Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Some of my new Photoshop work

Click the title of this entry (above) to see the full gallery (with links to bigger images)... All of these images are 100% photography, altered using only image enhancement techniques and layer blending modes in Photoshop. No filters were used nor were any parts of the images drawn. Let me know what you think.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


This exercise was probably the best test of my convictions... Either that, or I am a stark raving lunatic (which some of my colleagues suspect...) I don't want to post too much about this until I see what the students come up with, but just say suffice it to say that I do practice what I preach. And boy is it scary sometimes! But it's all good. Once I see what they come up with I will give my 2¢ worth... I see a paper in this if all goes well... If not, then public humiliation, which might be very similar to a peer reviewed paper...

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Who needs drugs?

When you have this?

Adobe CS4

I know this is shameless advertising on their part, but I actually thought it was worth watching. But then again, I am a geek. You be the judge. (About the movie, not about my geekiness...)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Pull up a chair and watch this (you pyromaniac, you!)

This is a long video, but worth the time. I want to go to Burning Man. It would be like living a week of seeing sideways, in the desert, with fire. Nuff said.


What the hell is a zoetrope anyway? Watch the video and click this link to find out.

UPDATE: 9-27-08
For some reason they have taken down the video that I had linked here... It was of a large scale stroboscopic zoetrope. It was basically stop motion animation in real life, controlled by railroad pump cars that powered the merry-go-round and strobe lights and as the lights flashed you would see the next stage in the animation... But, alas, the video is gone for some mysterious reason.

But trust me, it was way cool...

UPDATE: 9-28-08
I found it on Youtube! It is the one from 2007 and it is controlled by bikes, but the idea is the same. Here it is at night (as intended to be experienced for the animation effect...)

And here is it is by daylight (so you can see what the hell it actually is...)

Look before you leap!

Do you still think she's hot???

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

What if you could...

play music using a radio controlled car and beer bottles???

Sunday, September 21, 2008

What if I could sleep?

Then I could not do this... (click that link for the animated/audio version of the image to the left...)

What if I could write my own music and paint with light in Photoshop??? It all started because the school bought me a brand new Mac laptop and I discovered Garage Band. Yay for those of us out there who were heretofore rhythmically and musically challenged. Plus I found a cool new tutorial on the photoshopuser site! Put them together with a complete lack of sleep and this is what you get...

I hope you enjoy it and I hope I can sleep soon!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Meaningless rambles about time in a hospital window


The lighted window
in the dark of night
in the light of day.

(first draft, written 9/11/08)

I wrote this while I was at a hospital this week (I drove a friend to have laser eye surgery, so don't get too alarmed!) and while I was in the waiting room (time) I noticed something really interesting. We had to be there by 7 a.m. (I know! - and with the 1 hour commute...!!! - again, time) so it was really early and had that pre-dawn beauty that most of us new media people never get to see. Therefore this odd light holds a fascination for me. I was waiting (time) and watching the world around me when I looked out the window and across the way was another wing of the hospital with another window into a room with the light on. Since it was sooo early in the morning, the window was a harbor of light against a dark wall, and even though the window only looked into a room with linens stacked up, it was fascinating (plus it was 7 in the freakin' morning, so for a night owl like moi the sleep deprivation that accompanies early morning is a little like having a buzz, so everything is fascinating!) I pondered it for a bit (not much else to do in a waiting room) and then started reading the interesting yet academically written book "Practices of Looking: An Introduction to Visual Culture" (yes I am a geek, and be thankful for the books we are using in this class - I got this book with the idea it might be good for this class...but not so much, although I do recommend it...) Any way, after about 30 minutes, and only 3-4 pages (that should tell you something and it also says something about time!) I looked up at the window again and was stunned!!!

The beacon of light in the darkness was nothing more than a dull tan and white rectangle in a vast sea of dull tan bricks! Over the course of just a few minutes the sun had continued to rise as my attention was focused elsewhere, and even though I expected the view in the window to be the same alluring image it had been when I last glanced at it (I don't know why, I just did - guess my brain was in a different time stream,) the light had changed, bleeding the contrast from the image and completely changing it. There was hardly anything that would have caught my attention had I not seen it before. I looked to see if the light was still on in the room, and the telltale greenish glow of fluorescent lights told me it was, but, at least for me, especially compared to how arresting it had been before, it was not a visual experience I would remember... Had the light been off in the room it would have created a negative image to the one I had seen before, but the light was still on, so time was really the only thing that changed (plus the rising sun, of course. Funny how just a little time and distraction can completely change someone's perception of a thing. The window, the light in the room, the bricks of the building, the linens - they were all exactly the same as they had been before. But now they were meaningless to me.

So therefore, I believe that meaning can only exist in context and in time... And conversely, time is only relevant if it has meaning. And meaning depends on a person, and context depends on people and time. It goes back to that old "If a tree falls in the woods..." conundrum. And I also wonder if the significance of the date (9/11) had any bearing on my thoughts, even though I did not consciously realize the date until later in the day...

Friday, September 5, 2008

Weirdest egg...

Here is a picture of a normal egg on a light. Nothing unusual...

Now here is a video of a soft shelled egg that has been in my fridge for a week...

You can learn about the soft shelled egg phenomenon here.

Scariest potato...

Enough said...

Coolest bug...

This was on one of my sunflowers... I have no idea what kind of bug it is except "way stylin" in a '60's mod sort of way!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Well, it's that time of the year again

No I am not having a female cycle of some kind... (mental floss please!) It is time for a new semester of (duh, tuh, tuh, daaaah!) Seeing Sideways! Join us, if you dare!

There is a Seeing Sideways story behind this image... Come to class to find out...

Monday, June 16, 2008


Michael Pollan is one of the most practical thinkers on the subject of food and sustainability I have come across.

I read this book and was blown away. It perfectly mirrors my own ideas and is a shining example of how an idea can help change the world.

Someone gets it!!!

This is exactly what I am talking about. If you start small it can get big. So don't think about saving the planet; think of being kind to one girl and helping her. You can insert your own "noun" here if you don't want to help a "girl" (although that combats mysongeny, too...)

Good link

This link is one that I think would be of interest to those of us who listed the environment as a concern.

Its a balancing act

So in what ways could I make the world a better place? First off, does it have to be the whole world? I have this strange feeling that the world exists inside each of us and that that each person’s world is different. We can only interact with anything (including our own world) through our own senses. Bear with me here. For me, once I know of something it becomes part of my world. For example, I have never been great at geography and I have only in the past few years become aware of a place called Darfur. I still don’t know much about it. But I have heard that some pretty heinous things have been going on there. But for me, circa 2005, Darfur did not exist because I did not know about it. If I could wave a magic wand and make it better I would. I believe that no one deserves to live (or die) like that, but it happens. And can I do anything about it? I don’t know. To me, that problem is too big. And it is abstract. I can only imagine the problems that exist and therefore any solutions I have may not actually have any bearing on the real problems. What is the underlying cause of the conflict? What is really the problem? Short of getting on a plane and living in Darfur for a while (and I am white, so it would not even really be the same...) I cannot understand the problem. If I try to take on the huge problems that are not familiar to me then I will get ground to dust. I think the most effective methods of change are those which we can personally control. If you can experience the problems with your own senses then you might be able to be part of a solution. I know that is a very cynical and possibly selfish view. But hey, I’ve earned my cynicism and I freely admit I am selfish.

So I choose not to focus on things like world hunger, war, homelessness, or other societal ills, but rather on the micro-scape of my own world.

I care very much about the environment and I did so before it was the “cool trendy” thing to do. I have devoted most of my free time to working on my own mini-farm and not using products synthesized in a lab to kill every creature in the garden.
Instead I plant flowers that will attract insects that will feast upon the creatures that will in turn feast upon my plants. I have also tried to implement a practice where I am responsible for my own waste removal and I try to reuse and recycle as much around the house and farm as possible. Just because something might not look shiny and new any more, if it still can be used for something, even if it is not what it was originally designed, then I use it.

I also believe in being kind to all things, both human and non-human. It might be naive but I sincerely believe that most people are good.

People learn to mistrust one another and I think that is a great deal of our problem. Not everyone is perfect but if you genuinely extend yourself to them and try to understand their views/problems/ideas, your will get along better than if you expect them to fit a mold you created for them... It is just like my approach to gardening. Take the time to get to know someone or something and be willing to change if you need to. I believe in balance and harmony and if you can observe and use nature in a balanced way you will have sustainability.

The same usually goes for human relationships. Just allow things and people to be what they need to be. I think too much of our society is based upon the idea of conquering everything instead of taking the time to become part of the cycle. If we can work in harmony with nature (and bend our own desires to it if need be) then we won’t have to come up with ways to “Save the Planet.” Believe me, she will save herself. That battle cry should really be “Save our Selfish Little Asses.” Which, of course, comes back to my idea that we are our own world, and if the planet tries to re-balance itself and eliminate the offending species (us) then it would be the end of the world, at least for those of us who are eliminated.

I think if I can raise awareness of this balance and harmony and show at least one other person how living in the cycle instead of dictating what the cycle will be will garner better results for myself and the world in which I live, then I have done a huge favor to my fellow humans. And by sharing the beauty I find in working in concert with the environment I can share this idea. And by helping others to just think about their own world, I think I can make the biggest difference of all.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Notebook paper

I took my notebook paper and wrote a poem. I have not written for "fun" in a long time and it felt good to have something to say. I don't write (especially poetry) when I have nothing to say. The world is already way too full of useless chatter. And the fact that it was "old school" (aka handwritten) made it flow better and made it somehow more visceral. I wrote it under the tree where it happened. I also changed some of it during the transition from analog to digital, including the title. (click the image to read the poem)

Monday, May 26, 2008

What do you think?

This is the current website I am working on, and my first "all Flash" site. Please let me know what you think.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

My bliss

My bliss came in the form of Mary Ellen, a reel mower, a chicken coop, and some "Jesus Light."

I had spent a large portion of the day working in our barn, cleaning up the chicken coop. Then at 3:30 my independent study student who lives near me came over and we looked at her work. About 5:30 Mary Ellen came down to the barn and joined us (yes, I had class with my student at my barn!) When my student left a little before 6 Mary Ellen and I discussed what I wanted to do for my bliss exercise and I said I just wanted to hang out at the "farm" and enjoy where I live.

Recently we bought a reel mower, you know, the old-fashioned kind that doesn't take any power except muscle power. You can read about how to operate one here... So Mary Ellen got that out and started to cut the grass around the garden and I sat on my butt and watched her. She was like a little kid with a new toy! She used to use one when she was young and since we want to lessen our dependence on things that don't come from our own farm, we decided to get one. It works great! It is actually easier to use than a gas push mower. Plus it is quiet and you can work at your own pace. And I would pay any amount of money to see the look on her face as she was mowing! She was having a blast and since there was not a mower engine running we could actually hold a conversation. I even got off my fat ass for a bit and mowed some!

After we didn't want to do that any more we went up to the barn to kibbitz with the poultry. They have recently decided that roosting on top of the 6-foot fence on the inside of the barn is just dandy. Of course, occasionally one will hop down on the wrong side of the fence and be loose in the barn without a clue as to how to get back in with the other chickens! Thankfully they are hand-tamed and we can catch them easily and put them back inside. We even had a screen door installed so we can leave the side door open for better ventilation and they can't get out of the barn.

Any way, we just fed them some cracked corn and generally enjoyed their company for a bit.

Around 7:30 we were planning to go sit in the plastic Adirondack chairs we bought at the evil Wal-Mart early this spring when we turned off the barn lights and started to close the door. It was then that I looked back to make sure everything was OK and I saw the "Jesus Light." It was sunlight coming through a gap in the barn and catching dust motes in the air still stirred up from when I cleaned the barn earlier! Mary Ellen and I both walked over and stood in the light looking at the streams. They were perfect! It was a moment that will be in my memory always. She asked if I could get a picture of it so I went up to the house and got my camera, completely expecting that there would be no way that I could capture the essence of this experience. (Even though I am a photographer to the bone I really believe that some things cannot, and should not, be captured by a camera...) But I went and got the camera and by the time I got back, most of the majesty of the light was faded, but I managed to get a half-way decent image - at least it is an artifact that reminds me of what it was like in reality. You will not get the same feeling from it we got because you were not there. You really had to experience it to "get" it, but here's the picture.

So after that, I decided that since I had the camera I would put down some corn and get some videos of the chickens and turkeys. They turned out GREAT! Enjoy!

This is Lazzie. She is a White Laced Red Cornish Game hen and she is our feathered dog. She follows you everywhere chattering on about her day and even likes to be petted (sort of - at least she tolerates it) and even picked up and held. She is especially fond of Mary Ellen.

And this is one of the roosters who likes to roost above the gate. That led to some interesting shot angles!

And finally, here is the "coop cam" where we put down some cracked corn and set the camera on the ground and let it go!

Monday, May 19, 2008


I have a few ideas about the concept of time.

Time as Perception

First, I think it is really about perception. Humans observe time in many ways, but I am more interested in time from an experiential and emotional standpoint. Basically I am interested in memories. Those are really nothing but remembered experiences, or snapshots of time.

If you were in class last Wednesday you might remember when I had someone shout out a verb and then we did that action (run) - or some of us did... :-) No mention was made of it for the rest of the class, which I found to be pretty interesting. No one said anything like, "What the hell...?" or "That was weird." Nothing. No one questioned it, or even mentioned how odd it was to spontaneously stop what we were doing and do something completely different. We just did it (or not...) Well, I am bringing it up now. Think about that event. What did you experience when you did (or did not do) it? How different was that experience from everyone else's experience? Isn't it interesting how 2 people can share an experience/memory/time and have different interpretations? If something happened, then it should be an undeniable fact, right? Each person should have the same experience, right? Then why don't we?

Time as Artifact

The other aspect of memory/time/experience that I am fascinated with is freezing a moment of time and sharing it with others. Most people use a camera to do this, but I realized a few weeks
ago that I do this with my pottery.

Take this image as an example.

I created this piece by trapping the porcelain just at the moment before it would collapse under its own weight. I effectively trapped the clay in time. I think it adds vitality to the piece that would not otherwise be there. The viewer/user can "feel" the tension of this drama even without knowing it. By perfecting an approach like this with clay I have turned my pieces from just "pots" into "snapshots of time." This possibility absolutely fascinates me.

I spent most of my undergraduate career searching for ways to incorporate pottery and photography. I experimented with silk screening photos onto clay, playing with photo decals, using photo emulsion on the clay, and I even did photo-etching on copper and tried assembling it with clay. Each one was interesting, but ultimately it did not "feel" right. It wasn't until about 3 weeks ago (12 YEARS after I got my undergraduate degree!) that I realized I had been incorporating the "idea" of photography into my work for years. What a revelation!

Sometimes it takes time to see what has been in front of your eyes for a long time. That is a more genuine approach to me than the literal approach I had been trying all those years before.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Egg redux

Here is a composite of all the images:

And some close up images:

On the wagon?

Wow! No wonder alcoholism is such an epidemic!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Smithsonian internship (tangible benefits of seeing sideways!)

Leana Kruska was a student in the inaugural session of this course and the egg photo from her first assignment is the background picture for her portfolio site. Check out her egg blog entry for seeing sideways. The egg was the same assignment as the fork for this semester.

This is the portfolio she used to get a summer internship at the Smithsonian!

So see, seeing sideways can really pay off! Yay Leana!

Monday, March 31, 2008

Watch me get pooped on...

I figure my students particularly will enjoy this!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Home sick today

I was home sick today and had to cancel class. But this is what I did once I could sit at the computer for a while.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Now this is what really moves me...

This is how I spent my Sunday. How about you?

Saturday, February 16, 2008

My day

I am not going to post today. How ironic.

Friday, February 15, 2008


I need some me time. I spend all my time giving to others. Sometimes the best way to give is to just recharge yourself. I have things I should be doing but tonight I will sleep (hopefully) and then tomorrow I will do whatever the hell I want. That is a true luxury.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Interested? I thought not....

It is really hard to get and hold people's attention these days. So how can you do it?
  • scare them?
  • shock them?
  • awe them?
  • intrigue them?
  • entice them?
  • coddle them?
  • listen to them?
  • talk to them?
  • show them something?
  • make them laugh?
  • be their friend?
  • be their enemy?
  • appeal to their vanity?
  • make them a co-conspirator?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Not a great day

The thing about blogs is that you are publicly sharing your thoughts/ideas/randomness with people who probably don't really give a damn. It is all so much chatter with no real point.

I have been very negative today and this whole class/idea seems pointless. I know I will feel differently later, so I will let it be later before I come back here. I think I have a major case of cabin fever and I have developed a serious case of insomnia lately.

If I am burned out on this whole thing how must the students be feeling? Or is it just me? Right now I am so very sick of analyzing everything...

I don't want to blog any more so good night.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Too many chicken posts here

So I created a blog just for chicken stuff. Check it out here!

Nice name, don't you think? So if you care about our chickens (and why wouldn't you???) then fly over to that blog.

The chicks - day 2! (kinda the same as day 1...)

And of course, here is the newest video of my chickens! If anyone can help me identify the breeds let me know!

The hatchery said we would have at least 10 from the following list:
  • Araucanas
  • Brahmas, Buff
  • Brahmas, Dark
  • Buttercups
  • Cochins, Black
  • Cochins, Blue
  • Cochins, Buff
  • Cochins, Partridge
  • Cochins, Silver Laced
  • Cochins, White
  • Crevecoeurs
  • Dominiques
  • Fayoumis
  • Golden Campines
  • Golden Penciled Hamburgs
  • Lakenvelders
  • Langshans, Black
  • Langshans, White
  • Modern BB Red Games
  • Phoenix
  • Polish, Buff Laced
  • Polish, Golden
  • Polish, Silver
  • Polish, White
  • Red Caps
  • Salmon Faverolles
  • Silver Gray Dorkings
  • Silver Leghorns
  • Silver Penciled Rocks
  • Spanish
  • Sultans
  • Sumatras
  • White Laced Red Cornish
  • Wyandottes, Golden Laced
  • Wyandottes, Silver Penciled
The chicks I thought yesterday might be Phoenix might actually be Araucanas. I don't know!!!!

Interesting class yesterday

This really was an interesting class. Yesterday we discussed the notion of "what moves you." It was the first time I really saw us come together as a functional discussion group. For the first time I found that people actually had more to say than I gave them time to do so! What a wonderful problem.

We discussed everything from religion and how it relates (or doesn't) to spirituality to racism to family to time. (Note the irony in the religion picture as it relates to seeing sideways. I couldn't resist! Sorry.)

I love watching as a class of people begins to open to one another and based on the serious conversations in the second part of class, I think we are bonding well as a group and exchanging ideas more freely. Point in fact, when Jace was talking and I thought he was finished so I gave someone else the reins of the discussion - but he was not finished. AND he had the nerve to say he wasn't done saying what he wanted! Bravo Jace!

Another example of how the group dynamic is really forming was when 2 or more people started talking about something at the same time. A few times Evan, Brandon, and Doug all wanted to say something at the same time. I suddenly found myself in the role of moderator instead of dentist (trying to pull the comments out of people like a dentist pulling teeth.) I guess I was not ready for this much enthusiasm! The only problem I could see might be that other students who are not as forceful may not have the opportunity to participate. Mental note: look at ways to moderate a discussion more effectively.

So, in light of this enthusiasm here is what I am asking the class to do this week:
For the coming week your assignment is to post something to your blog each day. What you post is completely up to you, but I would like for you to think about what moves you when creating these posts. During class we discussed how it is the emotion and feelings that you experience about what moves you that is the key, not the actual thing that moves you. These emotions are very profound (hence why it moves you) and difficult to verbalize. Language often does not have the means to convey deep emotions. But is it possible to still convey that emotion somehow? Can you show these feelings? Can you create something with these feelings? This quest could be a very good subject for your blog entries. The point is that if there is something that moves you to emotion that is too large for words, then others will respond to the genuine quality of that experience if you can find a way to communicate it. Can you convey that emotional experience somehow? And that my friends, can take a lifetime to accomplish, so don't be upset if you can't find a way in just 7 blogs. But it can be a good start.
The image above was blatently stolen from this website.
I guess I just wanted you to know that for some reason...

I am curious to see how the class handles this assignment... I think we are starting to make some interesting progress as a class, but more importantly, I am seeing changes in individuals. That is really exciting.