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Showing posts from July, 2008

Snow Globes

Image via WikipediaThis morning, as with all mornings, I take a shower to start my day, and while showering, weird thoughts come to me and I cannot get them out of my head until I think about them to the point that I tire of it and the ideas just leave.

The weird thought for today is Snow Globes. I have no particular fascination with snow globes. I don't think I even own a snow globe. So why did I think of snow globes? I have no idea. But as usual the thought led me to ponder snow globes and of course how do I do my pondering? In front of my Mac. So I surfed the web to find out more. Fortunately it didn't take long for the thought of snow globes to disappear, but I found out a few things and so I share them here.

Apparently snow globes are also referred to as water globes and snowdomes. But I like the popular term instead. I recall from my childhood that my mother and sister both liked snow globes and I think that the bought them as Christmas gifts for the family.


What is Tartar?

So this evening while brushing my teeth I started to think about tartar. I'm not sure why, but it popped into my head and so I thought about the meanings of the word. One meaning regards teeth, and perhaps that's why I started thinking about it. According to the dictionary tartar refers to a hard calcified deposit that forms on the teeth and contributes to their decay.
These calcified deposits are also referred to, interestingly enough, as calculus. And as with the dread I feel having to see a dentist I coincidentally have a fear of the branch of mathematics of the same name.

Although I've never eaten this, steak tartar (tartare) is a dish served traditionally as chopped, raw beef mixed with onions and capers and sometimes served with a raw egg resting atop it.

Now tartar sauce I've had and I like. To me it helps frozen fish such as fish sticks and others go down much easier--yes, I do cook it first. Perhaps served frozen like popsicles, frozen fish might actually b…

My Art

I sketch and I paint.  I don't do it as much as I used to.  If I spend a few days a year drawing or painting then I consider myself lucky.  Although I like to use traditional materials such as pastels, oil paint, pencils and pens, and of course paper and canvas and sometimes something not so traditional (e.g. cardboard), I find that using computer software and a graphics tablet is a cool way to paint without having to spend so much money on supplies.

I use Corel Painter X and a Wacom 12x19 intuos graphics tablet. Although there is no tactile feedback from the pen when drawing on the tablet, the visual texture of whatever sort of brush I'm using helps to trigger something in the brain that tells me I am painting on a specific surface with a specific brush.  Perhaps this is just something I experience, but it makes painting with the tablet very cool.

Life, the Universe and Me

Image via WikipediaI love thinking about the universe and looking at images of planets, moons, galaxies, star clusters and nebulae. In thinking about the universe, however, I tend to think in terms philosophical as well as scientific. The one philosophical idea that I think about when I think about reality is are we alone in the universe and is there a god. The reason I put these things together is because I wonder that if we are unique to the entire universe (and I mean any kind of life) then does this mean, as the various religions might have us believe, that we are god'screation, set above all creatures and, in a sense, nature?

Now, what if it is the case that the universe is teeming with life, not necessarily like the life we understand, but all kinds of life. Would this knowledge in the minds of the religious cause them to alter their thinking? What I mean is if I were a religious person (and I was for a short while many years ago), if life was discovered throughout the …

Pictures of the Clouds

Image via WikipediaI love clouds and trees, but especially clouds. I have a nice Nikon D40 SLR and so sometimes I sit out on my deck and look up and shoot. I like the puffy clouds mostly, but I think all sorts of clouds are interesting. I just like the shapes and the white and shades of gray against the blue sky. I like the difference in how the sun at different points in the sky illuminates the clouds. But unlike other interests I have where I like to study and learn the specifics about a thing or a discipline (e.g. birding and the study of trees), my fascination with clouds is emotional, and I consider them the coolest of nature's art.

I paint and sketch (every once in a while) and I've always wanted to paint landscapes with beautiful clouds, abstract, impressionistic or otherwise. In my mind I've imagined how I might paint clouds, and I do this specifically when I am driving or walking about and looking up at the clouds, imagining how one could capture the light, the…

Books and Authors

Image via WikipediaI mentioned before that I love to read books. Although still unemployed, and with lots of unused time, one might think that I've read lots of books. Here I want to mention some of the books that I'd like to read in the hopes that one of these days I will look at this entry and remember where I ought to begin.

I am partial to non-fiction, although I do, on occasion, read a decent novel. But my preferences for non-fiction center around technology, science, philosophy and biography. There are many other kinds of books I enjoy, too. I'm partial as well to essays. I love to read essays from wonderful writers about whatever topics they chose to write, even if a particular topic isn't something about which I might otherwise read.

My favorite essayists, in no particular order, follow. This because my mind and tastes change almost hourly, the only exception of which is E. B. White, whom I put above all other writers in this genre (as a poet he wasn't s…

Unemployed and Still Loving It... Sort of

Image via WikipediaI am unemployed; have been since June 23, my wife's birth date. I am loving it, sort of. Having the freedom to think about and to do what I please is something, I think, that many of us want. I am not rich, but I have some money saved for such times and I am working on getting some unemployment. I have a number of interesting ideas for software and so I've been slowly exploring them, testing such ideas with the Java programming language and various other languages such as Ruby, Groovy and Python. I'm doing this slowly because I don't want to burn out again.

One of my passions is books; reading, looking at, caressing, smelling (not necessarily in this order nor necessarily with books). I don't collect rare books because I cannot afford another expensive hobby, but I do enjoy browsing bookstores and libraries and over the internet--I still cannot read books online. Sure I can read blogs, forums, web pages, social networking pages, etc. But w…

Extension Junky

So I'm sitting here today with no television (lamp burned out), and yesterday I mentioned that I had been cutting down on it anyway, but man do I miss it when it ain't around. So no big deal. As I was getting bored I just started surfing the web with firefox, my favorite browser, and decided or perhaps just stumbled upon the firefox extensions page. Of course I'd been there before, usually I go there to get the few essentials (google bar,, download status bar, foxmarks and forecastfox) whenever I reinstall firefox. But today I decided to just go all out and try out as many extensions I could find. And no, I don't just try them one at a time. I install dozens and then restart firefox and realize afterwards that I am completely overwhelmed with all of them.

But I always do this to myself. I get interested in something and I go all out. For example, I am into vegetariancooking and eating vegetarian, but I go through spells where I have no interest in co…

The Greening of Me

This planet green thing has got me wondering, and I don't necessarily mean the cable network show by that name, although I'll get to that shortly. What I mean is this idea of becoming green, being green, living in harmony with the earth, critically examining your life and your bathroom habits, leering at your neighbors as they drench their lawns and spread their weed and feed. It's all just seeping and not so slowly into the very collective conscious of the American people. It has saturated the airwaves and the radio, the Internet and literature; hell, even the black newspaper ink is taking on a green hue. Is all of this green fever actually a good thing or could their be serious trouble, and I don't mean your neighbors leering back or flipping you off. I mean is green itself green (whatever that means).

Anyway, when I do watch planet green I use it simply as background noise while I surf the web, write in my blogs, play computer games, etc. But what's strange…

Of Puppies and Wild Raspberries

Image via Wikipedia
Today as I walked AppleJax, one of my puppies, about the yard I noticed in the small wooded area at the back of our yard three or four wild raspberry bushes nestled within a thicket of weeds and vines. I saw many red raspberries and a few blackberries. Through mindlessly browsing the web I looked up both raspberry and blackberry (wikipedia, of course) and confirmed that they are related. I thought that a blackberry was just a ripened red raspberry, and this could be the case. Perhaps a ripened raspberry is dark, like a blackberry.

I've included some photos of raspberries, blackberries, strawberries and blueberries. This interesting thing is that none of these are actually berries. Blackberries and raspberries are what is termed an aggregate fruit of numerous drupelets. Feel free to click and read all about aggregate fruit and drupelets.

I am fascination with semantics and information. I use a program called CMapTools to create concept maps. Here is a samp…