual passion in my life and I remember to enjoy them.  They light a bit of freedom that should be cherished amid the changing times that sweep by all.  The movies remain an institution of great cultural impact and richness.


My photo today is of the exterior of the commercial cinema in the mall in the other end of town, and, as previously mentioned, the winter weather so far this year is fierce–you can see the swirling snow.  I nearly came home with less clothing than I’d worn.


Blogging with WordPress is an amazing hobby–I am consistently impressed by the visitors who leave “likes” on the posts which are of a passing grade.  I hope that by the end of this course in photography I have improved as a photographer and I hope blogging takes me into 2018 with aplomb and continues to serve as a communication tool by which excellent connections are forged.  Thank you!

A Simple, Elegant Victory

“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.” -Charles Darwin

Two years ago I felt the world’s people could have victory; today I feel not.  The observation asks so much a complicated mire that I wonder if it will ever be resolved, and I’m not sure about it.

I remember being young, making decisions, feeling that the future would be cheery. books_aug_12_14_8116 Experiencing some maturity, if in short bursts, solving mysteries that confronted me and remaining interested in famous literature, music, and art were all part of the journey.

It is such a wearying experience to think about time lost and that the best of what could be termed intellectual is lost to time.  But there remain others who do the contemplating.

The machination of insight doth crumble.

A number of famous persons for whom I held enormous respect were celebrated certainly in their own right.  There was for many the very strong pull of events connected to ongoing victories which steered people in the direction of victory.  These aren’t forgotten to history, but for the individual who lacks focus:  likewise, some of the vision of the past has dimmed to a haze.

It no longer seems the times were defined by what interprets a victory, whether a top-selling album’s reissue with new songs, a recording artist’s return to form, or a novel’s adaptation for film.  I suspect, honestly, they weren’t, but my doubts could be daftness in me that has come on with age.  I remain unsure.

The times were at least signified by what had been done some dear, favorite pop icons, I think.  You will have your own.  Thank you for reading.

© 2015 - Lucasfilm

Star Wars Episode VII The Force Awakens is Exciting and Gripping

Today is unlucky Friday the thirteenth, all the more so being October (the year is 2017).  A year ago I wrote a mistimed blog post about The Force Awakens (the blog post is little seen).

Today’s WordPress Daily Prompt is the word cloaked.  Naturally, I think to revive the blog post reviewing The Force Awakens, for better or for worse.

It was a good experience to sit down with Star Wars Episode VII for viewing and see what happened to Han Solo and Leia after all those years. On screen, they delivered a good show, and it is a fun and lengthy saga revisited in Star Wars Episode VII.

The film represents an astounding amount of excitement. Heralded as the new film in the series which helped make an absolute legion of fans when Star Wars Episode IV, V, and VI captured the imagination in the late nineteen seventies and early nineteen eighties.

© 2015 - Lucasfilm
John Boyega in Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015)

The story of terrifying villains cementing an iron grip on political power across a faraway galaxy was hugely successful and now in the year 2015, Star Wars Episode VII has returned to take up the story which seemed to have ended in the year 1983. Evil hasn’t finished raising its head and, fortunately for the film audience, an assembly of the good and just will do battle with the enemy and therefore try to take back power in the galaxy.

Actor Adam Driver is Kylo Ren, who wants to destroy MIA Luke Skywalker so that the Jedi of light will never return to restore balance to the galaxy. He is fearsome and helps carry the torch, of evil because he is the chief baddie who helps lead the galactic power that controls the galaxy. He helms several important missions personally, which is important that he is that kind of leader who is responsible for putting the personal touch on many important missions.

For example, personally pursuing BB-8 falls into the hands of Kylo Ren which is instrumental to gleaning nearly-lost information that BB-8, in the tradition of Star Wars Episode IV where R2-D2 carries information with the weakness of the Death Star. BB-8 is also important to helping his human allies get the necessary information to help them vanquish.  What’s so singular about this Star Wars film is that cast members from the original films are returning, with Harrison Ford as Han Solo, Carrie Fisher as Leia, and Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, along with others.

It is excellent seeing how they fare in a sequel many years after the events depicted in the first three films of the seventies and eighties. It is nearly irresistible that these characters reappear in film so many years after they resoundingly did the same in the original Star Wars saga.

On the corner in the place I inhabit

When you’re growing up in a small town
You say no one famous ever came from here
small town, Songs for Drella, Lou Reed & John Cale

Today’s WordPress daily prompt is the word inhabit and this week’s photo challenge is an essay on the corner. I wanted to say something on my blog before too much time had passed so I looked to see what the daily prompt was saying today and I went out and took a couple of photos to participate in the weekly photography challenge again. I am beginning to understand that for my blog to have the faintest chance of being readable I have to dispense with the grade school rules of writing and begin to think more about how a blogger need think and how a blogger need write, and I’ve been on WordPress five years now and I know it doesn’t really amount to much.

Corner theme
Friday, August 25

It doesn’t mean I’m frustrated or full of self-doubt or anything like that. I’ve become convinced that there are new rules for writing on the Internet, and what need be done in the fashion of blogging, you can see plain as day from the words in front of you how a style of blogging best resemble. Similar to how it is now.

angles and intersections
Friday, August 25

What should be said? Perhaps as little as possible. Perhaps a little more, though, because why shouldn’t your life include a blog?

It’s near-essential. I don’t like much about the place I inhabit, I admit, but I grew up in this and I remain, despite the diminishing odds for success and the relative poverty and narrowness of opportunity I shoulder. I have family here and other supports and resources and it is a comfortable life, just not a daring one (you can find the website for our family-operated not-for-profit here).

Does it depress you thinking of something like what it is to be from somewhere that is mostly unknown? Don’t let it. For every withered self-help tome that exhorts the benefits of change and proffers a philosophy of optimism, don’t overlook the relative advantages of leading a comfortable life.

You should work hard and you should be kind, but never let the gloom in the streets extinguish the fire of passion you feel or clamp down on your enthusiasm or ruin your day in the least. Everything is as it should be, I whisper.

The times are exciting and even with only relatively scarce resources you can try this, and you can chase your dreams if they’re gathered in your arms or you can at least make out that you are having a good time. Living well is the best revenge, it’s said, and I would encourage you, if I really knew you, to put that into practice and to have a bit of fun what with everything you’re required to do and what you think you can do, to make your life better for yourself, and to experience a comparable level of satisfaction with your living in light of what you profoundly wish and desire.

That being said, I thank you, for reading this and for taking an interest of any kind in WordPress. If you relate to what I’ve said here, feel free to “like,” comment, and/or follow if it suits you. Good luck!

Jenna Marbles for President