Beyond the Sphere

Queenie noticed the bus approaching in the distance, over the brow of the hill.

“That’s an old bus” she muttered to herself as she rummaged through the stack of old Lottery tickets and sweet wrappers in her handbag, looking for her bus pass. She didn’t speak aloud, although there was nobody else with her at the bus stop.

There was a distinct chill in the air. Queenie shivered as she realised winter wasn’t far away.

Within a matter of minutes, the bus had arrived. Queenie actually thought the bus was going to drive straight passed her, but she realised that the entrance to the bus was at the back.

“Goodness,” she said, “this takes me back.”

Without paying much attention to what she was doing, she grabbed hold of the bar to pull herself onto the bus, and was instantly reminded of a terrible day many years ago.

Pushing the thoughts to the back of her mind, she stepped onto the bus and held her bus pass up to nobody in particular. She was so used to doing that when she got on to the buses at the front, it came natural to do so at the other end as well.

She found an empty seat, sat herself down and made herself comfortable.

The bus had only just started when Queenie noticed the rotting and rancid smell. She looked up, and saw that a strange green mist had descended outside, and the mist was licking at the opening at the back of the bus. It was at that point that she realised the bus had turned into a road on the left and had started heading downhill, whereas it should have travelled straight along the road.

“Excuse me,” she looked at the person sitting opposite her, “Is this the number one?”. She realised the rancid smell wasn’t from outside, but from this person. All of the passengers, in fact.

They were zombies. Creatures of the night. Even the young girl at the front of the bus who looked like… No.

Queenie pinched herself. “Fancy dress,” she thought, “Not far off Halloween now”.

The young girl looked around, and laughed childishly and maniacally.

“Queenie, you never paid any attention to what you did, did you?” The young girl’s head was at a funny angle to how it should have been.

“B-Bess?” Queenie stuttered. “After all these years.” She noticed Bess was staring at her.

“This isn’t the number one, Queenie. If you’d have checked the number on the front you’d have seen it’s a special bus, a contract bus, contract 42. The Eternal Circular.” Bess still held her face in a contorted smile. Her eyes filled with a frighteningly sinister glee.

“Contract 42?” It made no sense to Queenie.

“This is the bus you tied me to when we were little.” Bess continued. “You made me be the dog. You tied me to the bar on the back of the bus with the rope. The bus was the number 42. The bus drove off with me attached. You must remember, Queenie. You must.”

“That was an accident. We were young. They said you were OK.” Queenie was flustered.

“You never checked, Queenie. You never did. You never do. You’ve won the Lottery more than once, but you never checked. That’s why you’ve never won. It’s OK now though, because you’re here on this bus forever, with us all.”

Bess sat herself down next to Queenie. “We’re going to have so much fun. You can be the dog today.”

Horrified, all Queenie could do was look at the bruises around Bess’s neck.

“Why didn’t I check the number?” She thought as she realised she was now stuck on this eternal circular, heading nowhere fast through a thick green mist. With zombies.

Originally posted on 1st October 2013.

Light shone through the cracks as though it were escaping the confines of a wicker box. How the light got inside is a mystery for another day – surely the light should be outside? Perhaps that’s where it begins. Within. Light. Darkness. A spark of creation. A void of emptiness. Maybe the level of light, the amount of light, defines the ‘it’.

But if the light, or lack there of, defines the it, the it must always be there. Always has been. And from that, maybe allowing whatever is within to shine triggers light of its own.

Let light escape.

Nothing escapes
Not even time
Not even water
Not even wine
Surrounded by darkness
Drawn in with the light:
The sock that went missing
In the washer last night

Just where does the washing machine take those garments it takes a fancy to?

Perhaps it spins the items so fast on the spin cycle that the garment’s molecules vibrate out of our existence, and into the washed out land? The innards of a Black Hole? The dark side of the Moon?

All I know is I’m now down another sock. I’ll need to buy some new pairs at this rate!

The new Block Editor is what I’m referring to.

I suppose once you’ve used it a couple of hundred times, it’s OK. But me, who only uses it to add a featured image it can be somewhat of a nightmare. That said, I now know how to add a featured image so it isn’t all that bad.

I become stuck with the more technical aspects, such as how to remove a block that I added in error? I use what is known as the ‘Classic Block’ which is meant to look and feel like the older and more favoured normal editor, but it doesn’t feel right. And I don’t have the time to waste trying to see how all of the different blocks work. One day perhaps, but not right now.

For my posts I use an external program called Open Live Writer. It’s an updated version (sort of) of the older Windows Live Writer, and it is so easy to use words defy me.

It needs to be downloaded from here (the link will open in a new window). It’s easy to set up once downloaded.

Once downloaded and all of your criteria has been entered to access your blog (or blogs if you have more than one) this is what you see:

The interface is WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get), which means what you type in is roughly what you see when the post is published. Merely enter a post title (in the field on screen which clearly tells you this!) and then type away in the main body of the screen. There are text formatting options along the top so you can add headers and change colours as you so wish. Need to add a picture? Simply copy and paste one into the screen. It can be resized, positioned and even recoloured how you would prefer it to be.

Tip: I use the fabulous Snipping Tool which comes with Windows 10 to select the part of the image I want to use in my post, it’s so much easier than searching for the image through the library, and a lot quicker too.

Once snipped, the image can just be pasted into the text area of Live Writer. Clicking on the image then will add a new tab across the top to Format the image:

Here, various options are provided to recolour, change the link if you want the image to link to somewhere else or remove the link completely, or add alternative text if you’d like something to pop up over the image when the curser on a computer is hovered over it. There are also options to crop, change the alignment and add watermarks.

Note: Depending on the image, I’ve noticed that when making adjustments sometimes the image shrinks, and the more changes made can squish the image rather considerably. Not all the time, but it’s worth being aware of.

There is also the option to add tables, if you so desire. I’ve used this feature a couple of times, but it can be a little tricky, especially if new cells are needed to be added to the table. Also, depending on the theme being used in WordPress the table doesn’t always appear as planned. Still, it’s another option should you wish to try it. The table and a host of other options are available within the Insert tab at the top of the screen.

The tabs along the top:

File – new post / save post / open recent post plus others

Home – the main word processing page

Insert – the host of other options to add into the post

Blog Account – access blog features and update the theme which can be (pre)viewed in Live Writer

Format – appears when clicking on an image for adjustments

The tabs along the bottom:

Edit – this is the main text entry screen

Preview – this tab gives a quick preview of how the post will look (depending if the theme being used in WordPress has been updated (by using the Blog Account tab at the top)). This isn’t exact, but it’s a good comparison.

Source – this is the tab that holds the HTML code, should you feel the need to edit the post this way. You never know, you may feel like a challenge! I don’t tend to bother!

Once I’m happy with my post, I select the categories and tags just above the main text area. Once set up, the categories appear in a drop down list and can be selected simply by ticking a box. The tags need to be typed in, but the first character will list any others already entered with that character, so it becomes easier over time to use the same tags. New ones can simply be entered as you are going along.

Clicking the Publish button, top left in the Home tab, will publish the post immediately to your blog unless you would like to schedule the post, which can be done by selecting the date and time from the option top right, just next to the tags field. Once this has been selected, clicking Publish will send the post to your blog where it will be scheduled to be posted at your selected time.

And that’s it! I find it easy to use, and the post can be written without even going to the blog or even the internet itself… although obviously, internet access is needed to post the thing!

Note: I’ve noticed if I centrally align an image (or text) sometimes, not all the time, the code which says the text or image needs to be centralised appears on the published post, rather than the text or image being centralised. It can be a bit of a bother, but to fix it, just go into the Editor in WordPress to edit the post – usually this fixes the issue without making a change… although on occasions the image needs to be set to be centralised in the WordPress editor by clicking on the image and then the align option – the command doesn’t always pull through.

Little issues aside, for a free system it works very well. It’s easier to use than the new Block Editor, although as I’ve just mentioned there are times when the Block Editor is still needed. Another time is to add the Featured Image… which is how I know how to add a featured image through the Block Editor which I began this post with.

Maybe using the Block Editor often makes it easier to understand, and there might be some good features to use that aren’t in Live Writer… but there’s nothing stopping the post being written first in Live Writer and then tweaked in the Block Editor afterwards, simply by editing the post once published. It’s all down to personal choice.

I prefer saving time writing my posts this way… although sometimes, depending on the post, not all that much time is actually saved!

Believe it or not, this post has been written for Six Word Saturday. Sometimes it’s good to take a quick liberty! (There’s a wordcount option top right in Live Writer which tells me I’ve gone slightly over six words with this post!) It’s a good job only the title needs to be six words, don’t you think?

First post back after a short break… tomorrow it’s One Word Sunday!

energy flows forth
filling imagination
with answers required

I’m feeling a bit down in the dumps this afternoon, so I decided to make a mess.

Here’s how the mess originally looked:

I wasn’t too keen, so I turned it on its side.

Being done in PowerPoint and Photoshop Elements it isn’t really a mess at all, Well, everywhere wasn’t as messy as it could have been had I not done it digitally.

I’m still in the dumps a little, but a quick burst of creativity with colour lifted my spirits a little. I’m just going to lift them a little more now, but I haven’t quite decided how. Maybe a run. Maybe a grapefruit. Can’t decide. I’m not going to be down in the dumps for long. By Jiminy no!

Earlier today I posted a square photo which had been turned around three times.

One, I suggested, was a snowy hillside; the second I hinted at it being a cliff edge; and the third I said was a face. Well:

Of course it was a face. Above is the photo I cropped for the earlier post, and darkened all the more to give a feeling of silhouette.

Here she is from another angle:

Now, before you say the photo’s a bit dark, and she still looks a bit wooden, there is a reason for that. The ‘model’ is actually that: a model. Well, one of those novelty toys that you can get inside those chocolate eggs. I stood her on top of a box in front of my computer monitor and took her photo, just to experiment really. I quite like how the photos turned out. The things you can do with a mobile phone!

So, there you have it… a face. Number three was the correct option.

I think I have a more straightforward square for tomorrow.

This is not a rubber ducky.

It is meant to be a gull, floating merrily on a body of water, minding its own business. It’s another quick watercolour scribble that I had fun creating… it was only afterwards that I thought it looked like a rubber ducky. I added the eyes afterwards as well; they didn’t look as boggly before.

Now, I’m not saying I’m available to touch up any weathered classical pieces of artwork that may or may not be lying around, but as this painting shows, I am willing to try anything once!

*And seriously, I’m NOT available to touch up any weathered classical pieces of artwork, no matter how much you are willing to offer.

**And I’ve never owned a rubber ducky.

Fancy coming with me through the time tunnel? Backwards or forwards – you decide!

Posted for Becky’s Square Perspectives.

Abstract time again!

This one is called ‘Angular Grass’ because of the confusion of green lines, which may or may not be obvious! It’s still in ATC size (2 12 by 3 12 inches).

Today’s theme for #WorldWatercolorMonth is ‘playful’.

What springs to mind with the word playful? For me, today, it was a dancing flame, so I very quickly painted a bonfire. As you do.

When watching a bonfire, one of the things that fascinates me is the different shapes created in both the flames and the smoke and the swirls and the colour. And even though the background looks very poorly painted, it is actually deliberately done that way, even that big splodge at 11 o’clock. Oh yes. If you look carefully at the top of any bonfire you see all kinds of splodges and things rising upwards – not just imaginary ones!

As for the ‘rough’ look, well… have you ever seen a still flame? And besides, it was a very quick painting. Fire in watercolour… who’d’ve thunk it?

Although, I could just be playing with you…

World Watercolor Month July 2020 Main Logo Doodlewash

I’d gone into every grotty gin joint in town. And this last one is the grottiest.

The singer, Devizes Wiltshire, normally not very good yet still the ultimate professional, has managed to get herself caught up in the stage lighting – not a good look. Still, she’s carrying on, give ‘er credit. She is committin’ murder on the stage though. She’s murderin’ my favourite song.

Told you this place is grotty.

Over by the bar I see ‘Ewt fer Newt’ ‘Ickling, filling ‘is face with leftover food from the kitchen. There’s no tellin’ ‘ow long it’s been there but he doesn’t care. Whoops. His maud Maude has interfered with ‘is eatin’. He’s not too pleased.

There’s a silhouette in front of the window. Well, everyone’s a silhouette in ‘ere. The windows are that filthy and the streetlight right outside is way too bright, nothin’s that clear.

I’m looking to see a man about a dog. I am. Literally. Aman. I thought I saw ‘im sittin’ next to Ewt fer Newt’s Maude, but it wasn’t ‘im.

At least I’ve found ‘is dog though. I’ll tell ‘im when I find him.

I’ll look for ‘im again tomorrow.

***

Earlier today I posted my entry for One Word Sunday:

I did some serious tweaking of the image, I must admit, using the editing tools on my mobilius phonius, but even after all that I still think it’s obviously the interior of a cardboard box.

But from the inside of the cardboard box, I thought outside of it and came up with the short story above. My mind takes me to the oddest of places at times! All fun though!