Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2012




Wishing everyone a happy New Year and a year of good health, success and happiness.

I am not sure what it means, but apparently it's the Year of the Dragon. I like dragons.

Monday, December 26, 2011

2011: Small Good Things

Southern Lights (Aurora Australis) by Astronaut Ron Garan



The human mind has a tendency to focus on the negative things that have happened to us. Memories of traumatic events are more deeply formed than the positive ones. Science blames the hippocampus for ensuring that we recall bad events. An adaptive mechanism to prevent these events from reoccurring in the future. One dwells and reviews images of a poorly edited movie, which rely on perception provoked by negative emotions rather than factual memories.

The positive events are mundane in comparison. We take repetitive stability for granted. The human mind does not think about "it could be worse", but is dissatisfied that "it could be better" and is not. Such is the human condition.

I attended a series of mind-opening and -altering lectures, during which a gifted professor introduced me to the concept that the quantum path not taken might be the alternate path we would not want to be on. In simple terms; the bad things that did not happen to us.  If we were to keep track of them, we would quickly realize just how fortunate we are.  He listed a few examples and I was inspired to do the same.

It helps that I am a compulsive list maker and keep a (somewhat sporadic) writing journal. Writing a Proustian list of aggravating and disappointing events is easy. Writing a list of the pleasant moments takes a little effort; the "small stuff" is so easily forgotten.

The 2011 list of random small good things:

1. I started a blog. Glad that I did.
2. I met some incredible people in the blogosphere and am impressed by the quality of writing. I have come to think of many of you as my geographically challenged "friends", although I still think it is strange that I am communicating with people whom I have never met. I am working on that.
3.Then again, I had a fascinating conversation about art and science with a complete stranger in an art gallery.
4. I bought art supplies, books and journals.
5. I bought other things, but this list is not about "stuff".
6. Nothing unreasonably heavy fell on me.
7. Nothing unreasonably large ran me over.
8. Someone I was not particularly fond of has retired.
9. Spawn is taking his medication and I still have all of my digits.
10. Sharing hilarious moments with HQ, my friends and select relatives.
11. Had an argument with someone about a scientific theory when he walked into a mailbox, which I used to prove my point. And it was not "Hrunmpf!" Still laughing.
12. Living with a circus troupe of feline entertainers.
13. Finding lost treasures while organizing.
14. Finding pebbles, leaves and interesting things while hiking.
15. Watching birds and other wildlife.
16. Watched a group of fat squirrels put on weight for the winter, this amuses me on an annual basis.
17. Learning something new.

The list is long. Life is short.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Best Wishes Most Welcome


Rationally, I am aware that changing the calendar year is merely arbitrary. A useful way to keep track of future dates and appointments.

Irrationally, I am happy to see it go. Yes, 2011 has been an unpleasant year of clusterflocks and bizarre sequences of unfortunate events. Rather than take probability and coincidence personally, I shall blame all of the world's and my personal problems on a year; 2011, go find yourself!

I am mentally prepared for a universe of entropy. HOOWEEEEEVER, I was not provided with any instructions or disclaimers that 2011 would be the year that entropy would select me as its unwilling recipient.

It appears to be a global occurrence. Bad things have happened to too many people this year, whether virtual or real. We noticed. No thanks. Please return to sender. I suspect that some of this is due to the contagious spread of negative economic and environmental news.

Recently, too much of my time has been spent keeping whitecoats on their toes and struggling to keep my inner Sheldon Cooper at bay.  I have been busy working on my exciting new project tentatively titled: "How to introduce and extract cooperative non-human (Felis catus) into a sterile environment without attracting attention." It should be a bestseller.

To all my friends and fellowers:

I wish you all a restful holiday season, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Holidays, Seasons Greetings, Happy anything that you are or are not celebrating and a Happy, healthy New Year.

Best Wishes to you and your families and a peaceful, happy and healthy 2012.

See you next year.


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Future Mode Of Transportation

One could argue that the military is responsible for the development of the mobile technology (from mobile phones to computers), that we have come to depend upon. Since this access may soon turn Orwellian in nature, I thought it would be prudent to show potentially new modes of public transportation, courtesy of passionate human engineering.

Battlefield 3 is a video game that allows for the singular exploration of all vehicles made available by some of our most advanced territorial technologies. Thought their ad was clever:



Update: I am still reading and enjoying your blogs, but am unable to comment for now. I do read and appreciate your comments though.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Technical Difficulties

Dear Readers,

We are currently experiencing technical difficulties.
Negotiations with hardware squatters have been reduced to four letter words.
We shall respond to much appreciated comments when more extensive vocabulary resumes.
Please rest assured that our CEO is standing by with a hammer in the event that negotiations fail.
We look forward to visiting your blogs again.

Please join us for a complimentary illusory nostalgia session on the topic of wood cabins, the pony express and pigeon mail.

With warmest regrets,

Management

Ye olde fridge and stove still work; have a happy thanksgiving.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Stockmarket Explained...

A man wants to invest, but is terribly confused about the stock market. He asks his friend, an investment banker, to advise him.

"Here is what you do, you take your savings and buy 10 chickens and a rooster. Those chickens will lay eggs and breed," his friend advises. "Not only will you have eggs to sell, but after some time you'll have a 100 chickens and expand your business."

"That is great. I shall do that."

"However, there is a risk."

"There is?"

"Yes, if there is a flood, the chickens will drown and you will lose all of your investment."

"Oh, no! That is horrible. What am I going to do if that happens?"

"You should have bought ducks."

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Some People Come With Baggage. I Come With Books.




I have been to places and times that I will never visit. I have met cultures that I will never meet in person, but am now aware of.  Worlds, thoughts, stories and discoveries contained between covers, are free to roam in my imagination.

I look at the words that surround me and the memories attached to every book in my possession and remember. I read that one when I was a teen; philosophy hidden in a cheap pink paperback. This one was carelessly dropped in the sand. "Notes from the underground" on a beach. What would Dostoyevsky say if he knew that his work is associated with scent memories of surfboard and ocean? My earliest copy of Tolkien reminds me of reading past my bedtime.

My library, carefully packed up with care across distances, some great, some small. There is a sense of accomplishment when I look upon the visual display of books organized by subject and author. I gave up counting them a long time ago. Books given to me as gifts, inscribed by my friends, mentors and relatives. I cannot look at them without remembering the person who gave them to me, where I read them or what stage of life, opinion and interests I was in.

Paper books.

My reading experience is indelibly linked to cover art, edition, shape, size and weight of the books that line my shelves and occupy side tables.  Some are old and instantly transport me to small, cramped little bookstores, where I found some of my most valued treasures. Others have been sold, donated, recycled through many different hands, passed on, gifted, lent, borrowed, valued. Even when discarded, they can be altered or left to the elements to biodegrade.

E-books, while convenient and accessible will never replace any of that. They require an energy source to read, sometimes irritate with their flash to black when turning a page and contain components of disposable technology that are toxic to the environment.

Paper books satisfy all senses; the smell of new paper and ink, the sound of a turning page and simply holding a book turn reading into a sensual experience. I recall where I saw an important passage or quote. I can read with a pen, adding my own thoughts to the margins. The e-book, however, is silent; the sound of a turning page is imaginary or artificial. I cannot feel the embossed lettering of a cover, I cannot tell by weight alone how much reading enjoyment is left.

Future generations of e-books will likely be more interactive and therefore distracting. I have already viewed some animated children's books. I want a book, not a smart phone.

I am certain that paper books will continue to be published for a long time. It is unlikely that the ancient art and technology of using ink on parchment or paper will become obsolete within the next few decades.

Given a choice, there shall only be paper books in my domain (and no wire hangers). As to the e-book that someone gave me? It's so thin that I cannot find it. It probably lies buried beneath a pile of books.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Right Gift

There is a saying that a true gift is giving someone what they need, not necessarily what they want.

I have been experiencing the fatigue of frustration lately, especially when it comes to the global situation and the pervasive "let's wait and see if the world can fix itself" attitude.

The other day HQ announced: "I got you something."

Curious, I waited. She presented me with a journal. A journal of the self-contemplation variety made popular by the current recession. HQ obviously knows that I have a (quote) mild (unquote) obsession with writing journals. My favorites are simple, I prefer understated black or brown leather journals. In an emergency, a spiral bound notebook will do. Unfortunately, this one is sporting a garishly bright orange cover with an unfriendly font that begins with "In my humble opinion". A strange gift considering neither one of us is particularly fond of novelty items.

Available at this original company

"You got me a fugly journal?" I asked ungratefully.
HQ looked at me with that smile that states I know you are going to love it. "Never judge a book by its cover," she quipped.
I flipped through it, then slowed down to chuckle and laugh; on the left pages are quotes, since I collect quotes, some of my favorites are among them:

Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity,
and I'm not sure about the former.
Albert Einstein

Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.
Douglas Adams

Many people would sooner die than think.
In fact, they do.
Bertrand Russell

The world is a stage,
but the play is badly cast.
Oscar Wilde

Such is the human race. 
Often it does seem such a pity that Noah...didn't miss the boat.
Mark Twain


On the right hand side are lined pages to write down my thoughts and opinions about what humanity, in my not so humble opinion is doing wrong, prompted by some of our most intellectual thinkers and writers.

An entire journal, devoted to the singular purpose of therapeutic venting about the stupidity of mankind, the people that annoy me, how we are driving ourselves into extinction and make each other more miserable than we have to.

I AM DELIRIOUSLY HAPPY. :)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Thought For The Day



You are walking through a hot desert, when you encounter a tortoise that is lying on its back.

You watch it desperately trying to right itself, but you do not help.

Why?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Occupy Antarctica

Apparently we are not the only species that is capable of feeling entitled to something that does not always belong to us.




Reporter: Black Mask agreed to talk to us if we do not reveal his identity.
Black Mask, how long have you been acquiring Bob's pebbles?

Black Mask: Let's see. This is my fourth mating season.

Reporter: Are you not worried that you will get caught?

Black Mask: Naaaaah. Look around you, there are 5 million of us. I blend right in.

Reporter: Any reason that you have chosen Bob in particular?

Black Mask: Yeah. He has a good eye for the nicest rocks. Knows just what the ladies like.
Not that sharp though, if you know what I mean...

Reporter: Not really.

Black Mask: Hey Bob. Larry was looking for you. Said he found some really nice pebbles 30 nests down.

Bob: Uukay. Thanks, man. I owe you one.

Reporter: Which one is Larry?

Black Mask: Who is Larry?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Fun With HQ At Ickyeah.

HQ and I made a decision that we had both been avoiding; a trip to the blue and yellow prison that asks its inmates to give back to society by assembling furniture. Storage items were needed, a list was drafted, maps and layouts were studied and an escape plan was hatched.

Ickyeah is doing well despite the economic situation, probably because it successfully traps customers for hours in its one-directional "you must walk through all sections before you are permitted to exit the premises" policy. Quite brilliant actually, because what they are selling is ugly and cheap.

HQ: Okay. We split up. I look for decorative laminated particleboard, while you look for functional laminated particleboard.

Me: Got it.

30 minutes after HQ's clever plan, I am wandering aimlessly in the children section pondering whether I can fit on the sculptural plastic rocking horse. HQ calls me.

HQ: Where are you?

Me: I am playing with a toy rabbit named Fijorgensnorf and am surrounded by freakishly tiny people. Get me out of here. Pleeeeaase.

HQ: Follow the yellow brick road blue arrows, get to the home organization area. I'll meet you there.

After an Ickyeah associate prevents me from going the "wrong way", [Seriously? I cannot go back the way I just came?], I finally get to where I am supposed to meet HQ, but cannot find her.  I try calling her, but Ickyeah is blocking my signal. Oxygen-deprived, I notice that I am pushing someone else's cart and left mine somewhere in the Ickyeah labyrinth. I am beginning to worry that I may never see HQ again, when I hear the following store-wide announcement:

"Antares, please come to the play area, your mom is looking for you."

Oh. No. She didn't!

"Antares, please come to the play area, your mom is looking for you."

Oh. Yes. She did!

After I trek through kitchens, bathrooms, the "restaurant", the Sahara and Sweden, I show up in the play area where parents get to abandon their children in a pool of colorful balls. I can see HQ cracking up when she sees what I am holding. Clutched tightly to my chest is a stuffed toy that looks like a broccoli mated successfully with an icecream cone.

*Childish grin*: "MOM! This is Smorjebijork, can I have him?"

The associate, who is standing next to her, is looking at me with a mix of confusion and horrified pity, HQ is doing her bathroom dance and I finally get to go home. After we scan our own purchases, we escape with candles (not on the list), pillows (also not on the list!) and crap items with more Umlauts than they produce in Sweden.

To be assembled...

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Randomly Pondering:



1. Why is America one of only 3 countries (Burma and Liberia) that does not use the metric system? Does anyone like feet all that much?

2. How do people keep losing just one shoe in public places?

3. Where did all the bloggers go? Is this an annual pre-winter hibernation? Is it contagious?

4. Why are we all swamped with work and RL at the same time? Why "swamped"? Why not; I got quicksanded at work today?

5. Why do they not manufacture universal lids that fit any container?

6. In an age of alleged environmental consciousness, why is technology disposable and not made to last?

7. Why do I collect so many glass jars for painting, when I do not have much time to paint? It's not like the glasspocalypse is coming and they'll stop making them.

Yes, sometimes I wish I had my problems too.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Just When I Thought That Customer Service Could Not Get Any Worse, I Realize That I Was Naive.



We have all dealt with those mind-numbing situations that require the assistance of someone who is very courteous, yet spectacularly obtuse, because the thing [and it is a thing, one can insert anything into this space] we are paying for or have paid for is not in compliance with its purpose, ceased to function, kicked the bucket or simply put is broken.

Not only can it no longer be repaired, but as a valued customer you are expected to repair it yourself or haul the thing into the Distribution Deposit Decomposition Center, conveniently located in a different country. Alternatively, one is expected to pay for the replacement of the thing, because the repair person who has recently attempted aforementioned repair managed to destroy it beyond all recognition.

One is then asked to abandon reason, dignity and hope by contacting "customer service":

"Hello, someone was here to repair the thing and it is not working."

"The report from the tech says that the repair was completed."

"Unfortunately, it was not. The thing is not working. Could you send someone else?"

"The report says that the repair has been completed. Did you turn it on?"

You want me to do what? Turn it on? 
At this point I realize that persistence is futile. Time for escalation.
"Can I speak to your manager?"

"There is no manager here."

"You do not have a manager? Could you transfer me to the office?"

"There is no office."

Uummmm...

While waiting for the disclosure that I am an involuntary participant of a new reality show called "punk your customer" or a test subject, I re-examine the purpose of my existence, the passage of time and my life and ultimately decide that this is not the hill I want to die on.

"Ms. Wasteoftime, this was most enlightening, but I have to go since my cat Spawn is performing his annual poetry recital. He bites those who are late."

For 10 minutes of sheer wish fulfillment, I highly recommend that you watch the most elaborate prank pulled on a call center here 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Blind Leading The Blind

The Blind Leading the Blind by Peter Bruegel the Elder


I had a stimulating conversation with a friend, which left me feeling energized and contemplative.

We talked about the world economy, war, the rise and fall of empires, the cyclical nature of civilization, climate change and corporate globalization. We also discussed how our leaders seem to be spending a lot of time arguing and running in circles, apparently waiting for problems to fix themselves.  "The world has gone mad," I exclaimed at one point.

My friend remembered a book he had read some time ago. He could not recall the author, who had proposed the following theory. That the evolution of consciousness, self-awareness and so-called sentience of our ancient ancestors had driven the human species into insanity. As evidence, my friend explained, the author had included several sections on human sacrifice committed by a number of civilizations in the past.

The Aztecs, in particular, believed that in order to appease the gods, such horrific and delusional acts could improve their circumstances and control their future.  Looking at current world events we seem less barbaric than those civilizations, but only because we have a veneer of perceived civility, long-range weapons and a history of justified wars (for the victorious) to cover it up.

Pause. Think.

Me: Basically, this author claims that the entire human species is and has always been rip-roaring mad?

Friend: Yes.

Me: I think, therefore I am...crazy?!?

Friend: Yep.

Me: You and I. Every human being. Is completely nuts?

Friend: You got it.

Somehow, I feel better already.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Favorite Movie Comedies

Tim over at Life of Riles posted his favorite comedies.

Thought I would share some of mine. They are somewhat eclectic, but thought that I would share some recommendations of movies that some may not have seen. Listed in no particular order:

Delicatessen
Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, (Amelie), very dark humored, great cinematography and some of the most memorable scenes I have ever seen. If you decide to watch it, avoid the reviews, they reveal too much. Original, surreal, but did I mention it is a very dark comedy? You have been warned.







The Party
Peter Sellers classic

Rat Race (2001)
A slapstick romp with a great cast including Whoopie Goldberg, John Cleese, Rowan Atkinson, Seth Green, among others.

The Fantastic Mr. Fox
A gem of stop motion animation. Clever and delightful.

Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz
Obviously.

Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels
Comedy of errors with twists and turns and some phenomenally stupid criminals. Great script and dialogue.

There are obviously more, but these are among my favorites.
Which are yours?

Monday, September 19, 2011

A Week In Famous Movie Quotes

Monday:
I love the smell of napalm in the morning.
I see dead people.

Tuesday:
Houston, we have a problem.
You can't handle the truth.
Elementary, my dear Watson.

Wednesday:
Gentlemen, you can't fight in here. This is the War room.
Go ahead, make my day.
Are you talking to me?
Here's Johnny.

Thursday:
Make me an offer I can't refuse.
Do or do not, there is no trying.
I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.
The only winning strategy is not to play the game.

Friday:
There's no place like home.
Open the pod bay doors, HAL.
Yippee-ki-yay...


I'll be back.

Saturday:
Birdie Num Num.

Sunday:
Just when I thought I was out...they pull me back in.
*kick*

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Victims Of The Consumption

"The Consumption Consumeth Us All"
(From the logs of Antares Cryptos ca. 2111)

I am a product of my time. A time when the consumption of goods promises an improved quality of life, happiness and the success that can only be achieved through the purchase of things, stuff, objects and gadgets.

Obviously, I am above all of this. I know that I am being marketed to at all times, that while some experience brand loyalty, my loyalty only relates to the quality of and need for a product. I have very high expectations of my electronic toys and gadgets, I want them to perform exactly as advertised. If I buy a piece of craplastic, I do not want to be dealing with software issues, incompatibility or replace it just because R&D has decided that technology is disposable and should not have a life-expectancy of more than 3 months.

I also need to be able to drop things. Repeatedly. They must still function, not break apart into components that even I cannot put back together. Where is the transformer technology that Michael Bay has promised?

My impenetrable anti-marketing castle was not built overnight. Forcefields of eastern philosophy were erected while living in a cave with a Buddhist monk. "Desire is the root of all evil," he taught me, right after I refused to share my last Goji berry with him.

I am onto the technological fruit corporations that spend more on marketing than putting quality on our shelves. Sleek design and imitation metal will not fool my discerning eye and neither do limited editions that evoke an air of fabricated exclusivity. Pretty on the outside, unimpressive within.

What is this? What am I being shown now? Targeted marketing?




H.O.M.Geek! 

Torpedo shaped dials inspired by the movement of orbiting satellites. Automatic winding powered by twin turbines. Materials made of titanium in Switzerland with Swiss precision. Slick and beautiful digital rendering. Who cares what time it is, when this watch comes with powerful sound effects and a soundtrack that reminds me of a movie about dreams.

The perfect watch for an artistic sci-fi geek. In RL this is not just a piece of metal that hugs your wrist, goes "tick tick" and keeps track of time. This watch will kick-start the lagging economy, enable me to fly and give me superpowers so that I can save the world. The titaniuminator of all watches. I must have it.

Inception complete.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Just Breathe

I remember the survivors of loss and tragedy.
I remember the courageous and the heroic.
I remember that hate breeds hate.
I remember that the actions of a few do not represent the thoughts of many.
I remember that we are one species, that humanity's childhood must come to an end if we are to survive on our pale blue dot.
I remember to just breathe.



Friday, September 9, 2011

So You Know You Can Dance: Bird Edition

Good evening, welcome to our first broadcast of "So You Know You Can Dance". The real life bird edition. Branches have been cleaned, feathers oiled and shined to iridescent perfection and the canopy has been cleared of monkey hecklers.

Our first dance contestants make their home in Papua New Guinea. Audience, please give a warm welcome to the dance crew: "The Rainforest Kilts".






Next up is the Wire-Tailed Manakin, tail shaker of the Amazon. Watch him spin 180 degrees at a time, without missing a beat. Give it up for "Little Man":






Last, but certainly not least is the Red-Capped Manakin bird (Pipra Mentalis) from Costa Rica. He is an expert in the difficult to master typewriter move. A round of applause for "MC Mental".




Millions of years of evolution have restricted voting to females only. In an unprecedented move we are opening the phone lines to any gender, including fish and other animals that are in-between or undecided.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Advance Apologies

RL has been a little busier than anticipated, which explains my recent sporadic commenting and anemic posts.  I have been thinking about taking a bit of a blogging break, when the human body that I inhabit showed its support by inviting some unwelcome microscopic guests. Seriously? After millions of years, can't we just get along?

I can anecdotally confirm that this has indeed been an active cold and flu year and am waiting for the research that will attribute it to contemporary weather patterns.


Maru in a raincoat. I doubt that our cats are jealous.

I might pop by from time to time as everything is subject to change, but for now I am taking some time off-line. I will see you soon.

During my last nap, I discovered the meaning of life, the universe and everything, which I must share with everyone. It is......izzzzz.....

*dozes off*.


Friday, August 26, 2011

Screaming Aliens

The first time I saw Edvard Munch's "The Scream", my less than reverent reaction was: "I don't like it."

I still don't.  I am living on a spinning ball of solidified magma, hurtling through dark space at 29.79 km per second, while our solar system is orbiting around a black hole (the center of our galaxy) every 225 million years. I don't need to be reminded about existential anguish by a painting, especially when the original title was "The Shriek of Nature." Less screaming, more healing.




Recently, a fellow blogger showed me her interpretation of the scream.  This one I like. It makes me laugh. Actually, the heart-shaped antennae are killing me.

Meg's "Scream"
Meg is more of a commenter than a blogger. I completely understand; I used to be one of them.  She left a funny comment somewhere, which is how I found her.

Meg posts annually, in a prolific year she might post twice. I will never have to worry about catching up on her posts.  She lives in paradise, although it may not feel that way to her, but really, how many of us get to go for a walk and share living space with crabs and monitor lizards instead of pooping pigeons and shrewd squirrels?




She is openly geek, so the Geek Award is now officially presented to her.




Check out  Meg's Blog, you will not be disappointed.









Free and unconditional marketing provided by The Antares Cryptos Agency. Connecting and linking bloggers since 2011.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Social Media, I Am Just Not That Into You

Wassily Kandinsky Several Circles
As a recreational blogger, who is using blogging as a creative outlet and to meet some interesting like and open minded people, I am constantly reminded of other social networking sites.

Obviously, how one uses social media is as individual as the people behind their blogs, whom I get to meet through their writing.  Prior to this blog, I did explore some of the social networks. Fb did not do anymore for me than provide status updates that I either already knew about or was not particularly interested in. "Having dinner. Chewing." "I'm seeing stars. Again." Twitter never interested me, which is not to say that it does not have its purpose or that there aren't authors who are hilarious, profane or profound in 140 characters or less.

Whenever I am invited to "follow or join me on fb, twitter, G+...", I am acutely aware of two things: time and internet clutter. Multiple social networking sites compete for our collective attention and time, set up to attract marketing, but are often distracting and time-consuming. It's difficult to resist the temptation of following links, which lead to other links....

Most recently, G+ was added to the fray and I had the opportunity to explore it.  I do think that controlling who sees what type of information is a good idea. Then again, what I share with my closest RL friends and family is not something that I would release into the (public) internet domain, especially when the laws regarding privacy and personal information have yet to be modernized.

While the introduction of circles does appeal to my organizational obsession, I would end up with several circles of one, for those friends who share one particular interest, but not the rest of them. In a 10 minute conversation, I can share and get the status update that would take me considerably longer online.

Social media is in its toddler stage and I am looking forward to future ideas and development that will allow us to individualize and aggregate everything into one network.

In the meantime, I have books and blogs to read, friends to meet and circles to draw.


Meh.



Hey, Wassily. That took 5 minutes. Time well spent.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

I Learned To Lie In Kindergarten

Reverting to childhood speech for plausible deniability.

Why?

What cookies?

Did not.

Must have been the cats.

These cats do.

The cookie fairy then.

Yes, there is.  When she fails to pick up teeth, she steals cookies.

Have you interrogated the usual suspects?

The cookie monster, Santa,...Dobby!!!

Crumbs? What crumbs?

But, I'm grounded! That's not fair.

Fiiiiiiiine, I'll pick up some flour...and butter...and what?

Right after I lie down for a bit; my tummy hurts.

That's not funny.


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Look Into My Deep Blue...

I had been thinking about her a lot lately.  I missed her. I recently saw her again, it was as if we had never been apart. Some friendships last a lifetime.

When I first met her, it was love at first sight. She remains beautiful, formidable, secretive, gentle, yet powerful. She possesses a depth that I cannot even begin to imagine.  There are not enough adjectives to describe a force of life.

She taught many things to a willing student, despite the fact that she is considerably older than me.  She taught me about life and what really matters, she showed me miraculous sights and encouraged me to explore.  Nothing has changed, she still mesmerizes and intrigues me. I could not help but stare at her, reminiscing about the past. Some of my fondest memories are associated with her.

"You look good," I say.
"Thank you. I have been ill," she states matter-of-factly.
"I know." Sigh. "I know."
She ignores my response. "It's hot. Let's go for a swim." She beckons, playful as ever.

The sound of breaking waves, the rhythmic play of water lifts the weight of the sky off Atlas' shoulders. I take a deep breath of sea-scented air, letting the cool water lick my ankles.

With an ungainly gallop I plunge into the waves, diving into a blue alien world. The sudden silence of muffled sound, the simple pleasure of swimming buoyed by saline water, triggers earliest memories of imagination; pretending to be a dolphin, an orca or a shark.

My predisposition toward constantly disappearing beneath the surface of any body of water, including the bathtub, used to drive my parents insane.  I laugh out loud as I recall being a megalodon, a prehistoric shark, circling my prey, then grabbing my mother's ankles from the abyss of the deep blue sea.

"ANTARES! Are you mad?!?" my victim squealed.
*Chomp* I replied.
"Antares. STOP IT!"
*Chomp* *Chomp* "Mom, I just ate you." Satiated, the cold glint of the ultimate predator in my eyes, I would show her row upon row of enormous serrated teeth, then glide silently back into my domain.

I still lack tail and fins. Nobody is perfect.
The oceans, however, are.
She laughs joyfully, watching my non-streamlined antics as I float lazily on my back.
"Welcome back, my child. Welcome back."

Friday, August 12, 2011

Everyone Is A Critic

I came across a humorous piece written by Paul Simms for the New Yorker, which takes an amusing look at blogging.

In this brave new world of social media, where everyone can leave their thoughts and ruminations as quickly as they are thought of, delayed only by the processing time of signing in, the resulting comments can be quite entertaining in their variety.

In this case the premise is simple; what if the Creator had a blog and invited readers to leave their comments? Enjoy.

Shouts and Murmurs, The New Yorker


Sunday, August 7, 2011

Hell Is Other People

 The problem of evil: 
Why unconditionally bad things
happen to unconditionally good people.
They never do.
(Jonathan Safran Foer)

Some of the most user-friendly expressions are military based, a field where people literally put their lives at risk, whether voluntarily or not.  Used sparingly, swearing is powerful and has been proven to increase pain tolerance. A few months ago I experienced a conglomerate of a cluster flocked snafu of a fubar.  Within the course of a week life turned upside down, unpleasant discoveries were made, losses were incurred and plans...well. There were plans?

After the initial period of healthy shock and disbelief, (stress hormones are neurotoxic and the brain protects itself by shutting down), it was time to assess the rubble.  Some things I could do nothing about. Accept and move on. Others could be resolved. Incubate a predator-alien hybrid and persist. Bring it. The most difficult to deal with were the situations that were caused by other people.

It was an unwelcome reminder of how selfish humanity can be. Be it entitlement, greed or the worst that my species has to offer, the indifference toward others, putting self-interests above the common good or causing usually unnecessary harm, whether directly or indirectly is a reality I still fail to comprehend.

The lack of empathy and indifference that permeates our global community is seemingly infinite. I experienced it in my own little microcosm and have been watching it unfold on a global scale.  Selfishness, brought on by the evolution of survival, but no longer balanced by empathy or altruism. Empathy, the omega factor, which supposedly sets us apart from other mammals.

While dealing with the fallout of my personal cluster flock, I noticed a wasp queen building her nest on a window frame.  Through the window I could watch her closely, observe her building skills, constructing papermache hexagons.

We think of wasps as pests, unlike bees they do not produce honey and are therefore not seen as a benefit that humans can exploit. However, wasps are not only pollinators, but useful pest controllers.  While adults feed on nectar, the young are fed insects.

For a few weeks, every time her future hive reached coin size, I would open the window and knock it off. I cleaned the area hoping that if the scent was gone, she would pick another location. A few days later, she was back.  Starting over. Rebuilding.  I even tried to relocate her, but she would fly off before I could scoop her up in a container.

As a nature geek, I know that the aggressiveness of a hive is directly influenced by the behavior of their queen. Calm queen, which she was, calm hive. It became our routine. Knock off the nest, watch her rebuild and start liking her in the process. I lived with the knowledge that I was responsible for not allowing her to do what nature meant her to. She only had one summer to accomplish it. Damn you, Ender Wiggin.

I knew that I would be away and by the time I returned, her aggressive soldiers would hatch, helping her expand the hive. With reluctance I terminated her gene pool. I am sorry my calm little wasp, you would have made a good queen, but I had to protect my self-interest.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Letter To A Neighbor

Dear Neighbor,

I understand that as a performance artist the muse strikes you when she does and must be obeyed. I particularly enjoy the part where you use your own physical form to explore and present the effects of climate change. Using natural lighting, framed by everyday objects such as windows is conceptually brilliant and illustrates your commitment to your artistic integrity.

Your repertoire is extensive and must require hours of preparation. The moonlight glinting off your ghostly form was particularly memorable.

Could you kindly provide me with your performance schedule, including your matinee shows, so we can adjust our curtains accordingly?

Truly not yours,

Mee Ice

Sunday, July 31, 2011

JOY

Right people, right place, right time equals one lucky happy humpback whale.





I am always astonished when I encounter people who believe that we are the only mammals that can experience emotions such as joy and exuberance. Watching this video confirms my opinion, what she felt was clearly joy and relief. As did I.

My gratitude to the rescuers for saving a majestic life.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Space: The Final Frontier, To Boldly Go Where No One...Never Mind

The cold war was a time period that led to the golden age of scientific funding, exploration and discovery. The space race ensured that time limits were set and met.

On July 21, 1969, half a billion people listened to Neil Armstrong say the most famous words uttered by a human being in space: "That's one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind".

Aspiring American astronauts better learn some foreign languages fast, if they want to hitch a ride to space.




Spasiba and dosvidaniya, STS-135

Monday, July 11, 2011

Google! What Are You Up To?

You have probably already heard that Google +, currently in beta version, is launching soon. Internet rumor has it that blogger will be renamed Googleblog. Try saying that in rapid succession. Googlebleck. Googooboo. George Bob. Huh? Why not.

It would have been nice for them to announce it on...let's see...blogger buzz, perhaps? At least preferable to experiencing blogger meltdown, chasing widgets that disappear and reappear or wasting time troubleshooting while wondering, what did I do now?

Information is sparse, all I am aware of is that private profiles will be deleted on July 31, 2011 or sooner. What does that actually mean for bloggers or readers? Will it affect us? Anyone know? In addition, as of August, Google will no longer support anything but the newest browser versions. If you have not done so already, now would be a good time to update your browsers.

Time, so elusive and hard to find, which is why I chose the allegedly "simple and stable" blogger platform, despite the fact that other platforms have better templates. Time...Wasted time...Remembering that time is infinite, while my time is not....Where was I? Oh, yes.

This will make it easier for targeted marketing to find us. I am well aware that 95% of revenue for our friendly "free" giant comes from advertising.  "Recommended for you" has never worked for me, undoubtedly the next time I stop to look at something that evokes: "Cool. Someone sculpted a detailed reproduction of the Serenity (Firefly)....Out of cake?!," I will be targeted with cupcake recipes and where to buy them.

I thought it would be a good use of my time to start working on my public profile:

Name:     Sigyisfor Kyiirneayrokull (Maybe something with Umlauts, make it sound more Icelandic? I will never remember how to sign in again).
Location: Planet Earth, orbiting a G-Class star. (Just in case extraterrestrials need to advertise as well)
Age:        12 going on 2000.
Household members: Trillions, I am including microscopic lifeforms. Gross underestimate.
Marital Status: Is this a census?
Interests: Swearing at blogger and inanimate objects that suddenly appear in my path.
Likes:       Privacy. I also enjoy breathing.
Dislikes:    Invasion of Privacy. Not breathing.
Occupation: Of space and time. Sometimes it feels territorial.
Goals:      Training cats to stop sleeping on the remote controls. (Spawn does not like to be moved). Getting blogger to align tabs. And world peace.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

CLIMATE CHANGED: A Brief Introduction

The Ironworks at Coalbrookdale
This is the first in a series of posts that I have been avoiding. It was thought about, discussed in RL for a long time, yet I held on to the irrational belief that somehow, miraculously, scientists of various scientific fields would turn out to be wrong.

I have hinted at it in past posts, my readers already know, but until it began happening in people's own backyard the facts were dismissed or denied. Across the interwebs, I still come across comments such as "What is going on?" in response to certain natural disasters, such as unusual storms and floods, which made me wonder if some people simply prefer to live in denial. This post is not about fearmongering or even directed at my "fellowers", but a reaction to the ignorification of the public by the media and other mostly self-interested sources.

A fellow blogger and friend Sprite, who has been through the January floods in Australia, encouraged me to write about it.

Disclaimer: The following "news" may cause some readers to assume the fetal position.

Contrary to the Apocalyptics, the end is not near, but the climate has changed. Past tense. Irreversible for now, we might be able to slow down the rate of change, but at present time we do not have the technology or even the intent to stop it.

On a global scale, we still do not know or understand how our climate and weather patterns are "created" or all of the variables that affect our climate. The computing power to do that on a global scale, i.e. the ability to take all the factors into consideration, does not exist yet.  This makes accurate weather prediction nearly impossible. It is possible that the last couple of years were indeed a more extreme display, brought on by an active El Nino/La Nina cycle, of what is yet to come.

There are numerous causes, but no immediate solutions. Yet. Even if we were to stop all CO2 emissions at this moment, we do not have the technology to capture or remove the CO2 that we have been emitting into our atmosphere for at least 150 years or possibly since the Industrial Revolution began. CO2, which is not only a greenhouse gas, but acidifying our oceans.

However, if our focus were to shift there are possibilities. If we and by we I mean our entire human species re-prioritized what is important we could at least begin to ameliorate the problem.

Hang on to your roofs, basements, ice cubes and umbrellas, it's going to be a bumpy ride.

To be continued...

The Ironworks at Coalbrookdale 1801
By Philip de Loutherbourg (1740-1812)
Collection Science Museum, London

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Cats Training For Something

Exercise Video with Sparky and Jet:




Sparky: I'm Shparky, cuz I'm bright. I make mashine go.
Jet:      I gotta work off those treats. They call me Jet. Ready for takeoff, Sparky.

Sparky: I make mashine go fasht.
Jet:      Look. I run so fast my paws go blurry. 

Crowd:  Run Sparky, Run!

Sparky: Yeeeeeaaah! Look at me go weely fasht.
Jet:      I'm hungry.
Sparky: I make mashine go shloooow and shtop.

If you're celebrating a long weekend do not forget to exercise. What am I saying? I am not your coach.

Have a great weekend.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Deprived Cinephile

Summertime triggers fond memories of going to the movies and the anticipatory excitement I used to feel as a child and teen.  Back in my time, which was yesterday, there was a period where I had what seemed like unlimited access to University and Repertory theaters.  They showed the gems of film making, many foreign and art house, where the emphasis lay on telling great stories through a visual medium.

It was in those theaters that I first experienced the dark comedy "Delicatessen" by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, discovered the theatrical and disturbing vision of Peter Greenaway, watched and marveled at Ridley Scott's "Alien" and "Blade Runner", craved "The Scent of Green Papaya" or traveled through Italy with the quirky protagonist of "Caro Diario".

Repertory cinemas, where fellow film aficionados sit in respectful silence have been closing. The foreign film section appears to be getting smaller and I do not think I have watched a movie about an artist since "Pollock". As a fellow cinephile friend of mine often states: "They just don't make them anymore".

If you have any unique or original movies to recommend please do.

Within the current trend of CGI and remakes of remakes, "Immortals" looks original and visually interesting. Directed by Tarsem (who also directed The Cell) and starring Mickey Rourke as Hyperion. It may not be deep and profound, but I am hoping for at least some geekcitement.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Imaginary Conversation: Antimatter

The following conversation is fictitious. Any resemblance to living persons is purely coincidental.





Dr. Wu: Did you hear? CERN scientists just published an article that they have trapped antimatter for over 16 minutes.
Dr. Bernard: Yes. They confined antihydrogen for 1000 seconds. Incredible. This will bring us closer to studying and understanding the laws of nature and physics.
Dr. Wu: Whatever happened to America's Super Collider that they were building in Texas?
Dr. Bernard: The project was scrapped in 1993 due to budget cuts.
Dr. Wu: But they already built over $1 billion worth of infrastructure.
Dr. Bernard: Yes. It would have been the world's largest particle accelerator, 3 times as big as the Hadron Collider in Europe.
Dr. Wu: It would have been such a great contribution to science.
Dr. Bernard: About $8 billion dollars to complete it was too much, especially since antimatter cannot be used as an energy source or to make an antimatter bomb.
Dr. Wu: That was an entertaining book.
Dr. Bernard: Speculative fiction.
Dr. Wu: So, what have they been up to instead?
Dr. Bernard: Other than making movies? Advancing technology based on fireworks.
Dr. Wu: HA! That was a good invention, wasn't it?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

June Awards and the Geek Award goes to...

A while back I received the Great Commenter award from Paulsifer and A Little Sprite. Thank you both, I really appreciate it. I am paying it forward to the following bloggers who show up regularly and take the time to comment.


Al Punwater, who leaves some of the funniest comments behind and makes me chuckle and laugh on a regular basis.
Jayne, for sharing her knowledge of and passion for the Arts with everyone.
Nubian, who still manages to rescue the world with kindness, compassion and humor, despite self-proclaimed consumption of copious amounts of wine.;)
Meg, who falsely claims that she is half crazed, when she leaves rather sane and funny comments about cats and geckos. Thank you for showing up and commenting.

***

Awards show our appreciation for what fellow bloggers post. Only in the blogosphere can one receive an award just for showing up, inspiring others or making someone laugh.  Even though some bloggers consider them BTDs (blogger transmitted disease) and they are ubiquitous and come with rules, which I usually ignore, (because, well, the award police has yet to make an appearance), they are welcomed, especially when sincere.

Before I joined the blogging community, which allowed me to meet some incredible people, I noticed that once again the geeks were being left out. There is nothing wrong with pink and pretty, but even when it comes to frivolous blog awards, the geeks are not being represented. That void needed to be filled and after laborious efforts and experimentation, (Oh. Look. My basic paint software has a spray can, but can't layer), I managed to create this:


It is a stunning work of art, isn't it?

*crickets*

Anyhooooow, this shiny new Geek Award is bestowed upon some fellow geeks, who write about science, nature, gaming or other geeky interests.

A Little Sprite, a fellow natural history buff, nature geek and wildlife expert, who knows everything or if she does not, will look it up. 
Paulsifer, who ponders the depth of human behavior and statistics and is an avid gamer.
Vinny C, another game geek, bird watcher (ask him, birds are his PASSION), who openly admits his interests, which include anime and scifi.
Doctor Cynicism, who is deeply involved with the study of "why aren't all humans using their brain?" and started a campaign called Darwin Weeps. He spends his spare time annihilating titans and creatures.
Jono, a proud geek, who shares what he finds with the rest of us geeks. I'm convinced he owns a T.A.R.D.I.S.

Rules? What rules? Give it to someone who is openly geek.

Thank you all for being part of this blogger's Jeesh.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Creative Writing Project Written By Fellow Bloggers 1

This is a fun creative writing project written by fellow bloggers in 5 minutes or less. Feel free to continue the story, add some dialogue or whatever else inspires you. Silence that inner critic, better yet send him/her for a walk, this is not about writing well, but having fun at creating something. Some courageous fellowers have already contributed. There are no rules, add more than once if you like, just one request, please keep it "clean", I prefer to avoid search terms that will gravely disappoint some poor soul out there.  I will post it in the sidebar under Categories so that you can continue to read and add to it. The mystery so far...


Untitled

by
1. Antares Cryptos, 2. A little Sprite, 3. Jono, 4. Claire Beynon, 5. Marylinn Kelly , 6. Elisabeth ,
7. Vinny C, 8. Sprite, 9. Antares C, 10. Marylinn and...

1. He had no recollection of how he had ended up here, wherever here actually was.  Disoriented, he looked around but could not discern much detail. A strangely familiar scent lingered in the air. He thought he heard footsteps. "Hello?" he called, when...

2. ..suddenly there was the sound of metal scraping on reluctant ancient hinges and a door ponderously opened before him. A brilliant white light streamed in from the opening, blinding his eyes and he held a shaking hand to them while they adjusted to the glare. When he lowered his hand, there, before him, a dark figure outlined in the doorway was...  

3. ...beckoning silently. "Wh..Who are you?" he wanted to ask, but the words wouldn't come. He felt drawn, pulled even, he moved slowly toward the figure. As he got closer the familiar scent grew stronger and his eyes adjusted further. Stood before him was a woman dressed from head to toe in white robes. A hood covered her head and part of her face, but he could still tell she was extremely beautiful yet unfamiliar. She continued to beckon and he wasn't afraid. She moved aside as he reached and passed through the doorway into the light. Once through he turned briefly away from her to see...

4. . . . a giant plumb bob, swinging from West to East like the slowing pendulum of an old, old clock. Cumulus clouds gathered on the horizon, growing in volume as he watched - and increasing in dimension and momentum. He ducked as a flare of white lightning sparked across his path, glancing back to where she stood, silent and inscrutable, her ice-blue eyes taking everything in but giving nothing away. . .

5. except for a darting glance toward his clenched left hand, a look so quick he thought he imagined it. As he stood, just for a moment, to plan his next steps, he opened his hand and discovered a map had been drawn on his palm. There were few landmarks, nothing as helpful as a giant "X" and "You Are Here." But the lines were clear and unsmudged and indicated, he hoped, a path toward open country where, if luck was with him, he might find...

6. ...some clue, as to the identity of the woman in white robes, who shimmered in front of him as if she were a ghost. His name was Simon. How could he forget? But hers? What was her name?
The woman did not speak, not at first, but she held out her hand as if to welcome him forward into her ...

7. ... Once again, that mysterious power she had drew him in. Only for a second, he glanced over his shoulder in the direction of the door he had come through. It was gone. He knew he should be worried, but he wasn't. "Shouldn't I try to find an exit? Some way back?" Simon asked himself, No. Those feelings were strangely subdued. All he could think about was this strange place, that strange, beautiful woman with those piercing blue eyes. He turned to where she stood. She was...

8. ...still silently watching him, as if to see what he would do next. Simon was torn. He wanted to stay with her, but he desperately wanted to leave. He looked out over the land again, surveying this strange place, trying to find something familiar. Something to bring him a small amount of comfort. Something to strike out for. But the ever changing landscape and the ferocity of the darkening sky held him back. It was then that Simon realised what he was meant to do. He....

9. stepped towards her, only to discover that she had disappeared. Confused, he looked around. Had he imagined her? Gingerly, he ran his fingers through his hair feeling for bumps or cuts, but found none.
His surroundings were briefly illuminated by another lightning bolt, which revealed a path before him. He began walking towards it and flinched when he felt a burning sensation in the palm of his left hand...

10. and the faint sound of a distant engine, not too well tuned, rumbling in his head. Shaking his head did nothing to dislodge it, but instead increased the volume. What an odd time to think of how sharply he'd spoken to his dog, Renfrew, who had wanted to follow when he set out, saying...

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Birds. Shut The FRAK Up!...Please.

I am tired. Why am I tired? Allow me to enlighten you.

My readers should be made aware that I have been rescuing birds and other wildlife ever since I have been capable of picking them up.

The universe has recently shown its deep appreciation for my life-giving rescue efforts by gifting me a nesting pair of birds, which have displayed their gratitude and trust by choosing the tree outside of our bedroom window as their precious new real estate.  I am usually delighted by the operatic performance of songbirds and birds in general, but there is something wrong with this pair. 

I suspect, given the fact that I am unable to identify them, that they may be illegal migrants.  They do not behave like the other birds.  For one thing they get up in what is presumably their own time zone; 3:42 am to be precise.  Initially, I thought they are just jet-lagged, but it is quite obvious that they do not comply with local cultural standards of birdness.

Their morning wake up call is neither song nor sound, but high-pitched, supersonic noise that breaks the sound barrier, as well as my nerves of steel.  This noise has turned me into a self-absorbed and cranky narcoleptic.  According to eyewitness reports, at precisely 3:43 am, my still unconscious mind has been offering my professional credentials to no one in particular or yelling any of the following into a dead cell phone: "Who died?", "GET EVERYONE INTO THE ESCAPE POD!" or "Where is my Mango?"

Approximately 15 minutes later, the witness alleges, neighbors are then woken out of their slumber by someone shouting: "STOP IT!!!! For Frak's sake!" at a tree.

Dear Mutant Birds,
Please kick your fledgling brood out of the nest,
teach them how to fly,
and SHUT THE FRAK UP!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Creativity Rules

I came across this and had to share it with dreamers, builders, innovators and creators.




I am curious, what do you create, build, take apart, improve on, make, upcycle or DIY (Destroy It Yourself)?

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Zombiepocalypse And Natural Disasters Are Here. Be Prepared!

It has been impossible not to notice the recent onslaught of "zombies" in popular culture. A previously subversive underground and at best B movie character, zombies have gone mainstream. An ominous sign of our times.  The ultimate vehicle for the "scary" monster, zombies represent some of our most primal fears.

Hollywood responds to what people want to see and watching slow moving, man-made cannibals is a mechanism to deal with something that appears to be more horrific than a global recession, catching an untreatable superbug or dealing with the thought that the natural disasters we have recently experienced are the result of climate change.  The Horror genre exaggerates the post-apocalyptic world of global warming, serving as a social commentary on living in denial, like the walking undead, pretending that everything is fine when it is not.

The CDC posted one of the best PSAs I have ever seen. They used humor to successfully inform the public to be prepared in the event of any emergency, which temporarily prevents access to modern technology. (The site had so many hits it crashed within a few days). You can view the article here:  CDC Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse. Everyone should have an Emergency Kit, Go Bag or Zombiepocalypse box, just in case we are on our own for a few days.

Not to worry though, after the Zombiepocalypse come the superheroes to save us all from ourselves.  Approximately 40 superhero movies are scheduled for release over the next couple of years.  Things are looking up.

Came across this:



You looked, didn't you? So, what is your "Weapon of Choice"? I will put my answer below.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Bruschetta Al Antaro

Ciao! Come va?

Dis iss Antaro. Antaro show yu ouw too maka da Bruschetta. Yu say "brusketta".

Bene, allora. Yu needa dis:

Tomato, Onion, Garlic
Basilico, Oregano, Salt
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Ciabatta or Baguette

Is molto importante too gutt de tomato and de onion,...come si dice piccolo?.....Eh?! Come?...."Smaaaall". EENGLEESH! *&%((#    %$#&  @%%&((*

As someone's Nonna, not mine, dice: "Vat iz dis? Tomato?!? It looka lika tomato. Diz iz not a tomato, diz iz garrbaatch! ONLY in Italia doo yu av tomato. Buon gusto. Diz? Gusto brutto. PHEH!!"

Yu kutt, yu mix, yu put on de bread, yu bake, yu mangiare, mangiare. Iz simpel and good for yu. Capisce? Bene! Buon Appetito.

Ragazza Klara mada me do dis, she say: "Ant. C - okay, so I nearly split my ribs laughing this evening, thanks to you! All because of a comment I came upon by chance on Think.Stew's blog. Your Tofu Burger recipe (with accompanying commentary) is hilarious and brilliant. I'd like to encourage you to copy/paste it to your own blog where others can delight in it as I did?"

In Italia, they maka de Ferrari, causa soma de uomini need it. "Smaaaaaal." I mada da funny, si? Klara calle everribuddy funny, iz much better than a Ferrari.

Allora. Iz too hot anda too much worka to show yu all de funny commenters. I show yu dis from: thinkstew-dbs




Dis iz Bella Italia. Iz made by Yanko Tsvetkov, designer graphico at Alphadesigner.com. He maka pictures called "Mapping Stereotypes".


Iz not nice, but tru.











Allora. I av to go on de Vespa to meeta miei amici.  

CIAO!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Giga Bites You

Internet consumption has increased exponentially in the last couple of years.  We flocked to the interweb seeking entertainment and found a sliding scale of addiction. With a healthy dose of concern and indifference, I have been watching the industry giants acquiring and attempting to acquire each other. I wonder....


Google + Facebook = Glazed Look

Google + Twitter + Facebook = Gt Fcd

Microsoft + Nokia = Mocking Ya'

Skype + Microsoft Kinect = Skyne(c)t. Ha! I knew it!

Microsoft + Google + Facebook = ?

                                                                                                      

Friday, May 27, 2011

Fear Is The Mindkiller

I must not fear.
Fear is the mindkiller.
Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.

                                                                                               (Frank Herbert, Dune)


"We live in uncertain times" is a catchphrase that has been used quite a bit in recent times and that can induce feelings of anxiety in social creatures.  An evolutionary survival mechanism, we are susceptible to warnings. Investigative journalism that used to rely on facts has been distorted into sensationalized reporting of events based on fear.  Fear mongering, which offers no solutions.

Truly "uncertain" times are long gone, especially for those of us who won the geographic lottery of life. I can state with certainty that I will eat today, more than once, I am also certain that I will not be eaten. At least 3 billion people do not live with the certainty of a daily meal.  I try not to worry about bad events that might happen to me until they do.

***

When I was about 9 or 10 years old, I went on a school trip organized by a teacher, who would be considered a mainstream environmentalist today.  She convinced the school's authorities to allow us to go live with forest rangers, not quite set up to be a camp.  For a week we lived in a cabin in the middle of a forest, without most of the comforts of modern civilization.  We were taught how to identify animal tracks on the ground and tree species by bark and leaf.

Evenings were spent playing games or listening to ghost stories by flashlight or campfire. On the last evening that we were there, the ghost story was not read from a book, but told by my teacher.  She told us of the history of the forest we were in and that there was a myth that a deranged mind was on the loose, who abducted children.  Since this was the last night we were going to do something different.  After the sun had set, we were driven to our destination and given instructions by one of the rangers, who told us that this was our final "test".  This was the test: There was a path in the forest leading to a lake and we had to walk toward it.  One by one. In the dark. Alone. Without a flashlight.

I watched with nervous excitement as my classmates were each sent along this path at timed 10 minute intervals.  There was an equal amount of nervous laughter and bravado, someone started to cry and did not participate.  Then it was my turn. I started walking. I could hear the cheering and joking as I left my class mates behind.

I was not scared. I was walking on a graveled path, I have never been scared of the dark and I was too old to believe in ghost stories.  I expected that the scariest thing that would happened to me was one of my class mates popping out of the woods, yelling "boo."

I walked in complete darkness, not moon- or starlit, but pitch black darkness. After about 10 minutes, I noticed that I still could not see any lake nor could I hear any of the students that were ahead of me.  I should have been able to hear them by now, I thought.  It was not just dark, it was silent. I had heard the occasional twig crack, but no rustling in the undergrowth, no animal sounds. Forests aren't completely silent, even at night, are they? Had I walked off the path by accident? What if I had gotten lost? What if they had left without me and had not noticed? What if that story was not a myth and there really was a crazy bad guy? Where was the lake?

Fear. My mind was racing with "What Ifs", my eyes were wide, but I could not see a thing, my heart was pounding, but all I could hear were my own footsteps. I wanted to panic, I wanted to run and freeze at the same time. I wanted to be anywhere, but in this dark frightening forest. I thought of yelling so that someone could find me, but what if the bad guy heard me? What if I got so disoriented that I walked into a tree?

That made me laugh. I took a deep breath. I did not know it at the time, but I reasoned myself into calmness. My teacher would never let us come to harm. I remembered that I was disappointed when I discovered that there was no wildlife bigger than a rodent in the area.  If anything did happen to me, my dad would mobilize the entire world to find me and my teacher would be in sooooo much trouble.

I am calm and calmed by nature. There was nothing to be scared of. Walking by myself in a forest in the middle of the night was cool. My parents would never let me do that. I actually ended up enjoying myself during the rest of this "test of courage".  Eventually, I walked into a small clearing turned parking lot, where my teacher and my classmates waited quietly. She indicated that I should do the same. Instead of whispering we all mimed our experience to each other until everyone had arrived.

***

At the time, it was an exciting experience to be shared and told. As an adult, I am grateful for the profound and valuable lesson she taugt me that night. Don't believe in scary stories. Don't allow irrational fears to take over mind and reason. Knowledge is power, fear is not. No matter how frightening a situation appears to be, keep walking and just breathe.

Thank you for this precious and incredible gift, teacher.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Not Under My Umbrella

Umbrellas and I have a shared history of mutual disdain. I prefer not to carry one and umbrellas prefer that I leave them in their store and refrain from donating them to the public.

On one particularly windy evening, I was walking with a friend who carried one of those (piece of) cheap retractable models, that spends the majority of its existence turning itself inside out, spines hailing toward the sky.  We stopped at a pedestrian crosswalk, waited for the signal to tell us that it was highly probable that we would survive crossing the road, when aforementioned umbrella decided to make its dream come true and become an untethered kite.

With a sigh of relief it tore its way free from cheap thread, taking a few spines with it and flew into the open sky at last. We watched wistfully as it fluttered away, carried by wind and weather on its erratic maiden flightpath.  After an exceptionally short run at flight and freedom it landed in a spread out heap of black nylon wings on the windshield of a car.

Not just any car.

A police car. A police car with two startled officers of the law, whose visibility was now reduced to zero thanks to us.

Time stops during these magical moments and my mind began its visual story:

Officer Bellefleur: HQ, we're under attack.
HQ: Are you hurt?
Officer Bellefleur: Unable to assess the situation, complete blackout. We are blind.
HQ: What is the nature of the attack?
Officer Bellefleur: At 19:25 hours a UFO landed on our vehicle. I repeat, we are blind, please send backup.

By this point my law abiding friend had turned a lighter shade of pale, deciding how fast he could run in leather soled shoes. In support, I had already started producing the strange sounds of suppressed laughter until I became incapacitated.

"Stop laughing," he hissed, frightened at the prospect that these particular victims might not appreciate being laughed at.  Sobered by the fact that the cruiser was holding up traffic and no one dared to honk, I composed myself. Briefly. Until I made eye-contact with officer Bellefleur's partner and noticed that he was definitely not getting out to remove what was left of the wayward umbrella since it was quite apparent that this was the best thing that had happened to him all day.

A strong gust of wind lifted the umbrella back into the air. "Sorry," I mouthed insincerely, while trying to breathe.

Lost: One joyful, liberated umbrella. If found, please keep.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Raisin Of Reason

I am happy to report that I am happy to report that the predictions of my untimely demise were highly exaggerated, including my own.  In addition, it would appear that none of us were deemed worthy to escape the human condition prematurely. The kind elderly gentleman, who made it his life's ambition to warn us all, miscalculated again, proving once again that the future is unknown.

What I hope that this accomplished is that anyone who worried or believed in this type of prediction, frequently bred in uncertain economic times, will not worry about 2012. That his followers are met with compassion rather than ridicule, for being so desperate to want to leave their existence behind.  I am also hoping that those who chose to take advantage of the vulnerable will be forced to issue a refund. Hope goes last.

Considering his age (89), an apocalyptic end is in sight, as it eventually is for all of us.  I cannot escape my own mortality or even live "every day to the fullest", whatever that actually means. However, I can choose to steal every little moment of time that I can to read a good book, marvel at a leaf or watch squirrels argue about whatever it is that squirrels argue about. It looks like everyone has got problems.

What kind of lemons do squirrels get and what do they do with them? I have been left to ponder the seemingly irrelevant.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

*Sneeze*

GiantMicrobes.com

5:00 I'm still dying.

10:00 I'm bored. And dying. Who knew dying could be so boring?
10:15 I better say goodbye to my best friends.

BFF: Hello?
Me: I'm dying.
BFF: Who is this?
Me: Me.
BFF: You sound awful. What's wrong?
Me: I know, right? *Sneeze* I've got D1P1.
BFF: You've got what?
Me: Draconus Pterodactylus, I've got the Dragon Flu. I'm patient zero. There is no cure, death is imminent.
BFF: That's a little dramatic, you sound feverish.
Me: I habe nob been outshide shinsh the day bebob yeshterday.
BFF: What?
Me: Hold on. *Blows nose* "Aaaaooouuu! [Bleep! That hurt!]"
BFF: Are you alright?
Me: No. I just blew out an eardrum. I'm deaf and dying.
Former BFF: Uuuuumm...okay. I gotta go. I'll call you later. Get some rest and feel better soon. Bye.

***

2:00 Call from HQ

HQ: Hi hon, how are you feeling?
Me: Gagh. I'm languishing with my catarrh. *Sneeze* The sneezing is interrupting my deep contemplation of the space.
HQ: You poor thing.
Me: *Hurmphf*. I had a great idea for a video game. Instead of formulaic Super-soldiers fighting silly mutant zombified aliens, it's about the immune system taking on pathogens. They start with...[incoherent rambling].
HQ: You still have a fever?
Me: I do not have a "fever". I am destroying billions of non-living viral invaders with extreme heat. HA! They did not see that coming! Heat forged in the abyss of...the...uumm...Forge...thing? Great. I'm denaturing my own brain cells, I'm going to be a deaf, dying moron. I spent all day reading the same page and I still can't remember what it was about.
HQ: Hon, I made you some soup, did you have any?
Me: I don't want soup. What kind of a last meal is soup?! I want wood-oven burned fired pizza or pasta con something. No, wait...I want...
HQ: I'll pick up candy and a teddy bear for you on my way home.
Me: Fine! I'll have soup. Ma'am.
HQ: I'll be home soon.
Me: I don't think I'll make it that long. *Sneeze. SNEEZE. Sneeze* I lub you.

***
I'm dying. Alone. *Purring*. With cats. Farewell, my friends.