Tuesday, February 28

Here comes the sun


It's coming! I can feel it, I can see it. Even though it's not even march yet. As the days grow longer, dawn wakes me once again. Birds are everywhere, pups are born -more about that in my next post. And when the sun shines through the clouds once in a while, she doesn't look so pale anymore. The seasonal cycle brings us springtime.

I can't remember being so glad about it becoming spring again. I'm okay with the winter, and heavy rainfall is my favorite (though rare). But at some point enough is enough. I can't wait to go outside when the wind doesn't freeze my hands off while I'm on my bike. I can't wait for the first leaves to grow on the trees again. When it gets more sunny, I'll take some pictures and publish them here. A dutch spring... Certainly better than a dutch winter.

Saturday, February 25

Dream control


When experiencing a lucid dream, you realise that you're dreaming. This is a great way to spend your night; if you are truly able to control your dream, you can do everything you've always dreamed of. In order to get lucid dreams (more frequently), write down everything you remember about your dreams right after you wake up. You're giving your brain a reason to remember your dreams and soon you'll remember more and more about your dreams. This is quite interesting, because you'll find that many elements of your dream where no random picks. Example: I dreamed I was ice skating really fast because I'd watched the Olympic Games that day. However, remembering your dreams is just the first step. Other things that will help you having lucid dreams can be found in this Wikibook:

http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Lucid_Dreaming

I've only had a good lucid dream a few times, but I was absolutly extatic when I woke up. It seems a little weird but it's really rewarding when you suddenly realise that you're in a dream and you're able to bring your imagination alive. Well, alive... It takes practice of course. I dreamed I was standing in my own bedroom when it suddenly became clear I was dreaming. Time for an experiment. Wishing there was a dragon standing in my backyard, I walked to my brother's room and looked out of the window. A dragon, allright. But to my surprise it was completely made out of spoons, knifes and forks...

About the image
Jacob's Dream from the dutch painter Ferdinand Bol depicts a sleeping young man dreaming of a heavenly messenger. If you believe in guardian angels, lucid dreaming can be used to communicate with your angel. And if you need some inspiration; ask characters in your dreams to come up with a truly original idea! Explore your own mind.

Friday, February 24

Sleep paralysis


A few months ago, a friend of mine experienced something quite scary. She woke up -early in the morning- but she couldn't move. She saw a woman in her room, walking slowly towards her. It was a horrible and extremely frightening experience, and she's not the only one who has experienced it. It's called sleep paralysis, and though it's quite common there's not much known about this condition. The experience is very vivid, everything looks and feels real; you're just looking at your surroundings. People become extremely frightened because of the hallucinations, which is intensified by the unability to move. The phenomenon might often been interpreted as an out-of-body-experience, alien abduction or a visit from spirits/demons. Studies suggest many or most people will experience sleep paralysis at least once or twice in their lives.

It is also suggested that sleep paralysis can be triggered by having a lucid dream. This is what worries me. I'll explain in my next post.

About the image
The Nightmare by Henry Fuseli -which depicts a demon visitation- is thought to be one of the classic depictions of sleep paralysis. When experiencing this condition one could indeed feel a pressure on the chest.

Tuesday, February 21

Dying for beauty


I died for beauty, but was scarce
Adjusted in the tomb,
When one who died for truth was lain
In an adjoining room.

He questioned softly why I failed?"
For beauty," I replied."
And I for truth, -the two are one;
We brethren are," he said.

And so, as kinsmen met a night,
We talked between the rooms,
Until the moss had reached our lips,
And covered up our names.

Emily Dickinson (1955)

An episode of America's Next Top Model reminded me of this poem, because the models did a photoshoot in a grave. Don't ask me why I saw that show, I don't really have an answer to that. Probably for the same reasons I occasionally watch Oprah and Dr. Phil: American television tends to be so exagerating that it's actually funny. No offense intended.

I do have a hard time understanding the meaning of this poem. Did somebody who died for beauty, live for beauty perhaps? Is this her way of saying that beauty is irrelevant ('...and covered up our names'), or does she mean the opposite? Personally, I think the two people are in fact Beauty and Truth themselves. According to the poem they are 'brothers'; Beauty and Truth are closely related. How? An opinion could be that Truth is the most beautiful thing, and something that is truly beautiful must be pure and sincere. Once they are dead, they will not come to life again. Nobody even cares about their graves anymore, because the names on the tombstones are allowed to be covered up with moss.

Monday, February 20

Small world, huge possibilities


I participated in an inquiry with this title today. The questions were primarily about modern communication; the internet, mobile phones and such. It got me thinking about the concept of a 'global village'; electronic mass media 'collapses space and time barriers in human communication, enabling people to interact and live on a global scale' (source: Wikipedia). This is exactly why I love the internet. My hobby (collecting sand) would hardly be possible without it. Today, we can communicate with millions of people from all over the world. They can become our friends while all that really binds us to them are wires and servers. I can't really understand that the internet might seem confusing or even frighting to some people, but it does. One of the questions from the inquiry: All those new ways to communicate give me a sense of... My answer: freedom. Although I see the world through a wire, I feel free because of the internet. Almost everything I want to know is within my reach. I quote my mum. "In the old days, if you wanted to know something, you'd probably not find out. You'd just leave it." Today we're able to find out on the internet. It's not just some modern hightech innovation. Forgive me for saying, but I think it's truly an enrichment to my life.

About the image
Detail from a Pietro Longhi painting called The Geography Lesson. A 40 000 km wide, 597 200 000 000 000 000 000 million kg planet captured in a small globe, sitting on a desktop like your pc today. The earth at your fingertips.

Sunday, February 19

Paradoxal rainforest


Trees make oxygen using carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a greenhouse gas. The greenhouse effect has been quite strong in the last century - one could say, too strong. Conclusion; save the rainforest, stop global warming. I would really like to say that’s true, but it just isn’t.

First of all, dark surfaces of the earth cause a greater global warming than lighter surfaces. This is caused by their albedo; a dark colour absorbs more light (and turns it in to heat). On a hot summer day, people tend to wear white instead of black, because white doesn’t absorb a lot of energy. So, icy Antarctica is good. Dark-green rainforest is bad. But that's not the only thing. Scientists discovered rainforests produce lots of methane too, and methane is a greenhouse gass. Rainforests contribute to global warming. Sorry, Greenpeace.


But that doesn't mean that rainforests might as well be burned and chopped down, of course. It's a indispensable source of numerous natural resources. Unique cultures call the rainforest their home. Thousands, millions of organisms live in rainforests, nowhere else to be found. Even if you don't care about nature, you should consider it holds the medicine to many diseases we can't cure yet. But while the rainforest is destroyed at a rate of a football ground a second, species extinct every day.

Now, I'm no save-our-planet-and-hug-trees kind of person, but let's be realistic. We're utterly destroying your medicine cabinet while suffering from uncountable diseases. Yes, once again homo sapiens proves to be the most intelligent species on the planet.



Saturday, February 18

Mammoth Safari


Teylers Museum in Haarlem is the oldest, still existing museum in the Netherlands. The brochure proudly says that the expo’s are still lighted by natural daylight. That should be read as “when it’s clouded you barely see anything”. It’s still a nice natural history museum though. Anyway, there’s a small shop at the end, in which you can buy books and fossiles and stuff. So I bought a bone found in the North Sea, and because the North Sea used to be a fertile plain full of wooly mammoths, it’s likely to be a mammoth bone. Nice souvenir.

An article at the dutch website Kennislink (kennis means knowledge) says that scientists are almost capable of reconstructing a living mammoth out of some -surprisingly well conserved- DNA-material. Dinosaurs, neanderthalers, mammoths… It has been tried before, but the genetic material was severely damaged. But due to new discoveries and some very nice mammoth DNA, it might not be impossible anymore. The material containing the DNA was found in Siberia and is 27.000 years old. Not only the mammoth can be brought to life again. Many other extinct animals, plants, bacterias and virusses could have the same ‘second chance’. Of course there’s the discussion if this would be ethical or not. If it would be dangerous, even. But wouldn’t it be an amazing idea? Going on a safari to -say- the Netherlands to see formerly extinct mammoths and rhinos… I can see it now.

Friday, February 17

The O of our lifes


I quote a good friend of mine; "If I would have to describe my life in one letter, it would be the letter O." She feels her life goes round in meaningless circles. I have another opinion; life is supposed to go in circles. Everything is supposed to do that. Unfortunately mankind stepped out of it's 'O', resulting in an unbalanced way of living. We all have problems, we're stressing out and when you come to think about it, nothing feels right anymore. Nothing feels natural. I'm not saying animals don't have their own set of problems, but those are problems of a basic nature. Always returning, in every life and every generation. Where can I find food, how can I protect myself and my offspring, etcetera. If you find an answer, you survive. If you don't, you die. Easy is not the right word, maybe it's best described as sufficiency. Do what you have to do and nothing else. But as the human mind developed, humanity found ways to make life 'easier'. Thus, our ancestors were given time to think about other 'problems', such as "Does he really love me" and "I'm don't like the way my nose looks". Our mental development also resulted in more 'easy solutions' to life, such as agriculture. Populations expanded and within a few thousand years the human race dominatedthe planet.

When surviving gets easy and hypothetical thoughts kick in, basic problems are replaced with unnecessarily complicated problems, which lead to problems for everything else on the planet. It also leads to thinking your life is an O. Personally, I wouldn't describe my friend's life (and perhaps all our lifes) as an O. I would say it's a point, small and not moving at all. At the end of a sentence, a point has a special meaning; it indicates silence.

So, what's your point?

Thursday, February 16

Talking to Hollywood


Usually, I'm not very fond of popular music and popstars, or hollywood and celebrities. Not at all really. But there's something holding all those elements, that I do like; one of Robbie Williams' songs to be precise. For those of you that don't know Mr Williams, he's a british superstar. A little arrogant, as the title of the song I'm talking about is 'I will talk and Hollywood will listen'. I do think the lyrics below give a wrong impression. It's actually a beautiful classic ballad, the lyrics are just a little arrogant. Sweet though. Mr Williams has recorded some Frank Sinatra songs too, in a way that it seems they're singing a duet together. Very nice.

I wouldn't be so alone
If they knew my name in every home
Kevin Spacey would call on the phone
But I'd be too busy

Come back to the old five and dime
Cameron Diaz give me a sign
I'd make you smile all the time
Your conversation would compliment mine

I will talk and Hollywood will listen
See them bow at my every word
Mr Spielberg look just what you're missing
Doesn't that seem a little absurd
Bow at my every word

Buy up the rights to my book
Live on a ranch from what the box office took
I'll go and visit the set
They'll call me their saviour

All the peoples will scorn celebrity
Lives on the moon
But, I'll be back home in June
To promote the sequel

I will talk and Hollywood will listen
See them bow at my every word
Mr. Spielberg look just what you're missing
Doesn't that seem a little absurd
Bow at my every word



Wednesday, February 15

Inkblot test


Rorschach and Holtzman both developed an psychological 'inkblot test', which have been quite popular. When looking for more information on these tests, I found an online version from Tickle that might be nice to try. This were my results.

Your subconscious mind is driven most by Curiosity
You are full of questions about life, people, and your own potential. You spend more time than others imagining the possibilities for your life — and you're open to things others are too afraid to consider.You have an almost physical need to know and do more. It's only through new experiences that you feel a greater understanding of yourself and the world. You also have a rebellious streak that shows up when you feel unable to truly influence the world or circumstances around you. Your appetite for novel experiences also shows an openness others don't have, but wish they did. Your psyche is very rich; the more you learn about it, the more you will understand who you really are.

The funny thing is, it's actually accurate. Every word of it is true. Curiosity, trying to be open-minded, new experiences, imagination... I guess it's partially like the horoscope-effect; there's always something you can identify yourself with. But it's still interesting. What about your subconscious mind? Try it yourself at http://web.tickle.com/tests/inkblot/?test=inkblotogt

Tuesday, February 14

Triumph


A feeling previously unknown to me seems to be dancing in my heart today. It feels like having a crush on someone, but the feeling is located higher. I think it's best described as triumph. I know what I want to do, I see where I'm gonna go and that feels good. I guess optimism is important, and I seem to have finally found it. I remember a poem I wrote a few years ago, after I'd had a difficult period. It's about closing your eyes, really. The world is not always a happy place but being unhappy yourself only adds to the problem. The two verses don't really piece together, but you could see them as being two separate poems too.

sunshine cought my heart today
and soothened the emotion
whirling on a summerbreeze
freedom is in motion

sweetness of the thoughtless mind
builds arcs over the ocean
releases paper butterflies

illusion of emotion

Sunday, February 12

Pollen grains of dreams


The Olympic Games in Torino have begun. Today, I saw a Canadian ice skater that was inspired at a young age when she saw an Olympic torchbearer. She wanted to carry the torch herself. Then she decided to pursue an even higher goal; to actually go to the Olympics as an ice skater. She succeeded.

Inspiration is like a pollen grain. Out of thousands of pollen grains, only a few reach a flower's stigma. The gamete descents through the style towards the ovary. When all goes well, a seed groes there and a whole new plant can be 'born' from it. Dreams are like seeds; in fertile soil they have the power to germinate. Therefore we could say that inspiration are the pollen grains of dreams; they are the primal spark that makes it all possible. What were your pollen grains? A seed of mine that is about to germinate; studying geology (paleontology in perticular). The pollen must have been watching Jurassic Park, only being 6 or 7 years old. I was fascinated by those enormous dinosaurs; They weren't monstrous to my eyes, they were... elegant almost. Not that I thought being a paleontologist was thát exiting work (being chased by T-rex and such), I was not that naive. But if you could just imagine these beasts being alive by looking at fossiles and reconstructions, that would be worth it. My first goal was set; to keep my imagination fully intact while growing up (adults seemed to have lost it completely, which scared me) and this is still an important goal in my life. I've succeeded so far, I think. Anyway, the seed really formed when my parents took me to an exhibition on paleontology, which was actually set up because of The Lost World movie (sequel of Jurassic Park). I was 9 years old at the time. I guess I was too young for the things that really interested me (fossils!) but that made me wish I knew more about them. Another goal. Now I've come to think about it, I decided quite some important things at a young age. I remember deciding (chronologically);

  • my plush toys were alive (and moving when I was asleep)
  • eating meat was ethically wrong and becoming a vegetarian (being either 7 or 9 years of age)
  • to preserve my own imagination (about 8 years old)
  • to become a paleontologist (9)
  • to pursue my dream of being an astronaut no matter what (ah yes, a girls dream)
  • to become a geologist specialised in paleontology, exogeology ánd exobiology. This was actually combining the previous two dreams logically; NASA would only allow me into space if I would be the world's best candidate to find life on Mars.
  • not to judge: to stay open-minded (I must have been 13-15 by then)

I'm -a little- proud to say I still have most of these goals today. About the whole astronaut-thing; I was determined but realised that it wasn't going to be easy; this explains the 'no matter what' part. I remember thinking, "Everybody with a dream that seems unreachable seems to give up. One day I will feel like giving up, thinking it was just a foolish dream. But at that point, I will go on. The people that pursue their dream no matter what have a chance". Today, I'm surprised that those were actually my thoughts at such a young age. But they were; I remember. I anchored it into my memory at the time, knowing I would have to remind myself of it. I now ask myself: Have I given up? Do I think about that young girl -me- as a fool? I refuse to do that. I made a promise to myself back in those days, and I refuse to break it because I would have been naive back then. Because I wasn't. I think that children are still honest and true, to others ánd themselves. I was thinking more clearly then, than ever. My young 'me' knew what I really wanted. She knew that nearly everybody gives their real dreams up, believing that their standards were much to high. To kids, the sky is the limit. I refuse to give up. I think I'll take my chance at being vegetarian astronaut-slash-geologist.

What goals did you have as a kid? Maybe you should plant those seeds and wait for some rain. I'd say it's worth a try...

Wednesday, February 8

Emeralds are a girls best friend


Emeralds are by weight the most valuable gemstones in the world. I actually got one a few weeks ago. A german friend of mine found it in Austria (not by coincidence: he was looking for them). Normally this wouldn't be a smart thing to say, but the reason I do is that this little green stone is (measuring...) only 0.5 x 0.4 x o.3 cm in size, and it's n0t very clear either. I like it alot though, I've always been interested in geology (and will study it at university next year, if all goes well). I think I'll put it in a necklace :D

Tuesday, February 7

Simplicity


I found some great blogs on design today. I have an inexplicable weak for design, although I'd never buy it. I like the simple stuff most, which makes the price seem even more ridiculous. Even if I could afford it; it's just not a reasonable thing to do. But looking at all that design furniture and things... Let's say I'm inspired. I've actually considered nót to choose geology to study for the next 5 years and the rest of my life, but to become a designer. I've always loved to make designs for houses, gardens and to draw pictures of the makeovers my bedroom was suppose to have. I started to design some furniture as well: A reclining chair that you can put together in different ways, a 'swan chair' and a round bench with light - for public spaces. I'd like to design more, though. These are some of the things that inspired me;

Barn beam tables and stone flower holders for sale at Viva Terra: Simply gorgious. It's $49 for three pieces of stone and three pieces of metal put together, and up to $400 for a piece of old wood... But I do want to have it. And I'm ashamed to admit. Recycled green glass vases at Uncommon Goods. Nice. Silk pillows from Fedora designs. Note: I'm not actually encouraging to buy this pillows, because often producing the silk involves boiling the caterpillars alive. I'm not an eco-freak, but that's a little sad. But they might have used some kind of eco-silk or something, I haven't asked.

Well, that's it for today. I'm going to school in the evening (why, oh why?) to cut open some starfish and hearts and.... stuff. Just so all parents get to see what we're doing 'all day' at school. It's not inspiring at all, though.

Saturday, February 4

4 minutes and 33 seconds of silence


John Milton Cage was an American music composer. In 1952, he wrote his famous piece 4'33''. The performer sits at a piano and opens the lid. He uses a stopwatch to record the time and turnes the pages of the score every once in a while. Not a note is heard. After some time he closes the lid. Opens it again, and repeats the process. Does it a third time. And walks away.