Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Nature of Love

Last night, I was browsing Instagram, and came across a quote that inspired me.

It was a quote by Aristotle on the nature of love:

"Love is composed 
of a single soul 
inhabiting two bodies." 
- Aristotle

I'm engaged to a woman who I consider to be my soul mate & spiritual partner. We have a deep connection that comes from many years of finding ourselves, dating other people, and being friends before entering a relationship with one another.

We refer to our life together as a "Figure 8", where we go out into the world for our individual endeavors, then come back to one another & share our experiences together.

When I saw this quote, I was compelled to create a graphic that illustrates this figure 8, or infinity symbol, as an energetic expression of our connection.


**Buy Prints & Products With This Design***
The Monkey Buddha Bazaar:
 

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

"Gravity: A Child's Search for Meaning" on Kindle


For the last few months, I have been helping my good friend Danny Ling with the graphic design & layout for his storybook, "Gravity: A Child's Search for Meaning".

He has just published the ebook for Kindle! Please support his effort to enlighten minds both young & old, by downloading this wonderful book! Only $3.99!

Kindle Edition:

From the book description:

Devastated by the loss of his dog, young David found himself asking the most important question about his existence: "Why am I here?" 

Under an apple tree, David meets Mr. Watzu. Thereafter, this story moves from deep loss to soaring discovery, all thanks to Mr. Watzu's charm and uncanny wisdom. 

An inspirational story for readers both young and old, David's journey offers insight into fundamental questions we have faced since the dawn of time.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Peak Demotivation

I saw this wonderfully cynical graphic, & you could say it is the "peak" of demotivational posters.


Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Universe is Inside the Earth


I'm pretty well-versed in conspiracy theories & outlandish ideas of all kinds.

 "The universe is not only stranger than we imagine; 
but stranger than we CAN imagine."

-J. B. S. Haldane 

Although all kinds of strange things may be possible, we still have to use our senses and critical thinking to understand our world as accurately as possible.

That is why ideas like the "flat earth" movement drive me nuts. It's just stupid. There's nothing about the reality that we experience that would make it probable that the Earth is a flat disc. Matter naturally accumulates into a sphere, as gravity pulls mass toward all other mass. Look at water droplets, bubbles, etc.

When looking at other celestial bodies it's clear that they have to be spherical in nature. This is self-evident, unless you believe that there is a massive conspiracy involving literally every space agency, astronomer, & anyone who's ever looked through a telescope.

As with so many things in today's interconnected world of limitless digital media, it's tough to tell who is a troll and who really believes this stuff. "The Flat Earth Society" is as ridiculous as a "Moon is Made of Green Cheese" society. Yeah ok, there is a infinitesimal chance it's true, & we've been fed a vast web of lies, but it's so unlikely & defies common sense that it's really just silly.

Then, there is a whole new level of craziness people take their theories to, whether or not it's something they truly believe or are making a joke.


I saw this funny approach to out-doing conspiracy theorists using the Moon, & the comments led me to the amazing image at the top of this post. The 'flat earth' theory seems plausible compared to that configuration. It illustrates the absurd notion that the Universe & the cosmos are actually inside the Earth.

It's a hysterically bizarre & unlikely view of the world. I refuse to accept that someone could actually believe that reality is organized as depicted in that image. It has to be a joke, right???

Oh, I guess not...


Flat Earth Must Decrease, LSC Concave Earth Must Increase 

However, the same the question arises in this model, as in the accepted scientific view of the Universe- What is 'outside' of the boundaries? The image at top depicts a hard boundary between the crust of the earth and... blackness? In actuality, the idea of cosmic boundaries may not even apply. I think the Universe is a fractal pattern, infinitely self-enclosed with no discernible edge. Our brain cannot formulate the idea of something without edges or definition.

That is why people come up with simple explanations of the way the world works- because the truth is so complex & unimaginable that the mind is powerless to truly envision it all.

Monday, November 13, 2017

"Guardian" by Paul Micarelli

I have been processing my large archive of abstract imagery recently. I want to share them online and create prints for exhibits & sale.

This one I imagine as an ancient energetic entity or spirit that exists in another dimension, watching over the physical realm & intervening if needed.

by Paul Micarelli

"Guardian"
by Paul Micarelli

**Buy Prints & Products With This Design***

The Monkey Buddha Bazaar:
BUY "Guardian"
 

Sunday, November 12, 2017

"Street Racing" by Daniel Liang

 
by Daniel Liang 

I saw this 3D rendering by artist Daniel Liang on Instagram and thought it was pretty awesome.

The use of a radiant bodhisattva-like statue in a futuristic city setting is a great juxtaposition of spirituality and technology.

Thursday, November 09, 2017

"Ultraviolet Vision 2" by Paul Micarelli

I have been processing my large archive of abstract imagery recently. I want to share them online and create prints for exhibits & sale.

by Paul Micarelli

 

"Ultraviolet Vision 2"
by Paul Micarelli

**Buy Prints & Products With This Design***

The Monkey Buddha Bazaar:

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

"Think & Grow Rich" by Napoleon Hill


 2017 has been a year of transformation for me. I was unexpectedly laid off of my longtime job at a design studio, and collected unemployment insurance for the first time at age 39. Seeing freedom & opportunity instead of defeat, my intention was to re-invent myself and create a new life. I began to grow my freelance business, Paul Micarelli Design, and also created a new photo booth & custom portrait company, Fantasy Photos. I've been promoting my fine art as well, and having my work featured in local galleries.

In the midst of all this professional change, I have been planning a wedding with the love of my life & spiritual soulmate! My fiancée's parents started a heating oil company this year, 5 Star Heating Oil. I'm a part of this company, too, handling the creative aspects, marketing, and promotions. My soon-to-be stepfather-in-law is an entrepreneur and has started several businesses. He has been a mentor to me & gave me a copy of a book that is like his bible.

by Napoleon Hill


Here is a PDF version, and there are plenty of audiobook recordings available.

This book was originally written in 1937, but the lessons are still wholly applicable today.

The explicit purpose of the book is to help people become successful and, therefore, wealthy. However, there is a much deeper & almost metaphysical aspect to the seemingly superficial premise. What Napoleon Hill was trying to convey was the power of the mind to affect reality.

Our creative visualization, mental intention, and physical actualization are the powerful sequential tools to direct our lives into the direction we want.

On the other hand, the greatest obstacle a person faces is their own mental and emotional blocks. Fear is the Mind-Killer, the most debilitating emotion when it comes to personal growth.

As Siddhartha Gautama, the historical Buddha observed:

"The mind is everything. 
What you think you become."

"Think & Grow Rich" was an excellent read and has greatly affected my view of business, professional success, and personal fulfillment. Napoleon Hill's book is a classic, and I've now become aware of references to it.

Actually, the book that I am currently reading, "Zen & the Art of Making a Living" mentions & quotes it several times.

There is a lot in "Think & Grow Rich" to ponder & act upon. It is not only blueprint for success in a career or business, it is a guide to optimize one's consciousness.

I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to start a business or just improve their own life. It is a deeply influential work that I will probably revisit every so often as a motivational refresher.



Thursday, November 02, 2017

"Movement" Exhibit at Grand Theatre

I've had some of my abstract artwork on display at a local gallery for the past couple weeks.

by Paul Micarelli

The exhibit, "Movement" has been at the Grand Theatre Galleria, in Williamstown, NJ. It has coincided with the production of "Billy Elliot" playing at the theatre. I haven't been able to make it to the gallery while it was open, but I stopped by tonight and took some pictures through the window.

Underneath each photo is the digital image & link to the original post. There you can buy prints & products with these designs.


by Paul Micarelli



by Paul Micarelli



by Paul Micarelli

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

"Technocubist Flower" by Paul Micarelli

I have been processing my large archive of abstract imagery recently. I want to share them online and create prints for exhibits & sale.

by Paul Micarelli

This image takes the geometric, angular approach of cubism & merges them with the organic form of the flower.

 "Technocubist Flower" 
by Paul Micarelli


***Buy Prints & Products With This Design***:

The Monkey Buddha Bazaar:
BUY "Technocubist Flower"

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Quantum Mandala #1


I have an app called Forge of Neon that allows you to make these awesome 3D designs made of light points & trails.

As I was making one of these designs, it reminded me of a combination of patterns of quantum energy & a spiritual mandala. So, I decided to save it as a "Quantum Mandala" in both looping animated GIF format & as a video.

On the fundamental level, Reality is an infinite sea of pulsations of patterned energy. This is an attempt to visualize the beauty & intricacy of these ubiquitous energy patterns that form our world.



Friday, October 27, 2017

Large Orange Fungus


In front of my parents' house, there's a stump that has grown this large & awesome-looking fungus. It is bright orange & yellow. The size and color of the array of mushrooms makes it stand out starkly against the autumn forest.

The form of this bizarre living organism was so intriguing that I took photos from a bunch of different angles, & added them into my album:




 My hand for size!



Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Anakin & Padme Skywalker Costumes

This past weekend I had a booth for my business Fantasy Photos at the Autumn Fest in Pitman, NJ. It was a 2-day event, and my fiancée Loretta & I dressed up both days as Star Wars characters Anakin Skywalker & his wife Padme Amidala.

I have been growing my hair out for awhile, so I chose to go with Anakin's look from Episode III, "Revenge the Sith" before he becomes Darth Vader. We borrowed the lightsaber & a dart gun that I painted from my nephews. I added the scar over the eye & a leather glove to complete the character. My lovely partner takes her Halloween costumes seriously, & really went to town with her "Padme on Geonosis" costume. When I saw her in it, I was pleasantly surprised at her attention to detail. I thought our outfits were pretty on point.

We also went to a Halloween party over the weekend, and this photo is from the party. We took it easy, since we had to get up for the festival again the next day, but it was a lot of fun.


Thursday, October 19, 2017

"Metal Melt" by Paul Micarelli


I have been busy trying to grow my custom portrait business Fantasy Photos & my freelance graphic design career as Paul Micarelli Design. I am also working for my fiancée's family, doing the marketing & promotion for their home heating oil company- 5 Star Heating Oil. Despite the feeling that I don't have nearly enough time in the day, I also want to keep my general creative spirit flowing.

By sharing my artwork, I hope to maintain this aspect of my creativity. I have a huge archive of my images that I can post & offer for sale.

This week I dropped off some prints of my abstract art to a local gallery.

One of the images was this one, that I had not uploaded to my online album yet:

by Paul Micarelli

"Metal Melt"
by Paul Micarelli


***Buy Prints & Products With This Design***:

The Monkey Buddha Bazaar:
 

Friday, October 13, 2017

Natural Efficiency



A link about a cool tattoo based on the Fibonacci pattern led me to this article about the mathematical efficiency of the

 ThatsMaths:

It is a short, but informative, explanation of the unexplainable- why space & matter are organized in certain ways. The natural world follows recognizable patterns (like the Fibonacci sequence). These are describable with mathematical syntax, but are utterly indescribably in their mystery and essential beauty.

The tendency to create patterns like the Fibonacci spiral of the sunflower, or the hexagon arrangement used by bees for their hives, is one that is ingrained in the fundamental nature of reality. Trying to understand & explain these phenomena should not take away from their mystery. In fact, it should only deepen it.

On a related note... here is a design that I created, of the GOLDEN spiral. There are items with this representation of the Fibonacci spiral & golden mean available in my shop:

The Monkey Buddha Bazaar:

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

"Star Wars: The Last Jedi" Trailer


I woke up early this morning to see the trailer for "Star Wars Episode 8: The Last Jedi".



 Although I think the teaser trailer was more intriguing in certain ways, this trailer definitely got me excited to see the next installment in my favorite movie series. I have to say, the music by the legendary John Williams is absolutely epic & it's edited into this trailer in a masterful way. I love the powerful music at :30s, as Rey journeys into the mystical tree to see the ancient Jedi manuscripts, then switches to a majestic version of "Jedi Steps" when she begins to move the rocks around her in meditation.

Speaking of which, I really like the concentration (pun intended) on meditative techniques, shown as Rey sits in lotus position and begins affecting her surroundings. It was also expressed in the teaser and in the mini-teaser for this trailer, with Luke instructing, "Breathe, just... breathe." I see the spiritual aspects of Star Wars as reflections of our own spiritual truths, and I am hopeful we will get Luke in the same role as Yoda, being a catalyst for the cultivation of inner awakening.


In my previous post about the teaser, I already went into detail about my thoughts of Rey's training with the now-reclusive Luke Skywalker. I suspect a more nuanced view of The Force will be explored- one that transcends the binary Light vs. Dark dynamic that drove the previous movies. There has been a lot of talk about Luke as a neutral "Grey Jedi," who recognizes the need for emotion, discipline, & morality in balance. I think this will open up a whole new vision of the mystical aspects of Star Wars for future storylines.


The island of Ahch-To, where Luke is exiled, looks to hold some fascinating secrets to the history of the Jedi and the Star Wars galaxy. Rey is going to be put through the necessary challenges & trials to ensure she can properly harness her powers. It appears that she will also experience the spiritual and intellectual awakening that accompanies such growth.

The Monkey Buddha Archives:


We finally see Luke speaking in this trailer, and not just hear his voice. I can't wait to see how they treat him as an older, wiser, and seemingly more cynical Jedi master. Luke seems startled & unsettled by Rey's abilities. Clearly, both he & Supreme Leader Snoke are aware of the "raw power" that this new generation of Force-wielders possess. Where Snoke probably wants to control this power for his own ends, Skywalker recognizes the danger in it.


The other new & powerful Force user is Luke's nephew Ben Solo, aka Kylo Ren. He killed his own father, Han Solo, in his bid to become powerful in the Dark Side. In this trailer, they make it look like he may kill his mother, Leia, as well. However, I think this trailer was edited to be a bit misleading. I don't know if Kylo will actually destroy her, but I think he finds that he cannot do it. Maybe someone else does, which throws him through a loop. One of the cool & unexpected visual elements was Kylo's cybernetic or carbon fiber patch over his facial scar. This must be earlier in the movie, because later in the trailer it shows the scar has healed, without the futuristic wound dressing.


We also get to see Kylo Ren's Tie Silencer in action, and it appears that he has inherited his grandfather Anakin & his dad Han's piloting skills.


A shot we already saw in the mini-teaser was Kylo picking his lightsaber off the floor of Snoke's red throne room, with the feet of Snoke's personal Praetorian Guard in the background.


We are going to get a much better view of the Supreme Leader in this movie, and a shot shows his partially-obscured face in more detail than we've seen so far. He doesn't look alien, but appears to be a badly damaged & old human. Perhaps like Palpatine, he was sustained by the Dark Side beyond his natural lifespan, leading to his corrupted, decayed appearance. It also seems likely he was badly disfigured in a battle or incident, perhaps by Luke himself. He is wearing gold robes, and may represent the power-hungry, lavish elite that our own world is familiar with.

I think one theme of this movie will be the contrast between the simple, almost poverty-like conditions of Luke's hermitage, and the trappings of wealth & power displayed by Snoke and the rich inhabitants of the casino world of Canto Bight.


In another scene, Snoke is Force-lifting and immobilizing Rey. You can see him & his guards by his throne in the background, and when enlarging the image, it's even possible to make out the large black crystal ring that is rumored to be a focus of Dark Side power.


It is going to be interesting to learn some more about the enigmatic Snoke's background and how all these characters play into the story. Another great visual was the closeup of Captain Phasma's helmet during a battle with Finn, as the electricity from the baton reflects off the chrome mask. It looks like Phasma may be more of a threat in this movie than in 'The Force Awakens".


So, yes, after almost 40 years on this planet & having grown up watching the Star Wars saga, the trailer for a new movie can can still get me excited like I'm a kid again. It is a testament to the vision and creativity that goes into these movies, that generations of people anticipate a new chapter in a story that has its roots in all aspects of human culture and experience. I have always appreciated the elements of mythology, religion, history, and the hero quest that have been incorporated into the Star Wars universe.

I look forward to seeing the new & familiar aspects come together into another episode of the greatest movie series of all time... and in my opinion, the greatest fictional work of the modern age.

"This is NOT going to go the way you think!"
-Luke Skywalker

Monday, October 09, 2017

Byzantium 1200



One of the amazing things that digital technology has given humanity is the ability to virtually travel through time & space.

I have posted before about the use of 3D modeling & virtual reality to reconstruct ancient cities. We are approaching the point where we will have photo-realistic, fully-populated recreations of locations that we can explore like we were really there.

Although I don't play video games anymore, the Assassin's Creed games were awesome because they let you visualize what these historic environments would have been like- better than reading about it or seeing a still picture.

I came across this website on the fascinating subreddit r/papertowns, which features drawings & reconstructions of pre-industrial cities. It is a project called Byzantium 1200 that focuses on creating a comprehensive 3D model of ancient Istanbul, Turkey.

The creators of this project also have a website with a 3D reconstruction of Babylon.

Perhaps one day, there will be something similar, or part of, Google Earth, where these virtual cities will be mapped over their actual locations & you can pick the time period you want to experience.

Thursday, October 05, 2017

The Return of "Christopher Walken Stick"!

The baby walking stick who was crawling across my desk showed up again the next day. I had put him on a plant in my bedroom, but it somehow made its way downstairs in the kitchen!

I let him crawl around on my hand for a little bit. My fiancée was joking that he is our son, & I named him "Christopher Walken Stick". After getting a final picture, I took him outside and placed him back in the woods.

by Paul Micarelli


Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Mushroom in Potting Soil

This yellow-white mushroom was growing in a potted plant. The fuzzy mycelium (or body) of the fungus is visible in the dirt.

I added these images to my photo gallery:

by Paul Micarelli


 

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Baby Walking Stick


I was at my desk & saw this tiny insect crawling along. I guessed it was a baby walking stick. It moved very slow, like an adult walking stick, until I tried to scoop it up on a piece of paper. Then, it started to scamper around faster. My fiancée said it was like our baby, & I called him "Christopher Walken Stick".

I took a couple photos for my Nature Photography album, then filmed some close up video of it moving around.

Filmed & Edited by Paul Micarelli

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Strange Little Slug


This tiny slug with very interesting features was clinging to my car. I went for a drive & it was still there when I got back.  I took him off with a stick & placed him onto a plant in the woods.

This weird creature was so small, it was hard to zoom in on it, but I got a decent photo for my nature album:

by Paul Micarelli

Monday, September 25, 2017

Hummingbirds Close Up

https://youtu.be/_BR_rPyTdEU

In honor of my mom Karen's birthday, I uploaded a new hummingbird video that I took last month. My mother loves hummingbirds, & they are like her spirit animal. She is always buzzing around, can't sit still, and is (lovingly) territorial!

After I took the last hummingbird video, I moved the feeder onto the deck so I could sit closer to it. I caught the ruby throat shining in the sunlight, the buzz of the wings, and some chirps, as they checked me out in between drinks.


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Kazoo Kid


I've come across this ridiculous remix by Mike Diva, of an already ridiculous video, several times now.

It makes me laugh every time, so I'm posting it here, Kazoo Kid-Trap Remix:



As one of the YouTube comments says: "This is too lit fam"


Here is an edit of the original video, You On Kazoo!


On a related note, Mike Diva also created this crazy hilarious Japanese Donald Trump video that I linked to before.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Autumn Hornet

This large insect was on a rocky windowsill, so I got a couple photos.

by Paul Micarelli

It seemed slightly bothered when I got close, but it didn't fly away. I left it alone after taking some pics. It was cool-looking and had autumn colors.

After looking it up, I found that it was a European Hornet.


Friday, September 15, 2017

Walking Stick on a Window

Walking sticks are one of those insects that are so well camouflaged, that you will never notice them unless they are on an artificial surface. They usually stay completely still, so they are not picked off by birds or other predators. This makes it easy to take a photo for my album:

by Paul Micarelli

This one was clinging on a window at my parents' house, so its camo disguise didn't work very well. I showed my niece, who was fascinated by its strange form. She was amused when I suggested that maybe he still thought he was on a tree! I pointed out its tiny eyes, with the long antennae protruding from its head.

Walking sticks are one of the many truly alien-looking creatures that are actually common in our own natural world.


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Frog in the Bushes


I saw this gray frog hopping into the bushes, so I got down close and saw it in the leaves. I took a photo to add to my album:

by Paul Micarelli

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Let's Paint, Exercise, & Blend Drinks!


I am a connoisseur of the absurd.

Nothing brings me more pleasure than seeing something that is totally insane or nonsensical, especially with humorous intent.

This video from Let's Paint TV by John Kilduff is a ridiculous attempt to exercise, take live calls, paint, and make blended drinks... all while wearing a suit & tie. To complete the package, there are crazy camera zooms & psychedelic video effects.

When I was in high school (before the endless entertainment of the internet) my friends and I amused ourselves by watching bad movies and cable access TV. If I would have seen this gem back then, I would've absolutely flipped out.