Friday, December 30, 2011

Aerial photos of Florida

I took these on Wednesday's flight from Tampa to Baltimore. I love the receding view as the plane lifts into the air.
Aerial photo of Northern Florida (above Tampa) heading Northeast
(another) Aerial photo of Florida where land meets water
Aerial photo of Florida
Aerial photo of Florida with "torn edges" filter applied
This one has the filter "Torn Edges" applied (Under "Filter," "Sketch" in Photoshop).
Aerial photo of northern Florida

Thursday, December 29, 2011

On happiness...

laughing and shy

Quotes on happiness
(because what better way to reflect on our blessings than at year's end?)


"The Constitution only guarantees the American people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself." ~Benjamin Franklin

"What a wonderful life I've had! I only wish I'd realized it sooner." ~Colette

"People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they're not on your road doesn't mean they've gotten lost." ~H. Jackson Browne

"There are two things to aim at in life: first, to get what you want; and after that, to enjoy it. Only the wisest of mankind achieve the second." ~Logan Pearsall Smith

"We tend to forget that happiness doesn't come as a result of getting something we don't have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have." ~Frederick Keonig

"Happiness held is the seed; happiness shared is the flower." ~Author Unknown

"We are seldom happy with what we now have, but would go to pieces if we lost any part of it." ~Mignon McLaughlin

"One joy scatters a hundred griefs." ~Chinese Proverb

"Unquestionably, it is possible to do without happiness; it is done involuntarily by nineteen-twentieths of mankind." ~John Stuart Mill

"Three grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for." ~Joseph Addison

"Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony." ~Mahatma Gandhi

"Happiness makes up in height for what it lacks in length." ~Robert Frost

May you have a wonderful new year!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Baby you were born this way (Lady Gaga cover by Maria Aragon)

This little girl is incredible -- see her cover of Lady Gaga's Born this Way (also listen to the words and know you're beautiful the way you are). Thank you, Maria Aragon, for reminding us of this and for showcasing it with your amazing talent:


My mama told me when I was young
We are all born superstars
She rolled my hair and put my lipstick on
In the glass of her boudoir
There's nothin' wrong with lovin' who you are
She said, 'cause He made you perfect, babe
So hold your head up and you you'll go far
Listen to me when I say

I'm beautiful in my way
'Cause God makes no mistakes
I'm on the right track, baby I was born this way
Don't hide yourself in regret
Just love yourself and you're set
I'm on the right track, baby I was born this way, born this way
Ooh, there ain't no other way, baby, I was born this way
Baby, I was born this way
Ooh, there ain't no other way, baby, I was born this way
I'm on the right track, baby, I was born this way

Give yourself prudence and love your friends so we can rejoice the truth
In the religion of the insecure I must be myself, respect my youth
A different lover is not a sin
Believe capital H-I-M
I love my life, I love this record and Mi amore vole fe yah

Don't be drag, just be a queen
Whether you're broke or evergreen
You're black, white, beige, chola descent
You're Lebanese, you're orient
Whether life's disabilities
Left you outcast, bullied or teased
Rejoice and love yourself today
'Cause baby, you were born this way

'Cause you're beautiful in you're way
'Cause God makes no mistakes
You're on the right track, baby you were born this way
Don't hide yourself in regret
Just love yourself and you're set
I'm on the right track, baby I was born this way
Ooh, there ain't no other way, baby, I was born this way
Baby I was born this way
Ooh, there ain't no other way, baby, I was
I'm on the right track, baby I was born this way
My mama told me when I was young
We are all born superstars

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

friendship

"No lapse of time or distance of place can lessen the friendship of those who are truly persuaded of each other's worth." - Unknown

Friday, December 23, 2011

The knots of life

Photo by Jesse Aaron Mueller


“We learn the rope of life by untying its knots.” ~Jean Toomer

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The key is to plant the seeds.

buds

"Every night I woke up in dread, terrified of yet one more insecure tomorrow.... The agony that youth was gone, and for the rest of my tomorrows I was finished, through, crushed by my responsibilities and the carved out hole of loss inside of me. I’m still afraid of slipping back into that crevice.... Once you’ve seen the darkness in the center of the Earth, the heat that can burn your brain to cinders, you know it’s always there, an open invitation to come back.

"But the important thing is that right around the middle of all of this, I started planting seeds.... The key is to plant the seeds. And never stop, even if weather, even if animals, even if mutations, look as if they are going to damage the garden and destroy it. Seeds take time to grow. A long time. And they need to be loved with patience, just like children. And there are seeds designed for every season. The key is to go out there, dig up dirt, and plant. Every day.... What seed will you plant today?"

James Altucher
See full blog post at:
http://www.jamesaltucher.com/2011/12/sometimes-things-just-keep-getting-worse/

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

on friendship...


"Do not assume that she who seeks to comfort you now, lives untroubled among the simple and quiet words that sometimes do you good. Her life may also have much sadness and difficulty, that remains far beyond yours. Were it otherwise, she would never have been able to find these words." -Rainer Maria Rilke

Thursday, December 15, 2011

That is what art should do. It should make the world blush and give up its secrets.

Housewarming
“This is what good art does. It takes a pebble in the road, or a human being, and it concentrates on them until they begin to glow. I think the concept and the notion of blushing is very important in art, and in my kind of art. You know, the artist concentrates on the detail of the object until it blushes in the way the love object blushes when a lover gazes at it with that particular intense gaze. That is what art should do. It should make the world blush and give up its secrets.” John Banville

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

at last you have found the area where very few people will be able to compete

leaves (watercolor)
"Failure. Learning from your accidents... catapults you through the learning curve very quickly. My kids often give up instantly when they lose at something. That’s ok. They just aren’t interested. But once you find something where you pick yourself up and you say, “I HAVE TO DO BETTER” next time. THEN you know you are onto something – a passion, a dream, the field where you can become a grandmaster, the field where you can become an entrepreneur. It’s a secret you learn about yourself and you can be privately proud that at last you have found the area where very few people will be able to compete. 99% of people give up after a failure.... It’s the best filter that will tell you you will eventually succeed." - James Altucher

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Baltimore at sunset -- view from the One World Cafe.
I took this in Baltimore last year off Charles Street near JHU Homewood Campus.
There's a Hole in My Sidewalk
Portia Nelson



I:
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost…
I am helpless.
It is not my fault.
It takes forever to find my way out.

II:
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in.
I can’t believe I am in the same place.
But it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

III:
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it there.
I still fall in…It’s a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

IV:
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.
I walk down another street.

Copyright 1993, Portia Nelson from the book, There’s a Hole in My Sidewalk, Beyond Words Publishing, Hillsboro, Oregon. Autobiography in Five Short Chapters.
http://www.mendontlisten.com/article_sidewalk.html

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

setting up Google Voice to route into one cell phone (for business AND personal use)

I won't even go into how much TIME I spent on this problem, or how many other people I talked to that ALSO spent a ridiculous amount of time on Google Voice settings but apparently it's a common problem to set up a Google Voice number and have ALL incoming calls forwarded to the Google Voice mailbox, even ones going to the original number. I didn't want this. I have a business line and wanted business calls answered by my business voicemail and personal calls answered by personal voicemail.

So, after significant headdesking, it's working. Here are the steps:

Setting up a Google Voice business line to your personal cell phone:

(I did this with an iPhone 3GS, AT&T is my carrier):

1. Download iPhone app for Google Voice (so you can make calls from your phone as if from your Google Voice number. This won't actually affect your settings though).

2.  Go to Google Voice on your browser and go into Google Voice settings:

Under the "Phones" tab, check "forward calls to mobile."
DO NOT check "activate Google Voicemail for this phone."

3. Under "Voicemail & Text" tab, record a greeting for Google Voice & name it whatever you want. When you click "record new," it will call you on your phone. When you answer, a recording will prompt you to leave a message. (You'll have the option of doing it over if necessary.)

If you want anything else -- voicemails transcribed, etc., check those settings.

4. Under the "Calls" tab, change the default to "Call Screening On" (note: I don't have the box checked for requiring callers to announce their name because I believe that hinders customer service, but if you want this, it won't affect the final outcome).

Caller ID radio button: choose "Display Google Voice" (then, on your phone, add a contact for your business line so whenever it rings, you'll see the incoming call from that business name. I personalized the label so it says my business name and "Google Voice" in small letters (underneath instead of "iPhone" or "home" or "work" or the usual labels).

Check "Place missed calls in inbox."

5. Last but MOST IMPORTANT step: on your phone, you must deactivate conditional call forwarding (which is set as a default):

On your phone, dial ##004# and hit "send." This will ensure that calls coming into your phone are not all going to forward to Google Voice (the conditional call forwarding default).

RESULT from all these steps:
  • Calls to your business number forward to your cell. If no answer, they will route to business voicemail (or whatever you set as your Google Voice voicemail).
  • Calls to your personal number forward to the same cell. If there is no answer, they will route to your personal voicemail.
It doesn't matter if you decline the call or it rings long enough to go to voicemail, the correct voicemail box should still engage.

I keep my phone on silent almost all the time to keep disruption down when working so it was important to me that the correct voicemail picked up for its associated number. I hope this information is useful if you're having problems setting up your Google Voice account.

Monday, December 5, 2011

For Allison.

“The deep pain that is felt at the death of every friendly soul arise from the feeling that there is in every individual something which is inexpressible, peculiar to him alone, and is, therefore, absolutely and irretrievably lost.” Arthur Schopenhauer
Allison
Everyone has an important friend from childhood, their earliest friend, the one they first discover what it means to share laughter with someone outside the family. Allison was that person to me. We met in first grade. I was five, right about the age where my memories begin. On the last day of school, Mrs. Rose handed each student a special award for their talents and Allison got the "best behaved" distinction. It was the prize most revered because it was the hardest earned.

Allison, humble and wise even as a kid, did not brag like the others but instead stood quietly still, surprised by this unexpected badge as other students crowded around her to admire the well-deserved honor.

She was my first best friend and she shaped me. And she will never be forgotten.

I'd been looking for her online ever since I got online. (1994?) One day I Googled her name and found... her gravestone. I looked at my screen and started to cry.

I dreamt about her not that long ago and wrote:

Visiting Allison. (a dream)

I was 1,000 miles from home and visiting a college bookstore when I suddenly ran into my childhood friend, Allison, my best friend from about ages 6-12 before I moved away. I was somehow traveling backwards through time. I didn't ask how -- dreams are funny like that. I just knew it was happening.

She was young and beautiful in my dream, a sophomore in college. She was with her boyfriend who I knew would soon become her husband.

I watched her peruse through merchandise and pick up party lights."Ah," I thought. "You were not yet dead." She didn't know that two years from then she'd be gone, a victim of childbirth gone terribly wrong.

I went over and talked to her in my dream, wanting so badly to hold onto our conversation, the connection. Outwardly it seemed light, airy. We laughed together. I winced inside. She couldn't possibly know or understand that her foreshadowed death rattled around in my innards like a broken bottle, that I needed to double over and wrap my arms around myself to hold in the pieces that were coming apart.

One of the tiny lightbulbs dropped on the floor and bounced but did not break. I bent over to pick it up and thought, "Is this what it's like when you travel back in time to spend an instance with someone?" I thought. "Consumed only with when you would lose them, unable to fully enjoy the moment?"

I wanted to cry great racking sobs for the future as I knew how it would play out. I felt cheated. I went back to see her -- worked so hard for this moment -- and yet even then could not bring back the innocence that existed before I knew the pain of her loss.

We continued our light banter. I swallowed more glass. I found her a sweater she could wear on her way home. There was some comfort in giving her that, on that last occasion that I would see her. And we parted. She bought her party supplies. I watched her fade and slowly became conscious that I was dreaming. That's when I began writing this post in my head.

I woke up thinking of her and of all the other losses in my life I would know one day. How I'd be forever changed by each one, bent and gnarled like a charred, twisted oak, scarred by countless storms and fires.

Maybe this is the thing that makes us old. Loss. Because it robs us of our innocence that the world will stay as we know it.

RIP, Ali. Miss you.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Be kind anyway.

black & white of flowers
“People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.”
― Mother Teresa

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

If we did the same, by Chelsea Latimer (song & lyrics)

If we did the same LIVE
(source: Chelsea's page on MySpace Music)
If we did the same

Chelsea Latimer

Call myself (in the mirror?)
Saying things I wouldn't want my momma to hear
As if the fear will medicate my unease
I built a cage and now I'm searching for my keys

chorus
If everybody would do it like you do
Day in and day out
What would we look like now
What kind of thing would we all create
If we all did the same
It makes you think
Would you multiply
the way that you,
the way that I
(I) Live my life

Another night we go out
Our morals we throw out
Ignore my mistakes
You won't see me through all my haze
and this nest I make
is my home
But I want to get away
I want to get away

chorus

Kinda makes you think
Should I complain
Kinda makes, makes you think
Makes me think....

Source: http://www.myspace.com/chelsealatimer/music/songs/if-we-did-the-same-live-18183559

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Choose carefully...

black & white flower petals
"Choose these people, these things, these surroundings- gingerly, with curiosity and optimistic hesitation. These are the characters that will hang their hats and kick up their feet, atop all of your treasures, the ones we see and the ones we don't...they'll complicate your plans and make appearances in your day-to-day thought patterns.... they'll consume parts of you, even if you are careful. Let the pieces they consume be some of your favorites...."

-- Chelsea Latimer
From her blog post Making Space...

Sunday, October 2, 2011

"You know what? I did all I can. I leave the rest up to you."

I'm a stick-man giant

"In terms of the question: “do I believe in a higher power?” I would have to answer that I do believe in the concept of “surrender” which may or may not imply a higher power (who knows?). In other words, many situations get so difficult you want to throw up your hands and just say, “you know what, I did all I can. I leave the rest up to you.” And who is that you? It might be a higher power. It might be a creative force inside of you that is dying for those moments to be unleashed. Or it might simply be the feeling of gratitude that is always worth cultivating to help one find more happiness in life."

--James Altucher

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I believe...

monarch
Monarch Butterfly
Butterfly Conservatory, National Museum of Natural History
Washington, DC
"I believe everything happens for a reason. People change so you can learn how to let go. Things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they're right. You believe lies so you eventually learn to trust yourself and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together." Unknown

Sunday, July 24, 2011

If you get caught between the moon and New York City....

The sunset just got crazy gorgeous (NYC)
I took this a few weeks ago -- the colors are a little oversaturated but I still love the skyline at sunset.
“What we are aiming at when we fall in love, is a very strange paradox. The paradox consists of the fact that when we fall in love we are seeking to re-find all or some of the people to whom we were attached as children. On the other hand, we ask our beloved to correct all the wrongs that these early parents inflicted on us. So that love contains in it the contradictions, the attempt to return to the past and attempt to undo the past.”- Woody Allen as Professor Levy, Crimes and Misdemeanors

Friday, July 15, 2011

You have learned everything there is to know.

me and my cuz

Once upon a time, a woman moved to a cave in the mountains to study with a guru. She wanted, she said, to learn everything there was to know. The guru supplied her with stacks of books and left her alone so she could study. Every morning, the guru returned to the cave to monitor the woman's progress. In his hand, he carried a heavy wooden cane. Each morning, he asked her the same question: "Have you learned everything there is to know yet?" Each morning, her answer was the same. "No," she said, "I haven't." The guru would then strike her over the head with his cane.

This scenario repeated itself for months. One day the guru entered the cave, asked the same question, heard the same answer, and raised his cane to hit her in the same way, but the woman grabbed the cane from the guru, stopping his assault in midair.

Relieved to end the daily batterings but fearing reprisal, the woman looked up at the guru. To her surprised, the guru smiled. "Congratulations," he said, "you have graduated. You now know everything you need to know."

"How's that?" the woman asked.

"You have learned that you will never learn everything there is to know," he replied. "And you have learned how to stop the pain."

Thursday, June 30, 2011

you were once a perfect wish (Buddhist Meditations for tonight)


you were once a perfect wish, originally uploaded by ~stillpositive.

Today I was going over some Buddhist meditations to create a sense of peace with the imperfection that comes with life. There's never enough sleep, not enough time, too many things to do, not enough understanding or patience, and sometimes not enough love or forgiveness. How can we center ourselves amongst negativity?

Reflections to find a sense of peace

Sit someplace peaceful, come to a calm place and reflect on yourself first because when you can love yourself, you can love others:

- I have some bad habits and faults, but am I really all that bad?
- Many things I do don't lead to perfect results but at least I try to do my best.

- Remember people you don't necessarily like; they also just want to be happy.
- They need to feel loved, just like you.
- If someone did something that upset you, think about the cause of their behavior. Reflect: do I never make such a mistake? Do I always treat people perfectly?
- Can I expect others to be perfect all the time when I also do not manage that?
- Try to have the courage of breaking through the standard habits and overload them with thoughts of love instead.
- Don't be afraid your love will run out; true love is a never ending source of energy.
- Only our own feelings of hatred, frustration, impatience and egoism limit the stream of love to others.

Thoughts of the expectation of perfection and the stress these expectations can cause:

- Who am I really, what are all my negative qualities?
- Does this mean I am the worst person in the world?
- How many people do I know without any negative qualities?
- Can I expect myself to be perfect, without any faults?
- What are my positive qualities?
- Can I not at least help people, care about them, generate compassion?
- Does not everybody have good and bad qualities?
- Why do I have to judge so hard on myself for being human, with good and bad qualities? Likewise for others?
- I can strive for love, compassion and betterment; these things are possible.

An exercise in expression and forgiveness of slights:

- Imagine being in front of the person you need to forgive or want forgiveness from
- In the presence of your enlightened selves, say what you have to say
- Tell them what you really feel and why you want to forgive or want their forgiveness
- Imagine this person looking at you with compassion and understanding
- While telling them about your anger and regret, radiate out all your love and compassion to this person
- Know the person understands you and answers with love and compassion shining from the heart
- Open your heart and accept love and forgiveness.
From my heart, I forgive you for whatever you did, intentional or not.
May you be happy, free of confusion and understand yourself and the world.
Please forgive me for whatever I did to you, intentional or unintentional.
May we open our hearts and minds to meet in love and understanding.
Feel the warmth of healing between you.

Source: these meditations came from http://viewonbuddhism.org

Friday, June 24, 2011

What Work Is by Philip Levine : The Poetry Foundation

What Work Is by Philip Levine : The Poetry Foundation
"You know what work is—if you’re
old enough to read this you know what
work is, although you may not do it."
(full poem at link)

Thursday, March 31, 2011

free images online (a list of links)

List of where to get free images, art, clipart and photographs for your projects (always check copyright and usage information for all media you use). (Links below.)

Where can I get free images, art, clipart, and photographs?
Google search:
1. Go to Google images
2. Type in your keyword
3. Click "Search Tools" to filter by size, color, usage rights, type, time, etc.


Google power search tip: to limit your search to a particular domain name (say, their own search engine is terrible), type, into the search box: "site:www.domain.com keyword" substituting the actual domain and keyword:


This works for any Google search: text, images, etc.

More free images, graphic, art, clipart & photos:
Medical Images:
Where can I find satellite images?
Where can I find maps? (Site with many links to map sources)
Does Wikipedia have clip art?
Creative Commons
Royalty Free Icons and Clipart Stock Images
What's another good list of links for free images?

Where can I find Military (veterans) Clip Art?
  Also:
Where can I find other military photographs?
DoD Joint Combat Camera Center
DoD News Photos
Air Force
National Archives
Army Corps of Engineers Digital Visual Library
Center of Military History
Where can I find pictures of flags? 

Paid sites (that are reasonable in fee):

MISC:

Monday, March 28, 2011

Trust

"The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them." ~Ernest Hemingway

Monday, March 21, 2011

photos of DC

WWII Memorial
WWII Memorial

Korean War Memorial

Vietnam Memorial

Washington Monument
Signs of spring!
They're everywhere.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Maybe if I share the path...

source unknown
“Maybe if I share the path I walk then a little more of your pain will vanish. I want you to heal, whoever you are. I don't care what pain you've brought the world, I just want yours to subside. No matter what, your path is yours. Dont follow misery or worry. Devote every moment of your life to improving your dreams. Love your world. Cherish the good you do. Let go of hatred. Dream of love.” Unknown

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Don't prod or poke.

(Turtle pic from Aqualand Pets Plus)
“To find out what others are feeling, don't prod or poke. If you want play with a turtle, you can't get it to come out of its shell by prodding and poking it with a stick, you might kill it. Be gentle not harsh, hard or forceful.” ~ Unknown

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Never apologize for showing feeling...

Deep in Thought by Fay Shutzer
“Never apologize for showing feeling. When you do so, you apologize for the truth.” ~Benjamin Disraeli

Monday, February 28, 2011

soul mates

“People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life. A true soul mate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. A soul mate's purpose is to shake you up, tear apart your ego a little bit, show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new light can get in, make you so out of control that you have to transform your life.” - Elizabeth Gilbert

I got this from the fantastic blog Life in Quotations.

Monday, February 21, 2011

we know what we want, even when we hide it from ourselves...

twisted
"...what I'm saying is that we know what we want and we will do what we have to do to get what we want even if in order to get what we want we must keep our true motives hidden from ourselves and others." Cary Tennis

Sunday, February 13, 2011

I googled you, by Yahia Lababidi

I googled you
by Yahìa Lababidi

To all those I dearly love,
but for the sake of my sanity
must avoid or cannot afford
to see in person, or even speak to:
Yes, I did, I googled you.

Amid the shipwreck on the world wide waters
I found precious little flotsam bearing your name
a blurry picture here, some garbled voice there
still it was enough for me to summon you
create a history and sense of belonging

Of you, there is always far too much afloat
your smiling face like a cardboard cutout
that everybody poses with at the fair
yet occasionally there will be a rare find
and I'll feel we spent an intimate afternoon

You, I check in with periodically,
your news and views surface in installments
that I rearrange to better remember
not how you are now but as I knew you then
when we laughed hard and you were my heart's friend

All of you I miss as I trace your outlines
through the one-way mirror of my monitor
and when I shut down, you remain with me
as pulsing presence and urmurs in my blood
(thanks to that intravenous internet injection).

. . . . . . . . . . . .

Yahìa Lababidi, a Lebanese-Egyptian, came to the U.S. to attend George Washington University. After graduation he returned to Egypt and worked as an editor/speechwriter for the United Nations. After nearly ten years, he returned to the U.S. and now lives in Silver Spring.

About the decision to leave his native country, he says, "I needed to change my life before it changed me. . . I needed to get out, try something entirely different, and challenge myself with new ways of being."

While he speaks fluent Arabic, English is the only language he writes in. His work appears in "Agni," "Cimarron Review," "RainTaxi," and other publications. He is the author of "Signposts to Elsewhere" (Jane Street Press, 2008), Trial by Ink: From Nietzsche to Belly Dancing,(Common Ground Publishing, 2010) and a chapbook, "Fever Dreams" (Crisis Chronicles Press, 2010).

 Excerpt from the Takoma Voice (Vox Poetica section, February 2011 issue, pg. 35)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Love after Love


Love hurts - hole heartedly!!!, originally uploaded by ruchit05.

“Love after Love”
by Derek Walcott


The time will come
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you


all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,


the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

This means being wrong about some things.


Bird Sunset Crop, originally uploaded by Sven1976.

"When new knowledge comes, we have to make room for it; we have to part with old knowledge; that means admitting that we were wrong about certain things. Part of this new knowledge may involve seeing how you were taught to allow people to treat you badly and not to speak up for yourself. I am not saying that you deserve what happened. I am saying that all of us are taught disempowering habits of cultural accommodation, and as we grow and get knocked around we have to examine them and learn how to protect ourselves. If you examine the social behaviors you were taught as a young child, and the belief system you carried into adulthood, you may find the cruel habits of those around you mirrored in your own psyche. That can be painful. But it is one of the only sure routes to change." - Cary Tennis

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Where there's snow, there's amoebic dysentery

Proof that, "Where there's snow, there's amoebic dysentery." @plumbob78

Monday, January 24, 2011

I call this piece "my graceful descent."

The second in my self-portrait series, I call this piece "my graceful descent."
I call this piece "my graceful descent downhill.", originally uploaded by spleeness.
Click to enlarge -- see the grace and composure up close!
 This is an old (extinct) volcano called SP Crater in Northern Arizona, about 25 miles away from Flagstaff. It's 820 feet high and took about 2.5 hours to climb to the top because the soil is so difficult to gather a good footing. This photo documents the graceful journey I made up and down its rocky, slippery sides. Isn't my grace inspiring?

Why is it called SP Crater?
C. J. Babbit, an 1880s rancher and early landowner of the mountain, expressed his opinion that the mountain resembled a pot of excrement (Shit Pot), and this became the accepted local name. When viewed from certain angles on the ground, the combination of the smooth round shape of the cone, the dark lava spatter on the rim, and the long dark lava flow extruding from the base do indeed resemble a toilet catastrophe.
Sorry you asked? :)  Read more about SP Crater.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Be mindful today of the human race.

"A human being is a part of a whole, called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest... a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty." - Albert Einstein

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

What do photoshop filters do?

When I first started poking around in Photoshop a while ago, I wondered what all the various filters DID. How did they alter pictures? What effects did they have? (And what right do I have digitally-manipulating everything anyway? Doesn't that make me a crappy photographer? Well, if you're a purist, probably, but I get into that more later....)

For now, here are some examples.

Photoshop Filters, visualized

THIS photo (which is actually harshly overlit and pretty boring) turned into a pretty image with some easy clicks. Here's the original:

Original photo: BORING.

1. Glowing Edges Filter:
(Select "Filter," "Stylize," then "Glowing Edges")
2. Ink Outlines Filter:
Enlarge to see how each petal has a handtouched quality now.

(Select "Filter," "Brush Stroke," then "Ink Outlines")
3. Photocopy Filter: 
You can alter the color by changing the foreground and background. I used red & white:

(Select "Filter," "Sketch," then "Photocopy")
4. Stamp Filter
I can almost see this as hotel bathroom wallpaper or curtains (which can sound either delightful or repulsive depending on your taste).

(Select "Filter," "Sketch," then "Stamp")
Each filter has slider bars so you can adjust the results as you like. I love playing around with the options.

So, this question has come up before and I've been thinking about it.

Is it wrong to Photoshop your photos?

I have mixed feelings about digitally manipulating my pictures. I have enormous respect for photographers who don't -- they're so good they don't need to. Or maybe they're also more moral or steadfast to honor the authenticity of their photos. However, I alter mine.

Purists find this loathsome. But I'm not out for any contest. I do it for fun. If I found equal enjoyment picking up lint balls or cooking, whatever, right? I'm not touting grand claims. Mine is the quiet contentment of the immersed.

Most of the time I only alter levels (which adjusts contrast) but Photoshop rocks -- the watercolor filter is my favorite. 

Photographer vs. Designer

I don't call myself a photographer (notice this is an art journal?) but I do call myself a designer. I guess that's what designers DO: we fuss with things until they look nice. (Yes, "nice" is subjective.) Interior designers don't create sofas and pillows and rugs but rather arrange them until aesthetically-pleasing.

I design myself too -- each morning I step out of the shower and commence a very primate-like grooming ritual involving hairdryers and curlers and makeup and a large boar-bristle brush.

Buildings in vibrant downtowns which are cleaned regularly don't attain the muddy (yet authentic) flat grime of ghettos. Manicured lawns, assembled by ambitious suburban neighbors, look very different then natural  meadows. Yes, much of society is designed.

So, I continue to appreciate both art and design, and thank you for stopping by for a peak.

ps. I have fake plants. ;)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

If you work really hard and you're kind, amazing things will happen.

From the NOAA image library
"I hate cynicism. It's my least favorite quality and it doesn't lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you're kind, amazing things will happen." ~Conan O'Brien

Friday, January 14, 2011

A time to let go.

Photo: Vincent Jacques Skyshows
Obtained from NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day,
January 13, 2009
"Sometimes being a friend means mastering the art of timing. There is a time for silence. A time to let go and allow people to hurl themselves into their own destiny. And a time to prepare to pick up the pieces when it's all over." ~Gloria Naylor

Thursday, January 13, 2011

"during my eight months underwater..."

From the NOAA Image Library
"I spent a lot of time trying to convince people I was suffering during my eight months underwater, and I still don't feel completely as if my claims to it are believed, but when that pulse point is hit, I suffer. I suffer in an acute sense -- in the wolves-down-the-hill, sun-exploding, bone-crushing, empire-falling way that innocent people suffer when evils are visited upon them without provocation or reason. I feel all the injustice and betrayal of their act rushing through my skin. It's bad. Sometimes I lie still and can't move." From a reader to Cary Tennis's column

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

...they are dying before the steel javelins and arrows of...

Stormclouds rising in Flagstaff
‎"I mean no particular dream, you understand, but the whole radiant flock of them together—with their rainbow wings, iridescent, bright, soaring, glorious, sublime. They are dying before the steel javelins and arrows of a world of Time and Money." -Barbara Follett