On the Gladiator Games in DC this Week

Two big fails:

1. Men shouldn’t use their virginity to defend themselves. They can defend a woman’s honor, but not themselves. Just don’t do it. It’s not a good look.

2. Women, by the age of 53, should know what “exculpatory” means. Which explains why she provided the names of witnesses who didn’t back her up. Besides, that, naming your “friend” before asking her? Doesn’t say much about your friendship.

If I were advised to do either of these things, I would have told them to go to hell.

I am back

So after a long break, I am working on some new stories.  I am also reworking this website.

I’m not sure of my posting schedule at the moment, but I will try to not be a stranger to my own site. 🙂

The Mind of God: The Promise of String Theory

 

There is a Russian proverb which goes: If you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either one.

I was thinking of that saying these last few weeks while I try to find time  to write my stories (a full time job in itself), blog, draw, and experiment with my new camera – all while holding down a full time job. Then there are the children and the grandchildren – all of whom I want to spend more time with.

Not willing to give up on any of these rabbits, I’ve also been doing a lot more reading.  Which brings me to the subject of my current read: Not Even Wrong: The Failure of String Theory and the Continuing Challenge to Unify the Laws of Physics by Peter Woit.

I’ve had this book for a long time and started to read it several times. Unfortunately, it brought back such conflicting emotions about my college days (where I earned a Bachelor of Science in Physics and a minor in Computer Science) that I kept putting it down. In those days, I felt confused over the material we were learning. We studied a great deal of mathematics that we were assured would help us with post graduate studies, but seemed to have nothing to do with science. I was never a stellar student to begin with and I left the university feeling depressed about it. To be fair to myself, I had a lot of personal troubles at home which left me with limited time to concentrate on my studies. Still, I felt that I had no future in Physics since I felt lost in the last year or two, where I began to pick up Computer Science courses. Here, I easily excelled (thanks to the Physics and Mathematics courses).

Mr. Woit did Post Doc work in Physics, but eventually switched over to Mathematics. The  reassuring part of the book for me was that he felt the same confusion as I (and many of my classmates) felt as an undergraduate.

It’s very hard for people who don’t have a firm grasp of Calculus to follow current ideas in Physics (it’s hard for people who do, too, unless math is a natural talent). He writes about the split in the physics community over how to approach modern physics. Having reached a point where we are limited in our ability to observe smaller and smaller particles directly, do we abandon the old methods of science where we insisted that the theoretical research match up with experimental results or do we abandon that approach in order to explore theories that are more elegant and interesting, but do not match reality?

Continue reading “The Mind of God: The Promise of String Theory”

We Will Be Gods: Can Humanity Live Forever?

With the death of Stephen Hawking this week we are reminded of his warning to humanity that we must colonize the universe or face extinction. The reason we must leave Earth is that staying here is too risky for humans. Asteroids, a sudden burst of solar activity, or our own self-destructive behavior threatens the human race at any moment. The idea is that we leave the nest, Earth, and spread out into the universe increasing our survival chances.

This idea was certainly a popular one among Baby Boomers. We grew up with Science Fiction stories about humans populating the universe and eventually evolving into immortal beings. This was a comforting idea for children who grew up in the Cold War era where the fear of sudden nuclear annihilation was constantly lurking in our young minds. Naturally, we looked for ways to overcome that threat. But, is this really the future of humanity or an unrealistic belief system built on an instinctive human desire to defeat death? Is all that is necessary for humans to evolve into gods is to give us enough time?

Elon Musk seems to believe that space travel is the right path for humanity. I don’t doubt he’ll have many volunteers ready to commit themselves to a suicidal flight to Mars. But, why are they volunteering? Is it for adventure or for a mythological future they believe in?

I’m all for adventure and pushing the limits of human achievement, but I wonder at an effort that promises so much about a future we can’t possibly know.

 

 

Tidal Wave – Art For Non-Artists

 

I think one of the obstacles for those who are learning to draw or paint when they are adults is that they are overwhelmed with the vast number of objects they want to learn to create. We worry, we don’t have the time (perhaps we feel we are running out of time). This can create such an intense anxiety one is apt to quit out of sheer frustration over where to begin.

Children have an advantage over adults because they draw what they want when they want. They do not worry about “running out of time. They are not worried about getting on to the next thing before because that is what children do – they are learning a great number of new things every day. There’s always tomorrow.

Try to adopt that childlike attitude. Art doesn’t come to anyone overnight. Instead of trying everything at once – pick one thing you love.  If you love the mountains – draw mountains. If it’s the city – draw cityscapes.  Cars – then study that. That way – even if it gets tough or you are down about other matters, you can escape to your own artistic space with images that give you peace.

The next thing to do is find artistic styles you like. Don’t spend a lot of time with a style because you think it’s good, but doesn’t appeal to you. Choose ones that speak to you. Find some version of that style that you can imitate. Eventually you’ll find the one that’s your own.

By choosing subjects and styles that you want to imitate – you’ll begin to collect resources that you can use. But, there is one more thing to think about: There are many great art teachers and aids out there, but not any one method works for everyone. I know from homeschooling my six kids that everyone has a different learning style. Don’t stick with a method that doesn’t work for you – even if other people say it’s the best – if you aren’t getting anywhere with it. Try another method until you start to make progress.  You are unique. Remember that.

I am finding that the Zen Doodle community (on Facebook and Youtube) are great places to start. They give a new artist freedom to draw without judgment. And this one needs in abundance when starting out. But, they are limited in other areas such as perspective and lighting. For now, I’m not too worried about those things, as I need the encouragement to practice what I have learned. My point is that the more you draw or paint, the more you understand that the teachers are talking about when they speak about fundamentals.  At first it all seems like magic, but the more you do “art” the more you see “art”. It’s a strange process of training your hands, your eyes, and your brain.

For me, I love the ocean. I have no idea why, but I do. So, for now, that is what I am focusing on: real and imaginary ocean scenes.

The above painting (Tidal Wave) was done using the software program: Artrage. I wish I had a studio working with real brushes and real paints, but for now this will have to do. This was done in Artrage 4. Recently, I bought their upgrade to Version 5. I’m a little nervous about learning new tools. But I also can’t wait to try it out.

I used the filler tool (blend mode – sky preset), the roller tool, the spray tool, and the square oil brush. I found a picture that I liked on the internet and used it as a guide. There is an option to import images onto your working space. Don’t be afraid to use other pictures as guides for your own work.

I’m sure I couldn’t reproduce all the steps that I did to create this image, but I did enjoy doing it.  I know I’m a long way from being “good”, but at the moment I’m just happy to be able produce art that makes me happy.

Cheers!

For more on posts on Art for Non Artists (AFNA), go HERE.