December 24, 2010 § Leave a comment

There is something truly beautiful about water.  Maybe it’s because humans require it to survive, and, thus over time, those with a great infatuation with it survived as natural selection would have it.  But whatever it is, when I hear the water click as it hits each, now, smooth rock, I somehow am lost in a music that out does Arcade Fire and Mozart.  It’s pseudo random rhythm provides a backdrop for thought.  The thoughts I’ve come to be comfortable with disappear and the thoughts that are unpredictable and impulsive take over.  They aren’t the scary, illogical thoughts that come with a lack of sleep or dehydration; they are inspirational and sort of comforting thoughts that make me want to keep pursuing.

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December 23, 2010 § Leave a comment

I don’t know why I do this.  But for some reason, I like putting bows on everything.  I often create flashcards when studying for a particular test; each set sports a crimson red bow (Figure 1.1).  Our Christmas tree is covered in bows that I’ve tied on branches (Figure 1.2).  Whenever I’m going to a sports game, I’ll tie a blue or gold bow around my ponytail (Figure 1.3).

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Beanie Babies

December 20, 2010 § Leave a comment

Long ago, I was a young boy who loved his stuffed animals. I wasn’t the kind of person who brought them to school with me or anything, oh no that would be far to embarrassing for a 2nd grader. No, I slept almost every night with my stuffed animals within arms reach instead, far less embarrassing to admit as a high school senior. However, I did keep them around for company. My parents were almost always working, so I spent a lot of time with myself, or rather with my stuffed animals. They were kept around to keep me company and so that I wasn’t ever truly alone. In fact there were two real stuffed animal types that I owned. There was Skippy the bear (who got his name because he was a polar bear, initials being PB, also the same initials as Peanut Butter, and so he was named after Skippy Peanut Butter), as well as my entire collection of Beanie Babies.

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River Rafting

December 20, 2010 § Leave a comment

I recently read a story about a man who was venturing in the forest, and had to keep a certain distance between the river and himself. He happened upon the river at the end of his trip, while crossing a bridge, and described what he saw. His description about the river seemed so much like a river I had seen before, I decided to give it a shot.

The American river in the heart of California, is a river with rapids ranging from class 6 to class 2 (pouring waterfalls to small waves). We happened upon our lunch spot, after rafting for a while, and I decided to do a little exploring. I came to a bend in the river and sat down and watched the water moving over the rocks. The bend was a long bend, curving around a dry spot in the river. The dry spot was a large swath of small rounded rocks, somehow staying in place despite the rivers strong current. Small weeds had begun growing out of the rocks, signifying that the rocks had been there for a while. On the bank that I was sitting on, there were small trees growing over to the river, shading the bank and part of the water. The edge of the river was lined with blackberry bushes, which were ripe and delicious. The river itself was running smoothly over the rocks on the bottom, creating small ripples. I watched a leaf flowing around the bend, where it got stuck in an eddy next to the bank. There the water swirled the leaf around at a dizzying rate before spitting it back out into the gentle ripples. The rocks under water were colored green and brown, presumably serpentine, a common green rock found on the river’s edge. The river itself was very clear; you could see details of the rocks many feet underwater. After watching the river for what seemed like hours, the lunch bell rang, and I ventured back to the rafting group, before setting out across those same ripples later.

My Nature (Personal)

December 20, 2010 § Leave a comment

Touching on one of my precious posts, “My Nature“, I recently had an adventure that led me to see all of the differences between true nature and the man-made world. I was traveling to Australia when I peaked out the window mid-flight to see this:

This photo captures one aspect of nature, the sun and how it influences everything. If you were to live like the caveman did, before the industrial era, or even just before the idea of massive cities existed, this would rule your life. This massive object governs the whole world. We (as man) don’t venture out at night as much as we do during the day, we don’t call people at other places at night, and we don’t even stay awake for most of the time when this thing isn’t around. Man hasn’t touched the sun, and we hardly understand it with the exception of a few theories. The sun to me is true nature. Meanwhile, this is not:

This is the view out of my 25-story hotel in the middle of Sydney. Obviously, this is one of the most industrial places in the world, and one of the least natural. The feeble attempt to make it seem a little more natural by the park in the middle of the city is hardly natural. The birds themselves don’t even search for their own nuts and food, as they just fly around looking for the closest person with a piece of bread. Clearly, this is not nature.

Moviemaking 101 with Disney and Others

December 20, 2010 § Leave a comment

After having watched so many movies and documentaries this year focused around nature, it has gotten me thinking about my own moviemaking abilities. Every movie that I watch, I look at the smallest things that the moviemakers did. Whether that is a rack focus, over the shoulder shot, or how they use light to highlight characters. The last interested me the most, and led me to write an essay on the topic.

Basically I found that movies made by Disney, use light (and darkness) for conveying emotions. For example, if you ever saw the movie Bambi, you would see that in the spring, it is hard to even find one shadow it is so bright, while in the winter, it is almost hard to see what is going on it is so dark. Disney thinks that spring is the happiest time of year, and therefore deserves all the light, while the winter is the saddest and roughest time of year, and therefore should be all dark.

However, after watching a few documentaries, I found that the directors portrayed their movies with light much more differently. The use of darkness meant that death was immanent, while light usually meant that there was new life to be found soon. This more realistic use makes sense given that the documentaries are touching on more harsh topics than following an animated deer through his life. In either case, I have found all of the movies I have seen in the past year to be very entertaining and stimulating.

My Nature

December 20, 2010 § 1 Comment

When I think about nature, the first thing that pops into my head is the seasons, and specifically what characterizes the seasons. Winter is snow, summer is sun, spring is flowers, and fall is, well, falling leaves. As I laid on my back looking up at the hundreds of yellow leaves around me one fall, I remembered back to my early days of school. There, they had something like this:
I considered the school where I first saw this diagram, Belmont Oaks. As its name suggests, the entire school was built around a massive oak tree. Living in California we don’t get much snow, but I remember picturing that tree through all of the seasons, with its leaves falling, as well as with them growing. To me nature is everything that has not been touched by man. I know if I truly believed that, then I would never see nature ever again. Some sort of man-made product has touched every part of the world we live in. Whether that is the trees which have been changed by the absurd amount of pollution and CO2, or the animals in the gulf which have been hit by all of the oil. Everything that you see, whether it is wild or not, has been touched by man. Thankfully, I do not truly believe that nature is anything that man has not touched. I consider everything outside of a city or outside of a certain area around humans to be nature.