Thursday, July 19, 2018

Tiny Green Spider Macro Photography



I saw this miniature spider on my car, and used my macro lens to get a closeup photo. I love getting a more detailed view of the life all around us, but beneath our threshold of perception.

The spider was green, and it was so small that it was translucent! It's 4 front legs were longer than its back legs, & it had eyes that were black points smaller than a grain of sand.

by Paul Micarelli

Here is my finger next to it, to get a sense of the tiny size of this arachnid:


 

Monday, July 16, 2018

"Solo: A Star Wars Story" Review


Last weekend, I went to see "Solo: A Star Wars Story" while it was still in the movie theaters. I have been preoccupied with work & the process of getting married, so I hadn't seen it yet.

Han Solo was never one of my favorite characters, and I didn't think the actor Alden Ehrenreich looked nothing like a young Harrison Ford, so at first I wasn't too interested in seeing it, despite my love for everything Star Wars. However, I started seeing positive reviews from people who had seen it & were pleasantly surprised.



So, I decided to check it out & I'm glad I did. It was an action-packed "heist"-type film in which Han joins a group of smugglers trying to steal a large quantity of hyperspace fuel to pay back their debts.

Early on, Han escapes his home planet of Corellia and becomes part of the Imperial infantry, where he meets Chewbacca. This was all part of the Han Solo backstory before, and I think it was fleshed-out pretty well.

In my opinion, this was actually more of a "Star Wars" movie than The Last Jedi. There were more exotic planets and locations, both new & familiar aliens, a more coherent & interesting storyline, and less eye-rollingly bad attempts at humor.

The amount of screen time given to Chewie was cool, but hands-down the best aspect of the movie was Donald Glover as young Lando. Even from the first time you hear his voice off-camera, it sounds just like Billy Dee Williams. He had all the mannerisms & inflections down perfectly. Alden Ehrenreich was close enough to the Han we all know to let me suspend my disbelief. However, after seeing a reference to Anthony Ingruber as a young Harrison Ford, I thought that he would have been a far better casting choice. All-in-all the casting was good, and it didn't interfere with my enjoyment of the movie too much.

There were some great cameos and easter eggs for Star Wars fans (that I'm not going to spoil here). I'm glad I got to see it in the theater, where the awesome visuals really make an impact. I would definitely recommend it, especially to Star Wars fans like myself. As I said, Han Solo was never a character I really liked, but this movie managed to make his backstory interesting and fun to watch. It follows Rogue One as another well-done Star Wars Story.

The Official Monkey Buddha Rating: 8 out of 10

Monday, July 09, 2018

Book Review: "Leonardo da Vinci" by Walter Isaacson

 
I recently finished reading the biography of one of history's greatest geniuses, and a personal icon of mine, Leonardo da Vinci.

by Walter Isaacson

Leonardo is probably the person who I have read & researched more than anyone. I wrote my first book report on him in grade school, and his brilliance has inspired me ever since. He is the epitome of knowledge, wisdom, and deep insight into the nature of reality.

I have read many books about Leonardo, and I also created a game that's connected to his art & studies regarding sacred geometry, called "Da Vinci's Challenge".

Despite having read so much about this amazing man, the book by Walter Isaacson was still as fascinating and engaging as if it was the first time hearing about him. He weaved a narrative about Leonardo that made me feel like I had an even clearer glimpse into his remarkable life.

When you really take a look at the totality of da Vinci's work, there are countless discoveries he made outside the realm of the fine arts that just defy belief. For instance, his realization that the aortic valve in the heart opened & closed based on the characteristics of turbulent flow, not just back pressure on the valve, is a triumph of observation and correlation. This is just one revolutionary insight, in just one of the many areas of study that he immersed himself in. His notebooks are a treasure trove of intellectual investigations.

It is stunning how far ahead of his time he was in ALL areas of knowledge & applied science- hydraulics, geology, anatomy, architecture, optics, biology, and on & on...

 So much has been written about this original "Renaissance Man", so I will just say that if you are remotely interested in the life and work of Leonardo da Vinci, this a book you definitely want to make the time to read.

Saturday, July 07, 2018

Paul Micarelli & Loretta DeStefano Wedding

 Loretta DeStefano & Paul M. Micarelli
Photo by Won Yang of Yang Photo Studio

My last post was right after the private, legal marriage ceremony to my wonderful wife, Loretta.

Last weekend, we had our public wedding ceremony & reception for family and friends at The Old Mill in Rose Valley, PA.

We had been planning the wedding for a year, with the help of our awesome parents. We had a vision for what we wanted, & all our hard work paid off. We both wanted a nature-themed wedding, with an outdoor ceremony.  I love the outdoors, and Loretta shares this affinity for the natural world with me.


The whole day went absolutely perfect. Everything looked great, the decor that we created and ordered was exactly what we envisioned, the music was all our choices, our ceremony was beautiful, & most importantly, there was no major drama during the wedding!

There were a few monkey wrenches thrown into the works, like the record 100º heat that was not the best conditions for a full tuxedo! It was also tough to realize I couldn't spend more time with all the people who came to be a part of this special moment. We had over 130 guests, and I did try to bounce around and talk to as many people as I could. It's impossible to have a long conversation with anyone, though.

We wanted to start the night off with everyone hyped up, so after our slow dance ("And I Love Her" by The Beatles) we played "Turn Down for What" by Lil' Jon and got the whole room dancing right away. Everyone said they had a blast, and we had many people telling us it was the best wedding they'd ever been to, which is what we wanted people to experience. It is humbling to realize that there are so many people who I'm deeply connected with, and now that circle has grown with the people in Loretta's life.

This past week, we were on our honeymoon in Cape May, where we stayed at an excellent bed & breakfast called Rhythm of The Sea. We sat on the beach & drank scotch, went out to eat every night, and had some much-needed rest & relaxation.

This has been a time in my life that I am grateful to experience, and will never forget. I am married to an exceptional woman, who I've know for many years & consider my best friend. The wedding was our way to publicly express and spiritually symbolize the love that connects us.

Here is a photo album with a bunch of great pictures that I and our families took. When I get the album from the wedding photographer, I will share that too:

Wedding Photo Album:
 Paul Micarelli & Loretta DeStefano Wedding
July 1, 2018 
at The Old Mill in Rose Valley, PA




Saturday, June 30, 2018

The Monkey Buddha is Married!

This week, I am marrying my fiancée & the love of my life, Loretta. We have been planning our wedding for a year, and the day is finally upon us!

It's hard to put into words how I feel about this exceptional woman. We are writing our vows and mine are clocking in at 4-5 min, because it's hard for me to sum up my feelings about her & our relationship. She is my life partner and my best friend. The spiritual, physical, intellectual, and emotional bond we share is something I treasure and do not take for granted for a moment. It sometimes boggles my mind that my ideal woman has appeared in my life. I try to just appreciate it & let her know how glad I am for her.

We were friends for many years, and for most of that time I had a deep attraction to her. Although she didn't share my level of attraction for a long time, eventually in 2014 I asked her to go on a Valentine's date "as friends". At that time, Loretta was changing her perception of me and this was a turning point where our relationship took a more romantic direction.

We have been engaged since 2016 and after spending almost every day together, sharing countless life experiences, going to premarital therapy, taking part in ventures together, deeply working on emotional and communication issues, and furthering our careers, we have no doubt that we are ready to travel this road together. I know Loretta is truly a soul mate, someone I am connected to in mysterious and inexpiable ways.

We had a private, legal ceremony in NJ where we live a couple days ago on Thursday, June 28. It was just our parents and our officiant with us at Malaga Lake, a small but scenic local lake. The weather was cloudy & rainy, but as the ceremony started, the sun came out and scintillated over the lake.

 Loretta DeStefano & Paul M. Micarelli



Our public ceremony for family & friends, and our reception will be at The Old Mill in Rose Valley, PA this Sunday July 1, 2018. We picked the venue because the grounds are beautiful & we planned to have an outside wedding, with us both being nature lovers. There is also an open but covered wooden pavilion and nice indoor reception hall, and we are going to party hard! The weather is going to be almost 100°, so it is going to be rough for those of us wearing tuxes. At least it's not supposed to rain... but at that heat level, we might welcome a downpour!

Anyway, I'm sure our vision will manifest into a beautiful day, just as our private ceremony did. I consider my time with Loretta to be a blessing, and I try to make every second count. Life is a flash, and all we can do is slow the mind down, be present, and breathe deeply as we take it all in, uploading our experience to the universal field.

I am joyous and proud to announce that I am now happily married to the woman of my dreams!

Since I'll be on honeymoon in Cape May and vacation in the Poconos for the next couple weeks, I may not start posting regularly until mid-August. Please check back until then, while I enjoy some down time.

Here are some photos from our engagement shoot with the excellent & talented Won Yang of Yang Photo Studio. We were at Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania and Won spent hours with us, taking some amazing photography capturing our love.

Here is a link to the whole album:








Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Big Paul's Adventures in History VIII

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 eighth 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"
Death of Julius Caesar
 
"Et tu, Paul?" 
My Dad sleeps through the assassination of Caesar 
during the Ides of March.
 
  
"Big Paul's Adventures in History"
John & Yoko Bed-In
"Et tu, Paul?" 
John Lennon's pleas for world peace 
are drowned out by Big Paul's snoring.

 
 "Big Paul's Adventures in History"
Eagles Win Super Bowl
Even the collective cheers of Philadelphia fans 
and a win by his favorite team 
are not enough to wake this football fan from his slumber.


Friday, June 22, 2018

"Become The Light" by Cameron Gray

I saw this awesome image by Cameron Gray that explores the idea that the fusion of cybernetics and digital technology could actually connect us more deeply to "The Light"- all the energy fields and integral patterns that make up our reality.

People tend to think that tech and the Internet disconnect us from reality, but perhaps these tools are shifting consciousness into a new mode, to perceive reality in a different way than the biological brain can do on its own.

I've always seen computers and electronic devices as augmentations of the mind, external support systems that are interconnected with the internal functioning of my own thoughts. Once these biological & digital systems become truly integrated, it's likely that the state of being that we are familiar with (as light forms trapped in these monkey bodies) will be radically transformed. It could be a vehicle for our luminous nature to reach a much more vast expression.

Merging mind and machine could also be a means for limiting and imprisoning consciousness, but I prefer to be an optimist...


"Become The Light" 
by Cameron Gray

I have posted about Cameron Gray's art before, and all his art is visionary and mind-expanding. 

Check out his art on his websites:



Monday, June 18, 2018

"Psychodelic" by Paul Micarelli

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

This one is a psychedelic fractal kaleidoscope of rainbow colors. A print of this piece was featured recently in a local art show at The Spot in Vineland, NJ.
 
by Paul Micarelli

"Psychodelic"
by Paul Micarelli

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

Friday, June 15, 2018

Art Show at The Spot

 
This past week, I had some of my abstract art prints featured in an art show at The Spot in Vineland, NJ. It is a vintage & antique mall that started hosting art exhibits.

Most of the artwork I had on display has been featured here, & is available at my online store The Monkey Buddha Bazaar.

Here is the gallery of my abstract computer art:

by Paul Micarelli
 
I took some pics of my display, including one with me & my parents:
 


I also placed a table with my professional graphic design portfolio, and info about my business Paul Micarelli Design:

 

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Garden Spider Macro Photo

I saw this tiny spider in its web among the bushes, and wanted to see if I could use my macro lens to get a closeup photo.

by Paul Micarelli

It turned out better than I thought. You can see all kinds of interesting details on this arachnid's underside. I love being able to see things right in front of me in a deeper perspective.


Friday, June 08, 2018

More Spring Flowers

Although I haven't been able to get out and take photos as much as I'd like, I've taken some more pictures of the Spring flowers blooming outside.

I love the warm weather and the vibrant feeling of life this time of year brings.

by Paul Micarelli




Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Bachelor Party Paintball

Next month, I am getting married to my wonderful fiancée Loretta. We were good friends for a long time before dating for the past four years. I truly consider her my life partner, and we support each other in every aspect of our lives. We even created a blog together, called Conscious Living for You, to promote healthier lifestyles using our unique areas of expertise.

To celebrate our transition into an official married relationship, we had our bachelor & bachelorette parties on the same day this past weekend. I am 40 years old now, and didn't want to go the "traditional" route of strippers & getting wasted. I told my brothers I wanted a day of playing paintball with my friends & a chill night out.

So, we went to a local paintball place and played for 5 hours, then went to a tiki bar later in the evening and closed the place down after 7-8 hrs. They had horseshoe pits, pool tables, & it was open-air so we got to safely observe the lightning storms going on around us for a little bit as they passed through. A lot of my friends & family came out, and we all had an awesome time. It's humbling to know that I have so many great people in my life that are there to support me. It was a great day, and by the time we got back to my brother's house, I passed out immediately on his couch. Luckily I controlled my alcohol intake, so I didn't feel like garbage the next day.

Here's a pic of the 10 guys that came out for paintball (that's me in the middle), and there were twice as many at the tiki bar.
 

At the end of paintball, I succumbed to peer pressure & "ran the gauntlet". All the guys lined up, & I had to run past them while they blasted me. I tried to shoot back at first, but the searing pain of being hit by all those paintballs at one time made me go into protective mode & I just ran the hell out of there as fast as I could. After I stopped running, I reflexively yelled out every expletive known to man & promptly cursed out all the guys.

I had welts all over me and by the next morning there were bruises covering the half of my body that was facing the firing squad. I saw it as a rite of passage- enduring pain & suffering to spur a transition into a new phase of existence. However, I would definitely NOT recommend any one else taking part in this insane activity. Loretta was not happy about my battle wounds, and when I sent her the pic, she texted back simply, "Those mother fuckers".


Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Shadowology


This multimedia style using shadows by filmmaker & artist Vincent Bal blew me away with the creativity involved. He calls his art Shadowology or Shadow Doodles- he takes the shadows of ordinary items and creates whimsical compositions based on them.

Facebook:

Instagram:

The GIF above impressed me, and it kept going & going with more amazing examples!

My favorites are the ones that simulate water, such as the gel bottle creating a waterfal effect, or the glass of water refracting light into the appearance of a beach at the seashore.







Sunday, May 27, 2018

"Psychedelic" Art Exhibit

by Paul Micarelli

This month, I've had some of my artwork on display at a local art gallery. It is part of the Grande Theater in Williamstown, NJ.


The exhibit theme is "Psychedelic" & it coincides with the theatre's production of the play that takes place in the 1960's, "Hair".

I have plenty of abstract art that fits this theme, so I picked out some of my favorites to make prints & frame.


 "Retro Peace Poster"
by Paul Micarelli

by Paul Micarelli

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Shupp's Grove Market Finds

Last weekend, my family went to Lancaster for a dinner & show at the Rainbow Comedy Club. For the last few Christmases, my parents have given our family tickets to the theater and reservations at the Richmond House bed & breakfast. We always have a great time on the trip, and before heading home, we usually stop at some antique markets in the morning.

This year, we went to Shupp's Grove in Adamstown, PA. It's set nicely in a wooded area, and luckily the weather was good. When I go to these places, I am astounded at the amount of random crap on display. There's just tables & tables of STUFF of all kinds. Some of it is valuable antique, most of it is total junk, & much of it is probably open to interpretation.

I love to take pictures of the weirder and more humorous items I see at these markets. Since I'm a man of few wants & needs, I rarely see anything I actually want to buy. The one thing I'm a sucker for is books. This time, I did get an American Medical Association: Encyclopedia of Medicine for $1.

Anyway, here are some of the crazier items that caught my eye...

This creepy-ass clock man was one of the first things I saw:

I always notice monkey-related things for this blog. 
Here's one made from a coconut shell:

Decorative Eggs, one of the collections of random items on display:

A phrenology bust by L.N. Fowler:

Another monkey item, this time a cookie jar:

 My fiancée Loretta was confused by this wooden lady:

This large wood dragon carving was actually pretty cool:
 
 
A Native American stereotype figure:

 "Smilin' Sam from Alabam'
The Salted Peanut Man"
One of the less racist depictions of African-Americans from yesteryear:

There's always guaranteed to be strange mannequin heads somewhere:

This was one of my favorites-
Pairs of dirty kids shoes being used as planters:
 
 Last, but not least, "Farm Country Ranch: Action Rodeo Set" 
Yee-haa kids!

Here is a family pic we took before we went to the dinner theater:
Sawyer & Micarelli Family
Greg, Mandi, Loretta, Paul M., Karen, Paul J., Sylvia, Joe, Johanna, & Justin