Post 600: Thoughts on Blogging, Education & Life

This is post 600 of the Dark Pines Photo Blog. Time has passed. What was “Will be” has turned into “Now“. What was “Now” has become “Then”. There has been some growth. There has definitely been loss. And it can be summed up in the word, Change.


In the time since my first post, What to do with all these photographs, May 8, 2010, the world, my personal circumstances, and this blog has changed. The biggest change for myself has been going from active teacher to retired teacher. Some might not realize how fundamental a shift to retirement can be, especially for a teacher.


The occupation of teaching does not stop when you leave the building. It does not stop when you finish the marking. It does not stop when all the marks and comments are done. It does not end when the lesson plans are finished. You see, the lesson plans are never finished.

Reflections at Sherif Creek

It is a common observation of teachers, both active & retired, that you can not look at something, read, watch, listen to, or try it, without considering how it might be used in context of a lesson/assignment. How do you bring something fresh to the activity of learning ? After 30 plus years of thinking that way, it is difficult to turn it off.

The World
The World

For both myself and my wife, also a newly retired teacher, being a teacher means, communicating, sharing, and creating. You might see how that kind of thinking would lead to the blog-o-sphere and Social Media. The road here was, in my case, a bit longer than you might imagine.

Caught on camera Stealing Away

My areas of teaching includes Specialist Certificates in English, Special Education, & Developental Reading-Literacy ( BTW being a Specialist in a subject area does not get you big bucks the way it does in medicine or business). Along the way, I picked up an assignment teaching Mass Media (Media Literacy). There is no specific certification for that, so I had to teach myself.


When I started the Mass Media grade 11classes, there were 3 levels, Academic, General, & Basic. Most students would take the course as one of their required English credits ( by time I retired, the Ontario government had turned the course into an Open Level and made it totally optional – with our school’s shrinking population, it resulted in it being cancelled, welcome to a teacher’s life). Initially, with the technology available at the time, pre-internet & no word processing computers, much time was spent with television & movies (video tape).

golden age of tv_baboon

Eventually, Mass Media technology, by way of computers, changed the world and education. I was now on the road to digital production, graphics in advertising, and digital photography. To teach you have to walk the talk, art teachers can create art, construction teachers build/ make things, music teachers play musical instruments, English teachers compose poetry/prose. Mass Media teachers must produce Mass Media.

To Be or Not

My first faltering steps into what was to be know as online education & Social media were educational web pages for my students. It eventually evolved into ART & MEDIA LITERACY, a site for students in my classes and Liz’s Art classes ( with lots of resources for others as well).

Eventually, I saw the potential for blogging as an educational tool, both for students & professionals. This resulted ina Media literacy blog, Dark Pines Media. The Dark Pines title originated with a creative writing web site that was originally set up to be shared with students, Dark Pines Fantasy .

Phantom Refererrs Beware! Doc WordPress will bring You Woe !

Read Doc WordPress vs. The Phantom Referrers of Spam

It is quite remarkable the amount of street cred you gain with students when they find out you have web pages & blogs. Some of that Social Media veneer may be dissipating as Twitter and Facebook become so commonplace. Teachers are partaking of Social media, at least on a personal level and some schools & school boards have started web-pages that are interactive, instead of static virtual newsletters & brochures.

Whale Pods

As I came to understand the codes & conventions of the blog, I wanted to explore the creative expression & community that it could unlock. This was both for personal need and as a means of how students could use it. This gave birth to the blog you are presently reading ( if you haven’t dozed off yet).

Computer Cate has Completed the Job

Over the last year I was acknowledged by my fellow bloggers with a number of awards. I will dispense with the personal bric-a-brac, there has been enough of that already, and now acknowledge and reciprocate.


Sonnet XXIX

                                                             Read Media literacy & Shakespeare’s Sonnets III & XXIX


Somekrytya nominated me for this award last year. I had mentioned loss at the being of this post. We seem to have lost Soma Mukherjee to our blogging community. Her blog is beautiful. Soma’s last post & commenting had occurred Nov. 30th. Hopefully, she isjust taking a needed rest and will return to our community soon.

The HUG Award© is for people with an expectant desire for the world, for which they: Hope for Love; Hope for Freedom; Hope for Peace; Hope for Equality; Hope for Unity; Hope for Joy and Happiness; Hope for Compassion and Mercy; Hope for Faith; Hope for Wholeness and Wellness; Hope for Prosperity; Hope for Ecological Preservation; Hope for Oneness

People do not have to give up or compromise their own religious, spiritual, or political beliefs to qualify for the Hope Unites Globally HUG Award©. They qualify for the HUG Award© when, without bias or prejudice, they use their resources and gifts to make the world a better place for everyone.”

For more information on this award, please visit:

Hug Award

Here are Hugs for: 1. George – Fuzzy Foto & She Kept A Parrot

2. Do You See What I See ?

3. One Wild and Precious Life

4. Life in the Bogs

5. Life Just Is

6. Silkpurseproductions’s Blog

John (The Daily Graff ) presented me with the KREATIV BLOGGER AWARD


Here is my list:

1. Aberrant Art by Sheila Moore

2. Lilly Photography Scenes from West Virginia and Beyond

3.Life Through a Lens

4. Jolene’s Life in Focus

5. Ashmoto

I was nominated for Blog of the Year 2012 by Sandy.

At this point I will thank Soma, Sandy, and John for their support and recognition of my effeorts. NanaDoll presented me with 3 awards in one post ! I will need another post just to complete my list of nominations.

Drum roll please ………… my nominations for Blog of the Year 2012 are:

1. barbarelka

2. Lemony Shots

3. Refridgerator Magnate

4. Syncopated Eyeball

5. The Lantern Room

Final observations: The blogging community is warm & welcoming. It can display the best of the global community that is evolving out of Social Media. For those starting out, many of my early posts never received likes or comments. Visits, but no interaction. It took awhile for that to change. Visiting & interacting with others helped create lines of communication that were sustained.

For those with older eyes, I have been composing my written pieces on Open-Office using a larger text & different fonts. When I copy the text into Word Press it seems to make things easier on the eyes. Let me know if you have noticed a difference.  – Many of the images can be seen in larger formats when clicked. –

26 thoughts on “Post 600: Thoughts on Blogging, Education & Life

  1. Joseph, what you do here is often a mystery to me. Why you do it is not. I received a number of awards last year. They are wonderful awards and I was floored to receive them. But, the Hugs award is different, priceless. It does not depend on excellence in design or technique or writing skills. It relies, instead, on the open mind and heart. If there is anything that thing I aim to communicate here, it is precisely what you have described in your explanation of the award. Thank you very much for thinking of me. Bless you.

    1. elmediat

      George your blog posts are carefully crafted, thoughtful, & intriguing. Your insight into the human heart is always clear with subjects that can be humorous& ironic or warm & touching – and many times all of these together. The creativity and execution of your photographic compositions are excellent models for all aspiring camera cowboys. launching yourself into the world of digital photography and the blogging community is inspiring. I know individuals of your age & younger whose level of computer competency/ literacy is pitiful. More significantly their attitude towards the “new stuff” is fearful, negative & corrosive. Rather than reach out , share and build a better society as you have, they have chosen to denigrate the new forms of mass media and the social interaction that has sprung from it.
      You are richly deserving of this award. Your company and visits are always most welcome here . 🙂 JPK

    1. elmediat

      Thanks Carla. Your window into New Orleans is a delightful & intriguing. It shows real people that a part of a unique community that is both wild & truly precious.
      Oh and those recent shots of the Carnival dogs ( four legged & otherwise ) on parade are great ! 😀

  2. Wow, Joseph! What a beautiful post! The images are fantastic (I can’t stop looking at them–they’re packed with so much to see!). I thoroughly enjoyed learning about your path as a blogger, and your journey as an educator. As you say, you’ll always be a teacher (I am learning from you all the time!), and your presence in this community is profoundly important and inspiring. Every Dark Pines post brims with your wit and incredible creativity, every comment with your generosity and humor. It has been such a delight to follow you over these last many months, and I look forward to your coming 600 post. 🙂

    I can’t thank you enough for including me here among your award nominations. I am truly honored to be recognized by you in this way, especially for the Blogger of the Year award. I see, too, that I am in wonderful company! Thank you very much!

    I appreciate the tip, by the way, about Open-Office. I, for one, love the look of your blog, and appreciate the larger font, especially on the darker background.

    1. elmediat

      Thanks so much Lemony. I find your photography & creativity inspiring. Your heroic daring with abandoned building is exciting. I might pluck up the courage to get a bit closer to a couple old building in the area ( not too close mind you) that need to be photographed.
      Your own photographic journey has been wonderful. I am enjoying the world you reveal with your camera. Your efforts, selection of subject matter and execution of composition are great role models for those of us aiming to create & share in the wide world of blogging. 🙂
      BTW other programs may be used to transfer text. I became fond of Open Office when I found this free program was very useful for students. 🙂

  3. 600 posts… wow! Ridiculously impressive! Especially when you stop to consider nearly all of your posts have multiple graphics (and each of those often multiple images)… being shot and edited by you into something truly unique… along with insightful backstory and references (I can see where all that teacher prep. you’ve described above influences you there)! Tremendous!
    AND thank you so very much for including me, too! Incredibly kind of you, sir, as always! I tend to shy away from awards a bit… but just being thought of… such a wonderful surprise! I sincerely appreciate it! Thank you again! Very, very much, sir! 🙂

    1. elmediat

      I thinks there are many creative people who are a bit insecure in their talents. This arises or a multitude of reasons. However , with creativity comes the desire to communicate and share. It is the basis of the human spirit , community and culture.
      Your work is most deserving. You share and communicate your creative passion. Your range of skills is wonderful to behold. It inspires in style, method, and subject matter. I continue to visit and enjoy your work and share in your good humour. 🙂

    1. elmediat

      Thanks very much. Your B&W window into the urban & social landscape of New York is fascinating and revealing. The blog takes the viewer into an intriguing world. 🙂

  4. What a wonderful warm post. It’s interesting to read about your journey into the blogosphere. It’s a delight to come and read your posts and to admire your creative images, although I admit I haven’t ventured into the world of textures and effects as yet!

    Thank you for the tip re: Open Office; your text is very much easier to read at that size. I’ll try it with my blog which also has small white text on a dark background.

    Thank you so much for the Award – I very much appreciate it.

    1. elmediat

      Your posts capture the English countryside, nature & history. it brings to life a world that, for me, is obviously the inspiration of literature that I have read & taught over the years. 🙂
      As I mentioned to lemony, other programs may also work. Different fonts are more responsive than others in transferring. Some are not accepted while others show up at different sizes.

  5. Dear Joseph!

    And you are indeed a dear soul. Your kind heart and gentle, generous nature flow out from your blog and the comments you leave.

    Thank you so much for your giving me this special award. I am grateful and deeply touched Joseph.
    I feel honoured and hugely encouraged by it.

    You’ve often encouraged me, Joseph, and I thank you for all of those times too. Aren’t we visitors to your blog lucky to be regularly shown your creativity and enthusiasm for things. Nothing like a teacher with enthusiasm for their subjects. A long, long time ago I said I wished I had had a teacher like you when I was at school – well, I’m happy to have you for a teacher and friend now.
    Particularly thank you for introducing me to tanka. I find it an excellent ‘shape’ to work my thoughts into.

    Blessings to you, Joseph, may there be an endless supply of them for you and all your loved ones.


    Ashley x

    1. elmediat

      Thanks very much Ashley. 🙂 Your unique creative view of the world is full of charm and an insightful irony – Creepy, Spooky, Lovely, Nice sums up this spirit that faces the challenges of life. To face the challenges in life and create, share & make the the world a little bit better is a sign of an artist and a giving courageous soul. I continue to follow your work and share ideas with you. 🙂

  6. what a great review. I have learned so much about you, and no, I didn’t fall asleep. Thank youfor the Kreative Blogger Award. It means a lot that you thought of me and I am glad we are keeping in touch once again (some how I missed your blog in my reader for awhile.)

    1. elmediat

      Most welcome Sheila. 🙂 Your creative journey is of interest to me because it is some ways quite different from mine. Your spirit of creative exploration is a positive force in the blogging community.

      1. elmediat

        Very Zen. There is no destination , only steps. The niche is where you are NOW. You are always at ease because you are always where you belong. 🙂

  7. Congratulations on your awards, and thank you so much for nominating Life in the Bogs for the HUG award. I am deeply honored. 🙂 I apologize for taking so long to stop by to say thank you. I’m having trouble keeping up lately.

    1. elmediat

      Thanks Robin. I know what you mean about keeping up. I do not know how those young(er) people keep up with all those tweets & text(ez) . 😀
      Your blog is a unique view of a place and what it reveals about life & nature. 🙂

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