Shakespear was wrong.

Shakespeare was wrong – all the world is not a play. All of the world is a Dance Hall.

Plays are scripted. The director knows what is going to happen next, and the actors and acrtresses have rehearsed their parts and at least have a good idea of what will happen next even if everything does not go right.

Life, on the other hand, is not scripted. We all have our parts to play, of course, but how anyone will react or what they will do next is not completely known. Some will try to become the center of attention doing ball room dances they have studied for years. Others will move in strange and interesting ways, listening to their own beat and rythm. Some might break dance while others do waltzes. Some may dance closely together with others while dance on their own in line dances, constantly trying to fit in with their peers. Some may make the music while others listen to it… Some will simply sit there on the sidelines, sipping their alcohol, doing nothing all the time that they are in this dance hall of life, watching everyone else until it’s time to go.

Dictionary of Imaginary Places

The Dictionary of Imaginary Places: The Newly Updated and Expanded Classic
is one of the BEST books on fictional places. Lots of interesting maps and various descriptions. If you like fantasy, fiction, or role playing, this is a must have. I used this book a lot back in college when role playing and also for just plain entertaining reading. Love it.

Imaginitive Flight – on this Bright Night

Zodiac was on attack,
——
so Amma got on,
red gown flowing.
——
The horse was pale
white, and warm

on this cold
and listless night.
——-

——
In the spire
there was a squire
who spied his heart’s desire.
——
Hooves of thunder
took her asunder
——
His heart
was constantly bleeding…

Yearning and seeking,
Seeking, constantly seeking.
——
——
The land was plundered
as the hooves thundered
——
——

The Cheshire cat
laid on it’s back

micheviously smiling,
always smiling

——
——
The stars aligned.
The time was fine

when they finally met
in the heart of the city.
——
——

——
Gooving and grinding
musical binding
——
mystical hair
in the air

bodies swaying
ever so lightly
——
celestial choirs,
rythmic squires
——
throbbing & bobbing
orange and reds

currelean blue
strobes went dead

in the moon’s
bright light
——
——
The zodiac attacked the crazy cat.
but the Cheshire keeps smiling.
——
——

——
They did conspire
near the bonefire

twisting and turning
yearning and learning

the two became one
dawning rays of sun

Cheshire went away
——

Interesting Reading – A few Technical “Bibles”

I just wanted to throw these out here because they are amazing books that I use a lot and recommend a lot of other people to use too!

The Photoshop Bibleis THE book that you will want to get if you want to learn how to use Photoshop. I am sad to say that I’m still running Photoshop 5 LE, so I have not picked up a newer version Photoshop Bible that is for newer versions of Photoshop myself, but have read a few pages out of the newer versions in a bookstore now and then. It still appears to be the best source to go to for all things Photoshop. It covers just about every main function in the application and gives you a simple plain English explanation of why everything is there and what you should be using each function for and which Icons you should push on or quick keys to hit to get what you are trying to accomplish done quickly and competently.

The JavaScript Bible is THE book to have on Javascript. You CAN learn some of the basics from visiting websites such as Web Monkey, but when you really want to start digging deeper and understanding how to do things on a more complex level, this is the to go to book that you will be wanting to get. Just about every aspect of Javascript is covered and there’s coding example after coding example that will get you up and running quickly and give you a working understanding of how all the spokes in the wheel run together to get your website advanced to a new level of interactivity.

Beginning Game Programming with Flash is another great book to have for web design. Surely you have played a few flash games on occassion. They are all over the internet. This book teaches you from the ground up how to start building those sorts of games yourself. If you thought Javascript was fun, you ain’t seen nothing yet. The graphics and programming power behind Flash can let you create just about any sort of game that you want online if you have enough time to program and test your stuff out. There are definite limitations to what Flash can do, but many of those limits dissappear with every new version of flash that comes out, especially as more and more people are getting off of dialup and heading to dsl or other high speed internet carriers.

The Artist’s Handbook, or The Artist’s Handbook of Materials and Techniques: Fifth Edition, Revised and Updated (Reference)
is just about one of the best “Bibles” on traditional art methods.

Both of the books cover many of the same topics. Mayer’s is considered a little “better” by some since I think it is actually the older of the two.

They cover just about every technique that there is in the traditional arts, and gives some really neat in-depth information that you just won’t find many other places, especially in a single book. It’s actually pretty hard to believe how much information there is packed in this book…It tells you some of the little known facts about how to make pigments, what formulas to use to make your own gesso, explains in-depth information about various surfaces and how you should treat them and more importantly, why. It just has a lot of little key bits of information that are invaluable to anyone that really wants to create artwork.

Theories and Documents of Contemporary Art: A Sourcebook of Artists’ Writings (California Studies in the History of Art) is another great art related book. While this book is not really a Technical Bible per se, it is a bit like the more traditional Bible in that it goes directly to the source to get first hand accounts of what is going on in the minds of various artist in the contemporary art world. The book is filled with tons of interviews done with artists, diary entries created by artist, and a variety of publications created by artists and those that have an in depth understanding of artists. It gets to the heart of why contemporary art really exists, and has more in-depth, behind the information than you are likely to find ANYWHERE else all in one place.

Interesting Reading…

I’m constantly reading various books, blogs, websites, reviewing new material, reviewing old material, and rethinking about some of the content in those books, blogs, websites, etc.

Moving forward, I’m going to reserve the “Interesting Reading” tag and category in this blog for interesting reading articles, website links, links to books that I’ve come across, new thoughts I’ve got on old material, etc. This is not necessarily for “book reviews” so much as to toss an interesting piece of information that I’ve come across at you to think about a little – a pebble of thought, in to this wide Ocean that is the Blogosphere.

Exhibits Tag and Category

The Exhibits Tag and Category of this blog is reserved for artwork that I have enterered in to various exhibits. I will try to mention in each individual posting, or in the first comment of each posting which exhibits each item was in. I will also try to create a tag, and possibly as category for each individual exhibit. However, the main exhibits tag and category will be applied to all works that were in any exhibit.

Similarly, I’ll try to tag each item with a tag denoting the original year that the item was created. By default I’m tagging all artwork that I know that I created in College with the college and 1999 tags since I graduated in December, 1999, and I might not be able to pinpoint the exact year between 1994-1999 that the college artwork was created. (Yes, it took me 5 and years to graduate from college, but that’s mainly because I took a few extra classes in order to get a theater minor).

Artwork created in Highschool will be tagged with the tags 1994 and highschool because I graduated from highschool in 1994.

Artfolio vs Portfolio

I plan to tag and categorize all future posts that I consider a part of my true art portfolio as “Portfolio” at some point in the future. This is different than the posts tagged or categorized as artfolio. Artfolio is reserved for all of my artworks posted in this blog, both unfinished and finished as well as works in progress, quick preliminary sketches, ideas, notes on technique, diary type art-related postings, etc. Portfolio tagged items are a subset of Artfolio tagged items which are more finished, and worthy of viewing. A lot of artists don’t like to show the unrefined, unfinished works to the public for a variety of reasons. I like doing this so that it’s easier to see techniques being used, discuss various methods of doing things, discuss the historical rationale behind symbols and patterns being utilized, etc. That’s why I created the artfolio tag and category. The portfolio tag and category is reserved for things that I would, and may actually put in my real world art portfolio. The Artfolio stuff is more of a hodge podge mix of everything I do that’s art related.

Growing up… .stream of conciousness… fleeting thoughts…

growing up … train-of-consciousness running me down!..stream of conciousness… fleeting thoughts, racing through my mind.. dream like visions… life is flashing before my eyes as various realities that I have known come colliding together in kaleidoscope forms making a rainbow prism for myself to see… myself… who I am…

Watching sunsets on Aunt Jo Ann’s porch (the brilliance blinding and beutiful), ruts in dirt roads. Covered bridge. Cows crossing the stream..
lincoln logs,
He man, Spider man, GI Joe and Fonzy
etc.

Fond memories of my dad’s flannel jackets, my great granma’s bonnet, clubhouse/treehouse… space cadets, imagination running wild. I feel like I’m awakening from a dream as I type this and begin letting my brain reconnect with some old memories… neurons are all a chattering away … excitement like a Child awaitng opening presents on Christmas morning… Christmas, Ceder Tree, tinsels, icicles… taking the icicle from the coyote’s cave near grandpa’s farm…

mind is racing as I conciously do what I need to do, at work, and elsewhere… however, I am no automaton. My subconcious races thinking about many thing… both wonderous and mundane. Creativity is flowing through every neuron in my body as I feel a tingle. I know that I am alive. It is good to feel this level of happy exhileration again… to be in touch with who that I am…. knowing that I am… being who I am… I am.

I am reminded of an old meditation that several nun’s and other Catholic mentors that I have related to at various retreats throughout my life have taught me…
Be Still and Know that I am God… Be still and Know. Be still… Be…

zest for life after mourning… inspirations of Jon – He is alive and is proud to be alive… spirit quests… change is good although we don’t like it when and fight it tooth and nail… understanding… wisdom…

It is good to be alive.

====

I am…
I am that.

ALIVE AND WELL here. How are you today?

Fantasy Lands…

Wikipedia is bad for studying fantasy game worlds in mmorpgs since they have rules that keep that sort of thing from staying in posts there…. can’t verify blah, blah, blah… which is weird since they have entire sections on fantasy places in literature

like Oz…
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Land_of_Oz

Land of Oz

Mavel Universe,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marvel_universe

and even Heroes…
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heroes_(TV_series)

etc.

I guess for now, folks in Entropia will just have to continue to use places like http://www.entropedia.info/ because the place that should describe all of these sorts of things in detail, wikipedia, refuses to do so. Gigantic bias against virtual game worlds there on wikipedia in my opinion, which is really too bad… How are places that real people visit with their avatar every day less real and needing to be in there than silly make believe places like the land of Oz?, especially since places in Entropia Universe are paid for with real world money?

Something that really frustrates me about all of this is that they apparently have different rules for different virtual worlds… since they apparently don’t mind listing locations inside of the virtual universe of Warcraft… even though it’s an MMROPG and is “less real” than Entropia since it’s based entirely on a virtual gold system instead of a PED system that has a real world monetary system as the PED is tied to the dollar in a 1:10 ratio.

Analysis/Review of the Avatar Movie

The other day my wife and I went to see the 3d version of movie Avatar. Actually, we did not know it was 3d when we bought the tickets until the guy that took the tickets handed us the 3d glasses.

The graphics in the 3d version of this movie are spectacular. However, the plot is flat & characters are sort of one dimensional and cliche.

**************SPOILER ALERT**************

The basic plot is that a crippled guy goes in to weird alien forest world with his dead twin brother’s avatar with the goal of getting the aliens to leave so that his superiors can drill up the area where the aliens reside. While there, he meets an alien girl and falls in love with her, learns the ways of her people, decides that its best to help the aliens instead of his superiors, and ultimately ends up dead, but he lives on in the form of his avatar because the aliens use a weird “tree of life” to move his soul from his human body in to his alien body. There’s a few plot twists, but that’s the main storyline. It’s a fairly typical sort of Romeo and Juliet in a sci-fi setting almost. The only real difference is that Juliet doesn’t really die – her big tree house just gets crushed, and Romeo doesn’t die – he just becomes an alien.

One of the main themes in the movie is the idea that the entire planet and the Avatar Race are tied to one another with electrical pulses. I think in one scene they even say that there’s “more connections” between the environment and the people than there are neural pathways in the human brain. There is a blatent new age “Gaia” type of “green” theme to all of it… although they don’t call it Gaia – They call their earth goddess diety on this strange world Eawa, or something similar sounding to that…

There might be a possibility that Ehwa is really something similar to Yahweh spelled backwards, and that’s done to represent the “Great Goddess” idea vs the old Human Christian and Western ideas of conquest and spreading our ways to others all over the world that has lead us on Earth to where we are today with a world filled with Green House Gas, etc…?!?… especially with the “tree of life” being connected to the entire world idea – which is sort of similar to a few New Age and old Kabbalah sort of ideas… Of course that might be going way too deep in to the metaphors and looking at symbols and stuff, lol.. Maybe they just like the Ewoks from Star Wars and wanted to make a diety that sounded like that sort of sound. πŸ˜‰

In one of the longest sililoquies in the movie, the main character says something like “They (Humans from Earth) have killed their planet” implying that humans destroyed earth and now they are trying to destroy this planet with their techological ways, drilling up the earth, etc.

There’s an ongoing techonolgy vs native primitive way of life struggle throughout the entire movie as well as a lot of other ideas and themes. The basic underlying idea I got about it is that the movie is not really about aliens at all – it’s about us in the “Civilized Western World” and how we keep kicking natives out of their natural settings – and keep destroying our entire world in the process… in Africa, in Central America, in Australia… even here in the US since we kicked the original indidan population out of the places there had come to call home.

Riding a Dragon type of creature as a sign of “coming of age” is one of the subplots in the story, as are few various ideas about what is real, and a few other things, but I don’t want to give away the whole story and completely ruin the movie for you (even though I may already have with the two paragraphs above)… I could probably go on and on about a lot of symbols, metaphors, and the technological issues regarding how the movie was made, but I’ll save some that for another day when I have more time to post…

However… there is one topic I will discuss along these lines…

There’s that whole side issue about cloning going on in the movie that could lead to discussions about if/why a clone would not have an identity and soul of it’s own instead of just being a humanoid robot ready to take commands from whoever it was cloned from – but that’s not really the main part of the story… Actually that little idea sort of goes against the whole basis of the plot and themes in the movie since the Avatars are really clones created with technology and therefore represent everything un-natural, and also represents a sort of invasion on the soul of the being that is the Avatar… However that whole idea is a non-issue because it’s just “assumed” that the Avatar has no self identity in the world presented in the movie… (which is part of the reason why I think Ewa is to evoke a sort of new age, magical, mystical, occult, kabbala type of idea and theme in the movie – as the “Avatars” are really somewhat similar to the old idea of a Golem – a souless body that’s used by spellcasters, etc… except instead of using magic, they use the “technology” of cloning and the little coffin like boxes that the humans that are using the avatars have to go in to make the Gollum-like Avatars become alive… ok… all you Baptists and other religious nuts out there, are you ready to ban this movie like you banned Harry Potter and Mickey Mouse, lol… You know, doing that just brings more media attention to movies like this and causes more people to watch them since everyone wants to see for themselves what all the controversy is about! Actually, you could turn all the symbols around and make the resuruction of the Avatar in to a resuruction of the Body after death idea since it’s sort of a “going back to an Eden-like Heaven” to live with the other alien angel like creatures on that strange primitive world… πŸ™‚ πŸ˜‰ )

Overall, I give the movie about a 7 out of 10 rating because the plot is pretty predictable and almost all of the characters other than the main two are very flat and one dimensional psychologically, and even they are fairly predictable most of the time. It was nice to see a “save our earth by going green and supporting primitive cultures in the rainforests” type of message in a movie like this, but the repitition of that idea over and over and over goes a little overboard in my opinion…