42 Bits of Wisdom: Lessons I’ve Learned on My 42nd Birthday

I am celebrating my 42nd birthday today, and like many others I know, I don’t feel my age. Despite feeling much younger, the fact remains that I have lived on this planet for 42 years and have seen and experienced a lot. Although I don’t consider myself an expert in life, I have picked up some truths during my time here. So, on this special day, I’d like to share with you a few bits of knowledge that I have acquired throughout my life.

Holding a grudge is a foolish practice. I grew up in a family that was notorious for holding grudges as a means of punishment, but I eventually learned that holding a grudge is like holding a hot coal in the palm of your hand and expecting to burn someone else.

Politics, religion, and family are subjects that make people blind, and no matter how compelling your argument may be, you will never win a fight about them. It is better to let it go, move on, and allow others to live in their own beliefs.

The family you choose is more important than the family you were born into. Additionally, you should never make fun of someone if they haven’t seen/heard/watched something. Furthermore, you shouldn’t feel guilty about things that bring you joy, even if they may be perceived as “geeky” or “uncool” by others. If your friends make fun of you for something you enjoy, they are not your real friends.

You should not trust tradition or the status quo blindly. It’s often not the right path to follow. Instead, choose your own path, even if it’s unconventional.

It’s crucial to go to therapy.

Honesty is always the best policy. Too many lies are told out of fear, and if you can’t trust the people around you with the truth, then they shouldn’t be in your life.

Most people should not get married before the age of 30. Furthermore, you don’t need a fancy wedding day to signify your love for someone; it’s the relationship that matters, not the wedding.

Taking lots of pictures and videos is essential to preserve memories. Similarly, telling the people in your life that you love them often is crucial.

Many of the “great” things in this world are overrated. Instead, define your own “great.”

Writing letters and thank you notes to people can make their day.

Imposter syndrome, anxiety, and depression can’t speak the truth; they only speak fear.

It’s okay to have a messy house; who cares if someone sees it or judges you for it? If someone judges you for having a messy house, they don’t need to be in your life.

Don’t live your life for other people. Instead, buy what brings you joy, dress in a way that makes you feel confident and comfortable, and live your life for you.

Nobody cares about the things you’re bragging about; they may even resent you for it. It’s better to keep your wins and losses private because you don’t know how others will react.

Never stop learning.

It’s essential to learn to be comfortable with being bad at something new. Many of us were raised with the idea that we must be good at everything we do, but it’s okay to be bad at something when we’re learning.

Make sleep a priority. It’s important for your physical and mental health.

Staying hydrated is crucial. Drinking enough water can do wonders for your body.

Always return your shopping cart. There’s simply no excuse for leaving it in the parking lot. It’s a small act of kindness that can make a big difference.

Don’t fall for the allure of fame. It’s often an illusion and doesn’t bring true happiness.

Give yourself credit for what you’ve accomplished in life. Celebrate the victories and challenges you’ve overcome.

Music is a gift that can inspire and heal. Take time to appreciate its beauty and power.

Mental health issues like ADHD, depression, and anxiety are real and should be openly discussed and supported.

It’s okay to have a collection of unread books. The joy of collecting and owning books is often enough.

Trying to please everyone is impossible. Focus on being true to yourself and your values.

Many companies and corporations exploit their customers. Be aware of their practices and hold them accountable.

Don’t expect your job to care about you as a person. In many cases, you’re replaceable. Companies that claim to be like family should be approached with caution.

Be wary of the police and always have a lawyer present when speaking with them. Protect your rights and interests.

The world is imperfect and unfair. Learning to forgive and finding inner peace can help navigate life’s challenges.

Learn to distinguish between intuition and fear. Trusting your instincts can be a powerful tool.

Sex is often portrayed as more important than it really is. It’s not the only or most significant aspect of relationships.

Women should have autonomy over their own bodies and choices. Society should respect and support them.

LGBTQ+ people deserve the same rights and opportunities as anyone else. Discrimination has no place in our society.

Coke is superior to Pepsi. It’s a matter of personal taste, but let’s be honest – Coke is the real deal.

Chips and salsa is the ultimate comfort food. It’s hard to resist the satisfying crunch and tangy flavor.

Remember that you matter. Your existence and contributions have value and significance.

Age is a privilege that not everyone gets to experience. Embrace the wisdom and opportunities that come with it.

Hurricane Ian

One of the strangest things about an oncoming hurricane is the calm before the storm. Hurricane Ian is expected to make landfall sometime in the next 24 hours, and if you were to step outside and drop a pin, you’d hear it. There is no wind, not a single bird singing, nothing. Just absolute silence.

It won’t be that way long, because, as I mentioned, we have a hurricane headed right for us. Thankfully we do not live on the western side of Florida which will take the brunt of the storm and bring the category of Hurricane Ian down from a 4 to a 1 by the time it hits Orlando.

Stores were wiped out of all the normal things, bread, water, milk…which I always thought was an odd thing to buy before a storm. If the power goes out what are you going to do with all that milk?

Leslie and I are as prepared as we can be. We have stocked up on snacks, drinks, ice for the cooler, and more. Our yard items have been stowed and put away, and now we just wait. We have a list of movies we plan to watch, and when the power goes out, because it will, we both have lots of books to read.

So until next time please enjoy this image I took with my Holy Stone 700D Drone 500ft above Orlando.

Hurricane Ian approaches 2022

Also just a reminder that I have added a store to my website where you can buy prints. Currently I have 4 photos listed, and plan to add more in the coming weeks. I also plan to be adding some Lightroom Presets there soon as well, and some courses on how to take better photos in the future, so stay tuned.

I’m Not Feeling Well

I’m so sorry friends but I’m not feeling well today, so I probably won’t be posting a full post.

Getting sick when you are a self employed freelance photographer is an interesting experience. You almost feel guilty for taking time off to heal and rest. As human beings I wish we could lived in a world where it was OK to take the rest we need when we need it.

Stressing about how you’re going to make money or where you’re going to find work doesn’t help your body while it’s fighting the flu.

Alas, that is not the world we live in. We live in a world controlled by bills, political groups, religious organizations, and more. So for now… I’m going to try and get some rest. Till tomorrow… Enjoy these images I took.

It’s Never Too Late

It’s never too late to start something new. It’s never too late to learn a new skill. It’s never to late to be a beginner at something. It’s never too late to fail, learn, and try again.

That should be all I have to say on that subject, but sadly we live on a planet that teaches us “If you didn’t start in your teens or 20’s it’s too late!” Want to know when its too late? 5 minutes before your death.

How many people have you known that have made it to 50, 60, 70, 80, etc. and said “I wish I had tried…” or “I wish I had learned…”? If it were possible to add up how many people had said some variance of these two phrases in their life I am sure the numbers would be astonishingly high! As long as you are living and breathing it’s never to late!

Forget the idea of putting in your 10,000 hours, and with that forget the idea that you have to “become a master” at something. You can do something for the sheer pleasure and joy of just doing it. You can learn something just because you want to know something, and you can create something just because you want it to exist and yet never share it with anyone.

We live in a reality now where it’s all about how many likes you got, or how many followers you have. Who cares? What I want to know is…did you enjoy making that thing, or learning that fact?

How many people would stop creating if they no longer had an audience to share it with?

Today a client asked me if it was too late to start growing his business on social media. They worried about their age, and thought the moment to create had passed them by, but that simply is not true. We can start something new at any age of our lives.

In my life I have been a student, a Mormon missionary, an ex-mormon, an EMT/Paramedic, a singer, a safety professional, business owner, fit freak, homeless, divorced, writer, sales leader, and a player of the viola. There is probably a lot more in all of that, and of course I left out things like photographer, lifeguard, and more.

The point is as we age we should always be trying new things and ideas. We should be learning new skills, facts, and concepts. And we should be creating new works of art, things, and nick-naks.

But what we shouldn’t be doing…ever…is saying…I am too old to start something new. I’m too late. Because it is NEVER too late to start.

The Olympus – Pen – EES-2

Olympus - Pen - EES-2

Yesterday I went to my local camera store to drop off some film for development and received The Olympus – Pen – EES-2. Manufactured in 1971 10 years before I was born this camera is absolutely beautiful. It is also a half-frame camera, meaning that instead of the usual 36 shots per roll a half-frame camera will take around 70 shots per roll!

This camera comes into my possession a mear 24 hours before my KODAK EKTAR H35 Half Frame Film Camera comes in, so I am VERY excited to compare the two cameras and see how they both work and compare to each other.

However, if you have the chance to find and purchase The Olympus – Pen – EES-2 or any other models inside The Pen series I highly recommend it!

The Wedding Weekend

This past weekend I had the opportunity to travel to Woodstock GA with my beautiful wife Leslie to participate in my baby cousin’s wedding. Hannah and her now-husband asked me to even perform the ceremony, and it was my great honor to do so.

This is the second wedding ceremony I have had the honor of performing, and I hope it won’t be the last. As I prepared for these two wedding ceremonies I thought of all the bad advice I have been given and heard over the years. So I wanted to take the bad advice I had received and turn it into good advice for the couples I was marrying. It occurred that some of this advice could benefit others, not just those rare couples who ask me to perform their ceremonies. So below I would like to share some good marriage advice.

  1. Go To Bed Angry – Nope, you all heard me correctly, I said go to bed angry.  In marriage disagreements and fights will happen.  It’s a fact of life, and when these small arguments become a reality, we have a choice to make.  We can either solider on tired, worn out, and arguing into the wee hours of the night, or we can respect our partner’s need for sleep, we can respect their boundaries, and give them time to process.  It has been my experience that things don’t always feel or seem as bleak in morning rays of light.
  2. The little things matter more than the big things. –The moments in my marriage with my partner, that mean the most to me is when she cooks me breakfast because she knows I am exhausted from work. When she agreed to watch all 11 seasons of Frasier bc she knew it was my comfort show. And when she was my safe place when I needed to cry.  Those were the moments that meant the most to me.  You both probably already have some of these small moments together…When you find those small moments…Cherish them.
  3. Communicate – This is the holy grail of all relationships.  Talk to your partner and tell them what you want, need, and feel. Too many people will say something like “If my partner truly cared for me, they would just know______” or they will say “If my partner really knew me they would just know ______” These kinds of thoughts poison relationships.  If you haven’t communicated something it is not your partner’s fault for not being psychic.  If you need something ask for it.  If you want something express it.  You should always feel safe communicating with your partner.

I don’t have very many photos of my parents. OK, that is a lie. I don’t have very many good photos of my parents, and that’s because my parents are very good at making faces whenever a camera is pointing at them. However, during the reception, I was walking around like a Gremlin taking photos, and I am so pleased to have gotten some really nice photos of my parents. I am even happier to know that I was the one to take and create those images.

Through The Window

“Where ever I am I always find myself looking out the window wishing I was somewhere else.” – Angelina Jolie.

Talk about the story of my life. So many places I want to see and travel to. I have moved around most of my life living in many different states and cities along the way. Most of my travel has been in and around The United States, and truth be told I have forgotten more about the places I have visited, traveled to, and lived in then I probably have a right to. Some areas I have solid memory of, others I hardly remember at all. But I have always dreamed of traveling to distant areas of the world where no one knows who I am and just wandering.

It is something I have decided to do more of locally, since I can not currently do it abroad. Last week I explored The Apopka Trail Loop, last night I was looking up details to explore the Orlando Museum of Art, and I am hoping once I return from Atlanta, to travel down to the Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park to photograph the night sky in an area devoid of most light pollution. Perhaps these adventures will curb or at least satisfy my ever growing wanderlust bug.

Because as the quote says above, I am always thinking about a place far away, and that thought probably distracts me from the adventure and sites to explore where I am now. So stay tuned for my wanderlust adventure in and around the Orlando FL area. I will do my best to share them all with you.

Till then, be well and thanks for stopping by. -AS

I saw a couple shots on Pinterest recently of photographers taking shots through window glass. So since I just had my windows cleaned, and before we mess them up again I decided to try my hand at a few shots. This was the result.

Harold the Zombie – Chapter 4

If you would like to read Harold the Zombie from the beginning you can find Chapter One HERE.

From Doctor Igor Frankenstein’s Journal

It has been an amazing two years! My whole life I have studied Zombies, their myths, legends and many times dead bodies. The problem with myths and legend is, they are JUST that, myths and legends. While I believe Harold will confirm the truth of many of these myths, I also believe he will prove the utter absurdity of others.

The dead bodies of Zombies can tell us a great deal of a Zombie anatomy, and from that we can infer a great deal about their patterns of behavior.  A dead body however, is a poor substitute for the living thing. After studying dead Zombies I came up with so many questions! Why did the state of certain bodies differ than others. One body would look perfectly healthy, and just like a normal human being. Another would be horribly disfigured, with flesh rotting off its bones. Upon a closer inspection I found this condition was not due to death, but was the Zombies natural state while in life.

Other questions emerged like, why can a Zombie not digest normal food? Harold has already proven that zombies can eat normal food, and even digest it. However most “normal” foods, from what I can observe, have no nutritional help to the Zombie. Unless a Zombies food comes from another human being, the Zombie simply passes the food through its body, and eventually expels it. I am curious to see, as Harold get older, what the effect of animals products, such as steak and chicken, will have on his body.

In the past I used to pray to whatever God would listen that I would have the chance to study a real life Zombie. I desperately wanted answers to these and other questions that plagued my inner brain. And then as if in answer Harold came into my life. He is amazing! A dream come true. Not only do I have a real life Zombie to study and observe, I also get to watch him grow up! How incredibly lucky and blessed I am!

My first observation was a surprising one. Zombie children grow at the same rate of speed as a normal human child. My original theory was that if we mixed the concentration of blood, flesh, and brains as the child grew we would find a certain combination that would accelerate his growth. However I was wrong.

Legends talk about Zombies growing incredibly strong from the things they ate, and developing inhuman strength. I myself dissected the body of a Zombie that had twice the normal amount of muscle then the average human. Perhaps this is something that takes place after puberty? My theory is, if it is true that a Zombie can grow based off what it eats, it must be a talent only available to adults.

Nevertheless I am delighted to have been able to observe Harold for the last two years. I was as excited as his parents when he started crawling, and eventually took his first step. I was especially exuberant when Harold said his first word “Brains!” I couldn’t believe it he said “BRAINS!” I was a giddy as a school girl when his teeth started coming in, however not so giddy when Harold learned to bite….on my own arm. I think when he bit me his instincts took over for he tried to gnaw on my arm as if he were eating a chicken wing. This will certainly be something we will need to watch and keep an eye on. His appetite is incredible. I figure he is eating twice the amount of a normal human child. I must work to keep George and Louis stocked with a good amount of food for Harold. At this rate he is going to eat the morgues out of house and home!

“Harold, if you don’t eat all of your brains and drink all of your blood, then no TV for you tonight mister!” Louis said.

Harold looked at his plate, which had a small but healthy portion of human brains on it, and a medium cup of blood next to it. He like all two year olds didn’t want to eat his supper. This of course is a mystery to all parents, because the law states that as soon as the food is put away the child will tell you that they are hungry. This of course drives all parents borderline insane! So parents all around the world have tried everything to get their child to eat. Some have tried bribery like If you eat you food you will get ice cream. Some have tried threats like If you don’t eat your food you are going straight to your room! Others have tried manipulation like here comes the airplane. And many have resorted to pleading like PLEASE eat your food, I’m begging you! Despite all of these attempts children over the years have learned to see through all of them, and still they refuse to eat their food.

Harold was no different, Zombie or not, Harold was still a typical two year old, and like every other two year old Harold did not want to eat his supper.

“NO! I don’t want to eat stupid brains! They are slimy and don’t taste good!” Harold said.

“George I have had it! All week he has been like this! He is your son DEAL with him!” Louis said. With that she got up from the table and went upstairs stomping every bit of the way. When she got up stairs to her and George’s room she slammed the door.

“Hrfmm!” Harold said while folding his arms with a scowl.

“Harold, why do you do this? You and I both know that the moment I put your food away you will start asking for something to eat. We do this every night. Eat your supper or I am putting it away, and you won’t get anything to eat for the rest of the night.” George said.

“But I don’t want to eat brains again. That’s all I ever eat. Why do I have to eat the same things every night? I want to eat what you and Mommy are eating.” Harold said in a very whiney voice.

“Harold we have been over this before. You are very special, and because you are special you have to eat special food. The food Mommy and Daddy eat is not good for you. If you don’t eat you special food then you will get sick, and you don’t want to get sick do you?” George said.

Harold shook his head.

“That’s a good boy, so if you don’t want to get sick you need to eat you food.” George said.

“No!” Harold Said

“Harold I am starting to lose my patients. Enough of this nonsense eat your supper, or I will send you to your room for the rest of the night.” George said.

With that Harold did what all two year olds do when they don’t get their way. He threw a fit! Within seconds Harold had picked up his plate and thrown it across the table. Brains flew everywhere and the dish broke against the hard surface of the table. The glass of blood had been knocked over and the blood was spilling all over the table and down onto the floor. Having gone through this a time or two George and Louis had the carpets stain guarded and the floor around the dinner table was covered in a thin layer of plastic. After they had to have the carpets replaced twice from spilt blood or flesh George and Louis took precautions.

Harold didn’t seem to mind that there was now blood and brains everywhere. He threw himself down on the ground and started thrashing about screaming, and yelling.

“That’s it Harold! Go to your room right now! If you are not in your room by the time I count to five I am going to paddle your bottom harder than you think possible! 1! 2! 3! 4! I’m serious Harold GO TO YOUR ROOM!” George screamed.

Finally Harold picked himself up off the floor, where he had been kicking and screaming, and headed towards the stairs. As he started up the stairs George could hear him crying all the way up and into his room. The door clicked shut behind him, and all was quiet inside the house.

George walked over to the couch and flopped himself down. He was tired! He had just spent all day at the factory working and managing his staff. He spent his whole day making decisions and working with difficult people. The last thing he wanted to do is come home and deal with the same thing. As he sat on the couch Louis came down the stairs and sat down next to him.

“I’m sorry George. I shouldn’t have stormed off like that. I know you have a hard time coming home to such chaos.” Louis said.

“It’s ok dear. I shouldn’t have shouted at him. I will give him a few minutes to calm down and then go and apologize. I hope then he will be ready to eat. After what Doctor Frankenstein said I am scared to death for Harold to miss even one meal.” George said.

“George!” Louis said laughing “Harold is not going to turn into a raving man killing Zombie after missing one meal. Doctor Frankenstein said it would take weeks for the instincts to take over.” Louis said.

“I know, I know, but it still makes me nervous. We have to be so careful. I love Harold, but he scares me sometimes. Well not him per say, but what he could be. Doctor Frankenstein made it sound so….horrible.” George said.

“You always did have an active imagination. Harold is completely normal. If you don’t count the fact that he drinks blood, and eats brains, but other than that he is a perfectly normal two year old.” Louis said.

George looked at the kitchen table. Blood was slowly dripping off the edges of the table down onto the plastic where it made little pools. The contents of Harold’s plate were strewn about the table and floor, mixing with the blood the brains made for a gruesome site.

“I swear I may never get used to this. Could you imagine what people would think if they walked in on this? They would think we were secret killers who liked to dissect our victims and eat them. I mean look at this mess. It looks like something straight out of a horror film” George said with an exasperated sigh.

“I will clean it up dear, you go talk to Harold. He looks up to you so much. I don’t want you to to go to bed angry with each other.” Louis said.

“Alright, thank you sweetheart.” George said and leaned over and kissed his wife on the cheek.

George got himself off the couch and made his way upstairs to Harold’s room. Knocking softly on the door George let himself in. Laying on the floor was his son. George leaned against the door frame and smiled. Harold was asleep on the floor. His blonde hair was in shambles, probably from the fit he threw earlier, and there were patches of dried blood on his hands and clothes.

“What an odd life I live.” George said smiling.

Reaching down George picked Harold up, and walked him over to his bed. Laying him down gently he went about undressing his son for bed. He got up only once to go to the bathroom and retrieve the baby wipes. Using the wipes George did his best to clean the blood off Harold’s hands, face and hair. Once he was all cleaned up and in a fresh pair of pajamas George placed him under the covers and leaned in to kiss the top of Harold’s forehead.

“Good night son. I love you.”

Before George could pull away Harold threw his arms around his neck and gave his father a warm hug. He had only been pretending to be asleep. George knew this, it had been a habit of Harold’s since he was an infant.

“I’m sorry Daddy. Please don’t be mad at me.” Harold said.

“I’m sorry too son, and i’m not mad at you. Would you like me to get you something to eat?” George said.

Harold just shook his head while still holding his father.

“OK Harold, you just want to go to sleep. You seem awfully tired.” George said.

“I’m sleepy.” Harold said in a whispered voice.

“Alright son, go to sleep and I will see you in the morning. I love you.” George said.

Harold was asleep before his head hit the pillow. George stood up, and tidied up the room a bit, and then walked to the door. Looking back on his sleeping son he couldn’t help but think, Zombie or not he was one lucky Dad!

5 Lies Every Writer Tells

The first story that I can remember writing, I was 14 years old, and my family and I were leaving TX and moving to NC.  The house we had lived in was the first place that had felt like home, and I was very sad to leave it.  I remember sitting down and writing a story about walking through my home for the very last time.  It was sad, but I thought it was a good piece of writing.

Ever since that moment I have been writing stories, and often, like many writers, I wait for “inspiration” to strike before putting pen to paper.  This inspiration has, on occasion, given me the ability to pen some of the best writing of my life.  It has also been one of the biggest roadblocks to my writing career.

I, like too many writers, sometimes get caught up in the notion that we can not write unless we are struck with inspiration.  So as we wait our novels go unfinished, our blogs go unattended and updated, and our writing gets put off day after day.

If you search “writing advice” on google, you will be bombarded by a plethora of authors encouraging you to write every single day, no matter if inspiration has struck.  They all encourage you to practice your craft on good days and bad.

So in honor of their advice here are the lies all good writers tell themselves that keep us from writing.

  1. I Have Writer’s Block – In my experience, as I have mentioned before “writer’s block” is nothing more than an excuse not to write.  While you may have a problem working on a particular piece of writing like a novel, or article, you can always find something to write about.  Use writing prompts, journal, or just brainstorm on a notepad.  The point is even if you are not working on your main project you can always find a way to write.giphy
  2. I Have Nothing Original To Write About – A few months ago I was speaking with Cutter Slagle about writing, and I mentioned to him that as writers we will not be able to connect with everyone who reads our work.  But there are people out there who only we can influence.  Our unique perspective is what makes us who we are, and if we are honest and put ourselves out there, someone will read it, and it will touch their soul.  We have to put our writing out there to find those people, and it doesn’t matter if our writing touches 10,000 people or just one.  As long as our work resonates with someone we have succeeded.  tumblr_m9010sXDqf1qdhag9o1_500
  3. I Don’t Have Enough Time To Write – *Steps on top of soap box* OK this is just a flat out lie that all writers tell themselves at some point in their writing career, and it is just wrong.  A few years ago I started using an app called Rescue Timer.  It kept track of all the apps, websites, and time I spent on things like email and Facebook.  After only a month of using it I was able to see I could take back almost 2 hours a day by simply reducing the amount of time I spent on things like social media, and TV. That is two hours I could be writing and reading.  Everyone has things in their life that can be eliminated or reduced because they are nothing more than just time wasters.  Find those things and use the time to write.writer-moments6
  4. I Would Write If I Were A Better Writer – No one starts out as the perfect writer.  Everyone needs to practice their craft.  No matter if it involves writing, playing an instrument, or learning a skill like photography.  Practice makes perfect.  Write more and write often and you will become a better writer.giphy (1)
  5. People Will Judge and Tear My Writing Apart – GOOD!  As a writer we WANT to create an emotional reaction in people.  We want our writing to make them feel something.  Sometimes that is profound insight, and sometimes that is aggression and anger.  I have no doubt that when I publish “I Am Lucifer” there will be backlash and outrage at the notion of Lucifer being the good guy.  I am sure my writing will make many people question their own beliefs and understanding of religion, and many of them will lash out at me.  I welcome it, because it means that my writing made them feel something.  What would you rather have, a group of people talking about your writing, posting about your writing, and talking badly about your writing, or NO ONE talking about your writing whatsoever?tumblr_m98ok3Gyyk1rpwthr

No matter what the lie is we tell ourselves, they are just that, a lie.  So ditch the lie, drop the excuses, and write.  Write until you keyboard shorts out, your fingers bleed, and you finally get those thoughts and ideas out of your head, and onto the page!

Severus Snape and the Marauders – Harry Potter Fan Film

If you have not seen this Harry Potter fan film yet, STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING AND WATCH IT!

I have always been fascinated by origin stories, and the choices people made, the situations they endured, and the trials they faced, that made them the person they are and would become.

The truth is, personally, I have always been drawn to darker characters.  Villains in general fascinate me.

I think there is darkness in almost everyone, but what makes a person choose to embrace that darkness?  Why would they give over to it?  What benefit does a person or character get from it?

I have toyed with the idea from time to time of writing a story of Voldemort’s son.  I want to write a story of him not only accepting the darkness within himself, but learning to control it, and use it in the service of good.

I think there is beauty in darkness.  Certainly there is power.  But without control that power can consume and obliviate (pardon the pun) the person itself.

What do you think?  Who is your favorite villain?  What are your theories on what drove them to embrace the darkness within?