Weekly Photo Challenge: Free Spirits

This picture my son took in Ireland feels like a good fit for this challenge.  I think it’s a statue of basketball players, but I’m not sure, because it also looks like someone holding the cookie jar above every one else’s heads!  However, I love the rainbow in the background.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Urban

I had so much fun in Providence, Rhode Island, last summer with my sister and some friends.  The urban landscape captivated me, and I took all these pictures without any thought that I’d share them at the time.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.  Cheers!

While the composition of this image pleases me, I mostly like how every person is facing the same direction in this shot.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Taste Testing Chocolate

Dove Dark Chocolate bar
The winner! Dove Dark Chocolate bar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I bought a dark chocolate Cadbury candy bar, and a dark chocolate Dove candy bar and decided to compare them.  The Dove dark chocolate is at least two shades darker than the Cadbury, and Dove definitely wins for taste and smoothness.  The Cadbury bar is much sweeter, and not as fine as the Dove bar.

Neither of the candy bars say the percentage of dark chocolate in them, but I’d venture that the Dove chocolate bar is over fifty-percent dark chocolate.  I am not a fan of chocolate bars with over seventy-percent cocoa.

If you like chocolate, I encourage you to try Dove and Cadbury dark chocolate side by side and tell me what you think!

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Merge

I took these photos from the back porch of the third floor apartment I lived in a couple of years ago.  There had been a fairly distinct heart-shaped cloud that I missed getting a shot of earlier that day, so I was happily surprised to see the sky gods obliging me twice in one day.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Tale Of Antigone

Interviewer:  When did you know, or suspect, it all went wrong?

Me: There was nothing indicating that I’d failed until now.

Interviewer: Was there more you could have done?

Me: Clearly, I’d re-think my assumptions and take further steps, or not become so narrow in my thinking, and maybe even my objectives.

Interviewer: Is there anything I haven’t asked you that you’d like to share?

Me: Whatever you create takes on a life of its own.  It no longer belongs to you, even if you’re credited – or reviled – for its existence.  Most of us know, or have read, Mary Shelley.  We understood, generally, that forces beyond our reference can intercede, but we also reason that that only happens when you’re careless, or evil.  I used my genetic code to create a better version of myself because I wanted to see what that would look like in the world.  What choices would she make?  What heights would she attain?  I believed all the variables were controlled and contained…  I deeply regret my arrogance.

That was the gist of the short and feeble phone interview I allowed after Antigone created and released a virus that was far more devastating than the Bubonic plague, Ebola, or AIDS combined.  She was everything I had hoped for upon her awakening.  Her human DNA combined with programmable memory – designed to interrupt inhumane or violent thoughts or actions, failed to take into account her ability to rationalize her actions.  Humanity was a scourge, Antigone reasoned.  Few were working toward sustainable life – and those could be inoculated against the virus before it was released.

She chose a swath of humanity to protect – so many scientists, leaders, philanthropists, teachers, and other forward-thinking citizens.  Antigone tiered the die-off.  There would eventually be four hundred million dead in the United States, and in all of North America; two hundred million in South America; two hundred million in Europe; three hundred million in Africa; three hundred billion throughout Asia, and Australia; and several hundred million throughout all other reaches of the globe.  The first wave of dead would be burned and buried before the second wave broke out, and before an antidote was released.  The third wave would not reach quite as many as intended because Antigone released the antidote shortly before her destruction.  Whatever humanity lived within her must have surfaced as she bore witness to her action’s outcome.

Why she spared me is something I continuously ponder.  She knew I would suffer, certainly, but did she feel some sense of connection to me as her creator?  I was not incarcerated because my scientific work was too valuable to the Government, but I was under house arrest.  My research notes, experiments, and coding work, revealed that I did not premeditate Antigone’s actions due to her fail-safe programming.  She didn’t override her programmed code, but circumvented it, which led to her demise.  I had coded an undocumented interval virus that I could remotely activate to shut down Antigone’s AI, and kill her body, if ever necessary.  I hadn’t considered the scope of Antigone’s thought process.

I had thought, of course, that she might try to undo, or act against her code, but that thinking was only as a series of precautions during her programming, or so I attempt to console myself with.  Her code worked, but her human brain, her DNA – my DNA – overcame her AI, and all other barriers to inhumane actions.  The virus, was, in a sense, humane.  It acted quickly – killing the brain before mutating to kill the body.  It worked within hours, and was stunning in its delivery.

Antigone came to see me at my Newport, Oregon, home soon after she released the virus.  She wasn’t emotion-less, but believed she acted justly.  It was a moment that changed me down to my very cells.  I had created a monster.  Frankenstein showing on a towering screen at that moment would not have construed the quake of shock rocketing through my being.

She left without further discussion, and after activating her internal virus, I notified the Center for Disease Control, whom Antigone had already contacted.  She had claimed sole responsibility, and stated her reason for her actions.  I owed the world my explanation, my regrets, and the end of my life, which will have happened by the time this tale is revealed.

Antigone is gone, and I go with her.  May the world never experience the like of us again – but knowing humanity as well as we do – I hope you’ll fare better then.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

A Passing Apparition

An apparition passed by the window next door as I stood washing my dishes, feeling thoroughly world-weary.  Was its presence a warning, or maybe it was attracted to my gloom?

The specter wanted me to notice it because the people chatting and laughing deeper in the room had their backs turned away from the window.

It was a simple act, the ghostly glide before my eyes.  No turning, no staring, no creepy tricks about it.

You are here, it implied to me.  You are here and you are wasting your life.  Look at me, I’m now a shadow and have no chance to act differently, to create a new path.

And perhaps what I thought I saw wasn’t there at all.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Goodbye Again, Norma Jean

Marilyn Monroe fascinated me as much as anyone else, I suppose.  As an American, she’s one of our iconic own, but she belonged to none of us.  I’m not sure she even belonged to herself.  I’ve read, or heard, so much about her from the time I was a child.  Ms. Monroe was a few years older than my father, who thought she was amazing – as I’m sure many men of his generation did.  I don’t remember hearing praise about her from my mother.

I didn’t like Ms. Monroe when I was young, or as I grew up.  She seemed like a poseur to me, even when I was no more than seven or eight.  Maybe that was because I knew my father liked her, or idolized her, when he was so horrible to my mother, but I might have been savvy enough to see through the façade of Norma Jean Mortenson without extra help.

Even into my twenties I had a disdainful-yet-envious fascination of her, and continued to judge her foibles harshly.  It wasn’t until the last decade or so that I began to have more compassion for Ms. Monroe and what it must have been like to live a life like hers – chosen or not.  I think the fame that Ms. Monroe sought and achieved wasn’t what she had expected.  How could it have been?  How can any of us know what it’s like being somewhere other than where we are?  I doubt that she would have planned for how her life unfolded, or that she conceived of being overwhelmed by her fame.  Even if she had thought of the potential consequences of fame, imagination rarely duplicates reality.

I remember reading that it took Ms. Mortenson four hours to ‘become Marilyn Monroe’.  It’s surprising how much I soaked up about a woman I claimed to not have much interest in.  Her mystique lives on today – although probably quite diminished from what it had been in her heyday.

An interview with some expert on Marilyn Monroe and her life was on NPR this morning, and the man went on about how smart she actually was, even though she typically ‘played dumb’, and what great comic timing she had – and some of my old envy came back as I listened and found myself deriding that guy’s assessment because, clearly, being male automatically exempts him from speaking neutrally about Marilyn Monroe.

Marilyn Monroe belongs to the realm of Hollywood mythology now, her off-screen self forever marred because of her onscreen legend (deserved and accurate – or not).

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.