Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Donald Trump Halloween Costume

This past weekend, my fiancée and I were invited to a Halloween party. We both had tried to think of costumes for weeks, and were considering dressing up as Anakin Skywalker & Padme Amidala from Star Wars.

Last week, she sent me a pic of people dressed as Donald Trump with Hillary Clinton in a prison outfit. We thought it was funny, but she didn't want to dress as Hillary. Instead, she came up with the hysterical idea of being a "cat" for Donald to "grab," if you get the reference.

So, she dressed up as a cute cat, and I put together a Trump costume- with a suit & red tie, horrible wig, orange face paint, tiny baby doll hands, and the most ridiculous facial expressions I could muster. I thought it turned out pretty funny & it was a hit with our friends on Facebook. Here are a few photos:

Saturday, October 22, 2016

"Seed of Life Gold"

I have a gallery of 3D rendered art that I created, with hi-res images that I'll continually add to.

Here is another addition to the gallery, a sacred geometry symbol. It's a gold arrangement of circles known as "The Seed of Life", reflected in chrome to form an overlapping design:

 "Seed of Life Gold"
by Paul Micarelli

Awhile ago, I used to make a lot of 3D art using Vue software, which was intuitive for me to learn. My previous computer became obsolete, so I wasn't able to run the program anymore. Last year for my birthday, my wonderful fiancée helped me pay for a purchase of a newer Mac Mini. I downloaded a trial version, and this week I finally registered for their free Vue Pioneer. This image was my first attempt at getting back into using the 3D software.

I don't run any ads on this site, but I'd appreciate it if you check out my Cafepress shop. There are prints and products with this design available:

The Monkey Buddha Bazaar:

Friday, October 21, 2016

Common Planet Economics


One of the major sources of misery & distress in this world is the economic system that has been set up to regulate human activity. It is a system based on debt and fiat currency that only has value because the central banks say it has value.

Economics is one of those areas in which the status quo has been entrenched for so long, that people just accept how shitty it is and don't think of better solutions. Luckily, there are people who take the time to dream of better possibilities & think of new ways of doing things. Sometimes new ideas start out as fiction, such as the the post-scarcity economics of Star Trek.

The Monkey Buddha Archives:

I came across this introduction to a "Common Planet" manifesto on Phroyd's World and believe it's the type of thinking we need to transform our economic system. It seems outrageously idealistic and impossible to implement in our current situation, but only by presenting ideas and new perspectives can we even begin to change our society and its institutions.


The plan has aspects of Universal Basic Income, an approach of eliminating welfare programs & poverty by guaranteeing a basic income to every person.

This would be paid for by redistributing wealth from the very top of the economic pyramid, which is now basically extracted from circulation and hoarded for personal score-keeping, instead of used to benefit all of society. Anyone who argues against wealth redistribution from the top>down is making a de facto argument in favor of wealth redistribution from the bottom>up. Some of the same people who lament the disappearance of the "middle class" vehemently argue against raising taxes on the top 1%. The wealth of not just this country but of this world is being siphoned from the average population & into the bank accounts of the ultra-rich at an unsustainable rate. This is an indisputable fact, and something must be done to regain some sense of fairness in the economic priorities of the human race.

Perhaps change will be slowly implemented over decades or centuries, maybe we are stuck with this system for the foreseeable future. However, if people formulate, analyze, and discuss new ways of thinking, then the possibility of improving our state of being becomes much more likely. These approaches need to gain recognition in the collective consciousness, and will result in people demanding & creating a better world.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Make America Grope Again

We are coming up on the third & final US Presidential debate, and this election season has been a real shitshow.

Despite Hillary Clinton being a deeply flawed candidate, the pure insanity of Donald Trump's campaign is proving to be too much for all but the most diehard supporters & Hillary haters. If Trump stuck with his messages about jobs and trade, he would have a real shot. Instead, he is lashing out and tweeting his way toward what could be a significant loss. Some people still think that he is a secret Clinton plant, meant to throw the election for Hillary & rip apart the Republican party. I don't think it's really that deep- it's just the case of a spoiled narcissist & chauvinist who is finally getting scrutinized and facing the prospect of losing to a woman.

After the barrage of stories coming out regarding Trump's disposition toward grabbing, uh, women, I had the idea for this graphic before I went to sleep one night. Other people have used this phrase on graphics, but I had to do my own take on it. Like Donald around a beautiful woman, I just couldn't help myself!

Yes, I know... this graphic could also apply to Bill Clinton & his history. However, Trump is the one running for President, and he's the one I feel is the more dangerous of the two candidates. That, and the fact that he is such a fascist, thin-skinned jackass about everything makes me want to pile on & shun this guy from public life. Unfortunately, that probaboly won't happen & he'll use his base of supporters to create a media outlet or subscription TV channel of some sort. I think this campaign was ultimately a ploy to make money and to increase his profile, so we may be stuck with Donald Trump & his cult of personality for a long time.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

"Modern Chaos"

I've started a gallery of abstract art that I created, with hi-res images that I'll continually add to.

Here is another addition in the gallery:

"Modern Chaos"
by Paul Micarelli

Prints & products featuring my designs are available in my Cafepress store.

The Monkey Buddha Bazaar:

Friday, October 14, 2016

"Star Wars: Rogue One" Trailer

The poster & final trailer for "Star Wars: Rogue One" were released this week. It is the first in, what I assume, will be many "Star Wars Stories" in addition to the numbered main Episodes I-IX.

The "Rogue One" story takes place before the very first Star Wars movie, which is now know as "Episode IV: A New Hope". This movie details the efforts of the Rebellion & the central character Jyn Erso to stop the Empire from realizing it's planet-destroying weapon, The Death Star. Jyn's father Galen Erso was coerced by the Empire to help design the super laser weapon on the Death Star, and there is speculation that his reluctance may have been a factor in the presence of the exhaust port design flaw that was used in its destruction.

We all know the Death Star ends up being completed, then used against Princess Leia's planet of Alderann, and finally destroyed by Luke Skywalker. Despite knowing the eventual outcome, this movie looks to be an engaging and beautifully shot backstory to these events.

What most people are hyped about is the appearance of the greatest villain, and in my opinion the greatest character in all of fiction, Darth Vader. The former Jedi Anakin Skywalker is now the menacing Sith Lord and is probably overseeing the construction of the Death Star, while hunting down the Rebels who are trying to thwart the Empire's plans. This trailer only shows a few fleeting glimpses of Vader's menacing presence, but it is enough to make any Star Wars fan get excited for this movie.

There is alot of other cool stuff in this trailer, including this shot of a giant fallen Jedi statue on the planet Jedha, that I didn't notice until I saw someone mention it in comments about the trailer.

These are some of the other cool details that I think are part of what's going to make this a great addition to the Star Wars universe:
• The battles with AT-ATs in tropical settings
• Director Orson Krennic, the threatening Imperial officer in charge of the Death Star project 
• Blind Force-believing martial artist Chirrup Imre, played by Donnie Yen
• The oppressive presence & power of the Empire that is represented by the looming Star Destroyers
• Hope and resistance to authoritarianism as a message of the strength of the human (or alien) spirit

There has been some question about whether this is too much Star Wars media being released by Disney. As long as the content is well-produced & provides inspiring storylines, this lifelong Star Wars fan is happy to explore as much of the galaxy far, far way as possible.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Star Wars Cinematics

 This weekend, I was watching a couple of episodes of Star Wars: Rebels with my nephews. Even though it is a cartoon, it's really well produced and delves into some of the more interesting aspects of Star Wars- such as the mystical aspects of The Force and the power of Jedi & Sith holocrons.

The beauty of the Star Wars saga is its fictional universe that is ripe for endless characters & stories. This has not only been explored in movies & TV shows, but also video games. I was also showing my nephews cinematics from the multiplayer online game "The Old Republic" which takes place over a thousand years before the events of "Episode IV: A New Hope". They are almost like awesome mini-movies in themselves & show the amazing creative possibilities that that Star Wars galaxy presents.

This trailer is for an expansion to the game. It follows a force-weilding child who is trained and corrupted by the Sith Emperor Valkorion, the leader of the Eternal Empire, who lived 5,000 years before Emperor Palpatine.

STAR WARS: The Old Republic – Knights of the Eternal Throne
 "Betrayed" Trailer 

 Here's another trailer for the original game, showing the Sith infiltrating the Jedi Temple:

STAR WARS™: The Old Republic™
'Deceived' Cinematic Trailer

Finally, here's another video I came across that blew me away, breaking down the amazing visual effects used in "Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens":

Friday, October 07, 2016

"Sisyphus" Kinetic Sand Art

I've seen a few sites linking to this amazing creation by Bruce Shapiro that integrates art & technology in a mesmerizing way.

The installation is called "Sisyphus". It is named after the Greek myth of the tortured soul who is forced to roll a boulder up a mountain each day, only to have it continuously roll back down to the bottom.

Sisyphus consists of a metal ball that guided through a surface covered in sand, presumably using computer-guided magnets underneath the table.

Watching this system in action brings to mind the quote by Arthur C. Clarke, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

It is a modern take on the Zen art of rock & sand gardens, with similarly profound meditative qualities.

It is also reminiscent of Tibetan sand mandalas, which are intricate spiritual designs made of colored sand. These creations are ritually swept up & the sand dispersed after they are finished, to symbolize the impermanent nature of existence.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Trump: Putting the "CON" into "Conservative"

After my post about the first Presidential debate with the President A$$hole graphic that I made, I was inspired to create another Trump image.

I'm not enthusiastic about the idea of Hillary Clinton being President, but I think she is much less dangerous to the state of our society than the possibility of a President Trump. He would be an absolute disaster. Anyone who believes he would do a damn thing for the majority of working people is deluded. They've been conned by the quintessential con-man.

The Atlantic:

Donald Trump's whole career has been based on screwing people over, in order to benefit himself. This is not the type of person you want in charge of public policy.

So, the idea that Trump has really put the "CON" into "Conservative" led me to make this graphic:

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Hanging Snakeskin

Here's another addition to my album of nature photos that took me by surprise.

I was in the back yard of my parents' house when I saw this large snakeskin hanging among the branches of a bush. It was about 3 feet long, and it appears the snake shed it while climbing through the bushes.

My dad saw a large snake crawling along the roof of their house a few months ago, so I'm pretty sure this skin belongs to him...

by Paul Micarelli

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Stick Bug

I was walking outside & saw this large stick bug on my car.

It looked so much like a stick that you'd never be able to see it if it were on the ground or on a tree.

At first, I couldn't tell which side was its head, until it moved its antennae. I thought the pincer-like appendages were its mouth, but it was actually its backside!

by Paul Micarelli 

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

First U.S. Presidential Debate 2016: Clinton vs. Trump

I've posted many times about politics over the years. However, during this election season, I don't feel as connected to political news as I have in the past.

It's partially because I cancelled my cable TV subscription and don't subject myself to the relentless onslaught of meaningless chatter from the talking heads. If there's something happening that I'm interested in, I go online and find objective information about it. Then I look to see what people are saying about it. Another factor in my disillusionment is the unfortunate reality that both candidates are not choices that I feel excited about.

I'm registered as an Independent, so I don't pledge blind allegiance to any party or affiliation. I was solidly in favor of Bernie Sanders during the Democratic primary, who I've seen fighting for the citizens of this country for years. Bernie represented the highest aspirations of progressive-minded Americans, with a vision for remedying the core problems facing this nation: campaign finance, the private health care mess, and unscrupulous banking practices. At the same time as the Democrats were debating the important issues facing the country, I recognized the entire Republican field of candidates as the pathetic clown car that it was- totally void of any substance or insight into the real causes of people's everyday problems.

When Hillary Clinton won the Democratic nomination, I shared the lack of enthusiasm that so many others experienced. I don't think America should be in the habit of electing political family dynasties, regardless of whether they are Clintons, Bushes, Kennedy's, or any other recognizable name. Hillary also seemed like she had a lot of baggage, especially with her ties to Wall St., and was disliked by many people. At least she has extensive experience in government and has worked to make positive change on various fronts.

As much as I personally despise Donald Trump and everything he represents, I was actually rooting for him during the GOP primaries. All the other candidates were absolutely friggin' horrible, and at least Trump was exposing the absurdity in the whole political process. I felt a guilty sense of entertainment at watching Trumpzilla stomp across the landscape of the conservative establishment and tearing the party to shreds.

I was thinking, as bad as Hillary may seem, nobody would really vote for such a vile and dangerous ignoramus like The Donald... right? The guy is a con-man, a self-promoting charlatan. He cheats small businesses, has the mentality of a toddler, rips off the public in numerous ways, possesses a poor understanding of even the basic political issues, has a fascist and hateful disposition, and is just a complete asshole. There's NO WAY he can be President... RIGHT?!?!?!

by Paul Micarelli

Well, I began to be disturbed by the many people who were saying they supported Trump and planned to vote for him. I can understand not wanting to vote for Hillary, but everything that's wrong with her is exponentially worse with Trump. All the things Trump fans accuse Hillary of embodying- lying, incompetence, greed, lust for personal power, indifference to the country's problems, etc.,- all these things are fully manifested and completely unfettered in Donald Trump. However, people are under the delusion that Obama has destroyed this country, we can build a wall around Mexico to keep out scary illegals, and that the U.S. Government should really be run like a for-profit business. Trump feeds this fear and ignorance by talking about the United States like it's a dangerous & poverty-stricken shithole from coast to coast.

Trump is a shitty human being, and a shittier businessman. However, people somehow still like the guy and think his shady business experience qualifies him to be President. Despite having a pretty strong revulsion toward him, I tried to keep an open mind going into this first Presidential debate.

Despite making a legitimate argument against NAFTA and other trade deals early on in the debate, Trump quickly devolved into the cartoonish cretin that everyone with a minimum of common sense knew him to be.

I watched in disbelief as the things spewing out of his mouth defied facts, logic, and elementary school grammar. I had prepared for the debate by dulling my nerves with a large whisky on the rocks, and indulged in a couple additional beers to make it to the end without losing my mind. How Hillary generally maintained her composure in the presence of such lunacy is extraordinary.

I'm not going to get into the minutia of the debate, there have already been countless posts & articles analyzing every aspect. It was hard to appreciate in real time, but Sec. Clinton repeatedly goaded him into subtle confrontational traps. Trump, in his sheer ignorance & arrogance, stepped into them every time, while flailing around with no idea he was ripping his own limbs off.

I couldn't believe the horrible, stupid fucking things he was saying:
Yeah, he ripped off small business contractors & didn't pay them... He's smart because he doesn't pay taxes like a normal citizen... Everyone agrees Rosie O'Donell deserved getting called a fat pig... We can blow an Iranian ship out of the water & it won't start a war... Stop & frisk policies are constitutionally sound... He never said the Chinese invented global warming (he did)... and on and on and on...

There were many, so many, ridiculous quotes that made me go "WTF?!?!" but my favorite had to be:

"I don't know if we know it was Russia who broke into the DNC, [Clinton is] saying Russia, Russia, Russia. Maybe it was. It could also be China, it could be someone sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds."

This remark had everyone in the room absolutely dying from laughter. It was unbelievably silly and over-the-top, even for Donald.

The more I watched Trump speak, the more I felt like it had to be some kind of disturbing hallucination. This couldn't be real. Every time he closed his eyes, he looked like a strange, pouting creature with three mouths on his face. Luckily, I'm not the only one who thought this, and of course the Internet had produced images illustrating this weird perception:

In the past, I've been flabbergasted when the mainstream media pundits declared George W. Bush or Mitt Romney successful in their debates, no matter how bad they performed. Therefore, when I saw that pretty much everyone who didn't have their head up their own ass (including conservatives!) said that Hillary trounced The Donald, I knew that it wasn't just me who saw Trump as a loser of epic proportions. As Donald himself would say... "Sad!"

Despite the stark contrast in the two candidates, I don't think the debate changed the minds of any firm supporters of either side. Democrats backing Clinton would never vote for someone who is clearly more dangerous, unqualified, and unhinged. If you are already a diehard Trump supporter, you are likely impervious to all the facts and reason that show what a disaster he would be. The funny thing is, he doesn't give a crap about his supporters or anyone else. All Trump cares about is the Trump™ brand and his own wealth and power. He is the very ugliest aspects of the ego, personified.

If you were an "undecided" voter beforehand, though, I can't see how Trump's pathetic showing would inspire any confidence whatsoever. Especially next to Hillary Clinton's relatively calm demeanor & competent grasp of the issues, the only way he could have looked less Presidential would be if he flung his own poo at the moderator.

It ain't over until it's over, though. There are two debates left, and I guess some unthinkable turn of events could take place. The world will keep watching and hoping that the joke of a Trump Administration doesn't become a seriously disturbing reality.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Solving the Plastic Problem

One of the major technological & ecological issues that we meed to deal with is the ubiquitous use of plastic products.

Besides being created using non-renewable petroleum products, the pollution caused from plastic waste is causing massive, negative consequences on ecosystems.

I've posted before about efforts to clean up the plastic waste that has accumulated in the oceans:

The Monkey Buddha:

There are other solutions being studied & implemented to help address this serious problem that we are leaving for future generations.

One answer is to develop biodegradable packaging made from plant fibers.

SF Gate:

Scientists are also looking into creating packaging materials made from compacted fungus mycelia.


Another way to help eliminate existing plastic waste is to use bacteria or other organisms that actually consume plastic materials.


I believe that human ingenuity can solve almost any problem that human greed and short-sightedness can create. We just need the drive and creative thinking to make it happen.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Enjoy Your Life

On Reddit, I saw this ancient mosaic, found along the border of Turkey & Syria. It was from the ancient Greek/Roman city of Antiocheia.

It shows a skeleton lounging by bread & a jug of wine. It's a statement on appreciating our own mortality and the time we get to spend in this lifetime.

It reads "Be cheerful, enjoy your life."

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Poconos Blue Heron

This summer, I went on vacation with my family in the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania.

The house that we rented was on Big Bass Lake, which was very scenic and enjoyable. I would regularly go out on a kayak fishing and just enjoying being on the lake.

There was a large blue heron that I would see fly across the lake and land at different spots along the water's edge. I tried to paddle quietly in the kayak and get close a few times, but it would notice me & fly away.

I was finally able to see him fairly close by, while it was busy looking for fish in the shallow area by the shore. By paddling very slowly and drifting toward it, I was able to use my iPhone that I had with me to take some pictures & video. The quality was good enough for me to edit together a montage of the footage and upload to MonkeyBuddhaVids.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Roko the Robo-Monkey

I can't resist posting about any story that combines technology & primates.

Recently I saw this article about Roko, a concept for a biomimetic robot that would simulate the movement of a chimpanzee swinging through the trees. The concept was designed by Kaan Yaylali, and is a unique take on the form & function of robots.

Daily Mail:

Roko is meant to be a sort of rescue or delivery robot, that can reach areas that would be difficult to access in other ways. It could travel through thick jungle or other remote areas to reach people who need rescue or supplies.

Although it looks like a Monkey Terminator, autonomous machines like Roko could perform many useful tasks that could be of great help to humanity.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Resonance: Beings of Frequency

While working on photo retouching, I often listen to talks or documentaries that interest me. I came across this film that looks at the possible effects of the electromagnetic frequency (EMF) given off by the digital devices that are so ubiquitous in the modern world.

We are truly beings of frequency, arising from the energetic source of the quantum field. We are also connected to natural energies that we have evolved to be attuned to, such as the visible light spectrum and the Schumann Resonance

Therefore, the fact that we are literally awash in electromagnetic fields of all kinds has to influence us in some way.

For example, this is a visualization of just the fields emitted over New York City by cellphone signals blanketing the urban landscape:

Nickolay Lamm

These and many other energies are permeating our bodies almost continuously, every single day.

Although I love the miraculous advantages that electronic devices and digital tech provide, I often wonder how it interacts with our biological processes. I work on a computer all day and always have my cell phone on me, so it is cause for concern & further study.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Disappearing Black Dots Illusion

Being a visual artist, I love optical illusions and other ways of hacking the visual processes of the brain.

The Monkey Buddha Archives: 

Created by Jacques Ninio, a French researcher in visual perception, this is one of the more striking visual tricks I've seen. The black dots in your peripheral vision disappear as your eyes focus on different areas of the grid.

I first saw it on a Reddit thread, and also found good explanations of the phenomenon:

"Your visual system is built with nerves cells that fire in response to different arrangements of dark and light. You should be able to see a circle in your peripherals, but the criss cross pattern really messes with that ability. It surrounds the dots with information that severely interferes with the visual system's way of signaling "here's a bright edge around a dark circle"

The strength of the grid pattern (at this level of contrast) overpowers the ability of the brain to detect the circles when they are so spaced out. Our mind is basically filling in the blanks with the bold, regular arrangement of lines. When the grid is lightened, the circles become easy to see all at once.

Also for comparison, see this similar pattern, but with the circles in a more tightly arranged, regular spacing:

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Book Review: "Cannibals and Kings"

I recently finished my summer vacation reading, "Cannibals and Kings" by anthropologist Marvin Harris. It was a book that my brother had read for one of his classes as a history major. He correctly thought I'd like it & gave it to me.

 Among my favorite topics are cultural anthropology & ancient history. I've read a lot about peoples around the world and consider myself pretty well-informed about various cultures. However, this book gave me a completely new perspective on the dynamics of human civilization. It was very enlightening and opened my eyes to the processes that cause human collectives to act in certain ways.

The main purpose of "Cannibals and Kings" is to analyze the environmental pressures that result in seemingly peculiar cultural norms. The behaviors & institutions Harris studies are widely varied across time & geographic location. I'll sum up some of the thoughts he presents:

• Animal sacrifice characterized by the earliest religions, including Old Testament Judaism, served the function of valuable protein redistribution by the priestly class. Relatedly, many of the culinary taboos instituted as religious law by these societies were a result of the inability to sustain certain types of animals for food in a particular location. For instance, the pig was outlawed as "unclean" by Jewish law due to the fact that pigs are environmentally detrimental to maintain in the climate of the Middle East, more so than because of the possibility of parasites or other factors.

• Human sacrifice and cannibalism practiced by the Aztecs and other people was the result of the need for protein sources. It was also an institutional form of population control. The Aztecs, for example, had little in the way of abundant animal protein and this was a way to provide it, while keeping the exploding population, resulting from urbanization & expansion, in check. Of course, the major social drive for insitutionally-sanctioned murder was (and still is) to maintain the power structure of the elite class, by instilling fear in the population.


• Certain rigid political hierarchies arise as a result of the need for the social organization. That high level of bureaucracy is required when implementing large-scale hydraulic engineering for agriculture- such as that of the pharaonic dynasties of ancient Egypt and it's reliance on the sustenance of the Nile River.

• In India, the reverence of the cow as a sacred animal that cannot be eaten comes from the value of the animal as a source of agricultural work, which outweighs it's nutritional importance.

There are many other anthropological situations analyzed in the book, all of which I found truly fascinating and thought-provoking. As I said, it completely changed my understanding of these cultures of which I thought I had a relatively good understanding.

Most importantly, the author takes the cautionary tales presented by these studies of past societies and talks about our own precarious environmental situation. It is truly a case of "those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it." For all our accumulated knowledge and technical advancements, we just as susceptible to disaster if we mismanage our resources, especially food and water.

I would highly recommend "Cannibals and Kings" to anyone with a deep interest in history, anthropology, ancient cultures, human behavior, or the development of civilization. It was a rewarding read that changed my perspective and gave me greater insight into the human condition.

Monday, September 05, 2016

History of Labor Day

For many people, Labor Day means a day off from work, and holiday cookouts.

However, the real significance of Labor Day is the fight by workers to maintain their dignity and human values, in the face of continual exploitation and de-personalization by those powers driving cultural institutions & means of production.

Graphic from Modis.com

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Monkey Buddha is Engaged!

I don't post a lot about my personal life on this blog, but a very important event happened recently that has brought me much joy.

While on vacation with my family in the Poconos, I proposed to my girlfriend of 2 1/2 years. Although we've been dating for a couple years, Loretta was my close friend for much longer... and for most of that time, I had a not-so-secret crush on her. Everyone wondered why we weren't together, including both of our parents. Looking back she says she just wasn't ready, and perhaps I really wasn't either.

However, once she opened her heart to me, our love skyrocketed and we've become inseparable. We're both in our 30's now and have had many relationships in our past. I think this breadth of experience has given us the wisdom to really understand what we want in a relationship. We wake up every day full of love and gratitude for each other, and truly cherish our connection.

So, after secretly planning for about a month, I found an antique ring that was exactly what both of us had talked about previously. I was looking at all kinds of different places, but was pulled by some unexplainable force into a particular shop, where the ring jumped out at me. I excitedly sent pictures to my Mom, who told me to wait a day so she could see it and so I could think about it. The next day, she came with me and said it was very pretty, but we still went to look at a couple more places. Nothing else caught my eye, & I was pretty determined to buy that ring... so I did! After taking it to a jeweler to get verified, resized, and refinished, I was ready.

While we were on vacation in the mountains, I had planned on proposing on the day of our 2 1/2 year anniversary, which was on a Sunday. Of course, things never go exactly as you plan them. Loretta got violently ill from food poisoning or a stomach bug on that day, which put a hold on my plan. Thankfully, she has a strong immune system & fought the sickness of by Monday, when we went running and she was back to eating her healthy meals.

So, on Monday night after we ate dinner with my family, I suggested we go to down to the lake to watch the sunset. She asked if anyone else wanted to come down, but I brushed it off & said they'd join us later. I'd been slightly anxious, but I have pretty good self-control, so I was pretty cool up to this point. Once I actually got down to the dock with her, I started to get nervous.

After talking for a little bit, I told her I had a little anniversary gift for her. She looked at me kind of funny & said "...but P,... I don't have anything for you!" I told her it wasn't just a gift, it was a commitment- my life that I want to share with her. I took the ring out and she was stunned, and went to hold it before saying, "Yes! Yes, of course."

We shared some time alone on the dock watching the sun setting over the lake, then we went back up to the house to break the news to my family & share a toast with everyone. My sister came back down to the lake with us to take some pictures to remember the moment.

We, and our families, are very happy and excited to celebrate this important event in our lives. It is something that means so much to me, and I wanted to share my happiness here.

Paul Micarelli & Loretta De Stefano
Enagaged 8-15-2016
Big Bass Lake, Poconos PA

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

India's Clean Energy Plan

I have been a true believer that humans can (& should) find ways to make energy accessible for all people, without the unnecessary cost involved in our current methods of primitive extraction.

The Monkey Buddha Archives:

It is possible to have a world with minimal suffering and shared benefits for all people. We just need the vision & the drive to make it happen.

The current systems of control & distribution are actually set up to create hardship for people- for the benefit of the few who are making a profit from it.

It appears that some nations are finally realizing that the way we use power and resources are unsustainable, and are trying to find ways to address the problems we face.


Saturday, August 27, 2016

Translating Client-Speak Like a Pro

I saw this set of images on Sad & Useless that I (or any designer) can relate to, when it comes to figuring out what a client wants to see in a design.

Being a graphic designer or any commercial artist requires being part mind-reader- being able to understand what your client wants, even when they don't quite know themselves!

I posted some of my favorites, but click the link to see the whole set:


Thursday, August 25, 2016

Japanese Donald Trump Commercial

Despite my deep interest in politics, I haven't commented much on this Presidential election. Since Bernie Sanders dropped out of the race, it's just become a pathetic shitshow- the ultimate choice of a lesser of 2 evils.

However, this election season has been a rich source of absurdity & downright insanity. Just when I think things can't possibly get any stranger... it inevitably does.

I saw this video this morning, and was in awe of its craziness & pure genius.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Sloth Philosophy of Living

This is pretty much how I try to approach life...

--- Live Slow ---
--- Die Whenever --

Monday, August 22, 2016

Litany Against Fear

I've been on vacation for the past week. I usually refrain from interacting with my websites or social media while I'm away. Now that I'm back, I will start to post more regularly again.

I have been going through a lot of personal changes recently. In the midst of these transitions, I try to be aware of the fact that the biggest obstacle in life is one's own fear.

Although I have never read the Dune books by Frank Herbert, they seem very interesting & I plan on reading them one day. I came across this quote awhile ago, that spoke to the effect that fear has on us and how we must address it.

Wallpaper from odrakir.com

"I must not fear. 
Fear is the mind-killer. 
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. 
I will face my fear. 
I will permit it to pass over me and through me. 
And when it has gone past 
I will turn the inner eye to see its path. 
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. 
Only I will remain."

Monday, August 15, 2016

Monkey Rock Tools

Tool-using ape from 2001: A Space Odyssey

In my last post, I shared a video about the origins of humanity. One of the traditional benchmarks to measure our "human-ness" has been the use of tools.

However, it's becoming increasingly clear that not only did our ape-like ancestors use primitive tools, but other species of animals are able to manipulate objects to achieve intended results. This shouldn't surprise anyone who understands that life other than human beings are capable of possessing intelligence.


Here is an article & video showing the use of rocks as tools by monkeys, a behavior that goes back at least a hundred, and perhaps thousands, of years.


Friday, August 12, 2016

In a Nutshell: Human Origins

 It's hard to imagine that all our information that makes up what we know as "human history" is a tiny percentage of the total existence of homo sapiens sapiens.

There is so much of our heritage that has been forgotten or lost over time. Even after the rise of organized society & civilizations, many aspects of our history have still faded into obscurity. Only now, with the growth of archaeology, technology, and the collaboration of a wide range of disciplines, has some light begun to be shed on the vast darkness of our past.

At the same time, we are using the accelerating accumulation of knowledge that started in the distant past to create a future that would have been unimaginable to our ancestors.

This video is an entertaining, yet informative, summary of our ancient origins.  It is a look at the amazing legacy each of us carries within us, as a part of the ever-progressing human story.

Monday, August 08, 2016

Nature Photography- Leaf Bug

I was taking a walk outside at my parents' house this weekend, & I came across this large leaf bug.

It was sitting on the white cover on my Dad's boat, otherwise I would have never spotted it.

by Paul Micarelli

This is close to actual size, next to my thumb.