Category Archives: Creativity

Yet Another Picture Collection

Thanks, Beverly, for sending these pictures my way. I enjoyed them and want to pass them on here…

They are alive!

Ran into a video at the YT Academy (YouTube) of autonomous little robots ganging together to play the James Bond theme. Sure, they did not build all the instruments themselves but I am sure this is just a matter of time.

But all these little guys jamming it out makes them really look alive and having fun…

I had to look a little bit further on what that actually is all about, and found this TED talk…

Making a House my Own

We found a real nice house that is more or less perfect in many regards:

  • big enough
  • lower priced because it needs a bit of work
  • close to friends
  • quiet area
  • big RV garage to be used as storage for business
  • owner very motivated
  • owner open to creative financing
  • open space
  • big property – third of an acre

Altogether, it just feels right, we all like it – so we want it.

Now we just have to create the reality that within a month we move into this place and one of the reasons for this blog post is for you all to help create this reality.

So, now altogether please – create the picture of us being in this house with plenty of money left over from the sale of the old house. Oh, yes, and the old house is bought by a friend for whom it would be real good as he wants to have a family.

Real Photos, Real Early

Right after I had discovered – many years ago – that taking photos was not only for American tourists in Hawaiian shirts visiting Germany but could actually be an art form, I ran into a book that introduced me to tabletop photography.

One tray of slides remains from this era, and now I can share those after I managed to digitize them. It was actually time to do so as one of the boxes with those slides must have been exposed to some humidity (or the slides had not been properly developed) as there were spots on them like fungus.

Without further ado, here is my 70s take on tabletop photography:

Open the Album – click on three dots top right and select ‘Slide Show’…

A little story on the “Warp Drive” – this slide was added much later than all the others and is a picture of the device I built which earned me my masters in physics. It’s a drift chamber as used by my alma mater’s experiment at CERN – the place where the internet was really invented, and no, it was not Al Gore, who did that.

One of the more interesting things about the setup in the photo is that little brass cylinder in front of the shiny surface. It is actually a source for radioactive radiation that I used to test and adjust the chamber. Once I wanted to interrupt the beam of radiation for a quick demonstration and put my finger between the probe and the detector – the assistant responsible for me nearly took my head off for doing that.

Size Does Matter

Usually ‘size does matter’ has something to do with bigger is better. Here I mean it the other way: smaller is better. At least that’s the idea of the tiny house people. I ran into this idea a few years back and it just fascinated me then and now that I am re-visiting I thought I better put it up on my blog so that I don’t forget.

So, here it is…

If I combine this with my idea to have a property where it takes me half an hour to get from the entrance of the property itself to the door of the house, it becomes even more unusual – have a 20 acre property with a 200 square foot house. Maybe I can have a few houses on the property though.

Synergy of Photo and Music

Since the day I understood that taking photos is not something only American tourists in Germany do, but that it can, in fact, be an artistic expression, I have been able to appreciate a good photo.

I learned from the works of great photographers like Henri Catier-Bresson and studied whatever I could from resources like the Time Life Photography book series. During those old days, in order to have total control, you needed to spend time in the dark room – so I have this under my belt as well.

The latest photographer whom I added to my list of people to learn from, is Trey Ratcliff. He is a master of High-Dynamic-Range (HDR) photography. But one of the first thing he did for me was keeping me from finally buying a DSLR camera. Just when I was about ready I read his posts about mirror-less exchangeable lens cameras, and  now I don’t know if I should wait a bit until the field of those cameras gets a bit bigger. But I have to admit, right now the brand-new Rebel t4i is a bit tempting.

So, yes, his photos impressed me, but today they climbed another step on my appreciation- ladder when I watched them in form of a slide show with music by Hans Zimmer – somebody I never heard of before but who is apparently one of the big guys in the music business having done things like the sound track of the Lion King.

Here is that slide show, I would recommend switching to HD and watching it full screen…

The synergy is breath-taking: the music wins tremendously by the visuals and the imagery adds much to the sound-scape. It’s a hand-and-glove situation.

Creativity and Felicia Day

FeliciaDayWe all know that in order to create a successful web series you have to hire Felicia Day (of ‘The Guild’ fame) but today I found out that it is also advantageous to listen to her new video Blog Geek & Sundry.

She recommended a book “If You Want to Write” by Brenda Ueland and somehow that resonated with me. Thanks to Amazon and Kindle books I was in the possession of that book one click later. OK, it were a few clicks first to find the book on Amazon but after that it really was only one click and four bucks later that I could start reading this amazing book.

Try this:
“So remember these two things: you are talented, and you are original. Be sure of that. I say this because self-trust is one of the very most important things in writing…”

“This creative power and imagination is in everyone, and so is the need to express it, i.e., to share it with others. But what happens to it? It is very tender and sensitive, and it is usually drummed out of people early in life by criticism (so-called “helpful criticism” is often the worst kind), by teasing, jeering, rules, prissy teachers, critics, and all those unloving people who forget that the letter killeth and the spirit giveth life. Sometimes I think of life as a process where everybody is discouraging and taking everybody else down a peg or two.”

”…the only way to love a person is not, as the stereotyped Christian notion is, to coddle them and bring them soup when they are sick, but by listening to them and seeing and believing in the god, in the poet, in them. For by doing this, you keep the god and the poet alive and make it flourish.”

All this reminded me of a ‘decision’ made many, many years ago. During my last high school years I loved the natural sciences including math but also art. Physics was the strongest in terms of appreciation by others.

Now it was the custom that the local news paper (it was a smaller town in Germany) published a list of all the high school graduates with their intended carrier. I was really honest for a moment there and answered the survey’s question about my intended carrier with a simple ‘Artist.’

Unfortunately this honesty did not last that long because after summer and some brain storming I entered college with a major of physics. That was more more ‘realistic’ choice, one that would allow me to ‘make a living.’ Fortunately this field was also something I loved and it got even better when I was done with my masters because those were the days when the field of computer science really started up and needed contributors. There was no major of Computer Science yet, so mostly mathematicians and physicists started to bootstrap this field and I was happy to pitch in – probably partly because in those early days, writing software was more of a creative and artistic activity than an engineering one.

I am glad that the ‘pure’ art also remained in my life even though I had chosen a real money-making carrier as my daytime job. Photography became my medium of expression and somehow musicians were always in my life, sometime to the extent that I was the only ‘audience’ in a big group of musicians.

But I do want to do more writing and so Brenda Ueland’s book came just at the right time.

Thank you, Felicia, for bringing it to me!

This, Jen, is the Internet – the IT Crowd

The first time I heard about the IT Crowd was from Cory Doctorow in one of his BoingBoing posts. Thanks to pirates I was able to watch the show despite not being in the UK, and I was instantly hooked on the show.

After a few seasons I re-visited the IT Crowd in one of my posts from 2009 but now, finally, there are some clips of it on the interweb, so that, for all of you who don’t know these master pieces of television yet, I can share some of the highlights.

Here is one of the best scenes – EVER!