Sunday, November 28, 2010

Lake Faces

I haven't used Photoshop in years. All that I really wanted to do here was relearn layers and transparencies. It seemed like a nice way to pass a snowy Sunday afternoon. I took pieces from some photos I took in Africa and I ended up with this.

I uploaded this in a very large size. Click on it to see a more detailed image.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Giving Thanks

I am thankful for so so many things today and everyday. Our lives are filled with beauty if we choose to seek it and to see it.

I am thankful for beauty. I think that all of my gratitude can be wrapped up in that single sentence. Beauty has so many different ways of manifesting itself. There is beauty in thought, expression and emotion. There is beauty in things constant and things changing. Beauty shines within and throughout our interactions and relationships with others (no matter how clumsy those relationships may be).

Lately I have realized that there are many things that are distracting me from fully participating in the beauty of life. I am thankful for this realization because it has allowed me to break free from some of these snares.

I think that true beauty has the power to bring about our true selves. When we seek it out and absorb it into ourselves we end up finding out who we are and why we are.

This man's music is absolutely beautiful. His band is called "Message to Bears" and it is ambient, instrumental and captivating. A lot of ambient music is very underwhelming and difficult to listen to but this is not. It is really special and I wish that more people knew about it.
Thank you Jerome Alexander.

Listen Here:

Download Here:

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Forever & Ever, Amen

Wow, I really can't get enough of this song lately. I find it intensely satisfying to sing along to this at an inappropriately high volume.

Witching Hour

The "Blizzard of 2010" was supposed to be wild. I was hearing rumors of 70mph winds and 18 inches of snow in the valley. The news reports recommended that I stay indoors. I chose not to comply.
This so-called blizzard turned out to be nothing more than a mild snowstorm. Everyone else seemed to have listened carefully to the warnings of danger because there wasn't another soul to be found on the streets. I felt like I had been inserted into a post-apocalyptic world. The snow was falling lightly like sticky clusters of ash. The earth and sky were both the same color of whitish grey and blended together so well that I couldn't find the horizon line. I was the only thing that seemed to not belong in this world of the dead. My bright red coat was an insult to the somber and uniform feeling put off by my surroundings. As I walked my footprints faded behind me underneath new-fallen snow. I felt as if my link back to the world of the living was slowly being severed.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Flying Pictures

I have good memories of the ad section in National Geographic. It was visually interesting to me as a child. The ads depicted larger-than-life people and a world to which I was a total stranger. I have a vivid memory of an attractive motherly figure with bright red lips holding up a finger in warning. I forget what the warning was. Perhaps I was being warned to never forget to buy the product being advertised. I forgot. But I will never forget that picture.

Newer issues of National Geo have totally lost and forgotten this magical space. The new ad section is larger and filled with ads about car insurance, cholesterol medicine, "rare" gold coins offered only for a "limited time" (haha), etc. National Geo realizes that everyone hates it so they are forced to insert interesting mini articles and pictures in between the ads so that people won't skip the section entirely. I usually choose to skip it anyways.

This month was different. I looked through it. I am very glad that I did because I came across something really wonderful.

This photographer can fly. After framing his picture he jumps and he flies for 1/125 of a second. His camera preserves the memory of this beautiful fraction of a second forever. These moments actually happened. They are captured with analog technology and unaltered with digital technology. Much effort went into the planning and preparation of each of these photographs and much pain and injury were the results of his inevitable descent after each shot (each picture took many, many attempts). All of this for 1/125 of a second. Daniel Gordon can very briefly accomplish the impossible.

I think that some of the best things in life are like this micromoment. So much sweat and so many tears go into making them happen. So much suffering is felt when there are no longer a part of our reality. But, in the end, you were in that perfect and beautiful moment and that's what matters. You. were. there.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Leaves of Trees

Night and darkness have been coming more quickly. I have decided that I need to pack more life into the limited amount of daylight that I am allotted.

Today I constructed a giant pile of leaves. My pile was perfect for jumping, burrowing, tunneling, hiding and pretending. Laying on my back, covered with a thin veil of leaves, I began to imagine myself inside the burning sun. The daylight was pushing the reds, yellows, browns and oranges of the leaves through my closed eyelids. I couldn't make out their shapes but I could sense their individuality and essence. I could smell them. As I quickly threw myself into a sitting position and opened my eyes I found myself surrounded and by a beautiful torrent of amber and bronze.

Music of the Day!
Iron & Wine - Southern Anthem
Bob Dylan - Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You

Monday, November 15, 2010

Janelle Monáe

I would like to showcase a musician that I believe is highly underrated - Janelle Monáe. This female R&B/Soul/Slow Jam artist is really something special.

Her new album "The ArchAndroid" is one of my favorite albums of the year. Many albums contain a story or at least have a particular flavor, but this album goes beyond that. It is a feature film projecting its image onto the screen of your imagination. Janelle has even described it as being an "emotion picture". It is best experienced all at once and preferably with your eyes closed as you relax on your carpet.

She molds and shapes music that breaks the barriers of genre and conventional songwriting. Her music manages to be modern and fresh while allowing me to reconnect and commune with legendary artists of the past like Anita Baker, Dionne Warwick and Aretha Franklin. She borrows some dance steps from the legendary James Brown and mixes them with her own moves. I think that Michael Jackson would have loved her.

She received formal training in acting at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York and intended to work Broadway before changing her direction towards music production. She is a dancer, an actor, a singer, a songwriter and a very classy woman.

Janelle is a beautiful and modest person. She is usually dressed in classic uniforms and suits that cover her body. I love that she doesn't rely on her body to promote or sell her music. She has grace and respect for herself and those around her. Janelle Monáe is a hero of mine.

Check out her out.

Many Moons -
Tightrope -
Cold War -

Buy her music.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


In the book Xenocide, Ender Wiggin was able to create physical manifestations of the memories of his brother and sister with his mind. He carried such a strong image of these people with him that he was able to project these images and share his own life-force with them.

I have been thinking about this idea and at first it seemed very ridiculous to me. As I continued to consider it my way of thinking changed. I realized that, in a less impressive (yet more meaningful) way, we are able to give life to the memories of the people who have deeply affected us. We can give life and honor to the memories we hold inside us but we need to find an outlet or method of expression to do it.

When we allow our memories influence our actions or comportment we are effectively giving them form and life.

We are creators. He who created us also endowed us with the potential to create. There are many ways to create; music, art, writing, raising a child, etc. We can take a small part of our feelings and memories for the people we have known and put them into (or share them with - in the case of a child) our creations.

I think that this serves as a good example of what I am trying to say:
This song/video was a gift that this young man (POGO) gave to his mother on Mother's Day. He took sounds from her garden and harmonic syllables of her voice and combined them to form an image of her. After watching this I felt as if I partially understood his love for her and the portion of her soul that his art reveals to me.

If you like this the song it is a free download here.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Be Not Ashamed

Today has been a beautiful day. I woke up, did yoga, sang/danced to Jonsi and I was late for my bus.

At first I was annoyed about missing my bus and worried about being late for class but as I transferred onto my second bus my bad attitude was quickly forgotten. There was a man on the bus who was talking to everyone. I wanted to read my book so I found my way to the back of the bus to avoid being distracted by his conversation. I tried to read but I found what the man
was saying to be of infinitely more worth than what I was reading.

He was speaking about Jesus Christ. What he was saying was disorganized and even slightly inaccurate but his words were laden with true power. He was preaching the love of Jesus Christ for all mankind and the power that God's Word has to improve our lives.

I found myself taking notes. Here are a couple things I wrote down:
"We need to stand up for the Lord and be not ashamed of him. Talk about him. Talk about him to everyone you see. Much of the goodness in the world has left because people aren't talking about Jesus. People aren't talking about Jesus enough. Tell people what he has done in your life. I might never see you again but we now share a bond in the Lord. It don't cost anything to talk about him."

"People might believe that you are crazy or insane but that don't carry no weight. If you show people what you really feel in your heart then you have nothing to be ashamed of. Those people who don't think you are crazy might take something from what you say and in either case the Lord will smile on your efforts and bless you for them".

I felt true belief coming out of this man. I felt his passion and I was deeply impressed by his lack of fear or embarrassment. I found myself getting off the bus with a burning heart and tears in my eyes. I took a moment to look at the faces of the people around him. We were all strangers yet we were all united through our smiles and wonder for this beautiful and slightly eccentric man.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Gift of Fire

I have been thinking a lot about government and politics and my duties as a citizen of a nation.
Richard Mitchell is incredible. This passage in his book "The Gift of Fire" really stood out to me and got me thinking.

Aristotle held, and Plato too, and many others,
that the highest and most important study to which
we could devote ourselves is the thoughtful
consideration of politics. An extraordinarily
dreary prospect for most of us, who suppose that it
is Politics that we see in action in election
campaigns, and in all the unseemly scramble for
office and power. But that is not at all what
ancient thinkers meant by the word. For them,
Politics, this time with the capital, was the study
of “polity,” the consideration of questions about
the art and nature of virtuous governing, and the
inquiry into the possibility of a just state. It was
not really about what we call the government,
except insofar as this or that government might
serve as an example, but about governing, and it
was not confined to considerations of the state and
its workings, but gave itself also to considering
the just governing of anything or anyone. It was
thus yet another way of self-knowledge, for the
self is, just as much as the state, a place, and even
a community, and it may, just like the state, be
governed well or ill.

It is hard to capture any one of his thoughts without copying entire chapters of his books because his ideas are so sprawling. I recommend "The Gift of Fire" to anyone who can read and can find a copy.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


"Sans toi, les émotions d'aujourd'hui ne seraient que la peau morte des émotions d'autrefois." (Without you, today's emotions would be but the dead skin of past emotions) - Hipolito

When I can say this to someone I will know that I am truly in love.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


It's crazy how I judge a person's present actions without remembering how complex their lives are and without realizing that I don't understand their situation at all. I hate that about myself and I have started trying to remember that I can't see the whole equation of their life. If I can't see the entire equation then what gives me the right to complain about the answer?