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Rain in New York

Well, Earth’s Survivors America The Dead: The Zombie Plagues is available now. I gave it away over the weekend. Usually that is about 150 books or so for me, but this came to several hundred. I hope those of you who downloaded it enjoyed it.

I am currently working on Fig Street and Hurricane. Tomorrow I will start work on another Outrunner book. For a guy who dropped out of school and lived on the streets, could not read or write because of that and had to be taught by someone, it amazes me that I spend all of my time either reading or writing now. If I don’t have a book I have either written or intend to write running around my head at any given time, something is wrong.

It’s raining in  New York. Heavy, cold rain. Christmas nearly here and the winter is firmly established. I thought I would share part of my past week with you…

I use Windows Seven for my operating system. Not because I like Windows Seven, but because Linux is not universally accepted yet. So I use Linux as much as I can and then Windows Seven when I have to.

I purchased a new machine a month or so ago and it came with Windows Ten. Oh, I could write a whole blog about how I hate Windows Eight. And I do. It compromises you and your information on every level, because it insists on having it. It insists on knowing everything there is to know about you. Do you have five freckles on the inside of your left thigh? That would be about the only thing it doesn’t ask or know about, but I would not count on the fact that it doesn’t know, it just might. Anyway, for me, too nosy. I buy the software and so I guess that means I am supporting the invasion of my privacy. But I would like it to be more like a car. A Toyota will drive me anywhere I want to go, but, so will a Ford, or a Chevy, or a Dodge, or, well, you get the idea. So why is it we only have Windows? Where the hell is the support for Linux? Or something else? Okay, that’s all I have on that.

So, I deep-sixed the machine I bought because, as it turns out, you can not easily delete Win 8, at least on this machine. It would not allow me to install my Win 7. I struggled with it for a week. I decided in that space of time that there was not any redeeming quality there and so one day I went online, ordered the parts from eBay to fix my old machine. Kicked myself for not doing that first, and once they came I spent a few hours fixing the old machine. Once I was done I unplugged the new machine, stuck it back in the box and slid it under my desk. It made a great foot rest until my mother’s machine locked up the other day.

Moms machine was my old machine. I wrote several short stories and my first novel on that machine, a lawn sale item I had all of 40.00 dollars into. “Well, how would you like a Windows Ten machine, Mom,” I asked? For her it’s great. She is a social animal, Mom is. I think something like 600 face book friends. She has all her on-line shopping places, her Kindle account. Huh, I said to her, people actually use computers to socialize? Mom just laughed at me. She figured out Win 10 immediately and has no problem with it. Humph…

I use Windows Seven and it makes me money, or helps me to make a living. It’s a tool I use to run the software that makes my living, and allows me to access the publishing services I need to be able to make my living. It also allows me to buy and sell on-line if I so choose, use software to listen to music, manipulate my artwork and create Artwork too. Record Music of my own. Read other E-Books (Yes, I read other authors, not just the ones here at independAntwriters). In short I spend a great deal of time in the Windows Seven environment and all I ever do is complain about it, uh, sort of like I am right now. But once I got a load of Win 10 I decided I would embrace Win 7. No more complaints from me.

So, last week I went to Google for a translation for a phrase spoken by one of the characters in  Earth’s Survivors Three: Candace Loi. Candace Loi is Japanese and African American. Her Grandmother spoke Japanese. I remembered the pronunciation for Grand Daughter in Japanese, but did not want to hack the spelling. And, growing up and hearing it, having an idea in my head what it meant, and then what it really means are different things sometimes. I went with Magomusume instead of Mago. Magomusume is more formal, and not really used often. But, I didn’t want to confuse things, it’s not like the character can launch into a long explanation about why it is not usually used in the Gender specific form.

So, I found it, but, when I had searched, it had also shown me a few images of people that indirectly related to my search. Japanese life. Yes, for once, not porn that always seems to pop up, but actual people… With their clothes on. I was awed, and I did something I rarely do, I spent about four hours more on Google looking for more pictures of people from all walks of life. So when you read Earth’s Survivors Three and you reach the point where Candace explains Magomusume you will know that as soon as I wrote that I then spent four or so hours Googling stuff. I went ahead and clicked the ‘Images’ link on Google. Like I said, usually I am Leery of it, but this time I carefully restricted my keywords and was rewarded.

Poor, Gypsies, Vietnamese, Japanese, Native American, African and African American. One simply led to the next. And, why look if you don’t intend to keep? The reason I thought of that is because I know a man who, whenever I visit, has his desktop machine (A MAC, Ironically) set to show different life scenes. And this is on his office machine, so, while I’m waiting, I watch the picture show. I have been there enough times to know the pictures, and so I anticipate certain ones.

I sit in the padded leather chair, in his office, in America, where even the very poor do not starve to death in the streets, or get shot or terrorized by soldiers, or shot, killed and dumped in a ditch somewhere. At least not as the normal course of a day. Violence does happen here too. Having both grown up poor, and spent time actually living on the streets as a teen, I understand that what we see on the surface is only a poor reflection of what is under that surface. But I sit in his padded leather chair and I watch scenes from all over the world. People, Artwork, Animals, Architecture and more. It’s pleasant to watch. Soothing. I suppose it is for him too.

But the images I discovered that day were people who knew nothing at all about me. My life. My computer. The life I lead is so far from their life that it might just be incomprehensible to them. In any case, for most of them, they will never live this type of life. And, they don’t look all that unhappy about the possibility of never living this life to me.

Yes, in some instances I’m sure they are. When their basic rights are violated, when they are oppressed, when they are hungry. Not our version of hungry, I mean when they have not eaten. Maybe for days. So, their life is not all roses, but they don’t miss what they have never thought about, seen, or experienced. And I looked at the pictures and I thought this is what I need to look at every day. This is what can keep me connected to the real world. That is important to me. Being grounded. Staying grounded.

So I spent about four hours and downloaded every picture that I came across that I liked. I put them in a folder and I have added to that folder a few times now when I have thought of other people I would like to see. Then I set my desktop to that folder and voila. I Guess I am bringing it up because it affected  me in some unexpected ways.

First, I have quad monitors, so as I work I can see the pictures change, for the most part. The only time I can’t is when I have something else up on the other monitors. But, I found that I tend to leave a monitor blank most of the time now. And that, throughout my day, I am watching the faces pop up. A mother in Africa with her baby. A band of Gypsies exiled by Hitler before or during the war. He hated them as much as he did the Jewish people. A proud but poor Father in Mexico posing outside of a house most of us would not want to step inside of let alone call home, with his family. All smiling. Looks like they have a lot of love if not money.

A young Native American mother sometime back in the 1700’s staring wide eyed at the camera, her child held in her arms. She looks so young and scared. A little Boy smiling up at the camera, tribal scars on both sides of his face. He looks so happy. His smile is genuine. A mother nursing. Rebels posing with Machine Guns on a road in a jungle somewhere. A young Vietnamese woman making her way through the ruined streets of some Vietnamese city. A Chinese woman with her child on her back, wrapped and looking at the world go by as mom makes her way to where ever she is going. And more…

A family on the road. A father carrying his children. Images of war, images of peace. Images I have no context for, only the people looking into the lens of the camera, or away: Caught unawares. I realized it really was keeping the world in my mind. Why is that father carrying his children? What does that mother feed her children? Do they know about the western world? What do they think about it? I like it. It keeps the world on my mind. The part of the world that is important.

I don’t mean our jobs, bills, house payments aren’t important, I am only saying that people are more important. Seeing these people from all over the world. Some surely still living, some long gone away, keeps me grounded. If only because of what I just said. I know some are gone; and some still here. It reminds me that there were times with my family, friends, I wish I could have back, had cherished more. Some of those people are gone now. If I remember them as I look at the pictures it’s like they never left. And, there are the questions I have for those I see in the pictures  too. It keeps the important things in the world in perspective for me.

It has been an interesting week, and I am glad I made the change. It even makes me grateful, yes, grateful, to Microsoft for this desktop where I can watch those changing pictures. Or whoever came up with the idea. Does that mean I can’t complain about Windows anymore?

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