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.

ThinkProgress

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.

Wikipedia: 

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.

LiveScience:


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.

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Technology & Truth


This Presidential election season in the US has been the craziest, in every sense of the word, so far.

Despite my prediction of a showdown between Bernie Sanders & Donald Trump only being half right, I think it's still very much a battle between ideologies & worldviews.

One thing that this election has brought to the forefront is the self-reinforcing "echo chamber' that can result with any party, when supporters of a candidate or cause have limited sources of information. People tend to practice confirmation bias, and only seek out media or narratives that fit their existing conceptions.

I try to avoid this with my own views, by approaching media that doesn't necessarily fit my thinking. I am registered as an Independent voter, but I tend to see myself as a progressive thinker. Therefore, I often expose myself (begrudgingly) to conservative media such as Fox News, or right-wing comment boards. This gives me some insight into the mindset of people with different perspectives. Sometimes it actually changes the way I view a particular topic, and sometimes it makes me shudder in horror.

This article was an excellent look into how the seemingly vast and diverse resources of information on the Internet & other media can actually lead to the propagation of misinformation and outright falsehoods.

The Guardian:

I try to be very aware of what content I'm consuming and how it reinforces or contradicts my worldview.

If the population at large did this, we'd have a much more discerning group of citizens. It would go a long way to improving the dismal state of political dialogue in this country & the world.