Archive for the ‘aesthetics’ Category

first snow

November 17, 2007

daemmerung-kappelle_l.jpg
It’s early in the morning now, about 5 am, and whole night it was snowing here in Belgrade. To be quite frank, yesterday’s evening I had no idea that it was going to snow. And you know what – we believe that when there is first snow outside, well, one has to make a wish!

And what to wish now? I wish that my friends are now with me so that we can all enjoy beautiful sight – not just I alone. I cannot see the snowflakes, it is dark outside, but I can see them around the street lights. They are falling down in thick clouds, but look at their peace and elegance! What is there more beautiful than the snowy morning – it is too early for the cars in small streets around, and everything is so pure and white and silent, even parking space has new august garments.

I see some people walking. Someone is joyful, and jumping around in the street. And there is one lady, walking very nervously – but I don’t believe that even she does not feel joy somewhere deep inside – it is just cold and I guess she wants to go home as soon as possible, yet whole neighbourhood looks so beautiful, like from a fairytale.

Peace of these snowflakes is leaving me speechless. Snow blanket is fairly thick now. I may try to make little snowman later on my balcony. Now there are no more people in the streets, and everything is returning to perfect calmness.

And you can do two things now to get a joy of snow – make a snowflake, if you are in creative mood or enjoy in good ole snowball warefare. Or you can make a wish!

(Photo above I found on internet, it is how snow in the morning looks like in Swiss)

Leo Delibes – Lakme

November 12, 2007

French composer Leo Delibes composed opera Lakme in 1883. Here I am giving synopsis from encyclopedia Opera by Andras Batta (that huge book I bought last summer, and I really enjoy discovering new things in it ever since)

Synopsis
The wordly love of the Indian priestess Lakme for an Englishman is sanctified by her courage and self-sacrifice. Her european lover, who cannot understand her foreign culture, is left to mourn and admire her.

Even those who are not fans of opera, can recognize the famous Flower Duet (in above video sung by Elina Garanca and Anna Netrebko), which is the most famous sequence of notes from this opera. But recently I found another beautiful aria from Lakme that I liked very much, and its name is Les Filles de Cadix. I heard it on french Mezzo channel and it was sung by a french opera singer whose name I cannot remember now. But I managed to find clip on youtube where russian soprano diva Anna Netrebko sings this aria. Here it is. Enjoy :)

the fountain pen

November 11, 2007

Pelikan fountain pen
I don’t know about you. But like my father I am absolutely crazy about nice fountain pens. He used to buy pens over the years whenever he got the chance, so even in primary school I used to write homeworks with various fountain pens. Of course, my fingers were all over blue with ink, back then I could never manage to hold pen correctly – but compensation at least was that I was feeling very special like I am living in medieval times and writing some ancient book using a big feather.

Few years ago I was using one pen very dear to me but its mechanism of pulling the ink inside broke, and I have no idea how to fix that – so I was missing writing with my special pen very much, until few days ago. It happened that I found one old Pelikan fountain pen, I even forgot about that we have it, so today I pulled the ink inside, and tried it. Well, it is not accustomed to my hand (golden rule is, never borrow your pen to anybody, nor take the pen from anybody). New Pelikan pens are quite expensive here, but I guess we bought this one from some collectionist, and that is why it will need time to adjust itself to my handwriting.

I know that you will find this funny but I guarantee it is true – whenever I take fountain pen to write something, or to study, I become much much more focused and concentrated than when I am writing with a roller or pencil. It seems even that I am becoming more intelligent (meaning manifesting more of some hidden intelligence from my little brain :-) when I am writing with pen. Have no idea how it is possible, but in reality it really seems so. I found a photo of this Pelikan pen on internet (I like blue colour, mine are brown or green, but there is also very nice dark red colour too). Isn’t it beautiful!

Needless to say, anybody who uses pen to write letters to one’s friends, taking enough time to pick the right envelope and paper from the vast variety there is – knows that it is beauty unparalleled, compared to writing an email. Ah, good ole times!

beauty

March 1, 2007

What is Beauty? Is it individual or universal? Why are some faces more beautiful than the others? Why some people who have no physical beauty still radiate and shine beauty in opinion of many? Is beauty just in the eye of the beholder, or there is more to that definition? Where shall we start…I searched in Wikipedia first.

Beauty is a quality present in a thing or person that gives intense pleasure or deep satisfaction to the mind, whether arising from sensory manifestations (such as shape, color, sound, etc.), a meaningful design or pattern, or something else (such as personality)

Interesting how they said it. Intense pleasure or deep satisfaction. And I agree, there are satisfactions of subtler kind that are not pleasure, so hence the distinction. But why just to the mind? As if there is no other instrument in us to perceive beauty, like heart. But I guess it is from rational heritage of western philosophy. As if the whole world is just on the west. Oh well.

golden ratio line

But this definition does not explain why beauty is beautiful. I know that painters and sculptors speak about Sectio Aurea. That is proportion -> a:b=(a+b):a They found beauty and harmony in that proportion. It has something to do with human anatomy too. For example your belly button should be located according to this proportion, meaning on 61.8% of your body height. I actually measured height with the tape in my case, and interestingly it is so.

Luca Pacioli and Leonardo Da Vinci were among the first to notice golden ratio in human anatomy and apply it to art. The Pythagorean school in ancient Greece noticed that objects proportioned according to the golden ratio seemed more attractive. That would never occur to me to think about geometry law in aesthetics. It is genius who discovered such phenomena.

But what is the connection between beauty and culture? Is it different when you are born in Norway where everybody is blonde with blue eyes, and in Turkey where everybody is black haired with black eyes, for example? How much are we conditioned to perceive the beauty in this or in that way by civilization we live in? Remember those african women with rings around their necks. And what about social and political system? And what about time factor, century we live in? Does consumer society affect aesthetic sense? Unfortunately, it does.

A friend of mine told me -I want to put silicone in my lips- I was surprised since I think there is nothing wrong with her lips at all. -Yes I know- replied she -but I want them to look like as if they were stung by the bees- :-) Oh my!

Is physical beauty so important issue? Today I wrote about beauty in physical world, but there are other types of beauty, so in next posts I will pay attention more to questions like connection between beauty and ethics, mental and inner aspects of beauty.

Be what it may, I was told that I was very cute when I was lets say in primary school. But ever since I grew up, I seriously consider pressing charges on Ugly Duckling for theft of part of my life story and using it to film cartoon, in..umm…reversed way. Uh huh :-) (J/K)

What do you think about outer beauty, what is your definition? Be sure to check out Face Research too. Interesting site.

envoys of beauty

February 22, 2007

To go into solitude, a man needs to retire as much from his chamber as from society. I am not solitary whilst I read and write, though nobody is with me. But if a man would be alone, let him look at the stars. The rays that come from those heavenly worlds, will separate between him and what he touches. One might think the atmosphere was made transparent with this design, to give man, in the heavenly bodies, the perpetual presence of the sublime. Seen in the streets of cities, how great they are! If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore; and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God which had been shown! But every night come out these envoys of beauty, and light the universe with their admonishing smile.

Ralph Waldo Emerson – Nature

I am into astronomy these days. Downloaded and installed free Astro Planner on my PC, and also installed Planetarium on my handheld. But nights are cloudy in Belgrade, I have no luck. As soon as stars become visible again I am determined to find Orion Nebula on the sky. Approximately I know where it should be located.

For those who are not accustomed with using telescopes, good start is to observe the sky with binoculars. And if you watch through telescope, first thing you should see is the surface of the Moon (it always takes my breath away), then you can try to find Jupiter and see its 4 bigger satelites (if you draw down their positions over time axis you will get sinusoidal waves). Of course, never ever watch directly to the Sun, do not try that even with special filters either. If you want to see spots on Sun surface, project the image from telescope to paper, and there you will see it very well. And you can try to see Saturn rings too.

I have at home some older russian telescope, I think that diameter of mirror is about 6 cm. But let me tell you these modern computerised telescopes are really something. They have so called GoTo option, which means that there are memorized coordinates of stellar objects and computer controlls moving mechanism which directs the telescope right to the desired object. All you have to do is just look and enjoy.

Problem with using telescopes in cities is light pollution. I wonder if Suburbia likes to watch the stars since she lives in the suburban area of the big city, and I guess the night sky is much more clear there. Nowdays there are many telescopes on the market, I saw even those with 10 inches diameter (I think that with them you can see even that red spot on Jupiter’s surface). Actually I found very nice booklet from Meade telescopes and you can download it here. There are interesting stories in it, like one when a man found new supernova (exploded star) with his home telescope.

I remember I liked to read in my primary school about comet hunters. That is so cool to try to find new comet.

Astrophotography is also something breathtaking. That art combines calculation and photography. You have to be very precise if you want to catch the photo of “diamond ring” in total solar eclipse.

We always stand in awe under the starry sky. I hope tonight there will be no clouds in Belgrade. I am already browsing the catalogs in software to choose what I will (and can) observe. Wish me good luck with the weather. And you can join me with exploring the space.

Happy St. Valentine’s Day Everybody!!!

February 14, 2007

I gotta a girl who’s always late
Anytime we have a date
But I love her
Yes I love her

I’m gonna walk up to her gate
And see if I can get it straight
‘Cause I want her
I’m gonna ask her
Is you is, or is you ain’t, my baby
The way you’re acting lately makes me doubt
You is still my baby, baby
Seems my flame in your heart’s done gone out

A woman is a creature
That has always been strange
Just when you’re sure of one you find
She’s gone and made a change

Is you is, or is you ain’t my baby
Maybe baby’s found somebody new
Or is my baby still my baby true

Love knows no fear. Tom is not afraid of a big dog (with various dental prostheses :) when he is in love. I wish you all, dear friends, lots of love in following year (and in all those years after that, too!)

Love is a greatest power in Universe. We are beings of habit, but love does not let us form a habit – it is ever new opening of visions and unexpected horizons. Love is showing us our cosmic dimension, for true love is always selfless.

Love is not success, and it is not failure (Tom doesn’t have to worry because of the end of the cartoon) – it is far above both. Love has nothing to do with mathematics and combinatorics. Love does not count with numbers but with fulness. Love is beyond intellect.

Love is unspeakable, it is often beyond words, but it is not beyond deeds. I know you cannot always tell people who you love what you feel, but you can show them your love, and you can pray for their happiness.

Even if your love is not returned, do not expect anything. Love dresses us in garments of emperors of the universe. So we must act generously like true princes or princesses, and leave expectation to those who want to act like beggars.

I heartily recommend all of you to read Quo Vadis (by Henryk Sienkiewicz) which is in my humble opinion the greatest love story ever written (and it won Nobel prize in 1905). Dear friends, please find time to read that book – only a deeply inspired person can write like that.

Happy holiday dear friends! Let us offer our gratitude for Love that transforms our human hearts, and shows us Infinite in our finiteness, and Eternal in our transitoriness. Let us always be grateful for that cosmic dimension. Let us sing and dance with planets and the stars!

Let us write poetry (with our paintbrushes and musical instruments too!). If Angels have their language, I believe it is spoken in verses.

rediscovering autobiographies

February 8, 2007

palm IIIxe

“There is properly no history; only biography”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

These days I have intense wish to read biographies and autobiographies. And I really wish to read about that golden period of history – XIX century. Impressionists were painting in France, and Henry David Thoreau went to the woods to write his diary there. Serbian inventor Michael Pupin went to USA and wrote to me very dear Pulitzer winning autobiography From Immigrant to Inventor, in which he portrays the true american spirit, and when you read that book you see how America was great country comparing to Europe then. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote his immortal Essays, and believe me I am spending nights in reading his collected works, and I stand in awe in front of his language (I still don’t get it how could he wrote like that!) Who can write in such fiery words if not that philosopher poet from Boston, who wrote Self-Reliance – essay that became solid inspiration and foundation of my system of values. And there are poems of Emily Dickinson. And of course, we cannot avoid Nikola Tesla serbian poet-scientist who gave the world alternating currents. Many many interesting people were born in XIX century.

Now I know that books are expensive, and one is not always in mood to go to the library too. But that is why project Gutenberg is there. You can find ove 20000 free e-books there, and there is always top list of 100 books and authors if you are not sure what to read (I never paid too much attention to that top list so far, but it is nice to know it exists). Good thing is that Gutenberg library offers books in Plucker format, which is suitable for reading on your Palm device. I have prehistoric model, Palm IIIxe, with grey display and 8 MB of memory, but truth to be told, I like to read books on it. And I don’t like to read books on the computer screen (I do it only when I have to). Now I entered word biography in searchbox on Gutenberg site, and it gives me 90 results back (you can try to type memoirs too). So there will be a lot of good (and free reading) for me in next period.

If you have Palm but do not have Plucker, you can download it from here. From the list I chose autobiography of actress Sarah Bernhardt. I was reading first few chapters this morning, and I was very immersed in the story. And so far, I really enjoy reading it a lot. So I will provide link for it here:

My Double Life – The Memoirs of Sarah Bernhardt

If you know some good biography or autobiography that you have read and enjoyed it, kindly recommend it in comments please.

don’t go message

February 6, 2007

Coco

Coco knows when Barbara will go to vacation, so he hides in her bag (thinking that she will not see and carry him too) :)

how to put NO FUR sticker on your WordPress blog

February 6, 2007

It is easy. If you wish to do it, here is how it can be done.

First you need text widget. WordPress allows you to have 9 text widgets. Kindly go to Presentation -> Sidebar Widgets. Take text widget with your mouse, left click and hold, and drag and drop it into the sidebar – on place you wish. If you do not have enough text widgets you can increase their availability from drop down menu beside question How many text widgets would you like?

Click on the right side of text widget and text box will open with title and body for HTML. I thought it would be nice if this sticker hyperlinks to the homepage of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). Now in title you can write your message about not using fur. In the main text window write this code

kod

Then close window by clicking anywhere outside it, and Save Changes.

I have already done that in my blog so you can see how it looks like. This is easy and everyone can do it. If you do not want to put this sticker on your blog, you can print it on printer and make interesting badge. All in all, be creative, there are many ways to say to other people that you do not feel like that animals should be killed because of someone’s notions of fashion. Let us join to appeal of people who make new fashion – fashion that says fur is out. There is no aesthetics in killing animals for fashion – let us all say what we think and really prove that we are civilised. No fur!

And one more thing – you may find it difficult to become vegetarian at this moment. I hope you will reconsider that option in the future someday, but when it comes to wearing fur – it is very, very easy to renounce wearing it. Just say no, and help higher and more humane taste in fashion to evolve. It is easy. We can do it!

Address of NO FUR sticker, if you want to print it out on paper is
http://www.petacatalog.org/images/200-BU171.jpg
Note, it is address that you have to put in img src tag in text widget, see code example above.

compassion and love to animals

February 5, 2007

lion_hug.jpg
Who says that animals do not feel sublime emotions? We sometimes think that humans are superior beings, but in what plane are we concretely superior now? It is because we have mind, but mind is also responsible for some of the worst atrocities and oppressive social systems. Animals kill because such is their animal nature, but look what so called humans can sometimes do. I am not saying that in the future human beings will not be better than now, I wish that we all manage to discover more and more hidden treasures that everyone of us carries deep in one’s own heart (I am assured that then we will be more caring about animals). But now we must not think that we are so superior to animals, so that we think they have no rights. Sir Paul McCartney decided to become vegetarian when he and Lady Linda were eating lamb meal and at that moment they saw lambs outside in fields. I am not preaching to anyone to become vegetarian, such kind of decision everyone needs to take very consciously. In my case, I am vegetarian but I do eat milk, eggs and honey. Also my opinion is that you should let your children eat meat until they grow up to certain age. But to speak whole truth, once I was chatting with one programmer from India. He is follower of Sri Vaishnava spiritual path, and he told me that in his family nobody tasted meat for centuries ago!!! I was delighted to hear that such people actually exist and can live without meat – it is not true that meat is absolutely indispensable. But if we do not wish to give up on meat, at least we can do for our little animal brothers and sisters is to stop wearing fur and leather. My friends often tell me that we should not think so much of animal rights, when in today’s world nobody cares so much for human rights. But for me this does not follow. Are we civilised or not? Are we still going to fool ourselves that animals do not have such sublime feelings as we do? Next time when you see a cow, look in her eyes, look very carefully in her eyes please. In India they say: cow is giving us milk, therefore we regard her as our mother. What enlightened opinion! Browsing on the internet I managed to find a painting in oil where Krishna and Balarama are milking cows. Cow is considered in India to be holy animal. I applaude for that level of civilized atitude! (Painting is taken from collection on Vrindavan Art gallery) milking_cows.jpg