Showing all posts tagged: legacy

Deirdre Sullivan Beeman, surrealist figurative artist

30 March 2017

Deirdre Sullivan-Beeman is a surrealist figurative artist, based in Los Angeles. This work is titled Orphic Egg Girl, a wood panel painted with oil and egg tempera.

Tempera is a painting medium, often consisting of, yes, egg yoke. As a painting medium, egg tempera is long lasting, very long lasting. Artworks painted with egg tempera in the first century survive to this day. You learn something new every day. And who knows, people may still looking upon Orphic Egg Girl two thousand years from now.

Originally published Thursday 30 March 2017.


, ,

Lena Macka Lyon France based illustrator and tattoo designer

21 March 2017

Lena Macka is an illustrator and designer of minimal tattoos, who is based in the French city of Lyon. She seems to work mainly in black and white, and shades of grey, but look through her illustrations, and you will see some colour works.

Originally published Tuesday 21 March 2017.


, ,

Thilo Vogel, engineer, digital nomad, and portrait photographer

1 February 2017

Thilo Vogel describes himself as a photographer, engineer, digital nomad, and rooftop tent camper. That’s quite the mix. But check out his portrait photography. He certainly has a way of bringing out his subject’s — in this case Fabian Freigeist — individuality. Am I right, or am I right?

Originally published Wednesday 1 February 2017.


, ,

Queen of the Desert, by Werner Herzog, with Nicole Kidman, Robert Pattinson

31 May 2016

Scene from Queen of the Desert, depicting stars Nicole Kidman and Robert Pattinson.

Still from Queen of the Desert , a film by Werner Herzog.

Born in England in 1868, Gertrude Bell spent the early decades of the twentieth century travelling across the Middle East, in what is now Turkey, Lebanon, Israel, Syria, Iran, and Jordan. She was a writer, archaeologist, and explorer, and was much respected by both the British, and the peoples of the region. She also played a part in establishing latter day Iraq and Jordan.

In Queen of the Desert, trailer, the Werner Herzog (Invincible, Cave of Forgotten Dreams) made depiction of her life, she is portrayed by Nicole Kidman. Bell is desperate to flee the clutches of her stifled upper class life, and leaps at the opportunity to leave, when her father (David Calder) offers to send her to stay in Tehran with her uncle, the British ambassador.

Upon arriving, Bell is soon enamoured by the free-spirited way of life in the Middle East, and sets her sights on seeing as much of the area as possible, plus meeting the local inhabitants, and their tribal leaders. She also catches the eye of several British military and diplomatic personnel, including Henry Cadogan (James Franco), and T.E. Lawrence, also known as Lawrence of Arabia (Robert Pattinson).

Nicole Kidman meets Lawrence of Arabia? Who wouldn’t want to see a film where that happens? Maybe quite a few people, and it almost seems the producers were hoping this drawcard meeting would carry the story. Instead, Queen of the Desert presents as little more than a perfunctory re-counting of Bell’s exploits in the Middle East. The performances by the leads are competent, but I think audiences may be left feeling unsure what sort of film Herzog was trying to make.

Originally published Tuesday 31 May 2016. Updated Sunday 21 April 2024.


, , , , ,

Planet Nine, a captured exoplanet? How B-grade sci-fi is that idea?

6 May 2016

There has been chatter in recent months about Planet Nine, a would-be planetary body lurking on the extreme far reaches of the solar system.

The hypothetical planet is so far away, its orbital period around the Sun is estimated at ten thousand years. By comparison, Pluto, the solar system’s best known dwarf, and outermost planet, completes a lap around the Sun in about two-hundred-and-forty-eight years.

But back to Planet Nine. Before even confirming the body even exists, astronomers are trying to figure out its origins. Wouldn’t that be easier once the planet is found? Whatever, some scientists believe it formed relatively close to the Sun, before being dispatched to the solar system’s outer reaches after a run-in with Jupiter.

Others, however, think Planet Nine is an exoplanet, a once rogue exoplanet possibly, that was captured by the Sun, after straying a little too closely to our solar system.

The final scenario sounds like a plot line from a B-grade sci-fi movie, and it seems to be comparably unlikely. Planet Nine could be an extraterrestrial invader. “Planet 9 may be an exoplanet in our own solar system,” said Gongjie Li, another astronomer at Harvard’s Center for Astrophysics whose recent modelling paper explores this very possibility, among others.

I’m not sure though I like the notion of Planet Nine being described as “a plot line from a B-grade sci-fi movie”, since it’s an idea I’ve been kicking around, as if it were a cosmic soccer ball, so to speak, in one of my sci-fi writing projects.

Originally published Friday 6 May 2016. Updated Friday 24 May 2024.


, ,

Wuher: A Star Wars Story, and other films you may not live to see

18 November 2015

If a single movie, Rogue One, a Star Wars “spin off” story, slated for release in late 2016, can be spawned by way of a few words taken from the opening crawl of A New Hope, then imagine what else seen in the six films released to date, has the potential to inspire? A point that’s not lost on current series producers, the Walt Disney Company:

And if the people at the Walt Disney Company, which bought Lucasfilm for $4 billion in 2012, have anything to say about it, the past four decades of Star Wars were merely prologue. They are making more. A lot more. The company intends to put out a new Star Wars movie every year for as long as people will buy tickets. Let me put it another way: If everything works out for Disney, and if you are (like me) old enough to have been conscious for the first Star Wars film, you will probably not live to see the last one. It’s the forever franchise.

I think Wuher, the gruff bartender in the canteen at Mos Eisley, is worthy of a film. In fact, I’m of the opinion that the significance of his role in the saga has been greatly understated so far. Read his profile. I think you’ll agree there’s far more to him than meets the eye.


, , ,

Pluto, the solar system’s other red… planet?

14 July 2015

Photo of Pluto and Charon, image by New Horizons, NASA

NASA’s New Horizons space probe will probably be skimming, mere thousands of kilometres, passed Pluto around about now. That means the photos it sends in the next few days will doubtless be far sharper than the above image of Pluto and Charon, taken from a distance of approximately twenty million kilometres.

While it’s been known for sometime Pluto is reddish-brown in colour, I didn’t realise it was referred to as the solar system’s “other red planet”, with Mars being, I guess, the red planet. While both have reddish hues, their colouring comes about in quite different ways:

What color is Pluto? The answer, revealed in the first maps made from New Horizons data, turns out to be shades of reddish brown. Although this is reminiscent of Mars, the cause is almost certainly very different. On Mars the coloring agent is iron oxide, commonly known as rust. On the dwarf planet Pluto, the reddish color is likely caused by hydrocarbon molecules that are formed when cosmic rays and solar ultraviolet light interact with methane in Pluto’s atmosphere and on its surface.

Also, isn’t referring to Pluto as “other red planet”, with the operative word being planet, likely to start all sorts of arguments?

Originally published Tuesday 14 July 2015.


, ,

Graffiti, with punctuation and grammar, only in Quito, Ecuador

13 March 2015

Just as one Wikipedia member is intent on ridding the online encyclopaedia of the grammatically incorrect phrase “comprised of” from articles, counterparts of a sort are on a mission to tidy up errors made by graffiti artists and others, in the Ecuadorian city of Quito:

In the dead of night, two men steal through the streets of Quito armed with spray cans and a zeal for reform. They are not political activists or revolutionaries: they are radical grammar pedants on a mission to correctly punctuate Ecuador’s graffiti. Adding accents, inserting commas and placing question marks at the beginning and end of interrogative sentences scrawled on the city’s walls, the vigilante editors have intervened repeatedly over the past three months to expose the orthographic shortcomings of would-be poets, forlorn lovers and anti-government campaigners.

Originally published Friday 13 March 2015.


, ,

Stories about ghosts that nurses have seen

29 October 2014

Photo of ghostly woman in abandoned building, by Maximiliano Estevez

Image courtesy of Maximiliano Estevez.

I once spent a month staying at a hotel when I was somewhere or other, and every evening when I came in there’d be a young woman with straight blonde hair, sitting on the stairs. She’d always be engaged in a FaceTime conversation, speaking in Spanish, with, I came to notice, the same male.

I never saw her at any other time. Curious as to who she was, I asked the manager about her one morning. He looked blankly at me. He knew of no such guest, especially one who had been staying there as long as I had. Predictably, I never saw her again.

That’s not quite how things unfolded, and that’s not quite meant to be a ghost story, but I thought I’d tell the tale nonetheless.

Anyway to bookmark for later tonight… ghosts may well contravene the second law of thermodynamics, but these ghost stories, as told by nurses, may have you doubting the axiom that nothing unreal exists, for a spine chilling couple of minutes at least.

Originally published Wednesday 29 October 2014.


, ,

I doubt that our lives are merely the sums of our possessions

12 December 2013

This piece I read on Kottke last week had me wondering about the way we… measure someone’s achievements, success, or net worth, upon their death. In October US comedian and author David Sedaris wrote about the suicide of his youngest sister, Tiffany, earlier this year. Judging from her will, Tiffany appeared to have become estranged, to some degree, from her family, but it was Sedaris’ reference to his late sister’s possessions, or lack thereof, that caught my eye:

Compared with most forty-nine-year-olds, or even most forty-nine-month-olds, Tiffany didn’t have much. She did leave a will, though. In it, she decreed that we, her family, could not have her body or attend her memorial service. “So put that in your pipe and smoke it,” our mother would have said. A few days after getting the news, my sister Amy drove to Somerville with a friend and collected two boxes of things from Tiffany’s room: family photographs, many of which had been ripped into pieces, comment cards from a neighborhood grocery store, notebooks, receipts.

In response, Michael Knoblach, a friend of Tiffany’s, chastised Sedaris in an article he wrote for the Wicked Local Somerville. Among other points, Knoblach wished to make clear that Tiffany’s estate amounted to more than just two boxes of belongings:

I found David Sedaris’ article, “Now we are five,” in the Oct. 28 New Yorker to be obviously self-serving, often grossly inaccurate, almost completely unresearched and, at times, outright callous. Some of her family had been more than decent, loving and kind to her. “Two lousy boxes” is not Tiffany’s legacy. After her sister left with that meager lot, her house was still full of treasures. More than two vanloads of possession were pulled from there and other locations by friends.

Tiffany may have been troubled, but it is clear her life had value far beyond her possessions, regardless of their quantity.

Originally published Thursday 12 December 2013