Archive for the ‘life’ Category

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!

a morning stroll

November 3, 2007

yellow-leavesfs.jpgThis morning I was strolling with my mom in the neighbourhood, and let me tell you, Belgrade is beautiful in autumn. Yellow leaves everywhere around on the asphalt often gave impression of some beautiful natural carpet. We went to the church, and I lit some candles there. I like very much to light candles in the church, and often it brings me some deep peace in my heart. When we were buying candles I noticed the little book about St. Seraphim of Sarov, and so I asked mom to buy it. He is one of my favourite Saints from Russia. He greeted all with the words: “My joy!” (“radosti moja” in Serbian translation, so sweet words) and I was often impressed reading how his heart was full of forgiveness. Then we walked back home, and stopped to nearby bakery to buy bread and yogurt. I was so joyful to see that they are selling chocolate milk too – it is my kind of nectar. We also collected some seeds of flowers and sunflowers, I don’t know if it will grow on our balcony we have to wait for the spring, so we shall see then.

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.

Happy Birthday, George!

February 24, 2007

It’s being here now that’s important. There’s no past and there’s no future. Time is a very misleading thing. All there is ever, is the now. We can gain experience from the past, but we can’t relive it; and we can hope for the future, but we don’t know if there is one.

George Harrison
(1943-2001)

I heard The Beatles’ music for the first time in my life when I was 15 (too late, I guess), it was my neighbour who borrowed me the cassette, and I liked music so much that I did not return it for months. There are people who love Stones more, but I am not among them. Beatles will always remain my favourites; and though Paul and John are much more famous, still by far my favourite is the youngest among them, mr. George Harrison (1943-2001) – the “silent beatle” as he was called, due to being very introspective person.

Some people say that his birthday is on 25th February, but in Wikipedia article we can read that he was actually born on 24th February at 11:40pm. So, today is the day – Happy Birthday, George!

If my destiny was to become so famous I would want to have similar attitude as him. He always said that he wanted to be successful, not famous, and I feel that music was his instrument to search for deeper meaning in his life. Many other musicians unfortunately find drugs when they become famous, and when that fame is over, they take the needle, and they are finished. But George was not interested in fame, but he was all the time seeker for the true joy and fulness of life. I found this clip, it is interview with him and famous sitar player Ravi Shankar. There he speaks how he does not want to produce meaningless songs, but is interested in writing songs that have deep values and that can last through years. Such is for example his song All things must pass.

And I wrote before how much I like reading books. but I have to admit now, I especially like to read book written by people who were searching for the deeper meaning of their own life. I enjoy in diversity, I do not believe in uniformity. I even enjoyed reading Ayn Rand’s books very much, though I am completely of different temperament, and my life philosophy values are generally totally different. But you know what, when someone believes in what he or she writes, such books become very attractive to read. Complete sincerity in one’s deeds is always very attractive (do what you preach) in every philosophy, and in every religion.

Over the years I have read many books about different world religions and spiritual paths and systems of values, in Christianity, Buddhism, Sufism, Hinduism etc. and though some of such books sometimes can be dry and preachy, I very often found very nice ones from different cultures and backgrounds that literally lit my heart with divine love, while I was reading them. And one day, God willing, if I have enough money I will invest it in printing books that brought me so much joy. Books are not transitory as other world pleasures, and if they contain intense sincere inner cry in them, they are really something.

George was so selfless in that aspect, he gave much money for printing books, he even donated a temple in London. He could do drugs, or spend money on fancy cars or something, but he was so unlike many other music stars, and therefore I appreciate him so much. If some book brought me much joy (there are many like that, starting with Quo Vadis by Sienkiewicz, which was my introduction to deeper meaning of Christianity) I would like to print many of them in nice covers, so perhaps other people will also feel joy. That attitude gives me so much inspiration and hope for the future. I hope my dreams one day will come true, but that depends on me too! :)

In previous clip George explained why he likes to compose on Sanskrit verses, and I guess it was actually him who composed the music for Govindam Adi Purusham chant (although I am not sure, to be frank). Nevertheless, it is very nice chant, and I managed to find nice clip of it to post here.

George, thanks for everything, and thank you for being sincere seeker in your music art. It means much. It gives hope.

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.

mahna mahna – just for Tracey :)

February 12, 2007

The question is: What is a Mahna Mahna?
The question is: Who cares? :)))

Particularly cute is the way they shake their heads to correct the guy in singing :)

There is one commercial made based on these characters by CanTeen – The Australian Organization for Young People Living with Cancer. You can see it here

PSA commercial from New Zealand (trying to create an awareness of cancer amongst teenagers) that aired in October 2005.

Featuring the Muppet characters Ma Nah Ma Nah, the Snowths, Rowlf the Dog, the Swedish Chef, Dr. Teeth, Janice, Kermit the Frog and Rizzo the Rat.

random access brainmory

February 10, 2007

Wile

If my brain was to transform into a flash memory card – oh well, I am completely sure – nobody would be interested to buy it!

I am not trying to say that I am all plain stupid. It is just that I forget things very easily and on large scale. Yesterday I went to buy big ceramic fuse for my boiler, I still don’t use electromagnetic ones. And while I was walking I saw someone in bus who looked somewhat familiar to me but I thought that is a coincidence, until he waved at me – I then waved at him back, and spent the rest of my walking time to figure out who was that. Of course, I am still thinking who was that and still cannot remember.

It happens to me always. Someone approaches me on the street, we handshake and chit-chat like a good ole friends, but at the end he goes, we say goodbye, and I still don’t have slightest idea who was he. And I feel embarassed to ask -excuse me, who are you?- when someone is so happy to see me. Sometimes beautiful women say hello to me on the street (this especially was happening while I was still in a primary school, I don’t know who they were but my friends were amazed – they wanted me to tell them who that was, and to introduce them too) But how could I do it when I have no idea who that had been (I guess neighbours from the hood). Few months ago someone approached me and said hello, but I was determined to ask him from where do we know each other, and I asked. He said that I was bying comics from him. Now that cannot be true, I do not buy comics. Yet he wanted to give me his pass for free entering in Book Fair. Crazy is this world!

O yes, and if I see you for the first time – and you tell me you name while we handshake, well, don’t expect me to remember it afterwards. It is the most difficult for me. Uh huh.

There is one more phenomenon connected with me. I can talk about “business” on the phone while I am sleeping! Once I was about to sell some bigger amount of paper to a friend, and when I woke up, I had impression that we have already talked about that. It felt like I just had a dream. So I was not sure, and I took the phone and called him. And I asked him did I by any chance have talked with him – he said yes, and I explained that I was sleeping then. He told me that my voice was very serious, and that he thought I am angry or something. But he said that I told him very precisely about the money and the place where we were about to meet, and I was asleep. Go figure!

I feel like Wile E. Coyote is my brother. Like him, I desperately want to be intelligent, and like him I will never stop trying.

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) :)