New monarch butterfly ready to come out of his chrysalis and flit about my milkweed. This is what they look like about 24 hours before they emerge. He is hanging on the side of my milkweed box since I didn’t try to capture any more caterpillars and put them in my cat box. It seemed late in the season, and I was trying to discourage them from laying eggs. They ignored me and 20 or so more butterflies took off in February.
Photo of the Month of January 2023
I fancy myself a gardener now. These are my baby beans just sprouting up from the ground. I have done a lot of things wrong with my first serious gardening attempt, but having enthusiasm isn’t one of them.
I planted beans, peas, carrots, radishes, lettuce, onions, potatoes, spinach, peppers, tomatoes, basil, parsley and dill. I am either going to have a great harvest, or I am going to find out I am a terrible gardener.
Photo of the Month of December 2022
My Christmas cactus is in full bloom this year. Last year was my first year with it, and it bloomed around February instead of December, so I guess we’re all on the same month now. It hangs on my front porch in a macramé hanger. I haven’t had one of those since the 1970s!
According to the Farmer’s Almanac, this is not a dry desert cactus, but a rainforest cactus. So, it’s a succulent that likes its humidity and grows in trees. Maybe I should move it? It seems to be happy where it is, and with me, the less I fuss with something, the less likely it is to die.
15 Twilight Zone Trivia Questions and Answers
Here are 15 Twilight Zone trivia questions and answers:
1. In which year did the original Twilight Zone series premiere?
2. Who created The Twilight Zone?
3. What famous phrase did Rod Serling use to introduce each episode?
4. What was the name of the character played by Burgess Meredith in the episode “Time Enough at Last”?
5. In the episode “Eye of the Beholder”, what is the name of the society that the main character lives in?
6. Who played the lead human role in the episode “To Serve Man”?
7. What was the name of the town in the episode “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street”?
8. Who played the lead role in the episode “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet”?
9. What was the name of the ventriloquist in the episode “The Dummy”?
10. In the episode “The Hitchhiker”, what is the name of the character played by Inger Stevens?
11. What is the title of the episode where a man is given the power to wish for anything he wants, but with unexpected consequences?
12. What was the name of the character played by Jack Klugman in the episode “In Praise of Pip”?
13. In the episode “The Obsolete Man”, what is the occupation of the main character, Romney Wordsworth?
14. What was the name of the character played by Agnes Moorehead in the episode “The Invaders”?
15. In the episode “Living Doll”, what is the name of the doll that torments Telly Savalas’ character?
Here are 15 Twilight Zone trivia questions and answers:
1. In which year did the original Twilight Zone series premiere? Answer: 1959
2. Who created The Twilight Zone? Answer: Rod Serling
3. What famous phrase did Rod Serling use to introduce each episode? Answer: “You’re traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind.” A catchphrase for the show – submitted for your approval – was only uttered three times during the show’s run, but has become associated with the TV series.
4. What was the name of the character played by Burgess Meredith in the episode “Time Enough at Last”? Answer: Henry Bemis
5. In the episode “Eye of the Beholder”, what is the name of the society that the main character lives in? Answer: The State
6. Who played the lead human role in the episode “To Serve Man”? Answer: Lloyd Bochner as Michael Chambers and Richard Kiel as all of the Kanamits
7. What was the name of the town in the episode “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street”? Answer: Anytown, USA
8. Who played the lead role in the episode “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet”? Answer: William Shatner
9. What was the name of the ventriloquist in the episode “The Dummy”? Answer: Jerry Etherson and the dummy’s name is Willie
10. In the episode “The Hitchhiker”, what is the name of the character played by Inger Stevens? Answer: Nan Adams
11. What is the title of the episode where a man is given the power to wish for anything he wants, but with unexpected consequences? Answer: “The Man in the Bottle”
12. What was the name of the character played by Jack Klugman in the episode “In Praise of Pip”? Answer: Max Phillips
13. In the episode “The Obsolete Man”, what is the occupation of the main character, Romney Wordsworth? Answer: Librarian
14. What was the name of the character played by Agnes Moorehead in the episode “The Invaders”? Answer: The Woman
15. In the episode “Living Doll”, what is the name of the doll that torments Telly Savalas’ character? Answer: Talky Tina
Why I Chose Shopify over Etsy
I’ve been selling online since the 1990s as soon as I coded my first website. It took me zero seconds to grasp the concept and potential of the internet. Since that time, I have had a website selling my art and designs, which means this was before eBay, Amazon, Google and definitely before Etsy.
Since there were no payment processors online, I used a little known site called Kagi to process payments and mail them to me, or people wrote me checks and mailed them.
Anyway, I’ve been selling online for all these years, and I’ve always had my own website that I designed or coded until 2016 when I moved Blue Morning Expressions (2004) to the Shopify platform.
In all fairness, I have/had three or four Etsy stores since 2006 and have done a decent amount of business there over the years. That changed dramatically when Etsy decided to let people outsource in 2015. I changed directions and never looked back.
Today, I still throw things up on Etsy on occasion, but here are the Etsy things that I don’t have to deal with by having my own site:
- Ads on my listings directing people elsewhere
- Twitchy SEO that seems more like keyword stuffing than true SEO
- Ending up on page 15 in a search result because they decide to give new shops exposure
- Pretending that there are no shipping costs
- A star seller ranking that comes and goes
- Independence from people who don’t have my best interests at heart
- Some crazy offsite ad program that doesn’t allow you to see the metrics involved
- Limited buyers who are on the Etsy platform
I sell on two platforms: Shopify and Amazon Handmade. Amazon Handmade is the bulk of my handmade sales while my Shopify website comes in second, but both of these are relatively hassle-free, so I am good with that. Amazon Handmade has some hefty fees, but the exposure and sales make up for the difference. Shopify is less expensive than Etsy and have way more bells and whistles than you’ll ever use.
If you sign up for Shopify, I might make a little money, so thanks!
5 Underserved Niches in Copywriting
While searching for work, I have read a million sites, a million job applications, and a million gurus talking about getting work. I also thought that there must be some underserved niches that I could get into that might help me create side jobs along the way.
I found out that most of the underserved niches involved technical writing, and that type of writing spun off into a million splinters. I must be on the “millions” kick since I am measuring everything in the millions these days.
Technical copywriting is writing instructions as clearly and concisely as you can for people who need help understanding how to do something.
It would seem that the underserved “type of writing” is technical writing, but the underserved categories are what I was looking for.
For those who haven’t done technical writing, it is the writing behind your user manuals and other “how to” type writings, including tutorials.
In my previous life, I was a beta tester for a piece of graphic design software for many years and many versions. Along the way, I wrote tutorials to accompany the software for other users to share, so I have a solid grasp on writing tutorials, but in my real writing life of today, I only write some “how to” articles for car owners. I don’t even supply photos for the articles, so if I go back to technical writing, I want to write about a subject that I like.
Copywriting Markets that Need Writers
I think, and I use the term “think” loosely, that I have found that there is or will be a large market for copywriters and technical writers in the following industries:
Software – this may not be an underserved market, but it is always changing as new software is created and programs are updated. SaaS is a big industry as fewer people own their software and more people sign up for cloud-based software. People have to know how to use it.
Healthcare – baby boomers like me are getting ready to retire, and we need to have everything written down for us. Consider what it takes to get an MRI and write down the patient’s instructions. These are the types of things that are needed for all types of equipment, doctors, specialties, dentists, and more. Like software, technology makes huge changes in healthcare daily.
Environmental – I write about EV cars, but not on the technical side of it. There is a market for those interested in sustainable and renewable energies, as well as many “how to” articles such as gardening, composting, and anything related to getting “earthy”.
B2B – anything that a business needs to market to another business is a good place to look for work. Start with a small business in your community and work your way up from there.
Translation – if you are bilingual, there is a place for you in the technical writing industry. With businesses working globally, your skills can help them present their products to more people.
Who needs Technical Writers?
Anyone in the above-mentioned industries needs technical writers, as well as the following:
- Technology companies
- Manufacturing companies
- Government agencies
- Colleges and schools
- Service industries
Some of the products any of these businesses may need include manuals, troubleshooting guides, employee instructions, course materials, online tutorials, maintenance manuals, safety information, product specifications, and installation manuals.
There are things to write everywhere you look. Remember reading the cereal box when you were a kid because you “had to read”? Someone wrote that. You have to find the right person to talk to when it comes time to pitch your ideas.
How do you get a Job in Technical Writing?
If you already have a background in a sector, then use that to start looking for work in other areas of the country. I come from an automotive background and write all over the world for many clients. Some I had to hunt for, some found me, but mostly, I kept writing and writing and building a portfolio.
Here are some steps you can take to get your foot in the door as a freelancer:
- Use your education or experience to search for work in an industry you want to work in;
- Build your portfolio on LinkedIn or your website and showcase your favorites;
- Network in your chosen field, not with other writers, but with people who share the same interests;
- Always look for jobs on job boards, websites, LinkedIn, and other places;
- Be ready with a CV and a resume for an interview that may be online via Zoom or Google;
- Freelancing is my thing because I hate offices and downtime, so start with one project and build from there. You’ll be surprised at what you can learn by jumping in. I made so many mistakes.
What is Healthcare Technical Writing?
While healthcare technical writing is going to be bigger and bigger every year, it’s something that you have to be well-versed in. It is the writing of content, marketing materials, and instructions for patient education, devices and drugs, and explaining medical procedures.
If you’ve come from a nursing background, this may be the place you want to start since you probably already have a strong understanding of the terminology, anatomy, and regulations used in the healthcare industry.
Even though I already mentioned this industry, I wanted to bring it up again because this is not just for anyone, but writers are needed.
Other Copywriting Markets
The following are some markets that may not be for everyone, but if you are even remotely interested in them, you can educate yourself. Particularly in the cannabis industry since it is growing exponentially with the states starting to open up cannabis for recreational use.
- Guns and Alcohol
- Real Estate
Many of these five are underserved simply because they are markets that require someone to go the extra mile to learn more about the industry and immerse themselves into it to become a trusted voice.
I know that I am moving towards working in the cannabis and real estate industries in addition to my automotive and insurance industries. New industries and learning are always a great way to sharpen your skills and explore new opportunities.
I hope you find your underserved industry. Check out the Barefoot Writer where you will find a lot more information on underserved niches, as well as other writing ideas. If you sign up, I will receive a small thank you from the Barefoot Writer, which helps me keep writing more!
4 of My Favorite Florida State Parks
Florida is home to 175 state parks, and many of those parks have trails where you can wander amongst the flora and fauna that is abundant when it has not been cut back for development. You can try your hand at birdwatching, which you know I do from the comfort of my desk, and you can experience the thrill of being eye-to-eye with a wild hog or an alligator. Fun for the whole family!
Every one of Florida’s parks is an adventure. You can select the park you want to visit based on the type of activity you want to do once you get there. Sun, sand, and surfing for the coastal parks; kayaking and canoeing for the waterway parks; birding at both the inland and the coastal parks; and camping, swamping, fishing, and more from many of the inland areas. St. Johns Waterway is home to airboat rides, bass fishing, boating, and more.
I chose four of my favorite parks for a couple of reasons. They are a day trip for me, and I like these the best.
Sebastian Inlet State Park
I can see this park from my house. It is the first place that I camped at when I got to Florida in the 1980s, and it is the first place that I experienced the awesome no-see-um bug. I thought it was a myth until I spent the whole night trying to roll in sand to escape the mean little teeth of a bug no bigger than the tip of a pinpoint.
This park was also the first place where I ever saw hermit crabs in the wild. They were very busy swapping houses along the shoreline, and had I not been being eaten alive, I would have spent more time watching them.
This park is the inlet for the Indian River Lagoon into the Atlantic Ocean and is located just north of Sebastian, Florida. It has a fishing jetty that attracts a lot of fishing folks, as well as the pelicans that follow them around like puppies looking for scraps.
It was the first place that I saw a barracuda in the ocean, and where I learned to boogie board and eat sand. I also saw a naked man on the jetty, which to this day, amuses me. Someone actually yelled “naked man on the jetty” as this guy jumped into the ocean.
Kids love to play here and it is a good place to learn to surf. It’s not too rough, and the beach is nice and smooth.
It is a place with nice breaking waves that attract the local surfers and has a surfing spot named “Monster Hole”. It is also where the 1715 Spanish Fleet went down along the coastline between here and Vero Beach, so during a wild hurricane, it is not unusual to see a doubloon on the beach.
The inlet makes way to a nice tidal pool that is quite large and never empties. It is a place where you can wade, splash in the water, and just enjoy being wet without being beaten up by the waves. You can sit in the pool and wait to see if some of the sea creatures like starfish, anemones, and seahorses come visit you. Oh, and there are crabs. Watch your toes.
The water is usually very warm. There are picnic tables, a small seaside grill that serves hamburgers, and open showers, as well as restrooms with indoor showers.
It’s great for the family, and if you wander around the state park portion of it, there are a lot of places to explore like walking trails.
Visit the Sebastian Inlet State Park virtually here.
Blue Spring State Park
The Blue Spring State Park is a quiet place to go watch the manatees and enjoy a river cruise in a pontoon boat.
It is a spring park on the St. Johns River, and I have spent many a day there just enjoying the water and the wildlife. It used to be home to steamboats back in the 1880s, but now it is home to people looking for a place to escape the theme parks and get a suntan.
Because it’s a spring, you’ll find manatees lounging about in the warm water. That’s not the first place I saw manatees in the river, but it’s the first place that I saw them in a wilder environment. The first time was in the warm water at the boat docs by the power plant in Ft. Pierce.
Blue Spring State Park can get crowded quickly, so if you’re planning on a visit, go early in the morning. There are lots of picnic tables and do a little hiking in the cooler months. There’s a historical home in the park where the original owner set up his plantation, and there are lots of birding trails to follow.
If you’re brave, and I am not, you can do a little swimming around the entrance to the spring. I seem to remember some kids diving into the spring cave. I avoid open holes in the earth; they give me the willies.
The water activities are curtailed during manatee season, which runs from November to March, but the rest of the year, you can canoe, kayak, swim, splash, and enjoy the water.
The park is located in Orange City, Florida, and there are wooden walkways that will take you to the cave entrance, so you can watch the divers or dive yourself.
Read more Blue Spring State Park information here.
Myakka River State Park
The Myakka River State Park is on the other side of the state from me. It is located in the pine forests around Sarasota, Florida. It is home to both wetlands and prairies, and during the dry season when the water levels are low, they close the boat ramps.
It took a hit from Hurricane Ian in 2022, but as of 2023, some of the affected parts have opened back up again. You can now do some camping there and hang out during the day, but if you’ve never been to a hurricane-ravaged spot before, expect things to be messy. There may be some places on the walkways that have been damaged, so be careful when hitting the trails. Also, expect a lot of trees will have been stripped of their leaves and limbs. Dead palm fronds will be everywhere.
If you love birdwatching and are always looking for something elusive like the spoonbill, this is the spot to see them. I saw my first one in the Canaveral Seashore, but they like the marshy areas of the Myakka River too.
This state park also has a creepy hole in it appropriately named the Deep Hole. It’s a sinkhole that opened up on the northwest bank of the river and is 135 feet deep. There’s no spring, so you can’t dive it, but you can freshwater fish in the river. You need to bring your own fishing license.
Horses are a cool way to travel the trails. There are 15 miles of trails to ride.
There is a canopy trail 25 feet above the ground that lets you explore the hammock. I would check on this before you go because of the hurricane damage it may be unavailable.
The park has camping and you can bring your leashed pets, but please, there are alligators, keep your dogs and children away from the edges of lakes, springs, rivers, and swamps. Too many people lose their pets, kids, and grandmothers to alligators every year.
Check out Myakka River State Park information here.
Silver Springs State Park
For history buffs, Silver Springs was the first tourist attraction in Florida and opened its doors in the 1870s. Today, the state owns it and incorporated it into Silver Springs State Park.
The grounds of Silver Springs consist of walking trails through gardens and under the canopy of the mossy oaks you’ll find all over the state of Florida. There are more than 30 springs that make up the park. You can see the springs flowing up from the earth to the rivers by looking into another one of those freaky holes. For what it’s worth, I’ve been to Yellowstone a million times, and the holes there creep me out too.
If you’re not squeamish about holes, then take a glass bottom boat tour of the springs. I looked long enough to see fish, but that was not for me.
The park has trails to wander around on, and it is home to wildlife like deer and turkeys. If you’ve never seen either of these in the wild, it can be a bit awe-inspiring. Again, an alligator warning is needed here. You don’t want to see all of Florida’s wildlife up close and personal, so, be careful.
Like most of Florida’s trails, they are on raised platforms to keep you out of the mouths of alligators and off the fragile ecosystem. The boardwalks used to be all wood, but I’ve noticed lately that when repairs and replacements are needed, they have switched to what looks like maybe a resin-type material that they then try to color to look like wood. I probably won’t live long enough to see if this material lasts longer, so someone else will have to come through and write about that later.
Camping, horseback riding, boating, and heritage trails and historical sites are all available to you.
This park is located in the west-central part of the state in Ocala, Florida where there be bears people.
You’ll find more Silver Springs State Park information here.
The State of Florida offers so many parks that you can find one no matter where you live or are visiting in the state. I hope you get to visit these parks on my list because these are some of my favorite ones. I’ve spent most of my time at the Sebastian Inlet Park because it’s close to home, and whenever I want to go and enjoy the ocean, I go there. Maybe I will see you there.
10 Trivia questions and answers 1960s music
10 Trivia questions and answers 1960s music
- Who was the lead singer of The Beatles?
- What was the name of the band that Jimi Hendrix played in before going solo?
- Who was known as the “Queen of Soul”?
- What was the name of the band that Bob Dylan played with during his electric period?
- Who wrote the song “Imagine”?
- What was the name of the album that Simon and Garfunkel released in 1966?
- Who was the lead singer of The Rolling Stones?
- What was the name of the band that Janis Joplin performed with before going solo?
- Who wrote the song “Respect”?
- What was the name of the band that Johnny Cash formed with his wife, June Carter?
10 Trivia questions and answers 1960s music
- Who was the lead singer of The Beatles? – John Lennon – while he shared lead with Paul McCartney, John sang most of the songs especially in the early days
- What was the name of the band that Jimi Hendrix played in before going solo? – The Jimi Hendrix Experience
- Who was known as the “Queen of Soul”? – Aretha Franklin
- What was the name of the band that Bob Dylan played with during his electric period? – The Band
- Who wrote the song “Imagine”? – John Lennon
- What was the name of the album that Simon and Garfunkel released in 1966? – “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme”
- Who was the lead singer of The Rolling Stones? – Mick Jagger
- What was the name of the band that Janis Joplin performed with before going solo? – Big Brother and the Holding Company
- Who wrote the song “Respect”? – Otis Redding
- What was the name of the band that Johnny Cash formed with his wife, June Carter? – The Carter Family Band
Photo of the Month of November 2022
Back in the woods after a mile or so hike, if you don’t count the extra couple miles getting lost, you will find this Tri-State marker that lets you set foot in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island all by dancing around this pole. It was one of the last few states that I had not set foot in. Now, to complete my lower 48 journey, I must touch Texas and New Mexico.
Photo of the Month of October 2022
A view from the cliffs surrounding the Atlantic Ocean at Acadia Park in Maine. This rugged coastline is so much different than the usual sandy beaches that I see here at home in Florida. Same ocean, same rocks, just a lot smaller. It was the first few days after Hurricane Ian had gone through the area, so everyone was enjoying the sun for a change.