Tag Archives: Thoughts

Seize The Day!!!

A lot of people like to give lip service to the title statement, but how many really follow through and lead a life based upon this very basic premise? Many? Some? Few? In my experience, not many at all. It takes a certain kind of rare life experience to motivate someone into living for the moment, seizing every second, and sucking the marrow out of life. Mayhap, I should explain further…

Approximately 8 years ago my thyroid decided, hey, lets just go off the rails and see how fast we can run. It slipped into overdrive and I lost weight rapidly. When I got bone thin and could barely walk, I finally gave into the idea of seeing a doctor. I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. I was given pills and told I must take the pills everyday, thus I needed to find a regular doctor. I did so and he recommended that I have my thyroid ablated(killed with radioactive Iodine) or removed through surgery. I chose the path of ablation, rather than the path of surgery and the risk of vocal cord damage.

A couple of years later, after several doctors and finding funding and a failed first attempt to kill it, we finally succeeded. I remember to this day the day it died. You see, when an organ dies like this, it is accompanied by a very strong feeling. It’s a feeling you are not likely going to get in many other ways. It is worse than fear or terror and even loneliness. It is worse, than despair, sadness, and even agony. I call this feeling DOOM. Funny, but that is exactly what the doctor called it when he asked me how I felt when it died. Doom is beyond normal feelings. It is life without hope. It is agony, fear, despair, and hopelessness all wrapped in one. Truthfully, that does not even begin to describe it and therein lies the rub. It has to be experienced to be understood.

This is the kind of rare life experience that motivates people to seize the day. It is a rare circumstance that forces you to realize your mortality and just how limited your days on this planet can be. Without having this kind of experience, it really does not seem as important to live the moment.

I used to procrastinate quite regularly, as I am sure a lot of people do. But since that feeling, I try to do at least one constructive thing everyday. I am not talking about doing the dishes or feeding the cat. I am speaking of creating something. A new photo, a photo trip, writing something, creating a song or at least a melody. I do this everyday. No exceptions! Even if my wife is home, I do this when she sleeps. Of course, every waking moment, when I feel well, I spend with her. Since my thyroid was ablated, I have had a lot of health issues, but I always strive to spend time with my wife and create.

You see one other thing happens when you wake up and realize your time is limited. You also find out what is really important in life. Not surprisingly, you discover that money and material possessions have no value in the big scheme of things. They cannot be taken with you into any imaginable afterlife. It is those intangible things that be come alive for you and worthy of spending your time on. The memories, the emotions, the dreams that can be taken with you.

To drive home this point, I am going to share a couple of photos of what is now the reality of where I live, and then I am going to share some photos of what once was. Understand, the beauty I share with you could not have been possible, if I would not have seized the day!

In the above photo is a fence around a school playground. Now you might not consider this much of a difference unless you knew that this is around the entire playground. Thus, it appears in the background of every photo I have taken there since. IMHO, it just ruins the peaceful ambience that once existed there. You will see it when you view the photos from before the fence was installed.

In this photo you can see what remains of a woodland tunnel. Nothing! It has been completely decimated as they make room for a new road coming through here. It the next set of photos you will see what this woodland tunnel looked like and what the play ground without the fence looked like.

(Click on each pic to see full sized)

I sure you can see how many amazing photos would have been lost had I wasted time. I grabbed them while I could and shared them with everyone. By seizing the day, you not only add to your life, you add to everyone’s life. Now I have here a small gallery of photos, that may never be duplicated and have encapsulated the memory of this small spot of earth, for all time. Not bad for doing nothing but living a life to the fullest!

Speaking of seizing the day, I must go seize this day. I hope this post has shown you the true value of living every moment. Take care and have an amazing day!

Axe(JB)

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Which Shall It Be?


Which shall it be?

I have spent the last few months contemplating exactly where I wanted to go with my life. Many people would argue that being talented in many different areas is a blessing. I would have a hard time disagreeing with such an argument, however, many speak to the merits of focusing on one thing and I can see the logic in that aswell. In the end, one must take into consideration all things relevant to a subject before making a true decision. One cannot just decide this is the path, without knowing every path.

Let us examine those paths that have been taken and their results.

Music- I have created 3 digital CDs with songs dating back to 2002 through last year. I have gained over a 1000 followers on various sites. I have had many compliments on my vocals and have even collaborated with other artists. However, sales in this area have never been huge and in general, I realize that at my age I am not marketable for large record labels. TBH, I am not even remotely healthy enough presently, to do a live show at this time. However, it should be noted, that while this may have been probably my least successful of the career paths I have tried, it is the one I love the most and have a natural talent for. When I speak of natural talent, I am referring to vocal abilities, not my music composition skills. Let’s move on to the next path I tried.

Writing- I have been writing longer than any of the other paths by far. I always excelled in English classes and in fact, even in advanced English and Creative Writing, bringing home an “A” was no big deal. For many years, due to having kids, I stuck to writing short pieces of writing. Ones I could quickly set aside such as poetry, prose, and short stories. Then after being diagnosed with Hyper-Thyriodism I woke up and realized I needed to get started onto bigger things. I began writing novels. Eventually, I wrote 3 novels and at one point I had 25k followers on Twitter with several thousand followers on blogs. I must confess that I used a “secret” technique to gain those followers, but writing skills were really what allowed me to continually gain followers. However, the true success of book sales seemed to allude me. I desired to know why, and found after a few very blunt and drastic actions, that I fewer followers and more collectors of followers than I expected. This was frustrating because I knew if people would just read the books, they would become true fans. Not having the resources needed to continue down this path of no support, I found myself moving down my next path.

Photography- Of these 3 paths, photography is the one I have the least serious experience with, but it is at the same time, the one I have made the most money from. How odd that is? I have been an Amateur photographer for about 5 yrs. and a pro photographer for the last couple of years. Yes, that means I have been paid to do shoots and have made money from my photos. But this is the pathway that also the greatest pain in the ass. Models don’t want to work for free, because they think an Instagram feed is a portfolio. The ones who have an actual portfolio expect to be paid enormous sums of money just because they posted some photos to a modeling site. Granted, models are not the only thing you can shoot photos of, but every photographer wants to have a well-rounded portfolio. Fact is, the photos I have made money from are not the ones with models in them. This pathway has given me a few followers on Twitter and made me hate Instagram. The constant following and unfollowing there is just despicable.

So now that we have summed up the paths we have taken and shown briefly the merits, pitfalls and success of each, lets move on to the future. What does my future hold?

Let me give you the easy answer. My future holds for me whatever I desire. You see, I am a firm believer of self-destiny. I believe we decide, moment-to-moment, hour-to-hour, day-to-day, what we are and what we will be. I have already decided that some day I will be famous. I decided that a long time ago. What remains is the how. That is not my concern though. Now, anyone reading this would think I must be crazy, and they might be right in that assessment. However, I should point out that crazy does not equal wrong. In fact, crazy just means, you see things that many cannot see.

After examining all of the evidence of the past paths taken, there is no clear winner guaranteed of giving me fame, money, power, or success. Thus, I have decided there is only one path I can take. The path of no decision.

There is absolutely no reason why I cannot do all. Should I have to settle on one thing just to gain more followers? I think not! I believe being happy with what I am doing is more important. In fact, I believe happiness is, not only the ultimate measure of success, but also the highest goal that everyone should strive for, in their life. What good is a life bound to pain and misery? It is of no worth. Rise above what is bringing you down and seek happiness. Everything else will follow. Sometimes it just takes awhile to catch up.

Having said all that; I can now share with you some of the things I have been working on and future expectations.

I’ve been working on multiple songs and buying some new equipment. Expect some new songs to come out in several months, along with a completed digital CD by Early 2019 at the latest.

I have been plotting the storyline of a new novel and have been working on the final chapter of “The Art Of Creative Photography”. Expect the novel to be released in early 2019. The final chapter within a couple of months.

Now that I have a vehicle of my own, you can certainly expect more photos to be released, as I now have the ability of making “day trips” in and around the Houston, Texas area. There are so many awesome things to shoot in this area that I could certainly spend multiple lives trying to capture it all and wouldn’t be successful. The Houston metropolis area is second only in size to New York City. It is a very “spread-out” city, not to mention Galveston Bay and the ports and Islands there and around the Houston area. I should mention that while there might be the occasional random person in my photos, I won’t be seeking out any more models. My time of working with the few I did, left a bad taste in my mouth. Suffice it to say, there are so many other subjects for photos, that there is no need for me to seek out such ignorant subject matter again. Expect photos being posted at irregular intervals throughout the year, with a photo book to be released, most probably in 2019.

As you may have noticed, I placed all of my major projects for release next year. The reasons for doing this are many. I have a new computer on its way. I have found my MacBook Air just does not have the space for music production. Thus, getting, setting up, and learning to use a Windows 10 computer is needed. This way I can devote the entire computer’s HDD to music creation.

I also have another camera on the way. It is a medium format TLR camera. I want to move more of my photography into the film realm. I have found that I can manipulate the photos well enough to preserve the beauty of film photography and use some digital enhancement to create a hybrid photo that has the best of retro and modern technologies. I’ll have to take some time to learn that new camera.

Lastly, I am anticipating having to hire someone to edit my books or just submitting them to traditional book publishers. Most likely the latter and that will most certainly be a 2019 release.
Of course, there is always the fan to consider. If you tell a fan a creation will released by a certain date and don’t follow through, you lose a certain amount of trust. I don’t want that to ever happen.

Now you know what I know. Do you feel informed? Included? Excited? Well, you should be! Many good things are coming! Not just for me…but also for you! How do I know? I just do!

Take care…

JB

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All Things Considered…

When I began this new road in my life, I thought I had considered all the options available to me. Upon expanded research, I discovered some things that I had not known. Things which make a huge difference in how I walk this road. I thought I would take a moment to share them with you. Maybe you might find some value for your own path.

Let’s get started with Twitter since that was the last thing I spoke of. As mentioned in my previous post, Twitter seems to be in a freefall. Not just due to the limitations of the platform, but also due to the limited understanding of most of its users. They do not seem to get how useful and important retweeting is. Thus Twitter usuage is going down daily.

If Twitter could figure out a way of making it evident what people like, then they would have a built-in sharing mechanism. I have learned, that not only are people reluctant to share tweets made at Twitter, they are less likely to even read anything from outside of the site, such as this post. Just how bad it really is, can be seen with one simple example.

I posted the exact same picture to my author blog, to Twitter and Facebook, via my blog. The blog post received over 20 likes here at WordPress, where as on Twitter it received NONE. Granted one person came from Twitter that day, however, they were not one of the people who liked the picture post.

Now most people would find this counter-intuitive. Shouldn’t a short form platform be better for posting pictures? Apparently not! In fact, the same picture got no response on Facebook either. Speaking of Facebook, lets move on.

Facebook business pages are supposed to help out your business. However, they do not! The current algorithm used by Facebook, hides your business posts from people who have actually “Liked” the page. WTF? So a business brings in people, only to not be able to market to them? That is just the dumbest thing I have ever seen. Had I know they had switched to this new algorithm, I would not have bothered setting up the page. I can see that I will be dumping the business page in favor of using my personal page. It simply makes no sense, to share pictures with people who most likely will never see them.

This leads me to what appears to have the most potential for a photographer…Instagram. I have just started this account and have only 6 pictures up. Seems like I have my work cut-out for me. BTW, if you want to follow me on Instagram, I go by j.b.thomas(No caps and no spaces). Please don’t follow me if you don’t plan on sharing photos you like. 🙂 Having an Instagram up and running, still has its drawbacks. Business profiles are frowned upon and you must still post your pictures at Facebook and Twitter, because both sites tend to ignore outside posts.

Despite all these little drawbacks to success, it seems like things are beginning to take shape. The ad I placed on Craig’s List (http://houston.craigslist.org/crg/5900979589.html) has already gotten responses and it appears I should have a few models, both male and female, to round out my portfolio. This is obviously a step in the right direction. I am slowly but steadily, getting my photos up from 5 years of photography and 16 yrs. of graphics, onto my web store. Eventually, I will build a website that has a blog devoted strictly to photography.

All things considered though, there have been some setbacks, but I believe I am moving in the right direction. Just might take a little longer to get there…

I hope you found some value in this post and if you live in the Houston,Tx. area, keep me in mind for your photography needs. Take care and have an amazing weekend!

Axe

 

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#Paragon:#Epic fail-Part 2

When I finished my previous article on this game, I was pretty damn disgusted with the game but did not bother uninstalling it. I felt like that was just a waste of even more of my time. Thus the game remained and then I noticed they had updated to version 28.2 and thought ” why not check it out and see if they fixed anything in the game”. I even have some pics as proof of the some of the games flaws, so let’s get started!

Much to my ill-fated belief, they proved my previous article, right. The game had not improved. In fact, I was stunned that they somehow managed to make the game considerably worse. The more I viewed and learned, the more I began to question the sanity of anyone working for Epic games.  They had not done anything to the travel mode/auto-sprint mode. ADC’s were ganked even sitting under their tower, with the gankers being able to get away alive or destroying the tower too. The games were filled with more and more enemy teams just choosing all fighters(melee) because they were able to do everything, and the adc and caster heroes were too weak, to stop this kind of team.

They also managed to ruin the game matchmaker even further. It was not bad enough that you could wait 2 or 3 mins for a game to even get to the “Ready Phase”, then you had to wait for the ‘draft phase”, which dropped every player from the game and match, if even one player did not lock-in the hero. Then if you actually made it past the “draft phase” you got to wait for everyone to be connected the game and the countdown. All told this was a 10 to 15 min. process. With v.28.2 they managed to mess up the cue timer. It was making you sit on average 6.mins. before actually trying to find a game. Then it got to where it was about 8 mins in cue. Remember now this is just the first phase of the matchmaking process. With special events causing people to decide they wanted to play a certain hero, a lot of draft dodging was going on, thus you would get thrown out of matchmaking and have to restart that 8 mins. + cue again.

Now you would think with all the other problems, this one is a ”’ no brainer “. Nobody, no matter how big of a fan they are of a game, is gonna wait that long for a game that has terrible matchmaking to begin with. Sure, we all realize this game is in early-access. But the game should be improving but it is not. It is systematically getting worse, almost as if someone working them, is actually working for the competition and deliberately sabotaging the game. How could you possible explain how they made this game EVEN more of a disaster with version .29 released today?

Somehow they overlooked the 3 most obvious things they needed to do and completely did the opposite of every community suggestion. They did not buff the casters, this has been a huge complaint of most of the game players. They did not remove the travel mode/auto-sprint (slow mode). The fact that you actually slow down if you run away is beyond stupid. Every time the enemy hits you it breaks the countdown for the auto sprint mode to kick in. This is terrible gameplay mechanics for everyone except the fighters. They already have a faster movement speed. Clearly they wanted all laners under towers, so the melee heroes get fed quicker, no matter where they are at and they can dive the tower, where you are supposed to be safe. This is no MOBA game. It is fighter team death match. Just people running around ganking. Actual strategy seems to have no bearing on this game. Just build a five fighter team and you will win every time.

Lastly, with the latest patch(v.29) they somehow managed to mess up the cue timer even further. Now it refuses to find a match at all. It will “Search for players” but never find the tenth player needed to get to the “ready phase”. If it “connects to the lobby” it will lose all players you had in cue with you. Then you start over with “searching for players”.

So basically they did not to fix any serious issues (in version 29) and did everything they could to make it harder to play casters, adcs, and the game in general. So now you tell me, who would do such a thing to their game unless they were out to destroy it? Either Epic has someone working for them who is trying to sabotage the game, or they have one hell of an #Epic dumbass making the decisions. I don’t know which is the case but I do know one thing; I won’t wait over 15 mins just to cue, if it even does go through, after that time. That is as long as I wait for any game. Especially when you consider that if I actually got into a game, it would be with a bunch of no-level idiots. I have included in the screenshots, just one of many screen shots I could have taken. In fact, despite me playing games like the game end screenshot down below, I have a losing record. Yet, am not nearly as mad about that, as the fact that direction Epic is heading, is one of total fail.

I am highly unlikely to give this game a 3rd try, seeing the direction they are going in. It is rare that I give a game a second chance, I have never given any game a third chance. There is no sense in wasting time on game that is going in reverse direction.

As promised, here are some screen shots to back up my long cue times and the game end screenie that shows just how bad most of the players I get teamed up with. (In the screenie, I am player named Axewielderx, duh!) The cue time screenes were taken from version 28.2 and v.29. It should be noted the last took was 15 mins. with v.29 installed this morning. That one was finally taken after 3 previous attempts to get into a working cue and after I closed the game and reopened it. In all fairness, I did get to play one v.29 game before this began happening. In-game is seemed pretty much the same as v.28.2 which most definitely was not good.

It should be noted I played the only class of hero unaffected by the badly chosen nerf and buff bats. I used Steel who is a Tank and does not use damage cards. As a tank I can only say that the hits did not seem any softer and the movement was exactly the same.

For now, going to let the pictures do the talking, I hope you found this review informative and like, subscribe, and share! Take care fellow gamers!

Axe

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#Epic Fail: #Paragon

I should have known after playing the gears of war franchise for so many years. While Epic games always succeeds in delivering great looking games, they are no good with fixing them. The never did fix all the bugs in their first Gears of War game and now we have Paragon, a MOBA which apparently they know nothing about.

After looking at the forums and seeing all the complaints about the last update, I should have listened to those complaints. The players had part of it right. What they have done to this game is just beyond terrible. If you play anything besides a melee hero in this game, you will die and die a lot. The melee characters just attack whenever they want, without fear of reprisal because they can just run away. They have better base speed than all the ranged heroes and there are no speed items in the game.

They just go up and dive towers and destroy them, while you are firing away at them. Then after they finish the tower, they finish you, because you cannot run away from them. Every ranged hero in the game usually comes out of games with a negative kill/death ratio, because wards don’t matter when they can just run up to you and hit ya a couple of times and that is it. You go sit for another minute contemplating just what you did wrong.

Fact is, the flaw is not you, it is the game design. All anyone has to do is sit in the hero section 5 minutes and see that every ranged hero is slower. That is ass backwards. The ranged heroes all wear less armor,why are they slower? I have never seen this lame of a thing, in ANY other MOBA. How well do you think you will do against any foe that has pretty much the same range by jumping, has more armor, more speed, and more powerful attacks? You will die a lot!

Unlike GOW, this game is absolutely no fun if you like to play a character that requires a little skill. Aiming requires skill. Running up to a foe and beating on them until they die, a child can do. This is absolutely the worse MOBA I have ever played. This game may still be in closed beta, but it is nowhere even close to where it should be by now.

I have deleted the game knowing Epic’s track record for fixing games. I truly feel sorry for all those who paid money for this game and are only now, beginning to see that Epic is really shorthand for EPIC FAIL.

Need further proof that Epic does not listen to customers and fix issues in their games? Here is a post on Reddit where people complained about melee heroes chasing them down and killing them.- https://www.reddit.com/r/paragon/comments/4ayj5f/whats_everyones_first_opinion/

It is beyond stupid that they have known about this all along and have not fixed it. I am sorry, if I am running away and not attacking them, I should be going much faster than them constantly attacking me. Oh well, just chalk it up to more lost income by a video game company. Is it no  surprise so many are failing?

Until I type again…

Axe

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