Monday, July 29, 2019

Poconos 2019 - Flea Market Finds

Every year my family takes a vacation in the Poconos in Pennsylvania, where we enjoy being on the lake and relaxing, fishing, and swimming.

Unfortunately, this year my time there was cut short by the death of a close family friend. Before I left, I went to the Blue Ridge Flea Market with my family on a close to 100ยบ day. I never really buy anything at flea markets, I just like to look at all the crazy shit people are selling.

A selection of my favorites are below, but the whole album is at this link along with some other photos from my time there.

Google Photo Album:

This was literally just an inkjet printout of John Lennon for $10

I thought this "The Commando" playset was amusing in it's cartoonish depiction of war.

Just a big rock with a dog's head mounted on it. Just when I think I've seen it all...

This cross-stitched (?) picture of King Tut's mask was actually kind of cool.

A stuffed turkey, and not the kind at the Thanksgiving dinner table.

An angel holding a chalice that I assume is meant for a candle.

Sometimes I look at stuff like this and wonder, 
did the person who designed this think they did a good job? Because they didn't.

A coat/hat rack made of hooves.

This one speaks for itself (to cats, especially).

Friday, July 19, 2019

Nature Photography at Wharton State Forest

Recently as part of our anniversary celebration, my wife and I camped out oat Wharton State Park.

Besides just relaxing and enjoying the outdoors, I took some photos of the plant & animal life I came across.

by Paul Micarelli

Here are the photos I took while connecting with nature:

Atsion Lake in Wharton State Park
My wife and I were hiking a trail around the lake, and we started getting rained on about halfway through. Luckily we anticipated it, and wore bathing suits and had plastic bags to keep the few things we were carrying dry.

Wild blueberries growing around Atsion Lake that I was eating as we walked the trails.

Loretta spotted these caterpillars swarming a branch.

Can you spot the lizard?

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Visual Brain Implants

Being a graphic designer & visual artist, the sense I value most is my sight. Not being able to see would a nightmarish scenario to me.

Technology now exists for cameras connected to brain implants that create partial vision in blind people, bypassing the eyes & optic nerves.

The Guardian:

Not only is the prospect of being able to tap directly into the visual cortex amazing, but it opens up a whole new aspect of cybernetic augmentation which goes beyond the "normal" senses.

What if we could "train" the brain to experience light from connected inputs that could sense the spectrum outside the visible wavelength, or even other forms of energetic emissions like Wi-Fi signals? Is there a limit to how many different "senses the brain can process?

The next step is augmented vision & other senses that I predicted in my iThink concept 10 years ago.

Apple "iThink" - Upgraded

 I think this opens up the whole idea of consciousness into new realms that people really aren't prepared to venture into. Personally, I think it's awesome technology that , and like any other tool or tech, can be used for good, evil, or neutral purposes.

 Deep Dream Eye
by Paul Micarelli

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

"Strange Planet" by Nathan Pyle

 "Strange Planet" by Nathan Pyle is a clever comic using cartoon aliens to expose the absurdities in human behaviors and customs.

There's pretty much an endless stream of human weirdness to draw inspiration from. The Instagram page is a source of the newest Strange Planet comics.


This one is currently relevant to me, since I spent last weekend at the beach aquiring star damage:

Bedtime... where I always need a hydration cylinder by the bed, & try to imagine pleasant nonsense:

Monday, July 01, 2019

Bodhi Tree

I love nature and being outdoors. Being outside and surrounded by greenery is like therapy for me. As evident from all of my nature photography, I love to observe all the details of the natural world.

In our backyard, we have this large tree that has a clearing at the bottom where I sometimes sit and meditate, to clear my mind and experience the wordless beauty of nature. When I first saw the tree, it made me think of the legendary Bodhi Tree, where The Buddha gained enlightenment.

The Buddha was a prince who became disillusioned with his privileged lifestyle and went off to seek spiritual realization. After pursuing all sorts of disciplines and practices, including intense self-denial and asceticism, he was exhausted and sat beneath a tree. Here, he "awakened" and came to the understanding of reality that he formulated as the 4 Noble Truths, regarding the unsatisfactory nature of human existence. To address this state of suffering we all face, he then prescribed the Eightfold Path, defined by the "Middle Way" or living in a balanced state between indulgence and self-denial.

Siddhartha Gautama, who would be called The Buddha (simply meaning "awake"), was not a god or supernatural being, despite later religious iconography & legends. He was a man who achieved mental discipline, moral clarity, and spiritual refinement through the act of paying attention and living in a conscious manner.

The tree under which Siddhartha gained enlightenment has many layers of symbolism. The tree is an example of both stability and growth - rooted firmly in the ground, but expanding upwards and outwards in all directions. In ancient cultures, "The World Tree" was an archetypal feature of mythology- in which the underworld, earth, and the heavens were all connected. Shamans and visionaries would travel throughout the levels of reality via The World Tree.

Plant life and trees are also sources of life force and sustenance, as in the mythical Tree of Life. The tree contains a connection to our primitive past when we were connected more deeply to the forests and wilderness.

In an abstract way, the tree also has visual similarities to the fractal pattern of the spine and nervous system, where the energies of our consciousness and perception flow. This is a more subtle link to the idea of the Buddha's back being up against the tree, as the energy of enlightenment propagates throughout his neural fibers.

Anyway, all these things come to my mind when I look at & sit under this tree in my yard. This picture is of myself at the base of this majestic tree, embodying the peace of mind and connection to natural rhythms that The Buddha taught about. There is no time when I feel more at peace and more connected than when I am quiet and relaxed, immersed in nature...

Bodhi Tree - Paul Micarelli