Sunday, November 21, 2010

And from this inspiration...

...came this:

silent symphony
sounds pile
one upon another
to create the unheard
layers of my life

when i stop
to eavesdrop
on all this silence
i begin to hear
this other world
of my unnoticed
constant soundtrack

the clack
of the keyboard
in staccato rhythm
as i type
for each thought
then machine gunning
through the ideas

the trickle of water
from the lap
of the Buddha
nestled in the corner
spouting forth tranquility
while serenely holding
the LED lotus
of enlightenment
from which the cats
constantly sip

the burble and tick
of the pot on the stove
joyously sending
clouds of cinnamon
and cumin scented comfort
throughout the house

the muffled DONK
as the computer
signals another attempt
to communicate
with the outside world
returning from cyberspace
with an empty mail bag

all these sounds
are held steady
by the pulsing rhythm
and soft electrical hum
from the ever turning
hardly noticed fan
that vents poisonous fumes
from under the house
keeping me alive
to ignore another day

in this silent symphony
the cough i make
as i clear my throat
seems murderously

Saturday, November 20, 2010


This is what I sent to the students who did not receive an inspiration email from their classmate. Maybe it can provide some inspiration for you!

If you still have not received anything then you can use this: ugly things. I often see beauty where others see only ugliness. I have photos of decaying things that I find to be very inspirational. A decaying old house can be a metaphor for lost dreams or for new beginnings as nature takes it back. Saplings growing in a former living room; the juxtapsotion of the loss of a human home balanced by the hope of the tree is very exciting to me. The spirals of cracking paint become nurseries of fungus and lichens that can now feed on the rotting wood underneath. In fact, the very lumber used to create the house came from a forest somewhere. Is it ugly for something to return to what it originally was? Is the face of an old person, lined with wrinkles and scars, ugly because you are reminded of your own mortalitly, or beautiful because it is a mask of experience and life?

Hopefully that will provide you with some inspiration.

Peace - Beth

If you have not received anything yet, here is an inspiration for you: the beach. It is the point where one world (the sea) blends with another (land.) It reminds me of all edges. When does inside become outside? What does it mean to stand between two worlds? Who decides where one thing ends and another begins? It's really about perspective and perception... Hope that is inspirational.

Peace - Beth

For me the sun is an inspiration. It provides food for plants, which in turn provide food for everything. It is a source of joy and is associated with new beginnings (the dawn.) It is also unimaginably (at least for me) large and I can't even fathom its temperature. The fact that the very thing that gives life to this planet could also destroy it if we were only a little closer moves me in a very profound way. The line between life and death is so thin...

Hope you can find inspiration in that somewhere. :-)

Peace - Beth

OK. Rain inspires me. It is such a miracle to me that water can come from the sky, even though I understand all the scientific reasons why it happens. It has more to do with the mood it sets. During a warm summer rain, it comes as a welcome break to the heat. I can sit on my porch, or even in the rain, and feel the nourishing quench of the rain as it soaks into the dry ground, quenching the plants and me. But in the fall, or even winter, when it is cold, the rain is no longer my friend, but an enemy of 1000 razor blades bent on shredding my face. Cold rain is depressing whereas warm rain is rejuvenating to me. How can the same thing (rain) be such different things to me? What is it about emotions that can have such an impact on our perception of how things are???

I hope that helps.

peace - Beth

So here is a fun inspiration. What is something that sticks out to you where you are right now? What are you aware of? Jot it down and see if you can expand on your first impressions. From there, see if you can build that into something. I got this idea today from Facebook. A folk singer I like posted it on her blog. Here is what she posted and what I replied:
Carrie Newcomer
In my workshops I often ask folks to write a one line specific description of something they really noticed (saw, heard, tasted, touched or smelled) that day. Often when we read them aloud it sounds like a poem or an amazing litany of small moments. What did you notice (really notice) today?
Beth Lykins
As I write this I can hear each sound around me creating the unheard layers of my life. The clack of the keyboard as I type, the trickle of water from the fountain in the corner, the burble and ticking of the stove as the pot of beans I jus...t put on bubbles, the muffled donk as the computer tells me I have yet another email to read, the distant whine of a car accelerating around the curve at the bottom of the drive, a muffled bark from a dog, the gurgle of my stomach as I think of the beans on the stove, all held steady by the pulsing rhythm of the soft hum from the fan that vents poisonous fumes from under the house. Enveloped in this silent symphony, the cough I make as I clear my throat seems murderously loud.

I found this exercise to be extremely inspiring. Hope you do, too!

peace - Beth

As for inspiration, I find inspiration in being told I cannot do something. Case in point, I was told that I cannot throw procelain on the wheel that would be thin enough to be translucent. I have developed a technique where I can do just that. It involved thinking about clay and wheel throwing in a way I had never done before. But I did it, and I am somewhat known for those pieces. It took me much more than a week to perfect, but the ideas and techniques that came from this challenge have lasted me a lifetime. Plus I have the satisfaction of being right! When someone tells me I can't do something, my mind immediately searches for ways to do it. I first look at the problems that are in the way of what I want to do and then I begin to isolate them. For each problem, I ponder ways to achieve the same goals, but using different means. If I need to bend the problem a bit to fit the reality of the solution, I can do that. Once I see a way to do it, I begin to experiment. So try this: You can't design something from nothing. If that seems too daunting, use birds as inspiration.

Peace - Beth

Friday, October 1, 2010


Thursday, September 30, 2010


Remember that weird textbook where the guy writes in sugar, and other stuff? You know. The one with all the separate little books? Check this out (and buy the book - it is worth your time...)

Oh, and the book is

Monday, September 13, 2010


Why walk backwards?

Why are you angry?

Why are you scared?

Why are you uncomfortable?

Why do you like things the way you like them?

Why are you so worried about what others think?

Why always do things the same way?

Why go on autopilot?

Why do you have to hurry?

Why is the destination more important than the journey?

Why do we not incorporate the journey into part of the destination?

Why do we always want to look forward?

Why walk backwards when everyone is walking forward?

Why walk backwards just because someone asked you to?


Monday, August 30, 2010

Monday, August 23, 2010

Cool cake

Click the picture to see the blog from whence it came!

Oh, and there's also this!

Monday, June 21, 2010

This here rabbit hole ain't big enough... or is it?

  1. OK, let's start with the theory
  2. Let's explain the theory a bit more and tie it with the theme from last class
  3. Let's take a look at some science magic
  4. Let's go back to some quantum theory
  5. Let's go a bit further down the rabbit hole

    Now let's discuss this a bit...
  6. OK, so now that you have expanded your thoughts a little, what would you do if you suddenly had a great idea but you might not be able to communicate it? At all. Think of the roadblocks I have thrown at you this semester. How do those compare to this video?

    If you want to watch more you can watch full episodes here:
  7. From one Master of the Universe to another
  8. Now back to Hawking (and Homer)
  9. What happens when it all starts to come together?
  10. And speaking of playing and being connected, isn't this cool? And did you have a chance to see it?
  11. And while we are on the subject of toys
  12. When does playing turn to creativity, and creativity turn to innovation? And what the hell is innovation, anyway? (not rhetorical - what is it?)
  13. Where can you get inspiration for innovation?
  14. How can curiosity and a sense of wonder play a role?
  15. Never lose your sense of wonder
    In case you are curious as to what the title of the dance troupe means:
  16. Can you really see?
  17. For those who want to think about how queer science can be (not what you might think...)
  18. And if you want your brains to leak out your ears, check this out

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Modern spin on Acimboldo

To see the inspiration for this piece, check this out!

Wow - it's all squirmy!

It works best if you click on it to see it full size.

Monday, March 22, 2010


respect, disrespect, misunderstanding, understanding, revulsion, dogma, mortal thoughts, mockery, indifference, damaged reputation, deepened resentment

Assessing critical thinking

Here is the rubric I will be using to assess the critical thinking skills of the Seeing Sideways crew this semester...

Monday, March 8, 2010


The unknown can be the scariest thing.... Check this out:

Friday, February 26, 2010

Sunday, February 21, 2010

I'm not the only one...

Apparently others believe that pushing yourself and believing your ideas will work and not judging yourself can lead to good things. Come on! Let's all see sideways together! Um... OK... but this is still a neat video.

Groovy bird...

Monday, February 15, 2010

Circle question

Seriously, besides a circle, are there any other perfectly geometrical shapes that occur in nature?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

If at first you don't succeed...

Here is the exact progression of a poem I just wrote...

silent thoughts
thunder through space
between bits and bytes
of cyber junk
drowned in a downpour
of anonymous need

a binary lullaby
in search of
an insomniac junkie
who yearns
for just one more


binary lullaby

tantalizes and teases

throbbing light
echoes on the wall

the heartbeat of the machine

social networks
hang silent
in the predawn light

in the distance
a rooster calls

thoughts click out
great and small

a lonely cybernaut
seeks companionship

emotions hang
on the edge of a comment

i am here
is anyone there

machine and human
have become one


21st century lullaby

social networks
hang silent

cyber chat stalls
in the predawn light

in the distance
a rooster calls

thoughts click out
great and small

seeds of contact
soundlessly planted

will the comment grow
or wither and die

a lonely cybernaut
seeks companionship

emotions hang
on the edge of a comment

i am here
is anyone there


"21st century lullaby"

social networks
hang silent
in the predawn night
pregnant with possibility
yet sterile with blight

viagra and jokes
dance with exotic kings
and promises of riches
spam through new media
rich and ripe
with unlimited tripe

the lumbering giant
as the sycophant roars
and dreams flee away
to creep in the night
and blissful repose is a
no more

in the distance
a rooster calls

random thoughts form
into secret code messages
aligning and combining
into a new form
of human minutia
so trivial yet vital
this chatter has inertia
and for every comment
there is an equal but
opposite thought

seeds of contact
are silently planted
in this vast new garden
of unearthly delights
and someone is wondering
if this time the comment
will grow and be strong
or wither and die
on this twitterpated
masticated tweet-loving vine

why did i say that
(i has regret)
who will respond
(i hope not a troll)
should i delete it
(iWant to be sure)
how much is too much
:-) or ;-) or maybe just :)
oh can this go on

a somnambulant cybernaut
seeks companions
in the lonely hour
where bff's and lmao's
are nothing more
than tantalizing dreams
as elusive as sleep
and real emotions hang
on the edge of a comment

i am here

is anyone there


Monday, February 8, 2010


Here is a great take on circles:

So what is a circle?

Why to they capture our imaginations? Why are crop designs circles? What is the mythology behind a circle? How do you encounter circles on a daily basis? What does a circle mean to you?

How can circles be used in New Media? Have you ever used an iPod? How does it deal with circles?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Interesting group

I returned to classes yesterday after my medical hiatus only to discover a fabulous group of interesting people in this semester's Seeing Sideways class! I have to admit that discussion meandered quite a bit and there was not exactly a consistent theme it was a good bonding experience. I think this group will be able to discuss some very interesting, very important topics and I feel confident that each person will be able to shape the course to his/her own needs and goals.

While I don't know every person in the class yet, I did make some interesting observations. We have a creative writing major joining us. I think that will add an interesting spice to the group. We also have a person who was not even in the class join us! She was in the inaugural session of Seeing Sideways and although she passed the class with flying colors she just can't seem to stop coming to this class! :-)

All hail the mighty sanguine *new color - woot!* coke can!
Image wantonly stolen from the web...