Wednesday’s Wondrous World: Electricity

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Returning to a more simple idea, today’s wonder I want to explore is Electricity.

This is one of those wonders we frequently take for granted.  Why?  Because it is so very common place to the first world that we just expect it to be.

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Whatever generates our power – from coal-fired plants to solar to wind to geothermal to nuclear – electricity drives our world.

Reading this?  Well that is thanks to electricity.  Without it, we’d not have the internet.  No electricity, no servers, no computers, no smartphones, tablets, and so on and so forth.

You walk into a room, flip a switch – and there is light.  You get into your car, turn the key, and everything lights up and the radio works and your Bluetooth connects.

When we see incredible photographs from space of our world at night, the lights show us where our cities are.  Electricity provides us with the beacons to find one another along the way.

Electricity allows us to cook our food, heat our homes, view and explore and learn information across the world.  Electricity lets us play pre-recorded musics to keep us entertained, and provide background music when there might only be silence.

We have scattered across our globe yet remain connected via electricity.  We go to extremes to acquire materials to power our cities and homes, we strip the resources of the globe to get natural gas, petroleum, coal, wood, and other such sources of power.

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But we have access now to increasingly less expensive solar batteries to power our lives.  We have instant communications from one side of the world to the other.

Electricity has changed this world in ways I doubt any could have imagined.  It has both brought us closer together, and divided us further.  First world problems are often solved by some means involving electricity that the third world can hardly even conceive.

With wind, solar, geothermal and other renewable resources, electricity can be spread even further, can bring the world closer together, can make even more lives better, simpler, and abundant.

Electricity – an incredible, often taken-for-granted wonder of our wondrous world.

 

 

Me 3-25-13 smallerI am MJ Blehart, electric, eclectic elocutionary author of “Wednesday’s Wondrous World”.  Every week I share a magical wonder of this amazing world, and I hope you will enjoy the journey with me!

Check out my blog, The Ramblings of a Titanium Don, for more of my work.

Also now available, Pathwalking: A 21st Century Philosophy in Book and Kindle form!

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Wednesday’s Wondrous World: The Self

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Truly an amazing wonder of our wondrous world is our knowledge of the self.  But do you care for and love your self as you ought to?

In today’s society, we have become so focused on our jobs, our families, our friends, our coworkers, our education, our finances, our possessions, our weekends, and so on and so forth – that we have become utterly negligent of the self.

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We have become indoctrinated in the idea that this is selfishness.  Too much focus on the self leads automatically to selfishness, arrogance, greed, corruption…and as such we become uncaring, socially unacceptable creatures unfit to walk amongst the rest of humankind.

But this is a lie that prevents us from getting to know ourselves.  We are taught from an early age to share, and to think about others, and to consider the feelings of those around us.  I am not saying that this is a bad thing in any way – but what we neglect to explore is the connection between the self and the person we are sharing with, how we think about ourselves, and considering our own feelings.

I must iterate here that there is nothing wrong with selflessness – except when it involves the utter lack of attention and energy to the self.  When all you do is give, and sacrifice, and disregard your own needs and desires, you create an immense imbalance in your own energies.  Balance is utterly necessary in life.

We have become creatures of extremes.  Society places tremendous attention and focus on the opposites: male versus female, Republican versus Democrat, heterosexual versus homosexual, rich versus poor, fat versus thin, and so forth.  But life is very seldom defined by the extreme opposites; most is balanced somewhere in the middle.

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When it comes to time on the self and time for others, we cannot neglect the self and have balance.  But because we are so acutely aware of these opposite extremes, we forget that there is a line between self care and selfishness, and that we cannot ignore the one because of fear of the other.

Self care, self love, and self talk are NOT selfish.  They are utterly necessary.  If we neglect the self and sacrifice our wellbeing, our happiness, and our desires just to be selfless, we are only hurting ourselves.

Selfishness on the one hand, sacrifice on the other are the extremes in regards to the self.  The question is – where is the middle?  That would be Compromise.

It is surprisingly easy to mistake compromise for sacrifice.  The difference with regards to the self is simple – compromise is striking a balance between giving OF, taking FOR and holding FOR the self; whereas sacrifice is unbalanced with giving FROM, holding NOTHING and taking FROM the self.

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If you do not find balance in giving to and taking for the self, then you might find you really do not know who you are.  And our ability to really KNOW our self is truly a wonder of our wondrous world.

How do you feel about yourself?

 

(Note to the reader:  If you also visit my blog, you will see that this week’s Pathwalking is a variation of this same post.  I believe the topic of the self is so important, I wanted to spread it to a wider audience.)

 

Me 3-25-13 smallerI am MJ Blehart, deep thinker and author of “Wednesday’s Wondrous World”.  Every week I share a magical wonder of this amazing world, and I hope you will enjoy the journey with me!

Check out my blog, The Ramblings of a Titanium Don, for more of my work.

Also now available, Pathwalking: A 21st Century Philosophy in Book and Kindle form!

Wednesday’s Wondrous World: Sedona

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One of my favorite places in the whole of the United States is Sedona, Arizona.

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There are so many wonders, so many places of amazing beauty, words can barely do it justice.

The red rocks are incredible, and so very unique.  The stratification of the stones, showing eons of time, are fairly unique to this part of the world.  Over the decades, many movies have been shot here, because the natural beauty of the area is a wonder to behold.

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And then there are the vortexes.  The energy vortexes of Sedona are incredible, and if you are energy sensitive, empathic, or at all in tune with your sixth sense abilities you will find it possible to feel Gaia at her most open and reachable.  It has felt to me like I was communing with the earth in the most intimate and sensitive manner imaginable.  I am saddened that it has now been several years since my last chance to visit.

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I know there is a big world out there, but given any opportunity to travel, I would not hesitate to pay a visit to Sedona for all its natural beauty again.

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A wondrous place in our wondrous world.

 

Me 3-25-13 smallerI am MJ Blehart, “Wednesday’s Wondrous World” writer and photographer.  Every week I share a magical wonder of this amazing world, and I hope you will enjoy the journey with me!

Check out my blog, The Ramblings of a Titanium Don, for more of my work.

Also now available, Pathwalking: A 21st Century Philosophy in Book and Kindle form!

Wednesday’s Wondrous World: Travel

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As small as our world is, it is also vast and full of incredible wonders.

From Asia to Australia, North America to Europe, Africa to Antarctica, and across South America, there are an amazing, vast number of wonders to seek and behold.

Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta, Georgia

Some people have more freedom to travel than others.  Money, time, and obligations can have a pretty wide-ranging effect on travel.  But when a way can be found, there are amazing things to discover and see all across this world.

Travel can take any number of forms, too.  Different modes of transportation can provide different aspects to the travel adventure.  The fastest way between point ‘a’ and point ‘b’ is the plane or high-speed rail.  A train or bus trek can offer a longer, possibly more detailed perspective while getting from these opposing points.  A cruise can be a travel all its own.

I have been fortunate to see pretty much every part of the United States.  I have driven more or less from one side of the country to the other, and visited 43 of 50 states.  But my only travel outside of the states has been Canada and Mexico.  I have not had the pleasure of seeing the world across either ocean.

The Palisades, New Jersey

The Palisades, New Jersey

I want to travel and see Europe.  I want to visit England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and all of Great Britain.  I want to see the Gothic cathedrals of France I studied in college for myself.  And I want to cross the Pacific and visit Australia and Japan.  I want to travel and visit many other parts of the world.

I am grateful for all the travel I have undertaken thus far, and am excited to see what the future might hold.  But all the options of our modern world make travel more accessible, more available, and bring the world closer together.

Saugatuck, Michigan

Saugatuck, Michigan

Travel – another wonder of our wondrous world.

Where do YOU want to go?

 

 

Me 3-25-13 smallerI am MJ Blehart, “Wednesday’s Wondrous World” travelling writer and photographer.  Every week I share a magical wonder of this amazing world, and I hope you will enjoy the journey with me!

Check out my blog, The Ramblings of a Titanium Don, for more of my work.

Also now available, Pathwalking: A 21st Century Philosophy in Book and Kindle form!

Wednesday’s Wondrous World: Appreciation

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We all want to be appreciated.  Appreciation is an amazing wonder of this wondrous world.

I know no one who does not appreciate hearing “Thank you!” or “I appreciate that” or “That was really great of you.”  The appreciation, whether for an act you have performed or a job you have done or simply for you being you goes a long ways towards how you feel on a daily basis.

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Whether we are already aware of this or not, we are responsible for our own feelings.  No one “makes” us feel a certain way, though it is undeniable that the actions of others and outside influences will affect how we feel.  We choose how to let things phase us, and we can choose whether to let a feeling an outside influence produces linger or be let go.

One of the worst feelings you can have is feeling unappreciated.  In especial when others around you are being shown appreciation, and you are not.  Whether you watch someone you consider a peer receive some sort of award or recognition that you feel you also deserve, or whether someone you have been partnered with is thanked and you are not, there is nothing more disconcerting than feeling unappreciated.

Worse, the feeling of being unappreciated can very easily spiral into darker, even more negative places.  It is not hard to go from feeling unappreciated to feeling disconnected to feeling unloved to feeling unimportant to feeling sad to feeling angry to feeling hopeless…you get the idea.  And we have all been there, haven’t we?

The first thing we have to acknowledge about this is this:  You can do nothing to change how others appreciate you, or don’t.  Once the act of appreciation or neglect has happened, it is done.  Attempting to change it is a waste of time and energy.  All we can do is accept it and move on.

Unacceptable!  I worked hard on ‘x’ or I gave an incredible amount of effort to ‘y’ and I want that acknowledged!  I know that feeling, and I am here to tell you that, sorry, this instance is over.  It has happened, and you cannot go back and change it.  All you can do is accept it, and move on.

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Now that is not to say that you do not have the right to feel hurt, to feel angry, to feel dismissed, to feel neglected, to feel unappreciated.  We are human beings, and this is a part of our nature.  And since we need appreciation, when we do not get it it hurts.

What I am suggesting here is not to hold onto it for too long.  We have control over how long we will let that terrible feeling linger, and we can choose to let it settle into our being and fester for hours, or days, or weeks, or months, or what-have-you.  Holding onto that unhappy, negative sensation does not serve you.  It does not let you move forward, it is a roadblock to your continued wellbeing.

Let the feeling happen, because you cannot stop it.  But you can choose to not hold onto it for too long.

What comes next, though, is important.  What do you do with regards to the person or persons who did not appreciate you?  Do you continue to do good work even though you are not feeling appreciated for what you do?  Do you do less?  Do you do more?  Do you lash out, and seek retribution for the hurt you have received?

Here are my thoughts on these important questions.  First, and most importantly, whether you receive appreciation or no, you should not stop being you.  You should continue to act as you act, within your own nature, no matter if you receive acknowledgement or no.  If it no longer makes you feel good, and it no longer serves you, then by all means move on.

What you should NOT do is lash out.  You should not belittle or show a lack of appreciation in retaliation for the slight you have received.  That will only make things worse.  Remember, negative acts beget negative acts.  You have to break the cycle or it will continue.

Here is the even more important part of this.  If negative begets negative, then conversely positive begets positive.  If you want to get appreciation, SHOW appreciation.

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Remember to thank people.  Remember to compliment people.  Remember to show people that you appreciate them for what they do, and who they are.  Appreciation is a two-way street, and when we give it, we get it.  Yes, this is much harder after you have been slighted, but that does not mean it should be neglected.

I believe that if we are more grateful, whether for the things we have or for the people around us, and we show more appreciation, the whole world could be a better place.  You know how good you feel when someone shows YOU appreciation.  Shouldn’t we spread that out further?

Appreciation – a true wonder of our wondrous world.

Let me conclude with this:  I sincerely appreciate you.  Whether I know you personally or otherwise, whether you agree with the things I write here or not, I appreciate you.    THANK YOU!

 

(Note to the reader:  If you also visit my blog, you will see that this week’s Pathwalking is a variation of this same post.  I believe the topic of appreciation is so important, I wanted to spread it to a wider audience.)

 

Me 3-25-13 smallerI am MJ Blehart, “Wednesday’s Wondrous World” author.  Every week I share a magical wonder of this amazing world, and I hope you will enjoy the journey with me!

Check out my blog, The Ramblings of a Titanium Don, for more of my work.

Also now available, Pathwalking: A 21st Century Philosophy in Book and Kindle form!

Wednesday’s Wondrous World: Photography

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A picture, they say, is worth a thousand words.

Grounds for Sculpture - Hamilton, NJ

Grounds for Sculpture – Hamilton, NJ

How true this is.  Photography can capture our world and hold moments in time in still life forever.

Certainly in this day and age, we have the technology to build fantastical photos.  But I remain a fan of letting the lens, the framing and light intermix and do all this work for themselves.

The Palisades - NJ

The Palisades – NJ

People, places, landscapes, starscapes, skyscapes, still and running waters, animals, even technological wonders make for incredible subjects.  Every photographer has his or her own specialties and preferences.

Sparta, NJ

Sparta, NJ

I am an amateur photographer, have been for most of my life.  I love nature, and like nothing better than taking a hike with my camera and a journal.  I can photograph the world and then use it as the basis for other creations, live and in person.  I also love unique and historical buildings, and impressive monoliths of technology, from aircraft to industrial machines to wind-towers.

Sedona, AZ

Sedona, AZ

So rather than write an endless collage of words about the wonder of photography, I am going to show more photos, and let them do the talking.

Columncile - Bangor, PA

Columncile – Bangor, PA

Photography.  Truly a diverse and far-reaching wonder of our wondrous world.

 

Me 3-25-13 smallerI am MJ Blehart, writer and photographer for “Wednesday’s Wondrous World”.  Every week I share a magical wonder of this amazing world, and I hope you will enjoy the journey with me!

Check out my blog, The Ramblings of a Titanium Don, for more of my work.

Also now available, Pathwalking: A 21st Century Philosophy in Book and Kindle form!

Wednesday’s Wondrous World: Games

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Games are a unique aspect of the human condition.

Science has shown that there are other animals on this planet that ‘play’, but the organization of ‘games’ is, as far as I know, a strictly human thing.  And it is a wonder of our wondrous world.

Games take on an incredible and wide range of forms.  Board games like Monopoly and Scrabble or such; card games like Go Fish, Poker, Blackjack and so on; roleplaying games like Pathfinder, Dungeons and Dragons and the like; yard games like badminton and horseshoes and lawn darts; video games like Super Mario Brothers and the Final Fantasy Series; online multiplayer games like World of Warcraft; no matter how you play or the game you prefer, games are a part of almost everyone’s life.

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For some people making the mundane into a game is how they cope with unpleasant or difficult topics.  Whether it is memory games for math and spelling in school or name games to help remember who people are, games are a part of life.

We use the term “games” in a lot of different ways, some good, some bad.  We play games to relax and have fun and friendly competition among friends.  But playing games in the context of relationships or business can be unfriendly, malicious and ultimately bad.

Games can be both grand and small.  Golf, for example.  You can play nine holes or eighteen holes, or skip the long game and go straight to miniature golf.  But the game of golf has many levels, from the rankest of amateurs to highly paid professionals.

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Games factor into numerous songs and stories, from Peter Gabriel’s Games without Frontiers to Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games.  Games can be found with every class of person, in almost every echelon of society.

Games can be skill and chance, nuance and supposition, tactics or strategies.  Games can be quick, or can take days or longer.  Games can involve little to no physical activity, to running over long distances or across woodlands.  Games can be a distraction, or a focus to help improve mental capacity.

No matter what games you choose to play, games are an undeniable wonder of this wondrous world.

 

Me 3-25-13 smallerI am MJ Blehart, “Wednesday’s Wondrous World” author.  Every week I share a magical wonder of this amazing world, and I hope you will enjoy the journey with me!

Check out my blog, The Ramblings of a Titanium Don, for more of my work.

Also now available, Pathwalking: A 21st Century Philosophy in Book and Kindle form!

Wednesday’s Wondrous World: Dragonfly

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There are any number of insects I am not fond of.  Either they bite and sting and otherwise cause suffering and misery, or they are disturbing to look at, such as mosquitoes, gnats, horseflies.  And there are some that I tolerate because they do good and useful things, like spiders and bees.

Then there are the pretty insects.  Butterflies, some moths, and my very favorite, the dragonfly.

Dragonfly

Dragonflies have fascinated me since childhood.  They have those elongated bodies and shimmery wings that move so very fast.  And they come in such a wide range of size and color.

I have seen dragonflies about the size of a quarter.  Then I have seen dragonflies the size of hummingbirds.  They are particularly bountiful along streams and ponds and rivers, and I love to watch them take off and land.

I have worked hard to capture many photos of dragonflies.  They do not sit still for long, and are seldom keen on letting me get too near.  But I have had some success over the years, and thus have shots of some beautiful specimens of these fascinating insects.

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As a child, I thought of dragonflies as ant helicopters.  My vivid imagination was capable of seeing them land, pick up their passengers, whiz them off to the next destination, and repeat the cycle.  Tiny transportation for smaller, less mobile creatures.

Dragonflies have of course been a source of inspiration to many others.  The spacecraft Lexx in the program of the same name was an immense dragonfly-shaped vessel.  The bubble craft Tom Cruise’s character in the movie Oblivion flies around in has a rather dragonfly-esque look to it.

Some see dragonflies in a more sinister light, but I think they are beautiful, colorful creatures.  And let’s face it, employing the name ‘dragon’ often evokes all kinds of cool fantastical images…at least for geek-kind.

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Truly a wonder of the wondrous world, Dragonflies are magical, colorful creatures that are mostly harmless to humankind, and wondrous to behold.

What do you think of dragonflies?

 

Me 3-25-13 smallerI am MJ Blehart, “Wednesday’s Wondrous World” photographer and wordsmith.  Every week I share a magical wonder of this amazing world, and I hope you will enjoy the journey with me!

Check out my blog, The Ramblings of a Titanium Don, for more of my work.

Also now available, Pathwalking: A 21st Century Philosophy in Book and Kindle form!

Wednesday’s Wondrous World: Magic

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Given the coming changes to Chakra Center, I thought this a MOST apropos topic:

Magic.

Magic has a great many implications, meanings, definitions.  It can conjure images of shows put on for children with rabbits in top hats.  Magic can invoke the idea of Gandalf or a similar wizard or sorcerer of fantasy.  Magic might even stir the notion of witches, fictional ones like the three sisters of MacBeth, real ones such as Wiccans and the like.

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Magic, however, can also take far more pedestrian and mundane appearances.  That amazing sunset over a snowcapped peak.  That fantastical myst arising from the lake, swirling about a romantically embraced couple.  The light passing through a prism.  The person calling at just that exact moment you most need to hear from him or her.  All of these are magic, too.

Magic is something in every life, every day, in ways we often miss.  Sometimes this is a matter of placement and timing.  Sometimes, though, this is distraction, and being so focused on the routine and the mundane that the magic gets lost.  But it happens none-the-less, and it is a wonder we should all be so fortunate as to be more cognizant of.

Magic happens in the most unexpected ways.  It can be that inspirational passage you come across on the internet or in a book.  It might be that person you accidentally bump into whom you suddenly realize you know.  It is that moment when all seems lost, when hope is nearly gone that magic happens, and the world is righted again.  It is love.

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Humans are unique to this world in so very many ways.  The manner in which we live our lives, the technologies we build, the means by which we communicate.  We are also unique in the ways we differentiate ourselves from one another.  Skin color, religion, nationality, political stance, gender…in our quest for individuality, we identify ourselves in increasingly divisive ways.  Yet we all strive to find magic in the world.  We all strive to find love.

Magic binds us to one another, to the earth herself.  Everyone experiences it in some form or other.  But along the way we get distracted, we allow the influence of others to sway us from practicing magic.  Yet it is here, always, ready to be touched, waiting to be felt, available to everyone.

Whatever form of magic you see and acknowledge or even practice, this is something the greater good of the world can benefit from.  If more people around the world could see its wonder, if more people could take joy in the magical aspects of our amazing world, we could make it a better place for everyone.

Money, power, greed, exclusion and the like are the antithesis of magic.  They can entice us to believe that they are magical – money can buy happiness, power can gain you control of your destiny, greed keeps these things safe, exclusion keeps the undesirable away – but they are not magic.  Magic is an ultimate wonder for everyone.  And magic is more powerful when it is shared.

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In a world full of wonders, some obvious, some obscure, Magic is a glue that can bind the wonders to us.   No matter what form it takes, no matter how it is employed, magic can and should be a greater part of our everyday lives.

Do you remember the first encounter you had with something you considered magical?  Do you remember the sense of wonder and excitement it filled you with?  Do you recall feeling inspired by magic, feeling empowered by magic?  Did you find yourself hoping for more opportunities to feel that indescribable sensation only something magical causes?

Can you imagine how the world might be if more people lived with magic in their lives?  I believe that is the goal sought for the future of Chakra Center, and I am fully in support of sharing this particular wonder of the world to a broader audience.  A more magical world, I believe, is a happier, more peaceful, more inspirational place for all.

Magic is a true wonder of our wondrous world.  What magic have you experienced in your life lately?

 

Me 3-25-13 smallerI am MJ Blehart, writer and photographer for “Wednesday’s Wondrous World”.  Every week I share a magical wonder of this amazing world, and I hope you will enjoy the journey with me!

Check out my blog, The Ramblings of a Titanium Don, for more of my work.

Also now available, Pathwalking: A 21st Century Philosophy in Book and Kindle form!

Wednesday’s Wondrous World: Television

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It has a lot of different names, but it is something you find in almost every home around the modern world.

Television.  The boob tube.  TV.  The idiot box.  The flatscreen.  The LCD, LED, Plasma screened wonder.

Since the 1950’s, television has been one of the prime sources of information (real and false), entertainment, mind expanding, mind numbing, babysitting, focus and distraction.  TV offers us a chance to see images from around the world, more-or-less instantaneously, and has fundamentally changed the lives of the first world.

Dream Mirror

It began largely as a source of information, following on the heels of newspaper and then radio.  From print to audio to the whole audio/visual package, television broadened the world while simultaneously bringing it closer to everyone.

There used to be a handful of channels and options to tune into.  Then that number expanded, sometimes exponentially.  Nowadays you can have dozens of different options, programming around the world, different time zones, different focus.  You can watch news, sports, reality and fictional programs, movies, and nearly anything else you can think of.  Twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, so long as there is power.

Television has served as background like white noise.  TV is the focal point where some families gather round to spend time together enjoying the programming.

planet grid

The actual device has changed tremendously over the years.  From a large, heavy box that consumed tremendous amounts of power and took a lengthy time to get warm and show its images to the modern, flat screen, side-lit and back-lit LED that is inches thick, weighs almost nothing and turns on instantly.  The two devices side by side seem hardly to be nothing more than distant relatives of one another.

Certainly with the vast number of channels and diverse program choices it can be argued that television is unhealthy.  But I think, like pretty much everything else, consumed in moderation TV is perfectly fine.

However you might personally feel about this particular source of media, television is undeniably a wonder of our wondrous world.  It is still for many people the primary source of information and entertainment, and will undoubtedly remain a part of the lives of people around the world.

 

Me 3-25-13 smallerI am MJ Blehart, author of “Wednesday’s Wondrous World”.  Every week I share a wonder of this amazing world, and I hope you will enjoy the journey with me!

Check out my blog, The Ramblings of a Titanium Don, for more of my work.

Also now available, Pathwalking: A 21st Century Philosophy in Book and Kindle form!

Wednesday’s Wondrous World: Flowing Waters

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I was born and raised in “the land of 10,000 lakes.”  So it should come as no wonder that I have a huge affinity for bodies of water.

Each body of water is itself a wonder.  Oceans, seas, lakes, rivers, streams, ponds and so on and so forth each has its own ecosystem, its own special beauty, its own unique attributes.

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While I am a fan of pretty much every such body of water, I believe that my favorite is rivers and streams.  Oceans are impressively huge and salty, lakes have tremendous variations in current and size and make-up…but rivers and streams are constantly in motion.

Rivers and streams flow.  They move along, sometimes fast, sometimes slow, carrying with them flotsam and jetsam, as well as aquatic natives from the course it plots.

Rivers cut into the earth like a knife through butter, leaving their mark and showing the way between sometimes tremendous distances.  The Mississippi virtually splits the United States in half with its north/south course.  The Colorado river snakes through the immense Grand Canyon, providing an end point at its base of tremendous power.

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Rivers and streams sometimes carry the most amazing sounds.  A shallow example might have small cresting waves over large rocks, that rushing, whooshing sound made by rapids as the current washes over high points.  It can be an amazing, relaxing, soothing sound, often replicated on sound machines for its ambiance.

Rivers and streams bring life.  Not only do they carry silt along the current to fertilize their banks, they also provide fish and insects for birds and beasts.  Sport fishing in streams is very popular around the country, and you can often find men and women up to their waists in the flowing waters, casting lines.

Another amazing thing about rivers and streams is their incredible variations.  Some are nearly as wide as lakes, hard to see across.  Some are incredibly deep, much history beneath their surface.  But some are mere inches thick, and just a few feet across.  Impressive variations, but all amazing.

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I love when I go for a hike along a wooded path, and unexpectedly find a river or stream.  There is nothing I like better than finding somewhere to sit beside it, a rock or such, and listen to it running it course.  I find it so much easier to meditate when I have a river or stream near.  There is something incredibly relaxing and refreshing about its flow.

Unlike wider, more still bodies of water, rivers and streams carry along in their current constant changes.  Whether it’s a large log, colorful leaves, ducks, or even random garbage from upstream, you never know what will flow along past you.  You could spend hours in the same spot and never see the same thing float by twice.

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Rivers are not just landmarks, but before highways and byways they were the path you followed.  Even today, pilots using visual flight rules navigate with rivers.  Rivers have been a source of commerce and life to the beginning of human history, all over the world.

Amongst the many bodies of water to be found across the globe, rivers and streams are a wonder of nature I think impossible to deny.

What rivers and streams do you frequent in you travels?

 

 

 

Me 3-25-13 smallerI am MJ Blehart, “Wednesday’s Wondrous World” writer and photographer.  Every week I share a wonder of this amazing world, and I hope you will enjoy the journey with me!

Check out my blog, The Ramblings of a Titanium Don, for more of my work.

Also now available, Pathwalking: A 21st Century Philosophy in Book and Kindle form!

Wednesday’s Wondrous World: Reenactment

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As children we called it make-believe.  As adults, we call it reenactment.

A lot of people participate in some form of this or other.  Whether they do cosplay at conventions and symposiums, live action role playing (LARP), Steampunk, Civil War or Revolutionary War, people still take time out from their regular lives to basically play.

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I personally have been a part of this for over half my life.  As a freshman in college, I was introduced to the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA).  This world-wide organization does various medieval reenactments spanning from the end of the Roman Empire (approx 600AD) to the death of Queen Elizabeth I of England (approx 1600AD).

Members of the SCA (called SCAdians) can learn and take part in all kinds of medieval arts and sciences (cooking, calligraphy and illumination, dance, music, fibre arts, etc.) as well as various forms of combats (heavy armored combat, rapier (fencing) combat, archery, equestrian, thrown weapons) and many other really cool things from all over Europe, Japan, Persia and such during the previously mentioned time period.

On many a weekend over the past two decades I have dressed (sometimes well, sometimes less so) as a 16th Century Englishman I have named Malcolm Bowman.  During these events I have participated in various fencing tournaments, partook of often sumptuous medieval feasts, and danced with some very lovely ladies.  I also have served as a steward of events, a marshal (coach/safety officer) of fencing and archery, and a herald (cryer) for the King and Queen.

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This is a whole other world it can be very easy to get lost in.  But escaping into that world can be tremendously fun!

I have made some amazing friends along the way, and am constantly amazed by how far around the world those people can be found.  I attend fencing practice weekly, other occasional meetings, Saturday and whole-weekend events, and even “wars”.

One such event is the Estrella War, held in Arizona every winter (used to be February, now it’s in March).  This event draws somewhere around 7000 people, and over the course of a week or so all kinds of combats and arts and more take place.

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As you are reading this I am attending possibly the largest of these events, the Pennsic War.  Held annually in Butler, Pennsylvania, this event has been known to attract more than 10,000 people.  For up to two weeks we live in a massively mixed medieval world experiencing classes on all kinds of arts and sciences, as well as endless fencing, heavy armor combats and archery shoots.  We are among friends, enjoying each other’s company and escaping (mostly) from the modern world and our jobs and such.  It can be quite the vacation (and quite a work-out, too.)

I love playing this game.  I love dressing in the garb and experiencing what amounts to a whole new world within the world I occupy.  It is a fun-filled escape, and can be quite the party if so desired.  For some this is THE event they most enjoy in the SCA.

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I have found that in addition to participating in the wondrous world of the SCA, I am also quite the fan of getting dressed up in neo-Victorian Steampunk gear.  The outfits are rather amazing, and the addition of fantastical steam-powered weapons are pretty cool.  I have found considerable inspiration from the Steampunk in my writing as well.  I am hard at work, currently, on a Steampunk-themed novel.

Creativity and escapism make the world of reenactment a terrific adult game of make-believe.  I wonder that if more people participated in such, would we see less stressed, more creative and happy lives?

Do you still make-believe in some way?

 

I am MJ Blehart, rapier-wielding writer of “Wednesday’s Wondrous World”.  Every week I share a wonder of this amazing world, and I hope you will enjoy the journey with me!

Check out my blog, The Ramblings of a Titanium Don, for more of my work.

Also now available, Pathwalking: A 21st Century Philosophy in Book and Kindle form!

Wednesday’s Wondrous World: Seasons

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I don’t care how hot it gets outside…summer is my favorite season of the year!

But living in the northeast of the United States, I get to experience all four seasons rather decisively. And that is the wonder I am choosing this week.

Summertime here can be a crazy event.  Not only do we get immense sunlight and great warmth, we also get impressively powerful storms and flooding rains.  Despite the heat and humidity, summer is my favorite season.  I love being able to wear shorts and t-shirts and sandals regularly.  And being solar powered, I love all the sunlight the summer presents me.

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Yes, it can be muggy and overly hot, but I still love the summer best.  Summer is also the season of camping events and outdoor picnics and plenty of hiking and beachgoing opportunities.

Summer of course gives way to fall.  Autumn here on the east coast presents some of the most beautiful color you can imagine.  As the leaves turn, the greenery gives way to oranges and reds and yellows and outright golds.  The air begins to take on a crisp tinge, the shorts get put away, and for a lot of people it is the most comfortable time of the year to play outdoors.

Fall is the time of harvest, in particular apples and pumpkins.  My friends and I annually go apple picking, savoring the numerous varieties local orchards have to offer.  And all the crisps and pies and other treats one can make from apples are pretty impressive, too.

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Fall moves on to winter.  Winter in this part of the northeastern United States is relatively mild.  (I emphasize the phrase ‘relatively’ because I grew up in the upper Midwest of the country.  We measure snow most winters in FEET, not inches.  And I am not making up tall tales when I say I had to walk to school in BELOW ZERO (Fahrenheit) temperatures and even more brutal windchills).

It can be cold and icy at times, but snowfall is almost always a beautiful sight to behold.  Those unique flakes, drifting gently downwards, covering the land in a white blanket.  While not all the bodies of water here ice over completely, those that do take on a unique hue only an icy cover can give.

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Winter is the best time of the year for cuddling with loved ones.  Winter is crackling fires in the fireplace, mugs of hot cocoa and fresh baked goods.  Many people take immense pleasure in all the ways one can use to get warm.

I will not deny winter is my least favorite season.  But in time, it fades, and spring returns life to the land.  Trees begin to bud, the birds return from their migratory vacations, the grass begins to recolor itself from brown to green.

We find we can take off layers, the sun has greater effect and adds warmth to the air once more.  There is a smell in the air at springtime that is refreshing, reinvigorating. It is like you can smell the rebirth of Gaia’s children, and the promise of longer, warmer days to come.

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Spring of course completes the cycle, and after three months or so becomes once more Summertime!  And where I live, we truly experience each of these incredible wonders, each season in its time, and all that they can be.

This is just one incredible wonder of our wondrous world – the seasons.  Which is your favorite?

 

Me 3-25-13 smallerI am MJ Blehart, writer of “Wednesday’s Wondrous World”.  Every week I share a wonder of this amazing world, and I hope you will enjoy the journey with me!

Check out my blog, The Ramblings of a Titanium Don, for more of my work.

Also now available, Pathwalking: A 21st Century Philosophy in Book and Kindle form!

Wednesday’s Wondrous World: Flash Drives

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Ok, so this is probably silly, but one of my favorite technological wonders of the past decade or so is the USB flash drive/thumb drive.

What a great little device!  It’s utterly pocket sized, and yet can hold an unbelievable amount of data!   It is a tiny, incredible manmade wonder, but a wonder none-the-less.

As a writer I am a firm believer in the concept of the back-up.  Many copies of anything/everything are essential!  There need to be back-ups, and back-ups of back-ups to protect my stories, my ideas, my blog posts.

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This was less practical when I was a kid, and writing was pen to paper and a notebook full of sentences and ideas and so forth.  As I got older, and computers became more readily available, it was floppy disks that allowed data storage and back up.

Remember the 5 ¼” floppy disk?  Flimsy thing, literally living up to its name.  These diskettes (an improvement themselves from the prior 8” floppy disks) could hold from 90 kilobytes to 1.2 megabytes of data.  Later it was the 3.5” disk, which was much sturdier, more portable, and now able to hold from 1.4 megabytes to 240 megabytes.  Then there were zip disks, which were nearly the same size as a 3.5” disk, but much more durable and capable of holding 700 megabytes of data.

For those who are unfamiliar – the original units of data storage in the world of computing were bits.  It was not long before the bit gave way to the byte, which is itself made of eight bits (the original number of bits required for a single character of text).  So, taking that into account, a kilo-byte is a thousand bytes.  A megabyte thus is a thousand-thousand bytes, or rather a million bytes.  So now we reach the gigabyte, a thousand thousand thousand bytes, or rather a billion bytes of data.

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Let’s examine this a moment, shall we?  I got my first personal computer, an Apple IIe, in 1985.  The 5 ¼” floppy disk back-up could hold approximately 140 kilobytes of data.  To protect and transport the floppy disk, you needed a hard plastic case, and probably a book bag or backpack of some sort.  Now, in 2013, the USB flash drive I can carry easily in my pocket can hold 8 gigabytes of data.  This tiny, two inch long by about ½ inch wide device is capable of holding more than 57,000 times more information!

In the course of just over 30 years we have exponentially increased the amount of information we can carry away into a convenient and miniature vessel.  Libraries of information available at our fingertips, and yet stored in our pockets.  These tiny drives can hold up to 256 gigabytes of data (and are growing further).

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If you want to take with you all the stories you have written, all the books you have ever read, all the photos you have ever taken, any digital information you wish to have and more – you can keep them all in a pocket!  Such a simple, miniscule device, yet an amazing wonder of our modern technological age.

Yes, I know you can store your data in the “cloud”, somewhere with almost infinite storage on a server you will never see.  But I prefer the security of that data being where I know its physical location and who has access to it.  And yes, for the uber-geeks reading this – I know that flash “drives” haven’t the moving components of their predecessors – but they still hold more information and are more durable, and the term “drive” has long been accepted for them and their ilk.

I understand if you are not, like me, a tech geek.  But isn’t it amazing how something so tiny can hold inside something so vast?  Truly, the flash drive is a wondrous manmade wonder in our wondrous world.

How do you like to store YOUR digital data?

 

Me 3-25-13 smallerI am MJ Blehart, your geektacular guide to “Wednesday’s Wondrous World”.  Every week I share a wonder of this amazing world, and I hope you will enjoy the journey with me!

Check out my blog, The Ramblings of a Titanium Don, for more of my work.

Also now available, Pathwalking: A 21st Century Philosophy in Book and Kindle form!