2017

October 13, 2017

Cover of Dream by Selena Gomez

October 13, 2017
Cover of Dream by Selena Gomez
Selena Gomez' cover of Dream at the SiriusXM Hits 1 Soundcheck. It's an incredible cover at that. The song was originally written and recorded by Priscilla Ahn in 2008. Here are performances of the song by Selena Gomez and the original by Priscilla Ahn.



Here's the original version of the song by Priscilla Ahn:

October 7, 2017

Canyon de Chelly National Monument

October 07, 2017
Canyon de Chelly National Monument
Canyon de Chelly panorama of valley from mountain
Ansel Adams [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Canyon de Chelly is a well known national monument and is one of the most popular in the United States. Despite its popularity, many citizens here in the USA have never even heard of the location nor even recognize its beautiful sights.

The earliest occupants of Canyon de Chelly were the Anasazi when they started building the structures some time around 300 A.D. After the Anasazi came the Navajo who still inhabit the region today.

The region of Canyon de Chelly is comprised of three canyons. Which includes Monument Canyon and Canyon del Muerto. The astounding beauty of the canyons and landscape is like standing in the middle of natural cathedral. There are plenty of beautiful sights and overlooks to be seen at these canyons in Chinle, Arizona. To see them, there are paved paths for vehicles. While other paths are more off-road. There are also guided tours by horse or Jeep. Along with choices of what 'tours' you want to take during your visit(s).

You can learn more about the canyon from this Canyon de Chelly National Monument book from 1997 or, if you're planning to visit, at https://www.nps.gov/cach/index.htm

Canyon de Chelly First Ruin 2006 09 07
Andreas F. Borchert [CC BY-SA 3.0 de,
CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0
or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

September 23, 2017

Chinese Traditions Involving Autumn and Other Seasons

September 23, 2017
Chinese Traditions Involving Autumn and Other Seasons
The other day i was reading this excellent article titled A Chinese perspective on autumn over at EarthSky. I know little about Chinese cultures, ancient or modern, but they (as the article states) differ from the cultures of the western world, as they do not throw out old ideas to be replaced with new ones. They build onto old ideas and intelligently create deeper roots. That's not to say that there aren't subcultures in the western world that do this but, by and far, mainstream western culture does its best to wipe out old knowledge and unfortunately replaces it with the inferior knowledge of a fleeting nature. "Knowledge" that's based in entertainment media these days.

As for Chinese traditions, here's a short summary of part of the article linked above. Many of their traditions and observances are worth thinking about. Research your family history and find the equivalent meanings amongst the culture of your ancestry.

It is said that five seasons are observed by some in Chinese tradition. Spring being the rise, sprouting of life, summer being the igniting of the blooming of nature, late summer being the completeness of the blooms of the season, autumn being when nature begins to dry/wither and settle in, and winter is when nature is at rest. These five phases/five elements come with the understanding that the cycle always repeats and that it is a new beauty that is meant to be looked forward to.

In terms of emotion, summer is expectedly associated with joy.

Autumn is associated with courage and sadness as nature begins to wither and the days become shorter. These seasons tend to give some a sense of sadness. Perhaps it explains Seasonal Affective Disorder, with some, but that is another subject. Sadness is just seen as a natural reaction to the changing season.

autumn fall tree with leaves changing color

Here's how Chinese traditions observe the season and give it meaning. In Chinese tradition west is seen as the direction of autumn. Face west and think about your dreams, what you look to achieve, the visions of such things, and the path you look to be on in your life.

White is seen as the color of the autumn season. So you can light white candles, to light up the season, and/or place white flowers anywhere you choose in your room or around your home. Allow yourself, if need be, to express the emotions over what/who you've lost over the previous seasons. Allowing yourself to cry and release these emotions. According to tradition it is weeping that is the sound of the autumn season. And within it, after the tears have fallen, is where you permit yourself the courage to face the times, events, and what's ahead of you.

The realizations you reach, in understanding the seasons, is also a path that leads you towards understanding the cycle of life itself. Towards finding peace and handling life better. You can use these traditions to combine or find the equivalent of that of your ancestry or find the equivalent within your current beliefs. Be they Christian or otherwise. Nature is our connection, not the worship of nature itself, per se, but the recognition of its patterns and how it supports us whether we realize it or not. How it is a part of finding our own peace away from the worldly, the fleeting, material creations of humankind.

September 16, 2017

Braun KF7150BK Coffee Maker

September 16, 2017
Braun KF7150BK Coffee Maker
We've all been there with the low-priced coffee makers. Used to the flavor of the coffee they brew without realizing that our coffee could be better (and stronger with better brewing). While the low-priced brand models are great you are likely missing out on richer and more flavorful coffee with a higher-end coffee maker. The Braun coffee maker is one such coffee maker.

Features:

From the start this Braun coffee maker (Braun KF7150BK) doesn't look too much different from others in its price range.   For one its cone filter gives, in my opinion, a much more flavorful and richer coffee.

The operation of the coffee maker is as simple as any other coffee maker. The display on the coffee maker, being backlit, is easier to read than the regular LCD displays on other coffee makers. The buttons are also easy to read.

You can choose how many cups you want to brew. Up to four cups of coffee at a time. Like most coffee makers you can also set a timer for it to start automatically brewing at a certain time of day. It also features an auto shutoff setting.

With the hot plate you can keep your coffee warm by choosing either high, medium, or low. Which is better than ordinary coffee makers that only have one temperature that keeps the coffee very hot and can change it's flavor. For my tastes i set the hot plate to medium.

On top of temperature settings, you can also set the strength of the coffee to either regular or bold.


Cons

Now for some of the minor cons for this coffee maker. The water reservoir is located in a less-than-convenient location for some. If you have low cupboards then you'll have to move the coffee maker to access the water reservoir. Though many coffee makers are designed the same way with the reservoir under the lid. Some also have problem with the size of the reservoir opening.

Pricing

On pricing, you can get free shipping for this coffee maker if you buy it through Amazon here and perhaps even more savings down the road.

Similar Coffee Makers

There are plenty of similar coffee makers available. Most of which are just as highly rated as the Braun coffee makers. While i won't be going over their features, pros, and cons you can see these brands and models by clicking here

My opinion is that the Braun BrewSense coffee maker is definitely worth the purchase if you're in the market for a reliable, higher-end coffee maker. I feel the customer opinions and ratings alone speak well of it, its quality, and brewing quality. With free shipping it makes it all the more worth purchasing.

September 14, 2017

On Realness: Selena Gomez

September 14, 2017
On Realness: Selena Gomez
I don't often write about "celebrities" (maybe i should more often, i'm not really a commentator) and i apologize for this post being a little all over the place. After reading about Selena Gomez and her kidney transplant, it does go to show that they are people just like us. I'm sure a lot of people are seeing her, in a positive way, in a different light right now. That she is not someone to idolize over superficial traits. That she is someone to be respected for the good they do or be shown compassion for the things that they go through. Just like anyone else. Now, i will say that many entertainment figures are self-centered and look down upon us "commoners", but plenty of them are worthy of respect and they are the ones that should stand out. That being the ones that do not see themselves as being above you.

Selena Gomez is clearly one of these people. The humble ones that don't see themselves as being above anyone or of a different societal 'class'.

I've been a "fan" of her music and tv and movie roles for years now. Going all the way back to Wizards of Waverly Place. One of my favorite film roles that she's in is in The Fundamentals of Caring. Now i won't say i'm some massive fan, don't really have the time for that, but i have a lot of respect for her and standing strong with the things she's going through. All the while she stays open with her fans and communicates openly with them. Doing it despite the things that she's going through and the difficulties of getting her voice out there unfiltered. And it's even worse with social media.

I won't say that her Instagram post about her kidney transplant was brave because that would be cheapening it and just throwing out an insincere term. What she did, by directly putting what she's going through out there, makes her real. That she doesn't see herself as above her fans and others. In interviews she has been upfront about a lot of things. With this age of social media we seem to have this illusion that the amount of followers actually equates to having more/a lot of friends in real life too. It doesn't. Even Selena Gomez, despite her popular, has only a small group of friends (as she's said in interviews) that she's close with.

Social media, while great, is better when we limit our efforts of connections on it and only seek what's beneficial to us. Not in terms of connections but more about limiting the information we take in and not overwhelming ourselves with the bombardment. Her use of social media is social media done right though. She doesn't use it as a platform to post short blurbs and a photo. She actually writes and shares what's on her mind a lot of the time. Reaching out to people is how we should be using social media instead of talking @ people. Even if it's just one person that you feel you have many things in common with.

I’m very aware some of my fans had noticed I was laying low for part of the summer and questioning why I wasn’t promoting my new music, which I was extremely proud of. So I found out I needed to get a kidney transplant due to my Lupus and was recovering. It was what I needed to do for my overall health. I honestly look forward to sharing with you, soon my journey through these past several months as I have always wanted to do with you. Until then I want to publicly thank my family and incredible team of doctors for everything they have done for me prior to and post-surgery. And finally, there aren’t words to describe how I can possibly thank my beautiful friend Francia Raisa. She gave me the ultimate gift and sacrifice by donating her kidney to me. I am incredibly blessed. I love you so much sis. Lupus continues to be very misunderstood but progress is being made. For more information regarding Lupus please go to the Lupus Research Alliance website: https://www.lupusresearch.org -by grace through faith
A post shared by Selena Gomez (@selenagomez) on

September 3, 2017

Witness Trees of Manassas National Battlefield Park in Virginia

September 03, 2017
Witness Trees of Manassas National Battlefield Park in Virginia
Witness Trees are trees that are old enough to have been alive and growing during the times when notable events in U.S. history have occurred. Those witness trees that had been around when the events of the Civil War occurred, and still living today, are over 150 years old. It is said that there are hundreds of Witness Trees at Manassas National Battlefield Park. Many of which are oak trees that can live for hundreds of years. Many of which, such as white oaks, can live beyond 500 years. To just imagine the events that occurred around that tree during the battles at Manassas or even just ordinary events before and after the war. Soldiers that sat in its shade or for defense during battle. Or the witnessing people that walked through the battlefield site, post-war, in the latter 1860s. Back when many artifacts from the war still existed. These trees would've even witnessed the early days of the park's founding in May of 1940. They've been around an incredible history.

As of 2017 there are at least ten witness trees that have been found and identified along the trails. All of which are marked by brown signs along the trails. The trees are found at these locations in the park:

One tree near Thornberry House, along Sudley Loop Trail
Three trees along the Unfinished Railroad Trail
Three trees along the Stuart's Hill Loop Trail
One tree along the Chinn Ridge Loop Trail
One tree along the Henry Hill Loop Trail
One tree along the Stone Bridge Loop Trail

Witness tree along Chinn Ridge loop trail

In addition to the Witness Trees there are plenty of other notable sites along the trails and throughout the park. Visit the National Park Service site for the park and their Facebook page for updates about the park and upcoming events.

August 24, 2017

Arches National Park - Quick Details about the Park

August 24, 2017
Arches National Park - Quick Details about the Park
Arches National Park, which is not far from Moab, Utah is home of numerous stone arches. The official count of arches is usually quoted at 1,500 but there are more than that number of arches in the park. In addition ti the arches there are many interesting rock formations and beautiful views of the La Sal Mountains. For hikers there are around 42 trails that range from easy to hard. The majority of these trails are in the easy to moderate range though.
Arches National Park Delicate Arch
Delicate Arch

Of all the arches, Delicate Arch is be the most frequented by trail. It's a spectacular experience just seeing its size up close but, being a moderate hike with a steep section, you will want to be prepared and also bring plenty of water depending on when you visit (such as during warm months).  You should also know that getting a picture of the arch on it own is unlikely, without other visitors being in your photos, during the busy months. The least busy months at the park usually start in November and continue until February. March through October being their busiest months.

One of the most popular campgrounds in the Arches National Park is the Devils Garden Campground. Numerous other campgrounds are also available all around the area of the park and in the Moab area. Before arriving, it is best to plan ahead on where you're going to camp as the Devils Garden Campground can fill up quickly with the other campgrounds filling up by the afternoon hours (around 3 PM).

If you need more information, including current information and news, visit the official page for Arches National Park and especially the Plan Your Visit section. Regular updates about the park on Facebook

July 30, 2017

Tradescantia Pallida - Purple Heart Flower

July 30, 2017
Tradescantia Pallida - Purple Heart Flower
Tradescantia Pallida
Tradescantia Pallida
By SKsiddhartthan (Own work)
[CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Tradescantia pallida, otherwise known as Purple Heart (more) and various other names, is a perennial flower that makes for an excellent and attractive ground cover. The plant can be grown indoors and when grown outdoors it can handle full sun to partial shade. Growing zones for the flower are in the ranges of 8A to 11 and the plant is also drought tolerant. In zones 10-11 is where the flowers tend to bloom during the winter.

As for other characteristics, the blooms of the flower can be white, pink, or purple and are known to bloom all year in warmer regions. They can also withstand light to medium frosts, with a temporary die-off, as the roots will survive. To protect the flowers you can use a mulch to protect the roots and plants. Which will increase the chances that the plant will sprout. The most important thing to know about Tradescantia pallida is that it can be invasive and needs to be well-maintained if you choose to grow it.

July 11, 2017

Amethyst

July 11, 2017
Amethyst
I sat there, on the edge of the shoreline, not much after six in the evening. Most of my own thoughts wandered and floated around me, as they have done often these days, as my focus was on the small waves gently colliding with the sand. Looking up, in the distance, was a far-off rainstorm as the rest of the sky was only partly cloudy. The rain cloud stood out in contrast to the rest of the sky beyond it. Then there was the southernly breeze, a few whispers quieter than the waves themselves.

I sat near everyone, amongst myself, as i watched the boats move across the lake in silence. The chatter of the others still muted by the sound of the lake's waves. We were all here for a temporary getaway on these summer days. Each and every one of us were in our own worlds during select moments. The space in which our thoughts are off in another world, another universe in this reality. Places we only know and the descriptions that we give are only seen in a different appearance in the listener's own mind. A difference in appearance as from what you saw, the world that you were in during those moments. In a way, it is our minds, our souls, our spirits that are creating a reality around us. A reality in terms of our interpretation, that we are creating this world and guiding things in very small ways.

AmethystIt was in that, when we spoke, the breeze felt like it followed the pattern of conversation between all the beach goers in that early evening. Which there were only a dozen or so of us. Seven being of myself and family. As they spoke, it was like the breeze itself was transferring far more than atoms, molecules, and the like. It was carrying out thoughts. Amongst that was the fresh scent of the water, the distant rain in the air, and the cookout someone was having somewhere nearby. We were all here to take all of this in. Away from televisions, computers, and yes, even portable devices. We felt the sand beneath our beach towels and the grass as we walked to the concession stand. In this place, time did seem to slow down for those few hours. Each and every soul with a different perspective and a different visual, mental, and spiritual interpretation of memories being made.

You settle into the momentary peace and the environment begin to more deeply settle within you. For these moments, you're feeling a bit of rest after these months of emotions. A grief, the new experience of loss you've never felt prior, that reached further within your soul and spirit than anything. You can finally rest for awhile but yeah, you still think of them.

And a clarity hits me like a revelation; a voice. Something; a sense everywhere and beyond. There in the light of the lowering sun, the environment around you still the same, peace, and an Amethyst chip, that you brought along, is in your hand. It was her birthstone. You dig a small hole, about a foot down, and bury one in her memory. You've got a bulk amount of them with a thought to go with each and everyone one. And a promise to bury them at every special place you visit, fully in her memory. Great places that you know she would've enjoyed visiting if she were still here. When they're not here to make new memories, and have new experiences, remember that we do become an extension of them. A heart, pure souls, have no limit. And sometimes it takes the unexpected for us to realize this. Even if it is a deep tragedy, and deep grief for someone that we never knew, to shake us awake. That we are alive forever and we listen as much with our hearts, spirits, and souls as much as we do with our ears. The rest just takes more practice or an awakening. Within that, beyond the worldly, is where the vastness of knowledge exists. Vast beyond all.

In memory of Katelyn Nicole Davis

June 5, 2017

I've Stopped Watching Television Altogether - Realizations

June 05, 2017
I've Stopped Watching Television Altogether - Realizations
Apologies for this post but it may be a little directionless.

My reasons for no longer watching television have nothing to do with making a statement or about the low quality of most television these days. It's not some sort of experiment for me either. No, it's about something completely different and a shift of my outlook on everything of this world, this nation, entertainment, all of it. It all stems from something that happened almost half a year ago about a girl named Katelyn Davis, who i've written about previously, and she's still in my thoughts all the time. Like a piece of myself is gone forever. For these months, these emotions of feeling down have been all the more real. And sunsets and moon-risings alone have been my most frequent company.

Since that time i've been increasingly unsatisfied with so much that i used to find a comfort in. Maybe, looking back, i could call it a mindless comfort. My mind and heart feels broken, or perhaps full of clarity, and i'm completely incapable of being that person again. The most i watch is maybe a movie a night and around twenty minutes of youtube videos. Beyond that, i cannot get into the 'entertainment' anymore. I cannot even stand certain types of films either.

a television outside in the middle of a streetEveryone else i know, of course, are still completely locked to the television during most of their free time. And when they're not, they have their DVRs set to record their favorite shows and also have them set to record shows that are on at the same time as other shows. I just cannot get into that.

I've been getting to know more people online as a result of the 'catalyst' event but there's a part of me that does want so much more. Wanting a connection beyond something that's momentary. Something not based in seeing the person on the other side as momentary entertainment or a temporary distraction. I've been guilty of it in the past. Wherein only one of us are engaged in the conversation and the other person is there for convenience. We need to truly begin communicating with each other, as real humans, and not as entertainment. To see that we're all reaching out.

If anything, television was the distraction that kept me from realizing how lonely i truly feel. I see the world around me and it's like i see a living apocalypse. So much feels so empty, not as much within me but within everyone else that i see. Like this is a land of zombies where so many are locked-in into their devices for entertainment. Tech addition like this started getting this bad around 2010 and all i want is to get to know people that are beyond that. People that feel like i do. Those of us, the pushed-off  and wandering, wide awake, in a world of those willingly distracted.

All in all, i do want to get to know new people. It's just that i wonder if anyone even wants to get to know me.

May 22, 2017

Interviews with the Father of Katelyn Nicole Davis by Celeste Whoknows

May 22, 2017
Interviews with the Father of Katelyn Nicole Davis by Celeste Whoknows
These two interviews/videos by Celeste Whoknows give an insight into the father's side and the backstory going back to the aughts, while Katelyn was still a young child. The reality is that mistakes were made on all sides in Katelyn's family. At least of those who had regular contact with her.

Katelyn Nicole Davis/Rogers UPDATE & I Talk w/ BIO-DAD


Response To Your Comments About Katelyn Nicole Davis' Bio-Dad


Katelyn Nicole Davis' Dad Answers Your Hard Questions-EMOTIONAL =(


Post-Interview w/ Katelyn Nicole Davis' Bio-Dad-INCONSISTENCIES & AN APOLOGY

Two related videos by Celeste Whoknows that cover Facebook Groups, other questions, and a video about the piece of trash stepfather Anthony Rogers.

Addressing Your Messages On Katelyn Nicole Davis Online Groups & The Investigation


Katelyn Nicole Davis' Step-Dad Got Away w/ Deadly Bullying

April 1, 2017

Mree - Lift Me Up (Live performance)

April 01, 2017
Mree - Lift Me Up (Live performance)


A beautiful song on it's own, this performance by Mree of her song "Lift Me Up" takes you to a completely different world. It's a completely mesmerizing performance. 

March 9, 2017

Gabrielle Aplin - Ghosts (BBC Introducing Maida Vale session)

March 09, 2017
Gabrielle Aplin - Ghosts (BBC Introducing Maida Vale session)

Gabrielle Aplin performing Ghosts in 2011 for the BBC, BBC introducing, at their Maida Vale Studios. A beautiful song and a beautiful performance.

March 1, 2017

Saudade and Deeply Missing Someone That You Never Knew

March 01, 2017
Saudade and Deeply Missing Someone That You Never Knew
Saudade is roughly defined as longing for someone, or something, no longer around. It's a feeling of longing for those who are gone. It is the love that remains and the wishes, of your living experiences, thinking that they should've still been around to experience these things too. It's a feeling of unfairness and having these emotions open one's feeling of their absence and an emptiness within. In part, it's a sadness but can be a combination of happiness and sadness at the same time.

For me, this is a whole new experience and emotion that i've only recognized within myself over the past two months, since early January. I can't explain why i feel this, deeply missing someone i never knew. I can't explain why this hit me so hard. Yet, it's like a feeling of the whole world itself is out of balance and so much feels so different. I'm not even the same person anymore and i can't even stand many of the things i used to. I wake up with thoughts of her on my mind and, as i fall asleep, the thoughts are the same. At this point, it's a subconscious thing that i have no control over. Though it's not overwhelming and manageable. I still tear up every once in a while. Little things throughout the day reminds me of them and all i can think that this is the way of my soul working through things and trying to make a place where i'll never forget them. That and to never forget these changes.

I don't know, i don't understand this, and this is all new to me. I've never missed anyone that i've never known. Especially not this much. It's strange because it's the same feeling i had, the sense of grief but alongside 'light', that i had after having family members pass away. It's like there's an importance to this, why i feel so much over this, and i've yet to find the reason. When the more realist part of myself knows that i just should accept this as it is. That some part of the "world", in a spiritual sense, is trying to speak and we just need to open ourselves with focus. That this is her message.

There is a whole other world that people have outside of the internet and i feel that people sometimes forget that. I know i have in the past. We're all connected but these connections are flimsy at best. The internet is still a fairly recent thing, especially the "modern" internet, and we're only going to feel closer to the people we meet online as social technology develops. But we have to remember the physical aspect, that people on the internet are real, that we're real, and that our souls, our physical selves, aren't likely to ever be represented fully in the digital realm. The internet doesn't have to be a dark place. We always have to leave a place for real world interaction and meeting these people, if you grow close.

We need to make the most of helping people in need when you come across them online. We need to interact with others online with nothing but KiNDness, understanding, and empathy. We need to avoid those who tear down or exploit others. We need to avoid interactions that make us feel regret. This is more than just being about preventing, and not taking a part of, bullying online. It's about going beyond and being a force to counter that. Even a little sunlight in someone's day can save someone. And exploitive behavior, where you see it, is your duty to shut down. To head off those who look to manipulate those who feel down or those who are vulnerable. Those in need of true emotional support don't need parasites, they need honest empathy, compassion, and understanding. Which the internet, this digital realm, needs far more of.

For me, this is what i've promised to do, online and off, for people who are in need of someone to just listen or talk to. This is where the profound change i've experienced comes from and where it stemmed from. I dedicate all these things, the good i put out into the world and the helping of others in need, in memory of Katelyn Nicole Davis. Forever in my memory and forever in my heart. Forever in KiNDness. Forever in memory of Katelyn Nicole Davis.



February 14, 2017

On Elon Musk, "Merger Of Biological Intelligence And Digital Intelligence"

February 14, 2017
On Elon Musk, "Merger Of Biological Intelligence And Digital Intelligence"
Elon Musk recently spoke at the World Government Summit in Dubai about the inevitable future of the combination of people and future technologies.

http://www.cnbc.com/2017/02/13/elon-musk-humans-merge-machines-cyborg-artificial-intelligence-robots.html

These will be technologies that'll be sold as an improvement of the human existence, sold as an enhancement of our individual traits and abilities. But will these future technologies truly achieve this? Or will it make us an extension of a market where we're sold even more products? We'll be marketed to with new, empty slogans and infomercial-style ad content about how to 'upgrade'. At what cost though? At what cost will these things come to us? Sure, there's the monetary cost but what about the cost of our spirit? The chipping away of our individuality, our spirit, our soul?

Technology, and being "connected", has had many negative effects as it is. Especially in terms of people disconnecting from one another and being attached to smart devices. Now imagine if the smart device is connected directly to us? Where the escapism is always there and the distraction doesn't even require the push of a button to dull everything out. What then? What place is left for us? What place is left for our humanity? Where will we begin and the cold electronic part of us end?

The "merger of biological intelligence and digital intelligence" will surely be a good money-maker for business, yes, but what about people? We'll practically be turned into objects, if we chose to, that believe in "upgrading" ourselves every few years. People who take a part in this will find themselves feeling no better than a smart device and the novelty will wear people down to feeling like nothing. The new feeling will wane and things'll begin to feel like a task, a hit, a fix, just to try and reach what once was felt. That is the nature of, a flaw of humans, that seek out escapism through a dulling out of humanity. The aftermath of such a thing may as well be the devastation of humanity itself.

I mean, we're already seeing the clear and present cracks in the digital world when we're indirectly connected to it. Imagine if we had an 'always on' connection and interacting with it has no requirement of actual typing out what you post, or chat, or write? There'd be little escape from this digital world and the endless stream would always be one, if you don't choose to disconnect. And what about those who refuse to become a part of this new 'connected' world? What new intolerances in societies will development due to these facts?

Future technologies like these, which are much closer than we think, are double-edged swords. When people finally become full engrossed in the digital world, what will be the effects on actual, face-to-face communication over time? What will become of compassion, physical contact, the feeling of present energy as people begin to interact less outside of digital realms? What will become our true, beyond the digital, connections as we pull apart? Perhaps even in our own homes. If anything, these things could become the decline of humanity's 'lifeforce', the lessening of our reasons to keep evolving spiritually, and a whole new type of doomsday.

February 8, 2017

'Snow Moon' Penumbral Lunar Eclipse of February 2017

February 08, 2017
'Snow Moon' Penumbral Lunar Eclipse of February 2017
On February 10th, the "snow moon" will be cast into shadow, due to a penumbral eclipse, and the whole eclipse will last (in stages) for about four hours. This eclipse won't be as dramatic as the total lunar eclipse that occurred on September 27th, 2015 but it should still be visibly noticeable. So it'll still be worth seeing depending on if the sky is clear in your region.

February 10 / February 11, 2017 - Penumbral Lunar Eclipse

February 2, 2017

The Mercantile - Polebridge, Montana

February 02, 2017
The Mercantile - Polebridge, Montana
Polebridge, Montana is a small town of around 50 residents that is located a mile away from Glacier National Park. Polebridge is a town that's a throwback to simpler times without all of the modern distractions. There are no wireless networks to connect your devices to, there's no cell service, and the only connections to be made are with the town's residents and the visitors passing through. Most of the town does not have electricity and the buildings that do rely on green energy, mainly solar panels and batteries, and also generators. The 'popular' place in town is the Polebridge Mercantile, which offers up all sorts of baked goods and many other items. Outside of town there's adventure to be found in open nature as all other distractions are not available. If that's your thing, to explore, then a trip to Polebridge, Montana is a must. Perhaps you'll even find yourself never wanting to leave.

Watch this short 2013 documentary, The Mercantile, Directed by Brian Bolster

January 31, 2017

Lacking Empathy and What's Broken in American Society

January 31, 2017
Lacking Empathy and What's Broken in American Society
We, as Americans and from the perspective of citizens of the USA, have been raised up to believe in this American dream. We're all told from a young age that we can be whatever we want to be. Yet, as you reach for that ideal, there are always people there to beat you down. Even amongst some of the people closest to you. Broken people who don't want to see you achieve what they've failed to achieved. They're the ones that have messed up, have forgotten to live, and never went through anything with a purpose. So they tear down things, they tear down those who may achieve what they couldn't or chose not to. They strike out and hit others with what they feel towards themselves. It could be fake friends or even family members that don't want to see you achieve what they couldn't and their need to "sin" comes out in the form of tearing others down. It is their joy. Which develops into your feeling of alienation.

Growing up, and perhaps even now, you may feel that what you believe doesn't matter. That it never mattered. This is in opposition to what are supposed to be these so-called "American ideals". The people you try to discuss your ideas with are the ones who don't really care to listen to your thoughts. Or perhaps they think the fact that you care about anything at all, having a heart, is quaint. That your empathy is a throwback relic that makes you someone that belongs "over there". Wherever "over there" is. More or less, it's a 'get away from me' because people don't want to feel. People thinking you're irrational for having any sort of care for things and people beyond yourself and beyond what's in your life. So you begin to feel tired where you are. And it's not even a place, it's the sin of this society itself.

You can reach this point of emotional evolution at any time during your life. Or you could discover it all over again, regaining the things this society, and others, chip away from you. You can't let this society and people overwhelm you. You have to grow and begin to understand more of what's going on around you. You have to realize the truth of this diseased society. Either from the progression out of blissful youth or an evolution back into what you once knew, but forgot. Something kicks you out of your blindness of recognizing the darkness of this American society.

You feel, deep down, that everything is wrong here. You feel the need to separate yourself from it, this society and you need to go with it. You need to distance yourself from it. You just can't sit back regularly, like so many, and engage in escapism and go along with it all. You can't spend your life numbing yourself like most Americans do. Yes, maybe you feel outside of all of this because you can't get lost in the pointlessness of the entertainment, distraction culture. You just want to find something bigger, something to live for more freely, but your happiness is torn down by those around you stuck in cycles of complacency or you can't break free from the trap of this culture. And you become tired, your house no longer feels like a home. Where you are no longer feels like a place where you belong.

The thing you have to remember though is that there are people out there like yourself. People seeking for something more to live for, and not just in a passing phase. We tire of these places where everyone keeps themselves within abysses of their own making. We're the ones that walk down the street in our communities and see the ghost towns. Even when people are all around. Yet they're completely unaware of everything around them. You're out and staring into the sky and seeing the beauty of the world around you. Yet their interest is in their distractions and their intent is to also tear down your wonder. To chip away at your wonder, your imagination, to suck away your awe of the world and your 'life force', to place you into their existence without wonder. You are put off by the sight of cultural waste as everyone's always distracted by everything but give less attention to the people around them. Places where everybody always addicted to something and you're the outlier for not having a need for the mind-dulling and numbing. Many times these are the people treating the 'awakened' people around them, the old souls, as their paperweights. Treating them with little respect and as an object for them to use and, many times, even abuse.

This is something that those of us who are aware, those who don't feel they're a part of this escapist, broken culture, need to rise above. We need to rise beyond their slumber. This is what a revolution is about, not about going along with the politics and the social waves of this broken society. No, it's about seeking beyond this society and reaching out. It's about empathy and finding each other out here. Out beyond the televisions, the entertainment culture, beyond the escapism. Where the "escape" becomes pure interaction with each other. To shift this society or to move beyond it. Whatever more easily becomes our reality. We need to start new and not expect ourselves to live within confines of this broken culture. And, yes, this needs to be done on the individualistic, decentralized level of our humanity. Only we know what that is, on an individual level, what will be right in seeking out greatness. There is no true guidebook beyond whatever faith, in goodness of your spirit, that you may follow. If you feel discontent then find your path. That voice you hear in the back of your mind is resistance, it is your soul wanting to move beyond this broken society. And yes not everyone hears that voice. Yet, if you truly do then let yourself be open and listen to it; the world around you and not the things of this broken society. Live your American dream, your own interpretation, and live for the good of everything. Don't become darkness and instead be all that's good. The example will rub off on others, the right people, the good people, without effort. Live your life with wholehearted empathy, and also by helping everyone in need, online and off.

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In Memory of Katelyn Nicole Davis, February 20, 2004 - December 30, 2016 - An old soul gone before her time. Her pain in this world was never something she ever deserved and she never had the chance to see the world outside of the broken life around her. Fly high beautiful.

January 28, 2017

The Space Between Us Trailer - Britt Robertson, Asa Butterfield, Gary Oldman

January 28, 2017
The Space Between Us Trailer - Britt Robertson, Asa Butterfield, Gary Oldman
Starring Britt Robertson and Asa Butterfield, The Space Between Us is a Science Fiction, with elements of romance, that's set to premiere on February 3rd, 2016. It tells the story of Gardner Elliot (Butterfield) and Tulsa (Robertson) who begin communicating online. Gardner is a 'resident' of Mars, being born on the planet, and his only communication with people on Earth. That is, until he reaches the age that he's possibly strong enough to withstand Earth's environment and gravity. He arrives on Earth, kept under high security, but he ends up escaping and taking off with Tulsa to find his father and experience life on Earth.

Watch the movie clip/trailer below.


 

January 27, 2017

Sunwatch Indian Village in Dayton, Ohio

January 27, 2017
Sunwatch Indian Village in Dayton, Ohio
Sunwatch Indian village is a reconstruction of an ancient Native American village that was once home to the Fort Ancient Native American culture. They lived in the region, though not at this exact site, from 1000-1750. The Sunwatch Indian Village was reconstructed based on the locations of archaeological finding and are located on the park's three acre location. The park got its start after evidence of the ancient village were found in the 1960s. In 1971 the site was preserved after digging on the land, for a sewage treatment plant, after artifacts were discovered that showed the existence of the former village.

The park is run by the Dayton Society of Natural History.



January 26, 2017

Photographer Dave Sandford captures Lake Erie during storms

January 26, 2017
Photographer Dave Sandford captures Lake Erie during storms


Dave Sandford, a photographer from London, Ontario, Canada, has photographed many subjects over his nineteen years in the business. According to his website, he's done mostly sports photographer but his interest in photography started with photographing nature. Many of his photos can be found his official website and his Instagram account. You can also follow Dave Sandford on Twitter.

Other Photos of Lake Erie

January 25, 2017

The Story Of Painted Post, NY

January 25, 2017
The Story Of Painted Post, NY

The Story Of Painted Post, NY

What's In A Name?

How does a town get a name of "Painted Post?"  There's an easy answer to that...and a longer story.  The quick answer is the town was named after a post placed there by Indians. The real reason why the post was placed is not exactly know. But one speculation is that is was painted in a color combination suitable for some primitive type of communications. What's also not know is when the original was put in place.

The naming of this community in Steuben County, adjacent to Corning, NY, goes back to the Colonial Days and the Revolutionary War.  At that time, white men visiting the area found, on this very site, (the small park at the Community Square) an oak wood post which was square to a height of four feet and then octagonal to the top.  The surface was painted red and decorated with black figures, about half without heads.  There were numerous references to this "painted post" by the early settlers who found several explanations from the Indians who put it there.  For some it was regarded as a memorial to a fallen chieftain, for others a marker for assemblies and, a "war post" around which dances were held.

That original post endowed this place with a name which will endure as long as recorded history. By 1808, the first namesake had disintegrated and a fitting substitute was put up.  Since then there have been several other replacements and time, wind, and weather have taken their toll.  The present monument goes back to about 1950.

The Indian with the bow waves a greeting to visitors at the Community Square in Painted Post today, which is in the heart of the downtown business district.  It's not far from a major industrial property where an Allegheny field service team was working. During a lunch break, the pictures you see here were taken.



January 24, 2017

Mugu Rock and Point Mugu, California

January 24, 2017
Mugu Rock and Point Mugu, California


Mugu Rock, in Ventura County, California, gets its name from the Chumash word for beach, Muwu. It is a prominent land feature in Point Mugu and took on its current formation during the creation of the Pacific Coast Highway, starting in 1937. Prior to that, a narrow road went around the rock and its erosion was the reason for new route that was cut through the ridge.

January 23, 2017

A Tour of Flintstones Bedrock City in Valle, Arizona

January 23, 2017
A Tour of Flintstones Bedrock City in Valle, Arizona

January 22, 2017

Fort Roberdeau - History of the Original Lead Mine Fort

January 22, 2017
Fort Roberdeau - History of the Original Lead Mine Fort
From the National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form, June 1973.

The location of the Fort is in the Sinking Valley region on the slope of Brush Mountain. The site is in an area of dense growth -- trees, shrubs, weeds -- recently removed by concerned citizens. Removal of the vegetation revealed a concrete foundation outlining the fort, poured between 1939-1941 for the purpose of reconstructing the site. Impetus for reconstruction was begun by concerned local agencies with National Youth Administration workers doing the physical labor. This was based upon the work of Donald A. Cadzow, State Archaeologist, who uncovered the original stone and brick foundation. The only remains above ground surface were the powder magazine walls of stone and brick and a square of masonry work, probably part of a smelting plant. Reconstruction efforts were discontinued in 1941 with the advent of World War II.

By Pubdog [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Few descriptions are available on the forts original appearance. The Columbian Magazine (September 1788) notes the erection of "a large fort of logs." Africa (1883) mentions the log fort upon which were mounted two small cannon, possessing a good armament, and manned by a regular garrison of 10-40 men. He also makes note of a smelting furnace. A sketch appearing in The Columbian Magazine of Fort Roberdeau (December 1788) shows a wall of what appears to be horizontal logs with a gate in the center and various out-buildings outside the wall. Craine (1941) notes the accompanying wording, "a timber fort, used for the same purpose as a blockhouse, but designed to accommodate a greater number of persons. Such a structure was generally made in the shape of a hollow square with various buildings and a watchtower within showing the line of loopholes at shoulder height." Craine notes that the stockade logs were horizontal rather than the customary vertical or up-right position because of the out-cropping of limestone which made it difficult to excavate deeply enough to place the logs in a vertical position.

The Fort site presently comprises 1.978 acres. The outline of the fort itself reveals a square structure with blockhouse-type protrusions on each of the four corners.

With the advent of the Revolutionary War, lead for the Continental Army became of great importance. Lead deposits were discovered in what was then the Sinking Spring Valley region, presently Sinking Valley, in Central Pennsylvania. General Daniel Roberdeau, a prominent Philadelphia merchant, an Associator, and a member of the Committee of Safety, was assigned the task of supervising mining operations in the area. Roberdeau, in order to house the miners of the area and to protect them from both Indians and Tories, erected the Fort in l777-l778 near the lead deposits in what is today Blair County. Eugene Craine, citing an original Roberdeau letter, states that he probably set up some kind of fort on an initial visit during 1777 and strengthened it on a second visit in 1778 by building a stockade.

The amount of lead derived from local mines is unknown. The enterprise was apparently abandoned by 1779 due to lack of assistance and expenses involved in mining operations. However, The Columbian Magazine (September, 1788) notes that the miners were from the old country, unused to the frontier life, and that the "whole undertaking fell to the ground." The Fort nevertheless remained standing even after its abandonment by garrison troops and continued to serve as a refuge for the local settlers. Craine notes that the Fort was occupied at least through 1781.

Fort Roberdeau was one of five frontier forts in Blair County in the 1777-1778 time-period. However, the other four were built by private enterprise, of the block-house type. Fort Roberdeau, commonly known as the Lead Mine Fort, appears to have been the only fort in Blair county built and manned by soldiers of the Continental Army.


Bibliographical References
Africa, J. Simpson, History of Huntingdon and Blair Counties,
   Pennsylvania, "Blair County," (Philadelphia: Louis H. Everts, 1883).
The Columbian Magazine, September and December, 1788, (Philadelphia: W. Spotswood).
Craine, Eugene R., The Story of Fort Roberdeau, 1777 to 1783,
    (Altoona: The Tourist & Publicity Bureau of the Chamber of Commerce, The City of Altoona,  1941).
Davis, Tarring S., ed., A History of Blair County, Pennsylvania, Vol. 1,
    (Harrisburg: National Historical Association, Inc., 1931).
Frontier Forts of Pennsylvania, Vol. 1, (Clarence M. Busch, State Printer, 1896).

January 16, 2017

Orla Gartland - 'grey' (original song) video

January 16, 2017
Orla Gartland - 'grey' (original song) video


Description: a song about having no grey area

Orla Gartland is a singer from Ireland and posts many of her original songs (like this one), and covers, on her youtube channel.

Keep up with her on social media, Instagram Facebook Soundcloud Tumblr

And also help support Orla by buying her Music:

January 13, 2017

The Internet is in Bad Need of a Soul

January 13, 2017
The Internet is in Bad Need of a Soul
Look at your world, what is your life?

Hour after hour you spend time scrolling screens. You're on your computer scrolling through Facebook. You're on your smartphone or tablet doing the same. You're posting updates about your life to social media. Maybe you spend time streaming random moments of your life to people on the internet. All of which are actions of trying to make a connection to people. When out public you, more than you realize, never look up to make true eye contact with anyone.

Yet, the more social "reach" you get, the less of a connection you feel. Things begin to reveal and you find that none of this is real. It's just not the same as a true connection. There is no soul, no energy, behind these interactions. The internet is a black hole that takes everything in. And what it sends back out is cold data. It is not streaming consciousness. There is no emotion in the data.

Now, don't get me wrong, that's not to say that people can't make meaningful friendships and relationships over the internet, but there's going to be the need real, regular meet ups in the real world. Daily Skype conversations will never be enough. Private messaging, instant messaging, and texting will never be enough. It's as real as that. Your ties to people have to be real, sooner or later, as we're a social species and we crave interaction.

This sentiment is best defined by the quote by Kristen Stewart's character in the film Anesthesia:

"Everyone is plugged in, blindingly inarticulate, obsessed with money, their careers. Stupidly, arrogantly content. I can’t talk to them, I fight them, I want to destroy them even. I crave interaction, I crave it. But you just can’t anymore. They pull their devices out for every little thing. To reinforce their petty, convenient notions, to decide where they’re gonna shop, what they’re gonna eat, what movies they’re going to watch. Everything they ingest."

While blunt, it hits right at the core of the problem of the digital and how it fits into the rest of the "culture" of contentment. People, instead of staring into the world for discovery and interaction, they instead pull out their smartphones and other electronics to discover these things. They're completely pulled into a flat screen and it has become a large substitute for tasks that were once done with true interaction. Again, these interactions are pulled into the black hole that is the internet. You're staring into an abyss. They're victims of false hopes and it's not their fault. Trust me, i've been pulled into this system too.

Sucked in by a black hole

Think about it, you may too easily be getting yourself stuck into a pattern slowly tearing you down. And if your home situation isn't all that great then it can be even worse. You try and find a connection with people online for support and perhaps catch feelings, there's nothing wrong with that, but you need to understand that video chats and streams are never going to be enough. If you want a true change, you're going to have to go beyond. You're going to have to go beyond the fears that this society has programmed into us. The fears of getting out there. If you know someone across the country that you want to meet, arrange to do so. Even if you're nervous. Because, most likely, the other person is just as nervous. The two of you, or crowd or whoever, can meet up in a busy public place to make those initial connections in the true world, instead of the digital one.

If you want to escape the environment you're in, especially a poor environment, then do everything in your power to fight for an escape. Reach out to people in your local community for help. The helpers are everywhere and can be found in the most unlikely of people. With declining communities and declining society, such as here in the USA, these real connections are going to be more important than ever. You're going to need to have people to trust and people to trust in you. They're going to have to be reliable people. Restore the structure, the community that has quickly become replaced by technology. And get people to go outside.

Technology is a thing that is meant to be a tool and not the structure itself. Remember that. Know that. Use it intelligently to reach out to people. But don't let it be only the beginning and end of your interactions. Always reach beyond and get to know these digital people outside the screens. Don't get stuck in a pattern of accepting the mundane. Live.

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Finally, to get down to where all this has come from. It's been a little over a week since i heard of Katelyn Nichole Davis. After seeing her numerous streams, of her ups and downs as she talks with/to people online, that have been put up on YouTube (link), the things she had endured have torn me apart. She was an empath, she was an old soul and her horrible situation and this world overwhelmed her. I'm still grieving and more than i was last week. I never knew her but she, and her life, is all i can think about, Those videos have made what she went through all that more real. And this society has failed her, and everyone else who has suffered like she has, nearly as much as her family has failed her. The emotion and suffering present in these videos, and her fake smiles, are heart-breaking. She used the internet to connect to people but she was still stuck in a poor environment. In nearly every one of these streams of hers she was screaming out for help. She wanted an escape.

And the people that talked with her online failed in providing that. A failure that was no fault of their own. Just as they've also failed in making fully meaningful connections. Something that i've failed at too online.

We need to understand her experiences. She had a message to get out and it's time we listen to it loud and clear. If you see people who need help online, make an effort to actually get them help. Discussions and listening to them are good. But we need to do more. More needs to be done. Don't approach these things in a manner of talking @ someone.

Talk to them, talk with them. Don't expect something from anything and go into online conversations with people in need, or with anyone, with selfish thoughts in mind. Make the interactions real. Social media has guided our mindsets into holding things back, things of emotion, and sometimes even doing things for self-promotion. Avoid this at all costs. Let your communications with people be real, with emotion, and true. Put life into the internet. Abandon public personas on social media and be your true self. Ween yourself from public social media and make it a secondary thing. Make your online communications more personal and stop striving to talk to as many people as you can. It dilutes your meaning, yourself, and your ability to get to know people.

I dedicate myself to all of this in Kate's memory, for myself and for everyone else, and it you know her story, have felt deeply for her, then be a part of this fight of transforming the world you can reach too, especially the digital world, for the better of us all. To help people and make them know that they're not alone. That they're never alone.

January 7, 2017

Katelyn Nicole Davis - February 20, 2004 - December 30, 2016

January 07, 2017
Katelyn Nicole Davis - February 20, 2004 - December 30, 2016
No one should be sad in Georgia, but you were. You were just one of many that feel lower than they're worth in your home state.

Her name is Katelyn Nicole Davis.

She lived in the County of Polk in Georgia. She was born in 2004 and her time on this planet was far too short. From what's out there, her life wasn't the easiest but she was still obviously full of humanity and love. Even showing regret and giving apologies up until her last moments. It's not her who failed though. It's more than that.

In a partial sense, it comes down to the failure of this damned society. Katelyn, like many others, had barely any breaks from the relentless 'psychological assault', among other abuse. Not at home, not at school, not online.  It was on a social media site where her last moments that were broadcast. That site is live.me and, upon visiting it, you'll be greeted by false imagery of adventure, fun times, and social interaction. Just another segment of the illusion of the social aspect of social media. Social media needs to be reinvented as a means to reach out to people, to actually communicate, and not a medium to talk @ them.

It was there, on live.me's app, where she broadcast her last moments. Moments that were a silent scream, to be saved, being sent out into the black hole that is the internet. Into the lie that is social media, a place where the least amount of people care about anything. The culmination; the effect of the stress and events in her life. If only any of us were able to save her.

Ending with a heart-wrenching and shaky goodbye.

RIP

The Internet is in Bad Need of a Soul

Katelyn Nichole Davis (Justice For This Angel)✨ (Facebook Group)



The "I miss..." is what really got to me in this video. To miss what you don't know, you're in a house but not a home. It's heart-breaking.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Updates January 11th, 2017:

Excerpts from her video streams by 'In Memory of Katelyn Nichole Davis' on YouTube'
Full-length stream archives on YouTube



The new videos always seem more devastating than the last but her words, her experiences, her emotions, her messages need to be heard.


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Ever since first seeing the initial video, and now these short videos, i'm not going to lie... it's caused a change. Like something's switched on within me. What i read and what i watch, it's all seeming to become so secondary. It all seems so pointless, but not in a depression sort of way. Like many that have seen these videos by her, it feels like we have to get active. 

This tragedy isn't some movie, this is real. And it doesn't seem like some far off thing. This Is Real. For the past six days it's like i've been increasingly grieving and feeling angry over a loss that feels all too real. Even though i never knew her, it feels like i've lost a family member. It feels like when i lost an actual family member to suicide so long ago. Like his passing, Katelyn's has hit me hard and it feels strange because i've never grieved over anyone i haven't known. 

It's upsetting to see the world go on even after someone dies.  To see most people unaware of the loss of such an obviously amazing person. Instead, they go on with the most meaningless distractions out here in 'our' society. And the things that Katelyn went through make me angry. No one should have to have experienced what she had at her age. Plus, being the care-taker of her siblings at her age clearly put a lot of stress on her.

What shakes me the most is that the look of anguish on her face, in many videos, is one i'd seen far too many times without even realizing it. The depths; it's even like looking in one's own reflection. Feelings i've even known in the past. Ultimately, when your house no longer feels like a home and anguish, fear, stress, worthlessness, and feeling drained, tired beyond tired.

Today, January 11th, marks six days since i first learned of Katelyn Nicole Davis and the emotion, grief, is as strong as ever. Yet, it's something i can't control. But there's a reason for this. She has to be remembered. She deserves to be remembered. Her life had meaning and she's a light that has to be known; to be shone. 

This, regardless of her upbringing, her background, everything she was has meaning far beyond anything wasteful being given undue exposure in our media. Even above celebrities and media personalities. Even if most never know about her, it is up to us who do to dedicate ourselves to helping people at every chance. Helping people in her memory and taking the lessons, the words, present in her videos. Do no harm to others. Everything done with love, and know that the biggest, deepest scars cannot be seen. 

To quote St. Augustine, "Let the root of love be in you: nothing can spring from it but good." 

Dedicate yourself. Redefine yourself. Help everyone you can. That is what Katelyn's memory is worth.




Justice for Katelyn!

January 4, 2017

Grandfather and Todd Family Farm Tribute by Kate Todd

January 04, 2017
Grandfather and Todd Family Farm Tribute by Kate Todd

Grandfather and Todd Family Farm Tribute ~KT

Description:
A tribute to my Grandfather, Gordon Todd, we lost 5 years ago today.
Location: Todd Family Farm
Original Song: KATE TODD's 'Somewhere On The Dial'

A beautiful, emotional song and video. It's like the video pulls you in and you're right there in that barn. You can feel the slight chill of the rain, the scents of the rain and hay, and the fresh scent of the rain falling down as the breeze flows in. Just sit back and watch.