30 January 2011

Neither One Nor the Other

Dr. Isaac Asimov enthroned with symbols of his life's work.
by Rowena Morrill

"How often people speak of art and science as though they were two entirely different things, with no interconnection. An artist is emotional, they think, and uses only his intuition; he sees all at once and has no need of reason. A scientist is cold, they think, and uses only his reason; he argues carefully step by step, and needs no imagination. That is all wrong. The true artist is quite rational as well as imaginative and knows what he is doing; if he does not, his art suffers. The true scientist is quite imaginative as well as rational, and sometimes leaps to solutions where reason can follow only slowly; if he does not, his science suffers."

                                                    -- Isaac Asimov
                                                    "Prometheus," The Roving Mind (1983)

[Thanks to Jessica Palmer at bioephemera for this!]

27 January 2011

Football Meets Art

Came across an item in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel this morning:

Museums Wager Impressionist Art on Their Super Bowl Teams.

We often hear of the mayors of the cities whose teams are involved in the Super Bowl making humorous bets on the game's outcome.  Each mayor puts up as his/her bid some speciality of the city or region: a crate of sausage, artisan beers, etc.  This  year the Carnegie Museum of Art and the Milwaukee Museum of Art  are betting one of their paintings!  Here's the link to the full story. (The images are of the two paintings involved in the wager as shown in the news item.) 


25 January 2011

VIDEOS: Moving is Good

The dark, mid-months of winter can wear on the soul.  I found these few videos and found myself also restored!

21 January 2011

VIDEOS: Sky Night Sky Bright

My best first memory of sky watching was when I was a kid and my older sister Cee took us out for a night of it.  She brought a focus-lens flashlight which she used as a kind of pointer to outline the many constellations of the summer sky.

Living in the city, we are limited to seeing only the brightest stars and constellations: Ursa Major, Orion, Taurus, etc.  So I've been looking for videos online - not just any video; beautiful ones, by viewers who are as much artists as they are astronomy buffs. 

William Castleman of Gainesville, FL is an especially talented photographer. Here are two of his pieces.

The folks at Google have come up with a new application for Night Sky viewing and identification.  Here is their "how to" video about it.

17 January 2011

Time and Water

Westlands Park, Greenwood Village, CO. (USA)
Photo by me.

I love watching astronomy and cosmology shows television shows - Through the Wormhole, Planet Earth, The Universe, and How the Earth Was Made. And you can be pretty sure that any one of the latest spate of shows on dinosaurs - besides including the gratuitous footage of THE COMET that ended it for them 65 million years ago - will include a CGI timelapse of geographies changing over vast millennia.

Glacier National Park, Montana (USA)is its own living timescape.  Over the past few years I've enjoyed their webcams, especially the one focused on Lake McDonald.  Besides the sheer beauty of the place, I am fascinated by the sense that I am witnessing on a minuscule level, the movement of time.  Here are some of the screenshots I've collected.  (Note: What looks like a UFO in one image is simply an insect on the camera lens.  Talk about an even smaller level of perspective: insect time!)

13 January 2011

Recharging via Categories

Like any creative person, my inspiration runs into walls on occasion, or just gets weary.  That thing called Life intervenes: deadlines, familial obligations, hot weather with ridiculously high humidity, insomnia, laundry that needs doing, etc.  And sometimes the creative ideas themselves interfere with one another.  I need to sew some work clothes but there sitting right next to that lovely black-brown gabardine are the file folders of my little group of pen friends.  I am behind in sewing and behind in my letter writing.  Both are hugely fun.  Which gets top priority?  Especially when my sketchbook and the graphic novel notes are sitting right next to both?

There is this sudden rush to MAKE SOMETHING NOW.  But what?  When?  And if I choose A  when can I do B?  Creative indecision is a weird beastie.  It feels like one is firing on all cylinders simultaneously and like one is frying the synapses of the imagination to boot.  It paralyzes at the same time it jolts the spirit.

So when it's practical - cuz even creativity needs its pragmatic moments - I spend a few hours cruising through all the links I've bookmarked over the years.  Some of the sites I don't even recognize, so the visit is like seeing a new-old friend.  Some sites seem strange and no longer interesting - which leads me to think about what it was that caught my eye way back when - which can lead to some constructive reflection on who I was then and who I am now. 

I took some time over the end-of-year break to see where I went once.  Just for fun, I am posting a handful of those links here for your interest.

From my "Foods" category:

How to Hard-Boil an Egg (works perfectly every time!)

From my "Fun Stuff" category:

- need to find a Celtic session group? Or a class? [from their site] is the largest group involved in the preservation and promotion of Irish traditional music. We’re a non-profit cultural movement with hundreds of local branches around the world, and as you can read in our history we’ve been working for the cause of Irish music since the middle of the last century (1951 to be precise). Our efforts continue with increasing zeal as the movement launches itself into the 21st century.

Bing Crosby singing Too-Ra-Loo-Ra-Loo-Ra from the movie Going My Way.

[from the download site] "The Free Electronic Shakespeare Reader is a downloadable piece of software that you can install on any Windows computer, and instantly have all of Shakespeare's 38 plays at your fingertips. No internet connection required; read plays at your leisure on any computer. An excellent study resource for any English Literature student. Provides in-depth full-text searching to all of Shakespeare's plays."

How to Make a Hula Hoop (adult version - weighted for dance hooping)

Strange Games site (includes stuff like the 2010 Rock Paper Scissors tournament, lawn mower tossing, and similarly goofy activities; please note: not always for kids).

From my "Creatives" category:

Green Thoughts Asleep and the Fury of Dreams: Native Shading in the Fiction of Ursula K. Le Guin (well-written piece on this deeply thoughtful and creative author and wordsmith)

09 January 2011

VIDEO: New Moon I Love You

We were so looking forward to seeing the total lunar eclipse in December  A few nights before the skies were crystal clear after a hard freeze.  But a snow storm moved in the very day of the promised moon adventure.  What a disappointment. 

So many, many thanks to William Castleman Gainesville, Florida (USA) who photographed the entire event and made a video of it set to Claude Debussy's Nocturnes: Sirènes.

Mr. Castleman also posted how he did it:

"I appreciate the many notes of thanks and interest sent to me by email since I posted the video on December 21, 2010. I am responding to the many emails that I received requesting information on how the video was made.
I used a 4 inch telescope (Takahashi TSA-102 with TOA-35 field flattener) on an equatorial mount (Losmandy GM-8) that was polar aligned and following the Moon at a lunar tracking rate. Photographs were taken every 20 seconds with a dslr camera (Canon EOS-40D) using EOS Utility software at ISO 100 or ISO 200 in aperture priority mode with variable exposure compensation. Spot metering was used. The tracking was manually corrected every 20 to 30 minutes to keep the Moon centered in the field. Photos were assembled in Quicktime Pro software to make the time lapse video. A software program (Sony Vegas Pro 9) merged the video, music and text. The periodic large field shifts (jerky motion) in the video are due to the manual tracking corrections."

05 January 2011

VIDEO: Automata Aplenty

Back in November, in a post titled VIDEOS: Mechanical Life Forms, I included several links to videos of automata, mechanical, self-operating machines that typically mimic human actions. Heather McDougal, in her always fascinating and thoughtful blog Cabinet of Wonders recently added another set of videos, including the one shown above of the tapping fingers automaton.  Here's the link to that post.

04 January 2011

Love to Oz

Best wishes to all my readers in Australia,
especially those of you in the areas devasted by the floods.   

Lavender plants in sundial planter.

Westlands Park
Greenwood Village, Colorado (USA)

Photo by me.

01 January 2011

There Be Decency Among Us

I like to keep my universe to a manageable size.  As an information specialist in one of my professional incarnations, a Humanities educator/scholar in another, and a maker/artist in yet another, it's easy to get overwhelmed when perusing the Internet.  Here at Dante's Wardrobe I like to share some of what I've found.  My approach has an mindful component: no taking advantage of my readers with shocking material; no gratuitous images or text; and as rigorously as I can, always crediting people's work.  This isn't to say I don't have strong opinions on occasion; I will post material that makes me think about important, sometimes difficult subject.

So when I came across the work of "blogger, maker, writer, and ukulele player" Paul Overton this past Spring, I felt I had discovered a true jewel in the oft-madness of the Net.  It's not just because his online work is well-crafted (it's gorgeous) or because he has such a curious and entertaining eye when it comes to the art work of others he showcases.  It is because Mr. Overton is a decent man. 

He honors the work of others.  He respects the innocence and thinking minds of children.  He supports the commerce of art and making in a thoughtful and ethical fashion. Back in July of 2010 he posted An Open Letter to My Readers on his blog, DudeCraft.  If you want to see decency and mindfulness in action, I urge you to read it.  If you want to remind your soul of what is good and creative and fun in this world, make a visit to his blog a regular thing in your life.

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