Monday, May 26, 2014

Updates And News...

Social Media, Messaging And An Artist's Touch

Greetings everyone and I hope that you're well.

I recently went out looking for a software suite to handle the chore of integrating all of my social networks and media into one place and managed to find and integrated tool called Digsby. Basically this is a software that integrates all of your social media and communications apps under one roof (including mail notifications although I'd highly recommend Thunderbird for and effective email client if you're not already using the latest incarnation of Outlook).

I've been getting Digsby up and going though its looking good so far. It has a snazzy interface and tight integration of all of your social media apps and messengers and all from the same application.

No more jumping from one web tab to another for different social media formats as it allows for the viewing of social media posts from one interface. Same with messengers as well though for that order you might be interested in Trillian which has been around since the beginning of the millenium and has added similar functionality.

For further information on this topic and others I highly recommend the Life Hacker site which has a tried and true format for finding all sorts of things related to applications and integration.

For those of you wanting to add an artist's touch to your blog with tips from a professional blogger and talented graphics designer look no further than Wonder Forest, a treasure trove of tips and tutorials your blog and graphics. You'll also find a treasure trove of blog templates for the many formats offered by various hosts out there in blog land.

Updated Stories

I recently updated A Lady's Perogative: Wounded Aerth as the plot winds up and turmoil finds its way in. A lot of revelations in the recent chapters.

Heroes Of Our Own as well has been updated over the course of the last two weeks as the characters finally arrive at Treadwater and an old friend returns.

Stay Safe And Be Well
Brian Joseph Johns

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Week Past And Ahead

Good day to my readers out there.

Hate is not love and love is not hate.

Victoria Day or Fête de la Reine (Monday EST in Canada)

Victoria Day in Canada is the celebration of Queen Victoria's birthday who is considered the Mother Of Confederation. It is often referred to as the May Two Four long weekend and many often use it as the point from which to kick off summer, celebrating the Queen's Birthday. There are usually festivities the country over and on Monday night there are often a fireworks displays to be found just about everywhere.

Happy Victoria Day to everyone in Canada and Happy Birthday to the Queen!

To the rest of the world, why don't you come over and join us for a party?

International Day Against Homophobia

I`ll start with today and work my way backwards. Today, Saturday is of course International Day Against Homophobia. Fear is often the root of any hate and not knowing is often the root of fear. So to alleviate this not knowing I'm going to talk a little bit about how history might have been different if not for some people who were of course a part of the gay community and part of our history.

Cryptography has been a growing science from ancient history and has become imperative to protecting everything from our economy and banking system, to intellectual property, online transactions and most private communication.

During World War II, the Nazi regime had developed an advanced encryption scheme known as Enigma, which kept most of their forces synchronized and kept their plans out of the hands of the allies. To combat this, the United Kingdom formed a school of cryptography known as the Cypher School at Bletchley Park. Alan Turing, a mathematician, cryptanalyst, computer scientist and biologist worked at Hut 8 devising methods to decrypt German naval communications. 

His efforts there in combination with the efforts of many researchers lead to the breaking of the Enigma code, often giving the allies a window into the entirety of Nazi plans and orders ahead of time. It is estimated that their contribution and Turing's who was regarded as the star player of the team may have saved millions of lives and most certainly has shaped our history. Using this peek into the Nazi plans, they were able to feign intelligence leaks that led the Nazi's to deploy their forces in such a way as to create the opening in their lines that led to the D-Day invasion. He was a member of the gay community which was not widely accepted at that time and was perhaps one of the best kept secrets. Many of us today might not be alive if not for their work at Bletchly Park and the efforts of a member of the gay community there named Alan Turing.

Alan Turing would go on to develop the idea of a stored program of operating instructions, a concept important in the world of computing. As well he devised a test, a measure of machine learning or artificial intelligence that would evaluate whether a machine possessed the abilities of our own human learning and intelligence call the Turing Test.

Maybe people being aware of such facts is one way to curb homophobia and to foster a culture of acceptance. 

On Creating A Culture Of Acceptance

Hopefully this culture of acceptance will also include the dissociation of the Germans and the Japanese from Nazism an ideology which has snuck its way into many other ideologies of late. The stigmas and ill imposed debt are often the very seeds that lead to world conflicts such as the debts and constraints imposed against Germany for World War I created the fertile ground for someone such as Hitler and the Nazi party to prey upon and sew the seeds of bigotry disguised as national pride.

Let's sew the seeds of acceptance for the future rather than debts imposed upon people that lead to fertile ground for bigots and despots to reap the resentment that sprouts thereto as a result.

Wesak (Buddha Day)

Tuesday of this past week was Wesak or Buddha Day a day celebrating the life and birth of the Buddha and his impact upon the world in regard to his philosophies and way of life. Buddhism has branched out to many places in the world each merging with its own cultural signature into the teachings and practice.

It is celebrated on the full moon of May every year. There are many conflicting stories about his origins and his path to enlightenment which of course is not as important as the impact of his life philosophies the world over amongst many others whose ideas and actions have changed the world.

May those of you celebrating it find inner peace, which is really what the philosophy is about and through finding inner peace, people are able to make peace with the world.

Some might argue that we are only truly alive when we are at our extremes, but while there, we are also most susceptible to manipulation and misperception of the world around us and only the most disciplined of minds can endure their own extremes. Because our extremes are often the result of our internal biochemical processes, it is utmost important that we not lose our ability to steer ourselves during the experiencing of our extremes.

Perhaps that idea is where the topics above are connected and may be the key to acceptance and to use our extremes consciously to protect.

Updates To Stories

The last few updates include: Testament Of Time (which received a chapter and a half) and Heroes Of Our Own which received quite an update which brings us to the doorstep of the Treadwater Island Resort and begins the process of really bringing Monique into the story. As well we see the return of another character back into the fold, but what are her motives? These additions are still first draft so please do forgive it if it is not up to par.

Stay Safe And Be Well
Brian Joseph Johns

Monday, May 12, 2014

Recently And Highlights...

Good day on this Monday May 12, 2014.

Recently some days passed that I did not post or comment on and I'm going to take time in this post to give the attention that they deserve.

Day Of Honour

As most Canadians know and the many who took part in the Afghanistan mission, veterans were celebrated on the recently passed Friday (May 9, 2014) which celebrated their role in the Afghanistan mission which have led to an democratic elections, improved health care and education for many, and the chance to have a handle on their own future. Many soldiers of many different nations took part in the mission and Canada's role was an important part of its success and the future of its domestic efforts to build and maintain a policing force, the building of schools and hospitals and in some cases the education to staff them with trained professionals. None know the price that free elections can cost more so than the Women and Men who fought for them, both domestically and the armed forces who took part in securing the future for those of Afghanistan.

In the upcoming Canadian elections, I hope that most Canadians (or voters in any part of the world) when they consider whether to cast a ballot or not remember the price that our Canadian forces and those of many others have paid to afford the right of others to vote freely in elections, including the Women's vote in Afghanistan and in other parts of the world. When nobody supports or speaks up for a people, they often suffer in silence. The most fundamental freedom that we have in regard to the process of our selection of leadership is the vote. That is where your say and the say of whom you support electorally affects the future of our country, as it does for all countries that support a similar process. To not cast a vote is to not support a process that cost lives similarly. In a democratic process, if you'd like to overthrow the Government, then vote. There are probably many veterans and those who've seen the price of elections first hand. All of my thanks to our armed forces and Policing agencies who took part in the Afghanistan mission. I hope that Ukraine soon may experience a similar success with a minimal price of lives as the choice of their people. 

Maybe the next step for Canadians in securing our freedoms here is to officially investigate illegal and criminally conducted surveillance (by civilians and sometimes by gangs) against other Canadians (yours truly included) especially if its used to cause emotional or physical harm or steal or extort credit for their efforts in some way.

Victory Day

On the same note and same day, Europe celebrated it's Victory Day which was just as much a success and for all Europeans, including those living under Nazi ruled Germany and France that did not concur with the views, aggression or actions of the Nazi regime yet were trapped under their roof. It is without warning that a dangerous ideology might sneak upon us and prey upon our sometimes over inflated sense of entitlement. Such dangers usually rear their ugly head secretly and sometimes in disguise when the prior generation has forgotten about the price paid in lives to stop them. 

Eugenics is one that comes to mind and though it is OK to have pride in one's heritage, it is not OK to fault others for theirs.

Nor is it OK to make someone else that such an ideology feels is lesser somehow take the punishment for someone that the same ideology deems is greater, whether by genetics or competitions not agreed to by a victim conducted outside of law.

Nor is it OK to take someone else's creative works or any of life's efforts for one's own claim based upon a difference in genetics or stature or competitions not agreed to by a victim conducted outside of law.

Nor is it OK to curb or control another person's right of procreation on the basis of genealogy, gender, heritage or culture.

Nor is it OK to pass on the blame for fathering unwanted children to someone who is deemed lesser by such an ideology in order to pay for 'superior blood' in place of the person who originally fathered them, the one who is protected by such an ideology.

Nor is it OK to require someone else to have a 'blood sponsor' from an individual deemed superior by such an ideology in order to be ably accepted by others or be recognized for their accomplishments while the sponsor as such takes the credit them.

Eugenics is not an ideology that I support. Whatsoever.

A dangerous time then and one to be aware of now to be sure and the victor was the human spirit and the perseverance of freedom as it will be for generations to come.

Lest we forget.

Mother`s Day

Another very important day. I hope that all of the Mother's of the world rise to role and importance of their responsibility in ensuring the safe and healthy upbringing of their children such as my Mother and many others have.

One saying that I have with regard to the influence they have upon you from the very beginning goes...

All of us are musical.
We get it from our Mothers.

It starts with rhythm. 

We get that from the sound and vibration of the beating of their heart while we are in the womb.

Next it is melody. 

We get that from hearing or feeling their often musical voice while we're in the womb.

Lastly it is harmony. 

We get that from the chorus of happy voices we hear when we're born, led by that of our Mother.

Happy Mother's Day Mom and all of you Mothers out there.

Other Missed Goodbyes And Hellos

On the content department and in relation to ASMR, which is a video art form that is the equivalent to a treatment at a spa or a healing session with a healing arts practitioner, one of the ASMR artists known as Fairy Char is leaving that art of vlogging to pursue other aspects of life. I'd like to thank her and to wish her all of the best in life and her future. She as what many ASMR video artists share is something that transcends compassion, which itself is a diminishing presence in a world that needs it more than ever. 

Thank you.

If you are interested in the world of ASMR and its pseudo distance healing effects, you might want to check out her vlog and those of ASMR Requests and Heather Feather whose epic productions imply that they're likely capable of writing and directing (and improvising) their own big budget block buster. Watch out James Cameron. For a more down to earth and often artistly inspired view, check out Hailey Whispering Rose (whom herself is multi-talented) and YangHaiying (an inspired artist with a great sense of humour) The One Lilium and for more comedic versions check Ephemeral Rift. Until I can land myself a Qi gong or Reiki instructor, or even a little bit of intimacy with a special someone, this is the best way to heal. Or you could just pay a visit to Yoga Yak.

In other departments here, iJustine has a slew of new videos on her plethora of vlogs and in the new music department, underground sensation SoKo is gearing up to release her new album. Gives me memories of my Goth days back in the golden era of clubbing and alternative.

On television, I've been watching a great slew of shows (time permitting), on TVO (yay, they brought back Big Ideas), PBS for its educational television as well as keeping an eye on the Agents Of Shield which is highly recommended if you are a comic book fan or a fan of any of the recent slew of Marvel films. I still make time for Out There...

On the DC side of things, I've been on DC Universe Online a few times over the last two weeks but I've been laying low in the gaming department in favour of writing and working towards a software release and cleaning up some of my prior applications for release as well. Occasionally catching Cosmos, an excellent heir to the Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan legacy. Music has taken a bit of a back seat for a little as has a social life. I'm looking forward to having one of those though I can't remember what a social life looks like but I'll know it when I find it.

Look for some updates to A Lady's Prerogative: Wounded Aerth (which is turning into a whirlwind of controversy and boldness of which I am proud) and Heroes Of Our Own (which grows closer to my heart the more I work on it), and hopefully some to finish off Stories From The End as Rysalin, Trent, Elena, Jen, Stanton, Dave, Cale (and Tweak) deserve an ending whatever it may be just as surely as Foller seeks redemption amongst those he nearly killed. Some interesting twists ahead.

Other than that, I`m just fighting the good fight. I hope you are too.

None of this post or any other post is hate means love by the way.

Stay Safe And Be Well
Brian Joseph Johns

Friday, May 9, 2014

In The Interest Of Consistent Spelling

I fought with this one for a long time and I've decided to rename the story A Lady's Perogative to A Lady's Prerogative. It is in this post that I will underscore my reasoning for holding out for so long and my reason for finally doing so.

There are many different spellings for the many different versions (dare I say dialects) of the English language. For instance the word that residents of the United States might know as Color, is spelled Colour in Canada and under the British dictionaries of the world. Many such words exist with such ambiguities of spelling which are recognized between the different dialects of English as being valid spellings.

Enter the word Prerogative (the apparently proper spelling in of the commonly misspelled perogative which houses the same definition for prerogative in the British, American and World English Dictionaries.

Here is the definition as it is listed on the Google search: define Prerogative complete with a nice little chart of its etymological origins.
  1. pre·rog·a·tive
    1. 1.
      a right or privilege exclusive to a particular individual or class.
      "owning an automobile was still the prerogative of the rich"
    1. 1.
      arising from the prerogative of the Crown (usually delegated to the government or the judiciary) and based in common law rather than statutory law.
      "the monarch retained the formal prerogative power to appoint the Prime Minister"
In the case of the its context in the story A Lady's Perogative (now to be known as A Lady's Prerogative) the context had a little bit of artistic license. My intent for its' definition was related to the fact that for many and even well into the ages well past Chivalry and Feudalism, that a Lady who acted in the best interests of people and most certainly the fair representation of other women and their rights takes precedence. 

The ideas of Chivalry that recognize that those of feminine attribution (to be fair in the modern ideas of gender) do not need those of the male aspect or attribution to lift them up to get ahead in the world but rather our support in their effort to further themselves, and to be free from the chains of stigma and cliché often associated with the feminine aspect versus the masculine aspect. A sort of a new idea of Chivalry that includes both the feminine and masculine form of Chivalry, Budo, Dao, Dharma or whatever other term or the various world origins that encompass what one might use to define the concept of a living set of precepts or tenets that some attempt to live by. Whew.

An example of this is the difference between how socially it is common to praise the masculine aspect of promiscuity and sexuality by labelling such a person a stud, but someone of the feminine aspect is labelled a slut. I'm not saying that promiscuity is a way of life that someone should live by, but I am saying that there is an imbalance that often favours one sex versus the other based upon stigma. 

One that I often deal with in my area is the use of the word whore, a word that I'd never use except in explaining my reasons for not doing so. It is another word that regardless of whether the subject of such a label is involved in such a vocation or not, it creates a cage for the person that its applied to. If they are employed as such then if they so choose to leave such a vocation, they are trapped by those who would label them as such and by those who'd apply a burden to it. I myself don't personally agree with that vocation as a replacement for a meaningful and committed relationship (or in my case for any kind of relationship as it is something that I've never taken part in), but I'd never stigmatize someone to the point of being unable to leave such a cage to change their life. There are many such words and many that create a cage for the person that they are applied to. That does not mean that someone should reduce their freedom of speech but rather be responsible with it for it is a great power and as we all know, with great power comes great responsibility. I'd rather use that power to break down cages for those undeserving of such rather than creating them for the same but I don't want power, but I can handle responsibility.

So for a long time this is where I chose to hold my vigil on the (incorrect) spelling of the word Prerogative, which of course is nothing other than a Lady's alone or in pairing with their spouse, whatever culture they may be and whatever gender they may be. In the world of the sixteen hundreds getting all of these different ideas and points of view to coincide is another. How much farther have we really progressed if we have the same social hurdles today?

Updates And Other Content

In the way of updates, I've been adding chapters to A Lady's Prerogative: Wounded Aerth although I am still playing with the idea of a rewrite. If you're interested I think that I am about four (possibly five) chapters ahead since my last post. Much like the recent chapters before hand some might be a little bit controversial if you need the warning.

Heroes Of Our Own and Stories From The End have progressed little since my last posted update and while I contend with a gradually rising group seeking to stamp out my work upon those and other stories. It isn't fun when a malevolent group of people attempt to erase you from your own history and take it for their own. But it makes writing Wounded Aerth much more of a statement.

Stay Well And Be Safe
Brian Joseph Johns

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