Mating Baltimore Orioles (Yet Another Lucky Moment Captured)

Once again, this is just another prime example of what happens when you go outdoors, slow down, and take the time to observe the things that unfold around you. You don’t even need expensive photography equipment to see this stuff when a pair of binoculars will suffice! I am very fortunate to be able to afford the camera equipment that I have (all of my recent wildlife photos have been taken using the Sony 200-600mm lens), but even luckier to be able to witness some of these moments that we just don’t often see due to our busy lives.

These are the moments I live for, whether something like this, a bee getting nectar from a flower, etc. It makes walking around in the heat or cold for 4-6 hours worth it!

View the entire series on my Instagram account.

Look! It’s not a Bird!

It’s almost 2 weeks that I’ve owned my first long lens, the Sony 200-600mm, as well as the Sony A7 IV, and the local places I’ve been visiting are chock full of all kinds of wildlife, mostly birds. So my focus (pun not intended) has been up in the trees and the sky, rarely on the ground, unless I spot a bird on the ground, a turtle, or something moving.

Young Buck with Antlers in the Woods of Pennsylvania

So as I was walking along a certain tract of the Tinicum wildlife refuge, I happened to spot this young buck. Obviously, it saw me long before I saw it. So I pointed my camera at it and remained as still as possible, hoping it would go back to doing it’s business so I could capture a candid shot, but that just never happened. It was not far off the main path, so I could have backed up and walked further away, but that thought never crossed my mind. Well, there’s always next time as there is no shortage of deer around here!

Bald Eagle Tries to Snatch Fish Away from Osprey

I believe the eagle did eventually acquire the fish, from what I was told by some other park visitors, but I missed that moment. Bummer! But there’s always next time, right!? ;)

You can view the series of images on my Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/Cdntc4SuX8m/

Bald Eagle Tries to Snatch Fish Away from Osprey

These are the cool moments you get to witness when you take the time to look around, and let your eyes and ears get tuned in and adjusted to what’s going on around you. You don’t need expensive camera equipment to make observations like these, especially if you’re not into photography. An inexpensive pair of binoculars will do just fine. These images are extreme crops, and were captured on a cloudy day.

I’m Back on Social Media for 1 Primary Purpose

I left twitter, facebook and instagram like… I dunno… 2-3 years ago now? It was the January of either 2019 or 2020. I left either before COVID broke out, or the year prior. And I didn’t leave for any certain reason other than why most people leave social media: to get away from the nonsense.

Well this time I’m back and plan to focus only on sharing nature & wildlife photography that I plan to capture from here on out, when time affords, using some new gear that I acquired.

A new video related to all this will be published to my channel starting May 12 (2022) at 3PM EST.

I don’t really plan on using instagram or twitter like I did in the past, and I hope I can avoid all the pitfalls associated with social media. I feel confident that I can. Or maybe I’m trying to convince myself that such a thing is possible…

Oh and I don’t plan on returning to Facebook. Twitter is bad enough.

Anyway, see you around,

-Paul

2 More House Finch Hatchlings Have Arrived!

The image below was captured from my smartphone on May 3rd. It appears to show 3 hatchlings in the nest. They are all jumble together with their heads down so it’s difficult to be certain, but it appears that of the 4 eggs total only 1 remains, so, fingers crossed for the final baby to arrive! Again, I captured video which shows they are alive and which I will be compiling and posting on my channel around May 10-12.

3 House Finch Hatchlings – 1 Egg Remains – May 2022

Our First House Finch Hatchling of 2022!

The first baby bird, or what’s called a “hatchling” at this stage, has, well.. hatched! Below is an image taken from video that was captured with a smartphone (I have to extend my arm all the way up and blindly take a photo pointing down). And yes, it’s alive! The video this image is from shows the hatchling moving around just a little bit. I planned to post this short video to my YouTube channel with some commentary, however, since we hope/expect the other 3 eggs to hatch (since they’ve been incubating for about 2 weeks) I am not going to upload individual short videos of each hatchling to my channel. Instead, I’m going to try and capture multiple videos of each newly hatched chick, create 1 video out of all the short videos, include some relaxing commentary, and then upload it to my channel around the following week. The plan is to upload these “progress” videos every 2 weeks until, hopefully if all goes well, the chicks and their mother have successfully flown the coop! Then I’ll clean out the light fixture and maybe a new pair will make it a nest before mating season is over in 2022, or hopefully it’ll be used again next year!

So, 1 down, 3 to go! Fingers crossed!

Mother bird flew away as I approached the nest in order to take quick photo/video and leave so as not to disturb things for too long. And again, in case you are new here: this nest was built inside a light fixture that is not used outside the garage of our house.

Our First House Finch Hatchling – May 2022

Download the “Outside the Lines” ASMR Video Image

Check out the “Community tab” on my YouTube channel to submit your creation!

Below are 4 variations of the “Outside the Lines” image as seen in this video in case you want to color along with me or at your own leisure!

2 “Smaller” size. 2 “Max” size where the image takes up most of the page. Printing could result in the image being cutoff due to print margins (which happened to me!).

Bird Nest Update: Momma Bird Laid 4 Eggs Total

The images below were taken quickly by reaching up and over the light fixture outside of our house where a House or Purple finch has built its nest. In case you haven’t been following along, this is the 3rd year in a row the same species has built a nest here (starting in 2020).

Today is April 26th, 2022, and the 4 eggs still remain in the nest, with momma still tending to them and dad occasionally seen nearby most likely to feed her, though I have not been able to observe this behavior, mostly because I’m busy with other things and haven’t had the time nor desire to sit and observe the nest for hours.

The next photos to be posted will hopefully be of the young newly hatched chicks. Fingers crossed!

The Birds Are Back for a 3rd Year In a Row! But Will We See Any Eggs or Chicks?

Outside of our garage we have an outdoor light fixture that lost its cover a few years ago, probably due to a storm or heavy wind, and also probably due to my changing the light bulb and not screwing the cover back on properly. What else is new. I did take the light bulb out because we rarely use it. There is an overhang from the garage roof which provides some cover, so not only is water getting into the fixture not much of a problem, but that’s probably the reason as to why birds having been building a nest in the first place: it’s dry, covered, and out of reach and sight of most predators.

So today, April 6th 2022, I noticed that most likely the same species of birds, or their offspring, or maybe another species altogether, are making a nest in the light fixture again, after I’ve cleaned it out twice already. So this marks the third year in a row (2020, 2021, and now 2022) that the birds are back making a nest. It’s so awesome, yet at the same time, I don’t really like it (which I’ll explain why at the end of this post).

Small birds are back building a nest
in our light fixture for the 3rd year in a row

Back in the spring of 2020 is when we first noticed that small birds of some kind had been building a nest in the light fixture, but we never saw them in action. So we let them be and thought we’d see what might come of their diligent efforts. About a month or so later we caught the little culprits in the act as they were flying to and from the nest / light fixture, even spying one of them sitting in the nest, but it would fly away as soon as we approached within about 10 feet of it. Upon closer inspection we found what you see in the photo below which was taken haphazardly and quickly with my phone on April 7, 2020: five small bird eggs.

5 small bird eggs laid in a nest in April 2020
built in our exterior light fixture

I’m not sure of the exact species. I am guessing the eggs and the birds belong to one of the following species that are most likely native to Pennsylvania: (purple) finch, warbler or thrush. I can’t imagine migrating birds building a nest here, but hey I’m no expert so anything is possible, but I’d most likely think they are small birds native to the (Southeastern) Pennsylvania area.

As I mentioned previously, we did see the small birds, both of which are varying shades of brown in color, with the male having what appeared to be a reddish hue around its chest, at least based on my best recollection from two years ago. I don’t think they were cardinals. The male was definitely not entirely red, nor did they have the small tufts of hair on their heads, both of which are distinguishing characteristics of cardinals.

About a month or so later, or maybe a couple of weeks, the five eggs hatched into five young chicks. I managed to capture some footage of them with my camcorder, but I think I deleted it. You should have seen them though! So very cute and adorable, as are almost all forms of young life. We kept tabs on them over the following week or so, and watched as they grew from helpless newborns with their eyes closed tight to teenagers ready to fly the coop! Again, it’s too bad I don’t have any pics. We just didn’t want to constantly bother and be a nuisance to momma bird and her chicks. About a week or so later when the nest was no longer a home or being used, I cleaned out the fixture.

Then came 2021 and once again another pair of birds were back building a nest in the light fixture. I don’t recollect us paying as much attention to them as we did the first time a nest was built, as that was the first time we ever saw anything like that, so obviously we were much more fascinated and excited. But as you can see based on the photo below taken with my phone on June 17, 2021: small momma bird (either the same mother from the prior year 2020, one of the offspring hatched in 2020, or a new pair / species altogether) was successful in laying four eggs this time around.

4 small bird eggs laid in a nest in June 2021
built in our light fixture for the second year in a row

We never saw much nest activity in 2021 as we did the first time in 2020. Not that we weren’t paying any attention, we were. But for some reason we never noticed the adult birds sitting in the nest, nor did we ever see any of the young chicks. We may not have been checking on the nest almost every day like we did back in 2020, but we definitely were checking in without weeks passing. So at one point we decided to give a close inspection on the nest as there just wasn’t much activity happening, and we found that the eggs were gone! There was nothing on the ground either. So I can only think of 2 possible reasons: one: the eggs were not fertile so the parents got rid of them which I guess is possible. I would think they birds would leave the eggs and just abandon the nest. Or perhaps the second more likely reason: a predator managed to snatch the eggs. We did have a family of crows frequenting our area, so it’s possible it was them, or maybe a hawk which also live very close, or a squirrel got onto the light fixture and took the eggs. So whether the eggs were not fertile, or a predator got the, we never got a chance to see any young chicks.

Lastly, as I began to mention previously, the one reason I don’t like the birds building a nest in the fixture is because it doesn’t allow the next to expand as the chicks grow larger and eventually outgrow their nest. Back in 2020 when they were close to leaving the nest, the five chicks seemed quite cramped together. I felt bad for whichever ones were underneath their siblings who were practically sitting on top of them. But maybe that’s just how nest life is? I don’t know, I’m no expert. There are bird boxes that exist, so the same thought would apply there. But apparently they had no problem developing as all the chicks that hatched back in 2020 were able to fly away from the next and none of them were found dead or underdeveloped.

So here we are in 2022 with another nest in progress and I’ll keep you posted in the coming weeks as to whether or not any eggs are laid, if they hatch, and if we get a chance to see the chicks! Let’s keep our fingers crossed and I promise to capture some photos of the eggs and chicks developing if we’re lucky this year!

– E.R.

Down the Wikipedia Rabbit Hole Part 3 – Ephemeral Rift Podcast Episode 40

Ephemeral Rift Podcast episode 40 where once again I travel down the ever winding and twisting virtual tunnels of Wikipedia in the off chance we might learn a few things, and maybe even share a few laughs along the way.

Spotify ► https://open.spotify.com/show/0mRcmWpk4bwXG8786mUrPx
Amazon ► https://music.amazon.com/podcasts/9dd88d03-5d74-41a7-8f34-68080e0400ef/Ephemeral-Rift-Podcast
Google ► https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly9lcGhtZXJhbHJpZnRwb2RjYXN0LmxpYnN5bi5jb20vcnNz
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RSS ► https://ephmeralriftpodcast.libsyn.co

Animals & Society (Pets, Zoos, Animals in Sports, Factory Farming, etc.) – Ephemeral Rift Podcast Episode 39

Episode 39 of the Ephemeral Rift Podcast where I try to cover almost every angle of animals in modern ape society from as an objective perspective as possible including pets & the pet industry, zoos, animals in sports, factory farming, circuses, and animals (namely dogs) used for human assistance and in law enforcement. There might be some outliers that I missed such as poaching.

Spotify ► https://open.spotify.com/show/0mRcmWpk4bwXG8786mUrPx
Amazon ► https://music.amazon.com/podcasts/9dd88d03-5d74-41a7-8f34-68080e0400ef/Ephemeral-Rift-Podcast
Google ► https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly9lcGhtZXJhbHJpZnRwb2RjYXN0LmxpYnN5bi5jb20vcnNz
Libsyn ► https://ephmeralriftpodcast.libsyn.com/
RSS ► https://ephmeralriftpodcast.libsyn.co

Humor & Comedy – Ephemeral Rift Podcast Episode 38

Episode 38 of the Ephemeral Rift podcast where I talk almost all things humor & comedy from burps & farts to jokes about tragedies; how humor & comedy strengthens, disarms, empowers and relieves stress; why we laugh; my run in with a seagull; and a few lists of funny books, movies, and tv shows.

Spotify ► https://open.spotify.com/show/0mRcmWpk4bwXG8786mUrPx
Amazon ► https://music.amazon.com/podcasts/9dd88d03-5d74-41a7-8f34-68080e0400ef/Ephemeral-Rift-Podcast
Google ► https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly9lcGhtZXJhbHJpZnRwb2RjYXN0LmxpYnN5bi5jb20vcnNz
Libsyn ► https://ephmeralriftpodcast.libsyn.com/
RSS ► https://ephmeralriftpodcast.libsyn.co

ERP #37 – The Holiday Blues, Psychedelic Santa, Anti-capitalist Attitudes

Welcome to Ephemeral Rift Podcast episode 37 where I talk about: how the Christmas holiday can be tough for people for various reasons; briefly touching on the loss of loved ones; job loss & layoffs (executive snakes, exploitation, unions, loyalty, equality, etc.); charities that exploit peoples’ goodwill; The Ideal vs The Reality; anti-capitalist attitudes in a capitalist society (consumerism, commercialism, etc.); reasons to love & hate the Christmas holiday; the real story of Santa Claus and the fly agaric (Amanita muscaria) mushroom link: https://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/ethnobotany/Mind_and_Spirit/flyagaric.shtml and Ari Aster’s horror movies Hereditary and Midsommar.

Spotify ► https://open.spotify.com/show/0mRcmWpk4bwXG8786mUrPx
Amazon ► https://music.amazon.com/podcasts/9dd88d03-5d74-41a7-8f34-68080e0400ef/Ephemeral-Rift-Podcast
Google ► https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly9lcGhtZXJhbHJpZnRwb2RjYXN0LmxpYnN5bi5jb20vcnNz
Libsyn ► https://ephmeralriftpodcast.libsyn.com/
RSS ► https://ephmeralriftpodcast.libsyn.co

ERP #35 – 🤘 Metal 🤘 (music)

Ephemeral Rift Podcast episode 35 where I talk all things Metal (music) from what it is, its history, the subgenres & their musicians, notable albums, and even how therapeutic it can be. Transcript of this episode available for my patrons: https://www.patreon.com/posts/59044465

Spotify ► https://open.spotify.com/show/0mRcmWpk4bwXG8786mUrPx
Amazon ► https://music.amazon.com/podcasts/9dd88d03-5d74-41a7-8f34-68080e0400ef/Ephemeral-Rift-Podcast
Google ► https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly9lcGhtZXJhbHJpZnRwb2RjYXN0LmxpYnN5bi5jb20vcnNz
Libsyn ► https://ephmeralriftpodcast.libsyn.com/
RSS ► https://ephmeralriftpodcast.libsyn.co

ERP #34 – Dungeons & Dragons

Ephemeral Rift Podcast episode 34 where I talk all things Dungeons & Dragons, including what it is, how it’s played, a brief history of role-playing and D&D, what inspired D&D, what D&D inspired, and reading some excerpts from the Player’s Guide and Monster Manual.

Spotify ► https://open.spotify.com/show/0mRcmWpk4bwXG8786mUrPx
Amazon ► https://music.amazon.com/podcasts/9dd88d03-5d74-41a7-8f34-68080e0400ef/Ephemeral-Rift-Podcast
Google ► https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly9lcGhtZXJhbHJpZnRwb2RjYXN0LmxpYnN5bi5jb20vcnNz
Libsyn ► https://ephmeralriftpodcast.libsyn.com/
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ERP #33 – Philosophy (First in a New Series)

Ephemeral Rift Podcast episode 33 can be considered both an introduction to philosophy as well as a stepping stone for future episodes on specific philosophies/philosophers. In this episode I talk about the beneficial nature of philosophy, some definitions, quotes about it, a list of 100 notable philosophers, the names of all philosophies, a brief history, some related tangents, and responding to a couple messages.

Partial transcript of this episode now available on my Patreon page here: https://www.patreon.com/posts/58499534

Spotify ► https://open.spotify.com/show/0mRcmWpk4bwXG8786mUrPx
Amazon ► https://music.amazon.com/podcasts/9dd88d03-5d74-41a7-8f34-68080e0400ef/Ephemeral-Rift-Podcast
Google ► https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly9lcGhtZXJhbHJpZnRwb2RjYXN0LmxpYnN5bi5jb20vcnNz
Libsyn ► https://ephmeralriftpodcast.libsyn.com/
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Netflix’s Norsemen is an Absolute Fucking Hilarious Modern Day Monty Python

My wife and I just started watching this series which apparently has been out for like 2-3 years now. How we missed it is beyond me.

All we know is that it’s the best comedy series we have seen in a long time, since the likes of Seinfeld, The Office (American version), and the movie The Hangover.

Great comedies today that are on par with the god-like nature of Monty Python’s films are very, very few and far between. That’s not to shit on any other comedy, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s the absolute and objective truth that the Monty Python works are the reigning god of comedy.

And if you love Monty Python’s type of humor, and you are not easily offended, then this is a must watch series. There are things that happen in this series that are often so obscene and borderline offensive that we sometimes wonder, in today’s ridiculously overly-sensitive world, how this show is even able to be aired on Netflix compared to how tame and vanilla Netflix is regarding most of its other shows and series.

Norsemen is a contemporary take on Norse or Viking life, meaning it has a lot of humor and wit taken from today’s world, but the show is entirely based in those old times. However, unlike Monty Python, the characters in Norsemen have a lot of depth, not to mention there is a lot more going on than just constant witty jokes. It’s an almost perfect mix of drama, tragedy, and comedy, all wrapped up in one wonderful experience.

Rules of the Sleep Note

Image of the actual Sleep Note

Hello, dear reader, or should I say, sleeper? After all, you are one who sleeps.

Welcome to the official Rules of the Sleep Note.

I recently discovered this notebook in early October 2021 purely by happenstance while preparing to make another ASMR video on my YouTube channel.

If you want to learn more, or are new here and unfamiliar with what this is all about, please watch the video below. You may also want to look into the Death Note while you’re at it.

And like the Death Note and its related incidents that occurred in Japan in the early 2000’s, the Sleep Note also has rules that explain how it works. I have decided to share some of them here for anyone who is curious, as well as anyone who may not speak or understand English.

Rules of the Sleep Note:

  1. The person whose name is written in the note shall sleep.
  2. The note will not take effect unless the specified questions are asked and the answers written down in the note, and a sketch of the person’s facial features is drawn.
  3. If the time & place of sleep are not specified, the person will sleep at their usual time & place.
  4. If the place where the person is to sleep that is written in the note is not within 20 meters, the person will be teleported to the place once they have fallen asleep. They will also wake up at that new location (i.e. they will not be teleported back to their original location).
  5. The sleep note will affect anyone under 54,750 days old.
  6. If the amount of time the person is to sleep is not specified, the person will sleep for 8 hours undisturbed.
  7. If the amount of time the person is to sleep is days, weeks, months, years, decades, centuries, millennia, etc., the person will sleep straight through without aging or requiring sustenance.
  8. The person in possession of the Sleep Note is possessed by a god of sleep, its original owner, until they die.
  9. The God of Sleep is called a Sleepigami.
  10. If a human uses the note, a god of sleep usually appears in front of the owner within 18 days after using the note.
  11. If anyone or anything other than a human uses the note, it will not work.

That is all for now, I’m starting to feel a little sleepy myself…
– E.R.

Congrats! You’re Still With Us! Certificate of Award

In honor of you still being here with us, for enduring and persevering, I present you with my own homemade certificate of award for such a truly momentous achievement! Feel free to download, print and proudly display whichever version you prefer, or both!

https://youtu.be/YeoxddlUt8Y

The Tiers of Wellness

My list of the various states of wellness / well being from the bottom of feeling just O.K. to the pinnacle of feeling splentastic!

The Tiers of Wellness
Splentastic
Fantastic
Splendid
Amazing
Awesome
Excellent
Marvelous
Wonderful
Great
Well
Magnificent
Fine
Good
Alright
O.K.
(Baseline)

Note: This is not an exhaustive and all-inclusive list of every possible state of well being in existence. For practical purposes, it has been limited to those states of well being that I feel are most commonly used.

Modifiers such as pretty, very, super, absolutely, etc., have been omitted as they would only make the list even longer. Example: Pretty Good, Very Well, Splentastically Splentastic, etc. Not only that, but certain states such as “Pretty Good” can have multiple meanings. “Pretty Good” can mean feeling better than good or not so good, all depending upon context and how it is expressed.

A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to Making an ASMR Video about the Civil War

Most of the videos I make for my YouTube channel don’t often have any kind of interesting story behind the reason that they were made. Most. That is not the case for the video called “Relax with a Union Soldier | ASMR” for which this piece of writing is about. But this isn’t really so much about the video and how & why it came to be, than it is about how I came to have a newfound interest in the topic of the video at hand: the American Civil War, more specifically Ulysses S. Grant.

When I was a kid, I hated school for the most part. First off, I went to Roman Catholic school, so there was that. When it came to history though, I could have cared less about anything that was not relevant or important to my survival and growing up. Of course, that’s not how I thought of it back then when I was a kid, but today that pretty much sums up my lack of interest in history and social studies. Ugh. Social Studies

Fast forward to the date of this writing, and for the most part I still have zero interest in history. I like being a simple bipedal hominid: I like family, food, art, nature, games, tech and science (to a degree… i love/hate tech, and dislike almost everything about space exploration for certain reasons, but that’s another article). I do like certain aspects of history such as things revolving around aboriginal tribes, nature, and war. But beyond that.. I could really care less as to who was president, why the roman aqueducts were built, what the state capitals are, who invented whatever, etc. etc.

A few years ago someone commented on my YouTube channel that I should do a Civil War ASMR role-play. I thought that was a good idea, but at that time I wasn’t sure how to go about it, as is the case with most suggestions or even my own ideas. For whatever reason, some ideas just take time to develop and it has nothing to do with needing to be elaborate, well thought out, or spending money on a ton of props. I would continue to think about the Civil War idea off an on over the next few years until March of this year (2020) when all of a sudden my brain decided it was the right time to do the video (who am I to question my brain? It commands, I obey). So I did some research, purchased a variety of props (including civil war reproduction uniform and tent), and made the video.

But about a month prior to making the video, and the whole point of this piece of writing, is that sometime in April, the History Channel previewed a trailer for an upcoming mini-series about the civil war called “Grant”. My wife and I couldn’t help but chuckle at the coincidence: here I am preparing to do a video based on the Civil War, and the History channel is releasing a documentary about it. How apropos. Or is it synchronicity? It was as if the universe was telling me that I needed to watch the series before I could make my video on it (which even more coincidentally wasn’t ready to be filmed until after the series). Too funny.

So we watched the Grant mini series and it was spectacular! Very well produced and acted, sucked me in, and most importantly it had lots of tasty non-biased history morsels about Grant and the Civil War. Nothing appeared to be sugar-coated. And for the first time in my life I had an actual interest in both Ulysses S. Grant and the American Civil War. So much so that after the series was over I was pouring over Grant’s wikipedia entry and even looking for books about him. I have to give kudos to the History Channel. Event though they still produce a lot of dramatized, reality TV crap and are no longer purely history like they once were, I must congratulate them on this.

While watching the series I couldn’t help myself but to feel an overall sense of camaraderie or affinity with Grant as a person for various reasons:

  • His sense of humility / humble nature
  • He made mistakes (especially during the war and presidency) yet wasn’t too proud nor too stubborn to learn from them and try his best to fix them
  • He was a peaceful man (ironically)
  • He was sensitive and quiet as a child
  • He freed a slave that he somehow owned (I don’t want to be naive to think it he was purely out of sympathy / empathy as it could have been, but who really knows. He freed a slave, and that’s all that matters. If I learn anything about this in his memoirs, I will update this post)
  • He appointed Jewish people to federal office
  • He was sympathetic to women’s rights and female suffrage
  • He proposed a constitutional amendment that tried to ban religion in school (including atheism and paganism) and prohibit religious funding, but it was eventually defeated by the Senate.
  • He tried to destroy the KKK (was somewhat successful)
  • He had a Native American on his staff (Ely S. Parker, who also served in the war with Grant)
  • Tried his best to help the Native Americans with his Native American policy
  • And of course, he helped the Union win the Civil War (if you ask me, he was the sole reason the Union won. No Grant = No W in the Win Loss column)
  • He had a big heart

I never knew these things about Ulysses S. Grant and it was eye-opening to say the least. I knew I liked him for a reason. Well a dozen reasons, actually.

So there you have it. What started out to be just a simple, fun role-play of my portraying a union soldier during the civil war, turned out to be quite the unexpected educational experience.

Thanks to those who suggested the video idea, thanks to the History Channel’s mini series, and most importantly, thanks to everyone involved in the Civil War, because if the North had never won, would any of us, even YouTube itself, even be here?? How often do we take our freedom for… wait for it… Granted.

Now, if you’ll excuse me… I just received the paperback version of “The Complete Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant” which is something I never thought I would own, let alone have the desire to read. I am very excited to soak up everything Ulysses S. Grant wrote. And who knows… maybe one day, or in a few years, I will make my own video about him…

Thanks for reading and/or watching.

Best regards,
E.R.

The Poetry of Iggy Manley

Below are the “poems” (minus the poem “Meat”) from the “The Poetry of Iggy Manley” video. I just had fun whipping up these lyrics the day before creating the video. I used to dabble and have fun writing terrible amateur poetry / song lyrics like this from when I was a teen and up until my 30’s. If you are new to my website: Iggy Manley is one of the characters I have created on my YouTube channel.

“Bitch, You a Clown”

You think you’re a man,
chasing money and fame?
You’re so pathetic,
you give little girls a bad name.

You wouldn’t know a man,
if his junk slapped you in your face.
You’re just an insecure boy,
wishing a man were in your place.

The only real man here,
is the one dropping these phat rhymes.
So pay strict attention,
like Carl listening to Rick Grimes.

Real men don’t brag.
Real men don’t boast.
Real men like fruit topping
on top of their french toast.

Real men don’t take selfies,
to post on social media.
Real men use their brains,
like when reading the encyclopedia.

Real men don’t respect,
every person that they meet.
Real men only respect,
persons that eat meat.

Real men don’t own & drive,
fast, expensive cars.
Real men don’t get belligerent or drunk,
at sports events, strip clubs and bars.

I could go on and on,
but boy, you just ain’t worth my time.
So let me finish up,
with this one final sick rhyme:

Bitch, you a clown,
in a circus sideshow.
All you’re good for is a laugh.
You ain’t anyone worth getting to know.

“Arkham Sanitarium”

I know a sick ass place,
that’s far away from here.
Where the doctors and the nurses,
will make all your worries disappear.

This place cannot be reached,
by air, land or sea.
It is not on any map.
And it’s not for all to see.

It’s a truly amazing place,
where all of time stands still.
Where anxiety & stress melt away,
without ever having to take a pill.

It’s a living, sentient creature,
I know that’s hard to believe.
Just be warned before you enter,
for once you do you’ll never leave.

It’s called Arkham Sanitarium
for Mental Rehabilitation.
It’s the place that you’ll call home.
It’s your final destination.

“Video Games Rule”

Video games rule.
They’re awesome and great.
And anyone who disagrees
can get eaten by a creepy clown living under a sewer grate.

Video games are the best.
Of this you can be sure.
Because there’s nothing in the world
that people would rather do more.

Than to play video games,
every second of every day.
At home, at school, at work,
even take them to their graves.

Pong, Zork, Space Invaders,
Asteroids, Missile Command.
Joust, Galaga, Donkey Kong,
Defender, Pitfall, Pac-Man.

Gauntlet, Super Mario Brothers,
Double Dragon, Tetris, Contra.
Bubble Bobble, Mike Tyson’s Punch Out,
Ms. Pac-Man, The Legend of Zelda.

Prince of Persia, Day of the Tentacle,
Another World, Wolfenstein 3D.
The Secret of Monkey Island,
Wasteland, Duke Nukem 3D.

Doom, Quake, Resident Evil,
Tomb Raider, Fallout, Half-Life.
Thief, Starcraft, System Shock,
Baldur’s Gate, Counter-Strike.

Skyrim, Bioshock, Call of Duty,
Dead Space, Deus Ex, Diablo.
World of Warcraft, Portal, God of War,
Team Fortress 2, Grand Theft Auto.

Left4Dead, Dead Space (accidental repeat), Assassin’s Creed,
Red Dead Redemption, Ico, Demon’s Souls,
Minecraft, The Witcher, The Last of Us,
Horizon Zero Dawn, Bloodbourne, Dark Souls.

The list of games goes on and on,
from puzzle solving to action & adventure.
Now, if you’ll please excuse me,
I’ve got a video game I need to get back to.

“Room 241”

Of all the rooms I’ve visited,
there is one you should avoid.
Room 241 of the human ward,
resides a horror that should be destroyed.

No one quite knows how it got there,
it’s like a child misbegotten.
But one thing we know is for certain:
all who enter are soon forgotten.

“DnD”

Dwarf, Elf, Barbarian,
Human, Gnome, Half-Orc.
Go ahead and say it,
call me a fucking dork.

See, I don’t care what you say,
this is the game for me.
It’s called Dungeons & Dragons,
and it’s my favorite tabletop RPG.

Go on a grand adventure,
seek out glory and fame.
Slay an ancient dragon,
let everyone remember your name.

Untold treasures await you,
in dungeons far and deep.
Maybe inside an ancient tomb,
or beneath a castle keep.

Beware of traps and monsters,
that lurk around every turn.
Make sure to bring enough rations,
and fuel for your torches to burn.

Will you be the dungeon master,
to guide the players & tell the story?
Or will you play a character,
to take part in all the glory?

Cast a spell, roll the dice,
make a saving throw.
Will you survive the battle?
Or to the Underworld will you go?

It may not be a video game,
and it may be hard to learn.
But it brings people together,
and isn’t that what we all yearn?

“M”

There’s a woman I know,
who has red hair.
She wears a white mask,
all the time, everywhere.

She’s got duct tape on her hands,
and blood on her nurse’s gown.
She’s my favorite reanimated girl,
in this sorry ass, weird town.

She’s married to a demigod,
who came from another dimension.
I sure would love to get rid of him,
but I’m a lover, not an assassin.

So for now I patiently wait,
and hope one day she will see.
That her and I should be together,
for forever and eternity.

“Metal”

Classical, pop, country,
EDM, dubstep, trap.
Some people may call that music,
but to me it’s all fucking crap.

Let me tell you about real music,
the kind that makes your ears bleed.
They call the genre metal,
and it’s the only music you’ll ever need.

Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer,
Gojira, Death, King Diamond.
Anthrax, Slipknot, Meshuggah,
Opeth, Kreator, Iron Maiden.

Motorhead, Tool, Nuclear Assault,
System of a Down, Sepultura.
Overkill, Prong, Alice in Chains,
Celtic Frost, Behemoth, Pantera.

Black Sabbath, AC/DC, Dio,
Lamb of God, Korn, Rob Zombie.
Testament, Exodus, Mastodon,
Danzig, Gwar, Arch Enemy.

Heavy, thrash, death, progressive,
there’s metal for everyone.
Now if you will please excuse me,
there’s still some moshing left to be done.

“Nutsack”

Nutsack, my nutsack,
how doth I love thee so.
Thou art my faithful companion,
no matter wherever I go.

Nutsack, my nutsack,
never a day passes by.
When thou art there to make sure
my nuts stay secure and dry.

Nutsack, my nutsack,
whenever I doth squeeze thee,
thou maketh the finest crinkly sound,
and helpeth me to rest easy.

Nutsack, my nutsack,
how doth I only love you.
For as long as thou art with me,
to thee I shall always stay true.

© Copyright Copyleft Copyup Copydown Copysideways Copyfrontways Copybackways 2019 to the end of time, Iggy Manley, Ephemeral Rift

The Dystopian Story behind The Everything Man, The Candy Man, The Snack Man, etc.

In a dystopian future, the governments of the world joined together to form a united coalition in an effort to gain ultimate control over their citizens and to steer society towards the coalition’s vision of a utopian society. This new “united front” knew that in order to achieve this, they would have to weaken their people by slowly depriving them of their freedoms and comforts over the years to come.

Their first initiative was to put a global ban on the manufacture, sale and consumption of sugar and any man-made products containing sugar, from sugar cane to high fructose corn syrup. This meant that items such as ice cream, soda pop, chocolate milk, and candy bars were now illegal. This led to candy stores being forced to shut down. Restaurants were no longer permitted to offer sweetened salad dressings, desserts or sweet side dishes such as candied yams. Fast food restaurants were no longer permitted to offer fountain drinks, ketchup or any kind of sweet sauce on their burgers. Supermarkets were no longer allowed to sell any product whatsoever containing sugar of any kind. And worst of all, the Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory was permanently shut down, and all of the Oompah Loompas were displaced, imprisoned, became refugees or went back to Loompaland.

Knowing such a global policy would undoubtedly lead to riots in the streets and civil unrest, a new global law enforcement agency was simultaneously created and martial law was put into effect. Hidden behind mirrored face shields, wearing polyethylene body armor, and able to use lethal force at the slightest provocation, this new breed of intimidating officer policed every street corner around the clock, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It made Judge Dredd look like Sheriff Woody.

As the days turned to months, and the months to years, the people became accustomed to living without such simple pleasures that they once enjoyed. As one would imagine, it didn’t take long for sugar to become the most highly sought after item on the black market. Because of this, checkpoints were setup to indiscriminately search anyone at any time for potentially carrying sugar-based products either to consume or distribute. This of course led to abuse of power among many of the officers. Many children and adults were wrongfully imprisoned just by giving the searching officers the wrong look, refusing to cooperate, or responding in a less-than-pleasant manner.

As predicted, riots did take place and many government offices were burned to the ground. What started out as angry protesters, turned to violent mobs and eventually guerrilla tactics were employed by the disgruntled, and even gruntled, citizens. The united governments of the world with their new law enforcement agency responded, and for a few years there was nothing but chaos and violence on every street across the globe. But as the ban on sugar continued to be upheld, as the united coalition remained steadfast and lessened its contact with the citizens of the world, the people were eventually overpowered, weakened, and reluctantly gave up their struggle. They became subdued, complacent sheep. Exactly how the united coalition envisioned.

Knowing how unjust this new world had become, one particular individual took matters into his own hands. He scoured the world for outlawed sweets and even began to manufacture his own. He then arranged secret meetings at undisclosed locations with those citizens who were willing to risk their lives to acquire the confections they desired. This purveyor of sweet hope and joy became known among the people as: The Candy Man.

Soon, other governments and ruling classes across the universe began to take notice of the events that transpired on earth and they too began to follow suit by enforcing their own bans on sugar. Hearing this, The Candy Man then took it upon himself to travel through the rifts and bring his sweets to the deprived multitudes of far distant planets.

A decade went by, and that is when the second ban went into effect: the outlaw of snacks. Potato chips. Cheese curls. Tortilla chips. Crackers. Any snack you can think of was banned. This gave rise to another individual known as The Snack Man, who was a clone of The Candy Man. This time, however, with the citizens having become completely subservient to their masters, there were no riots. Just reluctance and acceptance. With less resistance from their citizens, it took even less time to institute and enforce bans on such things as cheese and beverages.

Over a century passed and the human race was reduced to a slave society. All of their once beloved freedoms, traditions, pleasures and comforts have been stripped away. The sole global government agency now has complete control and domination over the earth’s populace. No one even knows anymore who or what is in charge, since the only contact with any government official of any kind are the officers that enforce the laws and continue to patrol the streets, which are now empty due to everyone being sanctioned to live in organized districts behind 20 foot high walls topped with barbed wired and patrolled by armed guards and robotic sentries.

And just when you think things couldn’t get any worse, the one global governing body took the banning initiative to an all new extreme level, enforcing the ultimate ban.

And that brings us to present day, and the story that will unfold in this video with your visit with The Everything Man.

The Whispering Fire of Savallach Manor

You find yourself unable to move and completely captivated by the warm, mesmerizing flames of a crackling fire as you hear a voice whispering in an unknown language.

It appears that the rumors are true after all and that your journey here was not in vein. This old manor, once home to generations of the Savallach family, now lies mostly in decay. The only sign of life is a fireplace that is home to a roaring fire that has been burning ever since a century ago when the last of the family line resided here before their mysterious disappearance.

No one knows how or why the fire continues to burn over the course of a hundred years and counting. No matter how one tries to extinguish it, or even when it appears to diminish on its own, the fire rekindles itself in the blink of an eye. This leads many to believe that some sort of arcane magic is involved, especially considering the activities of the nobles that once called this estate their home. Murmurs among the residents in the nearby town of Dunwich say that the eccentric family was known for dabbling in the esoteric arts such as potion brewing, deciphering ancient texts, and engaging in strange rituals that often took place at midnight under the sallow glow of an autumnal moon.

And what of the whispering voice and its message? What dialect is that? What is it trying to say? Is it casting a spell? Is it a warning? Could it be that the fire is sentient and is trying to communicate? Whatever the case may be, one thing is for certain: all worry, stress, anxiety, and insomnia melt away the longer one remains in its presence, and the longer one finds themselves getting lost in the hypnotic dance of the flames, losing all track of time…

The Story Behind Rob Zombie Ross

Once upon a time, at Arkham Sanitarium, everyone’s favorite resident painter Rob Ross had some trouble sleeping. Rather than make it through the night and schedule an A.S.M.R. appointment the next day with Corvus or Dave, he decided to break curfew and leave his room. I’m sure by now you know how that is never a good idea. While Mr. Ross tried to walk off his bout of insomnia, he noticed he wasn’t the only one roaming the halls that particular evening. He passed quite a few other residents who appeared to have the same idea.

As he meandered around one corner to another along the ever-twisting, ever-changing halls of the facility, suddenly the lights went out. As Rob stood alone in the dark, he heard the shuffling sounds of shoes approaching. As Mr. Ross tried to get his bearings in the pitch black, he heard a growl while at the same time something grabbed him and bit into his left cheek. As the overhead fluorescent lights flickered and hummed back to life, he found himself cheek to cheek with an undead resident who was making a midnight snack out of his face. As he struggled to break free of his undead assailant’s toothy grip on his jawbone, the sanitarium’s alarm system began to wail. A few security guards rushed passed him with one of them stopping long enough to free Rob and drag the undead resident away. Mr. Ross then realized that he was close to the Undead Ward and that there must have been yet another security breach. With his left cheek torn open and bleeding profusely, Rob made his way back to the Human Ward and straight to Professor Clemmons’ office.

Unfortunately, as it goes whenever one becomes bitten by an infected, there was nothing the Professor could do while Rob was still living. However, once Mr. Ross became a member of the dearly departed as well as the undead, Professor Clemmons was able to perform a successful yet experimental treatment that saved part of Rob Ross’ consciousness and motor functions before the infection could completely take hold. Rob Ross then spent time being buried in Margaret’s Garden in order to recuperate and heal.

As you can see in this video, Rob Zombie Ross (as everyone now jokingly refers to him) is almost back to his old self, minus a speech impediment, and continues his painting show on the sanitarium’s own broadcasting network ASMR TV.

Letter to a Friend – Complete Text

Official text behind the letter written in the video:

Hello My Friend!

I hope this letter finds you fairing well! No, strike that. I hope you are doing splentastically well! I do apologize for writing you so late, but it is only until now that I have been ale to set aside all distractions and dedicate my time to writing you a proper letter.

So, where should I begin? Well, as you now know, based on the return address on the envelope accompanying this letter, I am now a proud resident of Arkham, Massachussets! Hurrah! The move was a great success and much less trouble than I thought it would be, of course I own but a modest amount of possessions. However, it sure did a number on my anxiety! And I will write more about that further down.

I have been here now for a couple of months and I am finallyjust starting to feel settled in. I am in a nice little apartment on the second floor with a living room that faces the street. I get plenty of sunlight during the day, which is what my psyche needs. However, the building appears to have been built in the 19th century! Its bones rattle and creak with even the slightest amount breeze! Sometimes I think I even hear mice in the walls! Ha! The neighbors have all been nice so far, just like many of the locals that I have crossed paths with.

This place is not at all like our hometown, I can tell you that! It is reminiscent of an old mining town. Many of the people here are poor, and that truly breaks my heart. There are some homes that are well maintained and appear to be owned by affluent folk who most likely own the local businesses. But many of the houses with their gambrel rooftops are unkempt and even abandoned. There are not a lot of jobs available or companies to work for, though I see that they are trying to rebuild some sections of town, so there is hope. Fortunately I was able to land a job at one of the local law firms. It is clerical work, but it pays well enough so that I can pay my rent, bills, and keep food in the fridge while I attend Miskatonic University, which you know is the main reason for my moving here.

I’m still getting my bearings in regards to becoming more acclimated with my surroundings. Trying to remember street names, the different shops and parks in the area, and what not. Everything is in walking distance, although it is quite a hilly region, so one does get quite the work out! My legs are actually aching as I write this! There are a lot of churches here too, moreso than back home. Though I no longer practice and even once abhorred the catholic church during my youth, it is not so much a point of contention the older I get. At least it is quiet on Sunday mornings, and I must confess, no pun intended, that I do rather like the church bells. There is a cemetary right down the road, so in the event that anything were to happen to me, they would not have to travel very far to dispose of my corpse! Ha! The next time that I write you I shall go into more detail about some of the people that I have met, a few of the interesting places that I have been, and the events that have taken place around town.

I will tell you now, however, that there is something not quite right about this place. I cannot for the life of me put my finger on it. There is a strange sense of foreboding in the air at times. Like a storm that is approaching but you cannot quite tell in which direction it is coming because the buildings and trees block your view of the horizon, and eventually the storm passes anyway. I do not like going for walks at night very often, and I do not think I am the only one, because there are not too many people about on the streets past 10PM. There does not seem to be a lot of crime, or moreso than anywhere else I suppose. I do hear the occasional siren of the passing police car, ambulance, and fire truck, but not enough to cause concern. Maybe it is just the downtrodden parts of town that make it seem so unsettling. I am sure it is nothing! I highly doubt this town has some kind of horrid past like Amityville or Salem! It is Arkham, after all! Home to the acclaimed Miskatonic University! But I simply cannot shake the feeling that there is something going on around me that I am just not privy to. Perhaps a secret that the locals will not disclose to outsiders and those that they do not know or trust. Hell, I am sure it is just my acute paranoia that is playing tricks on me!

Lastly, being the sensitive individuals that you and I are, these new surroundings have been doing a number on my anxiety! There is so much to take in and it has all been very overwhelming to my senses. And of course I am still struggling with my depression to boot! I still have those days where I do not even want to get out of bed. But I feel that the move to this town in pursuit of my degree is just what the doctor ordered! And speaking of doctors, apparently there is a state of the art facility at the outskirts of town called Arkham Sanitarium. Depsite the name, it is a place where everyday folks can go to have their minor mental health issues treated. At least, that is what is explained on the ad I saw walking past the bus stop the other day. If my anxiety and depression do not get any better, I think I may just have to check it out. I may just do so anyway one weekend, just for curiosity’s sake! I am rather fond of historic places and grand architecure!

Well, I think that is all for now my friend. I will try to write again sooner and again, I do apologize for taking so long to write you! You know, you should consider joining me up here! I know you are looking for a change of scenery yourself and a new beginning. You should give it a thought, it might be good for you! You could always make a trip up and stay on the weekend I would be more than happy to have you stay a coupld of nights with me! There is a spare bedroom here.
I looking forward to hearing back from you soon!

All my best,
Bill

The Story behind Alien Encounter ASMR

Once upon a time, back in October 2018, I was sitting down for lunch eating my usual beef pot pie, or maybe it was chicken pot pie, I can’t remember exactly. I think I had water to drink along with it, although it may have been iced tea. I don’t know if I also had a snack or a treat. I like to follow a meal with dessert of some kind, whether it’s fruit, a candy bar or a slice of chocolate cake. Anyway, somewhere in between my 7th and 8th bite of that scrumptious golden pastry filled with meat, veggies and gravy, all of a sudden I heard a loud ruckus occur out behind our house. At first I thought maybe it was Santa Claus, because the “all of a sudden loud ruckus” I usually hear is the old jolly elf landing on our roof with his reindeer. But I remembered that it’s not quite Christmas yet, even thought all the major retailers are starting to put out all the Christmas decorations for sale when we haven’t even gotten past Halloween yet.

Continue reading

EphemRadio Podcast #72 12-23-2017 Weekend Edition

In this episode of the podcast I ramble about the spirit of christmas compared with the commercialized aspect , kindness vs human nature and how our primitive side often undermines our good intentions, Quentin Tarantino’s film The Heightful Eight, being on the wagon, trusting your intuition, lipstick on a pig in regards to how the human race tries to be something it’s not, and other various related tangents.

Podcast links:
iTunes: http://apple.co/2zTTKnb
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2hOdLVt
LibSyn: http://ephemeralrift.libsyn.com/

EphemRadio Podcast #63 Weekday Edition 11-21-2017

I start off this episode with some news regarding the potential to play more indie music on the podcast beyond ccmixter and freemusicarchive; ramble about the holidays and having off from work; winter and remote car starters; incentives for the every day worker & taxpayer much like pro sports players; movies from the 80’s starting with Big; discussing episodes 4 & 5 of The Walking Dead Season 8.06

EphemRadio Podcast links: Itunes – LibSyn – Google Play

This week’s music in order of appearance:

Folksy song by Phoenician Sailor

“Beauty Over Industry” by Unwoman at freemusicarchive.org

“Deportee” by Michael Chapman and The Woopiles at freemusicarhive.org

“Nadeya” by reiswork at ccmixter.org

“Work These Hands” by Cletus Got Shot at freemusicarhive.org

Official Ephemeral Rift Merchandise Now Available via Spreadshirt.com

I have finally launched a shop via Spreadshirt.com starting with the “I hope you are doing well” phrase. In the coming months, and (Cthulhu willing) years, I’ll be offering and creating many more designs based on content from my YouTube channel and beyond (i.e. completely new designs and ideas unrelated to the channel.)

As of the date of this post, I am currently working on a design for “Arkham Sanitarium” and hope to have that available by the end of November (2017). There are plans for designs of specific characters as well, such as Corvus, Margaret, Dave, and who knows who or what else.

Keep in mind that you can alter the color of the design by clicking on “Adjust design or choose different product” when hovering over the product image.

While the shop also appears here on my website, it is merely a superficial placeholder. All transaction data takes place over at spreadshirt.com.