Seasonal Shifts

October’s Blog-o-sphere Think Tank’s topic: “Seasonal shifts….Do you enjoy the changing of the seasons?”

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If you plan on reading this through please (!), listen to spacEKraft while doing so

Biking through Bickford Park

Biking through Bickford Park

I love Fall, and Winter and the beginning of Spring and Summer then, that’s it. Summer in Toronto is too humid for me.
But Fall? Sigh. Nothing I love more (than Pnut) are long bike rides through the city, through parks and down the Rail Path.

Work Cycle. I <3 this bike!

Work Cycle. I <3 this bike!

The trees are on fire with colour! While I occasionally miss the golden coin-like leaves of Aspen trees in the Southwest- nothing beats Canadian maples for fiery flaming orange and reds!
Picnics are still an option with warm blankets laid out, and we (Andrei and I) bring our sleeping bags! It’s lovely. The air is crisp and fresh. Halloween is near and if you’ve experienced Halloween then, ya know what I’m talking about! Plus it’s perfect weather for roasting marshmallows!!

Vegan, GF marshmallows!

Vegan, GF marshmallows!

and drinking hot cocoa. The cocoa shown is my own mash-up of Kakawa’s Mayan Full Spice (found here) some yumminess I brought back with me from my trip to Santa Fe in July. Mixed with SOMA chocolate‘s Malt dark chocolate elixir, and organic cocoa powder. YUM.
SOUPS! I love making soup during the Fall into Winter. Roasting parsnips and beets, cauliflower, brussels sprouts. The harvest.

Biking Bickford

Biking Bickford

A little sleepy, sometimes the skies darken early from rain. Winter is a magical time for me. I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and never really knew snow (unless Mount Tam received a light dusting) until my twenties when I moved to Taos, New Mexico. Anyways, my experience with snow came from Moominland Midwinter and a highly active imagination! :)

Everyone needs to read “Moominland Midwinter” written and illustrated by Tove Jansson. Here are  Moomintroll and Too-ticky with a snow lantern (a candle within a pyramid of snowballs).

Well, I will leave you with that for now :)

I’m off to make sugar skulls!! ;)
Please check in with my fellow Think Tank Bloggers and see what seasonal shifts they like (or dislike).
Cheers! and Happy Fall!!

Andes Cruz: http://andescruz.wordpress.com/2014/10/20/seasonal-shifts/
Pallavi Gandhi: http://studioat605.wordpress.com
Kathleen Krucoff: http://kathleenkrucoff.wordpress.com
Robyn Hawk: http://flyviewsandreviews.blogspot.com/
Catherine Witherell: http://happydayart.typepad.com
Shelagh Blatz: www.designsbyshelagh.com/blog

Beauties from Microscopic World

I SO badly want to add audio to these beauties. Meanwhile, thought I would post because I love the greens! Don’t you?
Maybe watch these beautiful videos, subscribe to Microscopic World and listen to this (see below) while doing so. :)

The air WE breath

Early Monday morning I awoke to anxiety. Dream after dream of volcanic eruptions and the possibility of THE super volcano going off, kept me up most of the night.
Over the weekend I started constructing a time capsule. I’m not someone who generally suffers from anxiety or fears of the unknown and death but, I am concerned.
Since 2010 I’ve been tracking earthquakes and volcanic activity towards a future body of work also, out of pure curiosity.

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Was Eyjafjallajökull the beginning or the Chilean earthquake? All I know is when volcanic activity starts in Iceland expect earthquakes to circle the globe (similar to snapping a blanking out). Which, btw has been knocked off its axis several times since those fateful days in 2010 – how does this effect our environment? Well, here’s what kept ME up last night!!
Ok so, the Haitian earthquake in January, Chilean earthquake in February (there’s an extensive list of high octane earthquakes here) then, Eyjafjallajökull from March-June. Circle around the globe some months later into the new year of 2011 and you have the catastrophe in Japan
Now it’s 2014. Certainly there’s been plenty of activity here and there around the planet since. To date the planet has been shaking and with Bárðarbunga going nuts over the summer well… Volcanoes have been erupting all over the place but, it seems most people don’t pay attention or even know what’s going on in other parts of the world. For instance, speaking to my mother the other day, in California. She didn’t even have a clue about what’s been going down in Iceland for the past months now!! What?! Anyways, volcanoes are massively erupting around us. Yesterday, September 28th Japan was surprised when Ontake blew up. As I write this people are still missing, and more found dead. :(
Today there’s a critical alert for Cleveland volcano in Alaska. The signs aren’t great fellow Earthlings. The Earth, it seems, is terraforming and current life forms don’t seem to be part of the equation. Sorry for the buzz kill.

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(Taken from USGS website): Volcanic eruptions are one of Earth’s most dramatic and violent agents of change. Not only can powerful explosive eruptions drastically alter land and water for tens of kilometers around a volcano, but tiny liquid droplets of sulfuric acid erupted into the stratosphere can change our planet’s climate temporarily. Temporarily? That all depends on how many eruptions are taking place around the planet, at the same time!!! In short, if this ‘volcano season‘ continues plan for the oceans to heat up. When the oceans heat up life dies, and it is very possible the planet is gearing up for another anoxic event. Google that shit.
Volcanic Gases and Their Effects:
Sulfur dioxide (SO2)Sulfur dioxide gas reacts chemically with sunlight, oxygen, dust particles, and water to form volcanic smog known as vog. Research has also shown that the liquid drops of sulfuric acid promote the destruction of the Earth’s ozone layer.

Hydrogen sulfide (H2S):Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is a colorless, flammable gas with a strong offensive odor. It is sometimes referred to as sewer gas. At low concentrations it can irritate the eyes and acts as a depressant; at high concentrations it can cause irritation of the upper respiratory tract and, during long exposure, pulmonary edema. A 30-minute exposure to 500 ppm results in headache, dizziness, excitement, staggering gait, and diarrhea, followed sometimes by bronchitis or bronchopneumonia.

Carbon dioxide (CO2):Volcanoes release more than 130 million tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere every year. This colorless, odorless gas usually does not pose a direct hazard to life because it typically becomes diluted to low concentrations very quickly whether it is released continuously from the ground or during episodic eruptions. But in certain circumstances, CO2 may become concentrated at levels lethal to people and animals. Carbon dioxide gas is heavier than air and the gas can flow into in low-lying areas; breathing air with more than 30% CO2 can quickly induce unconsciousness and cause death. In volcanic or other areas where CO2 emissions occur, it is important to avoid small depressions and low areas that might be CO2 traps. The boundary between air and lethal gas can be extremely sharp; even a single step upslope may be adequate to escape death.

Hydrogen Chloride (HCl):Chlorine gas is emitted from volcanoes in the form of hydrochloric acid (HCl). Exposure to the gas irritates mucous membranes of the eyes and respiratory tract. Concentrations over 35 ppm cause irritation of the throat after short exposure; >100 ppm results in pulmonary edema, and often laryngeal spasm. It also causes acid rain downwind from volcanoes because HCl is extremely soluble in condensing water droplets and it is a very “strong acid” (it dissociates extensively to give H+ ions in the droplets).

Hydrogen Fluoride (HF):Fluorine is a pale yellow gas that attaches to fine ash particles, coats grass, and pollutes streams and lakes. Exposure to this powerful caustic irritant can cause conjunctivitis, skin irritation, bone degeneration and mottling of teeth. Excess fluorine results in a significant cause of death and injury in livestock during ash eruptions. Even in areas that receive just a millimeter of ash, poisoning can occur where the fluorine content of dried grass exceeds 250 ppm. Animals that eat grass coated with fluorine-tainted ash are poisoned. Small amounts of fluorine can be beneficial, but excess fluorine causes fluorosis, an affliction that eventually kills animals by destroying their bones. It also promotes acid rain effects downwind of volcanoes, like HCl.

What’s my point? What’s my concern and why am I putting together a time capsule?!
Volcanic eruptions in Siberia 251 million years ago may have started a cascade of events leading to high hydrogen sulfide levels in the oceans and atmosphere and precipitating the largest mass extinction in Earth’s history,

Blog-o-Sphere August: Periods of Solitude

August’s topic: 

Do you carve out any periods of solitude in your day, week or month that you do something just for you? (Uninterrupted time periods to do what you want to nourish your soul.)

Do you meditate, create, relax or whatever?

(If yes, why? If no, are you thinking about it?)

Lately, it seems my periods of solitude involve me – at home – hanging out with my cats, in my garden forever weeding, or contemplating/pondering a next step concerning my work. Listening to music and meditating … for me listening to music is a form of meditation and a mental yoga.

strolling along the seaside in Vík í Mýrdalur

strolling along the seaside in Vík í Mýrdalur

Or hanging out in a forest or at the beach. If I was financially independent I would own land somewhere smack dab, in the middle of raw nature (like Iceland for instance) and have a small studio set-up. No one around for kilometres! :) Quiet, just bird sound, and wind…  While this post doesn’t really share my carving out time, for myself, for solitude. I am aware that technology isn’t adding to my sense of solitude and my ability to BE alone and recharge. I often think a move to the middle of (nowhere) raw nature, like mentioned above, is what would truly bring me solitude. mosslake Thanks for stopping by! Until next time please, check out other Blog-O-Sphere members’, Periods of Solitude. Maybe add yours in the comments below :)

Andes Cruz:  http://andescruz.wordpress.com/2014/08/20/solitude-august-blog-o-sphere/

Beth Cyr: http://bethcyr.com/blog/2014/8/19/blogosphere-think-tank-august-topic-solitude.html

Kathleen Krucoff: http://kathleenkrucoff.wordpress.com/

K.Skiles Studio: http://kaskiles.com/2014/08/20/artist-retreats-and-solo-time/

Catherine Witherell:  http://happydayart.typepad.com

 

little dumbo octopus


For more information please visit the Okeanos Explorer site!
Look at this little Octo’s coiled legs! :) Apparently this posture hasn’t been observed before. That said, how often are Human beings down at the bottom of the ocean in this little octo’s garden? Dumbo octo probably strolls around like this frequently. Perhaps similar to when we fold our arms in thought, or when we are cold. Who knows? :) Sure is cute though.

Meanwhile, I watched the video above (available for download off the Ocean Explorer website) and thought Dumbo needed music… Immediately Aquarium, from Le carnaval des animaux (by Camille Saint-Saëns) came to mind! I’ve been playing around with my own rendition of Aquarium for a long time. The version I added to the video is by no means my final take! I just thought, maybe this is why little octo’s arms are folded… somewhere in the ocean sound waves Aquarium is playing softly. ;)

Please consider signing this GreenPeace petition Short link offered below. The Earth’s oceans don’t belong to Human beings. Sadly, the oceans are in need of help, the life that lives within them are in danger. As you watch little Dumbo swim in solitude please, consider how sad this world would be without them. Then SIGN!! Thanks http://ow.ly/1ppgZ

Blog-o-sphere Think Tank July Topic: Animals, Human & otherwise.

This month Blog-o-sphere Think Tank asks about our interactions with animals.
Suggestions were:
“The importance of animals in my life.”
“Why I love animals.”
“The benefits of sharing my life with animals.”

Humans like to remove themselves from the ‘animal’ kingdom. (I agree with Greta Christina’s thoughts on this & please, check out her article on the Human Animal!)
Believing Human relationship with Nature is that Nature was made for us. Animals, plants, even the sun and the moon and the planet itself… all were made for Humans to use. To subdue, to have dominion over, as Genesis 1:28 so charmingly puts it. Every single living thing on the planet — they’re all just one big all- you- can- eat buffet, laid out specially for the human race.

…I currently live with 3 cats and 1 human. 20140720-115018-42618615.jpgWe humans take care of the cats. Making sure they are fed, watered, and well. We give them tons of love. The cats: Crake, Oryx and Minx (aka Pnut), give us tons of love back. They aren’t indifferent to our snuggles. They follow me around the house, curious as to what I’m up to. They happily let us pet their bellies, paws, and play without claws out.
Articles claiming that cats don’t care = bs. If your cat doesn’t care, and doesn’t allow you to touch their bellies well, perhaps you treat your cat like a piece of furniture. Cats aren’t subservient like dogs. That said, I’m not attempting to start a dog vs cat thing here. Cats chose to hang with us Humans. Ok. Cats most likely recognized the benefits but, I also believe and have experienced real affection that goes beyond wanting me to fill a food bowl.
Don’t forget, Humans are an animal species: in the primate order, in the mammalian class, in the vertebrate sub-phylum. Humans are a product of evolution; a product of Nature.
I see myself as a part of nature — not separate from it, not above it or isolated from it, but deeply woven into it, as deeply woven as coral and bats and tulips and algae (to borrow from Greta again) :) perhaps this is why I have such a strong bond and connection with the cats (& Human) in my life.

Thanks for stopping by :)
Please take a moment and check out what other BoGTT members have to say, and perhaps join the conversation/group on Facebook!

Andes Cruz: http://andescruz.wordpress.com/2014/07/20/animals-julys-blog-o-sphere/
KSkiles Studio: http://kaskiles.com/2014/07/20/animals-and-inspiration/
Catherine Witherell: http://happydayart.typepad.com
Kathleen Krucoff: https://kathleenkrucoff.wordpress.com
Shelagh Blatz http://designsbyshelagh.com/blog

Saturday brunch [on Monday]: Glass Pancakes pt 2

I don’t know what it is exactly about Dark Matter (& the Dark Universe) but, it gets me super excited!!

Part 1 of my, short tales travelling through six States (US States), mentioned my enthusiasm concerning the Morrison Planetarium’s screening of the Dark Universe, narrated by Neil de-badass-Tyson. I thought I would share more on Dark Matter before launching off with further image uploads and short expletives.

Dark Matter!

Dark Matter! This model/image, to me, looks like a neural net. In a sic-fi world I imagine the whole universe as one vast mind- the planets, nebulas, etc., thoughts- synapses.

Distribution of dark matter in the universe, as simulated with a new, high-resolution algorithm at the Kavli Institute of Particle Astrophysics & Cosmology (KIPAC) at Stanford University and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. (Via Space.com) To model what we can’t see: the distribution of dark matter.

Credit: AMNH. They also have a friendly video introducing dark matter: Curious…  Ok. Back to glass pancakes! 

While I’m fairly certain this technique is nothing new, it is new for me. Working with glass as if I were baking. Anna Boothe (who I studied with in ’08 at UG) mentioned having a baking (pastry chef) background, or interest (I can’t recall!). Anyways, since working with Pâte de verre generally utilizes a thick binder (for holding the glass paste in vertical moulds) I thought to make mine the consistency of pancake batter.  Rather than mixing the glass into the binder, I allowed the binder to soak into the glass. For the 2nd piece I poured the thick binder onto aluminum foil (wax paper works as well) and then sifted the glass onto the binder-blob until it no longer appeared wet. I let both ‘pancakes’ dry over night.  Next day I carefully removed the glass wafers and put them in the kiln. 600º to Full temp (1300º) soak at Full for 15 minutes then, annealing stage.  The 1st pancake solidified into a full fuse look. The 2nd pancake did what I’d hoped- stayed very thin, texture was still visible and the edges curled ever so slightly. I didn’t take a picture! I cleaned off the shelf primer, and got them back into the kiln. This time around I placed course frit (Bullseye clear 001101-0003-F) on the surface full ramp t0 1250º, soak for 10 minutes then, ramp to anneal.

Glass pancakes. Bullseye 001332-0008-F-P005

Glass pancakes. Bullseye 001332-0008-F-P005

Bullseye pancake on left: 000132-0001-F-P005 (driftwood) with sprinklings of chartreuse, amber, and sienna

Bullseye pancake on left: 000132-0001-F-P005 (driftwood) with sprinklings of chartreuse, amber, and sienna

Tomorrow I will upload the outcome of the next step- using the course frit.

…to be continued (All that Dark Matter tuckered me out!!

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