Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Moon Over Tree

(Sometimes, a picture requires no caption)

The Religiosity of Hadrosaurs

A duck-billed dinosaur pilgrim, clad in a ragged robe and patiently trudging uphill with the aid of a cane.

Monday, August 30, 2010

A Thrift Shop Purchase


Found it in a thrift shop a couple of weeks ago. My glass heart.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

A Flying Man

In the July 31st post I talked about the real-life witch I met and the Flying Ointment she gave me.

Looks like I'm not the only one around here who owns a jarful of the stuff.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Precognition? (#1)


I used to keep (and still do, supposedly) a dream journal. I was going over old entries from waaay back when I found the following bit o' intriguingness:

Sunday, February 15, 1998
...Precognitive Dreams(?): (Blah blah blah...) 2. This morning I dreamt that I had kept a goldfish in my cupped hands but when I released it in water it was perfectly fine. In the afternoon I rented the ‘Spawn’ video and it contained a trailer for ‘Dark City’. It included a scene of someone carrying a goldfish in his cupped hands and releasing it in water.

Friday, August 27, 2010

A Daimon

I spotted him/it (one with a particularly impressive -- crest? set of horns? crown of unholy genius? what should I call those things?) haunting the tree-lined back road behind the office, where I take walks every day. He/it was shy and would not venture out from behind the trees. We will see if that changes over time...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Giant's Handprint


I arrived at work this morning and found that, overnight, some giant had left a muddy impression of his right hand in the parking lot.

Why did he do it? Was he just out for a midnight stroll when he took a careless step and tripped, luckily catching himself on his hand just in time? Or did he deliberately leave his handprint there, amusing himself with the thought that, come morning, we regular mortals would be scared out of our wits at the sight?

Or perhaps he was lonely -- and wanted to leave a mark for the world to see, lest he pass away into the night of time, with no one the wiser for all that he had lived.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Another Random Aimless Made-Up Face Drawing

Are they really all so random, though? Perhaps they should be accorded 'semi- automatic drawing' status.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Speaking of Dragons...

More Old Art from back when I still painted somewhat regularly
For a non-(formally)religious guy, I sure love religious imagery. I was trying my hand at a version of the Fall of the Rebel Angels. This is the upper half of a very long painting, showing Michael the Archangel triumphant over the Devil (in the guise of a hydra-like serpent/dragon); I'm not sure if it's proper to show the Devil beheaded, though -- wouldn't that imply that the Devil was not just defeated, but completely destroyed? Maybe I should have just shown him stabbed through the eye or something.
Yeah, I know the photo quality is crappy. It's partly because the surface of the painting was deliberately maltreated to make it look like an old, peeling fresco, and partly because I took this shot in situ, where it was impossible to control the lighting conditions.
Oh wait, I forgot that the Devil in this painting has two heads -- it's hard to see in this image, but it's there, below that severed head. So it's O.K. -- the Devil may have lost one of his heads, but he has another in reserve. Wouldn't want Ol' Scratch gone, you know...

Dracovolans australocaliforniensis maximus

Surprisingly enough, there is a subspecies of the Asiatic dragon living in Southern California. The recent warm weather has led to numerous sightings of these majestic giants in the skies over Los Angeles.

BTW, anyone who spots an error with that 'scientific' trinomial is invited to correct my Latin.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I Witness: The Heaviness of Clouds

It is not generally recognized that clouds exert a subtle, but palpable, pressure on things here on the ground.

The Verdict Is In

Hm-mm... After uploading the last entry I e-mailed a bunch of friends and asked them whether: #1. they agreed with me that the photo showing the sky banners is really amazing, or #2. I'm weird.

Well, as it happened, nobody responded directly to the question; instead I got: compliments on the beautiful photos; paeans of praise for the awesome men's room; comments on other, unrelated aspects of the photo in question.

I guess this means my friends think I'm weird...?

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Most Amazing Photo Of A Toilet

정말 놀랍고 기막힌 사진 (과장 아님)

This is astonishing! There are many names that could fit this phenomenon: coincidence; synchronicity; serendipity; acausal connecting principle; even a glitch in The Matrix -- call it what you will, but it's proof that there truly is order everywhere (to what purpose I cannot imagine -- call it Random Order, perhaps)!

I took the following photos back in 2008, on my vacation trip to Seoul, South Korea. Now, Seoul is located in mountainous terrain (well, most of Korea is). There are hills and mountains within and surrounding the city, and the most prominent of these is Namsan, 'South Mountain'.

On Namsan there is a landmark structure called Seoul Tower, in a lovely wooded park.

Like any good tourist I went to check it out (it's kind of strange to call myself a tourist in the city I was born in), and up on the observation deck I saw a sign stating that the restroom there is the highest lavatory in the city -- so of course I had to take a few photos.

I have to say, it was beautiful -- if you can call a toilet beautiful -- it actually looked like a piece of environmental sculpture or something. Anyway, I took my shots, burned them to a disc and pretty much forgot about them.

So after nearly 2 years, I open up the file to check out the photos, and imagine my amazement when I noticed this:

Check it out -- in each of the three fully imaged windows, just barely visible in the distant sky, there is an advertising banner being towed by an airplane, in the same quadrant of each window (the leftmost one looks like a two-in-one(?)).

What are the odds? The angle and the distance between the tower and the planes, the altitude, speed, and timing of the planes, the relative positions and distances between them, the placement of the windows and the intervals between them, even the timing of my visit -- all the factors that would have to come together (or in physics lingo, all the world-lines that would have to converge) in order to present this particular image just as I walked in and took this shot -- you can call me weird, but man, I'm almost shaking.

Doubters can say in their deflating fashion that the planes were simply following a schedule that happened to have them flying together in that fashion; sure, that's factually true, but saying that doesn't really mean anything beyond that it's a strange coincidence, which is the point. I think it's a pretty safe bet that nobody else in Seoul ever noticed those planes together like that through those windows -- nor probably ever again.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Blustery Day

And a palm tree was exhaling a shout.

(Almost)All American Tourists Do This When In Seoul, South Korea

That is, taking pictures of the colorful guard detail that's still posted at the main inner gate of Gyeongbok Palace (I'm not sure about the new official spelling -- maybe it's Gyeongbok-Goong?).

And so, just to be contrary, I took a photo of this fellow American person I met while touring Deoksu (Toksu?) Palace.

Soda Cans in South Korea

They're longer and slimmer than the ones here in the U.S... wonder why that is?

BTW, this shot was taken on my trip to Baemikkumi Sculpture Garden by the sea on the island of Modo. It was a very interesting experience -- I really should do a separate post on it.

Friday, August 13, 2010

A Japan Thing

Speaking of Japan, here's something I made a long time ago, titled 'Japan'. There's a pin on the back so you can actually wear it as a brooch (it's tiny).

Yes, the severed finger is a Yakuza reference.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

2 Mendicant Monks(?)

That I met on my aforementioned trip to Japan. I came across them on the streets of Tokyo. In return for alms the younger one gave me a piece of paper imprinted with what I at first thought was a mantra or something, but it turned out to be the lyrics to the Kimigayo, the national anthem of Japan O_oa (scratching head).  Maybe they weren't monks..?

Monday, August 9, 2010

Toad Shedding Feathers

Maybe that's rather an idiosyncratic evocation, but in any case this was an unusual concatenation of disparate cloud forms (whew).

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Dreaming a World

I took this photo when I took a trip to Seoul a couple years back. My cousin Tami took me to this small museum ('목인 박물관') that displayed a collection of painted wood carvings. They were images that accompanied the bier in traditional funereal processions in olden times, to represent the departed person's station in life. I'd never seen such things before and found them fascinating.

Anyway, the museum was located in an upper floor suite, and after viewing the collection we went outside onto a balcony. There I came across this scene.

I love this photo -- with the meditative/somnolent expression on the face of the carven figure and the diffuse image of the curious building in the distance, it looks as if the horned dude were dreaming the background into existence (needless to say, I loved 'Inception').

Odd Little Synchronicity (#1)

The other day at work I was idly checking out this Spanish-language children's book. At the same time I was also listening to K-pop (South Korean pop music) through the ear bud in my right ear (the left one being defunct since I accidentally dropped it in coffee). Girl group T-ara was singing 'Lies'.

Just as my eyes reached the word 'Nana' on the page, T-ara began the chorus which begins with "Na, Na, Na, Na" ("I, I, I, I").

This sort of coincidence has happened to me numerous times before, but I believe this is the first time it happened across the language barrier.

[In case you're curious, here's the song:


O.K., so it's music for teenyboppers, and I'm old enough to be the girls', ahem, uncle, but they're cute and so is the song :D The NaNaNaNa part comes right at the end]

Goya's Ghosts

I just watched the movie on DVD. I've had it in my collection for a long time but didn't really have the desire to watch it until quite recently.

It's dated 2006, but I don't think it's seen general release here in the U.S.(?). It's a fictional account by Milos Forman of what happens to several people in the orbit of the painter Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes (haha, my art history classes finally serve me in good stead), with Goya a witness and scribe to a tumultuous period in Spanish history (well, one of Spain's tumultuous periods).

It's a good way to spend a couple of hours and maybe learn a few very basic things about European history. It looks wonderful and it's a fun watch, but I can't shake the feeling it could have been so much more than it is. I'm not good enough a movie critic to articulate exactly why, but basically it's a piece of melodrama, made more impressive by being set against the 'epic sweep' of history; and Forman also threw in some criticism of the Catholic church (as personified by the officials of the Inquisition) for good measure.

It's all very beautifully shot and presented -- you'd swear some shots were arranged by El Greco, Zurbaran or Ribera, although, sadly the supposed paintings by Goya used in the movie didn't really look much like real Goya paintings -- but considering all the star power that went into the making of this film (with Natalie Portman in a pivotal role) it feels quite lightweight, even kind of paint-by-the-numbers. It was actually more fun and instructive to go on the Internet Movie Database and read the argument between some Spain-defender who called the movie a bunch of anti-Spain lies by 'Hollywood WASPs' (boy, is he deluded), and a Dutch person criticizing him in turn.

In my humble opinion the best piece of casting here (at least in the looks department) is Randy Quaid as King Charles IV -- he looks exactly like the portrait Goya painted of the King, like the 'corner butcher (or was it grocer?) who won the lottery' (sorry, I don't remember who it was said that).

So the verdict is: it's not a masterpiece, but worth watching when you're feeling like something gorgeous and not too heavy.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Another Instructional Guide

Step #1: Acquire suitable image (in this case a crack and a scrape-mark on a curb)

Step #2: Isolate usable portion

Step #3: Apply judicious edit to achieve

Desert Landscape with Tree and Dunes

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Today's 'Just Because' Photo

It was just really pretty... On the other hand, one really shouldn't shoot photos while driving. Especially on the freeway in rush hour traffic. Like I did when I took this one. Yes, I RISKED MY LIFE to get this shot.

Anyway, I really like the light and the colors. And the sky looks like one of Turner's fog-and-mist orgies.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Again, Just Because...

Today was a tantalizing day, cloud-wise. There was a lot of cloudly activity all day, but it was all clouds being cloud-like. Usually I like clouds whose shapes remind me of something, or that seem to do something definite; because when clouds just look like clouds -- abstract and amorphous, that is -- the mind's eye has little to glom onto. However, this one was so striking I took a bunch of shots. And that extrusion at the top in the second image does kind of remind me of the Horsehead Nebula. Which reminds me, Isaac Asimov once wrote the Horsehead Nebula reminded him not of a horse's head so much as of the head and shoulders of the Big Bad Wolf from the Disney cartoon short, The Three Little Pigs. Since reading that I have not been able to look at an image of the Horsehead Nebula with a straight face. This in spite of the fact that I usually find photos of objects in space sinister and frightening.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

A Pornographic Dinner with Mom in Japan

Is お好み焼き THAT Exciting?

This is from a few years back, when I traveled to Japan with my mother. There was this restaurant in Tokyo that specialized in okonomiyaki お好み焼き(a kind of pancake that's got little bits of meat or seafood and other delectables mixed in) and we went in for dinner. I actually had high expectations because I was somewhat familiar with the dish, having seen it depicted many times in anime (forgive me). For example, there was this girl character in the very popular series 'Ranma 1/2' who was an okonomiyaki cook; she carried an enormous spatula strapped to her back, which she used as a weapon in martial arts tournaments (forgive me, again).

Anyway, I guess I was expecting it to be similar to bindaeddeok 빈대떡, the popular Korean pancake with bits of pork and veggies mixed in (crispy on the outside, soft and absolutely delicious inside), but whether it was the restaurant or my own overly high expectations, the okonomiyaki unfortunately turned out not to be so great. It was a big disappointment, I have to say, after so much anticipation. But the dinner was not a complete loss; I noticed this very interesting spice bottle on a little shelf by the table. Put a little barrel around it, and it's a stand-in for one of those funny tiki guys with the huge springy erections (see below, courtesy of the internet). Thank goodness it wasn't a vinegar bottle...