Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Ancient Paths: Discovering the Lost Map of Celtic Europe

 I was on vacation last week, and read the next book in my long reading queue. The Ancient Paths, by Graham Robb, is about the rediscovery of the ancient Celtic culture that was once spread across Europe.

Amazon:
by Graham Robb

Because there was no written history, much of the details about the Celtic way of life has been lost. Many people now associate the word "Celtic" with Ireland, but, in fact, it is a term that describes a far reaching tribal culture that was spread throughout western Europe- including France and Spain. The isolated island of Ireland ("Éire" in Gaelic / "Hiberina" in Latin) was the last area not overtaken by the Roman Empire, so the last vestiges of Celtic art and identity were preserved there.

The educated elites of Celtic culture were the Druids. This is another term that has been confused over the centuries. The Druids were not magical wizards, they were actually the ancient equivalent of the "Renaissance Man," like Leonardo da Vinci. The Druids were professionals trained in many different forms of knowledge & skills, such as astronomy, natural law, the understanding of plants, politics, and medicine.

Unfortunately, Celtic culture and knowledge was pretty much wiped out by the Roman Empire. They were not just looking to tame the Celtic & Germanic "savages" of the rest of Europe and create a buffer zone between them and Rome. The Romans were mostly interested in expanding their business interests and extracting wealth & resources from these areas. All war and invasion is usually about money and power, regardless of the pretext given to the citizens of the invading nation.

Like so many cultures who have succumbed to a more powerful enemy, the vast knowledge and history of the Celts was almost completely wiped out. Graham Robb has used archaeological clues to reconstruct some aspects of Celtic civilization, which was extensive & advanced in certain ways. There was already a network of roads & locations based on cosmological alignments in place when the Romans overran Gaul and the Iberian Peninsula. This is why the Roman legions were able to spread swiftly throughout the continent on their various campaigns.

One aspect of the book that personally interesting to me was the use of sacred geometry in Celtic art, especially the Flower of Life pattern that I used in the creation of the game "Da Vinci's Challenge". Robb shows how these geometric constructions guided the designs of the ancient Celts.


Overall, the book was very interesting, and gave me a new perspective on two parts of my ancient heritage, since my ancestors included the Irish & Italians. The narrative gets bogged down a bit by the endless place names and speculations on various specific locations, but I would definitely recommend it to anyone interested in history. It made for good vacation reading & I finished the book by the end of the week.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Art by Ed Harrington

I've been finding a lot of great artists on Instagram, so I've been posting them here as I come across them.

Artist & illustrator Ed Harrington creates mash-ups & twisted takes on pop culture icons, including many characters from the 1980's that were popular when I was a kid.

Here are some of his websites and a few of my favorite images:

Website:

Instagram:

Tumblr:




Friday, July 07, 2017

Paul's Strange Dream

https://youtu.be/oCcKgunRIpk

As I began to question the "Strangeness" of my experience & the world around me, reality began to dissolve away into an chaotic infinite energy field.



"Paul's Feeling Strange"
Filming, Editing, & Soundtrack by Paul Micarelli
 
This is the second "Strange" video I've uploaded, which I've been meaning to do for awhile.


"Paul's Strange Dream"
Filming, Editing, & Soundtrack by Paul Micarelli

I made both videos a few years ago, but I finally got around editing this clip & creating a music track in Garageband.

Visual effects created using the El Alef app.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

AMERICA F*#K YEAH!


I'm grateful to live in a country like the United States, where life is relatively good. Still, I'm not really a nationalistic person, or one to feel overly-sentimental about an abstract concept, like a country.

This is about as patriotic as I'm going to get... rocking out to AMERICA F*#K YEAH! from "Team America World Police", the ridiculous movie from the creators of South Park.


Sunday, July 02, 2017

Ant Carrying a Dead Beetle

https://youtu.be/0qVXV-8SO5Q
 
While camping last month, I saw this ant carrying a dead beetle along a tree. I love taking nature photography & video, and animal behavior always interests me.

I got a closeup video as the ant scurried along, with the dead creature firmly in its jaws.

Monkey Buddha Vids:


Thursday, June 29, 2017

Paul's Strange Dream

https://youtu.be/MD3Eb0bqpq0

This is footage of an evening nap that led to my consciousness briefly slipping into higher dimensions...

I took the video a few years ago, but I finally got around editing this crazy clip & creating a music track in Garageband.

There is another "Strange" video & also a short nature video I've put together in the last couple days that I will be uploading, as well.



"Paul's Strange Dream"
Filming, Editing, & Soundtrack by Paul Micarelli

Visual effects created using the El Alef app.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Fantasy Photos: 2017 Sea Isle Skimmer Festival



Last weekend, I was registered as a vendor for Sea Isle City's Skimmer Festival. I was promoting my new business, Fantasy Photos.

I'm taking commissions for customized digital portraits, which make great, unique gifts.

For live events or parties, guests can get their photo taken at the "Fantasy Photo Booth" and replace the background with a scene of their choice.

There's more info and examples on the website (along with social media links):

https://www.fantasyphotos.net/


There were thousands of people at the Skimmer Festival, and my spot was right next to a beach entrance. I feel my booth gets a very good response from most people. I'm hoping it's an effective way to reach a large number of people.

I've done a few of these events now, & I feel like each one is a chance to improve and learn in some way.

Recently, my Dad & I took an afternoon to put together a simple 4.5ft shelf, to display a second row of framed pictures on my table.


I've got a tent, a banner, and most of the materials I need for a 10'x10' space at a show.

My next objective is to make a folding plywood booth, to enclose the green screen for the "Fantasy Photo Booth".

There are at least a few more events I want to attend this summer, and I'd like to continue doing these shows to promote my business. It's fun meeting new people & talking to them about their ideas. It's a great feeling to be able to stimulate other people's imaginations. I've had a vision for what I want "Fantasy Photos" to be, and I've been doing my best to make it happen. The customers I've already had are all happy, and that's what's important.

Here are some photos of my booth at the Skimmer Festival:




 Mackie the Stilt Man

 Fantasy Photo Booth

A view of the Sea Isle City boardwalk.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Big Paul's Adventures in History VII

I have a lot of photos of my Dad sleeping in many different chairs, on many different occasions.  

Before his retirement last year, he worked hard in the food retail business all his life. When he would get a chance to sit down & relax, it usually turns into a snoozefest. Family events or holidays inevitably become napping opportunities for the big guy.

My old friend Dan J. gave me the idea- to have pictures of my Dad sleeping right through important times in history. I thought this idea was hysterical & created this series of "snapshots" showing Big Paul experiencing historic events, in his own special way.


This is the seventh set of of "History Adventures," as he sleeps his way through the most important events in history.

To commemorate my Dad's birthday & Father's Day, I made the 3 new History Adventures below.

Click the link to see the whole series:





 "Big Paul's Adventures in History"
Muhammad Ali

The Champ yells at Big Paul to get up, 
but he was knocked out before the fight even began!

 
 "Big Paul's Adventures in History"
Battle at Iwo Jima

Marines raise the American flag, 
amazed that someone could sleep through the battle.

"Big Paul's Adventures in History"
Fall of the Berlin Wall

The sledgehammers, smashing the symbol of Communist oppression, 
were completely drowned out by the sound of Big Paul snoring.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Nature Photography- Thin-legged Wolf Spider

I've taken cool spider photos before, and I recently took some that make a fine addition to my collection.


Last week I was talking on the phone & stopped dead in my tracks when I saw a large thin-legged wolf spider on my parents' kitchen floor. I was like, "Woooah! Ok I gotta go, there's a big spider on the floor." A lot of people would just kill it, but the nature photographer in me always wants to take a picture. After abruptly ending the phone call, I slowly moved in as close as I could & took a photo before catching it.


After catching it in a bowl, I took some more pictures that were clearer. Spiders are really interesting creatures. Most people have a ingrained fear of them, but I try to get past that automatic response and look a little closer at the nature of the living organism. After getting a few photos, I let it go in the woods to live the rest of its spider life.


 My hand for size.


Thursday, June 15, 2017

Art by Visoth Kakvei


 I've been seeing some excellent artists on Instagram. It's awesome how much creative talent is out there in the world.

Cambodian artist Visoth Kakvei creates unique blends of intricate ink line drawings and digital effects. Check out the artist's Instagram feed:


A post shared by Visothkakvei (@visothkakvei) on


A post shared by Visothkakvei (@visothkakvei) on

Friday, June 09, 2017

Nature Photography- Dark Toad

I was helping my parents lay mulch in their garden beds, when I came across this toad with a dark color. He blended in well with the dirt & leaves on the ground.

It was staying pretty still, so I crept up on it and got some close up pics to add to my album:







Thursday, June 08, 2017

Mars in 360º



On r/space I saw this cool high-resolution VR panorama of the Mars landscape. You can look around 360º and see the environment of another planet in virtual reality, thanks to the Curiosity rover.


In the comments, there is a link to an even more amazing view from the martian surface at night. Without the light pollution we are accustomed to in Earth's populated areas, it is possible to see the full majesty of the Milky Way and the countless stars in the visible Universe.

I think if more people were able to witness the mind-blowing expanse of space & its stellar inhabitants, it would greatly shift our perspective of our place in the cosmos. We would realize the infinite scale of Reality and the relatively tiny, brief, & fragile nature of our individual selves.

Monday, June 05, 2017

Nature Photography- Spring 2017

I love the spring, when Winter is ending and life is blooming in the natural world.

In April, I took a bunch of photos in my Mom's gardens around my parents' house. I captured the leaves beginning to burst from the trees, and the flowers blooming with insects on some of them.

I'll post a few here, and check out the rest in my photo album:





After I took this photo, I realized there was a little green insect on the flower:


I caught this bumblebee feeding on a flower's nectar:



Thursday, June 01, 2017

Marley

 

Last night I started "Marley", a documentary on the life of reggae artist & musical legend, Bob Marley. I'm only half-way through it, but it is an excellent film on a true visionary. I was watching on Comcast OnDemand, but you can watch the full movie here.


He is one of my favorite musicians, and I can listen to his songs anytime and never get tired of them. He has so many great songs that speak to the beauty and unity of the human race. There is often the aspect of universal love or recognition of the simple things in life, that comes from a deep appreciation for existence.


I knew that Bob Marley grew up in the island country of Jamaica, obviously, but I didn't realize the poverty he experienced in his home village and in the Trench Town slums in Kingston. This struggle, along with the identity issues from being of mixed race, led to the profound expression of his soul that came out through his music.

The film delves into his practice of Rastafari, which is based off The Bible but is uniquely Jamaican. Personally, I can identify with the concepts of Jah as an all-encompassing entity, the idea of a corrupt Western society as the modern "Babylon", and the emphasis on intuitive realization of spiritual truth. However, the idea that a single man (in this case Ethiopian emperor Haile Selaisse) is the embodiment or prophet of Jah is as misguided as any other cult of personality.

The story of Bob Marley's journey to become a world-famous musician is amazing and inspiring. He has bought so much joy and so many good vibes to people around the world. His revolutionary & mystic creativity will undoubtedly have a lasting effect on humanity.

I would highly recommend this documentary to anyone who loves Bob Marley or music, in general.

It's almost impossible to narrow it down to even a handful, but here are some of my favorite songs by the Legend himself:









Finally, this one makes me think of my fiancé (who was watching the documentary with me). She made me wait for awhile, but thankfully it was not in vain :)


Friday, May 26, 2017

"Fantasy Photos" on Instagram

http://www.fantasyphotos.net/

I recently started a business for creating high-quality, custom digital portraits, called "Fantasy Photos".

"Fantasy Photos™" Website:

This week I set up an Instagram account, to share Fantasy Photos images. If you have an Instagram account, I'd appreciate any followers or shares to the page. Thanks!

Instagram.com/

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

UON Visuals

 
I came across this awesome, hypnotic animated GIF of changing geometric designs. It is called "Sacred Patterns". At one point it morphs into the interlocking circles of The Flower of Life.


After checking out the artist's Instagram page @uon.visuals I was impressed with the wildly imaginative art & animation. UON Visuals is 3D animator Mike Voskakis, and he has also has a Facebook page and a YouTube channel.

I'd recommend checking out all his mind-bending work.

Here are some more examples I like:



Friday, May 19, 2017

Ants Attack & Eat a Caterpillar

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bq3f1VV5ZMQ

Last week, I saw a lone caterpillar being swarmed & devoured by small ants. The caterpillar had ventured too close to the ant nest and was overtaken by the colony.

Perhaps the caterpillar was already sick or impaired, but the ants were probably impossible to fight off, anyway.

I took video as close as I could get to it, so it's a little shaky. You can see enough detail to make out the ants crawling on & biting at the larger insect. It was pretty creepy, but the patio was already littered with bodies of other caterpillars, so it was not a unique fate. Nature is crazy & brutal.


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

"Fantasy Photos" First Art Festival

www.FantasyPhotos.net

Recently, I posted about the new business that I started, called "Fantasy Photos". It is a service where I create high-quality, custom photo composites & digital portraits. 

Customers can order an image of a person, animal, or thing to be digitally inserted into any setting they can imagine.

"Fantasy Photos™" Website:

This past weekend I registered as a vendor at an event for the first time ever, to promote the business. It was at the Mullica Hill Arts & Crafts Festival in NJ. I set up a table with a number of my existing Fantasy Photos in frames, along with business cards & promo postcards.






Saturday, May 13, 2017

Simulating the Merging of Galaxies

 

On Reddit I saw this NASA simulation of galaxies being formed, as cosmic gases and material coalesce due to gravitational forces.


The scales of distance and time are impossible for the human mind to fully comprehend. However, we can still understand, calculate, and simulate these vast celestial forces. By doing so, we learn more about our Universe and, therefore, ourselves as an integral part of it.

Speaking of self-reflection, while searching for similar animations, I also saw this NASA video of galactic evolution on an even larger scale. Here, the strands of stellar material that thread between & form galaxies, resemble neural cells connecting throughout the fractal universal mind field.


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Fantasy Photos™

https://www.fantasyphotos.net/

Recently, I posted about being laid off from my graphic design job, due to the financial difficulties being experienced by the studio I was working for.

In that post, I also mentioned my idea to follow my dream & start a new business, called "Fantasy Photos™". Over the past couple weeks, I have been working every day to bring that dream into reality.

I bought a domain and built a website for the first time. After getting advice from people I trust who own businesses & doing a lot of research, I formed a LLC and registered the company. I've also opened a bank account & PayPal for the business. Next, I am going to print business cards & a promo postcard. This weekend, there is a local arts festival where I hope to get a booth and display my business. I've had my first customer already, and I am now ready for many, many more.

Fantasy Photos™ offers customized digital portraits & composite photos. For years, I have made awesome and fun pictures for my family & friends. Now, I want to provide my skills to customers who are looking for excellent quality custom images- in which people, animals, or things are placed in imaginary scenes.

I'll be posting updates as I go along, but I would truly appreciate it if anyone reading this visits & shares the website.


Here's a sample of some of the images I've created. To see more, please visit the IMAGE GALLERY on the website. Thanks!









Saturday, May 06, 2017

CBArt- Alien Botanical Ape

Last weekend I was at a local art festival and came across an artist with a lot of nice work, called CBArt. There were especially unique paintings that I called "Alien Botanicals" because they looked like plant life from another world.



One in particular had an ape looking out from the alien plants, so I told the artist I'd share it here on The Monkey Buddha:


Thursday, May 04, 2017

Darth Vader Art

For Star Wars Day today, I wanted to make a quick post with some Darth Vader art that I made awhile back.

Looking back, it appears there was some premonition involved, especially with this first one. I made this way back in 2002, before the name of Episode III was revealed. Using the pattern of the 5 movie titles that existed up to that point, I figured out that the name of the third prequel would be "Revenge of the Sith". This image also proved to be prescient of the scene from Rogue One, where Vader boards the Rebel ship at the end of the movie, and his red lightsaber glows in the darkness.


This next image was a composite I made in Photoshop, of Hayden Christensen's face with Vader after his helmet was removed in Return of the Jedi. I imagined Anakin Skywalker taking the helmet of Darth Vader off in the privacy of his meditation chamber.


This final image was a visual I made that was similar to yet another Darth Vader scene in Rogue One, when he emerges from a bacta tank. I used the image from the previous picture with his armor still on, which isn't practical, but I was going for the idea of a physically damaged Anakin being treated in the chamber of liquid. The reflection of Emperor Palpatine observing the state of his apprentice can be seen in the glass.