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Dartmouth Commencement Address

Since I have nothing humorous or profound to say at the moment, I thought I’d share this video of Conan O’Brien’s commencement address at Dartmouth. The man is a darn good speaker as well as being funny. Especially around the 17 minute mark.

Enjoy!

Coming Next: Speaking of Homeschooling…

Charlie is so cool like

The other day my wife posted a link on her Facebook page of this entitled “Procrastination”. It was a rather entertaining video, and led me to the official Youtube website of the young author, a British lad named Charlie McDonnell.  Charlie is twenty years old at present and I think he started making his video blog about four years ago. My son Arthur (age 8 1/2) came in and we started watching more of Charlie’s videos. And soon realized it was hard to stop. They are very funny! This young guy is a natural entertainer. He’s fantastically inventive, witty, insightful, and has a delightfully endearing personality.

We soon discovered that Charlie (being British) is a huge fan of the ‘Doctor Who’ TV series. And he’s also a musician who is in a band called ‘Chameleon Circuit‘ who perform their own original songs about ‘Doctor Who’! And the songs I’ve heard are really fun! The band is working on their second CD right now. Here are some samples for all you fans of The Doctor out there:

Doctor What

An Awful Lot of Running

Blink

Here is the direct link to Charlie’s Youtube video blog: charlieissocoollike. And his website home page HERE for more info, music and such.

I think this guy has a great future ahead of him in entertainment of many kinds. And Arthur and my daughter Fiona have been having a riot watching Charlie’s work on-line! So have I. Isn’t this Youtube thing pretty groovy? Anybody can post videos, but Charlie really has talent. Check him out.

Green Porno

April 11, 2011 2 comments

A while ago I heard of this wacky video series called Green Porno that was made by Isabella Rossellini about the mating habits of insects and other animals. Actually, I first saw some photos from the series and thought to myself  ‘Isabella is either nuts or amazingly cool’ (see above). But that was over a year ago. Then yesterday on the ‘CBS Sunday Morning’ TV show they had an interview with Isabella and talked about her work with training guide dogs (she’s quite an animal lover), and about Green Porno. It was fabulous! And it prompted me to check out the Sundance Channel website to watch some of the videos from the series. And there’s also a new series by Isabella along the same lines called Seduce Me.

I always liked Isabella Rossallini, especially after seeing Blue Velvet. That movie was amazingly disturbing! Probably my favorite performance by Dennis Hopper, too. She looks so much like her mother, who I fell deeply in love with as a kid. And she’s always seemed like such a creative person with many diverse interests, besides being a model and actress. I saw her on 30 Rock a few months back and she was delightful. Isabella seems like the kind of person who’d be tremendous fun to hang out with. I wonder if she’d visit us for dinner sometime? She lives somewhere in New York State!

So check out the videos. They’re short but incredibly entertaining, educational and funny as hell. I especially love this one on earthworm reproduction. It’s a bizarre coincidence, but after watching it last night we came down to let the dogs out this morning and there were worms all over the yard doing the exact same thing! Life is such an education!

I may never look at another earthworm again without thinking of Isabella Rossellini.

Next time, we look at the ever-changing world of Ubuntu, Unity and Gnome 3 for the Linux desktop…

Now it is Spring

March 21, 2011 1 comment

 

Green moss on a dark, damp trunk,

gray sky, a pale glow bleeding down from beyond…

The first day of Spring.

Soft blush of light, wet hints of color, whispers of warmth to come.

And the earth is brushed with broad strokes of green

grass awakening to that luminescent hint of sun from above.

Sky is alive with sounds, birds flitter

scavenging winter’s husks to construct new nests.

Glorious shoots of crocus and daffodil thrust up through dun-colored leaf

and coffee-dark soil.

They seem to rise higher by the hour

lusting for the light and moist warm air.

Gazing out my back window, music lulls me into a dream

of past vision melding into the archetype of ‘Spring’.

“Come down in time”, the gentle voice croons.

This moment of awareness rooted in Now,

yet each memory reflects the echoes of the echoes

of echoes of memories of every springtime I have known;

echoes of selves that bridge the illusion of years,

like diamonds strung on a spider’s web.

Around and around, it all comes back again

to the cycles of life and death and life…

Now it is Spring.

Categories: Creativity, Writing Tags:

My Daughter, the songwriter

Geese flew over this morning while I was walking to the bakery on a pastry run (raspberry turnovers, yum!). The sky was gray and it was chilly, but there’s hope Spring may yet arrive. Yesterday was brilliantly sunny, but now it’s raining. Rain is good. At least it means the temperature is rising!

Last night before going to bed my 5-year-old daughter began singing, as she frequently does. We were in her bedroom and she stood on her bed in her Princess nightgown and she began singing. Apparently she was inspired by a song she heard on the radio, by someone I can’t remember. Every line began with “Did you ever feel…” and then Fiona went into her stream-of-consciousness thing, adding whatever lyrics popped into her adorable head. And it was incredible! I was mesmerized as she belted out line after line, her voice rising and falling so rhythmically, the sweet inflections of that young voice like the chanting of an angel.

It went on for many minutes. And as I listened my body began slowly swaying to the tempo, just listening, as I flowed into a timeless, trance-like state. I forgot about everything else. It was truly amazing! And Fiona herself was carried along by the flow and power of her own awesome voice as she wove this magical spell within the space of her room. I think it lasted about fifteen minutes or so. And then she was done. Time unfroze.

But while she was singing I noticed some paper and a brown colored pencil and I started trying to write some of the words that came effortlessly out of her brain. I’m afraid I was only able to jot down a pitiful few words out of the stream of what I heard. The darn pencil was dull and I had to press hard to make an impression! But here’s what I managed to retain:

Did you ever feel… that you’re the first person to know you can be
whatever you want to be; a singer, an artist, a dancer, an astronaut, a teacher,
a scientist?

Did you ever feel… that you’re the best of everyone, that you can love everybody?

Did you ever feel… that you’re the most beautiful person in the world, like you’re
the first person to become a butterfly?

Did you ever feel… that you’re the first person to escape this business in New York,
that after one o’clock the whole world will shimmer?

Did you ever feel… like you’re the sun, to laugh and run and dance and sing
and no one can take that away from us?

Did you ever feel… that this is the day; you can be whatever you want to be
and together we can take over the world?

One of these times I need to record that little girl! We’ve made a few recordings with the computer in the past, but what I heard last night was absolutely amazing. That’s it for now. I’ll end with a quote:

If I create from the heart, nearly everything works; if from the head, almost nothing. –Marc Chagall

Philosophical Musings in the early morning hours

Well, it’s happened again. I was sleeping quite comfortably snug in my warm bed, while outside it was 10 degrees and snow is falling. I was dreaming something pleasant and vaguely interesting, but already I’ve forgotten it. Anyway, it was just so wonderful to be sleeping soundly, after having a miserable fever for the past three days. And then, sometime around 5 AM, I slowly drifted up from slumber, basking in my contentment and warmth, and my brain Awoke. Thoughts started flowing so effortlessly through it, (into it, from it?) that I just lay there in my cocoon and listened to all the things my thoughts had to say.

It is a profoundly pleasant feeling when the brain first ‘awakens’, to just lay back and let this mesmerizing human consciousness do its thing, relatively unhindered by the constraints of the everyday rational robot-brain. If only I could automatically record those thoughts as they follow their course. They are so easy, articulate, insightful; so unashamed of where they come from and unafraid of where they will go. I know they’re my thoughts, but I’m also just delighted to listen to what they have to say. And I never know what they will say or where they will take me.

Of course once my body is awake enough to realize this is some pretty profound and marvelous stuff, and I drag myself from bed and come down and awaken the computer (oh crap, there’s some new e-mails, should I look at them now? What’s the weather forecast?!) and open a word processor, or in my case this blog, that precious uncensored flow of thought is already a thing of the past. Damn, that was a long sentence, too! So, a couple of things this teaches us (me) are that thinking is relatively easy when we’re not distracted. Of course, our modern world is purposefully designed to be one BIG distraction. And the reasons for that are the stuff of contemplation at another time. And; one thought leads to another and another. I just need to start somewhere.

I just realized it’s been about one year since I started writing this blog. Wow! I need to go back and check that first post out again. But I think the main reason was just to make myself write; something; anything, just to see where I would go. And what my mind was naturally interested in writing about. And as I look back, a lot of what I write about here is pretty mundane shit! A lot about entertainment; TV shows, movies, sometimes books (Oh! I’ve got a great one I just started reading. I’ll have to tell you about it later!), computers. Not that there’s anything wrong with entertainment, or computers! But man, it’s so easy to fall back on watching other people’s thoughts and stories! To marvel at the creativity of others (if we’re lucky). It’s definitely easier to consume than to create. But we are all creative beings. If you can relax for a while, if you can quiet the mind, your consciousness is full of amazing shit!! God, The Universe and Everything! I mean, how often do we stop and think about how literally awesome the human brain is? There’s nothing like it that we know of. And how weird would it be if we are the only ones who can know how awesome it is?! I hope that’s not the case. But I’m digressing.

We have these incredible brains that are capable of who really knows what, yet we spend most of our precious time on this Earth watching ‘Reality’ TV, or worrying about what we don’t have and how we can get it, or being afraid, and on and on. I know, I know, I’m just ranting now. This post has pretty much diverged from what I first intended. But I know I waste too much of my precious time on things that aren’t so important. Hell, we’re only alive until we’re not! I need to create more. Do more art. More writing.

And I had a bunch of great ideas about writing in those wee hours this morning, but now it’s already 8 o’clock! And some of those ideas came from the TV show ‘Fringe‘. How ironic! But I guess everything has its purpose; everything feeds the brain, if we can just be a little selective, for God’s sake! I think I need to stop now.

TO BE CONTINUED…

A Cool Little Application

We’re just hangin’ round home today relaxing (me) and playing in the snow (kids & Stephanie). Fiona had her last dance class till next year yesterday, and then we went to my family Christmas party, hosted this year by my nephew Brian and his wife Cary, where everyone had a totally lovely time! And what good food! Gosh, how I love the holidays!!

I don’t have much to say today, but on Friday Arthur and I did some playing around with a wonderful computer program called ‘Scratch‘. It’s an application that makes programing fairly easy and can be used to make games, animations and probably other uses as well. You can drag and drop different bits of code like puzzle pieces to create all kinds of cool things, like adding animations, sounds, music and movements. You need to see it to get a better understanding. It was created at MIT and can be used by kids and adults to learn the basics of programming. And it’s cross-platform (Linux, Windows, Mac) and works beautifully on Arthur’s old Mac and our Pinguy OS Linux machine. Here’s another link with much information: Scratch Reference Guide. There’s lots of info on different ways for students and teachers to make use of Scratch. We’re going to need to take some time to learn all the things we can do. Arthur thinks it’s really cool, especially the game-making possibilities. I want to make animations with it. I think we’ll both learn a lot!

And changing the subject; here are a couple more links below pertaining to the strange state of our economy, and to the equally bizarre attitudes of our elected government officials in Washington. The latter subject makes me especially pissed as hell, but I really don’t want to use language as foul as this makes me feel. So I leave it to you to, gentle readers, to watch for yourselves:

The rich benefit from society and should give back

Daily Show: 9/11 First Responders React to the Senate Filibuster

I’m off to have my dinner and perhaps watch a movie with the family, and bask in the cheery glow of our beautiful Solstice/Christmas tree. And contemplate how fortunate my family really is compared to many of our fellow human beings. Cheers!

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