Beautiful Trilobites

I don't bake, and my cooking is merely tolerable, but I'm tempted to make these trilobite cookies. Aren't they clever?

Build A Squid

I've been playing with the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa's Build A Squid program. This is Sweetpea. Just look into those beautiful eyes.

He's always watching...

Because Santa is creepy, I give you the Santa scene from The City of Lost Children, a beautiful and brilliant film that I adore.

Teddy Bears in Space


The City in the Sea

Look at what  IchMagSieNicht posted for me because she rocks. It's Edgar Allen Poe, and it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

There are, in fact, many warm and fuzzy things (don't mind the talons) posted on IchMagSieNicht's blog, A Clockwork Door Hinge. Peek inside, but don't let the monsters out.


Because it made me smile today.

Holiday Gift Giving

Black Friday

There are over three hundred million people in this country, and you all want to go shopping on the same day?

Hmm...what happens when you place a dense population of humans within a confined space? the rest of the world's animal populations, increased population density within a limited space inevitably leads to aggression (which is probably why people beat the crap out of each other in order to obtain the latest and greatest toys, stampede and kill employees to get to the toys first, and sometimes even shoot each other in toy stores.)

What's really sad about this scenario is that most animals will fight over limited resources that are necessary for survival, but humans are fighting for toys. That's just pure stupidity.

Buy Nothing Day

As a response to the absurdity of Black Friday, we also have Buy Nothing Day when humans protest rampant consumerism by abstaining from making any purchases for one day.

What good does it do if a person is going to make a large number of purchases the next day?

It would be much more effective if people would pay attention to their consumption habits every day of the year. It doesn't have to be looked at from an all or nothing perspective. People buy things, and that's not necessarily negative if the objects are actually wanted and used. The unfortunate thing about the Christmas holiday is that people feel obligated to buy gifts for others, and they often purchase items that are appreciated for one day (because it's "the thought that counts") but shortly thereafter, the items find their way to the rubbish bin and then the landfill. Usually this happens because we often don't know each other as well as we think we do.

My suggestion is to really stop and think about what you're purchasing, whether it be for yourself or someone else. If you're not sure whether it will be well used, maybe you should put it down until you know for sure. If the problem stems from not knowing someone well enough to buy them a gift that they'll use, I would ask myself why you feel obligated to buy them a gift in the first place? Once you decide if it's someone that you really care enough about to buy a gift for, perhaps its time to sit down and get to know them better rather than buying them a non-meaningful gift as a token. Isn't connection with people what the holidays are supposed to be about?

Lastly, if you're the recipient of an unwanted gift, please don't throw it away or stuff it in a closet to be thrown away at a later date. Recycle it. Freecycle it. Make art out of it. Sell it and use the money to buy something you really want... Whatever. Just don't let it become another part of our throw away culture.


As American children, we learn about the Thanksgiving holiday through historical tales that have been disinfected and repackaged without the violence and immorality that actually occurred. There are a number of reasons why I don't support this type of historical revisionism, but I don't want to go into that here. What I want to say is that I do support the idea of taking the time to remember things to be thankful for. It's an exercise that people of all cultures and nationalities can benefit from at any time of the year.

Things that I'm thankful for at this moment.

1. This morning's news shows that the siege in Mumbai is over. I'm deeply thankful for this, and my sympathy goes out to the victims. Targeting civilians with violence is always wrong.

2. I'm thankful for the relationships that I've developed with my family, friends, and animals. They're certainly not perfect relationships, but they're always worth the time and effort that it takes to sustain them.

3. I'm thankful that I have employment during a time when many people are struggling against downsizing and a receding economy. Being able to work is a privilege.

4. I'm thankful that the people in my life are relatively healthy. I've had my fill of illness within my circle, and I'm looking forward to a few years without having to face the inevitability of mortality. I need the healing time.

5. I'm thankful for the historical figures who have been passionate and observant enough to make discoveries that effect my life every day. This includes every individual throughout history that has contributed to the development of indoor plumbing and modern sanitation practices. It includes the scientists who discovered antibiotics and other advances in medicine, and it especially includes those figures who were willing to make these discoveries at the cost of their own lives. Many scientists have struggled against superstition throughout the ages, and I thank them for it.

6. In many ways artists and scientists are alike because they view the world with a sense of wonder. I'm thankful for that sense of wonder, and I'm also thankful that there are creative people using a variety of mediums (music, drama, literature...) to paint pictures of the world from their own perspectives. This is what gets me through every day of my life.

Add-Art Notes

I've been using the Add-Art plug-in for Firefox, because I love the idea of replacing advertising with virtual art exhibits. I have noticed a few usability problems within the past two months, though.

1. The most recent show featured animated artwork that was really annoying in conjunction with browsing. It distracted from the main content of the pages I was viewing, and I often found that I had to turn the plug-in off in order to focus. I have no problem with animated artwork, but it just doesn't work for me in this format in the same way that animated ads don't work for me.

2. Prior to the animation, there was a series of election related photographs. There was nothing wrong with the photographs. Actually, they were quite good. The problem I ran into is that a lot of pages write articles and place advertisements next to them. Replacing the advertisement with a news oriented photograph that wasn't related to the article caused some temporary confusion. It didn't take long to realize what was going on, but the problem occurred several times.

So. I'm still all for replacing ads with art, but these are exhibits that didn't work for me on a practical basis.

Madeline von Foerster

Madeline von Foerster

Hey There Chthulhu

Eben Brooks, Thank you for amusing me so.

Sam Weber

Sam Weber Illustration

Storytelling Platforms

I just watched a very interesting video about Storytelling Platforms. The speaker is Jonathan Harris at the 2008 Pop!Tech Conference. (All of the other videos from the conference are worth watching as well, including the ones from past years)

Storytelling Platforms by Jonathan Harris

Also, one of the platforms that Jonathan mentions is We Feel Fine. It's fascinating.

Judith McMillan

I love the x-ray photography of Judith McMillan. It has a certain ethereal quality to it.

The X-Ray Art of Judith McMillan

Jeff Klapperich

Last night, C and I went to an art opening for an acquaintance, Jeff Klapperich, and it was lovely.

I don't know even know how to properly explain what Jeff does because his process is so detailed. Many people, at first glance, believe that his work is done digitally, but it's not. This is purely a photographic process using multiple exposures that reach into numbers that cause most professional photographers to drop their jaws a bit (or at least, the photographers that were at the opening last night). There is also no human exposure in the image. The illusion is created using a sort of layered stenciling process and a camera modification that only jeff could explain...and probably not to a photographic layman like myself. The backgrounds are pieces of art in their own right that are meticulously assembled from various objects to work with the stencils and convey the idea in the final piece.

In person, at a large scale, these pieces are just beautiful. I don't know if the full effect can be seen online in a smaller format, but I want to share them anyway. Here are a few of my personal favorites.


The Prognosticator

The Strategist

Tiffany Bozic

Tiffany Bozic's Website

Ampersand - Amanda Palmer

Constant fixture in my head this week...

Science is our future

Lawrence M. Krauss published an opinion piece with the Los Angeles Times that addresses something that's been bothering me about the McCain/Palin ticket.

McCain's science earmark error

I find it interesting that there's so much focus on the "new energy economy," and yet both of these candidates have consistently made statements that belittle the importance of scientific research and education.

I want to know how McCain and Palin expect this new energy technology to come about, because I'm pretty sure that it's not going to create itself. Call me crazy, but I'm thinking that we're going to need scientists to research and innovate in order to create a "new energy economy."

I'd also like to know if McCain and Palin support scientific research only when it advances their own personal agenda, because that's another kind of ugliness all together.

The Great Pumpkin

I watched It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, as I try to do every year...mainly because Snoopy is just too cool as a World War I flying ace, and I have a certain fondness for Charles M. Schulz. His work is sweet and nostalgic. It reminds me of the better parts of childhood.

My own personal Halloween wishlist for that mythical orange squash-man (because I'm not into candy and the trick-or-treaters can keep their tooth-rot):

1. Brown & Persimmon Stripes from Sock Dreams. I'm a junkie for striped socks. I can admit it.

2. Jurassic Amber Soap by Amandalouise. How cool is that? Textured like amber, and it even comes with an insect.

3. Harvest Moon Perfume by Amandalouise. This just sounds lovely and not overly feminine or masculine which is right up my alley.

4. An evening with Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury, which may be the very best autumn/halloween story I can think of. I always return to it.

5. A pumpkin spice latte, not necessarily from Starbucks, but Starbucks will do. I probably lose some liberal points for that.

Andy Paiko Glass

This is only a small sampling of Andy Paiko's beautiful work. I'm especially taken by the bell jars and the object jars, but even more phenomenal are the functioning spinning wheel, seismograph, balances, etc.
Spine Jar
Absinthe Fountain
Spinning Wheel

The Secret History

The synopsis on the back of the book, because I have a difficult time reducing the plot of a novel into a slender paragraph without spoilers:

When Richard Papen arrives at Hampden College in New England, he is quickly seduced by the rhythms of campus life—and in particular by an elite group of five students, Greek scholars, worldly, self-assured, and, at first glance, highly unapproachable. Yet as Richard is accepted and drawn into their inner circle, he learns a terrifying secret that binds them to one another: a secret about an incident in the woods in the dead of night when an ancient rite was brought to life.

I read this book with manic fervor...not because it was filled with excitement at every turn or because I needed to know what was going to happen in the end. From the beginning, I had a fairly good idea about where things were headed (by the author's design), but the characters were so mysterious and morally ambiguous that I wanted to spend time with them as the events unfolded in their lives. I enjoyed every action and reaction, and I couldn't turn away from the dissection of human nature & societal structure. The allusions to Greek history, mythology, and literature made it all the more fascinating, and yet it wasn't presented with intellectual snobbery as it easily could have been. The story was well-written, beautiful, grotesque, haunting, moody...  One of my more memorable reads of this year.

The Messenger

Last night, C and I walked the dogs beneath the nearly full moon, and we were followed the entire time by a little red fox. It was beautiful, and I’ve not been in contact with such a bold and curious vulpine since my time living in the mountains.

The Fox in the Snow (1860)

Gustave Courbet

Kissed by an Autumn Morning

It's beautiful outside. The foliage is lush but has already been touched by autumn. Everything is vivid green and yellow with the ocassional touch of orange. The ground is coated in frost and glistening dew drops, and the air is thick with fog...and yet the sun is shining brightly and piercing through in soft and luminous rays. It's magical in a way that only nature can be.

Pamela Wyn Shannon - Netherworld

Autumnal music for the romantic, pastoral soul.

Google Goggles

I wish that someone would come up with something like this for telephones. Perhaps a breathalyzer on the handset that would disallow people from calling my number after having had a few drinks. It would make life much easier.


Don't drink and drive

Don't drink and e-mail

Don't drink and make phone calls

Don't drink and post on internet forums

And those are only a few of the things that one shouldn't do while intoxicated. The list is virtually endless.

Halloween is the new Christmas

I adore Halloween, and even though it's not quite October, I'm already getting excited. Music sets the mood, and Grimly Fiendish is always a part of my Halloween soundtrack.

And, of course, Karen Black...


I wasn't aware of the significance of the red and white striped barber's pole until this evening when I was browsing the web for artifical leeches (which I'm mildy obsessed with.)

Apparently, in the middle ages, bloodletting was peformed by Barber-Surgeons.

The patient would grasp a pole so that the veins of the arm would stand out prominently. After the procedure, the barber-surgeons would hang the bandages from the top of the pole to dry, and the wind would wrap the bandages around the pole creating a striped pattern. The ball on top represents the leech basin.

**Krimson.Skye reminded me of Sweeney Todd, and Barber-Surgeons just became a little bit more sexy in my mind's eye... Of course, bloodletting is somewhat sexy to begin with, but I couldn't begin to tell you why.

Faun Fables

The Dream Coil

I honestly don't know what happened to July. I glanced at my pen and paper journal to see if there's anything worth writing about, but it mostly covers work, family drama, and a short bout of illness for both me and the dog...mundane things that don't merit much discussion.

I did put together a couple of digital collages which I posted on a separate blog, The Dream Coil. This will likely become a repository for any additional collage work that I decide to post. I don't know why it needs a separate space, but it does. Welcome to the way that I organize my head...


I can't recall if I posted this here before. I don't think I have, but it's one of my favorite short films. It never fails to move me.

Stina Nordenstam - Dynamite

In the Pale

To be sure an European woman would blush to her fingers ends at the very idea of appearing publicly stark naked; but education and prejudice are everything, since it is an axiom, that where there is no feeling of self-reproach, there can assuredly be no shame.
Captain J. G. Stedman

Like the women referred to in this quote, I'm rather uncomfortable in my own skin. I'm not sure that it's always been the case, but the changes that come with age have certainly affected the view that I have of my own body. I think that's why I like the idea of the nude self-portrait theme. The discomfort involved in posting even a small part of one's self is also a path to self-acceptance.

There have been some brilliant and brave images posted this month.

Admittedly, I'm still not feeling that brave, but I did make a second attempt at participating this month.

In a haze of half wakefulness

Another longer period between entries, because life moves like the pattern of the tides…ebb and flow.

C and I have been seeing a lot of changes lately. Some of them are more difficult to embrace than others, but all of them are ultimately positive…I think. My schedule has shifted slightly, and I’m getting up earlier in the morning than I have in the past. It’s going to take some time to adjust, because I tend to stay up late, and I’m not sure that I’m ready to give up those quiet, evening hours. (The mornings are quiet, too, but it’s a different sort of space.)

One project that C and I have been working on is an Etsy shop to display some of his smaller sculptures. We’re still working on getting things right, especially in regard to the photography, but we’re learning as we go. If you’re inclined, take a look, and if you have any constructive feedback, I’m all ears.

Wishes and Folklore

According to folklore, you can wish...

When blowing out your birthday candles
When Tossing a Coin into a fountain or a well
When Breaking a wishbone, and being on the receiving end of the larger half.
When you lose an eyelash, and blow it from the tip of your fingers.
When the clock strikes 11:11
When you see a falling star
Upon the first star you see at night
On a necklace clasp that has turned the wrong direction
When blowing the seeds from a dandelion in one breath
When you see a white horse
When you catch a feather
When a lady bug lands upon you
When you hold your breath in a tunnel

Am I missing any?

I'm not sure where most of these originated from, but they're the ones that I remember from my childhood. I'm not a superstitious person, but I still find some joy in wishing upon certain things...or planting the seeds of a dream.

The Innocence Mission - Bright As Yellow

This song has been playing in my head all week long. It makes me feel happy, so I'm sharing.

In the nude

The Self Portrait Challenge for June is "Nude," so I took my camera to the bathtub and took the opportunity to relax... Maybe next week, I'll show you my rubber ducky...hee hee.

One Apartment and Six Drummers

A Perfect Day for Brooding

Rain rain go away,
Come again another day.
Little Johnny wants to play;
Rain, rain, go to Spain,
Never show your face again!

Interestingly enough, this children's poem dates back to the reign of Elizabeth I during the time when the Spanish Armada was defeated partially by unfavorable weather conditions.

I have no Armada to defeat, but I'd like to warm myself in the sun which is nowhere to be found.


I recently stumbled across a link to a very cool plug-in for Firefox that blocks ads, and also adds art in place of them.


It's fantastic!

I have spread my dreams under your feet

I didn’t have any coffee this morning, and my head is full of fuzz. I’m not sure if it’s caused by a lack of caffeine, an allergy flair up, or something entirely different. Unfortunately, it’s making me feel like the clock is moving back a half a minute for every minute that it moves forward.

Until September of last year, I had never been a big coffee drinker, but I haven’t smoked a cigarette since 09/04 (Go me!), and in its stead, I’ve taken up a small coffee habit. It’s an acceptable trade, and I especially enjoy trips to the local bookstore and its in house coffee shop. I’ve been trying to get out more often.

Books I’ve read this year that I haven’t had the energy to write about:
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
Coastliners by Joanne Harris
Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
My Antonia by Willa Cather
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man – James Joyce
The Postman by David Brin
Spook Country by William Gibson
Sundiver by David Brin
Trilby by George du Maurier
We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

Other things that have been occupying space in my head:
The Red Barn Murder of Maria Marten
The Neolithic Ruins of Orkney
Relocation: where to and how to make it happen
He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven by William Butler Yeats

Farewell March

March was a month of backwards stepping and frustration, but some of the issues, fortunately, have been worked out, and I’m hoping that April will be punctuated by forward motion.

The good things were:

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke – This novel moved slowly at some points, but overall, it was a clever and enjoyable romp through the re-establishment of magic in England. The ending wasn’t as strong as I had hoped it would be, but the characters were memorable and well developed, and I do look forward to a second volume. Mostly, I’m interested in the fate of John Childermass, the character that’s most compelling to me due to his somewhat ambiguous nature.

One Cello X 16: Natoma by Zoe Keating – This album has been on heavy rotation. It’s become the soundtrack for steampunk imaginings, and I’ve been using it as inspiration for my foray into the unnatural aging of objects. (I’ve been playing mostly with tea-dying and patina solution)

The Subtle Emergence of Spring – We’re still having periodic snow showers in Denver, but there’s a blanket of green forming on the ground, and the critters have come out to play. My allergies are acting up, and I’m constantly living in a benadryl haze, but at least there are signs of life.

Today I saw a falling star

Good night Arthur C. Clarke. May your eternal dreams be filled with stars and may your legacy be preserved to inspire wonder in future generations.

The Circus March

I fell asleep and woke from dreams to the sound of Christoph cooking dinner and humming the circus song...and I wondered exactly who wrote that creepy song in the first place.

Wikipedia is my friend.

The song is called Entrance of the Gladiators, and it was written by a Czech composer as a military march.

Imagine falling backwards in time to a vision of Czech soldiers marching to battle with that song as their soundtrack. And people wonder why circuses are sinister...

Six Word Memoir

I was tagged by Princess Haiku to write a six word memoir, and so I have...

Into the labyrinth
Always quietly dreaming...

I'm not going to tag anyone specifically, but if you want to participate, the rules are here:

1. Write your own six word memoir.
2. Post it on your blog and include a visual illustration if you’d like.
3. Link to the person that tagged you in your post.
4. Tag more blogs with links.
5. Enjoy

Zoe Keating

Zoe Keating is my current musical obsession, and I just wanted to share.

There's actually a better version of this particular video available via itunes under the Pop!Tech podcast, and you can link to it directly from

Monday Ramblings

The sun was out for most of the day, and it made me long for springtime...rather unfortunate considering that it's only January, but it gives me even more reason to look forward to a small vacation that I have planned from the 23rd to the 27th. I'll be flying out to California to visit my dear friend, Jen, and her lovely daughter, Ish. I have no idea what's on the agenda, but I'm sure that we'll come up with some sort of mischief.

My resolutions are all in line at the moment. I've been to the psychologist twice, and I'm pleased with the way things are going. I've been making small goals and meeting them despite outside pressures, which is the direction I need to be moving towards. I've done yoga three times a week, and I had an appointment with an endocrinologist last Wednesday. No verdict on that visit, and I think I won't really have any answers for at least another 30 days while they do all of their mad experiments on my blood.

This evening, Christoph and I watched Batman Returns, and I think it may be the first Batman film that I actually enjoyed. It was grittier than the other films, and I'm looking forward to the next installment. I also like the idea of Maggie Gyllenhaal playing Rachel Dawes as I'm not much of a Katie Holmes fan. I also found it rather interesting that Liam Neeson played the role of the big, bad meanie while Michael Caine was Alfred. I will always and forever think of Michael Caine as the dark and twisted puritan...

Celebrating a Life

I stumbled across an interesting website called Self Portrait Challenge, and I want to play, but my first image deals with grief instead of joy.

The monthly theme for January is Celebration, and I haven't been feeling the spirit of the holidays. In this season, the colors were less vibrant and the confections were less sweet. They were darkened by the loss of my grandmother and my step-mother and a little piece of myself.

My step-mother had two Maltese puppies at home. When she was in the hospital, I brought her this bear because it was the closest thing I could find in the gift shop to a soft, white puppy. She was agitated, and more than anything else, she wanted to go home. She held onto this bear until she died, and I can't look at it without shedding tears. It will always remind me of her, and I treasure it for that reason. The memory of lost love ones is a celebration of their lives.

Cephalopods vs. Mankind

Interesting factoid of the day:

According to The Little Book of the Sea, the biomass of all individual specimens of cephalopods added together, now exceeds that of humanity as a whole.

In his house at R'lyeh dead Cthulhu waits dreaming...but not for long...Cultists take note.