About this blog

Incoming BYTES
contains highly variable subject matter including commentary on the mundane, the extraordinary and even controversial issues. At Incoming BYTES
we want YOU to think...if you dare...


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Never Underestimate Glorious Flower Power

Flower power.  It's not the sixties,  this isn't Woodstock or San Francisco, and  we're not hippies or flower-children, but I admire flowers anyway.  I admire people who admire flowers too, whether they wear them in their hair or not.    I always have, and always will.
Flower people are good people.  That's one of the reasons we should never underestimate glorious flower power.

At Incoming Bytes we observe the unusual.  Strange things at times. Surprising things. Unexpected things.   It continues to surprise me how little we actually know about  flowering plants that seem to exist only to beautify our surroundings.

Some seem to be quite set in their ways, inevitably soothing our souls, but flowering the same way every year, in the same place, at the same time in the season.  Some grow quickly.  There are tiny blossoms and huge ones. Some seem to take forever to bloom, only to have the blossoms fade immediately. Some taste good and others smell terrible.

Some flowers follow the sun too.  Sunflowers do, vast fields of sunflowers inevitably have every flower blossom   facing and following  the sun with unbelievable, powerfully  unspoken,  but  precise, delicate and elegant choreography.  Ask Alex, she'll tell you.  Alexandra Heep is the Sunflower power expert, you'll quickly find out why in her fascinating blog  'aheepofsunflowers' 
Maybe Alex can even tell  us why this sunflower is so unique!

                              A Beautiful, Unique Sunflower               photo credit (c)  Wendy L. Kukkee

She'll probably tell us there are a gazillion species of sunflowers.  No matter;  flowers really are glorious.

It's not only sunflowers that surprise either. Flowers are no less than amazing at times.
Are flowers powerful because they exist only to make us happy? Check out this Morning Glory, -- it looks like someone in that flower turned on the light just for us, or was it  switched on to showcase  the magnificent, tiny dew-drop jewels decorating her person?  Perhaps this is the real source of flower-power.

                       Morning Glory and her Light                                    (c) r.a.kukkee 2011

That's not all.    This  special Morning Glory has done something else that is no less than amazing.   She  survived no fewer than three major frosts, the last one being some -6C,  which is 21F, and no matter which  temperature scale you choose, that's  frozen- frozen, half-inch-ice-on-the-bucket frozen,  --and  too cold for delicate FLOWERS....or is it?

We took pity on the sad, frozen thing out on the deck, carried her --um...., rolled her by plant-ambulance complete with huge flowerpot-- into the house.  She sat for a couple of days looking dejected, rejected and pathetic, so we  picked off the many frozen- dead leaves, stuck some sticks into the pot for support,  and stood her back up.   
Flower power.  This is how she rewarded us. Perhaps only our gardening zeitgeist, our own Glory Lennon can explain this one....

      Frozen Morning Glory in all her Glory                             (c) r.a.kukkee 2011

 Doesn't that beat all?  The magnificent come-back flower-power kid is not only blossoming, and her vines are growing and climbing ever higher, ever faster.                 Glorious flower power at it's best.  

Remember the powerful light in the single blossom? Maybe there IS a bigger power source available here than we recognize. Perhaps each one of those blossoms  now has it's own 400 watt bulb in it.  That must be it.  Flower power.   Food for thought. Food for beautiful people. Food for people I admire.  Flower people

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Friday, September 23, 2011

How to Know if Silence Is a Good Thing

Are YOU  surrounded by silence?  How do you know if it is a good thing? Is it a good silence,  the solitary imagined kind,  or another variety?  
Is  silence not often thought to be awkward when  circumstances  result in extended periods of nothing ?    It is not-at-all  surprising that when difficult issues arise, an enigmatic silence ensues which only allows problems to fester. At Incoming Bytes, reflecting on the discomfort  generated by  inappropriate, protracted or untimely silence, --an innocuous  temptation to offer a solution is strong.

Perhaps in the future, if one is offended strongly  by actions, bad manners, rants, statements or comments made by individuals in any form, an official protocol could prove handy.   It may be a  helpful and reasonable public  policy to bravely email them directly and identify the offensive material, changing their minds by gentle persuasion, offering weird jokes,  or simply inferring they are not as bright as they could be.  To sign off with one's real name is optional.   After all, what else is the Internet for?
It does seem inherently logical that  it could be  helpful to address individuals directly instead of allowing what are, in fact, negative, poor,  people-handling skills, to take over,  --for instance, screaming loudly down the street whilst throwing eggs at them.   Such spontaneous activities may occur  long before anyone even realizes they are not yet fully clothed in the morning,  thereby offering  a serious and even  unbecoming  spectacle to the casual observer out in the street.

This is unacceptable and offensive in itself.  People in this world  are generally good people;   they may all rant, scream, and express anger, but they are human beings without exception,  and should be encouraged to retain dignity of their persons  whilst watching serious, naked  communicators  tossing eggs at passers-by.
 May I suggest the following process ?  
 Should someone comment negatively or do something inadvertently that  I find  offensive,  I shall immediately email them  personally and express my concerns, using fewer than three foul invectives and fewer than eight pages of text. 

If the  reply I receive several days later includes little but  denial,  an arcuate avoidance of responsibility, includes any more than three foul invectives, or  does not otherwise resolve the issue, a follow-up email shall be  more than justified.   The reader will recall that time is of the essence.

With today’s helpful technology, it becomes a  point of personal pride to have all emails  between dedicated  individuals answered quickly and specifically, rather than operating  within a vague, quasi-organized schedule, particularly while  using a cumbersome, annoying, very snail-like postal service or the unprofessional 'new spelling' of texting.

The occasional exception may be allowed if one’s satellite service is failed due to NASA space-junk impact, visits from loving  mothers-in-law interfere with good governance, or inclement weather is experienced in the duration.

   To contact someone directly by email is inherently more  fair and honest, and will help avoid the perception of an arbitrary application of silence, and thus remain within the  bounds of the fine  art of  communication .
Ask yourself the question once again,   do you prefer silence, or are you just choosing silence by default, -perhaps without intent ? How many fits of silence are the result of the inability to think caused by misplaced  anger and a failed diet, particularly the lack of eggs?

To clear the air is a good thing in the spirit of peace, friendship and cooperation. In the old days, silence was golden, and it can still be a good thing if you  wish to observe it religiously  as such.

In spite of these recent revelations and advances in technology, then, I am proud to add each of you, singularly and collectively, to my email address book.
How to really know if silence is a good thing?   Try not opening your email, and see. 

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11 : The Bottom Line ?

It is September 11th, 2011, and once again the painful  anniversary of one of the most tragic events in modern North America consumes the mind.  The total destruction of the World Trade Center  Twin Towers and the loss of thousands of  lives in  an unprecedented, choreographed attack by extremists remains a terrorist attack unparallelled in the history of the United States. As the bell tolls at Ground Zero and countless names are read once more, it seems nothing must remain unsaid except the truth.

At Incoming Bytes we can only offer condolences and prayers for families that lost loved ones. We can only remember in silence the desperation, fear and confusion on the faces of people watching this horrific event unfold on television--a surreal happening that affected everyone as the news was updated instantly. Terrible images,  being played over and over, relentlessly and cruelly destroyed any doubt that remained. We can only relive those terrible moments.
Tears welled up in the eyes of the helpless; anger rose, disbelief  overwhelming reason as  it  became  clear the tragedy was not a terrible mistake, not raw television entertainment, but reality.  Stunned silence spoke of fear at the shocking transition.
The fact is, the warm, fuzzy illusion of  reality and  the error of believing in normal life has changed forever as many questions remain unanswered today, ten years later. 
What really happened? Why? Where did this evil originate?  Was it foreign, home-made, or a tangled web of murder and conspiracy to generate fear? Was it the opening salvo of a war on western civilization as we know it?  Was it based on a distorted segment of organized, bitter and unforgiving religious dogma bent on giving notice to the world to convert or die?  Was it a declaration of war upon an unjust, unsustainable global economic system?  Here at Incoming Bytes The reader is encouraged to make conclusions by observation. Think.

The bottom line increasingly seems to suggest the truth has not yet come out, and is unlikely to be revealed in my lifetime.  Each of us in careful reflection must draw our own uniqe bottom line-- and attempt to come to our own conclusions. Media spin, political lies, and distorted fact coupled with willful, evil intent is not helpful in ascertaining truth.  Inevitably, the truth must come out as it always does, but meantime, let us collectively mature and admit our true feelings.

The bottom line, then immediately becomes more  clear.  To me it is based  not only on the stark  reality of 10 years ago, and the unimaginable event unfolding, but also  the  strange, unbelievable and terrible  contradiction observed in humanity itself.
I must be honest. Ten years later, on this anniversary,   I once again reflect in silence, knowing nothing can change the past, yet I remain angry.   Why?   The bottom line is painfully obvious and very simple.   Like the people surrounding me in the waiting room,  collectively numbed by the unbelievable horror of the unfolding event before us,  I was in the  gentle company of wonderful people trying desperately to save the life of a loved one -- in the cancer unit of a hospital-- watching with tears in my eyes---while incomprehensibly arrogant, bitter, devious and evil people secretly rejoiced at the  mindless and brutal killing of thousands of innocent people--for nothing.   The old adage 'know thyself' comes to mind, and the fact is, I do not know how to accommodate that unfathomable lack of humanity other than by faith in our Lord.

May they be forgiven.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Jeepers Heapers

When you think of a "heap"  the mind does a curious thing,  it can create a heap that contains almost anything.   A heap of grass seed. A heap of dirt.  A heap of toys or a heap of trouble.  Let's not forget that even politics can be a heap while we're at it.  A heap of bovine bull manure at times; for short,  B.B.M.  -- but does that lead to our usual difficult question, " how did that ever transmogrify and evolve into a heap of  B.S."? That's a freebie, no answer required.  
     Let us  attempt to avoid  digression  any more than usual;  the  awakened reader can figure that one out at their leisure.   Here at Incoming Bytes  we make  it a practice not to place four-letter designer invectibles in literary saucy  where avoidable.   --Since  there are always finer ways to express  one's inner and outer progressive and transgressive thoughts, that is.  After all, the English language is perhaps also one of the finest gardening tools in the world.

     Back to heaps,  out in the garden we've just had a heap of cold weather following the unbelievable scourge of dry heat this summer.  In NW Ontario, killing frost two nights in a row usually does it.  Out comes the garden, since the tomato plants want to turn black, and the cucumber,  squash and pumpkin vines all sag in protest after being insulted by Jack Frost himself.  What about the heapOh, right, back to heaps.

     We grew stuff on a "heap" this year, the second annual experiment in advanced heap technology.  It's not complicated, a heap of organic matter and dirt flattened out on top,  voila', an  instant raised planting bed a.k.a.  "a high-tech  heap".  Raised gardening beds heat up earlier, grow faster, and  "provide topographic variety for amusement  where none existed previously".  (That description was carefully pre-planned ). 
     It (THE heap)  can contain old hay,  sawdust,  old composted manure (not the political stuff) and all kinds of alternative organic stuff like green grass clippings, wood chips, kitchen compost, some sand, last years garden refuse,  collectible  horse puckies from the riding stable,  you name it, add it, and there it is, --your own personal heap.  Personalized and custom-made.

     Great system, you'll see,   here's  # 2,  the "Heap 2011 " in full growth a couple of weeks ago, that was before Jack decided to visit.   Notice it has sunflowers on top  for dreamy  sunflower lovers and for Glory Lennon, our official green-thumbed garden zeitgeist,  --and even for south-migrating birds who get to eat the seeds.
'The Heap'   2011  a.k.a.  "Heap 2"

     Not bad-looking for an ordinary heap eh? The vines covered a circular area approximately 35 feet across.  
      "What vines"? you ask. Those vines.  Vines  a la  Hubbard squash, cantaloupe, pumpkins,  acorn squash, spaghetti squash, and a couple of  oddball heirlooms.   They all produce quaint offerings on vines.  Fine vines they were, too!  There were 10 spaghetti squash on one  healthy vine from one plant alone,  --but why describe them when we can just show a picture of those treasures salvaged en masse  instead?  A whole quad-buggy-full.  That was what was left over after we picked a few.  A prolific heap it was.

A Heap of Produce from 'The Heap'  2011

The bottom line?  A heap can be a wonderfully productive thing.

     Sadly, all growing seasons come to an end.  Jack said so.  Jack Frost, that is.  Here's all that's left of Heap 2011, -- but  with hope eternal, notice the huge heap of vines getting ready to contribute to Heap 2012.

     We will "turn over" heap 2011 and compost the vine collection complete with old weeds, extra-rotten old hay, and any fine BBM we can glean from politicos and other sources --to turn it into something  organic and  useful.   Let's grow some organic squash  and such with that kind of stuff  instead of just shoveling it about, flinging it here, tossing it there. 

     I have a good idea. Plan ahead.  Build a heap yourself. You, too, can be a Successful Heaper.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.