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Comes A Time… (The Social Media Computer Programmers Had It Coming). Musings on Shortcomings.

When I Want Your Help….

 

I was going to address another topic then on my ‘page’ was this insipidly coloured phrase ‘What is the one thing you would change about yourself?’. Were it not for the unhappy experiences of one of my good friends ‘Scottie’ at Scottie’s Playtime  I would have been having a WTE (What The Earth- THE polite version- We must strive to keep an All Ages profile) interlude. But apparently, according to one of those hapless souls who work under the burden of being termed a ‘Happiness Engineer’, and I quote:

“The idea behind the feature was to help people with inspiration for writing blog posts”

To be brief, the day I need help from any WP programme to write my blogs is the day I know I have nothing left to say, and thus will shut down said blogs and watch Netflix, negotiate with the garden and plants on how they want things done, and playing board games (military and RPG).  

This is also an insult to the blogging community in general as someone in WP has assumed that there are hordes of well-meaning folk who want to have a blog but have not the wit to write anything and need to be guided into various topics. If ‘What is the one thing you would change about yourself?’. is an example this tactic is as much use as a paper tissue party hat in a rainstorm. Bloggers and readers of blogs know it is a competitive world out in the Planet Blog and you had better come up with something original or catching, and not the invitation to an existentialist musing which has already been written from all directions, serious, and comical. 

Or maybe on reflection I am being a bit too harsh, perhaps there is inspiration from these unwelcome, variable, inane comments. But maybe the folk at WP do not want to read the results.

Wait. I am not done yet 

If the previous incident was not incendiary enough to send most respectable writers and bloggers reaching for allegorical pitchforks and burning brands, then as we all know there is vast range of combustible cyber material on there. Consider this one which has made itself known to a vast number of users…

Something Went Wrong
If you have not yet encountered it, then steel yourself.

There you are trying to access something, or are half way through something when all goes down and you get this message. No indication as to what went wrong, no hint as to the user, other than to ‘try again’ you are left there devoid of assistance or direction, quite aware ‘something went wrong’ Once you have calmed down and spared your innocent machine from a ruinous demise, it is time to muse on the business. Here we are in the 21st century on the cusp of quantum mechanics and physics being any everyday tool in computer work, and yet when there is an error all that the progammers can come up with is ‘That Something Went Wrong’. They have created these systems, evolved them, and yet obviously do not have the control we expect. We are left to conclude that the age of incomprehensible computer speak with numbers obscure abbreviations and a proliferation of full stops when there is a problem has gone. In their rush to supply speed and a galactic number of apps, programmers have lost control, and we are left with…

‘Something Went Wrong’

I cringe, shudder and weep at the thought of this message being used to the more physical aspects of the world, somebody, somewhere looks at the damage, shrugs and says ‘Something Went Wrong’

I conclude this, rather satisfied that I did not resort to virulent sarcasm, and very, very bad words; let me not be tempted to push my luck.

For there is worse out there.

In the Name of Merciful Gods or Reason. Or What-Have-You.

I do not know if you have encountered this one. It may be a quirk of Microsoft Edge alone. However; there you are typing out a familiar address or clicking onto a favourite and suddenly up pops an insipidly coloured page with a message that start with ‘Hmmm….’, I have never absorbed the details beyond that because an incandescent red mist descends. I am faced with a failure in the communications network and am given a message with ‘Hmmm.’ suggesting the problem is nothing to do with anyone at Microsoft, it is something I have done wrong and they are treating me with the gentle distain of a visiting uncle looking over a child’s shoulder at their homework. (unless that is computer homework, it which the uncle had best stay out of it)

I would suggest that the person or persons who thought up this one have never had to deal face to face with an irate member of the public. I would venture to suggest further that if they did treat a member of the public like this and were assaulted, then in the subsequent legal proceedings that despite the best efforts of any Microsoft Legal team the judge and jury would look leniently upon the said member of the public, even to the extent of awarding them damages.

I would suggest for the long-term safety and well being of whoever these remote folk might be they should consider replacing ‘Hmmm.’ with ‘Sorry’ for I am sure Micrsoft lose a number of customers this way (this is a restrained comment).

Conclusion  

Anyone who works in a specialist field (and these days it would seem most of us), will be swift to approach criticism on our task with one variation or another on the lines of ‘Yes. But what the public don’t realise….’ .And I daresay computer folk have whole libraries of responses. However, and there always is an However. Computers invade all aspects of our lives in work, leisure, well-being and so forth. Thus saying.. ‘Yes but…

Guys, it does not cut it….

Do better.

Finally, for the next time I get one of these irritants from you I shall restrict my responses to a mature and seasonally gentrified Big Raspberry

Some Musings Inspired by…. Not Too Sure What

plato

Despite the fact that there is a risk a lot of the old seasonal joy for one reason or another has been sucked out. It is still a season to be Quirky

And since it is supposed to be religiously inclined season

Some religiously inclined or inspired musings

Is the current pre-pre presidential nomination spat between ex-occupant of the Whitehouse Trump and Govenor of Florida De Santis with Trump’s threat to form of third party and thus tear apart the Republican Party God’s way of saying to the rest of us ‘Hey guys. I’ve got this covered,’?

There again

Considering the proliferation of popularity and adherence to one of possibly one of the most idiotic beliefs ie Qanon. Is it possible that down in Hell Satan is saying to his devils and demons ‘Hey guys. Don’t fret none. I’ve got this covered,?

And yet

Evidence of God’s Unfathomable Love is the fact that we are still around. Although don’t get too complacent, there’s some unsettling evidence in the Old Testament that like all parents, His patience is not infinite. (Sobering, Wry Humour or Just Another Christain Sounding OFF? I dunno, you decide – Meanwhile all challenges to my personal faith will be explained in a post coming here, sometime before 25th December)

About that previous one. Here are some thoughts on perspective.

Earth- 4 billion years old. Life 3.5 billion (about). Humanity (sort of) about 1 million- tops. Current estimated life expectancy of Planet Earth about 7.5 – 8.0 billion years. Even if we make it to another million, that’s only 0.00025 of the whole time span. Be humble people.

Gee- That’s a BIG universe. (Latest estimate 90 billion light years and counting). Gosh- Are quarks that small. (43 billion-billionths of a centimetre).

Put those those two together and on a cosmological scale and you’ll know how a quark feels. Like I said, be humble people.

Ok, I’m done for today

When or Not To. That Is THE Question? November #BlogBattle-Cultivate

Beards

The smallish nation of Unbedeutend located on one side by the bend of the vast river Gewaltig and cossetted on the other by the Zackig mountain range was thus left alone. That was how it had been for three centuries.

However, King Lastig not one to leave well alone. After five years’ tenure of not doing much he decided Unbedeutend needed an image as well, something which would make the men of Unbedeutend stand apart. Lacking a constructive imagination, he pondered another two years then one day an ambassador dispatched from a neighbouring nation for annoying his own king hoping to do something with his miserable lot remarked on the fine impression Lastig’s full beard and moustaches made.

Lastig took this to heart and a spark was set aflame. Unbedeutend would be the home of that most socially acceptable display of masculinity, luxurious and well-maintained facial hair. He voiced this opinion several times and his court who had its fair share of facially hairy men were much pleased, those not so took the hint and within some seventy days not a chin or upper lip was  perceived, on the males that is. Naturally this ceased to be a fashion and more of a friendly suggestion with elements of an edict.

And so many clean-shaven males of Unbedeutend commenced to cultivate facial hair. Those wishing to maintain or obtain status ensured their efforts were maintained to a high standard. ‘Straggly’ becoming a word certain to doom a fellow to mockery or ostracisation. Over the next three years barbers obtained sufficient importance to elevate their once humble Barber’s Guild to The Learned Advocacy of Master Coiffeurs and began to invent all sorts of rules and regulations, obtaining seats of local councils and so forths.

Lastig was very pleased he had set his nation on a path to Status. For did not much facial hair mean masculinity?

His folk along the Zackig mountains thought so, and consequently folk from other three kingdoms who resided along the mountain borders with Unbedeutend had to confront a frequency of by swaggering males displaying their beards, at close range. Concerns were raised by said border communities this could escalate. The kings and their lords thought reacting to Threat By Beard would be seen as excitable and thus did nothing, except look with some suspicion at some of their own fulsomely facially haired men about court. After a while other local matters took their attention and sense prevailed. Unbedeutend, who cared? Aside from peasants on the borders, so what.

In Unbedeutend males continued to emulate their king. Although some in various positions of authority or wishing to be thus looked upon others with facial jealousy and unable to keep pace suggested these others were trying to exceed the king in stature. The consequences were varied and because no one wanted to disturb the king’s joviality very restrained, merely muted as innocent officials on the rise, gently fell from grace, or lesser also innocent folk seeking to rise in court were modestly ostracised back to their estates. It was all very civilised.

Queen Fellyone and the ladies of her court, circle and salon could not, of course, become involved, so they concentrated on flower arranging, which was very socially astute as peasants would not have time or resources to do likewise. Not so with men.

Out amongst the common folk and those elevated, but not invited to Court. matters evolved as the cultivation continued. Those of meticulous and reflective mien grew narrower styles, thus enabling them to finger the hair thoughtfully while saying ‘So’ or ‘Ah’ or a long drawn out ‘Yesssss,’. Some tolerated as outgoing and outrageous indulged in slightly untidy appearances, while military folks’ efforts were by length and width measured according to rank.  Religious fellows attended to the matter according to personal conscience. Books on how to conduct neat and respectable ways of eating proliferated, though those who had long cultivated facial hair felt somewhat insulted by the latter move. An indicator of social pressures which the king’s advisors’ advisors should have taken note of.

There were however other pressing issues, the one most close to Lastig’s heart being his only son and thus heir Prince Gravierend, unlike his father serious and reflective also not prone either socially or worse physically to displays of facial hair. He was capable at arms and took an interest in military matters, so no one was inclined to jest with him at not joining the era of beards, nonetheless an embarrassment to his father and as some courtiers suggested a possible focus of discontent. The solution was relatively simple. The neighbouring southern nation of Beunruhigt was now suffering from a few ill-disciplined barons. Gravierend, was only too glad to go with a volunteer retinue of sober and able fellows, who began to shave as soon as they crossed over the border.

For administrative purposes Lastig’s nephew Earl Schleichen was made nominal Prince of the Office, in order that someone be princely for all the required ceremonial duties of the said rank. Schleichen had for some time been maneuvering to get A Position. He was aided by others who thought they could control him and with him shared a dislike of Gravierend who they thought merely affected his serious disposition. Wars it had been agreed were serious things and who knew what might happen to a young prince. Lastig distracted by various issues relating to beards did not notice.

At least half of the court should have anticipated the first problem would come from The Church and within the Church. To begin with the issues were minor. The most boring and to be avoided priests and bishops got into tussles over the theological implications of long or short beards. In rural areas congregations found over enthusiastic priests indulged in hair to the extent their sermons were quite incoherent coming from behind what appeared to be small bushes. This led to neighbouring priests who had issues with the excessively hairy associate to suggest an excess of hair was all vanity, some even began, with congregational support, to shave. This allowed wives and mothers weary of shedding of hair, unpleasant sights at meals and discomfort at times once tender and intimate to lend support, and everything became schismatic.

The disruption spread to more urban areas and in the tide those men who had long nurtured facial hair and were expert in its management were wont to voice distain at less expert fellows and the disrepute they were bringing upon the art.

Vocal disputes became more frenetic and louder, thus hair was tugged, which accelerated and riotous behaviour became common, bordering of Unrest. Lastig, like most folk of genial dispositions when thwarted and deprived of uncomplicated options lost his temper and became dyspeptic.

To begin with he commanded his lords to stop the violence, without telling them how, and demanded his government to issue edicts and laws. As each official had been told personally each went away with different ideas. The results were rather obvious, the lords had opted for the simplest solution; Hit People, as the lords were the ones with the soldiers, so things simmered down; except that the lords now thought themselves rulers in their own realms claiming they ‘understood’ the local situation; which most of them didn’t. The Church weighed in with a bewildering number of contradictory opinions thus even the schisms had schisms. The most extreme example being ‘The Sisterhood of The Equal Hair’, a group of women who partook of secret potions which encouraged facial hair growth; whether this started out as a religious, political or satirically ironic movement was lost in the confusion of the times, needless to say the results were unsettling.

Lastig now started to make very uncomplimentary and ungenerous remarks to folk in his court, mostly to do with their competency, although peppered with barded observations on their own beards. He said he would sort it all out and locked himself away in a room wherein he worked for five days and nights drafting The Royal Decree of Stability. When it was produced no one understood anything of its nature, while Lastig seemed to be unable to offer any coherent clarifications. In later years in Universities Professors of Politics, Philosophies and Rhetoric would offer up this work up as the prime example of why drafting without ideas was a bad approach, some radical and naturally covert institutions used it as a reason why kings should never be involved in formulation of law.

Even so Lastig insisted upon its application, the first, to profit were lawyers, the second being Schleichen. It was noted that whereas Lastig began to display evidence of Straggliness, Schleichen’s beard was more luxurious and maintained, thus even though he was growing more obnoxious he felt confident enough to drop the ‘of the Office’ part of his title and experiment with passing his own edicts, all to do with the accumulation of his own authority and wealth. Such was the chaos very folk noticed.

Elsewhere, actually in Beunruhigt, King Travach was grateful for Gravierend’s efforts, the surviving ill-disciplined barons were wishing they had not listened to their deceased associates. Surviving assassins sent curt letters of resignations to those in Unbedeutend who had sent them.  Also daughter of Travach, Princess Leilanna (The Studious) and Gravierend had formed an attachment. As there was no more ill-discipline in the realm he escorted her to visit her favourite widowed aunt whose border lands were in the shadow of the Zackig Mountains. It was there the pair and their loyal retinues encountered a large but furtive band of ruffians and men of the Zackig mountains on the Unbedeutend side, seemingly engaged in transporting large sacks. The encounter from the viewpoint of the disreputable groups was not a profitable one and the survivors were ordered to hand over the contents of the sacks.

Human hair.

On severe and persistent questioning there were general confessions the hair was for the manufacture of false beards, of which there was a flourishing market in Unbedeutend. Gravierend with Leilanna at his side and retinues following was swift to ride back home and demand explanations. The first folk of rank he encountered, were found with large amounts of unexplainable gold, they tried to protest and bluster, in doing so raised other suspicions and were found with false beards.

Gravierend raised the matter at court, as he had a battle hardened retinue no one tried to stop him, in fact several arranged to be elsewhere. Naturally a scandal broke involving nobles, bishops, some merchants and The Learned Advocacy of Master Coiffeurs, more unexplainable gold and false beards were revealed. Prince Schleichen was involved, was forced to flee the kingdom, those of his family who could, disowned him. Lustig suffered a collapse, pulled his hair out and retired to an undisclosed remote tower, Queen Fellyone repaired unto a spa town five hundred miles south west and stayed there, for her health, Gravierend, with some fatalistic reluctance took the throne, married Leilanna, spent a year knocking heads together, putting down inept rebellions, placing unexplainable and confiscated wealth into civil and civic projects for the good of the ordinary folk and drafting the following edict.

‘Beards. I could not care less,’

Most folk got the message, there was much rejoicing and men who had had beards most of their adult life felt dignity and sanity was being cultivated again. ‘The Sisterhood of The Equal Hair’ under the stern examination of Queen Leilanna, confessed that the whole thing had indeed been an ironic jest and were glad it was all over.

And those who wished to, shaved happily ever after.

On Friendship

Jill has written a deep and thoughtful post here.
Spare an interlude in your day, for your friendships

Filosofa's Word

Please forgive my introspective and somewhat dark mood this morning …

What is friendship?  Respect?  If I don’t respect you, can I still really call you a friend?  In times of strife, we learn who our friends really are, don’t we?  I and most of you have either lost friends or found relationships strained over the last six years because of our political views.  Here in the U.S., it was Trump, and in the UK it was Brexit.  I remember in 2016/2017 being floored to find out that people I had known for 30-40 years were avid fans of Trump.  Eventually, most of them ‘unfriended’ me on Facebook, stopped sending Christmas cards and stopped including me in their occasional lunches.  All of which was fine with me, for I realized we had nothing to talk about and my views were too strong for me to sit and smile while listening…

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The Necromancer’s Daughter: a novel by D. Wallace Peach

A Fantasy novel promising many layers

Audrey Driscoll's Blog

First, a word from Diana:

Greetings, Audrey. Thanks so much for inviting me to join you on your blog to talk a bit about my new book The Necromancer’s Daughter. I wanted to share a little dilemma that I had at the start of the book and how I chose to handle it. It’s interesting to me how certain stories challenge us to try something different.
The first section of the book, The Necromancer, is six chapters long, and it introduces Barus. For most of this section, Aster hasn’t been born, so the story unfolds in Barus’s POV.
Then, the story takes a turn and jumps ahead to section two, called The Necromancer’s Daughter. Aster, as a young woman, takes over the story, and Barus fades from the spotlight.
But I liked Barus, and I hoped readers would like him too. And though he isn’t present for the majority…

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More Than Faith October #BlogBattle-Dream

Dream Scape (2)

The sun began setting behind a drift of rain, the walls of Parledach took on the now familiar image of a beast hunched, deadly being cornered in the hunt. The light from the constant flames of damage within and without adding to the ominous threats both hunters and hunted presented. Hunkered in the trenches the hounds of that hunt waited for the next order; soldiers of disparate regions and abilities all at the Imperial behest to bring down this creature of rebellion. Another assault under the cloak of night, accepting the stumbling over ravaged ground, with the hidden traps, for the gift of darkness’ cover, and no problem with direction, you could hardly miss looming town walls.

One section of trench was comparatively tidy as the troopers of LifeGuard engineers industriously checked equipment, in particular the powerful petards to be set against the iron and wood gate, a location they had been patiently digging to, thus lessening the distance.

The smaller figure sat upon a pile of wood methodically storing and securing equipment designed to repair the tools of injury and demolition. Twenty two days she had been here. Part of another of the elite LifeGuard’s contributions, a medical half company. Mostly obliged to care for the injured or sickening lords and senior officers. Ten days ago, she and another medician had been sent to supply emergency aid to the engineers who needed and deserved it. Yesterday Medician Quedir had slipped and died on a discarded blade at an odd angle. It surprised unbloodied folk how many died of accidents on battlefields. Medician Beritt hoped the quota of ill-luck was used up. It had been a bad five days; six dead and three incapacitated was a heavy price on a company starting at fifty and already depleted by an earlier eleven. That’s why she and Quedir had been sent, try and repair minor injuries and turn them back into the fight, show that The Command cared. Quedir’s death had hit hard, it smelt of ill-luck, like smoke and fumes it drained and choked even engineers who lived in the jagged and sudden places.

The captain whose features spoke to her of badly maintained road shambled over to her. He tried a grateful smile, instead the actioned reminded her of the rictus of dying. Being a medician gave you perception.

‘As always, your presence in the attack will be appreciated medician,’ she reckoned he was going to say more but the words appeared stuck, she tried to help them on.

‘Jus’ doin’ mah required duties Cap’n,’ she laid on her sudd-hengestatian accent thick, the general opinion was her folk were nascent roguish clowns, but leather tough and unflappable. She played to the crowd keeping her own feeling tight within. Good for morale? Had the rictus smoothed out?

‘Well you try and be careful medician,’ Scraith but this siege was a bad one ‘We need you,’ And frib’ ,Was he pleading now?

Quick glances up and down the line. She could see pity, concern and some disgust; soldiers knowing their captain was losing whatever captains were supposed to have.

The rain picked up, pushed on by the sudden arrival of a chill wind. Never trust Spring, her farming pa used to say.

‘Breakfast in a sewer,’ groaned a trooper engineer ‘This weather is gonna turn five hundred yards into three miles. Hold my hand Stitches,’ he said to Beritt dredging up some humour. ‘I’m nervous,’

‘Trex,’ she growled ‘Ah’m not touching anything of yours without gauntlets on,’

Laughter skittered about. Thus, pair bantered back and forth, sharing a sudden burden to keep morale steady.

These heroic efforts were to fade as the night settled in and the support ordinance began to call out its arrival, pounding walls and beyond.

‘They’re on target tonight,’ someone said in grim relief, promptly followed by the roar of an explosion further up the right, and a trembling along the trench; screams and curses followed. Then the fearful judgement they all hated ‘Shortfall’

‘That bitty scratching won’t help Stitches,’ Trex said with true sympathy, and Beritt realised she had been clawing at the trench wall. ‘We all do it,’ he added.

‘Prepare’ the captain called out, his voice, quite steady but a sudden illumination displayed the creeping fear.

‘Scraith. They’ve got a whych up there,’

Beritt in a detached way fear brought put the commentator from the south and east of the empire where such terms were used for those who dabbled in the Ethereal. This one was for lighting up places making stark the ground before them bright with a metallic sharpness. A heavy hand fell upon her shoulder, she turned to the stone faced sergeant, the last one of his rank.

‘Don’t forget Medician. Stay back in the rush. That’s where your work will be,’

‘I know sarge’, ‘she said, wondering why he’d felt the need to say that, she’d scrambled out of the trench three times since her arrival attending to and dragging back the injured who had a chance.

‘Ready engineers,’ called out the captain, the word ‘forward’ trembling on his lips.

The sergeant stood up, looked to the ground ahead and said above all the roar, and with all due respect.

‘Captain. You can go and scraith yourself,’ and with that drove his combat knife efficiently into his own neck, as he fell, the blood showering over Beritt’s boots.

The company survivors looked down at the body, Beritt in the grip of her training checking he was indeed dead.

‘Damn,’ said Trex ‘That’s a shame. Poor ol’ Sarge Ferred,’

‘Just lost his step on the road. That’s all,’ one Beritt knew just as ‘Cheerful Chye’ spoke in his usual fatalistic way. ‘One charge too many,’

The Captain, tears beginning to trickle, nonetheless scrambled out of the trench.

‘C’mon,’ he cried hoarsely ‘I’m not letting Ferred be remembered just for this. He was there for us every other time. C’mon,’ this time the command came as a visceral roar, and not looking back he was off.

Trex huffed, Chye wiped his nose on his sleeve and they were off, the rest following. Beritt closed Ferred’s eyes and placed his cap over his face and obeyed his last order.

 

To either side of her, there were lines, columns and clumps of men hurling themselves to the walls; distractions she reckoned, for that fellow with the lights was swinging his attention in all directions, panicked, she felt. Two engineers were down, wounds sufficient for her know that was it. Another clutched his leg, bone protruding. She slipped alongside, the swearing fellow, pushed a bottle of her own mix into his mouth and while he drunk she set a crude splint on his leg.

‘What the scraith was that Stitches,’ he gasped at the liquid burnt down his throat.

‘Make you forget the pain. Y’all crawl back now,’ she said and was in pursuit of the rest. Another was seated on a mound, holding his left arm by a thread and saying ‘Oh dear. Oh dear,’ over and over in a slightly distressed way. Beritt unhunched up to him, consoled him, into having another of her mixes to drink, snipped through last threads of flesh, gave him the arm to hold, while she slapped some ‘goop’ on the wound to staunch the blood.

‘Now trooper y’all get your backside back to LifeGuard Command. Hear?’

‘Will do Stitches. Oh dear. Oh dear,’

 

Beritt sloshed and slipped on, the force of a nearby detonation hurling her into the cover of an upturned cart. Troopers were catching breath and whatever sanctuary they could. Trex was snarling, lifting up the heavy barreled falconade, an Ethereally powered device, aiming at the fellow on the walls. A dulled red bolt of energy hissed forth, catching the target, pitching him back, screaming and burning. Trex howled in high-pitched unhinged glee, jumping up and down, heedless of the danger.

‘Yeah! Gotcha you braxer! Weren’t ready for that uh?’

Beritt tugged at his belt to get him into cover, he lashed at her, told her she was a bitty girl and stick to stitching folks up. In response she kneed him in the groin, as he bent double her fist struck him in the jaw, sending him into the wagon. Whereupon she jumped on his chest and shaking him.

‘Y’all keep tha’ damn stupid head down, knuckle brain. T’otherwise Ah’ll kick yore delicates over tha’ wall!’

And was gone towards the next injury.

Trex blinked, puzzled.

‘Was that Stitches who pounded me?’

‘You did have it coming,’ Chye observed.

Beritt was curtailing a bleeding arm when a group reached the gate. Five of them two hold up wooden cover while the Captain supervised the fixing of the explosives, missiles and rubble either deliberate or by detention falling about the party. The remainder of the company unleashed aimed missile contributions. A battle against circumstance and chance taking place. You could not expect luck to hold in that storm of Humanity’s cursed doing.

One of the shield bearers was caught in the wash of some incendiary, thus turning to a threshing thing.

A chorus of oaths and two troopers were out dashing to assist; Beritt in their wake, eyes fixed on the victim, who in his pain had knocked into the another working at the charge. Beritt lighter and used to sprinting to suffering, gauntleted reached the growing crisis first, snatched the burning man, with heels dug in pulled him away, throwing him to the ground, leaving everyone else to whatever was necessary, burning fleshing assailing her nose, screams into her ears. Knife drawn she plunged it into the man’s throat, the screams turning to a gurgle, and finally a sigh. She looked up, no one questioned her releasing the fellow and stemming his panic. Anyway, they were busy.

‘Charges set ready,’ came the practiced call.

‘Charges ignited,’ the second.

‘Retire,’ the captain commanded.

At this the cover was dropped and the men turned to run.

Beritt did not know the whys and hows, but the charges seemed to explode too early, throwing everyone to their faces into the filth. Although winded she managed to get to her feet, squinting into the smoke and flame she looked for injuries.

‘Scraith. We done it,’ that was Trex, then hoarse and scared ‘Where The Cap’n?’

Beritt was already crawling to the latest body.

‘He’s down,’ she yelled, swearing on reaching him, some piece of debris flung by the explosion had sliced open his midriff, she supposed he had been looking back to check the effects. Not a place to conduct anything medical she began to haul him back, fortunate he was unconscious, others reached her and between them they got him into the trench, where she worked to cover the injury, keep the filth out and innards in. There was a lot of talk and shouting going on, nothing to do with her. His eyes flickered open, and she forced open his mouth to administer the last of her mixes, he proffered thanks, as she continued.

‘Keep me alive until we are relieved,’ he hissed ‘Someone has to give orders,’

In their trench, now forgotten as soldiers tore at the gap and fought into the town, the engineers waited, as ordered by their dying captain, the medician keeping his pain bearable and innards secured.

An officer arrived, gaunt and as bloodied as they were.

‘Engineers. Your task his done retire to LifeGuard Command,’

The man knelt by his fellow officer, words were exchanged, the captain died.

The medician punched the side of the trench.

‘Lieutenant sir?’ she asked, ‘Did you see two troopers making their ways back,’

‘One crawling and one who had lost his arm?’

‘Yes sir,’

‘I am afraid I saw their bodies,’

‘Scraith! Damn to fifth hell!’

‘You did your best medician. You couldn’t be expected to save folk with such wounds. Not here,’

Lined and dirty face, her lips twisted into what expression the officer could not make out.

‘A girl can dream sir,’

And a girl would dream. 

Tonight.

The wrong sorts.

Inspiration Is Where You Find It

Words so true from Barb

Barb Caffrey's Blog

I want to talk about inspiration for a bit, because I truly do think inspiration is where you find it.

Consider, please, that when you go outside, you see small animals. Birds. Squirrels. Rabbits. Assorted critters of various sizes along those lines.

Observing wildlife, just watching them, gives you the idea that the struggles we face aren’t a patch on what they do.

In the middle of fall, as we are now in much of the Northern Hemisphere, a squirrel is storing away food to make it through the winter. A bird is figuring out where it’s going to nest, or perhaps lighting out for warmer climates. A rabbit…well, who knows what’s going to happen to it, as there are many competitors for that rabbit, and most do not indicate a long life.

Yet they continue to get up, move around, and do whatever they can to extend their lives…

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MKTG #20 – SCAMS

Very valuable and sage advice for authors of all stages and expectations.

Story Empire

Hello, SE’ers! It’s Jan here to talk about an infuriating book marketing pitfall. I will share some tips to help make sure you don’t fall for useless book marketing promises that can drain your pocketbook.

Image courtesy Pete Linforth via Pixabay

New authors are desperate to get their work discovered. And that makes them vulnerable to promises that sound too good to be true. The old adage comes to mind, If it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t.

But it’s not just new authors who are vulnerable. Even though seasoned authors tend to be more cautious, we can all still fall prey to these sharks. They’ve gotten good at saying what we want to hear.

So what can we do to protect ourselves and our money?

  • First and maybe most importantly, if someone cold-contacts you, it should raise a big red flag. For example, let’s say you…

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BBC NEWS: Hurricane Ian: They stayed for the storm – what happens now?

Spare some time in your day for Scottie and Ron, hit hard in Florida

Scottie's Playtime

Punta Gorda Is the next town up from us so we got what the got. We are in North Fort Myers between Fort Myers and Punta Gorda. I understand everything in this article. Ron is tired. He has fought all his life to make things better and gotten knocked back and down repeatedly. He was tired rebuilding this place before but it was feeling like it was becoming what we wanted. Now Ron has lost hope and feels overwhelmed. My going down yesterday didn’t help his feelings as he feel’s this is hurting me bad. But it is hurting all of us I tell him I just had five days of over doing. Like 30 hours behind the wheel of a vehicle and spending a night trying to sleep in the van in a parking lot. So much more. But we had no information. No one in management came to…

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Concerning The Inconsistencies of Social Media Algorithms

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A responsible heading when dealing with controversial topics.

A good friend of mine (whose name is withheld to avoid them having to suffer further censure) when producing a politically themed post on a social media platform suggested certain politicians and pundits of strong and controversial views might have their perceptions improved by a bracing dive into a large natural body of water,

Jump in a lake 2

no doubt working on the basis that such a refreshing immersion would clear away their ill-humours, latent dyspepsia and possible heart damaging frenetic outlooks. The social media platform upon which this was posted (the name is withheld to spare The Well-known International company being subject To abusive or satirical comments turning up on their site) banned my friend for 12 hours for allegedly encouraging suicide.

This action puzzled me, for the actual activity is a popular one, often social groupings and bondings, all very healthy in fact.

Jamp in a Lake 3

Now if this ban were on Health & Safety grounds I would approve for there should always be caution and some manner of supervision when amusements take place around large bodies of water. In particular where styles approaching athletic or acrobatic are employed, in a possibly less than professional manner.

Jump in a Lake 4

However, as you can see from the evidence displayed this activity gives many folk joy and amusement, gifts which in these troubled times should be welcomed.

Jump in a Lake

Side view of dog jumping into lake against sky

Wow factor of 11

It, therefore, can only be concluded that the algorithm used in the company’s surveillance suggests that certain people of high public profile and controversial views when coupled with the idea of large bodies of water might give rise to morbid thoughts within some sections of the population. This, in turn leads inexorably to the next deduction, being the person or persons mentioned are the ones which give rise to the distressing thoughts and not the large bodies of water. (see additional evidence)

Wannsee, Germany, 20-29 Years, Adult, Back Lit, Carefree

Thus I would raise the issue, should not the company’s concerns be addressed to the principal subject matter; this being the person or persons, their content and all references of support to them be removed from the said platform (or platforms)?

Second Responsible Public Warning………

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While the topic of engaging with bodies of water with enthusiasm be left open to mature and reasoned debate.