Posts by Joseph Finley

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Fall Near The Great Blue Hill (Part 6)

October 31st

A few friends are coming over tonight for dinner and to carve pumpkins. I am juggling a few creative projects while preparing for their visit.

One rush leads to another and our guests are just 10 minutes from arrival. I suddenly remember the candy bucket and unload a long, slow personal sigh; I forgot to bring the candy over to Marlena. Another missed opportunity. It annoys me briefly but I quickly let the excitement of our approaching night sink in.

I cannot wait to carve pumpkins — a joy from childhood that I try to repeat every Halloween. Its one of the few holiday traditions I continue. Our friends arrive and we have a relaxed and enjoyable night, low key and casual, but good conversation with creative energy.

 

I never know what design I’ll use and always end up doing something a little “experimental” — basically mine is usually the pumpkin that looks like it’s only a third of the way done. And broken.

I am attempting a sky scene with punctured holes for stars and more intricate carvings for a moon and various other “celestial bodies”. The idea came from Google.

Upon finishing, there are a few mistakes but I am oddly satisfied. It’s not perfect, but at least its slightly different and not something that will blend into the background.

 

 

Dogs are Boys, Cats are Girls

Dogs are Boys, Cats are Girls

More than a fuzzy childhood memory.

Boys are dogs and cats are girls or musings from an idiot child.

No, im not going to check with anybody, why? How would I bring that up to someone, normally. Hi boy next to me who never speaks either. What do you think about boy dogs and girl cats. Nope.

I’m not going to ask another silly question about another silly thing. I will figure this out myself.

I believe I was 6, hopefully, no older. I hope I wasn’t 7.

My memory of childhood is a bit fuzzy.

But I do remember this as my first solid and fundamental animal truth (its a thing) —only later to be spoiled by my mother’s inconvenient truth (convenient timing for the complete truth Deb, or should I say “Little Debbie” — more on that later)

Her hopes for a future Mensa member were unfortunately shattered too. And most likely, I think that forced her to be extremely patient with me. Which turned out to be an anchor, in more ways than imaginable.

I probably spent more time thinking about how goddamned dogs are boys and cats are girls then you spent thinking about geometry in high school.

And remember, that all happened by 6, 7 at the latest. It was exhaustive.

“How do these children have time to play and socialize — I’ve got to figure how those huge dog babies got out of my last cat”.

And where did those babies go? Is that why she really died? Why would they tell me she was run over by Dad. Did he murder her on purpose? Confused. More Confused. Sad and confused.

In my younger years, I was what you may call a spitfire? A “unique” combination of treasure seeking astronaut with the sensitivities to the outside world of a T-mobile hot spot at a busy airport.

No wonder I would sometimes experience unbelievable headaches and mysterious sad spells for no apparent reason — sometimes right after the happiest of occasions. It hurt to think that much — all the time, even some nap times.

Time to tune into another episode of Unsolved Mysteries!

Me and my sister’s favorite show. She is “team murder reenactment”, and I’m tuning in for the

super creepy kidnapper suspect fan art

Creepy drawings that could have been done at my last family hog roast.

Our brother is doing something normal like shooting hoops in the driveway.

Finally, after about 8 or 10 super nonproductive Q and A sessions around the “private married life of cats with dogs” my friends Heather and Rebecca were frustrated as well. Or thoroughly confused. Maybe both.

And it was killing our concentration on the field and at the plate too. We lost hard to the Greyson Gators in yesterday’s game, 49 to 1. Just bad. And I’m pretty sure I’m batting under a thousand so….

The truth came out on the way home from our last slaughter of the last season of my T ball career. Two deaths in one day you could say?

I’m not going to lie and pretend I remember every word, but my mother is my second most understood subject “after me” so I can practically guarantee the conversation went something like this.

Me: Mom, when cats have babies how do they know beforehand how many they’re going to have and how much of how many?

Mom: Um, honey what do you mean by how much?

Me: Like how many of each type, dog, and cat. Do they know how many will be which?

Mom: No honey, cats only have other cats.

Me: What about boys?

Mom: Cats can have boys.

Me: But boys are dogs!

Mom: What?! Who told you that? Cats and dogs are different animals — both cats and dogs can be boy or girls. It’s ok, let’s go to U- Roll it and get an ICEE.

Then we’ll say hi and check out grandma Ivy’s garden.

Apparently, the thought of a more awkward, confused child feeding me this information provided a sort of comfort for my poor Mother.

But this was my truth. Or it was. I wasn’t sad that I was wrong. I was sad that I was so blind in the first place.

And I probably said it was Rebecca anyway. She was the queen of tarts to my king of tarts. I’m not sure that means anything to you. But it will.

Another mystery is around the corner. It was waiting for me.

Ghost Ship

About a year ago, I began experimenting with night photography and now enjoy both its challenges and the progress I have made.

I realize this “sounds” odd, but I had no intention of taking a double exposure the night in question — it happened as a result of hastily just shooting what lay in front of me. There was a lot of to capture and not much time.

This was actually the first digital double exposure I ever captured — and while I have created a few others since this is the most finished to date.

How does an “accidental” double exposure happen?

I was using a low light camera app known as “Slow Shutter” (I highly recommend it, and its free of charge), with settings to capture light trails, blurred effects, and more pronounced light resulting from longer/slower shutter speeds.

The ship in silhouette (the USS Salem docked in Quincy, MA) was taken first, and then I shoved the phone in my pocket to find my inpatient friends.

Moments later, while facing the opposite direction toward the boardwalk area, I snapped another image, not realizing it captured over the remaining one — a feature I hadn’t really explored yet.

I was happy upon my return home — the finer details of the image more apparent on the larger laptop display.

I’ll do this one again eventually — maybe even write something for it. Maybe some type of horror fiction — my title reminds me of a Scooby-Doo episode.

But this just doesn’t feel complete at the moment — and I am perfectly fine with that.

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A Restless Lullaby

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A Lullaby for the Restless

Most likely because I am awful

at misunderstandings in general,

self-promotion in particular.

On my own schedule to a fault.

Your circadian rhythm –

My cirCANT-ian rhythm

The body resists even the most primitive form of authority.

I need a process for my days, hours, minute bursts of focus.

And yes, some conformity is necessary — that much I now know.

(connections are a consequence of deep focused thought. The connections are made carefully, to the degrees most probable. But I must better express my line of thinking to others — as they will be more likely to see.

I often even forget to put (the) in front of sentences that need them.)

Yes iteration,

a bridge for me

to the other side of self-exploration, I desperately need.

This is a tribal calling card –

your collaboration is wanted, now more than ever.

Please forgive all the errors,

they will soon be rewarded.

 

Fall Near The Great Blue Hill (Part 5)

October 25th

Dave enjoys decorating the house for Halloween as it reminds him of his childhood and I enjoy the festive mood and his happiness.

He also loves shopping (for anything) and went to the grocery store to buy some candy and small toys for the kids that live in the house directly behind us.

An extra bucket remains, a product of his supermarket sweep prowess. It will get eaten by me if it stays here — I’m fairly certain of this.

Suddenly an idea — Marlena! An excuse to drop over and visit her and Buddy. Not that she probably has much use for M&M’s and orange fidget spinners, but I think she will appreciate the gesture. It’s the thought that counts, right?

I’ve also stolen some of our dog Chase’s treats for Buddy. The reduced-fat version of processed meat jerky for dogs, “skinny beggin strips”, only have the fat of the regular version. Hopefully, he won’t mind — Chase apparently does.

I am fairly restless today. A few calls for work and taking care of some loose ends — thankfully it’s slow. It’s getting harder to focus and concentrate on some things lately, especially with work. I’m typically fairly skilled at pushing my way through, but lately, it is different — a blockage.

Those things are getting harder and harder for me to dedicate any real resources to. Being productive is very important to me but lately, that is becoming harder, and the most mundane of tasks become frustrating chores — like moderating usability testing sessions or prioritizing bugs.

The passion has faded, and I need it more than ever now. But how?

I make a mental note to ask my doctor about maybe adjusting my medications again — it helped with concentration and focus last time.

Quite a few mornings I awake and my first sensation is stomach pain. A dull, aching pain. And even after using the bathroom, it still lingers, sometimes well into the day.

Typically the discomfort always resides by 2 or 3 at the latest. And in those days, I relate my brain to an older engine in need of repair — inconsistent.

Some days, it just won’t start right away. And those are often the days the fatigue sets in — and my entire body just wants to shut down and rest — or hibernate.

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Fall Near The Great Blue Hill (Part 4)

October 22nd

She is Marlena, widow of James. Born in Germany. Former biology researcher.

In my stealthy way, I stole her name from the mailbox and draw it out like a 5-year-old learning to spell. Phonetically. Doing this makes me realize how beautiful I find the name. A few google searches supplied the additional bio.

M-A-R-L-E-N-A

Why does this sound familiar? This is a name I can remember — usually the hard part. I’m still the only person I know who gets excited about meeting someone for the sake of their name. Still- something makes me more curious about her than I am typical of strangers. I cannot pinpoint it. But she is a neighbor just mere seconds away. Maybe an interesting new person to get to know?

When I feel better — my curiosity tends to get the best of me. Which might explain the google searches as well. So far — I am intrigued enough to keep digging. I’ve learned some basic background information thus far.

She slowly strolls back and forth on our circular street, allowing her small dog to lead the way.

Her bust appears “German” to me, angular and sort of cropped, very neat. She looks extremely competent and very sad — also tall. She must be 6′,0″ with a straight body, like an arrow. I’d estimate she’s in her late 60’s or early 70’s.

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A simple sophistication exudes her and interests me. I’ve seen her through the downstairs window, and have been “engineering” an opportunity to cross her path.

A very foreign type of behavior for me. I have also got to meet that little dog.

He reminds me of a mix between Alf from the late 80’s tv show and the Downy Snuggle Bear. There is a new dog and I am 6 years old all over again.

By “happenchance”, I approach the mailbox as she nears one late morning. The dog leads her to me in excitement and he’s as friendly in person as he appears from inside. He is Buddy — Marlena’s loyal and sole companion, now that Jim has passed.

She is also warm, but painfully shy. I see and understand the nuance immediately.

We exchange a few words and have a pleasant if albeit short exchange. I feel relieved to have made the extra effort and return to the house with a yearning to learn more.

Should I invite her over for coffee or tea? Is that still an actual thing or will that set off alarm bells? Honestly, I do not know — these types of things dumbfound me occasionally. To display interest in others, I have become accustomed to using the “like” feature on apps such as Instagram and Twitter. Coffee would be a big step forward and luckily, my Keurig takes care of the mechanics of coffee brewing.

I never take actions like this, as my hesitant nature typically gets the best of me, especially with newness. That nagging doubt — that cannot be rationalized or pushed away. I can fight it but it still remains, lingering — always.

I need to understand it better. I must.

Our paths cross a few more times over the next few weeks in a similar fashion — always pleasant yet brief.

 

Fall Near The Great Blue Hill (Part 3)

October 13th

A slow fall Saturday provides a good enough excuse to perform some yard cleanup. Workers from the highway transportation office recently cut back a sizeable portion of the brush that borders our property — an ongoing effort to curb roadside accidents involving the growing whitetail population.

Now, besides the sizeable leaf accumulation — many branches and other debris remain from their recent work.

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Our neighbor from across the street, Janet (Nathaniel Farrington’s eldest daughter, now into her 70’s and living directly across the street) notices us and drops by for a brief visit.

After our casual goodbyes, as an almost afterthought, she informs us that our other neighbor Jim recently passed after a third and fatal stroke. Apparently, his wife will now occupy the large yellow house diagonal to ours — alone I assume.

The fact that I met someone only weeks from their death strikes me as oddly fascinating and sad.

This wife is a complete mystery to me. Not that I spend much time investigating the neighbors. The earth here tends to take most of my spotlight these days.

This oasis of flora and fauna holds a very natural New England beauty and sends me daydreaming inside a Walt Whitman poem.

And the animal population — especially the whitetail deer and turkeys, make frequent appearances in our backyard searching for food and shelter.

Perhaps they visit to escape the sanctioned bow-hunts in the larger reserve area; a periodic attempt to thin a burdensome whitetail population. I welcome them and enjoy the chance to view them up close, as they forage nearby — preferably not in our already cursed garden.

Fall Near the Great Blue Hill – A Visual Story

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The Great Blue Hill at Dusk

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September 1956

Day breaks over the Great Blue Hill of Massachusetts as the low and heavy rumble of large excavating equipment fills the surrounding air.

The equipment is clearing the path for the first section of interstate 93 — the newest planned addition to the national highway system. Once complete it will be the first located entirely within the borders of New England.

The interstate will intersect the large and open base area of the hill, the largest in a range encompassing the Blue Hills reservation — and straddles the towns of Canton, Milton, Quincy, Randolph and Braintree among others.

Here in Canton (population 7,000) will sit the first on/off ramp “exit” and will connect with Interstate 95 snaking up the east coast through Providence. Then on to Boston Harbor (11 miles from here as the hawk flies) and winding points north in New Hampshire, Maine, and eventually ending 190 miles to the east and north in St. Johnsbury, Vermont.

A group of 6 small family owned farms now dot the landscape, all to be demolished in preparation for the construction — just 3 of the family farmhouses are deemed lucky enough (and structurally sound) to be relocated.

Currently, the final remaining farmhouse is being placed on a tractor-trailer rig after being separated from its foundation. The simple white farmhouse constructed in 1921 sat upon a 10-acre parcel and nicely sheltered a small family of 3.

The Farrington Family of Canton.

Some forethought was given to their plight via the creation of the Blue Hills nature reserve and an underground passageway allowing for safer animal passage from the hill into its relatively flat outer base —especially vital to the rather large population of whitetail deer, who often forage the greater area for food and shelter.

In approximately 10 minutes, it will begin hovering 216 yards due east to a slightly elevated resting position.

This area and the greater Neponset River Valley is rich in natural beauty and home to a diverse wildlife population. As with any infrastructure project of this scale, the natural inhabitants of this area will also be displaced.

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The 6 Dimensions of Personality

The 6 Major Dimensions of Personality as outlined in the Hexaco Personality Inventory – revised (2010)

The HEXACO model of personality structure is a six-dimensional model of human personality that was created by Ashton and Lee and explained in their book, The H Factor of Personality[1] based on findings from a series of lexical studies involving several European and Asian languages. The six factors, or dimensions, include Honesty-Humility (H), Emotionality (E), Extraversion (X), Agreeableness (A), Conscientiousness (C), and Openness to Experience (O).

Each factor is composed of traits with characteristics indicating high and low levels of the factor. The HEXACO model was developed through similar methods as other trait taxonomies and builds on the work of Costa and McCrae[2] and Goldberg.[3] The model, therefore, shares several common elements with other trait models.

However, the HEXACO model is unique mainly due to the addition of the Honesty-Humility dimension.

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