Monday, December 09, 2019

Ape Agape

I recently came across a couple psychedelic simian images on the Shamanic Sacra-Mental Spaces blog that I thought were pretty awesome.

The first one is "Stoned Ape Theory" by Tim Marr. It illustrates the theory espoused by Terence McKenna (whom I've posted about a lot here) that our primate ancestors had an evolutionary boost from eating psilocybin mushrooms that was a factor in accelerated cognitive development.

The second "Ape Agape" image is by Samuel Farrand, and would be the next step after the previous picture! After ingesting a psychedelic compound, the ape's experience transforms into a energetic mindscape of abstract patterns.

This image reminded me of the 3D image I created called "Psychedelic Symbiosis", which drew a comparison between the structure of neural and mycelial connections.

by Paul Micarelli

Friday, December 06, 2019

Gothic Nautilus

I see a lot of content of all kinds, and love looking at amazing artwork that blows my mind. However, sometimes I see something that stops my online scrolling, & I'm just "Wow'd"!

This laser-cut stainless steel sculpture, Nautilus Penta, by artist Wim Delvoye just made me amazed - at what the human mind can conceive & what the technology it excretes is capable of actualizing.

It is an intricate gothic-style cathedral spiraling into itself to create a nautilus shape.

I have experience laser cutting 2-dimension pieces, and something like this is just insane to me...

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Fractal Broccoli

 I've seen photos of Romanesco broccoli online, identifiable by the fractal arrangement of its florets.

Fractals are basically self-similar patterns, with the same characteristics at various levels of scale. Romanesco has at least 3 levels of self-similarity, with groupings of smaller florets on the larger florets.

I finally saw this visually interesting vegetable in the supermarket for the first time, so I knew I had to get it! I wanted to see how it tasted.

Below are some photos I took, with both a regular & a macro lens. The last photo is the result - the steamed Romanesco broccoli for dinner, with baked chicken and waffle fries w/ Sriracha.

It was definitely more bland than regular broccoli, but I always spice up my veggies anyway. I like the texture of the Romanesco much better. It didn't have the little leaflets on regular broccoli that get stuck in your teeth.

Anyway, I will definitely get it again for other dishes. Besides, I love to look at the fascinating fractal form, so it's worth getting for that alone!


Sunday, November 17, 2019

The Mandalorian - Episodes 1 & 2 Review

Since I don't even own a TV anymore, and definitely wouldn't subscribe to Disney+, I took my friend up on an invite to watch the first couple episodes of the Star Wars series "The Mandalorian".

There are spoilers further down, but I'll give a general review first.

"The Mandalorian" refers to the main character, who is from the planet of warriors called Mandalore. His armor is similar to that of the infamous bounty hunter Boba Fett from the original Star Wars trilogy, although it is not known if Boba Fett's "father" Jango & his armor were actually Mandalorian.

Overall, as a life-long Star Wars fan who is very critical, I think the show is really good. The production quality is great, and the excellent practical effects look even better than the occasional CGI that isn't quite as polished as the movies.

The story & characters so far are engaging, and truly feels like it takes place in the Star Wars universe. There are familiar alien species in the background, hints of the Imperial remnants that exist after Return of the Jedi, and technology that fits well visually with the "look" of Star Wars.

For instance, in the second episode, the story involves a Jawa sandcrawler - so you get a look at the gypsy-like scavenger/trader society these little creatures live in.

We also get to see a lethally efficient IG-model assassin droid in action & it's awesome (see the trailer). In Empire Strikes Back, IG-88 basically just stood there with the other bounty hunters assembled by Darth Vader.

The great thing about expanded content, like this series, is that there's a chance to explore aspects of the Star Wars characters & details in more depth.

I would definitely recommend checking it out if you're a Star Wars fan, and really love diving into the infinite depth of the mythos.


So the big twist at the end of the 1st episode was that the precious bounty that The Mandalorian was contracted to retrieve for a former Imperial official was a 50-year old "baby" of Yoda's species. Even though the child was in an immature, infant-like state, it is shown to be already able to manipulate The Force in significant ways.

If I would've read this idea before seeing the image or the episode, I would've been skeptical that it could be pulled off without being ridiculous. However, I thought it was pretty cool, especially as the Yoda baby basically becomes The Mandalorian's little sidekick in his levitating crib during the 2nd episode. It helps that the CGI for the character is great, and looks much better than the various spacecraft in certain scenes. The little baby, obviously strong in the Light Side of The Force, and a ruthless bounty hunter, charged with keeping it alive, make an interesting duo.

I'm definitely into the story, and look forward to seeing how this unexpected pairing plays out.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Animated Chakra Energy

I have done quite a bit of research and thought on the ancient concept of "chakras," or centers of energy that exist as aspects of our being.

Chakras are often considered a mystical or esoteric concept, an abstraction that is visualized as a focus of meditation. However, these energy centers correspond to physical centers of neurological and glandular importance.

I created this animation using the Forge of Neon app, illustrating the flow of energy through the chakras within and around the human body.

by Paul Micarelli

After I finished it, I kept adding more details - imagining how the energy would interface with the surrounding Unified Field, absorbing and transmitting light.

I thought the "Thousand Petaled Lotus" that is supposed to blossom from the crown chakra would be analogous to the cascading bio-electric fields that our body creates.

by Paul Micarelli

My wife & I have taken Kundalini classes that have given me a deeper perspective on this concept. She now teaches a "Chakra Flow" yoga class that progresses through poses focusing on the 7 major chakra centers.

Several years ago, I created a Chakra Ascension Series that illustrates each of the chakra points as a progression of an individual through ascending levels.

Here is an animated GIF version of the series:

Tuesday, November 05, 2019

Autumn Leaf Macro Photo

 Macro photo of a multi-colored autumn leaf. 

by Paul Micarelli
The fractal contrast between the green & red, with yellow in between, is so vibrant.

Then you look closer and see the microscopic texture, and realize that there are millions of cells working as a system & forming this structure...

We exist in a practically infinite continuum of scale, from the quantum to the cosmic... (and this doesn't even include other dimensions that may be outside our ability to experience or comprehend, at all).

Thursday, October 31, 2019

How Roman Emperors Looked

There are many ways to recreate and visualize aspects of history. I've written about using 3D rendering & virtual reality to see what ancient buildings and areas looked like.

Reconstructing the past can also be done using physical media. My wife & I are watching the series "Rome" and I love how the visual presentation really puts you into that time period. My only complaint about that show is that the Roman characters all have British accents... it makes no sense!

Anyway, after watching an episode of "Rome" I was looking up paintings & busts of Julius Caesar, and looking to see if anyone tried making modern-day representations of him. I came across this article about the Césares de Roma project, in which sculptor Salva Ruano accurately recreates the faces of Roman emperors.

The classical white marble busts we are used to seeing are modeled accurately, but really don't express the humanity in these ancient people. It is pretty stunning to see these hyper-realistic faces, based on ancient busts and other reference. The life-like details, along with the effective lighting, bring out the personality in their likeness.

Here are a few of the more famous emperors:

Julius Caesar :

Octavian (Caesar Augustus) :

The OG Neckbeard, Emperor Nero :

This video I just found shows the incredible about of detail that Salva Ruano puts into these sculptures:

Friday, October 25, 2019

Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker - Final Trailer

 I am 41 years old and was born when the original Star Wars came out. Since my earliest memories, the Star Wars saga has been my favorite fictional work, and has contributed so much to the person I've become.The imagination, the mysticism, the vision have inspired me my whole life - including into adulthood.

I always hoped that I would live to see this saga conclude as a "trilogy of trilogies", even after it seemed like the Prequels would be the end of the movie series.

I've had my fair share of criticisms of all the movies, but it's only because I love the movies so much, and they are such an important cultural phenomenon of our time. The Last Jedi, which has proven to be a very divisive film, had some of the very best and the very worst of the Star Wars legacy in it.

I can say that the trailers for the 3rd trilogy have been awesome - due to the cinematography, the stellar music by John Williams, and great editing. After seeing the final trailer for Episode 9: The Rise of Skywalker, I can say I'm hyped for this movie and hope the saga is concluded in a proper & meaningful way.

As the one trailer for the D23 Disney Expo showed, this is a conclusion of a truly epic story arc that spans decades in both the real world, and also in the fictional galaxy far, far away.

Dark Rey with a double Sith lightsaber.. Whaaaat?!?!?
Just a Force Vision, or a  clone???

It is late on a Friday night, and I could go on for hours about this stuff, so here are a few things that I think need to be in the final movie of the Skywalker saga:

As I just said, this is the Skywalker saga. There needs to be some kind of resolution to the story of Anakin Skywalker's family. Besides his grandson Kylo Ren's obsession with his mangled helmet, "The Chosen One" has been mostly absent from the Sequel trilogy.

Emperor Palpatine is clearly playing some kind of role in this movie. He is another character who has spanned the entire 9 movie stretch (I think the droids R2-D2 and C-3PO are the only characters to appear in all the movies, which is a great statement on how AI might be able to continue beyond our human lifespans). At first, I thought it would be cool if Palpatine's spirit somehow stayed intact, and his evil ghost haunted Kylo & Rey as they made their way through the Death Star, making this movie like a sci-fi horror flick.

Is this an ancient Sith throne, or the seat of power for another unnamed entity?

However, the trailer makes it appear that Palpatine is in a physical incarnation. Perhaps he is a "scarred & deformed" mecha-Emperor - whose grotesque remains are held together by technology & his indomitable, malevolent will. That would be an interesting angle, one explored in The Clone Wars cartoon where Darth Maul survives & has cybernetic limbs.

Speaking of the Emperor, there is a confrontation between Kylo & Rey in the iconic ruins of the Emperor's Death Star throne room, which somehow survived the atmospheric entry and impact as the battlestation crashed into the moon of Endor.

It would be awesome if we see the spirits of the "thousand generations" of Jedi who live on in Rey manifest somehow. My personal wish would be for Anakin, Luke, Leia and Ben should come together as 3 generations of Skywalkers in spirit & physical form to finally defeat this evil power.

Perhaps Leia faces Ben/Kylo at some point, like an inverse of Luke facing his father. There are many interesting possibilities.

I am hoping that the title "Rise of Skywalker" refers not only to the return of Anakin Skywalker in some form, but also to a new approach to Force users that rejects the rigid standards of the Jedi/Sith and blaze a new path - known as "Skywalkers" in honor of the legendary family.

"Skywalker" is a term used in shamanic cultures to refer to someone who takes visionary flight, and was clearly a reference used by George Lucas when creating this story. The best aspects of Star Wars are the mystical & philosophical elements, and I look forward to seeing what The Rise of Skywalker adds to this mythos.

There also looks like there will be some amazing large-scale conflicts. They hopefully will have more weight than the slo-mo space-chase and alien racehorse escape of The Last Jedi.

One big question and the source of endless internet fantasies is the nature of Rey & Ben's connection (dubbed "Reylo").

Do they team up at some point, and what happens? Does she just look past the fact that he was a murderous, power-hungry megalomaniac? Does Kylo die, and Rey carries on the Skywalker legacy in name only? Do they forge an alliance and together start a new line of Force users? Whatever is decided, it should at least give a sense of purpose and finality to their story, and the saga as a whole.

Well, those are my thoughts for now, but I'm sure I will have plenty more to say once I actually see the final movie in the Skywalker movie saga. Only a couple months to go for the culmination of a lifetime of being a Star Wars fan!

Monday, October 21, 2019

Nervous Twitch

When I saw this image of a disembodied nervous system on The Weird Wide Web, my spine & neck twitched involuntarily.

Perhaps the self-realization that * the energetic system forming this experience of "being" is a fragile, stringy arrangement of organic tissue * struck a nerve.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

A.I. Logo Design

I was browsing stories in Apple News & came across this article about A.I. (Artificial Intelligence) systems being used to explore graphic design.

Venture Beat:

Being a designer who specializes in logos and branding, this piqued my interest for obvious reasons.

I've long thought that creative disciplines, whether commercial or "fine" art, would be one realm that would be somewhat safe from imminent dominance by machines. However, reading stories like this make me realize that A.I. as a design tool may be much more powerful and imminent than I thought.

Really, it's not surprising that information systems & deep machine learning can be used to generate novel visual elements. Like real life, it's a matter of inputting enough reference material and giving some parameters to adhere to certain needs. Ultimately, it's pattern recognition, and it's something the human brain excels at in certain ways. The speed at which computers and neural networks operate certain functions compared to the brain means that A.I. may be able to deliver sophisticated and relevant solutions to visual design problems instantly, with many effective choices.

I'm not worried for my career at the moment, because the human element will likely be necessary for the foreseeable future. Just like Photoshop did not actually take away artist's jobs, it actually created more & took them to a new level - I suspect a similar quantum leap will happen, when A.I. becomes widely used as a design and idea communication tool.

Brand New:

Sunday, October 06, 2019

Visualizing the Speed of Light

The nature of light, including the speed at which it propagates through space, is something that's difficult for the human mind to understand fully.

Add relativity into the mix, and the properties of energy and light become downright mysterious.

This GIF by James O'Donoghue using NASA imagery, although showing the speed that light travels, really highlights the vast cosmic distances that exist beyond our human & planetary scales.

This visualization illustrates the difficulty that the human race is going to have with space travel by "conventional" means - by which I mean trying to accelerate through physical space to a percentage of light speed to reach other star systems.

I think the answer is the development of technology that has been imagined in Star Trek and described by Bob Lazar, who claim to have worked on reverse-engineering spacecraft at the S-4 facility near the once-secret, now-infamous Area 51 test site.

We need to create technology that is able to manipulate gravity in such a way that it can warp space-time, so that the traveler is warped to the destination faster than light would be able to travel through the same space. I think the ideas of Nassim Haramein are leading us in the direction of technology.

Whether it's eventually feasible remains to be seen, but it seems to be the only way to travel through interstellar space without taking generations of humans, or centuries of sending out AI-driven machines.

Perhaps another option is to become beings of pure light ourselves, so that relativistically time stops altogether. However, then our need to explore and physically experience things would be irrelevant anyway...

Monday, September 23, 2019

The Extremes of Vehicle Gendering

Recently, I've come across a couple vehicles in the town where I live that stopped me in my tracks.

They represented the extreme opposites of masculine/feminine duality that exists in so many aspects of life, apparently even in automobiles.

The first one was a truck that I saw in the parking lot of a liquor store, dubbed "The War Wagon" according to the spray-painted lettering on the side. It resembled a vehicle that would be present in a Mad Max, post-apocalyptic hellscape. I guess South Jersey is close enough...

Right down the road, I saw this pretty little Jeep at the local supermarket. Painted black with pink trim, and, yes, eyelashes on the headlights - this model of mobile femininity was the perfect balance to the gritty machismo of "The War Wagon".


This is a RV that I've seen parked in various locations that I call "The Yahweh-Mobile".
It's covered in religious sayings, Bible verses, and the general feel of insanity that manifests through people covering their car in obsessive text or imagery.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019


I recently posted about reaching 1 million page views, and it made me realize how rewarding my 15-year blogging journey has been. I've been able to share all kinds of interesting, weird, and awesome things. I've archived some of my own life and my creations, as well.

I am in my forties, and equal parts cynically jaded & also stuck in perpetual child-like wonder. I still love science, art, spiritual philosophy, and all types of knowledge- but the flood of information in modern digital media makes it difficult to pick topics of sufficient interest to share or discuss.

Especially when it comes to politics, I've become numb to the sheer stupidity and corruption of it all. When I was younger, this blog was a political forum for my disdain and ridicule of the George W. Bush Administration and neoconservative lunacy.

With the election of Donald Trump as President and our plunge into a political situation that is ridiculous and regressive to levels that were unimaginable previously, it is easy to want to throw up your hands and just say "Fuck it all". The human race will die out one day, the Earth will be swallowed by the Sun, which will eventually burn out, and the rest of the Universe will go on in the endless patterns of creation and destruction for billions of years. None of this crap matters in the cosmic scheme of things, yet here we are. So what do we do?...

I'll tell you what we do... we express the absurdity of the situation and break down mental boundaries like the artist know as Beeple (Mike Winkelmann). All of Beeple's art is mind-blowingly amazing, but I saw this gem on Instagram and was like,

"Wow, this is some exquisite non-sense!" 

This pretty well portrays the wackiness that we humans are immersed in right now.

by Beeple

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by beeple (@beeple_crap) on

Monday, September 16, 2019

The Monkey Buddha - 1 Million Page Views!

Between working my full time job as a graphic designer, keeping my side businesses going (Paul Micarelli Design and Fantasy Photos), helping my wife with our brand Conscious Living for You, being a husband, and trying to find time for myself, I haven't been able to post on my blog nearly as much as I'd like.

So, I opened up Blogger to post something tonight and realize that I missed a milestone I knew was creeping up...  The Monkey Buddha has passed 1 million page views since I started this blog, back in 2005!

June 28, 2005

It took me almost 15 years to get that many views, but I've never advertised or really promoted this blog in any way. It has always been simply a creative outlet for me to share and write about the things that interested me.

As you can see in the screenshot above, my most viewed post is, much to my continued amusement, "The World Was Always Awful".

I have had many people contact me over the years or leave comments through the blog. I've even met some friends and clients from it. It has been rewarding to hear how people enjoy enjoy reading it, and it's mind-boggling to think about how many people may have been affected, influenced, or just entertained in some way over all those years.

If you happen to be following The Monkey Buddha, or just landed on this post somehow, leave a comment below with your thoughts on this virtual information outlet I've created. Hopefully I can continue to post here for at least another 15 years! By then, I will be uploading information to the holo-blog through my Apple iThink implant.

This about sums ups my feelings right now:

Sunday, September 01, 2019

Super Zoom into a Pen

I saw this animated GIF on Reddit and loved how well it demonstrated something I've talked about on this blog many times. The Universe is not discrete levels - such as quantum, microscopic, macroscopic, or cosmic.

The Universe is actually a continuum that can be "zoomed" in or out to practically endless degrees.

This world , which we get to experience in our limited capacity, is infinite and full of incomprehensible detail.

Here is the trippy original video, titled "The Super Zoom," which is actually a digital rendering. It also shows the scales at which the zoom is taking place.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Summer Nature Photography

I have been spending a lot of my free time outdoors this summer. I am working a full-time graphic design position, in addition to keeping my own businesses going on the side, so any chance I get I like to be outside relaxing & enjoying nature.

I've added a bunch of new photos I've taken over the past couple months to my album:

by Paul Micarelli

A wasp eating honey off my plate after I finished eating breakfast outside.
Closeup of a tiny ecosystem in the soil of a potted plant.

Macro photo of a tiny spider that was hanging by our back door.
A closeup of a small praying mantis that was hanging on the side of our deck.
A purple flower growing in our garden.
My wife Loretta is trying her hand at growing some vegetables, here is a closeup of a ripening cherry tomato.

My wife Loretta is trying her hand at growing some vegetables, here is a closeup of unripe cherry tomatoes that look like little watermelons.
This plant seemed like it had died, but my wife Loretta brought it back to life.
Loretta was sitting in the grass next to me & jumped up when she felt this frog bump her butt.
Deer grazing in my back yard early in the morning as I was getting ready for work.

Monday, August 12, 2019

The Connected Universe

 This past weekend my wife and I were relaxing at home, and she took a break from her continual viewing of old episodes of The Sopranos since I felt like watching a video.

When it comes to philosophy, spirituality, & science, we both have similar views. Even where we don't agree, we have really in-depth discussions. I felt like watching something thought-provoking, so I put on "The Connected Universe"

I have posted here previously about the theories of Nassim Haramein, who has attempted to formulate scientific theories that connect the micro (quantum) and macro scales, and describing the nature of the energetic unified field that is the fundamental base of reality.

This movie was very interesting, and featured the general ideas behind his scientific theories. However, I found it to be more of an inspirational project, especially compared to his more informative lecture that completely blew my mind open, "Sacred Geometry And Unified Fields".

By looking past existing paradigms and incorporating the patterns of sacred geometry into the logic behind his theories, Nassim has opened an avenue of study that can lead humanity into leaps of evolution in both technology and the human condition.

If I had to sum up his theories, it would be that all of space-time is filled with "vacuum" energy at the most fundamental scale. Information is interconnected at all points throughout this field, in an infinite array of Plank-scale feedback loops.

These cycles of increasing complexity lead to self-organizing principles and emergent features that we experience as - matter & energy > life > consciousness - in a unified (yet endlessly varied) dance of creation and destruction.

Monday, August 05, 2019

Nature Photography at Scotland Run Park

My wife and I both love the outdoors and nature, and try to get outside any chance we get. For me, it is like a mental and physical recharge, especially when I can just quietly observe the sights, sounds, and other sensations of the natural world around me.
We've been going to a lot of state & local parks to swim and/or hike. Recently we went to Scotland Run, a local park, to walk the trails there. We went fairly deep into the woods, and I ended up getting a poison ivy rash up my right leg.

Otherwise, it was a great hike and I got a lot of nice photos of the plants and wildlife. I uploaded them to my photo album:

by Paul Micarelli

Wilson Lake @ Scotland Run Park

A tiny frog crossing our path

An orange fungus
I thought this moss was pretty cool. It was white with a branching structure.

This little caterpillar also had an intricate branching structure coming off its body.

I managed to capture this dragonfly resting on a branch.

This butterfly landed in the sand just long enough for me to snap a photo.

A closup of a large flower with little insects inside it.

A purple flower cluster over the cloud-reflecting lake surface.
My wife saw this and asked, "Are those beetles banging???"

A flower cluster 

Some of the freshwater snails on the lakebed.