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Philosophy Tuesday

July 17, 2018

That recent rescue of the boys trapped in a cave in Thailand is remarkable many times over.

For one, the sheer drama of it, no question.

For two, the amazing display of humanity, of generosity, of what truly lives deep within our souls wherein hundreds mobilized and gave their time and their action and their sweat and put themselves into harms way (with one Thai diver unfortunately dying) to rescue these thirteen people.  The display of striving together, of aligning and unifying to drive towards great depths and first reach, then stabilize, then rescue the boys and their coach.  The teams of volunteers who came from around the world and worked as one.  Beautiful example of human nature and who we can be.

But for me, the most amazing aspect of it all is the trapped boys themselves.  To be entombed in darkness in a tight cave with water lapping nearby… and to not completely lose it well before the rescuers could reach them.  Thanks to meditation.  Their soccer coach had studied at a Buddhist monastery for a decade, and he led the boys in mindfulness meditation so that they (and himself) could be with it and to face the ordeal with a certain peace of mind.  Including for sure the rescue itself, which I can imagine would be quite a frightening prospect.  They meditated for an hour before each was brought out of the cave.

Sometimes the upshot of mindfulness is hard to fathom.  And sometimes, like this, it’s quite plain to see.  It allowed for calm to rein, it allowed for energy to be conserved, and it allowed for great protection, a lasting effect that dampens any potential trauma from the ordeal and, going forward, for facing the trials and tribulations of everyday life with greater and greater equanimity.

In the midst of heartwarming excitement, it’s a great reminder of why mindfulness, and why possibility.

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Architecture Monday

July 16, 2018

When I visited the Ennis house a few years ago, it was only for a drive by.  Being a privately-owned house, seeing the inside, and the results of the renovation being undertaken, was not possible.  UNTIL NOW… for it is up for sale!  And with that comes a real estate listing that includes a raft of pictures that shows that the inside of most glorious example of Frank Lloyd Wright’s textile block houses is as impressive as the exterior.

There’s a lot to see here, in many ways, quite literally, with the eponymous textile blocks (each concrete block being hand pressed in a mold designed by FLW) creating both a rhythm and a richness of texture over every surface.  This is further heightened by the wonderful designs and additions of the geometric stained-glass windows, mosaic hearths, wrought iron tracery, wood rafters, and even the custom furniture.  What makes this this a masterful design is that all this detail doesn’t devolve into a cacophony. It avoids any “visual barf” effect more commonly associated with gaudy ‘richness’.

The blocks also illustrate very clearly the proportions and divisions of space that render the house so successful.  Both the sculptural ridges that bisect the room height and the alcoves and offshoots that frame the walls and openings create divisions of space that are felt, giving the rooms multiple layers of scale.  Seated on the couch, the room can be at once snug and even intimate while maintaining a sense of expanse and wonder.  (It’s a bit like being in a small clearing amongst a copse of trees – you’re sheltered, but you can sense the greater world out there)

For me, this is the piece de resistance.  Eliminating a corner of the house, letting what ordinarily would be solid melt into a vista that perfectly frames the downtown.  In a town renown for its movies, that’s superbly well pulled off drama!

The Ennis house by Frank Lloyd Wright.  Definitively one of the great ones.  Fully restored, furnished, and on sale now at this link.

(If you buy it, please invite me over for a visit!)

All images by MLS listings

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Gaming Thursday: Star Trek Adventures Species

July 12, 2018

Here’s a new species to add to your Star Trek: Adventures games!  As I alluded to in my last ST:A post, our new campaign has afforded me the chance to recreate a character I’d been playing in a Trek game many years ago, a character whose playtime was unfortunately cut short when I moved out of the area.  She was bit unusual in that she wasn’t a standard Trek race.  Rather, I’d taken the basic outline (as well as the species name) from the Battlelords RPG, a game that I had randomly bought at some point.  After a bit of tweaking to their concept, crafting the rules, and writing a plausible insertion into the Trek universe, there she was – with a rich backstory of course! – walking onto the bridge.

Fast forward to today, and she’s back in action.  So without further ado, here’s the ST:A species treatment for the Cizerack for your gaming pleasure:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1-zXIblE4C6LlVn48fEfSeJKoiutv5k9U

(Artwork copyright by SSDC)

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Wonder Wednesday

July 11, 2018

I loooove the how self-referential this is!

Gadget having a fabulous day by kurokuma824

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Philosophy Tuesday

July 10, 2018

Something in image form…

… full of mirth and insight

(and even deep, profound, recognition and realization…)

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Architecture Monday

July 9, 2018

The Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern.  A glorious adaptive reuse, and one that created one of the most iconic spaces in the museum world, that of the old Turbine Hall.  Rather than fill the great void with new floors or ring the walls with art, it was left as an impressive canvas, a shell that itself is grand and uplifting and inspires wonder while forming the basis for temporary and site-specific installations, artwork of a place, all capped by a new, glowing, roof lantern.  One room, many faces.

Speaks for itself.  Very cool.

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Art Assignment Wednesday

July 4, 2018

While I didn’t attend VidCon this year, I did participate vicariously in the Art Assignment meetup by doing another Surface Test.  Since I’d done actual surfaces during my first time doing the assignment, I thought I’d choose something quite different this time.

Thus, behold:

Looks most different than I expected!  Any guesses what it is?

 

(and when you’re ready to find out, click here…)