Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
Email Format
Close

Archive

Archive for March, 2014

Learn Something New: Plantagenet

March 26th, 2014 Comments off

It doesn’t matter how old you get, there is always something new to learn. Sometimes these new things are words or concepts you have heard all your life, but perhaps you never understood. Learn Something New is a series that will highlight some of the things I learn, big and small in the coming days. — Douglas


Plantagenet

While I have been familiar with the Plantagenet Kings of England from the 12th Century — Henry, his wife Eleanor and his 4 sons, Henry, Richard, Geoffrey and John. I actually did some research into the family when I was performing as Prince John in “A Lion in Winter” during my college theater days.

henry-ii plantagenet-arms

Tonight, while watching the BBC Documentary “The Plantagenets”, I learned for the first time (or perhaps reminded myself) that the name comes from Plante Genest, the latin name of the ubiquitous plant, broom, that grows wild all over Europe. I know of Genesta, as it is a non-native growing wild here in the hills of Southern California, but also is a signature plant growing on and around Mount Etna in Sicily, where our Italian family lives. Due to these more recent experience with broom, I am not sure how I missed this little naming fact about such a famous historical family, but it only goes to show how bits and pieces of information can fall through the cracks in our memory.

Genestra (Eng: Broom) - native plant of the hills of Etna

It is these types of tiny facts that keep me reading and watching books and shows on history, science, nature and literature. No matter how much I learn, I know there is always something new out there to learn. I think this is a big part of what keeps life interesting and exciting.

More information on Plantagenet:

Categories: Education, History, Learn Something New Tags:

Photo: “Mousing Around” via #instagram

March 26th, 2014 Comments off
Categories: Photos-Photography Tags:

The attention you want and need – End of the Day for March 25, 2014

March 25th, 2014 Comments off

End of the day Logo

I have writing, blogging and podcasting for a while, but for a variety of reasons my work has never crossed over the line into any wider popularity. I have some very dedicated fans but my impact and effect on the wider world has always been limited. Like anyone, this sometimes bothers me. I have never wanted to be “famous”, but I have always wanted my work to have as much effect as possible. The reality of this, though, is the more people who know about you and your work, the more impact it can have. Therefore, people need to know about you.

The fact is, I live under the common fallacy that the work should stand for itself. I don’t think this has ever been true, but it is a belief that has existed almost since civilization was formed. I know this intellectually, of course, but I have work against it a lot. I have always worked to promote my work and, at times, myself, but I don’t think I quite have the gene that makes me great at it. This can lead to some large cognitive dissonance  i.e. confusion. (LAUGH)

The one thing that has kept me producing after all this time (beyond my own selfish reason – I like doing it) are the letters I get from readers and listeners. I got a great one today and I have been running on that energy all day. It is so odd how a few words can have such a big effect, but I’ll take it!

So, as Scarlett O’Hara said, “Tomorrow is another day!” and I will keep on creating, promoting and trying to have the biggest imapoct I can have with my life and world.  No matter how much support and feedback I get — or do not get, I don’t think I can ever stop trying. That wouldn’t be fair to those who enjoy my work or to myself.

Got any hints how I can share my work with more people? All advice is greatly appreciated!

Previously on End of the Day:

Categories: End-of-the-Day, Writing Tags:

Photo: Encampment at Caerdydd (Cardiff) #uk #wales via Instagram

March 25th, 2014 Comments off

Video: Lake Balboa Cherry Blossoms 2014 – A Video Montage

March 25th, 2014 Comments off

As I do each year, I took some time to visit nearby Lake Balboa Park today to see the Japanese Cherry trees that bloom around the lake each year. We are in a drought year, so the bloom is not as vibrant has it has been in the past, but there was still many blossoms to photograph and video. Here are a video montage from this year’s trip. 

Cherry blossoms 2014 

 

You can view a collection of photos from this trip in this past post — Photos: Cherry Blossoms at Lake Balboa 2014

 

The Sakura are in Bloom! – End of the Day for March 24, 2014

March 24th, 2014 Comments off

End of the day Logo

A bit of a long day today, but I found time for a little bit of fun/work this afternoon. Nature moves at its own pace and I knew that if I wanted to see the Cherry Blossoms at Lake Balboa this year I would need to get there soon. The weekends are always very busy, so I knew that today was probably my best bet. You can see the photos that resulted from my walk in the blog post previous to this one — Photos: Cherry Blossoms at Lake Balboa. I also produced a video during today’s walk, which should be posted sometime tomorrow.

Walking around the lake was so nice in a variety of ways. First there is the walk itself. Exercise is something I need every single day, but walking the same area can get boring after a while. I need some visual stimulation along with my walk, and the birds, water and cherry trees, of course, offered up a wide variety of such stimulation. Next, add in the creative/artistic thinking required for taking photographs and video and you have another level of stimulation. Finally, being outdoors on any nice day is always a boon. My walk left me feeling relaxed, yet energized, Calm physically, but excited mentally. I ended up working the rest of the afternoon and evening away on the energy created.

Lake Balboa Cherry Blossoms 2014 - 34

I highly recommend a day like today for all of you. Photowalks are just that, walks designed around walking and exploring an area using your eyes and you camera. Not only to get some exercise, but you come back with a collection of photos to share with others and use in your other arts, crafts and work. You can take a photo walk by yourself, but they are even more fun as a group. Each person sees something different and when you see someone else take a photograph, you are drawn to see what they have seen. You see through their eyes for just a moment and can then take your own photo using your own individual artistic eye. Even though photographers may take a picture of the same scene, they rarely see it in the same way. This can be a great way to learn more about your photography and how others see the world.

Got a few minutes at lunch? Take your camera or smartphone out for walk. Have some friends join you. Go out and see what there is to see. I know you will surprise your friends — and yourself, too!

 

 Previously on End of the Day:

Photos: Cherry Blossoms at Lake Balboa 2014

March 24th, 2014 Comments off

As I do each year, I took some time to visit nearby Lake Balboa Park today to see the Japanese Cherry trees that bloom around the lake each year. We are in a drought year, so the bloom is not as vibrant has it has been in the past, but there was still many blossoms to photograph and video. Here are a selection of photos from today’s trip and a slide show of all the pictures. You can view each full-sized photo and the entire photo set on Flickr.

Lake Balboa Cherry Blossoms 2014 - 05

Lake Balboa Cherry Blossoms 2014 - 35

Lake Balboa Cherry Blossoms 2014 - 04

View a slide show of all the photos

Photo: Lake Balboa Cherry Blossoms 2014 | My Word with Douglas E. Welch via Instagram

March 24th, 2014 Comments off

Photo: OMG Strawberries! #garden #food via Instagram

March 24th, 2014 Comments off

A little bit of gaming (and a little work, too) – End of the Day for March 23, 2014

March 23rd, 2014 Comments off

End of the day Logo

All work and no play make Jack a dull boy, as the saying goes. So today I engaged in a little game play interspersed with quite a bit of work, too. Joseph is a big video gamer these days and we often have discussions about the various games he tries out. Noe that Stream has their Family Sharing plan, I am able to play almost any game that Joe has purchased on my own computer and with my own characters and save files. In my day, I found that mixing a little gaming in between work sessions actually made me a bit more productive. It has often been thought that taking regular breaks in any form of work helps your focus and I think that certainly applies to me.

So, what did I play today? Many of the games I have seen at least a little play through or I have discussed them with Joe as he was playing. Sometimes games can leave me a bit confused, but today I felt I actually did a bit better than I thought I would. I never got “stuck” in any of the games, even if it took me a little time to figure out a particular feature or tactic.

First on the list was The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. This is an amazing beautiful games with probably at least a hundred hours of gameplay possible. There is a main story quest but also probably a hundred sub quests to achieve. The world is quite immersive and combines exploration, interaction, battling, alchemy, blacksmithing and other crafts in quite a balanced world. Of all the games I played today, this is probably the one I would return to again. When playing Skyrim it often feels as if you are starring in your own movie where you not only control where your character goes, but also where the story leads.

Skyrim

Next was an entirely different experience. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. This is the type of game I usually avoid. It is all guns and ammo and “twitch” gaming that typically kills my character before I even know what happened. I have watched Joe play it and only moderately know what is happening. Of course, he plays the multiplayer version almost exclusively, but he thought I should start out with the single player campaign mode, which takes you through various scenes with a connected storyline. I was surprised how well I did. Even thought Joe provided a bit of coaching, I didn’t die nearly as often as I expected, even though I still had a hard time figuring out where to go and what to do. I might play a little more of this, but highly doubt I would ever even try the multiplayer mode.

Cod mw3

The next game was Civilization V. This is a Risk-style game that is equal parts history lesson and a Simcity of ancient civilizations. You found a small town, build an army, granary, cultural institutions, establish diplomatic relations with nearby city-states, fight with the barbarians, and try to finance it all so that you don’t go bankrupt or get conquered. I only planned on playing for about an hour, but 2 hours later I was so involved I had to force myself to stop playing long enough to get something to eat. I might have to spend some more time with Civ 5 to see what other surprises it holds.

Civ5

Finally, the last part of my gaming day was spent in tutorial sessions for League of Legends. Oh dear, is this a complicated game! I hear Joseph talking with his team as he plays live sessions of LoL and even watch some gameplay, but the depth of the game is staggering for a newbie. There are dozens of different champions to chose, each with their own special abilities and play styles. There are a host of spells and abilities to buy for each character and situation. You are scored in points, conquest of turrets, attacking various other creatures and the opposing team, but also gain gold to purchase new buffs and abilities, health potions and more. Joe rattles off the various strategies of the game, but the amount of learning you have to do seems overwhelming. I think it would require some long hours with Joe’s coaching before I could even begin to play a real game online.

It is no surprise that League of Legends is one of the premiere games in the “pro-gaming” circuit with huge tournaments (and large prizes) held all over the world, including right here in our own LA backyard. Tournaments are covered and commentated just like traditional sporting events and the fans are just as rabid about their favorite teams.

Lol screen

So there is my overview of the games I played today. I think it is important to keep a hand in the various technology industries, even if you don’t live there. I also think it is good to see what Joseph is doing with his leisure time and sharing a bit of his excitement. It is one small thing we can share as he grows older.

 Previously on End of the Day:

Categories: End-of-the-Day, Gaming, Writing Tags: