Archive for January, 2010

Buck Flowens

Posted in Arts (Design & Performance), Music Reviews, Poems, Rhymes, Riddles with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 31, 2010 by Drogo

The musician known as “Buck Flowens” is a traveler. Shepherdstown in West Virginia would like to lay claim to him, as he has preformed there on numerous occasions. Yet, there are other states that seem to claim him as well, as he has travelled to them.

States of harmony, states of confusion, states of bliss, states of rebellion; you can hear their influence in his music. He travels to different genres of music, often within the same song, or set of songs; songs performed chronologically adjacent to eachother, yet stylistically miles (or oceans) apart.

Rich with content, he continues to share his excess music with the poor. The Acid-Rap alternative album “Microbiologically Influenced Corrosion” is no exception to this non-conformist rule. Buck Flowens encourages experimental creative-commons and shared mixes; freedom, old school.

“Microbiologically Influenced Corrosion” LINK!

Advertisements

A Blind Hammer Destroys What It Cannot See

Posted in Film Reviews, Military, Sustainability with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 30, 2010 by eposognatus

This week President Obama announced a proposal for a three-year spending freeze on all domestic programmes, with the sole exception of defense spending. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) precisely echoes my feelings on this, saying “Defense represents a significant part of our discretionary spending in this country. The defense establishment needs to be under fiscal discipline, as do all of our agencies… I don’t think defense should be exempt. If there are extraordinary things that occur that require us to respond for national security, we always will be prepared to do that. But to exempt the normal military spending just because it’s military, to me, is wrong.”

The idea that the military and actions conducted by it or in the name of defense should take ultimate precedent over all others is both pervasive and baffling. Senator Cardin was being modest when he said that defense accounts for a “significant” part of discretionary spending, as it is in fact a majority. According to the Office of Management and Budget, military spending comes to about $657 B for 2009, as compared to $584 B on all other non-defense discretionary spending. For perspective, $45.4 B went to the Department of Education, the DOE got $25 B, NASA received $17.2 B and the National Science Foundation… $6.9 B. We can perhaps agree that yes, the military is an expensive machine, and that these costs do not pay solely for guns and bombs, but the livelihoods and careers of thousands of men and women. There is also arguable benefit in national defense, peacekeeping, disaster relief, and other causes…

However, can these pursuits not be met through other, non-military means? I think the answer is a simple and emphatic “yes.” Yet there seems to be a long-standing and strongly socially enforced attitude that the military in some way is privileged to remain faultless and unanswerable even when its function is questionable or ineffective. It is perfectly accepted to put a sticker on one’s car stating that a son or daughter is in military service, but to proclaim “My son is a scientist,” invites confusion if not ridicule.

This is merely a prelude to a question that I have pondered increasingly of late. That if one browses television programming, there can be found a number of highly dramatic, over-the-top “edutainment” shows devoted to the military, warfare, weapons, and combat. There is of course a “Military History” channel, and popular shows go by names like “Future Weapons” and “Deadliest Warrior,” while in contrast the NASA channel features exciting offerings like “STS-130 Crew News Conference” and “ISS Mission Coverage.” Which titles do you figure will draw the attention of the average viewer at home? I think it’s clear, and it’s also undeniable that we all enjoy a good explosion or demonstration of the destructive capabilities of the human species. It’s fun and somehow liberating to see such carnage, but it is invariably dissociated from the suffering, pain, and death they are designed to inflict.

The decision to create shows on certain topics, what their titles are, and their content are all choices. Almost invariably, these choices are made to generate profit, but I am not convinced that these choices are made to meet a market demand. Rather, I feel that the programming drives a market. The reality TV genre is evidence of this, and so to are many products (when did we last have input on the type of car that should be built by GM?). Governments and corporations alike have at their disposal the best and brightest designers and marketeers, and spend a lot of time and effort making sure we buy what they sell. If the same energies were put towards selling science and exploration, I cannot see why the latest developments in aerospace technology, bio-engineering, or space exploration could not be topics of conversation around the water cooler just as much as “American Idol.”

This may sound hopelessly romantic, naïve… even absurd. However, we are faced with an interesting pop culture phenomenon which shows it is not. James Cameron’s Avatar is now closing in on $2 B in box offices sales worldwide, and an ask around will show you this is not because of the story, or the even the spiffy 3-D effects, but because we have been presented with a coherent, believable new world to explore and discover. A new people, a new language – a new frontier. A frontier reached through technological means (whether through spaceflight as in the film, or through new film-making techniques, as in the theatre), yet presenting a world of natural beauty and celebrating its divinity and defense. For some, the excitement of this new world will not extend beyond their 160 minutes of entertainment, for others, it may be a life-changing phenomenon. Some even experience depression at returning to their “ordinary” existence. This needn’t be so, for the wonders of Pandora are real and all around us, and we still have a chance to explore and preserve them. Avatar and its success shows us that people do yearn for other worlds, and that when presented properly, they will gladly empty their wallets to explore them. Why can we not mimic this enthusiasm for reality, which is not so very different when put into the proper light?

In the 1972 film Silent Running, As in Avatar, the Earth is a blighted, ruined place, and here the last of the planet’s trees have been put aboard spacecraft to preserve them. While back on Earth there is “hardly any more disease, no more poverty, [and] nobody’s out of job.” The main character Lowell is incensed by the lassitude of the rest of the crew, saying, “Well you know what else there’s no more of? There’s no more beauty, and there’s no more imagination, and there are no frontiers left to conquer, and you know why? Only one reason why! One reason why! The same reason you three in this room are giving me today, and that is, nobody cares!

Like Lowell’s shipmates, many of us are content to sit back and watch what TV execs think we want, purchase goods from corporations who think they know what we desire, and eat foods with no other care than that it is cheap and easy. We accept that the government will spend more money on the military than our education, and for the most part, do not even concern ourselves about it. Whether 1972 or 2009, the message is the same – the wealth of our world is all around us, and it is worth fighting for. Where might we be if we were as financially committed to destroying cancer as we are to combating “terrorism”? What if we glorified blasting off into space as much as we did blasting holes in the ground of Iraq and Afghanistan? Or in saving lives instead of destroying them? While money cannot solely provide the answer to these questions, it certainly doesn’t hurt, and taking funding away from already paltry budgets of non-military research and development is inexcusable. It may be difficult to see how any one of us can make a difference, but remember, none of us are as dumb as all of us.


Yes, that Peter Schickele.

Creative Reuse of Materials

Posted in Alternative Architecture, Arts (Design & Performance), Sustainability with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 25, 2010 by Drogo

When an item has outlived it’s usefulness as a possession, 3 things may happen to it:

1. Thrown away in garbage pickup, and taken to a landfill, wasted

2. Recycled if it is paper, metal, glass, or plastic

3. Reused by the current owner in another function, or given or sold to a new owner. If the item is damaged, it may be repaired. If the item cannot be used in it’s existing form, it can be salvaged for parts or converted into a new function. Reused; Scrap; Repossession; etc.

It is this third way of dealing with junk, that this post topic will focus on. Salvaging something for parts is an obvious form of Reuse. Another term for breaking an item down into parts, is called “Scrapping”. Besides scrapping for nuts, bolts, screws, and other hardware; let us investigate more creative forms of Reuse.

SCOD invites you to post images and essays on Creative Reuse here. We will start off by showing an example, to encourage future posts. Do not be afraid to show your work, be proud of it as functional or didactic Art!

*

Bamboo Shelves – SCOD style furniture

Bamboo is a fast growing resource, often cut to maintain it, and keep it from taking over an entire landscape. By binding cut branches, supports are created for any type of furniture wanted. Duct-tape is a strong reinforcer that also also secures itself. Spray-paint is infamous for it’s rapid urban decor ability to express individuality, and is a good way to paint affordable colors on something quickly. Add other scrap pieces where needed, for flat surfaces etc…

Stories of Fiction, Fantasy, and Fun!

Posted in Book Reports, Fictional Stories with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 24, 2010 by Drogo

Short Stories Written In Grade School

By Walton D. Stowell Jr.

Written by Author: Walton D. Stowell Jr.

Edited by: Doctor Drogo F. Empedocles

Sponsored by Author: Noel L. Tavano

Dedicated to Mom: Nena M. Stowell

Published by: Kindle Inc. 2010

*

Stories of Fiction, Fantasy, and Fun is a collection of 45 short stories written in the 1980’s by a kid, for kids. The Author wrote these stories as a kid, to be read by kids, and read by kids to other kids. Adults may read these stories of course, but those that live in denial of their creativity will be challenged by the contents of this book.

Although mostly fictional, some stories were based on real people, places, and events. Character names have been changed to protect the identity and integrity of all people, thus making each story even more fictional. Warning: those that try to apply reality to these stories may get in trouble and serve Detention!

This collection of tales from the Author’s childhood and early teen years, was written while attending public and private schools in West Virginia and Maryland. Many drawings were drawn for the stories at the same time (unfortunately the Kindle version will not have these). Some of the “mistakes” in spelling or grammar were intentionally left in, especially if they added to the ambiance of the story. Also teacher comments are sometimes included. Don’t worry; if there’s mistakes, they’re supposed to be in here.

Remember; Kids are not slaves!

Related books:

Tales of Amazing Magic and Science

Short Stories Written In Grade School, By A Kid, For Kids

Amazing Ancient Adventure and Strange Science-Fiction Stories

100 Story Tales of Science Fiction, Magic Fantasy, and Amazing Adventure

A Big Collection of Lots of Stories

Table of Contents:

  1. The Long Awaited Word
  2. The Missing Pickle
  3. The Missing Chuoboko
  4. The Missing Dinosaur
  5. The Missing Armor
  6. Rome, Italy / Romans Vs. Barbarians
  7. I’ve Known Countries
  8. The Creation of Earth
  9. The Final Struggle
  10. Panic On Earth
  11. Crab Island, Playmont
  12. An Incredible Christmas Carol
  13. The Queen Elizabeth II Trip
  14. Doctor Dippie Banned! A Demented Biography
  15. Don’t Call Me a Nerd If I Read This Story
  16. How Elephant Got His Toenails
  17. Tony Turkey: Tall Tale Starters
  18. In The Hands of a Super Hero
  19. The Chinese Doggy Blahs
  20. The Forbidden Closet
  21. All In A Days Work
  22. County Fire Brigade
  23. From America
  24. Jimmy Clouds
  25. My Pet Dragon
  26. Mister Chop
  27. On The Run
  28. The Neckless
  29. Sheryl Holmes & Rennell Watson
  30. Sam Schlap: The Blown Up Bridge
  31. Monstors: The Last Battle
  32. A Super Christmas
  33. The Maze #7
  34. Castle Molofe
  35. Tartiar 01
  36. Tartiar 02
  37. Death Streets
  38. Flight Blaster
  39. Time Capsule
  40. Turmoil In Ramba
  41. Undersea Mayhem
  42. Venture On the Road of Destiny
  43. Attack of the Radio Active Hamsters
  44. Werewolf, Alien, and Crossbow
  45. Zardan

Appendixes: Character Traits; Glossary; Bibliography; Biography

*

See The Kindle Book on Amazon:  SFFF!

Deer Deterrents, Wards, and Ambushes

Posted in Cooperatives / Communities / Networks / Travels, Organic Gardens, Sustainability with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 22, 2010 by Drogo

Serious (Non-Lethal) Solutions for Deer Problems

Spray Bottle Deterrents

Scarecrows, statues, garden-gnomes, wind-chimes, and whirly-gigs are fun wards to have around the yard. Try spraying these guardians with Deer Repellent in bottles you can buy at Home Depot and Walmart. Also spray bushes, flowers, grass, and inanimate objects around property boarders.

Sprays may work for a few hours, days, weeks, or months depending on environmental variables such as precipitation, humidity, winds, and the amount and locations used. The cost for bottles is usually between $20-$50, and will last up to one or two years.

Motion-Sensing Automatic Electronic Devices (2 types)

1. Motion-Activated Sprinkler

This is basically a motion-sensing water-hose sprayer. One unit now sells online for $50-$100 for starters. Permanent systems are obviously more expensive than buying individual movable units.

2. Motion-Sensing Ultrasonic Emitter

Test results unknown, if any. Aka silent deer repellers $60-$120. The University of Georgia and Wisconsin tested the car mounted deer whistles, and determined they did not affect deer.

Ambush

Finally, besides hunting (which has legal and safety issues), ambushing deer may be the best solution. Most deer scare easily when they sense humans are close, however be prepared for a fight. Warning! Adult deer have been filmed attacking hunters, and winning! Therefore wear armor that protects your body, arms, legs, and head.

Like any unwanted, but reasonable sentient life-form, deer need to feel as though their lives are NOT BENEFITED by being even close to your property. They need to have reasons to not want to come near. The reasons deer may not want to come near can have everything to do with you; by ambushing them either passively or aggressively.

Noises or smells may temporarily scare deer away, but may also bother human neighbors. Wards are NOT the best non-lethal way to keep deer away for extended annual periods. Although noise can express your anger, they need to feel like you want to be too close for comfort. The same set of techniques applied to unwanted humans, also apply to other animals. Trespassers are either threatened aggressively, or they are passively dissuaded.

Yen Passive Ambush

The passive way is the only nice way to reward deer who stay away. Become a deer-whisperer or develop your psychic powers, and you do not need to run at them. If you have psychic control over deer, then you do not even need to ambush them. A passive yen approach takes many years to cultivate (even if you are born with the powers), and may be even more difficult to do correctly than the aggressive method.

Trespassers may be overly-welcomed and threatened by unwanted over-intimacy. Have you ever invited a Jehovah’s witness to take a bath with you? Most random visitors will not stick around if they feel you are wanting to become “too close” to them. If a stranger is seeking to become obsessively close to you, and takes you up on your inflated over-involved offers, then subtle psychotic behavior can do the trick to get them to leave and stay away. They will have no evidence that you threatened them or are actually mental, but they will have uncomfortable memories to remind them to stay away.

Yang Aggressive Ambush

Wash all smells and scents off your body and clothes, as Deer can smell natural animal smells (including humans), and artificial (human made) perfumes, colognes, and deodorants. Do not put on any smells except natural organic woodland odors from actual plants or trees. Roll the outside of jackets, long sleeve shirts, and pants on grass, fresh cut grass, hay, straw, or other plants. Again WEAR ARMOR and cover any large areas of exposed skin at least in mud (absorbs smells) or effective camouflage.

You can get together with a few friends, but you must be serious about getting the deer by surprise and not alerting them to your presence at a distance by noises, movements, or smells. Conceal yourself in tree branches, tree-stands, porches, sheds, roofs, or bushes. If there is wind, determine the direction and relocate accordingly. If the deer are coming from the down-wind direction, try an area where the wind will not take your smell to them. An enclosure that blocks your body from all wind is best, but you also need to be within 10 feet of the deer to affectively and intimately scare them by surprise.

When they are within reach, jump out. Defensively wield blunt and non-lethal weapons: stun guns, paintball guns, low-power BB guns, low-power soft-shot slings or slingshots, hardwood staves, nunchaku, clubs, paddles, and whips. Do not attempt this if you have no combat or real-world fighting experience. Training in martial arts, military, or sports is preferred for your safety, and the safety of the deer (that you are NOT seeking to seriously wound).

The objective here is to scare them so bad, they will not want to return. Like accidentally coming upon a snake that does not bite you, but based on instinct and experience you don’t want it to bite you; so you flee from the spot and do not want to return even years later. That is the goal of this risky, but effective low-budget technique.

Reference original subject entry:  Deer Overpopulation

Haitian Artwork

Posted in Arts (Design & Performance) with tags , , , , , , , on January 18, 2010 by Drogo

Art and Paintings by Haitian Artists, photos of a private gallery collection:

Bernard Sejourne

(1947 – 1994) 
Bernard Séjourné was born on November 20, 1947 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. He was a member of one of Haiti’s elite families. He began studying art formally, after his graduation from high school. He studied at the ‘Academie des Beaux-Arts’ in Port-au-Prince, the Jamaica ‘School of Arts and Crafts’, Kingston, the ‘Art Students League’ of New York and at the American Art School, New York.

Séjourné belonged to the various ‘schools of art’; “abstract realism”, “absolute realism – artistic truth”, and one known as the “School of Beauty”. In his works he attempted to capture beauty, elegance and grace. He has been compared with Renoir and Monet. His themes were women, landscapes and flowers; but much of his work is very expressionist. He began as a sculptor, and switched to painting when he realized how much faster he could work with 1 flat surface. Most of his paintings are large. This heightens the effect of movement which he created by his use of fluid lines. Bernard exhibited his art at many events and expos around the world. Despite the deep maturity of his styles, he would create his work with dynamic speed. His works have always been highly valued by Haitian art collectors. Since his death, he has become highly sought after for collections.

. . . .

0806151742a

0806151744a

0806151743a

0803151449

0806151757

.

*  Other Haitian Artists (unknown)

0803151720

0803151722a

Na’vi Inspired Dagger

Posted in Arts (Design & Performance) with tags , , , , , , , on January 16, 2010 by eposognatus

Cordite made a Moose Antler Dagger and sheath:

http://forum.learnnavi.org/cosplay-costuming/navi-inspired-dagger/