25 September 2006

I moved states

Not the most eloquent title for a post but very factual. I now live in Canberra, the capital of Australia. Thriving metropolis, hub of fine cheese production, none of those things and so much more. I am waiting for my own computer to catch up with me and I can't wait to put some more photos up, so check back in a week or so!

11 September 2006

Meditation Gifts

LOVE

If we don't come to know God as His Pure Love, then we will never know anything in this world. When we seek to discover our humanity we soon find our life to be a never ending complication, when we seek to discover our divinity, then our life has the chance to become a single simplification.

COMPASSION

What is compassion?

The transformation power in our lives?
The real breath of our hearts?
The smile of the universe?

God hand-carves a compassion staircase for each human being, so let it be your discovery.

06 September 2006

Eugoogoly

One man.

Five syllables.

Derek Zoolander.


Zoolander. I can't think of another movie which so remarkably juices the zeitgeist before throwing it back in our faces. What do they call that? I think they call it satire. This finely nuanced tale fully jusitifies repeated viewings. It is so eminently qoutable that if you are looking for a memorable qoute, just read the script.

Laughter really is good for the soul. It juggles the burden of our existence with glee. There is a special type of laughter which liberates us and that is when we laugh at ourselves. There sure is plenty here for me to laugh at, even though I never wanted to be professionally good looking for a living, and I can turn left.

In case you didn't know, the Malaysian government saw fit to ban the movie in their country due to the plot including the assasination of the Malaysian Prime Minister. Not everyone got the joke.


I am saddened by the prospect that Ben Stiller may have reached the apogee of his craft with this film as none of his work since has really satisfied me - but please don't make a sequel!

Ultimately the movie teaches us that if we want to win on the great catwalk of life we have no choice but to follow the example of Hansel and go monk.



That's right, "Pray to the Great Spirit."

Anyone can do it.

03 September 2006

On music and words

A few more holiday snaps for you.



My two favourite albums this year are The Avalanche by Sufjan Stevens and Moo, You Bloody Choir by Augie March. As I was searching for hyperlinks to them, I discovered a curious connection between the two. Sufjan has undertaken a project to write a tribute album to each of the 50 American States. He managed two for Chicago, the first being Illinois, which led me to The Avalanche. Illinois is an amazing album, it's a poetic symphony, and that ain't no hyperbole.

The Avalanche has a track on it called Saul Bellow (not one of the best mind you), but it turns out he is an author who wrote a novel called The Adventures of Augie March. Apparently, it is an example of bildungsroman. You have to hand it to the Germans, their language has a je ne sais quoi. Consider schadenfreude. Let me get back to you on Saul Bellow, I will try and read some.

My favourite novel is The Winter of Our Discontent by John Steinbeck, published in 1961. Fittingly, he received the Nobel Prize in Literature for 1962. I have read it at around ten times. It was a text for highschool English but I didn't appreciate it then. Ten years later I found myself reading The Grapes of Wrath by chance, which I found profoundly affecting at the time. (The music of Woody Guthrie really made sense!) Afterwards, I read nearly all of Steinbeck's oeuvre and came back to The Winter of Our Discontent. I consider it his finest work. It is the story of a man struggling with conscience and responsibility, but the protagonist, Ethan Hawley, is a mirror to his nation. Steinbeck is an expert at dealing with emotion, from the lowest to the highest, and The Winter of Our Discontent gently reaches the summits of human emotion. I highly reccomend it.

The second time I read The Grapes of Wrath, I really didn't enjoy it as much; but when I was about halfway through it I found myself having a long phone conversation with an Aussie dairy farmer about the minutiae of his life. Over sixty years later the struggle was the same. It was all there: the attachment to the land, the endless cycle of toil for bare financial reward and the close knit family. Steinbeck knows people. The Grapes of Wrath is a difficult book for highschool students, according to my sister. Teachers should use Woody Guthrie's music to stimulate interest. Okay, I admit I always wanted to be an English teacher!

To complete this post, I am hanging out for Sufjan Stevens to release his tribute to California, as much as the one for New York. If you haven't heard his music and want to check it out then search for him on elbo.ws. If you haven't been there before, it is great site that searches all the music blogs for whatever you like.

02 September 2006

Creativity


That is the first montage I have created in Photoshop. I am pretty happy with it. Photoshop is a great tool. I have been teaching myself to use it for a few years. It has such vast possibilities. I keep buying photography magazines which are ludicrously priced and I have a few massive books about it, but mostly I just try things. I really like the filters. As I discover more of the potential of Photoshop I find inspiration for possible photos to take. This means I am developing my vision, a personal style; but I still think rule number one of being a "good" photographer is only showing others your best shots!

I am all the time becoming more comfortable with this process, since creativity rules life, and I am alive. My output depends on accessing this creative energy. I love working, either taking pictures or manipulating them after a good meditation. It puts me in the flow. First things first.




Never, never fear
To God's Eye
You are always near
And very, very dear.









I met this deer in Rockland State Park in New York recently. I think this is the fawn. There was a family of three. They were quite friendly as they let me come within ten metres or so and we would watch each other before they would decide to bound off. It is quite a sight to see a deer run. What a remarkably fluid motion, a demonstration of perfect speed. I remember, "Myself moving forward then and now and forever, gathering and showing more always and with velocity... ." Thanks, Walt Whitman. My humble ditty above came to me this morning to soothe my heart, and it was no pun intended at the time. Honest.

It was a tricky shot because it was still dawn and i wanted to shoot at 800 ISO so I underexposed by 2 stops and shot in RAW mode. (Plus I would not have done very well without an Image Stabilised lenses). RAW can be time consuming, especially the way I use it at the moment, but it has so much more potential than JPEG's.

Thanks.