Monday, May 16, 2022

Paul Giuseppe - Jedi or Sith?

It's crazy how busy it gets when you have children... Working full time & having a toddler sucks all the time from my day, but I'm grateful to have such a full life. 

I realized I haven't posted in a month, so I thought I'd share a proud dad moment. 

Anyone who knows me or has followed this blog knows I'm a lifelong Star Wars fan. Recently, right around Star Wars Day (May 4th) my son Paulie took his "first step into a larger world".

First of all, I made the mistake of bringing home an electronic Darth Vader bank from my parents' house. 

You push a button and Vader lights up, talks, & moves while blasting The Imperial March. Well, my son has become completely obsessed with this thing. He has already worn out 3 sets of batteries from activating it over & over (....& over & over) again. Sometimes he'll push the button 20+ times in a row. My poor wife is so sick of it, she's ready to Force choke someone out. I never thought I would need a break from hearing The Imperial March, but here we are...

He was playing the thing so damn much, I had to give him a Darth Vader action figure just so that he would leave the bank alone & eat dinner.

Now, he loves watching videos with Vader from the films or Star Wars Kids animations. He also says "Vay-er" in the car until I play The Imperial March through the stereo.

Since he has seen clips of lightsaber duels, I've begun his Jedi padawan training - with an intro to lightsaber combat. He seems to prefer the Jedi lightsabers, while I use the double-edged Darth Maul one. So, even though he is enthralled by The Dark Lord of the Sith, he prefers Jedi weapons. He's a strong little guy, so he wields the toy swords pretty handily.

Really, his first exposure to Star Wars was Yoda & Grogu "Baby Yoda". He still loves these characters, mimicking my imitation of Yoda's laugh "Hmmm-hmm-hmm" & continuously watching the Lego Star Wars video of Grogu in the snow to the point where he knows each part of it. His grandmother gave him a Baby Yoda doll that he was carrying around all day today.

I made another big mistake of showing him a Darth Vader case in his closet, that's full of Star Wars figures, that I was saving for when he is old enough to play with them. Now, he goes to his closet, pointing up to the case & saying "Vay-er" until I take it down. I'm letting him look through them and play with them, but putting them back so he doesn't lose them.

So being such a huge Star Wars fan, it's pretty cool that my son loves it so much already. It's fun to watch video clips online with him, and I can't wait until he's old enough to watch the movies & series with me. Hopefully he embraces the Light Side, and doesn't follow Vader into the ways of the Sith...

Sunday, April 10, 2022

You Are Connected to the Entire Universe

 Originally posted to Conscious Living for You



You Are Connected to the Entire Universe
Graphic by Paul Micarelli 

It has been shown that the large-scale structure of the cosmos is an interconnected web, similar to the net of neurons in our brain, which in turn is similar to the ever-fluctuating connected patterns of the quantum field.

There are theories that at the Plank scale of subatomic realm, all information is connected in a holofractal unified field.

This endless array of connection, that exists at all scales, is an aspect of the fundamental unity of reality of which we are an integral part.

We are a part of The All, and The All is a part of us.

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Size of the Orion Nebula

Considering that I was just looking at the constellation Orion as I brought in my trash cans from the road tonight, this is a good video to share now. I always look up at the stars, amazed by even the limited number of stellar lights that I can see in the night sky at my house. 

 Orion is one of the most obvious constellations, and was associated with Osiris & his resurrection in ancient Egypt. One interesting fact about this arrangement of stars is their spacial orientation, which is obviously not on a flat plane as it appears. This is a cool diagram showing their relationship in space, from the previous article:

 I love computer animated videos like the one below, because they give a perspective that is almost impossible to achieve strictly through verbal descriptions, or even numbers. Nothing can give you a quality existential crisis like a well-produced 3D animation like this, since it can clearly illustrate certain truths that reveal the mind-boggling nature of our reality.

This video was produced by Epic Spaceman & shows the scale of the nebula in the 'sword' of Orion, compared to our Sun. You just think about the incomprehensible vastness of space, and the mind & ego just "poof" away like an ephemeral cloud of dust.

The Orion Nebula vs The Sun: Scale of the Universe

Sunday, March 13, 2022

The Fractal Brain Theory

I finally finished reading The Fractal Brain Theory by Wai Tsang, after a long slog of 2+ years. It might be the longest it's ever taken for me to read a book.

I was slowed down by the birth of my son, & having very little time to myself over the past couple years. The book is also fairly science-heavy, with a lot to conceptually chew on, so I would only read a section at a time.

The central premise of the book is that the structural organization of the brain, and therefore the mind, is "fractal"- recursive or self-similar at various scales.

To me, this is an obvious assumption, since the whole of Reality is fractal in nature. However, this is not a widely recognized characteristic of our brain. The makeup of brain & its functioning expresses similar patterns & qualities as we observe the various scales from the molecular > neural > cortical columns > overall brain.

The ultimate goal of Wai Tsang's investigations is to be able to understand how the mind works so we can create a functional A.I., a truly thinking machine. The way to do this is through a holistic understanding of all the brain's processes, which give rise to the emergent phenomenon we call "consciousness".

Of course, the answer to "How does the brain work?" is the same as the answer to "How does the Earth work?" There is no simply way to sum up all the complex cellular, chemical, & energetic functions that are taking place within the brain at any one time. It is an intricate interplay of systems and components that cannot be teased apart as easily as traditional science would have us believe - with specific areas for language, vision, memory, emotion, etc. The workings of the brain are much more intertwined and distributed than could be described by any one theory. However, Wai Tsang in this book attempts to offer a key to unlock a more integrated picture of the human brain that could help understand it more thoroughly.

Although some of the more technical aspects of the book were a bit over my head, which focused on the mathematical & programming correlations to understanding the brain's functioning, I found the ideas presented intriguing. I think the fractal approach can be applied to many different areas of inquiry. Again, since the Universe exhibits fractal qualities, the aspects of it which we are trying to understand would also exhibit these qualities, true to fractal form. Especially the brain, which is a biological instrument used to perceive the fractal Universe, would then be expected to be organized in a fractal hierarchy.

The stated goal of the book, to discover a path to developing advanced A.I., is a controversial one. There are so many areas where artificial intelligence working on a level beyond the singular or collective capabilities of the human mind would be an unimaginable benefit. However, as a fan of sci-fi such as The Matrix, Horizon Zero Dawn, and Mass Effect, I'm also very wary if the dangers that advanced thinking machines could pose. The outcome of A.I. development will depend on humankind making the right choices in the process. Therefore, we are probably completely fucked.

So, I would recommend this if you are interested in the scientific study of the brain & consciousness, and are also interested in the elegant field of fractal geometry. It's not the easiest book to read at times, but it is thought-provoking and gets the fractal cascades of mental energy flowing through the cerebral cortex.

Saturday, February 19, 2022

"PARENTHOOD" - 'Thinking Aloud' with 2 Paul Micarelli's

*Originally posted to the Conscious Living for You blog

Paul Micarelli & son Paul Giuseppe take a walk and talk about interesting topics. πŸ€”πŸ’‘πŸ‘ΆπŸ» 
***Please LIKE & SHARE, Thank You!*** 


Sunday, February 13, 2022

Future Beach


If there's one thing I love, it's weird shit... & it doesn't get any weirder than this video by Nadia Lee Cohen

The artist's style is a surrealist approach to fashion photography that is unsettling and totally bonkers.



Thursday, February 03, 2022

Movie Review: Matrix Resurrections

The Matrix is one of my favorite movie series, a mind-bending story fusing philosophy, technology, and exploration of the human condition. My wife & I recently asked my parents to babysit so we could take a rare trip to the movies while Matrix Resurrections was still playing. 

We had watched the original trilogy fairly recently, so the story was fresh in our minds. Nothing compares to the original Matrix, but we both really enjoyed this movie and thought it was a solid continuation of the story of Neo and Trinity. The trailer got me super-hyped to see it, and thankfully it lived up to my hype. It had a lot of cool, thought-provoking takes on the Matrix story, and didn't seem like a cheap cash grab.

 There are probably going to be spoilers below, but I'll try not to give too much away...

The story starts out with Neo once again living within the Matrix as Thomas Anderson, now a successful game designer. He created a game, The Matrix (a game within the movie - referencing the movie itself! Woooah..), but is haunted by the feeling that his memories and subconscious connections to the game have some deeper reality... or is he just mentally ill? He is seeing a therapist who is prescribing him blue pills (of course) to help with his seemingly delusional breaks from his current reality.

The fact that there is even a movie with Thomas/Neo after he clearly died in Matrix Revolutions is a mystery. Is this really Neo? Did he survive somehow? This is explained later on as the rabbit hole opens up once again, and we dive deep down into it.

One thing this movie does brilliantly is hold a mirror up to the absurdity and craziness of our "normal" world - the dependence on manufactured pharmaceuticals, ubiquitous technology, inauthentic social relationships, corporate fealty, and our own behaviors based on our limited grasp of reality.

There is also a lot of "meta" self-parody in this movie, exposing the bullshit aspects entertainment & mass media. This is mostly done through humorous situations & conversations involving Mr. Anderson's game company. There is a discussion how Warner Bros. is demanding a new Matrix game, even though Thomas doesn't want to make one. The production company & the money are in control, not the creator.

I thought it was interesting how the advances in real-world technology since the flip phones of the original movie were addressed. One scene I especially liked, that's shown in the trailer, is where he is in an elevator & looks up into the mirrored ceiling to see everyone staring into their mobile devices. We are becoming more "jacked-in" to our Matrix, the Internet, all the time. People's brains are addicted to this connection to virtual space in a way that is making it inseparable from our natural conscious experience.

Inevitably, Thomas Anderson finds out there is more to his reality, as he has suspected all along. After assimilating & neutralizing the threat of Agent Smith in Revolutions, it turns out the machines have kept him and Trinity alive. The machines have kept them in special pods, close to one another for decades after reviving and rebuilding their biological bodies. As the Anomaly, their presence and proximity to one another somehow stabilizes the Matrix for all other humans.

One thing I thought was a great continuation of the story was that after Revolutions and the peace Neo's actions ushered in, the machines began to integrate into human society. Zion was destroyed by continued warfare, but the machines were able to join & help humans in the new city of Io to greatly improve their quality of life. The original Matrix movies had a very "us vs. them" approach to the human relationship to machines, until Neo realized the only way to end the conflict was to merge into a more symbiotic existence.

Although the real Morpheus apparently died after leading the High Council of Zion, a "virtual Morpheus" was created by Neo. Although he was a program that appeared like Morpheus within the Matrix itself, thanks to nanobot-like tech he was also able to manifest in the physical world. Again, it was an interesting concept using advances in technology to come up with fresh approaches to the storytelling.

Eventually, Neo reconnects with Trinity, who is living a fake virtual life with a bot husband, (maybe unironically) named "Chad" & their bot children. The great human mysteries of "Love" & "Choice" once again play the ultimate role in the fate of the two protagonists... and the rest of humanity, as a result.

The ending of this movie is a callback to the end of the first Matrix, but this time Trinity saves the day, and makes me think there may be more to the Matrix story to come.

Although I really like the movie, there were some things that kind of bothered me. The relationship between man & machine was kind of confusing, because there was apparently a peace brokered but people are still in pods and there are still hostile machines and programs. 

 I was really thrown off by how easily both Neo and Trinity eventually got out of their V.I.P. pods in the middle of the machine city. Wouldn't the machines have robots monitoring & guarding these pods with an immense level of scrutiny? Yet, there were no machines to be seen as they were being extracted. The whole "rescue" attempt was probably the part of the movie that bothered me the most. 

I also didn't understand how Smith would still be able to exist, even if his form was altered... and if he was still around, wouldn't he still be able to cross over into the real world?

Anyway, these complaints didn't get in the way of my enjoyment of this visually and conceptually impressive movie. With so many reboots & expansions of fictional properties proving to be shallow or rushed, I was extremely happy to experience such an awesome return to one of the most intriguing fictional worlds in modern media.

I would definitely recommend this movie to anyone who was inspired by the original Matrix and the other movies & offshoots, such as the Animatrix. It was a deep, innovative journey into the mind and the real & virtual worlds it can inhabit. 



Sunday, January 16, 2022

Dear Alice - A Utopian Vision

This video by The Line Animation Studio presents a vision of a future where a green utopia results from a harmonious, symbiotic relationship between humans, technology, and nature:

Although it was created as an ad for Chobani, it transcends the usual corporate marketing, to provide a hopeful and authentic ideal that we could be striving toward.

When we look at the greed, economic oppression, environmental destruction, and reliance on the shittiest possible ways to do things that are prevalent in our world, it's easy to get totally disillusioned with humanity.

However, we have to remember that there are better ways, and practical solutions to the problems we face. It is through positive creative reinforcement, like this animation, that we can look for ways to develop a brighter future. I like how it personalizes the message through the letter to Alice from her grandmother. 

"Our job is to plant the seeds, so our grandchildren get to enjoy the fruit." 

It is a beautiful message, and having a child of my own has given me an even deeper appreciation for the future we need to fight for - not just for our own kids, but for the entire human race that will live on after we're gone.


Sunday, January 09, 2022

No Touch Baby System

click to enlarge

 "No Touch Baby System" - Wash Station πŸ’¦πŸ‘Ά

This is a funny concept I've been wanting to make since my oldest nephew was born, 13 years ago. Now that I have a son, Paul Giuseppe, I finally decided to make this graphic... before he gets too old!

I originally posted this on the Facebook page for Paul Micarelli Design:

No Touch Baby System @PaulMicarelliDesign 

Before I had a child, I always said that I would do anything to care for my kids - except change their diapers! The idea of wiping up poop totally grossed me out. The idea of the "No Touch Baby System" was that a parent could just dip their kid into the Wash Station, & it would automatically clean their ass.

Well, after having a kid, I can proudly say that this is no longer a concern. In fact, I actually enjoy changing his diaper, since it gives me a chance to comfort him & sing to him songs I've made up - like "Stinky-Dinky Spider", "Monkey Submarine" (to the tune of Yellow Submarine, w/ monkey lyrics & sounds) and a country ballad called "Powder Them Balls".

I have become completely unfazed by getting baby crap on my hands & wiping up disgusting mounds of my son's poop. It's truly amazing how parenthood changes you. The downside is the worry and fear that comes with being responsible for a little human being, as well as the constant exhaustion. I have not once felt well-rested in the 1.5 years since he's been born. I can wake up after a decent night's sleep, and incredibly, I'm still tired. I've just come to accept it at this point. The upside is pretty much everything else.

I'm not sure having a No Touch Baby System would actually dramatically improve the ease of childcare, but it was fun to make this concept after having it on my mind for so many years!

Sunday, January 02, 2022

New Years Resolution: 1920x1080

This New Years Resolution I saw on r/surrealmemes is one I can clearly envision. Looking forward to a year full of new experiences in crystal-clear, high definition! Next year, maybe the resolution will be upgraded to 4k...