Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Enceladus Is the New Hoth


Image: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

So the ice volcanoes continue to be intriguing! It seems that the general consensus is that Enceladus is, in fact, the source of Saturn's gossamer "E" ring. From the Cassini website:

"Saturn's remarkable E-ring is the largest planetary ring in our solar system, spanning all the way from Mimas' orbit to Titan's orbit, about 1 million kilometers (621,370 miles). It is by far the most extended ring around Saturn.

"Until recently scientists assumed that the dust at Enceladus was produced by a process similar to that observed at the Galilean moons of Jupiter: micrometeoroids striking the moon's surface blasting dust particles loose. However, the Cassini data show that the E ring is being replenished not only by dust particles from micrometeoroid hits on the surface of Enceladus but also from grains expelled from possible vents located in the south polar region. The possibility of vents is revealed by a higher surface temperature detected by Cassini's composite and infrared spectrometer, which detected temperature differences at the south pole."


Image: NASA/JPL


For years, we have heard about the moons of Jupiter, particularly the Galilean Satellites: Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto. Io is a volcanic moon, Europa is an ice moon that may hold a salty sea beneath its surface (and some speculate that it is one of the most likely places in the solar system where we might find life). With Cassini's arrival at Saturn on July 1, 2004, we have heard plenty about its incredible satellites- Rhea, Dione, Hyperion Mimas, Iapetus... The Huygens probe has given us pictures of Titan that have stoked the imaginative fires. We have seen a landscape that looks like shorelines, cliffs, and rivers. People have speculated that it might be an active place full of volcanism, and (of course) life. Titan has brought up more questions than answers- are those features really shorelines? Is there really a methane sea that is replenished by "rain?"

Now Enceladus has given us an amazing picture: scientists expected to find ammonia in the ice volcanoes. Ammonia would help keep the water in a liquid or gas state at lower temperatures. So far, they have not found any! Additionally, this moon has the highest albedo (99%- the same value as fresh ice) of any body in the solar system. This means that of all the radiation to hit the surface, 99% of it is reflected. Enceladus, it turns out, is a bright, giant snowball, where it may even snow (hence the Hoth reference. For the Star Wars illiterate, Hoth is the ice planet that hosted the rebel Echo Base (and the AT-AT walker battle scene) in "The Empire Strikes Back")! And (the speculations fly), if an energy source beneath the surface is warm enough to melt the ice, perhaps it is warm enough to support life..? What a much more complex picture we have of our solar system! I remember my sixth grade science teacher telling us that scientists know for a fact that there is no life in the solar system outside of this planet. Now we don't seem to be so sure.

By the way, there is a really interesting video on how Saturn's moons interact with its rings here.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Mailing List Crossover- Sound in Film

These are some ideas that I posted to a mailing list (edited):

A few weeks ago Robert Breer was at the First Person Cinema program at the University of Colorado at Boulder. This is a program that brings film artists from around the world to the University to present their films and answer questions about their work. It's a great chance to see some unique works of art and talk to the artists.

I'd seen all of the films shown, most of which remind me of a sort of comic book of the unconscious mind (this is NOT, to me, an insult, by the way). While I'm watching his films, I feel like I get to see the world through an animator's eye. This is particularly true in his film "Fuji" in which he sometimes cuts the "raw" footage of his train in with his rotoscope animation, subtly reminding the viewer that the (sometimes) abstract shapes are based on "photographed" images (technically, they're all photographed, since they ended up on the film print...) This is kind of what my mind does as I'm staring out the window of a plane, car, train, etc. I can sometimes see the world as a web of interacting patterns, motions, shapes, colors...

In the Q&A portion of the program, one of the film-goers asked him about the significance of the sound in his films. He responded by saying that he felt sound was a natural consequence of motion. I'd never really though about this, but it does seem odd (to a hearing person, at least) to see an object move and not hear it make a sound. It's creepy somehow. I wonder if this could be at least one of the reasons why most people tend to get antsy while watching a silent film. You do have to kind of learn how accept the silence. Of course, and he did go into this, the sound doesn't have to be "synched," so to speak, and often works great (or even better) if it isn't. He mentioned watching a boy with a basketball coming up his street and how the sound of the ball hitting the ground was not synched with the image. As the boy got closer, the two phenomena became more synched (speed of sound vs speed of light- I've often said that of all the things that stick in my mind the most after watching the Trade Center towers fall from my Brooklyn home was the fact that I saw them fall and then the Roar of the Earth came several seconds later- it suspended time somehow).

As a filmmaker who often makes silent films, it gave me quite a bit to think about...

Monday, December 05, 2005

Explosives Limited?

Okay so part of my new office job is to open mystery mail, determine whose it is and deliver it to the proper person. I just received a mystery letter from "Explosives Limited." Now, I'm not a paranoid person, but...

Friday, December 02, 2005

Volcanoes of Ice


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What you are seeing is an errupting ice volcano on Enceladus, a moon of Saturn. It is thought that the powerful eruption deposits ice particles in one of Saturn's outer rings. This image was taken by Cassini last week.

ETA I thought I should add this snip to clarify (taken from saturn.jpl.nasa.gov). As an artist, I hear something like "ice volcano" (or its uber-cool techie term "cryovolcanism") and I get inspired, excited, etc. But I don't wish to misinform (the scientist in me):

"At present, it is not clear if the plume particles emanating from the south pole arises because of water vapor escaping from warm ice that is exposed to the surface. Another possibility is that at some depth beneath the surface, the temperatures are hot enough for water to become liquid, which then, under pressure, escapes to the surface like a cold Yellowstone geyser. "

Image credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Stan Brakhage's "Scenes From Under Childhood"

I just had the privilege of seeing the first two films in this four-part series by filmmaker Stan Brakhage, an amazing filmmaker and much-missed friend. I'd seen them before, though I'd never seen the first film with sound. The last time I saw it, I'm sure Stan projected it silent (or my aural memory has failed me).

It is always difficult to "describe" a film like this. For those people reading this blog who might not have a clue who this "Stan" guy is (he is, in fact, the namesake of the South Park character, for those who watch the show) or what his films are about, I refer you to the above link and offer you this quote from his book "Metaphors on Vision:"

"Imagine an eye unruled by man-made laws of perspective, an eye unprejudiced by compositional logic, an eye which does not respond to the name of everything but which must know each object encountered in life through an adventure of perception. How many colors are there in a field of grass to the crawling baby unaware of 'Green'? How many rainbows can light create for the untutored eye? How aware of variations in heat waves can that eye be? Imagine a world alive with incomprehensible objects and shimmering with an endless variety of movement and innumerable gradations of color. Imagine a world before the 'beginning was the word.'"

Much of this series is a chronicle of such an "adventure of perception." Though, Stan himself cautions that "One can never go back, even in imagination," so this is an interpretation through an adult's eyes. I guess the best way to describe these films to someone who has never seen a film quite like this would be to call it a non-narrative documentary of sorts. It pushes the limits of this boundary- this just gives you an idea of what these films are "like."

Film #1

Filming through objects and materials that distort the image, under/over-exposing the image, interweaving sections of shifting colors, and filming much footage at child's-eye level, Stan Brakhage does convey the sense of "feeling" things with the eyes for the very first time. It is often difficult for the viewer to think "that's a chair, that's a hand..." etc. Many shapes had no recognizable "name" to me. Eventually, I found that my mind kind of shut down in the verbal sense, much in the same way it would during meditation. Unlike meditation, however, my mind was still otherwise quite stimulated and active. A rare "nameable" scene in which a young girl is feeding a baby with a spoon sums up my general feelings for the film: someone is offering me this new visual treat and I am reaching out with all I have to taste it! It's very difficult to put words to the experience. Often, I was reminded of just "being" as a child- waking up in the morning with my pajamas on, crawling under the furniture and staring at the patterns in the woodwork, touching things, watching things, etc.

Much of this film was somewhat dark and had a reddish hue to it, which I found to be very comforting, much in the same way a child might find a dish of macaroni and cheese to be comforting. The film is far from bland in the "dull" sense (and so is a good dish of mac and cheese), my point is that it's a gentle, soothing color. It's one we often see with eyes shut (I say "one," falling in to the name trap mentioned in the "baby unaware 'Green'" passage above- we see many shades of red (the dominant color, but there are other colors) as the light penetrates our closed eyelids, it passes through the various blood vessels, capillaries, etc. and casts a general reddish hue onto our mind's eye). I would (tentatively) imagine that this might be true for a baby, as well, but who knows? I certainly don't remember!


Film #2


This film was much more "nameable," much more "describable." It seemed to be a continuation of the perception adventure. The images were fairly bright and clear containing a fairly broad spectrum of colors. Rather than crawling and moving about in constant wonder, most of the children seemed to have a direction to their play. They begin playing with dolls (dressing and moving the little humans and gaining an understanding for how people are supposed to move, look, etc.) and toys. Organized games begin to materialize. The children play on playground equipment, and one really nice sequence showed one of the children making "mountains of snow" out of sheets on a bed and then tramping around on the bed with snow boots- what a great early step (literally) into Art!

There was a scene in this film that really started me thinking:
One of the children is falling asleep in the back of the car. He keeps falling over, catching himself and distorting himself into uncomfortable positions. His sisters keep trying to move him into a more comfortable position, but the sleepy child insists on staying uncomfortable.

I've noticed that adults don't tend to do this very often. Usually (unless we've had too much to drink), we can nod off, wake up, and recognize that we are not in a position conducive to sleep. We then adjust our position and go back to sleep. I can think of a few exceptions that I have experienced recently. One involved the buzzing alarm clock. I always press the snooze button. One morning, I was dreaming. The alarm went off and I pushed the snooze button. I fell back into a dream. The alarm went off ten minutes later. In my dream, I recall wondering when the snooze period would end and I would wake up and stop this incessant noise! I thought that the alarm was IN my dream. I woke up very disoriented and confused. It took me a moment to "snap out of it."

Now I wonder (for that child who is violently nodding off and pushing away the sisters who are trying to help) if we have difficulty distinguishing between the dream world and the "real" world as children. I also wonder if babies need to sleep as much as they do because they are tired or because their bodies are so "new" or if they are simply making the transition from a purely dream-like reality (in the womb or beyond...who knows) to this one, the "real world." Just a thought...

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Long Time No Blog

It's been a while since I have written anything! I am no longer a cosmetics counter girl! I accepted a job with The Institute for Arctic and Alpine Reasearch (INSTAAR)! Lots of training=no time to blog! It doesn't mean, however, that I've nothing to say...

Friday, October 28, 2005

Reflections from Projections

Snipped from my previous life as a projectionist:



I am the projectionist.
You may not know who I am.
My goal is to ensure that you do not know I exist.
Your voyage into the cinema is an illusion, broken only if I fail in my duties.

If I allow a scratch to dance down the center of the film frame, you will know me and curse me.
If the volume falls too low, or a frame line can be seen, you will know me and find me so that I might set it right.

I have sat in darkened rooms, guiding films with my aching hands as they wind through the projector, keeping the take-up reel silent and the images pristine.
I have unwound chaotic masses of curling film in silence while you regard your linear illusion in ignorance of its near-death experience.
I have detected the acrid vinegar scent of decaying acetate before the image has deteriorated- keeping beloved films from shifting red to the past and becoming forever lost.

Forgive me if, on occasion, I get lost in my own illusion and forget to initiate the changeover…

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Orion Nebula

This is a picture I took of the Orion Nebula last Spring. It was taken with a digital camera through a 24" telescope. It's a little rough, but it's my first composite image!



The colors correspond to various narrow-band wavelength exposures.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Film & Empty Space

All matter is made of mostly empty space- it is the way in which the particles within that space interact that makes it what it is. I'm paraphrasing K.C. Cole, science writer for the Los Angeles Times.

I was just thinking that the same can be said of film. I think that's one thing I don't like about working with video (though for the most part, I DO like working with video): there's no space between. Most of my films can be thought of as animation. Whether I'm shooting off of an animation stand of sorts (which seems to be my preferred method lately) or hand painting the frames, there is a certain magic in the filmmaking process that brings the work to life. Most of the time, the camera is off and I'm adjusting things. The actual frame exposure is quite brief. When I do expose a frame, the thing I am photographing is stationary. In the end, though, the light seems to move and interact in its own unique way.

Even still, more than half of the finished film is darkness! The shutter blocks the light as often as it lets it through. The filmstrip itself tends to block more light than it lets through (or every film we saw would be white light). The motion is as much an illusion as the keyboard on which I'm typing!

Friday, October 14, 2005

Andromeda Galaxy

The Spitzer infrared space telescope took this incredible image of the Andromeda galaxy:



This is a three channel image of the galaxy. That means it is a composite of 24 microns (blue), 70 microns (green), and 160 microns (red). The colors are "fake" (we can't really see infrared light, but the telescope detects it, assigns colors to it, and creates its own "image" of it). Just thought I'd stop whining about cosmetics and show some real natural beauty!

The Andromeda Galaxy is visible with the naked eye. It looks like a smudge near the constellation Andromeda, which is a northern hemisphere Fall constellation, so get out there if you live in the northern hemisphere! Wait 'till spring if you live south of the equator Here's help in finding it. It's even better if you have some binoculars or a small telescope!

For a long time, it was thought to be a nebula. That is until Henrietta Leavitt determined that the period and luminosity of Cepheid variable stars can be used to determine their distance. A Harvard "computer," she is not often given much credit in the textbooks (check out "Miss Leavitt's Stars," a new book by George Johnson). Edwin Hubble found a Cepheid variable in Andromeda and determined that it was VERY far away. Seeing as how it is still visible dispite its distance from us, it must be ginormous! Of course, it has since been confimed that this smudge is, in fact, a galaxy- a collection of billions of stars!

Counter Girl Story 3- Commissions?

You know, I was always under the impression (as most people are), that cosmetics counter people are pushy because they make commission on the products they sell.

Okay, I'm here to set the record straight. Yes, we are pushy. However, my personal commission (working at a big department store) is...drum roll...3%. Yes, that means that in order to make $3, I have to sell you $100 worth of cosmetics! Furthermore, that number never changes. If you've worked there 10 days or 10 years, it is always 3% (for your own cosmetics line, 2% for a competitor's line). The real reason we are pushy is that we get yelled at and threatened if we don't meet certain minimum sales requirements every day. These goals are set by the parent company, not the department store (though the store will come down on you too- they don't want to get scolded if you don't meet your goal). Nobody in your store at 10pm on a Friday? Too bad, your sales goal is still down. It must be your fault. The other interesting thing is that the current year's goal must ALWAYS be greater than last year's goal. This is not really too surprising. After all, your business has to grow. However, growth cannot continue forever and the economy is not quite as...happy...as it once was. Basically, the pressure to sell cosmetics is similar to the pressure for selling cars, without the big payoff commissions.

I got a letter from Estee Lauder. I was thrilled- I thought it was my $50 gratis (I sold 20 fragrances (more quick math- that's probably about $1000 in sales) and filled up a punch card, "winning" $50 in product). Nope. It was a letter from EL headquarters reminding me that the Holiday season was coming up and I should work harder (just in case I was stupid and didn't notice, while working at a MALL, that the holiday decorations are going up WAY too early). The rewards just aren't there.

Also, there are the few people out there who are just super enthusiastic about the product they are selling and REALLY want you to buy it so that you are a healthier, happier, more complete human being. Fortunately, I am not one of those people (though I have worked with enough of them to know how to identify them in a store).

Friday, October 07, 2005

Counter Girl Story 2- There is no such thing as "Anti-Wrinkle Cream"

But we still spend millions on them. The people who claim that there are magical creams out there are usually the companies selling them. As far as I have ever been able to determine, the only real "anti-wrinkle" cream is sunblock!

Let's take a look at some of this hype-

Direct from the Estee Lauder web site:

"Perfectionist [CP+] with poly-collagen peptides.
Day 1: Instantly, the length, depth and number of lines and wrinkles look reduced up to 36%"

What the hell does this mean? How do you reduce the look of something by 36%? What measure is a "look?" How can appearance be measured in percentages? Can you say that Joe is 50% more attractive than Jim? To whom?
And lets remember that "up to" is not an "average." It means that 36% was the best. If there's a physics class with 200 students and one student gets a 92 on a test, while most others get a 46, it would be misleading to use the 92 as a standard for how well the class did.

The rest of the site is pretty much the same. In "school" they tell us to memorize these percentages (it's called "clinical proof"). Of course, they don't emphasize the "up to" part. Nor do they explain the measuring stick of appearance. But the beauty advisors have to buy it even more than you do. It we don't believe it, we won't try to sell it to you. I don't and I won't.

I've told this to many women, and anyone out there reading this should know: There's nothing wrong with wrinkles. Honestly, you want to look better? Just relax and smile. Stop fighting it so much! We did an exercise in "school" where we had to write down how many cosmetics products we used that morning before coming. We were told to include shampoo, soap, everything. I came up with seven. The average was 22. The highest was 46! If each of those products was from a counter, where the average price of a product is $20 (above wrinkle cream is $55/ounce), we're talkin' an average of $440 per person! Use it if you want to, but don't use it because you feel you have to. I mean, you could spend your money on cigarettes instead (totally kidding).

Counter Girl Story 1- Gift Sucks

Okay, so I finally gave notice to my cosmetics counter job. I thought it would be interesting to do makeup for people and work in a fun environment for a while. It's certainly not what I usually focus on, so why not give something new a chance? Well, "fun" is not how I would describe it. I have some behind-the-scenes moments for the blogosphere:

Gift Sucks

You know that "gift-with-purchase" thing that so many people go nuts over? It's not so great on the other side of the counter. The goals that the parent company sets for its employees are unrealistic at best. I don't want to call you at home and tell you about the fantabulous special we are offering, but it's hard with the corporate representation right there at the register with me, breathing down my neck and tracking my every penny.

Additionally, we have two goals: "presale" and "gift." My presale goal for three weeks was $4,000 (yes, that's a lot for a part-timer). Enter a couple of hurricanes and rising gas prices... Needless to say, I did not reach my presale goal. Additionally, I am not meeting current gift goals (nor, as I found out, is any store right now). This, of course, is not the fault of rising gas prices, a crumbling economy, or a human desire to maybe not spend money on "anti-aging" cream and give it to people who no longer have homes or food. No, this is my fault. I didn't call enough of you. I didn't go out into the store with jars of creams and makeup and pull you into my chair to tell you how hideous your skin will be (or is) without our products. I didn't let you know just what a great deal you are getting.

Enough about me, let's talk about you.

How about that great deal? You get the standard bag to hold your new goodies. You probably wouldn't want to use this bag in public, but it's cute enough to be attractive. You get a FULL-SIZE lipstick, a blush or an eyeshadow sample, a fragrance sample, a cream sample, and some kind of tool (a brush, an eyelash curler, etc.)

I just described EVERY company's gift this season!

First of all, the bag is cheap. That about sums up that piece. Secondly, the company will have you believe that your "full-size" lipstick is a $22 value, but don't be fooled (let's not even talk about the hideous colors)! It is the full amount of product, but the packaging is cheap. I don't particularly care, but packaging is what you usually pay for, so the lipstick is NOT worth $22! The rest of the cheap/non-existent goodies (0.01 oz of moisturizer? Is that just for my nose?) are not really worth the $24.50 or whatever minimum price they are asking. And, surprise, most of the "basics" are not enough to cover that cost (mascara is $21, cleanser is $22, toner is $19, lipstick is $22, etc.)! So, you end up buying more to get the free stuff! It really makes me sad when a woman comes to the counter looking for a mascara, doesn't qualify for the gift and ends up circling the counter in search of something that is either $4-$5 (ha!) or worth another $21! And, yes, they do track them, so it's not up to us to just give them to you.

Basically, I don't like tricking people anymore. My last weekend at the counter, I had a panic attack when the counter manager cornered me between the cash register and the company sign for 30 minutes, lecturing me about sales goals and client lists. And this is because I've been doing a good job!? I'm just not sales material!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Mars is Ginormous!

Mars is passing pretty close to the Earth right now. It should be visible rising in the East shortly after sunset. It will appear as a bright orange light near the constellation Taurus in the beginning of the month and will end the month in Aries. More info at:

http://www.space.com/universalskytour/


Not sure what Taurus or Aries look like? This is a great tool:

http://www.fourmilab.ch/yoursky/

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The Red Rectangle

One of the most intriguing objects that we have photographed with the Hubble telescope is the "Red Rectangle." This object is a very unusually-shaped nebula.



The star in the center is one (or maybe two, we now think) very similar to our own Sun. It has reached the end period of its life and is now ejecting material from its outer layers. Why it looks like this (the color and structure) is still something of a mystery. Don't you just love a mystery?

Of course I say "one of the most intriguing objects" because Hubble has photographed so many amazing things! I really hope we can keep it going.

Photo credit: NASA; ESA; Hans Van Winckel (Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium); and Martin Cohen (University of California, Berkeley)



(by the way, the above image was gleaned from http://hubblesite.org/ they have a lot of other great images to check out)

Still

Monday, October 03, 2005

New Dreams

Dreams fascinate me. Some people believe that they represent an alternate reality- a real world in which we only partially live. Others think that they provide profound insight into the psyche- a kind of "mind's eye." Still others believe that they are just "brain farts," or your mind's attempt at dumping excess information. Whatever they are, I find mine to be rich and often vivid. Furthermore, I find it interesting that many of us have similar recurring themes that pop up in dreams. For example, who hasn't had a dream about flying? This theme is even documented well before humans were physically capable of flying!

Anyway, last night was a particularly strange night, not only for me, but for a lot of people I have talked to today! Everyone seems to have had strange dreams. I had several:

Dream One:
I am eating breakfast with my mother. The waiter keeps bringing over the specials. All of them have loads of bacon, ham, sausage, etc.

"This looks great," I tell him, "but do you have any vegetarian versions?"

He doesn't respond, he just goes back to the kitchen. Suddenly, I see a stationary streak in the sky. The sky is kind of orange, like it's sunset or sunrise, and this silver streak is hovering menacingly in the sky. I ask my mom what she thinks it is. She tells me that it is probably a comet. I tell her that comets don't look like that. She then suggests a meteor. Again, I disagree. "It would be moving," I insist. Finally, we agree that it is a rocket or some kind of plane. I get nervous that it might be a bomb.

I look at it through binoculars (don't we all take binoculars to breakfast with us). Sure enough, it is a rocket of some sort. I begin to get nervous because it is heading toward the ground.

It hits the ground. We see a flash of light. The sound comes with the first clouds of smoke and dust. As the cloud gets closer, I grab my mother to head for the door.

"I need to get out of here," I tell her. "September eleventh. I can't do it again." (I was in Brooklyn on 9/11 and the cloud from the buildings' collapse did, in fact, move its way quickly across the water to envelope my neighborhood.) She agrees to let me drive the car to escape.

I start the car and we begin to move away from the cloud, but something is wrong with the brake/gas pedals. For some reason, I have to pedal them like a bicycle, which is making it hard to actually gain speed. We pull over to pick up her husband and my boyfriend.

Her husband thinks it's silly that we are running. He says that he hasn't even heard of a crash. Indeed, I turn on the radio and there is no word of a crash or a bomb. We decided to head back.

Once we are back, I grab my boyfriend and tell him that I want to go check out the crash site. When we finally get there, we see nothing but barren land. There is no burn mark, no impact crater, nothing. I'm very nervous about this. Finally we see a sort of commune. There are thousands of people standing around with bowls. I freak out and insist that we leave. I get the feeling that they are not human. I wake up.

Dream Two:
This one was the most frightening because it seemed very real. I get up out of bed to go to the bathroom. I am about to go back to bed when I look in the mirror. The bathroom is dark and my image is obscured. Suddenly, I notice my neck. It seems very leathery- almost scaly. It begins to stretch. My face begins to transform. I freak out and go back into the bedroom. I try my hardest to scream. I keep trying, but nothing comes. I decide to bang on the walls to make noise and wake up the household, but I can't even do that. I wake up to my real self screaming. Yikes!

Dream Three:
Someday, I will recount my real-life dental nightmare. It's an important thing for the world to know! Anyway, another recurring nightmare for me is the losing of teeth. I guess this is pretty common. I don't remember all of the details, but I remember one of my molars becoming loose. I play with it (like we did when our baby teeth fell out), but I begin to get very scared that I'm going to lose it. It eventually becomes so loose that it is just hanging by a thread (yuck). I decide it needs to come out. I pack my mouth full of crushed ice to numb it before pulling it out. At this point I try to tell myself that it is only a dream and that everything will be okay when I wake up. The only problem is, I can actually feel the ice! My whole mouth is cold. I can also feel the tooth! Eventually, I wake up and realize that it is freezing in the bedroom and I have fallen asleep on my back with my mouth open. Thus the cold mouth.

I had several more throughout the night, but this is good enough! The others are rather vague. I need to quit one of my three jobs- I think I am stressed to the point of insanity!

Friday, September 30, 2005

Sci-Fi Dream

My first dream post:


I "wake up" and find myself on a spacecraft surrounded by aliens. I get up and look around the ship. The room is somewhat circular and has two levels. I am on the lower level. I see other humans around me (on both levels). Two of the aliens approach me. I ask them why they keep taking me and what they want from me. They "tell" me (they don't really talk) that they just want to get to know us and they can only take certain people. As I begin to ask them why, there is some commotion on board. Everyone seems panicked. One of the beings tells me that I am about to find out why they take me.

They guide me over to a sort of window and I see a giant, reddish, electric-looking ribbon moving toward us. I glean bits of conversation around me and begin to understand that this is some sort of time disturbance. The ribbon gets closer and closer. Suddenly, it envelops us. I look at the other humans. Some of them, like me, just seem kind of stunned. However, many of them fall on the floor in pain- almost as if they are having a heart attack. We spend a few moments in this strange reality and then it is over. Everyone tries to help the people who were in pain. Someone explains to me (though I don't really see them) that most humans can't handle a shift in time like that and that's what makes me and some of the other people on board unique. They tell me to think of it this way: fish cannot survive out of the water. They need to pass water through their gills to keep their bodies functioning. Humans cannot survive out of their time reality. Our bodies require a sort of "rhythm" to keep functioning (heart beat, breath, etc.) Apparently, I (like some of the other people on board)am kind of like an amphibian- able to survive in both "environments!"

I don't remember too much after that. It's had me thinking, though- Were our fishy ancestors aware of life beyond the water? Probably not. There was no way for them to even probe beyond the ocean. Did any of them have dreams about being snatched out of the water? What kinds of existence aren't we aware of?

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Computer Rap

This is what happens when text-to-speech programs fall into the wrong hands:

That's Right, Yo

Of course this is the G-rated version. Before doing this, we made the program go through the prerequisite cursing for our amusement. Don't we just love it when we can teach other things how to swear?

What Am I?

Fifty points to the insomniac out there who recognizes and solves this equation:


It's an easy one ;)

A Still From "Polymer"

Today is one of those days where it's better not to write...

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

A Sample of My Art Work

Formal Introduction

So now that the initial excitement has worn off a little bit, I guess I should tell you what this is all about. I am an experimental filmmaker. This has a wide variety of interpretations, but clicking on this link to my site will give you the opportunity to watch some clips of my work. And before anyone asks: no, I do not drop acid or do any other drugs when I make my films!

My background is music. I've played the piano for 25 of my 28 years on this planet. I kind of like to think of my films as songs and they should be watched that way. We don't always pay attention to lyrics, right? Sometimes we just like to listen to the music. So, why do we feel that we need a narrative background to watch a film? Not that I mind- I love movies. I just think that there can be so much more to a film than story. Currently, I am making non-narrative, abstract, animated, short films. I am also working on a full-length narrative project at the moment.

Oh yeah, and I am also trying to get into grad school as an astrophysicist.

Okay, so these two things seem entirely unrelated, but if you could live a day in my mind (and I don't recommend it), it would make perfect sense! Many of my films have astronomical themes and involve some pretty interesting optical techniques. There's also not really a "living" to be made in experimental films. However, all of it makes for interesting blather, which is why I decided to start a blog. It also has an amazing impact on my dream life, which I also thought I might share with the Internet Ether. I enjoy bringing the unseen or ignored into the light. (This link just shows some still versions of what I do on film. You wouldn't believe the materials I use to create these bizarre little landscapes! ;)

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

It's a picture!

Wow! That's me over to the right of this text. Some day, my blog will not be so inane. Until then, watch me, invisible world, as I ooh and ahh at the wonders of modern technology. For now, I go to job #3. That's the job where I go stand at a makeup counter all night and either stare at the reflected lights as I polish the silver around the glass case for the fifth time, or convince women that some lotion is going to make them look like they are fifteen again. Unless they are fifteen. Then it is my job to convince them that some lotion is going to make them look like they are thirty...

Monday, September 26, 2005

First Blog

Okay, so thanks to Cynthia, I am now a part of the blogosphere (which is somewhere between the ionosphere and deep space, I think). Now there are two more sentences like this out there to basically say, "hi folks, I will try not to bore you!"