31 Mar 2006, 11:27pm

Impressionistic Accuracy

I don’t know why I should be so late to grasp this; for some reason, poetic licence could selectively show, pull something out disproportionally, omit or whatnot, but not with images. Paintings, such as those done for tourists of landmarks all compiled into one canvas (although the landmarks can’t be seen from each other) irked me beyond description.

But walking in the sun, wind rippling short-sleeve shirt, the limitations of a camera compared to eye struck home in a new way.

I notice triangles of people and flowers in the square that is usually empty. The space between the new things shrink from attention. We perceive what the eye goes to. A photo seems wrong by not matching the mental picture.

This gets closer to perceived reality than a photo of how it “really is”, but I would have to zoom in on the petals and the sunlight going through them with a resolution and tactile feedback, show the mood through the gestures of the woman towards the foreground, the mirroring and slow pace of the pair towards the back. I would need the half dozen people scattered to the right out of wide lens view and I would need it to be a transparency overlay from months of days of the patio chairs being missing, of people not cutting through the square and only grey on grey inanimate. I’m starting to get it.

At 37 Days,

The story is told of a man who recognized Picasso in a train compartment and took the opportunity to ask the artist why he didn’t paint people “the way they really are.” When Picasso asked what he meant by that, the man opened his wallet and took out a photo, saying “here’s what people look like—that’s my wife, ” to which Picasso responded, “She’s rather small and flat, isn’t she?” Life is an infinite regress of referred meaning.

This links into something I was reading something about how AY Jackson collapsed-in space, and by compressing painted landscapes were less literal but more accurate.

What is characteristic is the succession of distinctions, the minutiae of a tiny minority that seem significant for being a tendency to be different.

So everyone’s on the street today, talking and smiling in the spring-summer air. Let’s be sensible: It can’t be everyone and can’t be fully spring yet, how many people does it take to generalize from?

Thousands may be holed up in offices, at work, in commitments, recovering from early sunburn like the man that just passed on my left. There is no grass or buds to speak of. The tulip bulbs were forced and put outdoors but still, still, the air, the mood of faces, the number of faces, seem like spring.

The inaccuracy of it being largely winter seems overly fundamentalist, bullishly, purposefully ignoring the bud to come in the name of being realistic to the majority of the big picture.

There is an undeniable impression of lightness in the swing of my arms, in the bag I carry feeling lighter than “it really is”.

Listening Microskills: Use minimal encouragers.

(A surprise to me. Encouraging interjections seems to be a speech trait more used by women than by men certainly. I’ve only met two persons who voiced outright irritation at those prompts and exclamations of “really”, “oh”, etc. because they found it disruptive, disrespectful and taking the floor back rather than expressing interest.)

Neat: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Body Language

Historically Speaking: April 1, 2006 will be the 7th anniversary of Nunavut splitting off of the North West Territories and joining Canada.

Featured Quote: “May you live all the days of your life.”
~ Jonathan Swift

Menu: Quesadilla and burritos are always good at Ahora’s restaurant. Frazzled brain doesn’t want to figure out what to cook.

Glad Game: Retrospective of pleasant things I enjoyed by the hour…
23:00 The return of poem a day for April from Writer’s in School
22:00 Slow speckle of rain settling dust – first time this season I’ve felt and smelled the mist.
21:00 Supper as pictured above, filling comfort food.
20:00 Puttering away editing photos, in a groove.
19:00 A cheerful sidewalk duet of accordion player and bongo player trilling and yipping in a high energy show, a block a way the stir of an amped blues guitar rolls down from an upper window. Beauty.
18:00 Cycling by the river, tranquility of ice floes floating downstream reflecting the changing sky differently, the thick depth of cries of so many seagulls gathered on a small nesting island in the middle.
17:00 The animation all around, the basking ambient temperture: People are out walking in sunshine in short sleeves, street cafes are overflowing with customers, one man even deeply sunburned (I wonder, did he manage that here, today alone?)
12:30 One hot dog stand has a lineup of 24 customers. People are out without jackets.
11:45 It was a good breaktime, sitting, no demands, only lemon tea and me. TGIF.

30 Mar 2006, 7:59pm
Health Stress/ Relaxation

Something to Chew On

Some things make sense once the thought actually occurs. For example: the mouth is an internal organ and the teeth are rather like muscles, attached by ligaments to bone, that need active care to not decline.

It isn’t only a horse’s mouth that you can look into to judge age by the teeth. Hygienists can do as well as horse traders. The expression, “long in the tooth” has at its roots the biology of steady gum recession, decade by decade. People, just by chewing stresses, and how often, and what happens in those 20 minutes after each time we eat, steadily impact the teeth.

Immune threats pull down the entire system, low grade fatigue, distracting, whether it is the body fighting a cold, an infection in the hangnail of a baby toe, or mouth working extra to keep bacteria out of the skin between ligament and tooth.

Teeth are affected by and affecting the entire system they are in. For instance, if you have low circulation to fingers and toes, that goes for the gums as well. Blood circulation brings the oxygen and repair crews. When your blood is sluggish, the healing isn’t gotten around to as fast or as much.

(Thoughts brought to us courtesy of dentist office chair talk)

Ah, ha, well, so what we we saying? Resource use, drains, strain, ease and so on?

I guess even a Mac has its limits. Or else some tabbed window loaded up a web page with javascript so poorly done it freaked the whole computer?

Perhaps I shouldn’t run 13 applications, including resource intensive CD-burning while editing a large photo file while writing here. Slap my wrist and call me buster.

Ah yes, that I feel unaccountably well. [That still stands unaltered.]

I had what felt like hibernation last night with almost 7 hours sleep, compared to getting to bed only 3 hours the night before, 5 hours on Monday night and only one hour Sunday night, plus a half hour afternoon nap. [Everyone should go out for pizza at 1 a.m. at least once in their life.]

My memory is shot with more holes than a sponge but I don’t feel down or achy, less so than normal. I yawn a lot but I get these bliss bubbles, like the holy twin of free-floating-anxiety pings.

It is something like a runner’s high with all this running around. The longest I sat down was in the dentist’s chair (but that’s a pleasant thing; I have spent so much time at the dentist since age 20 to make up for little before age 20 that I am in-the-know of all the jargon so I don’t feel intimated. Not quite 5-fiving on the way in, but it’s not horribly-queasy-frightening.)

Menu: Rice milk and some vector cereal mixed with raisin bran and thawed mango chunks. A little sweet but high nutrition hit.

Banana Bread with the senior age-spotted member of the pantry supplementing the flour with wheat germ, quinoa flour and adding some dried cranberries, prunes, walnuts, macadamia and cashew butter.

Listening Microskill: Be where you are: focus. Don’t let your eyes or mind go to the time, phone, or others approaching. Distraction from the other person registers these microgestures as demoralizing disinterest.

Soundtrack: The Classic Lena Horne which I discovered via Old Lady of the Hills talking about Lena Horne and how good of singer she is. It’s a lovely mellow jazz with some bass plucking and a sweet voice.

Word Chain: coal, steam, slag, slag someone, blitz, bliss bolt, bolted nut, wingnut, lag bolt, laggard, cog, cognitive load, strain, study, cogitate, cognate words, recognize, precog, demagogue, synagogue, temple, brow, highbrow, lowbrow, phrenology, schizophrenic, squamosal bone, cartilage, cartridge, toner, tone.

Featured Quote: “We are all in need though it manifests itself in different ways.” ~ Chris Bratseth in Call to Arms: Embrace a Kindness Revolution, p. 150

Light Link: Software to detect if you’re boring or irritating audience from NewScientist.com, Wednesday March 29, 2006

El Kaliouby demonstrated that her software, developed with Peter Robinson at the University of Cambridge, could detect whether someone is agreeing, disagreeing, concentrating, thinking, unsure or interested, just from a few seconds of video footage[…] El Kaliouby’s complex states are more useful because they come up more frequently in conversation, but are also harder to detect, because they are conveyed in a sequence of movements rather than a single expression.

They call the wearable camera-conputer, ESP.

Glad Game: Oh, all the aforementioned and this:

Holding my hand up to shield my eyes to see, I looked down and saw a smallish boy facing me, his grin missing front teeth as he stood saluting me in answer to my hand on forehead, then scampered off back to his mom and sister in stroller.

28 Mar 2006, 11:18pm
General Photos

Chestnut Barley

Remember that chestnut torte I made? How it was all due to picking up the puree can instead of the regular can?

Now I have re-gathered the ingredients and time and made a run at the originally intended recipe. Here we go to the cooking blog for the chestnut barley soup.

It looks good and tastes even better.

Poetry Link: Canadian Zen Haiku Journal online sampler digest version.

Word Chain: modulation, odd elution, moderation, mode ration, live lung, liver lunge, heart blade, hearth bladder, blather, blathe, rather wait, vain, vane, vein, artery, flow sustained.

Neat Links: Become a Citizen of Spain — just look at Spain’s immigration policy

Glad Game: Lovely warmth outside mellows everyone.

The upholding yet again of the sustained unbroken pattern of taking my work bag and kitty-litter bag with me in the morning and dropping the correct one down the garbage chute.

That I don’t believe I can jinx myself by saying that aloud or a-key.

Satellite photos compiled into an atlas. As cool as google maps are, holding the world in your hards is a different kind of good than being able to digitally search it.

My new regular sub-feature:

Listening Microskills: Avoid overtalking and talking over. Wait 1-3 seconds after the other stops speaking to talk yourself.

27 Mar 2006, 5:19pm
Communication Ponderings

Gullibility Factor

There is a quiz for Gullibility Factor

Take it now if you’re gonna, before I deconstruct the thing at length, and I do mean at length.

My gullibility factor was 79/100 “out of a range of 0 – 100, where 0 = mind slave, and 100 = free thinker”.

Free Thinker: Welcome to the top 5%. You’re a true free thinker and a person who is well informed about the reality in which you live. Although you may have been easily manipulated earlier in life, you eventually gained lucidity and developed a healthy sense of skepticism that you now automatically apply to your observations and experiences. You are endlessly curious about human behavior and the nature of the universe, and you have one or more lifestyle habits that most people would consider odd or unusual. You are not only of very high intelligence, you are also extremely creative in one or more areas (music, art, software development, inventing, etc.)
[snipped second half]

G’wan with ya, tell me another one.

Y’know, I feel like a quiz-tromp-romp. It’s been ages.

I’m inordinately pleased that I could read what answers they want; I observe that if I agree with their bias, voilà, I’m a free thinker. (lol). Nothing ironic there, nope, nope.

I suppose if I were a child of theirs, to buck their system and think the unfamiliar mainstream would be free thinking. (No measure for where the viewer’s starting point is. Maybe I’m hardliner unthinking conformist to flower child ideals.)

Ironically enough, or appropriately enough, free-thinker I am, my smarmy-alarm goes off at the glowingness of it all. It’s like a chat-up with no man involved.

Back in around grade 10, I did a project on techniques of propaganda, misleading analogies, invoking emotionalism, etc. It was utterly illuminating and stays with me still. I still would like to improve on logic and see when things follow and are comparable better than I do to get to the essential core of what is being said.

I would love to set Fallacious Arguments aside with ease and grace and get to meaty stuff without distracting engagement…bit by bit…I want to not be the fool that spouts and is lost in marvel of glittery, pretty sounds. OOh. They are a joking sillyness, so long as we know we are playing pretend, such as this aside:

Confusing Correlation And Causation:

Earthquakes in the Andes were correlated with the closest approaches of the planet Uranus. Therefore, Uranus must have caused them. (But Jupiter is nearer than Uranus, and more massive too.)

When sales of hot chocolate go up, street crime drops. Does this correlation mean that hot chocolate prevents crime? No, it means that fewer people are on the streets when the weather is cold.

The bigger a child’s shoe size, the better the child’s handwriting. Does having big feet make it easier to write? No, it means the child is older.

Poor logic can be fabulous fodder for sound poetry of exciting ideas and sparking pings but really is the junk food of intellectual life if we actually believe in the moon being made of cheese with some “ooooooh, you never can be sure.”

There’s doubting Thomas and then Thomas who should go to bed early for telling tales he really believes and daddy needs to have a chat with him.

Balance and sense is all I’m saying here. I want to spot logic leaps fast, enjoy them, and move on. Bit by bit I’ll keep working on it. But speaking of moving on, back to the quiz answers,

FDA-approved drugs have killed more Americans than the entire Vietnam War, the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and all murders over the last twenty years combined. Even the American Medical Association openly admits nearly 100,000 deaths each year due to approved prescription drugs.

I don’t debate if it is accurate or contend that it is not, but what I am amused at is this tone of fear-mongering, the invocations and shadowy implications of blame, and how it harms or reverses the credibility of the “facts” that I came to the quiz believing.

Which is silly of me really.

Coinciding beliefs with raving madmen does not mean the beliefs are necessarily wrong.

As an analogy, some wild-eyed chanting, screaming, whispering dooms-sayer for Christ Coming today lays no support against nor for the sensibly composed life choices of someone who also happens to believe ostensibly the same religion and End Times.

[Incidentally, purely an example.]

Emotionalism begets emotionalism if we’re not careful.

I feel myself headily leapfrogging around not being terribly careful. I’ve fallen into the drink in being reactive to reactivity.

Ok, so long as it is in all good ole boy fun? I’m not being terribly respectful and should temper my words lest they seem like an attack because any criticism of anything is someone else’s precious thing and that’s bad karma as well as inconsiderate.

Hrm, hum, hmmm. So I’m wibble-wobbling walking on a floating log here.

In a way I delight with their slanted language and leading questions, the alarmist smack-over-the-head rhetoric of their answer page (structured True and False doesn’t seem innocuous with the loaded language after the colons.) It even does name-calling implying a “them” lying to “you” in urging people not to be “misled”, (misled implying a conscious action by an agent and I’m guessing the agency isn’t assumed to be the perceiver to herself).

It runs on the basis of presuming something almost conspiratorial of exposé and Real trust-Me-truth. Creepy. (shudder)

But all that’s not to say it isn’t amusing, informative and fun (but then I’m a survey-o-phile and I love the directness of an upfront visible bias). It’s got a pureness like primary colors. It would be tiresome to have only that but it’s nice now and then as a shot.

Explaining myself another way, I’m can poke at both sides — how true either side is like the adjectives, interesting vs. interested, or horrifying, vs. horrified.

If for example,
I am horrified at seeing mice,
does that make mice horrifying? or horrible? or is the horrified describing me not them?

[Again, just by way of illustrating; I’m actually fond of mice, rats, snakes, spiders, beetles, toads, earwigs, cockroaches, all those brain-stem primal revulsion things that set off some people.]

If I feel horrified, or interested, then that is about me not the object of the feeling.

If something is horrifying, or interesting, or boring, that is suggesting the thing has the innate characteristic of being horrifying or interesting or boring.

In it being horrifying, it is not about me, or we pretend not. Some group consensus has deemed we describe some part of reality thusly. There’s a divide there beyond word-play-loophole-semantics, however slight or large you want to admit.

What to so with so much data for so many things being “wrong”? We can’t fight 24/7 and just when we are convinced the consensus changes again.

Jaded heads prevail and call some premises and everything that follows from it all poppycock and disbelieve it all, which is no better than swallowing it all unquestioningly. That gets no where either.

Sift the “good” and “top grade” from the “questionable” from the “clearly off”. Winnow and let the wind carry away the chaff. Enjoy the whirlwinds of chaff twisting away. Forget that bulky less useful stuff for your purposes, and deal with the kernals that are useful, which is easy enough to do if you know what you are looking for and have seen enough spoiled grains to recognize it.

I have a feeling, a paternalistic watch-thy-brethern-feeling, that as many people are laughing and relishing the delightful simplifications the way some would irony, sarcasm or satire, some are taking it seriously, running around freaked to their friends and forwarding mass emails and photocopies warning their friends, signing petitions and boycotting.

That too is sort of amusing, sort of sad, sort of a source of pride that I can see more than I used to, know that I would have taken it at face-value at one point.

The subtext of faceless industry against the little guys who must band together and watch each other’s back in time’s of peril is a shrill tin whistle of an orchestra. Which is unfortunate because some things of merit can be turned up by rogues and subcultural bias that will later become dominant belief. That’s not to say True or False, but predominantly accepted as safe to believe.

The impulse in information sharing is good: care for and protect each other. It is expressing: don’t believe all you are told. It is: pay attention because common doesn’t mean right. It is: don’t just sit back and take it, cogitate, agitate, act, make the change you want to see happen. All good.

However, it’s easy to go off half-cocked and ill-informed. Complex systems cannot have a simple characteristic the way shoes can have a simple characteristic of red or leather. Thousands or millions of lives are interacting. The facts of the matter cover a lot of ground and implications of malicious systematic intent or moral failure only cloud the matters and obscure how widespread and how risky something is to how many. That’s not to say some injustices don’t happen on a system wide level and are unquestioningly accepted when they could as easily be changed and improve matters in concrete ways but let us look. How do we measure? How do we know we are measuring what we think we are? Who do we believe? How do we know?

Or more answerable here and now, what’s the angle of the quiz makers?

Nobly, to help people not be taken as suckers, to share the truth as they see it, but at the same time they are pitching themselves are saving the day, fighting the good fight, and cleverly marketing a book with a pitch people that people like, that will encourage some to buy to synthesize the ideas into their own lives and spread social change.

Newspapers, magazines and books all need to recover their operations costs. To do that the consumer has to put the money down and getting that precious penny is sometimes easier than getting blood from a stone.

To have people buy into their notion, they have to sell, not to some corporate agenda, but to you and me, us putting our money on the counter to support what excites us, what we decide is important enough to give the cash crop of the hours we spent working.

We want our buttons pushed. We push them ourselves. We collectively drive and subsidize movies that go boom, products with poor ergonomics that are the cheapest produced products, and we set the corporate agenda.

We decide which propaganda to take as close enough to gospel to put our emotional energy, backs and bucks behind. Them is we. Them and we are I.

And I seem to have pulled my secret evangelist puppet out of the closet again.

This entry fueled by:

Menu:Entirely too much of a very rich and well-done chocolate fondant and pizza topped with double spinach, onion, green peppers, cheddar and feta.

Featured Links: Snopes.com does some firefighting of urban legends, such as Gasoline myths

And Fallacious Arguments to defuse the confused declarations.

Poetry Link: WombPoetry is a women’s poetry site taking submissions for a journal to launch in the new year

Word Chain: Panjandrum, Pan on panpipes, elves themselves on shelves with shovels, sniveling, nivel by level by etad, stage, age, age against the dying of the night, it perishes, we delight in living to dawn, neither one infinite as we seem or deem appropriate.

Glad Game: It’s 30 degrees Celsius in my home-office with the sun shining in through the closed windows; a delightful dry sauna.

Paperwork for work squared away.

The day is sunny and warm with biking season upon us.

Going past the gelato shop, it was packed with customers. Why not? It is 12 degrees Celsius outside, practically shorts weather. Short-sleeve weather at least.

I am caught up with my homework for my evening poetry class and have done between-session homework-exercises for my pilates class.

No pain in feet, nor back, no headache, sore throat of yesterday seems to have waned.

I have enough energy to fritter some away on some fluffy writing like this entry.

A sudden recovered memory that I did actually try yoga for a term a few years ago. I can hardly remember a thing but the teacher’s face and the shape of the room and word “cobra” for a move.

Email from a dear friend and not a bill in the mail today.

I even know where my phone is without checking. And my keys. And my wallet. Whoo-hoo. 3/3.

We have a full evening open to do something with.

Hasta Manana folks. Next entry will most likely be much shorter than this novela. :-)

It was fun.

26 Mar 2006, 2:36pm
Pearl's Life Photos

We’re Talking Dirty

I love to get my hands dirty doing something useful. When we were in the country I could get my hands dirty with landscaping, lugging fallen trees around, yanking out the suckers and runners of poplar trees that tried to sneak into our septic system, stacking retaining wall blocks, wheelbarrowing and digging my fingers into planting.

Now Spring can officially come with no going back, until next year:
Isn’t that beautiful?

This morning, I changed winter tires to the summer tires.

Guess that’s about it for round here but it felt good. :-)

perogiesMenu:The last of the asparagus, beside the last of the blintzes fried with cabbage and anise as seasoning, the last of the perogies, fried in butter and topped with grated mozzarella, sour cream and dill.

Poem Link: letter to allegrezza (towards bottom of page) has some lovely sound and sense.

Light Links: Now this is a sort of neat product: infrared motion detector touchless trash can. It wouldn’t work for me where the can is set up under the counter, but super hygienic.

A woman drawn from inside out takes a few minutes to watch but I was totally absorbed in the animation.

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