Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Writer's Challenge 2010: Deadline "R" thru "Z"

vintage typewriter
Writer's Challenge Deadline!

The deadline for the Writer's Challenge 2010 words "R" through "Z" is November 15, 2010. Please submit your work to the weeks you wish to enter by adding it as a comment in the appropriate week's comment section.

The Writer's Challenge 2010 features three pre-chosen themes each week. Your entry will be considered for re-publication online in the first Sunflower Ranch Anthology.

You are challenged to write up to 200 words on one of the three theme words we offer each week. You may write on all three subjects -- but not in the same piece. Please only submit one piece per theme word. Make each poem, short story, essay, or mini-drama a separate reply in the comment section for that week. All links for the November 8 deadline are listed below.

R words: rave, ripe, rust
S words: seek, sigh, stop
T words: tear, tire, trip
U words: under, up, urn
V words: vale, vein, vow
W words: want, well, writ
X words: Xanthus, xenophobe, x-ray
Y words: yarn, yet, you
Z words: zap, zip, zoom

Remember to keep all your work to 200 words or less. *A note about language appropriateness: no vulgarities, obscenities, or anything offensive, please. Your work should be for general audiences.*

If your work is chosen for the anthology, you will be contacted through your blog at that time. If you don't have a blog, include your Twitter name or email address so we can reach you. For email, use this format: youremailname at serviceprovider dot com. [That should keep the autobots from sending you spam.]

If you have any questions or need any clarification of the challenges, please put them in the comment section below and I will do my best to explain it. Once the deadline has been passed, it will be closed to entries, no exceptions.

To recap -- the deadline for "R" through "Z" is November 15, 2010. Enter as many weeks as you wish. But primarily, have some fun with these!

Thank you and good luck!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Massive Thunderstorm Over Helsinki

lightning strike over Helsinkilightning strike over Helsinki

The photo above is an example of lightning from the massive thunderstorm that rolled over Helsinki and surrounding towns earlier this month. YouTube has many videos of this incredible storm and I've found these from different perspectives to show you. I love these storms [as long as everyone is safe] and unfortunately [or not, depending on your perspective] here in my small corner of the world we rarely have these. So far this summer, we haven't even had a rumble of thunder, much less anything so dramatic! Yes, many places around the USA routinely suffer from thunderstorms which curtail outdoor activities, cause power outages, flash floods, property damage, automobile accidents and even death. The power of these storms can overwhelm the infrastructure and cause irreparable grief to many families.

That notwithstanding, watch these videos and you will witness the power and the majesty of nature in all its force. This monster is awesome! The first video is just a hint of what is to come.

From the beach, a "Jaws" moment:




With an industrial area in the distance:




From a residential area:




From a sidewalk cafe in town:



And if you enjoy these, do check out all the additional videos of this event. It's one of the most well documented storms I've seen in a long time.

In the information below I've included an interesting page of Helsinki street fashions, which has absolutely nothing to do with the storm, but is a lot of fun and shows a wide variety of creative clothing choices. Combined with the storm, these fashions are inspiring! And perhaps you'll gain some insight as to the character of the people of Helsinki. [I think I'd like them a lot!!!] Have fun!

For more information: Helsinki, Finland, visit Helsinki, fashion in Helsinki "Hel Looks", thunderstorm facts, more thunderstorm info.

lightning strike over Helsinki
Thank you for visiting!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Writer's Challenge 2010: Deadline "I" thru "Q"

vintage typewriter
Writer's Challenge Deadline!

The deadline for the Writer's Challenge 2010 words "I" through "Q" is November 8, 2010. Please submit your work to the weeks you wish to enter by adding it as a comment in the appropriate week's comment section.

The Writer's Challenge 2010 features three pre-chosen themes each week. Your entry will be considered for re-publication online in the first Sunflower Ranch Anthology.

You are challenged to write up to 200 words on one of the three theme words we offer each week. You may write on all three subjects -- but not in the same piece. Please only submit one piece per theme word. Make each poem, short story, essay, or mini-drama a separate reply in the comment section for that week. All links for the November 8 deadline are listed below.

I words: ice, idol, infect
J words: jab, jeer, joy
K words: key, kind, knot
L words: lash, line, lore
M words: mask, miss, muse
N words: near, nip, now
O words: only, open, over
P words: pair, pin, pure
Q words: quake, quest, quiver

Remember to keep all your work to 200 words or less. *A note about language appropriateness: no vulgarities, obscenities, or anything offensive, please. Your work should be for general audiences.*

If your work is chosen for the anthology, you will be contacted through your blog at that time. If you don't have a blog, include your Twitter name or email address so we can reach you. For email, use this format: youremailname at serviceprovider dot com. [That should keep the autobots from sending you spam.]

If you have any questions or need any clarification of the challenges, please put them in the comment section below and I will do my best to explain it. Once the deadline has been passed, it will be closed to entries, no exceptions.

To recap -- the deadline for "I" through "Q" is November 8, 2010. Enter as many weeks as you wish. But primarily, have some fun with these!

Thank you and good luck!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Spider and The Fly


The Spider and the Fly
by
Mary Howitt


Will you walk into my parlour?" said the Spider to the Fly,
'Tis the prettiest little parlour that ever you did spy;
The way into my parlour is up a winding stair,
And I've a many curious things to shew when you are there."
Oh no, no," said the little Fly, "to ask me is in vain,
For who goes up your winding stair can ne'er come down again."

"I'm sure you must be weary, dear, with soaring up so high;
Will you rest upon my little bed?" said the Spider to the Fly.
"There are pretty curtains drawn around; the sheets are fine and thin,
And if you like to rest awhile, I'll snugly tuck you in!"
Oh no, no," said the little Fly, "for I've often heard it said,
They never, never wake again, who sleep upon your bed!"

Said the cunning Spider to the Fly, " Dear friend what can I do,
To prove the warm affection I 've always felt for you?
I have within my pantry, good store of all that's nice;
I'm sure you're very welcome -- will you please to take a slice?"
"Oh no, no," said the little Fly, "kind Sir, that cannot be,
I've heard what's in your pantry, and I do not wish to see!"

"Sweet creature!" said the Spider, "you're witty and you're wise,
How handsome are your gauzy wings, how brilliant are your eyes!
I've a little looking-glass upon my parlour shelf,
If you'll step in one moment, dear, you shall behold yourself."
"I thank you, gentle sir," she said, "for what you 're pleased to say,
And bidding you good morning now, I'll call another day."

The Spider turned him round about, and went into his den,
For well he knew the silly Fly would soon come back again:
So he wove a subtle web, in a little corner sly,
And set his table ready, to dine upon the Fly.
Then he came out to his door again, and merrily did sing,
"Come hither, hither, pretty Fly, with the pearl and silver wing;
Your robes are green and purple -- there's a crest upon your head;
Your eyes are like the diamond bright, but mine are dull as lead!"

Alas, alas! how very soon this silly little Fly,
Hearing his wily, flattering words, came slowly flitting by;
With buzzing wings she hung aloft, then near and nearer drew,
Thinking only of her brilliant eyes, and green and purple hue --
Thinking only of her crested head -- poor foolish thing! At last,
Up jumped the cunning Spider, and fiercely held her fast.
He dragged her up his winding stair, into his dismal den,
Within his little parlour -- but she ne'er came out again!

And now dear little children, who may this story read,
To idle, silly flattering words, I pray you ne'er give heed:
Unto an evil counsellor, close heart and ear and eye,
And take a lesson from this tale, of the Spider and the Fly.

For more information: Wiki article on poem, Mary Howitt bio, another bio, Mary Howitt: an autobiography, Volume 1, Howitt poetry online.



Thanks for visiting!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Stop Bullying Now

two girls bully another girltwo girls bully another girl

The problem of bullying is as old as schools and kids themselves. It's not new behavior in the course of human culture -- but today, it is more widespread and more noticed.

a boy assaults a smaller boya boy assaults a smaller boy

I have to say everyone in my family was extremely lucky not to have been annoyed or hurt by bullies while going through school. So, I have no firsthand knowledge of the pain of bullying. However, that being said, I have witnessed friends while in school and later children of friends who were victims of bullying and it's not an experience for the faint of heart. It can devastate all the children in a family and hurt family relationships. Academic excellence and achievement can suffer and by extension, the future livelihood and happiness of the bullied victim.

a bullying victim pleads with you for helpa victim pleads with you for help

I have found some excellent resources for you to study. If parents, grandparents, guardians, and activity leaders [scouts, sports, after school clubs] as well as teachers know the signs of bullying, it will stop the scourge of bullying. Many school districts provide seminars for teachers to identify bullying and make proactive changes in their classrooms. Over 40 states in the US have laws regarding bullying. If those laws were enforced, there definitely would be fewer bullying incidents and the perpetrators would be stopped. A bully's behavior can be modified through education, understanding and appropriate punishment.

Sadly, the problem has escalated to such an extent that many parents are at their wit's end. They try everything to find a good, safe and effective learning environment for their child from changing classrooms or schools or home schooling or even moving to a different school district or state. Bullying can pressure a family to the breaking point.

a boy in despaira boy in despair

Don't let your young loved one suffer one more day at the hands of a bully. Take a proactive approach and put a stop to it now. Stop the systematic bullying rampant in schools today. Get involved in your PTA and rid your school of bullying. Check out the links below for more information and good luck. A child is counting on you!

For more information: Dr. Ken Rigby's bullying info, Stop Bullying Now, Preventing Bullying in Your Child's Life, Cops Guide to Bullying in Schools [pdf], US Gov advice for kids & parents, anti-bullying programs, anti-bullying skills kids can use immediately.

Thank you for visiting!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Meteors over Mt. Rainier


Here are two awesome time-lapse videos of the recent Perseid meteor shower over Mt. Rainier. The flashes in the second video are probably automobile headlights -- but they could be dry lightning strikes. [It has been noted that Mt. Rainier has its own weather patterns, different from the surrounding area.] There are campfires or possibly forest fires burning on the mountain, too, which you can also see. Enlarge the videos for best viewing. Enjoy!

Here is the first video:



And here's the second video:



For more information: Wiki Perseid article, updated 2010 Perseid info, Mt. Rainier National Park, visit Mt. Rainier, more Mt. Rainier info, Washington state tourism.

Thanks for visiting!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Made in the USA -- Not Scotland


For an explanation of where this cartoon originated, click here. To see more this cartoonist's work check out his website or visit RedState.com.

Thanks for visiting!