Monday, September 28, 2015

Friday, September 25, 2015

Unexpected Chords

Kabir says: The only woman awake is the woman
who has heard the flute!

Amy Lowell is a bit harsh on fat, bald guys here (I almost titled this post, "Hey, I like fat, bald guys!" but I thought my husband might object).

To me, though, Lowell's bigger picture is the way we can (must?) separate art and its maker, the interplay between the ordinary and the extraordinary, and the places that art can take you.

Anyway, here's Music by Amy Lowell (1874– 1925):

By Amy Lowell

THE NEIGHBOR sits in his window and plays the flute.
From my bed I can hear him,
And the round notes flutter and tap about the room,
And hit against each other,
Blurring to unexpected chords.
It is very beautiful,
With the little flute-notes all about me,
In the darkness.

In the daytime
The neighbor eats bread and onions with one hand
And copies music with the other.
He is fat and has a bald head,
So I do not look at him,
But run quickly past his window.
There is always the sky to look at,
Or the water in the well!

But when night comes and he plays his flute,
I think of him as a young man,
With gold seals hanging from his watch,
And a blue coat with silver buttons.
As I lie in my bed
The flute-notes push against my ears and lips,
And I go to sleep, dreaming.


Poetry for Children has the Poetry Friday round-up.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

A Bloom of Jellies

Those who admire the massive, rigid bone structures of dinosaurs should remember that jellyfish still enjoy their very secure ecological niche.
~Beau Sheil

I've done so many Art Thursday posts that it kind of surprises me I'm not repeating myself yet. But I am pretty sure I have never covered jellyfish before (which are not actual fish so some people just call them "jellies"). They are gorgeous, aren't they?

photo by Lee Bennett

photo by Alexandre Duarte

photo by Dan Glaser

photo by ju-leo

Discomedusae, Kunstformen der Natur (1904), plate 88
by Ernst Haeckel

Discomedusae, Kunstformen der Natur (1904), plate 28
by Ernst Haeckel

Trachomedusae, Kunstformen der Natur (1904), plate 26
by Ernst Haeckel

Peanut Butter and Jelly-fish
photo by Dennis Frank

Jellyfish carcasses in black light
photo by Kristen Ortwerth-Jewell

photo by Mats Hage Eikemo

Sometimes jellyfish are referred to as medusae. "In biology, a medusa (plural: medusae) is a form of cnidarian in which the body is shaped like an umbrella."

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

If you run across a person who just can't be pleased

John Scalzi tells a story about applying for an Ombudsperson position:
One part of the process for being considered for the job was an interview with a selection committee, which featured members of the faculty, administration and student body, who asked me (and presumably the other candidates) questions and offered hypothetical issues to resolve. It was during one of the hypotheticals, the details of which are not especially important, that I was confronted with a hypothetical student who simply wouldn’t be happy with any outcome...
Read the rest here

An interesting comment: "I remember a tactic I heard about once in the context of customer service: ask the unhappy customer what would make them happy. It puts the responsibility back on them, and they usually come up with something that you can actually give them."

and another comment, the flip side of that:

"Years ago I somehow fell into the habit of trying to figure out what it was I wanted before I went to complain. Did I want my money back? Did I want a replacement? An apology? A change in policy? I don’t always get what I ask for but I often do and found that the whole process is much more pleasant if I don’t make the person I’m complaining to do the emotional work of trying to figure out how to fix it for me."

Monday, September 21, 2015

Listening to the universe

Stars, everywhere. So many stars that I could not for the life me understand how the sky could contain them all yet be so black.
~Peter Watts

For Music Monday, we're out in space:

Solar Beat

Saturday, September 19, 2015

I'd play her in the movie

A random note:

I recently read Susan Ee's Penryn trilogy and I have to say that Penryn's mom is a really fascinating character. In fact, a book from her point-of-view would be interesting, and I'm not sure I've ever wished I could read from the main character's mom's point-of-view before.

P.S. If you only read the first book, what I've said above won't make much sense to you.

Friday, September 18, 2015

A Full Moon in Each Eye

Full Moon by Bethany

The University of California San Diego Center for Mindfulness has a list of poetry and other readings they use in classes which I thought y'all might like to see (it's got Wendell Berry on it, and Rumi, and Mary Oliver...)

Here's one of the poems:

Admit Something
by Hafiz

Everyone you see, you say to them,
Love me.
Of course you do not do this out loud;
Someone would call the cops.
Still though, think about this,
This great pull in us
To connect.
Why not become the one
Who lives with a full moon in each eye
That is always saying,
With that sweet moon language,
What every other eye in this world
Is dying to Hear.


And now a charming video of kindergarten students explaining how to calm down:

Today's Little Ditty is the Poetry Friday round-up host.

Thursday, September 17, 2015


Whatever you are physically...male or female, strong or weak, ill or healthy--all those things matter less than what your heart contains. If you have the soul of a warrior, you are a warrior. All those other things, they are the glass that contains the lamp, but you are the light inside.
~Cassandra Clare

Chandeliers this Art Thursday (or "lustres" as they are known in French). Striking, aren't they? I think it's challenging to get a good shot of one, especially lit.

Mosque Lights, Sana'a, Yemen

Malchow Orgelmuseum Klosterkirche Kronleuchter
by An-d

Chandelier of the salon Napoléon III of the Palais de l'Élysée, Paris

Souq of Mutrah, Oman

The Circular Dining Room at Carlton House, London
by Charles Wild

RB, 1904

Capilla insitituto Unzué Mar del Plata- Argentina Lámpara
by Biruma

At the ball
by Frederick Vezin (1859-1933)

Monday, September 14, 2015

Have Mercy

Today's music is in honor of this event:

First Sistine Chapel recording permitted by Pope Francis

I'm not Catholic and I don't understand the Latin, but Gregorio Allegri's Miserere ("Have Mercy") brings tears to my eyes anyway. The composition was written in the 1600s to be sung by the Papal choir in the Sistine Chapel.

The new recording won't be available for purchase until Sept. 25th, but here's a 1980 recording by the Tallis Scholars:

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Ironing it out

Man is harder than iron, stronger than stone and more fragile than a rose.
~Turkish Proverb

Metalwork this Art Thursday. I wanted to focus on wrought iron, but once I read about it for a while, I realized that I can't tell the difference between items that are wrought iron and ones that aren't. So here are items that were all called "wrought iron" and maybe they even are :-):

New Orleans - French Quarter "Miltenberger House"
photo by David Ohmer

Gresham Palace - Interior Detail
photo by Steve Silverman

Gate reflection
photo by Rev Stan

Detail of an Art Nouveau hand-rendered wrought iron gate by Emile Robert, ca. 1900
photo by Mark B. Schlemmer

Charleston Wrought Iron Fence
photo by Terence Faircloth

Abbey church in the Säben Abbey in South Tyrol
photo by Wolfgang Moroder

Okay, so the wrought iron is not really the main feature of this shot, but it took my fancy anyway:
Parasols, Barcelona
photo by Luigi Anzivino


The Museum Le Secq des Tournelles
Metal Museum in Tennessee
Philip Simmons, Blacksmith

Monday, September 7, 2015

I swear, it's the truth

I know other people have seen this movie recently/a lot, but I haven't seen it for a looong time...

I was an extra for a couple of days during the making of Dirty Dancing (probably you have to be related to me to be able to find me in the movie). I was 17, and everything about the process was thrilling. I spoke with Patrick Swayze once, and he was as nice and good-natured as you'd hope he would be.

I actually still have the Kellerman's shirt I wore (you can see a shot of one at the beginning of the video). They let me keep it because it was stained at the bottom by my maroon shorts. I had gotten wet during filming, and the dye from my shorts came off on my shirt. That's kind of a clue about where I am in the movie, except I can't imagine it would help in the slightest. I'm also in the background of a scene with Wayne Knight (Newman from Seinfeld), whom I did chat with a bit. He talked about filming Ishtar, which would go on to become a "notorious failure," but things picked up for him after that.

Dirty Dancing:

Updated to add an old photo of me (and Ariana) for Margaret:

I am 25 in this photo, but me at 17 wasn't that different. Except that I think my hair was shorter, more Molly Ringwald-y:

Hope that helps?

Friday, September 4, 2015

Love, It Is Our Home

You be the book, I'll be the binding
You be the words, I'll be the rhyming
~That's What's Up, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros

I thought this song could make a nice writing exercise..."You be the ____, I'll be the ______"

Lennon and Maisy:

Linda at TeacherDance has the Poetry Friday round-up.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Gurney Journey

The thing I love about dinosaurs is that they are on that balance point between fantasy and reality. It might be hard to believe that mermaids and dragons really existed, but we know that dinosaurs did- we can see their footprints and skeletons but we can't photograph them or see them, except in our imagination.
~James Gurney

Jim and friends

I don't usually feature blogs for Art Thursday, but I'm making an exception. Dinotopia creator James Gurney has an incredibly informative blog called Gurney Journey, where he covers a multitude of topics. Some examples include pencil sketching (I like that he sketches everywhere, even during concerts), lettering (I was impressed by Jake Weidmann), watercolor painting, museum visits, and plein air painting. I really like his posts about painting gear -- I love that he shows what he takes when he paints outside. Gurney also does posts on what other people use. Here's a great post about Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida's painting set-ups. Gurney also has a fine set of randomness that he refers to as rabbit trails.

Quotes from his site:

Where did you go to college?

I went to the University of California at Berkeley, but I didn't take any classes in the art department there. Instead I sought out the archaeology and paleontology professors and asked them if they needed an artist to render artifacts. They let me loose in the vast Kroeber Museum collection. One of the things I got to do for school credit was to render Egyptian scarab carvings for a scientific publication. After participating in an actual archaeological dig, I decided to major in anthropology. I then went on to study drawing and painting at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California.

What was your first real art job?

I had to drop out of art school because I got a job working in the movie industry as a background painter for the animated film Fire and Ice, (Bakshi/Frazetta, 1983). My assignment was to paint the landscape scenes that appear on screen behind the action. Over the course of a year and a half, I had to paint over a six hundred scenes—jungles and volcanoes and swamps—entirely from my imagination. Each afternoon, when I watched dailies, I could see characters moving around in the spaces I had just painted. It was like living inside a painting. I became hooked on fantasy art, and soon after, began working as a cover artist for science fiction and fantasy paperbacks.

Some examples of his art:

Dinotopia, Episode 6A

Dinotopia Outtake

Irving at IMC

Blacksmith Jay

Allen Williams

West Clare Graveyard