Saturday, December 31, 2016
It's New Year's Eve and, I have to get out of the office early for social obligations.
Two of my sweetheart granddaughters took this selfie last night.
They have some app on the smartphone, which composes these things.
Grandpa can download the gadget, too. The girls said, they could hook me up.
"No thanks," I told them. The stuff made me laugh so much, I couldn't see where I was going.
Happy New Year Everybody !
Friday, December 30, 2016
Three Cameramen Walk into a Bar
One was from Oklahoma, one from Wisconsin and, I'm right here.
It wasn't for the purpose of drinking booze or, anything like that.
We heard a rumor, they served Black Angus cow meat there so, that's why we went.
First, I offered to pay for the lunch because, I had money.
But, the senior guy, insisted on buying for everyone.
Out of respect (maybe) I said, "Alright."
The other two guys, ordered regular size burgers.
In the past, I had been cautioned about the double burger.
It's way too much for the average person, to eat.
So, that's what I ordered. I don't like being average.
If, you stop and think about it; that's too easy.
Of course, everyone was done eating, before me.
It was quite a filling meal and, took some doing.
Jerry, the guy from Oklahoma, decided to shoot me.
He's actually some sort of preacher, I'd say.
But, he don't mind hearing me cuss so, he's OK.
Don't worry. There was some pretty women in the place.
The gentlemen side of me won't cuss around ladies.
I just pretended, I was a normal person and, ate.
And, Jerry, fired away with his Fuji camera.
These Aren't My Photos
After, he downloads the images, Jerry does some photo processing, to spiff things up.
He likes to play with the sliders, the editing program gives you, for adjustments.
So, the images, of me eating sliders, got tweaked with sliders, too.
He sent them to me and, it gave me an idea. Put them on my blog if, he would consent.
Even though, the subject is me, I don't own the copyright to those images.
So, before posting them, I had to get the photographer's permission.
Look up Jerry TheDissenter on Facebook, to see more of his work.
Then, come back here and let me know something.
Do I look better, eating the sliders on full color or, black and white ?
Wednesday, December 28, 2016
Sunday, December 25, 2016
There's a Chance of Rain
The weather gurus tricked me, again. I decided not, to take a long camera excursion.
They claimed, we'd have scattered showers. Maybe, it'll happen after dark.
That's alright though, I climbed up onto the roof and, took two quick photos.
Looking east, ocean is barely visible, at the horizon.
This position is where I shoot the moon from, when I don't feel like going on a long hike.
The wife and I, went on sort of a Christmas date last evening and, partied hard.
By 3 AM, we figured there was enough cold preventative medicine in us to last all winter.
We took a taxi, to get home and, I believe, she's probably, still sleeping.
It was 3 PM, when I climbed the stairs to the roof of my office and, shot this photo.
There's not enough daylight hours left, for me to get a few hours of walking done.
So, I think, I'll listen to my body, go home and get some rest.
Then, grab a raincoat, go see what's going on downtown and, do some conditioning.
There's another holiday weekend, coming soon and, I want to stay in shape !
Soon the Santa Suit Gets Put Away
The season to be jolly can get fairly exhausting and, I'm feeling the effects, already.
Physically and mentally exhausted, I'm too tired to write a blog post today.
I want to share this email, that came from my Nene (older sister) and, hope you'll do the same.
It doesn't have to be Christmas and, you don't need to be a Christian. Read it daily:
What Happens in Heaven When We Pray ?
""I dreamt that I went to Heaven and an angel was showing me around. We walked side-by-side inside a large workroom filled with angels. My angel guide stopped in front of the first section and said, "This is the Receiving Section. Here, all petitions to God said in prayer are received."
I looked around in this area, and it was terribly busy with so many angels sorting out petitions written on voluminous paper sheets and scraps from people all over the world.
Then we moved on down a long corridor until we reached the second section.
The angel then said to me, "This is the Packaging and Delivery Section. Here, the graces and blessings the people asked for are processed and delivered to the living persons who asked for them." I noticed again how busy it was there. There were many angels working hard at that station, since so many blessings had been requested and were being packaged for delivery to Earth.
Finally, at the farthest end of the long corridor we stopped at the door of a very small station. To my great surprise, only one angel was seated there, idly doing nothing. "This is the Acknowledgment Section," my angel friend quietly admitted to me. He seemed embarrassed.
"How is it that there is no work going on here?" I asked.
"So sad," the angel sighed. "After people receive the blessings that they asked for, very few send back acknowledgments."
"How does one acknowledge God's blessings? "I asked.
"Simple," the angel answered. Just say, "Thank you, Lord."
"What blessings should they acknowledge?" I asked.
"If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep, you are richer than 75% of this world. If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish, you are among the top 8% of the world's wealthy, and if you get this on your own computer, you are part of the 1% in the world who has that opportunity."
"If you woke up this morning with more health than illness.. You are more blessed than the many who will not even survive this day."
"If you have never experienced the fear in battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation... You are ahead of 700 million people in the world."
"If you can attend a church without the fear of harassment, arrest, torture or death you are envied by, and more blessed than, three billion people in the world."
"If you can hold your head up and smile, you are not the norm, you're unique to all those in doubt and despair......."
"Ok," I said. "What now? How can I start?"
The Angel said, "If you can read this message, you just received a double blessing in that someone was thinking of you as very special and you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world who cannot read at all."
Have a good day, count your blessings, and if you care to, pass this along to remind everyone else how blessed we all are.........
ATTN: Acknowledge Dept.
"Thank you Lord, for giving me the ability to share this message and for giving me so many wonderful people with whom to share it."
If you have read this far, and are thankful for all that you have been blessed with, how can you not send it on?
Thank God for everything,especially all your family and friends.""
My Nene and I have been hundreds if not thousands of miles apart, most of our adult lives.
In my travels, I've probably associated with every type unfortunate mentioned above.
Big sister, is certainly more of a Christian than, I'll ever be. But, we're still close, to each other.
She can sort of, read my mind and, knew, I'd appreciate this, as well as, pass it along.
Different angles, have touched me along the way but, I still know right from wrong.
Years ago, I stopped donating any funds, to organized religions and, do things differently, now.
Most of my expendable donations go towards beer and pretty women, these days.
"What Happens When We Pray" could have been authored by any religion, I believe.
All religious denominations have importance, to me. I try to relate to them all, as well.
For example, the Dalai Lama, came to Okinawa once but, I missed him.
In case he ever returns, I'm practicing a little tune, to sing, when I shake his hand.
Friday, December 23, 2016
Migratory Visitor to Okinawa
These birds are easy to identify, with their whacky colors and hairdos.
The pair, I spotted today, were the first, I've seen this winter and, they seemed sort of shy.
It seems, the population of these critters in on a serious decline, I just learned.
The IUCN Red List has them catagorized as Near Threatened (NT) this year.
People in Iran, eat the poor things. Do you think that's criminal ?
Well, I found out, in France, Greece, Italy and Spain, they hunt these birds, too.
What are those crazy people doing, trying to start World War III ?
It got me thinking. I should call up that Donald Trump and, have a chat with him.
You never know. Maybe, he'll make me one of his ambassadors.
See a Vanellus vanellus in brighter light HERE
It's time for me to go get into a better temperament at some of my favorite watering holes.
Thursday, December 22, 2016
Must Learn Some Dutch
That's just a reminder.. It was fun, getting an identification on this plant.
They are blooming all over the place, in Okinawa, right now and, I never noticed them before.
Out on a long walk, with 420MM of lens on the end of the camera, I wasn't looking for flowers.
But, the birds were on a lunch break so, I figured,"Why not catch these whacky blossoms?"
With the Android, I snapped a picture and shared it to Facebook.
My comment was, "Let's play Name That Flower." It got some replies, rather quickly.
People were saying stuff like "Star Fish Plant and Coffee Plant."
One, good friend said, "That's where they grow the Skittles."
Next, I took a couple of shots, from across the street, using the big lens.
Wouldn't it be nice, after walking three more hours if, I had an ID, when I got to office?
Hundreds of flowers, plants and trees, are waiting for me to identify them.
It's a chore, I save for days, I'd rather not go outside. That's kind of rare.
What I was hoping for is, someone, come along with a scientific name for this vegetation.
It didn't happen for a couple of hours, after I downloaded the images.
But, a gal named, Frida, hooked me up with exactly what I needed: Schefflera arboricola.
Armed with a Latin Name
What I do next, is plug it into a search engine and verify by looking at photos.
In no particular order than, the way Google had them listed, here's what I learned:
This plant is native to Taiwan and Hainan, according to Wikipedia.
Plant and Flower Info: Some are called Octopus Trees; that's what the flower resembles.
CAUTION: House Plants Expert, warns the plants are mildly toxic to dogs and cats.
Over at Gardening Know How:
People and pets, won't die but, get really sick from eating these plants. Don't try some !
I'm thinking, the folks who thought this looked like a coffee or candy plant best read the links.
Oh, in case you were wondering, "Why learn Dutch?"
That sweetheart, Frida got me this Facebook Page, Determinatie van planten and dieren.
It's a closed group, with thousands of helpful members, to identify plants and flowers.
When, I requested to join the group, she got me in as a member. Only, I don't speak Dutch.
Of course, I thanked her and, she came right back with her response:
"Graag gedaan , meaning, You're welcome. My first lesson, in that language.
Must learn more.
Wednesday, December 21, 2016
Tuesday, December 20, 2016
The Base of Kin Dam
There wasn't much activity in the sky today but, I took a long camera walk, anyway.
Kawasemi (カワセミ) would be, what a Kingfisher is called, locally.
When, I saw it land, I was hoping, it might dive into the water below and, grab some fish.
Probably, a hundred images, of the bird, were taken, before it flew away.
The little character, seemed upset about something and kept, flapping its wings.
Maybe, there's a nest and mama bird, behind that netting and, he was warning them.
"Don't come out and, give away our position. Wait until, I say it's all clear.
There's some idiot with a camera, on the bridge and, he keeps shooting, everytime, I move."
Monday, December 19, 2016
Sun Goddess Made It Happen
Walking to the office yesterday, my intentions were, to work all day, indoors, on a story.
It was cold so, I dressed in warm, winter clothes and, almost put socks on my feet.
It looked like it might rain so, I told the wife, I'd put the socks on later.
It started sprinkling, halfway to work and I smiled, thinking about, what, I told the missus.
The socks, would have got wet, on my feet. They went in my pocket, instead.
Rainy Winter Days Are Perfect for Office Work
It may surprise some folks, to hear that, I started doing physical conditioning exercises.
One morning I decided, too much soft fat, was beginning to creep into this old body.
Around the 1st of November, I began doing some simple, flexibility stretching and twisting.
Each week, something new, got added to the regimen. Tougher stuff.
With rain and cold wind blowing, I decided to workout indoors, yesterday.
At least, warm up enough, to where I wouldn't need the jacket, when going outside.
Out back, there are some cement blocks, I use for weight training. Too cheap, to buy weights.
After working up a little sweat, I went out to toss cement blocks around.
The whole physical training session, lasts about an hour, these days. It's good.
My head, would be clear and, writing a story could have been simple. Then it happened.
Sunshine Busted Out All Over the Place !
Now I, don't want to sound sacrilegious or, nothing like that. Folks believe in all kinds of gods.
Somebody, up there, made the sun shine for me yesterday. Must be a woman. They're the best.
The socks, got thrown on a desk, a short sleeve shirt, replaced the flannel one.
I packed some lunch, grabbed a camera and, walked in the sun, until, it went down.
By the time, I returned, it was dark outside and over 700 photos of birds, got downloaded.
There isn't time for me, to look at all of yesterday's photos. Guess what ?
Sunshine, just busted out all over the island, again. See ya tomorrow, maybe !
Sunday, December 18, 2016
Blame It on Writer's Block
It happens sometimes, to writers. The brain, cramps up and, doesn't help you think straight.
Yesterday, I was going to post a nifty folk story, I've been working on, for months.
Several different sources, gave me various versions of the tale. That can be handled.
Folklore can change from one village to another. And the storyteller may modify it a bit.
It just, wouldn't all come together, for me, last night. Brain and body said, "Go home."
So, that's what I did. Didn't even stop by a watering hole for my usual few beers.
Things Were Looking Brighter Today
Up before the sun, I checked to find out what the meteorologists predicted for today.
Cold and, mostly cloudy, they claimed. Good. Bundle up warm and do office work all day.
If, it was mostly sunny, I'd have been tempted, to walk for hours, outdoors with the camera.
With six pages of copy paper, attached to a clipboard, I started my rough draft.
The world's worst typist, I like to do a scribbled outline and, smooth on paper, first.
To start, I draw about a one inch column on the right side of each page. That's for notes.
Why a clipboard? That comes in handy, when I go outside for a break. Pen comes, too.
Sitting down, at a desk for more that 20 minutes, ain't natural, for me.
So, I get up stretch and, go out to a picnic table, where I can think clearly and, smoke.
The clipboard, keeps things from blowing away. And, my brain works best outdoors, too.
Grinding away, things were getting organized and, some progress was being made.
Then, about three, in the afternoon, everything came to a halt. Brain stopped working.
Cuss, stand up and stretch; get out of the office for some fresh air.
Sunshine and Blue Skies with White Clouds !
The clipboard and pen, are my witnesses. I scratched a few more notes and, quit.
There's no sense, writing once the gears in the brain stop spinning.
With the Pentax, a big lens and the tripod, I went hunting for an eagle, who never showed.
Walking around in a quarter mile circle, from my office, I grabbed an occasional iced coffee.
Sunshine and cold coffee, can work wonders on my spirits, even on a December day.
The trees in that animation, are where, I was hoping to catch, that elusive feathered friend.
The bird never showed and, I was out there for over two hours. So, I got thinking.
Just shoot the clouds and trees. Maybe, someone will appreciate them.
The weather, can change every five minutes, on this island. Poor weathermen.
How can they decide, what to tell us, when it can change so suddenly?
The weather, can be as fickle as a mail order bride. Somebody, said that on TV once.
It might have been that guy Gabby Hayes, with the chuckwagon, on a Western.
Well, I never had a mail order bride or even, ever fickled one. But, it's true.
Folks, back in the 1900's, used to get mail order brides. Imagine that.
Well, tomorrow possibly, I'll be done fickling around with that folk story.
That's providing, the sun don't shine !
Friday, December 16, 2016
Done Chasing the Super-moon
Every month, I get out with a camera and, attempt to capture images of the full moon.
It's usually a three night event and, sometimes the weather makes it impossible.
This photo was taken on the last of the three nights. I'm glad it's over.
Strong winds, dark clouds and low temperatures, made it a challenging experience.
Busting Myths About the Full Moon
Some investigation was required to see if, the phases of the moon, cause crazies to come out.
Over at BBC, they say the full moon doesn't really make any difference in people.
More folks get bit by dogs and horses, during the full moon but, that could be caused by mites.
Farmer's Almanac says, studies prove there's no connection between crazies and the moon.
And, Live Science reports, no connection between the full moon and folks acting crazy.
Mental Floss says, there isn't any psychological effect on people, caused by full moons.
If, you look at Science Line an urban myth, is what , they might call full moon wackiness.
Scientific American, debunks lunar lunacy, saying there's no evidence to support the myth.
A good one was, Universe Today, talking about the pull of the moon on gravity.
For example, some folks claim because, the moon affects tides, it must do the same to people.
Scientists say, your body gets more gravitational pull from your chair than, from the moon.
Maybe, this chair, I'm sitting on makes me crazy !
Moon Shot's Done Let's Go to Town !
Three nights in a row, I was up on the roof, freezing and shooting the moon.
Once it was done, I threw the camera in the office, without downloading images.
It seemed like a good idea, to get some antifreeze in my body and, check town for lunatics.
It was unusually quiet in the village last night so, the bartender showed me this video.
Piko Taro is all the rage, in Japan these days This version has almost 20 million views.
Listen to it. It's all in English and, my grandkids love it.
To prepare for an end of the year (Bonenkai) party with the family, I decided to rehearse.
The bartender shot this video with his iPhone and, I did the rest.
At home, showed it to the wife and, I asked her, "You think the full moon made me crazy?"
She said, "No. You act crazy, all the time."
Now, you know. The full moon, doesn't cause craziness. We have proof.
Thursday, December 15, 2016
Water Potato Field
The Taimo is a staple crop, grown in the wetlands of Kin Town. Call it a yam if, you like.
Hard working guys and gals, work this crop year round, producing these purple potatoes.
At the bottom edge, of this photo, is sort of a rice paddy dike. The farmer, is in water.
Men and women, aged between their 20's and 90's, can be seen, farming the taimo.
Most of them, know me because, I'm always slipping and sliding on the muddy dikes.
They know, I'm a cameraman, hunting wildlife and, won't harm their crops.
Some of the gals say, "Hi Mikesan." It makes me wonder. "How she know my name?"
I always greet people, in those fields but, never formally introduce myself.
Maybe some of those younger ladies have seen me in a karaoke bar and, got my name that way.
Girls, have different wardrobes for farming and partying. I always look the same.
Out in the potato fields, they might be wearing scarfs or face masks. Can't recognize them.
Me, it's always a white beard, yellow flip-flops and, regular duds. Nothing fancy.
Anyway, I decided to make a GIF of someone, farming the water potato fields.
These folks deserve a lot of credit for their hard labor so, I made this dude the subject.
When I get spruced up, to do some downtown drinking maybe, I'll figure it out.
If, some gal says, "Mikesan, why didn't you take my picture?" I will next time.
More About Taimo
They are also known as taro or tannmu and, a fertility symbol.
Taimo are featured on the painted manhole covers in Kin Town.
Some people call them Purple Sweet Potatoes.
If, you ask me, they are an ingredient in the best cheesecake on this island.
Wednesday, December 14, 2016
Tuesday, December 13, 2016
Photo of the Day
It took two days, of getting up before the sun and, about 20 miles of walking.
A few rainstorms, lots of patience and, a little bit of sweating, slipping and sliding, to geterdun.
For some reason, these birds, don't usually get together, like this.
Five, hangout in one flock and, two go off on their own.
This morning, they all got together for a group photo but, wouldn't hold still for the camera.
It took several hundred shots, to get all of them, with their noses in the air.
A little trick, I used will be posted on the blog at a later date.
Another Supermoon is supposed to show, this month and, that's my next mission.
The next three nights, I'll be out, trying to catch the full moon, peeking through the clouds.
More on these migratory birds, after I catch up on some sleep.
Sunday, December 11, 2016
Cheer Up Folks in Snow Country
It felt like springtime out in Ginoza, where they had a Hamburger Festival today.
There were some classic cars and bikes, to look at but, I liked the Eisa dances best.
Now, I'm back in my office processing photos and, the temperature dropped a few degrees.
Clouds rolled in and the wind started picking up so, I put a jacket on.
I'll try and get back into the house, without the Mrs. seeing me; I don't want any trouble.
If, I get caught, I know she'll holler because, I went out in shorts and flip-flops.
She'll probably say, "You're gonna catch a death of a cold, dressed like that."
Don't this weather, make you wish, you lived in Okinawa ?
Saturday, December 10, 2016
Why Tell People This ?
If, I wanted to slow traffic down, I would have said, "Speed Bump, not Hump."
Well, I did a search and, learned something at Maine Department of Transportation.
There's speed humps and bumps. You decide, which suits the situation best.
Speed Humping Has a Different Meaning
Over at Urban Dictionary they, give some examples. I'll just quote this one:
"Cory is such a speed humper.... we were done in like eight seconds!"
OK. One More:
"We were running super late to the fiesta so Keisha and I had to speed hump in the shower yo."
These internet investigations, always lead to some interesting findings.
For some strange reason, Dr. Ruth popped up, over at Washington Post.
That little granny (who's a sex expert) was also a sniper at one point in her lifetime.
So, you know, she's got to be a straight shooter.
In both situations above, I'll bet she'd just recommend "Slow Down."
Checkout her YouTube Channel
Friday, December 9, 2016
Migratory Visitors to Okinawa
A scientist would call this Bean Goose, Anser serrirostris because, that's the way they talk.
These birds only come to our island for the winter months.
This morning, I was up and out of the house before the sun came up.
This pair of birds was on the ground, when I first spotted them and, they saw me coming.
Plenty of photos were taken, before they decided, to take off in flight.
The males of this species are a bit larger than the females. Look closely at the second bird.
The one that seems to be yapping at her mate. Now, let's have some fun.
Imagine her screaming at him, "What did I tell you? That guy's gonna shoot us."
"Wait 'til your mother-in-law hears about this. You never listen to me."
She goes on and on, flapping her wings and mouth, while he says nothing.
"The old man was sneaking up on us and, you did nothing."
"Now, he's shooting us, like we're a pair of sitting ducks."
So he's thinking. "Later honey. I have to land somewhere and, take a crap. See ya later."
FOOTNOTE: Now, everybody knows why, I'm not a scientist.
Wednesday, December 7, 2016
Tuesday, December 6, 2016
Off with the Head
This performance draws a large crowd every time. The chef is explaining how it's done.
They have him, wired for sound. He talks while cutting and, he moves along quickly.
Before any vegetarians start complaining, I'd like to ask a question.
What part of a carrot, do you slice off, first ?
Next, he slices and removes all the other parts of the fish, that get in his way.
In just a few minutes, the tuna is diced into little chunks and, served to the crowd.
Other things had to be done so, I had to leave after this highlight event.
One year, the tuna wasn't enough, to feed everybody so, they had to bring one more.
It's a good thing, there's plenty more fish in the ocean, is what I'm thinking.
It would be a shame, to go to a festival, where they did things different.
I'd probably be real sad if, I saw them cutting a bunch of baby carrot heads off !
Monday, December 5, 2016
Something, I saw at the Health Food Festival yesterday, made me go here.
This morning it was raining but, things turned out alright this afternoon.
When, I first got to the office, somebody on Facebook got me riled-up.
So, I turned the thing off, grabbed a camera and, went on a mission.
Some folks, wanted to know where they could buy Ryukyu Agu pork meats.
Other people, I'll call non-meat eaters, think, I'm an animal. I don't pick on them.
And, I don't go around, telling them, what they should or, shouldn't eat.
Poor li'l pig got killed for people, to eat. I can't recall, ever eating one alive.
Poor li'l carrots and strawberries probably, get sacrificed for vegetarians, too. So?
Kin Agu Is on the Way to that Red Rock
So, I figured it would be a good idea, to have lunch there and, do some research.
Snap a few photos, eat some healthy pork and do a Google review.
There's what I had for lunch. A dead pig hamburger, some dead rice, salad and soup.
The meal came to a grand total of 800 yen, which is less than, ten bucks.
People like to see the inside of places and, find out how roomy they might be.
So, when all other customers, were gone, I got permission, to shoot the whole joint.
The menu is in Japanese and, nothing costs over 1,000 yen. That's cheap !
People who can't read Japanese, should learn or, bring along a friend, who does.
There's a freezer stocked with meats, you can buy, to take home and cook.
The Ryukyu Agu meat, isn't stocked in regular grocery stores. But, you can buy some here.
It was past 2 PM when I left this restaurant and, I had a long hike to go on.
It would take a few hours, for me, to find these red rocks, along Okinawa's east coast.
If the ocean, wasn't visible, I'd swear someone, took these pictures in Arizona.
By the time, I got back into town, I was glad my office lights were still turned on.
At 6 PM, it gets mighty dark around here. The camera got downloaded and, I went to work.
Now, folks who want to eat Agu pork, can read my review and, get directions.
One of these days, I'll show vegetarians, where to get their food, too.
Friends and family, in my crowd, happen to be vegetarians, as well. I don't lecture them.
And, they probably know, there isn't much sense, in trying to reform me. I'm an animal.