Thursday, April 29, 2010

Randomities Is Carbon Neutral

If a website has around 15K visits a month, the energy consumed by the visitor's computers is equivalent to 3,6Kg (or 8lb) of carbon dioxide emission a year.

One tree absorbs 11lb per year.

Easy math, eh? ;)

Randomities hasn't reached yet this kind of traffic, but no matter. I'd rather make up for at least one website that hasn't joined this movement. ;)

"What the heck are you talking about?" you ask.

It's simple: these guys are willing to plant a tree for each website or blog that joins in, for free, in order to restore Plumas National Forest in North California, which was almost destroyed by a great fire caused by lightning back in 2007.

I'm sure you've heard or read about it?

So, I'm extremely proud to announce that Randomities is Carbon Neutral. *hurra!* ;D

If you got interested in participating -- I hope you did! -- go to
this page, where you'll find the simple and easy instructions.

And please don't forget to stop by Jemi Fraser's blog: Just Jemi. She's the awesome blogger who pointed me to this fundamental initiative.

Let's do some good people! :)

Note: The hand holding a tree is from the Carbon Neutral Project's website, and the satellite image is from Nasa's Earth Observatory. All technical information on CO2 absorption by trees also come from the project's website.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Random Cool Things #4 - Kazuki Takamatsu

This is the work of the astounding Japanese painter Kazuki Takamatsu.

Believe it or not, his artwork is produced with acrylic and gouache. So, if you need further confirmation, no, it's not 3D computer made illustration. Crazy, eh?

His themes range from beautifully psychedelic, as seen above, to a curiously disturbing social criticism,

reaching the peculiar Japanese sensuality.

Yes, you did not misunderstand it. They do have a thing about panties. ;)

What I didn't quite understand is his fixation with lamps. You can see more of his work here, or on his website, Distanfeerism.

If you get the lamp thing, would you come back here and tell me? I'm rather curious, heh.

Note: He changes periodically the artwork showcased in his website, so I'd advise you visiting him often. ;)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Mother Nature Calls - The Volcano Speaks

Oh, no. This is not one of those "I told you so" posts in which I'd tell you how disrespectful mankind have been to our home planet.

I just thought you'd like to see the beauty in all this.

Although a volcano eruption is terrifying,

if we allow ourselves to see, there's art everywhere. :)

Check out this link if you'd like to see even more astounding pictures of the Fimmvörðuháls volcano, in Iceland, that have been bothering our mighty financial and touristic necessities.

Note: The pictures, originally published somewhere in this website, and the fantastic link were sent to me by a twitter friend @baianissima48. Thanks Chris! :)

Edited to add: The Fimmvörðuháls was actually the first volcano to show activity this year, in early February. The pictures above and the ash clouds that covered North Europe air space are from his neighbor, the Eyjafjallajökull volcano.

Edited to add (again!): Another friend of mine showed me this link to the most incredible pictures I've ever seen! There are lightnings, horses, brave people, and more beauty than I can describe. Don't miss it!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Jealous? Hell, yeah!

These days I came across a piece from a fellow writer that astounded me. I'm afraid I can't tell whether its fiction or non fiction, prose or poetry, but suffice to say that I felt jealous of the quality therein.

I had never felt like this before. I thought I'd never feel this way. I thought myself above these "petty" feelings, and then BANG!

I hate when this happens. However, this is one of those opportunities I grab with both hands.

"Have you noticed that you often contradict yourself? This is getting annoying," you say.

Heh, indeed. Why would someone hold to a supposedly bad feeling?

Well, it's not to the feeling that I cling to, mind, it's to discovering a new aspect of myself.

Right, I know this is not a pleasant one, but although I dabble with fantasy and science fiction in my writing, when it comes to real life I'm very realistic. It doesn't mean that I know immediately how to deal with it, though. So I thought that by asking others how they coped with it I might not feel so bad about myself and move on to working and improving my own stuff. ;)

So, would you help me out on this? Have you ever felt jealous of someone else's work? If yes, how did you manage it?

Note: I meant to leave this post dry of pictures, but then I came across the painting "Jealous Zebras" and I couldn't resist putting here. Too darn fitting! heh

Edited to add: The artist who created this fabulous painting is Eira Fogelberg. Thanks to @virtualDavis for sharing this information and linking back here. :) You can visit his Posterous blog if you like. It's has much in common with Randomities, heh.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Random Cool Things #3 - Zélia Duncan

When thinking on how put into words the Traveling Souls post, I came across this song Não Vá Ainda or literally translated Don't Go Yet composed and sang by a fabulous Brazilian artist, Zélia Duncan.

By the way, she's on Twitter, in case you want to get in touch with her. ;)

The song has nothing to do with my musings, directly anyway, but the idea of someone leaving reminded of the nomad lifestyle I've never had. (and don't intend on having, just sayin', heh)

Here's an excerpt of the lyrics, poorly translated by me. I hope you'll be able to see my point.
Me diga como você pode viver indo embora, sem se despedaçar
Por favor me diga agora, ou será
Que você nem quer perceber?
Talvez você seja feliz sem saber.

Tell me how can you be always leaving, without falling apart
Please tell me now, or is it
That you don't even want to know?
Maybe you're happier unaware.

I gather this might make not much sense, but the music is good anyway. Don't you agree? ;)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Choose Your Own Adventure - The Mendigans

Do you remember those old "choose your own story" books? I used to love them!

So, Barry Northern decided to create a collaborative project between bloggers, in which you, the reader, decide what the main character, 14 year old Michael, will do. Each decision leads to a different blog and another installment, or an ending? ;)

If you like, start the story from the beginning at Barry's blog, or go backwards to Tony Noland's blog, Landless and track it to where it all started.

On the other hand, if you came from Tony's blog, you've chosen Option 2: Listen to Taylor Swift to learn about the secret plan.

Either way, have fun! ;D

Thin Clumsy Hands

The man fumbled in the stacks of CD’s. They winced at the falling CD cases and harrumphings; Latoya grabbed Michael’s arm.
He finally noticed their wide eyes, “Oh, sorry about that. It’s Janine, the girl who used to work here. She was the one who kept all the stuff organized.”
The teenagers relaxed a bit, but Latoya didn’t release Michael.
The brown bearded man continued, “You see, I let her go this morning. She was… you know…”
He shuddered vigorously, making his whole body shake like a wild snake. Michael and Latoya stifled a laugher.
The man’s eyebrows came together, “Sorry about that. Maybe I should present myself?” he said changing the subject, “My name is Toby Brown.” Looking down he extended his bony hand.
Latoya titled her head to look straight in his eyes as her father had taught her, but seeing the crimson raising in his cheeks she grabbed his hand rigidly and said looking at his neat nails, “Nice to meet you Mr. Brown, my name is Latoya--”
Michael elbowed her in the ribs, giving her a hard look, “I’m Michael. Nice to meet you sir.”
He took Mr. Brown’s hand like a grown man would do. The man flinched and Michael was surprised by the lightness of his handshake.
“Right, I should get back to work… I don’t understand why I can’t find Taylor Swift. She’s so popular!”
“Sir,” said Latoya attemptively, “I’m sorry to ask, but are you sure you’re looking in the right section?”
“Yes, yes, I sold her album just the other day. The country section should be right here!”
“Maybe there are more albums in the back?” tried Michael, “Do you have a storage room, sir?”
“You’re a smart boy, Michael. Why don’t you go over the country section again, just in case? I’ll be right over there,” he said, motioning to a narrow door behind them.
As they resumed the search, Latoya questioned Michael about his roughness, “What was that about?”
“We shouldn’t trust him just because he says he saw the aliens. Besides he looks a bit queer, don’t you think?”
This last remark got him a pursed lip, "Yeah, emo-boy," she snapped.
"I'm no emo, ok?" he whispered between gritted teeth, "I just think we should be more cautious, that's all. Besides, who's this Baa-guy anyway?”
“Do you think this could be a trap?”
“Shush!” he whispered, stepping closer.
“There! I got it!” yelled Mr. Brown from the door, startling the conspiring couple and provoking a girlish yelp from both Latoya and Michael.
"I’ve found only a few copies of her last album, but this should do."
It did them no good. It was all fragmented; all they could hear were sparse and broken words, “bewa… invasion… horrible… must…”
“There’s nothing we don’t know already!” said Michael, punching the floor where they’d all seated, "We've heard everything twice but nothing comes out of it!"
"Maybe we're missing something," said Mr. Brown.
Latoya tapped a finger on her lips, drawing Michael’s attention to them. Then she snapped her fingers, bringing him back to reality.
“What if they have been planning this invasion for a long time, and they are infiltrated in all music stores, destroying the messages put in the songs?”
“We’re listening,” said the men in unison. They looked at each other automatically; Michael looked back at Latoya, who was elaborating her idea.
“I mean, maybe they couldn’t get to the bigger stores, but the smaller ones would be an easier target, wouldn’t they?”
“So, we’ve reached a dead end,” said Michael, sighing. “This can't be happening!”
"Calm down emo-boy, I--"
"I've said I'm no emo." He pointed a stiff finger to his own head.
They all silenced. Suddenly Mr. Brown started humming. It seemed that he was battling against himself.
“Mr. Brown?” asked Latoya, with her sweetest voice. She didn’t want to startle him, setting up another snake fit.
“I have a friend from Wyomissing," said the older man, "we haven’t seen each other for a long time, but he knows the Taylor girl. He used to get all her albums in first hand; some were even signed as 'your friend Taylor'. I saw one myself. He lives a few blocks from here.”
Latoya’s face brightened.
“Or we could try the mall,” interrupted Michael, narrowing his eyes, “where there's a huge bookstore with CDs and DVD’s of all kinds.”
“So,” she asked, “what do we do?”
They all looked up as the door opened and an alien police officer entered.
So, what will you do?
Note: The fun image of the tentacle cupcake I found here. Psst! There's a recipe in there. ;)

Edited to add: If you felt a bit lost as to which thread leads where, Barry, the creator of this whole thing, made a graph to help us out (I'm confused too! lol). You can check it out here.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Traveling Souls, Opening Eyes

I'm reading
Cape Wrath to Finisterre, by Björn Larsson. This is not a usual novel, like his famous Long John Silver; it's more a collection of thoughts and reflections. This book is so rich that in the third chapter I had to stop and write this post.

Larsson's life circles around the sea, his travels, and of course, his writing. He met many people in his wanderings: a guy who wanted to build his own boat; a man who worked on a nuclear submarine spending six months under water, and when he came out he'd say that the surface reeked of putridity; an Irish couple who lived a very simple life and were happy, he was the type of sailor who would go out for a "ride" in a storm that kept everyone else at home; a captain who had a heart attack the day after paying Larsson and his wife a visit, clad in full uniform to honor the couple's nautical abilities, and whose faith is unknown, as of numerous other friends they have made on their traveling.

Reading about these people who live by and for the sea, casting anchor only to gather supplies for their journey, triggered a frequent contemplation of mine.

Once again I come to realize how many worlds there are in our World.

We hear frequently about the "sea people" -- sailors, travelers, merchants, etc. -- but we never get to feel what their life is like. In this book, there's a hit of that feeling, which is one of the most precious things to me, because these fleeting impressions can teach us more than many believe.

You can learn a whole different way of seeing life, of thinking, an unlike set of desires, fears and goals. You get to feel it too. I could almost smell the scent of a storm by his description of a moment in someone else's life; I could feel the urge of moving forward, never remaining in a place for long --even though my personal needs are diametrically opposite -- I could taste the salty wind in a bright day.

His tales also brought back the memory of my own encounters with people of various cultural backgrounds: a friendly man who lives in Eastern Island, where the natives still live by the standards of their ancient culture, with hints of modernity provided by television, alcoholic beverages, and internet; a black man with the hardest gaze, filled with suffering and danger; a Japanese man who fell in love with a foreign land where he felt free, but had to go back to his own country for not being able to get a visa; Chinese people and their sons and daughters born abroad, who struggled to live by contradicting codes of conduct and honor; an Italian family who lives practically the same life of their ancestors, although being in the 21st century and benefiting from its technology.

Each of these people live in their own world. My world is not that of deep waters and passing shores, the world of a native from Easter Island is not the one of bucolic and static landscapes (although their scenery is gorgeous), the world of a refugee is not the one same of a man of the country he immigrated to.

What conclusion do I reach with this? That every and each of us see things from a singular perspective. We're the same, yet we're unique.

I don't know about you, but I want to be introduced to as many cultures and viewpoints as possible. I want to feel their viewpoint, not only understand it. Since I'm not the nomad type of person, I read, I talk to people, and I observe. And of course, I write about it.

Now, why don't you tell me about your own world?

Note: The painting are these, in order of appearance:
Lonely Sailing Ship, by Peter Pavlov
Smooth Sailing, by Robert Bisset
Sailing Boat, by Ginger Lovellette
On The Sailing Boat, by Caspar David Friedrich
Sailing at Sunset, by Lissa Friedman

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Happy Bunny! Ops, Easter!

I'm not a religious person at all, but I found this Muppets' video on
Twitter that is somehow related to the holiday (since it has bunnies on it, heh) I thought of sharing it with you.

As the tweep who first showed it to me said, it's slightly disturbing, which makes the video all the more funny, heh. ;)


Note: If you're a religious person, please forgive me if you think this is inappropriate. I've never meant to offend anyone. :)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Uh, oh! Randomities Won the Happy 101 Award!

My dear twitter friend Anne Tyler Lord, of the excellent Don't Fence Me In, sent me the best blog award ever: Happy 101 Award that stands for happiness and friendship. Thanks so much Anne! *hugs* :)

To receive this award I'm supposed to list ten things that make me happy, and pass it on to five people. I gladly comply:
  1. Friendship: This award is mostly about the warmth of fellowship. It makes me tremendously happy to make new friends, like the ones I'm sharing this prize with, and to be able to maintain old friendships that could cool down with distance or time. (hi Former-Witch! ;)
  2. Unconditional love: like the love we share with our pets, when we allow ourselves to. If you look at randomities' labels, you'll notice how much I dabble about my dogs, heh. Also, I'm lucky to have close friends who I love and am loved by unconditionally. This is a rare thing.
  3. Pretty things: It makes me happy to see, watch and listen to the wonderful things that we, humans, are capable of making. In my view, art is something meant to elevate us.
  4. The nature: It could fall into the pretty things category, but I think the nature deserves a topic for itself. It's astounding, isn't it? I'm always happy when hiking, climbing, swimming or just standing in a place untouched by man's crafty hands. The connection with the nature is inestimable.
  5. Reading: Another thing that is encompassed by the pretty things category, but stands out. It makes me tremendously happy to travel to other worlds, learn about other view points, muse on something, and everything else that the reading experience can render us.
  6. Food: Yeah, it's not just the endorphin of a good dark chocolate,heh, but the act of eating is highly pleasant, especially when accompanied by a good wine, in a table filled with friends.
  7. Writing: Obviously! To create things, is something amazing. When the characters, the story, or the ideas don't let me sleep until I've given them enough attention, I'm truly happy.
  8. Adventure: If you've peered into my profile, you know that already. I like highs, depths, speed, and even the surpassing of obstacles in life.
  9. Love, in the romantic sense: I love to love, and be loved back. Intensely. Those who have felt this know what I'm talking about. I'd never exchange a broken heart for safety. Life is not meant to be dull.
  10. Meditation: Like Anne, It makes me profoundly happy when I'm tranquil and balanced. To actually breathe helps a lot, and meditation is a good way of remembering how to do it.
Gee, I've been so reflexive lately! Wait and see, 'cause there's more stuff coming, heh.

Now let's go to the fun part! I'd like to spread the love to many people, but I'm limited to five, so here are the friends I'm bestowing the Happy 101 Award to:

Donna, the fantastic writer of Donna's Blog

Debbie, spreading the word about Ainu culture through Project Uepeker

Phyl, writer, book reviewer and cat lover, of Bookishgal

Jem, poet and writer, of

Recent Popular Posts