Monday, January 31, 2011

Just A Photo I Took Today


And I love it! Looks kind of cosmic, like an apocalyptic scene from a yet-to-be-made movie. Love how the Sun looks like a solid disk.

If this were printed as a movie poster, the blurb will probably scream something like "THEY Are Here!" or "The Sun Goes Nova -- Where Will You Hide?!" Maybe even "DIES IRAE".

The screenplay will start: "Waves of heat are slowly coursing through the stiflingly thick, heavy air; it's the last ominously quiet moment before the heavens are suddenly rent apart to the thunderous opening bars of Fortuna, Imperatrix Mundi from Carmina Burana" (O Fortuna, velut luna, [cymbal crash] stAAAtu variabiliiis-- dundundundundundundundun...) Oh man, I'm getting the shivers playing it in my head as I look at this pic =^..^;

Again, More Old Art


A product of my short-lived stint as an abstract expressionist. All 8.5 inches of it.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Another Inconsequential Synchronistic Event (#10)

A little while ago, I was thinking about the Asian pears in the fridge. Just as I started to walk toward it, thinking about how nice it would be to bite into a cool, fragrant, sweet and crunchy Asian pear, the TV (tuned to S. Korea's Arirang TV) started to show a mini-spot about the many benefits of Asian pears.

Some More Old Art

THE FLYING SLUG CALLED EOANTHROPUS AND THE WISDOM CALLED POLYPHEMOS


A fake fossil is exposed, a brutish cyclops comes to a bad end; the only thing that lasts is centipedes.

Speaking of which, this one definitely could've used more centipedes.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Just A Cool Picture

Another handmade panorama.

Driving To Work In January (2011)

Going down to the garage



Going to my car



Facing the freeway onramp



Joining the flow



Risking my neck for a shot taken at 70mph



Nearly there



Arrived

Thursday, January 27, 2011

An Important Development

Oftentimes I would come across worms on the sidewalk that were alive but seriously dried out and obviously near death. I would place them back in the moist soil but as I walked away I would still worry that they might just be too weak and exhausted to burrow their way back under.

So I decided to carry a little container of water when I went out walking. I thought about a few different ways to do this:

#1. I could just carry a cup of water everywhere, but I quickly saw the downside of this very basic strategy; what if I had to jump out of the way of a drunk driver, spilling the water, then encountered a thirsty worm on the way back? So no on this one.

#2. A squirt gun seemed a more convenient option, but it seemed a little -- well, incongruous, let's say -- for a grown man to go around toting one; I'm self-conscious enough as it is. And what if some nervous rookie cop spotted it and took me for a disgruntled dude come to take revenge? I work next door to the courthouse, after all.

#3. Then several days ago at the market I saw this dropper shaped like a mini baster crossed with an accordion in the baby supply section (I think it's used for sucking out mucus from baby's nose... eww). It seemed perfect, so I picked one up and continued on, but that's when I remembered -- the syringe in my desk drawer! When my cat Blood got sick I used it to give him his medicine (oral medicine that is; I just squirted some syrup into his mouth with it -- no needles). Unfortunately I never quite mastered the technique and he quickly grew to hate the whole business.


So anyway, since Monday I've been carrying a syringe of water on my walks. Interestingly enough, I have not been getting any strange looks from my coworkers or passersby on the street. Seems to me, if I saw a guy walking around clutching a camera in one hand and a syringe filled with something in the other, I would definitely be a little weirded out even if I couldn't explain why. The syringe would fit in my breast pocket but I won't do that because I fill up the syringe with cold water from the drinking fountain on the way out; I hold it in my fist to warm it up a little. I know earthworms are 'cold'-blooded, but all the same I think 'room temperature' water must be better for them, especially if they're in a weakened, vulnerable state, than a shocking splash of chilled water.

The first few days were uneventful, but this morning I had my first opportunity to put the syringe to good use. The worm I came across was seemingly healthy and well-fed (the fattest earthworm I've rescued so far), and reacted fairly vigorously to my touch, so it wasn't exactly dying of thirst, but I decided to water it anyway before grounding it; no harm in making sure when you're talking about a life (whether you're saving something or killing it, that is -- goes both ways). Here is the worm immediately after the administration of emergency hydrotherapy:


Needless to say, I felt pretty good afterwards -- both for the worm and about myself. Granted, an earthworm is tiny and a human is big, and if good karma related to bad karma in a strictly one-to-one quantitative relationship, I'd have to rescue A LOT of earthworms before the good works canceled out all the bad stuff in my life (in view of my personal history I cannot in all honesty say I've been a human being of exemplary moral character... far from it; just trying to be objective here), but still it was a good feeling knowing a creature was saved from a painful and untimely death because of my actions.

I walked the rest of the way back to the office with my eyes glued to the ground, looking to further increase my good karma (but I guess that's not the best attitude for doing good works). So much so that I forgot to look at the sky. No matter -- it was a wonderfully sunny, warm late January morning in Southern California and there were no clouds to speak of. At lunchtime, though, it was a different story altogether. There was a whole dog-and-pony show going on in the heavens. Maybe it was God's way of telling me I need to go out and get me some cheap, mindless entertainment in order to round out my life and stop being so serious.


Number of Worms Rescued So Far: 23

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Wonderful Synthesis

I THINK I SLIGHTLY MISSED MY TRUE CALLING -- I SHOULDA BEEN A ART CRITIC, NOT A ARTIST

I was on my way back to the office from a lunchtime walk when I spotted this unusual, bright spot in an already bright sky. It was pretty, so I stood looking at it for a few moments, then took a shot of it and started to move on -- then I 'had a feeling' and decided to wait around a little bit.






To me there is something magically beautiful, even cosmic, about the last shot above -- it feels as compact and mysterious as a Tarot card. From the messy composition with the sinuous cloud bisecting the image into dynamic yin-yang halves (one half containing the earthly elements and the other, the sky) to the silhouetted trees and the glowing lamps; the violet-shadowy building against the noonday sky that seems both light and dark; the oddly jutting cloud-limb eyed with a rainbow; and even a partial sunbow at the top -- all conspire to create a strangely hushed, timeless and transcendant atmosphere, as if day and night were sharing a moment of stopped time.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Sky Monster Takes Cigarette Break


It looks so relaxed and contented... makes me wish I hadn't quit.

Monster Could Not Swallow The Sun!

DISASTER NARROWLY AVERTED -- BUT HOW LONG UNTIL THE NEXT ONE?

Maybe the Sun was too hot or too big, or maybe its metal shell (see January 6 post for explanation) was too hard or whatever -- check out the amazing sequence of images below.





Is it just me or is the creature actually looking a little sheepish in the last photo as it slinks off? I mean look at that little half-closed mouth, how so different from the big snaky gape with the trace of a smirk it was sporting just a moment before...

Little ol' Sol too much for ya, ya space-roamin' ratfish-lookin' other-people's-sun-stealin' bottom-feeder? That's right, ya better run and never show your ugly mug around here again if ya know what's good for ya, 'cause next time we just might get mad enough to twist off that head of yours and beat the rest of you with it!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Mandrake Tree


Most people have heard of the wonderful Mandrake Root, which resembles a tiny human being and screams when pulled out of the earth. What is not as well known is that there exists a related, but much larger, plant with similar magical properties.  It is the Mandrake Tree, whose whole trunk resembles a human being, life-size and complete with clothing of styles current in the locality.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Wonderful Flying Petals


LOOKS MORE LIKE A LITTLE FISH TO ME, BUT ANYWAY...

As their Latin designation, Pseudopapilionis mongoliense, suggests, these trees are native to the plains of northeast Asia, where relative aridity prevails the year round. Growing to a height in excess of 20 feet, they bear small, yellow flowers on their topmost branches in summer. Each flower bears a specially adapted, stiff pair of petals which jut out from the corolla like a pair of insect wings open for flight, which in fact they resemble in texture. Once the seeds are mature, the flowers fall off the branch, and aided by thermal updrafts, they fly by means of these wing-like petals, which flutter rapidly in the breeze and prolong their flight to a truly remarkable extent. Riding stray currents of air, the flowers follow erratic courses with numerous abrupt turns, dips and climbs, leading observers to compare their movements to those of butterflies.

Presumably this unusual mechanism of propagation evolved in order to spread the progeny far from the parent plant, thus avoiding competition in the dry and nutrient-poor environment in which the tree grows. The longest continuously-observed flight by one of these flowers lasted more than 45 minutes and took the flower nearly 2 miles from the tree.

Thank You Again, J.S.

Having previously written about a dream in which I journeyed to Brobdingnag (August 21, 2010), I see a note of balance in another recent dream, in which I welcomed some visitors from Liliput.


Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Secret Language Of The Earth (Pt. 5)


I've heard it said that a true expert in the art of divination does not need to throw sticks or consult charts -- he can utilize anything at hand, such as the accidental pattern of debris on the ground or the rustling of leaves in the wind -- and of course, the shape of clouds -- as a jumping-off point from which he can free-associate and allow his psychic faculties to emerge.

While I cannot foretell the future -- not that I would want to -- these humble stains on the ground are proving to be fertile grounds indeed for pictorial inspiration. And when I modify these photos with graphic additions, I think of the process as documentation or records-keeping in a way. Although in the immediate sense they are records of my own states of mind, I think a gifted person might well be able to divine some transpersonal meaning from them.

Hmmm... with that last sentence I was either connecting with the Jungian notion of the collective unconscious, or venturing into crazy insane people territory à la Richard Shaver with his Deros and 'rock books'.

Hmmm... come to think of it, I did post that photo of the Cloud Monster beaming a Dark Ray of Pure Evilness upon the ground (January 11 entry), just like the Deros and their evil rays.

Just A Cool Cloud Photo


I've seen numerous photos of these unusual 'cut-out' type clouds -- and now, I finally have one of my own :)

Life Is Hard, Then You Die


It's true what they say -- you always hurt the one you love, and you're always hurt by the one you love.

Yes, I'm in a mysterious (and cliché-y) mood.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Bunch Of Characters In Search Of A Story





At one point I considered training for a job in the animation industry. I asked D.P., an acquaintance who was a successful storyboard artist and had worked on many animation projects for some of the big studios around L.A., for advice on how to prepare a sample portfolio.

She told me -- seemingly in all seriousness -- that the animation artists she'd known were mostly geeks who carried huge baggages of unfulfilled adolescent fantasies and liked nothing better than to scribble girlie pictures on their breaks; that they would surely consider me a promising candidate if I included a lot of cute female figures, especially nude studies, among my samples. I thought that made perfect sense (stack the deck with subliminal signals? Oh yeah!) and made sure there was a bunch of female figure studies in my portfolio.

As it turned out, I did not make the cut and never did become an animation artist (for which I'm actually grateful, considering the big changes that upset the balance in the industry soon after), but a couple of years later I was talking to D.P. again, and I took out the portfolio I had prepared in accordance with her advice, to show her. Her opinion? It didn't look right -- for someone who was hoping to get a job working for Disney and Hannah-Barbera, I sure had an awful lot of images of naked girls... Evidently D.P. had forgotten all about the advice she had given me.

(Don't bother looking for the nudie-cutie pix here, though^)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Cat And Crow


A smallish mammal and a largish bird, each my favorite species of its taxonomic class, posing together. Perhaps playing a game of 'blink and you lose'? Awwww.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Ladyfingers In The Afternoon


That extremely dramatic and colorful morning was balanced out by these very mild and rather amusing, yet orderly, clouds in the afternoon. They reminded me of well-behaved pupils in a classroom.

Primal Chaos At Dawn

EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE, DRIVING TO WORK CAN BE A BEAUTIFUL EXPERIENCE.





I saw these clouds while driving down the 5 and 710 freeways and clicked off some frames, but the twists and turns of the road as well as the ups and downs of the surrounding landscape made it hard to get a decent shot (the fact that I was also doing 70 miles an hour at the time probably had something to do with it, too) and all the while the sky was noticeably lightening and the colors were fading -- by the time I was nearing the parking lot at work I was cursing out loud from frustration. Fortunately I had left rather early and had some time before work started, so I bypassed the office and instead ran straight up to the roof of the building -- and finally I was able to take some good photos of this amazing spectacular dawn.

The Dark Ray Of Pure Evilness

A Cloud Monster, irradiating something -- or someone(!) -- on the ground with a strange beam of un-light!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

3 (Very Small) Pages Of Seagulls


On the same occasion I also did these sketches of some seagulls. Actually, I'm not particularly fond of gulls, but they made good subjects. In fact, I like these drawings better than the ones of the men in the previous post. These show a much greater degree of liveliness and immediacy, probably due in large part to the fact that I had to draw REALLY FAST.

Some Old Things

THE DRAWINGS, THAT IS -- NOT THE MEN


I once got myself a tiny (3 inches by 5) sketchbook that I was going to carry at all times in my pocket. I got the idea from watching 'The World of Suzie Wong'. In that movie William Holden was an artist and he carried a little sketchbook everywhere. I think he meets the titular character, played by Nancy Kwan, when he starts to draw her. It looked so cool and romantic and so like something a real life artist would really do.

It turns out nobody I know does that, and I never really did anything with it, either(in fact I still have the sketchbook and it's mostly blank); but one time I did drive out to Santa Monica beach and made a few quick studies of people that were engaged in activities that required them to stay still for a while.

Where I Park My Car

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Angels Running


In the skies over Downey, SoCal. Looks like the last one tripped and is eating dust ('Angels with Dirty Faces', anyone?).

Friday, January 7, 2011

More Rainbow Clouds


The good news -- rainbow-colored clouds may be more common than I previously thought.

The bad news -- they tend to occur very close to the Sun, and just when the Sun is refulgent at his full strength. This is probably the reason normal(ly) people don't notice them so much. And also the reason I think I may find myself blind one day, from burned-out retinas.

Urban Fossil II


I found this near the first 'down' escalator at the Hill Street entrance of Pershing Square parking garage. Some kind of deep-sea creature, I think -- notice the presence of what looks like a bioluminescent lure.

The lack of fins (other than that tiny one behind the head, probably used for stability rather than propulsion) or any other discernible appendages makes me think this animal employed a passive strategy in the hunt; it would have quietly floated without moving in the still, dark waters deep below the reach of sunlight, relying on its light organ to attract curious small fish. When one approached within range, it would strike suddenly, or perhaps with a sudden gape of its large mouth suck in the hapless prey like a vacuum cleaner.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Bleeding Sun


A somewhat controversial minority opinion holds that the Sun is a much smaller body than is commonly thought, and located quite close to the Earth.

This hypothesis also states that the heat of the Sun is generated not by nuclear fusion, but by the conbustion of hydrogen, which completely fills the Sun's interior and is compacted by tremendous pressure into a dense, metallic fluid despite the high temperatures.

At the surface of the Sun this metallic hydrogen is cooled into a semi-solid layer which serves to keep the fluid contained; however, occasionally a solid body of significant size, such as an asteroid, may strike the Sun and the impact will create a temporary opening, through which the fluid leaks out.

It is thought that the image captured in the above photo shows just such an event.

Gazing at this awe-inspiring image of cosmic violence one cannot help but be reminded of the creation myth of the Yanomamo of the Amazon basin, which states that men were formed out of the blood spilled by the Moon Spirit when he was shot in the belly for eating the souls of children.

Phantom Rocket


While passing through a cloud or a layer of mist, even an invisible object will displace water vapor and become momentarily visible as a negative shape.

The First Iridescent Cloud Photo of 2011