Sunday, September 30, 2012

Vib Gyor

Vib Gyor is a UK band, and they are now known as Fossil Collective.  Their song Red Light was used in the movie Intouchables:

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Knots Beads Mothers Daughters

A beautiful pair of mother and daughter living in the beautiful city of Bolu in Turkey, are creating beautiful crochet jewelry together.  Watching this video of their close relationship through the materials they use and their creations, I see the perfect portrayal of the love and respect that are the two overarching characteristics of Turkish culture.

I wanted to include a sample picture of their very unique creations but quickly realized that choosing only one was impossible, so here are four of my favorites for your viewing pleasure:

Friday, September 28, 2012

Automated Art Appreciator

An experiment, published in a recent issue of ACM Journal on Computing and Cultural Heritage, on using algorithms to have machines analyze visual clues from 1,000 paintings of 34 well-known artists, and grouping them into relevant genres, proved that the computers perform better than untrained humans in quantifying the subtle differences between closely related schools of art.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

* Minimalist Sushi Master

I love sushi.  I am in love with sushi.  In fact, the only bar where everybody knows my name is the neighborhood sushi bar!

I remember my very first sushi experience which did not go so well for it came from a supermarket in Mid-West, and was extremely disappointing in its blandness.  To my ignorant taste buds, it was not something I would try again.

Lucky for me, during a training week in Florida little over four years ago, my coworkers took pity on me, convinced me to go to a real sushi bar, and practically ordered everything on the menu.  The memory of closing my eyes, and absorbing the incredible variety of sushi and sashimi pieces one after another, is still very vivid.  I was so captivated by the food, I did not even feel embarrassed by my lack of command with chopsticks, and proceeded with my fingers ever so gently.  I was hooked.

Following this heavenly sushi experience,  I purchased ten pairs of chopsticks, and literally ate everything with them until I was able to lift a single rice grain from my plate to my mouth with unhurried grace.  Finding the best tasting sushi everywhere I travel, has become my biggest food quest.

Knowing my admiration for sushi, several friends highly recommended the movie "Jiro Dreams of Sushi", and finally today, I had the great pleasure of watching this movie about the most talented sushi master in the world.

Besides his talent in adding so much flavor to this Japanese delicacy, his minimalistic creativity is awe inspiring.  He describes his success as a result of loving the profession he chose; he says "it is the key to being regarded honorably".

If you love sushi or if you just want to watch an inspiring human being who takes his job very seriously, make time to watch this movie.  You will not be disappointed...

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Faery Islands Of Faroe

Since someone from Faroe Islands has been kind enough to pay a visit to my blog, I decided to educate myself about this constellation of islands under Danish rule, tucked away in the Northern Seas halfway between Norway and Iceland, just above Scotland.

Their people that make up their 50,000 population are called Faroese, making them sound like they have magical superpowers.  As I read the Færeyinga Sagamy fascination of the Norse cultures swelled, and made me want to have adventures in those Viking-Lands.

The beauteous Faroe Islands are now added to my ever growing list of places to go!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Keeping Perfect Time Forever

I am having a difficult time wrapping my head around the Space-Time Crystal, a four-dimensional device proposed by scientists at the Berkeley Lab.  This four-dimensional crystal has periodic structure in both space and time, and could be used to build a clock that would keep perfect time, even after the heat-death of the universe.

I do have some questions:
1.  Where will this device reside once the universe is gone?
2.  What is the point of keeping time after everything is gone?
3.  Is there an assumption that there will be another big-bang after the death of the universe and the device will then be in the new universe?
4.  If the assumption in the previous question holds true, since we measure time in a very earthly manner, what will it mean to the beings that get into the possession of this device?

Anyone care to elaborate?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Custom Bicycles by Cykelmageren

I have a special affection towards bicycles for I believe they are the best urban transportation vehicles.  Cyclemageren in Copenhagen, Denmark is what I would like to call a Designer Bicycle Studio where they build custom bicycles by hand one at a time. You can choose from a handful of designs or have your very own design created with almost unlimited options.  Whatever you choose, you can be assured that you will have a simply beautiful product!

Sunday, September 23, 2012


Ever wonder how much of life can be fit into a single day?  

The movie Life In A Day was recorded by the people of the earth on my mum's birthday July 24th, 2010.

And go see the world...

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Life In A Single Thread

Kumi Yamashita is a Japanese artist living in New York that paints with threads.  She takes the old school nails and threads concept to unexpected heights by using a single thread and a constallation of nails.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Aillte an Mhothair

After spending a week with my lovely Irish colleagues from Galway, Ireland, my interest in that part of the world increased tenfold, so I decided to learn about their city a little bit more.
The City of Galway is located on the west coast of Ireland, and is the third largest city on the island.  What is very appealing to me is the Irish name of this city - "Cathair na Gaillimhe" for it sounds like a fairy tale place or a city out of a Patrick Rothfuss book.
While I was reading about the history and nearby tourist attractions, I learned that it is only one and half hours away from one of the most beautiful places I have on my travel list - Cliffs of Moher:

Thursday, September 20, 2012

A Scandal In Belgravia

Finally the second season of the BBC series Sherlock is on Netflix!  If you like Sherlock Holmes, I would definitely recommend Scottish television writer and producer Steven Moffat's modern day adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's detective stories.  Especially, the first episode of the second season where Sherlock meets "The Woman", is a feast for the eyes...

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Shapes That Go Together

It is always refreshing when I discover new songs that I did not know by a band I've loved forever!  So sad they don't create any magic anymore...

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Inspiration Comes From Galway, Ireland

I usually do not talk about work related subjects on this blog however I listened to one of the most inspiring presentations today at the LeanSigma (Lean & SixSigma) Summit organized by the company at which I work.  Even though the content of the presentation was not exactly new to me, the person who gave the speech - Martin Conroy from our Galway, Ireland facility - brought a very new perspective on using A3s as a means of communication by the people on manufacturing floors.  Those are the people who do not have access to fancy PowerPoint presentations, and most of the time don't even have an e-mail account they can use to communicate day-to-day issues and/or solutions.  This one piece of European size paper can be the most important tool for engaging them in problem solving in manufacturing environments.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Modern Day Farinelli

Swedish singer Moto Boy's goosebumpy soprano voice is reminiscent of the 18th century Italian opera singer Farinelli il castrato:

He also sings a good tenor:

Oh, and if you have not seen Farinelli the movie, I'd say it is a must!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Celestine Prophecy

I learned about a book from my brother while we were talking about my impending Peru trip.  The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield was also made into a movie in 2006.  Very intriguing since I keep saying "I do not know why but I have to go to Machu Picchu" all the time.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Dancing On Oobleck

Named after a Dr. Seuss book, Oobleck is a non-Newtonian fluid on which one can walk on by applying enough pressure to increase its viscosity making it feel like solid.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Igloo With A View

I have just found my next pleasure trip destination!  Hotel Kakslauttanen in Finland is located inside the Arctic Circle and has igloos made of glass as their guest rooms.  I cannot imagine anything more magical than laying down in your bed and have a direct view of Aurora Borealis.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Yoga Industry

I have been practicing yoga for over a decade now, and have become a devout of Bikram Yoga practitioner in the past couple of years.  For me Bikram Yoga is the only state where I am alone with myself and need nothing else.

The thing I learned today about yoga was that it was originally designed only for men, and how women has turned it into a multi-million dollar industry by bringing it into our over-stressed western lives.  As a matter of fact, Bikram Choudhury (the creator of Bikram Yoga) has been accused of being McYoga of yogaworld because of his chain studios with strict rules.  The documentary Yogawoman tells the story of how more and more women benefit from this practice in many ways while showcasing the industrialization of yoga.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Extreme Finger Painting

Let your children finger-paint on your walls!  You never know what magical images might appear - just like the ones Judith Ann Braun creates.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Projet Xion

Although I am not into the slowness of this kind of music, there is something about this French band Projet Xion that makes me repeatedly go back and listen to their song "Lost Garden" from the album Anatol's World.  Worth checking out.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Calvariae Tabula Geographica

The maps created by the Spanish painter and illustrator Fernando Vicente that look like skulls and other forms are very interesting.  You will have to click on >Pintura/Fine Art > Atlas to the left to see these illustrations.  And while you are still at his website, I'd recommend checking out his other work.  Very imaginative!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

* Odes to No Words

I had no idea...

I want to be...

I want to be 
The wind
Go to every place possible
and impossible on earth
Caress every crease
Every crack
Every pore
On every surface
Be every breath
In every body
Move through the fingers
Of slow moving dancers

I want to be 
The water
Move in with furious tides
Be very still
To catch 
The twirling night sky
And leave in a boiling cloud
Only to come down
With morning mist
And rest on a lonely leaf

I want to be 
Every light
Every shade
Every shadow
Hiding from the sun
Behind arching rocks
And extend to eternity
In the late twilight

I want to be
Every color
To paint
Every human desire
Every grain of sand
Every city street
Every thing
Anyone imagined

I want to be
Just be

I had no idea.....

I had no idea what watching Samsara on the big screen would do to me today.  I am still in a state of stunned humility....

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Paint Me An Earl Grey View

I love tea.  When I say tea I mean the black tea that is made from the fermented leaves of the tea plant.  I find great pleasure in brewing a pot of Earl Grey tea in a Turkish style pot and breathe in the bergamot scent with every sip to take me to the shimmering Mediterranean sea.

I had no idea the dry black tea leaves could be enjoyed in any other way but the illustrations by the Russian artist Andrew Gorkovenko for TripTea packaging are as breathtaking ... maybe even more-so...

Friday, September 7, 2012

Borsuk-Ulam Theorem

The Borsuk-Ulam Theorem is another amazing theorem from topology.  An informal version of the theorem states that at any given moment on the earth's surface, there exists two antipodal points on exactly opposite sides of the earth with the same temperature and barometric pressure.

More formally, assuming that temperature and barometric pressure are continuous functions, the theory says that any continuous function from an n-sphere to Rn must send a pair of antipodal points to the same point.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Data Visualizing America

In the series "America Revealed", PBS has gone on one of the best data visualization quests I've ever seen.  Every story is a manifestation of the rhythms and patterns that make this country work.  I could easily frame these and hang them on my walls.

Visualization of Internet distribution:

Visualization of New York pizza delivery route of ONE Domino's employee on a Friday night:

Visualization of U.S. imports and exports of beef:

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Carbon Nanotube Skyline Of 3-D Photovoltaic Cells

Researchers at Georgia Tech have developed a new kind of 3D Solar Cell that not only reduces the size of the solar cells significantly compared to conventional 2D cells, but also does not have to face the sun directly due to its structure.  Since the surface of the photovoltaic cells are covered with nano scale carbon tubes, the photons are much more likely to hit and refract from the many surfaces in a much smaller area making it possible to capture more energy to be turned into electricity.  If I've managed to get the nerdy juices flowing in you then go ahead and read about it from the mouths (fingers) of experts here!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Not So Calm Thunder Storm

You can mix your own soundtrack of the moment at Nature Sounds For Me website.  This is my favorite right now with Thunder increased to 82% ...

Monday, September 3, 2012

* Alice On The Enchanted Hill

Oh what a day I had today!  I left my vacation spot - The Pigeon Point Light Station Hostel - early in the morning, and started a truly magical drive on PCH towards my home in L.A.  

At first, I was a little disappointed for it was very foggy, and I did not get to see most of the beautiful views from the cliffs down while passing through the winding roads, but even the little I have seen was heart wrenchingly beautiful.  Every turn brought a new vista that made you long for what alluring view was coming around the next curve.

I felt like Alice falling down the rabbit hole.  After driving for about 4 hours, I arrived at La Cuesta Encantada as named by William Randolph Hearst.  If you do not know who Hearst is, just stop reading this right now, go to the nearest newstand on your street (and I mean the country you are in as well) and pick up one of the most known magazines (popular mechanics, cosmopolitan, elle, good housekeeping,  esquire, town & country, etc.) and look at the thin side of the cover.  Ok, now you know who Hearst is.  So, what do you do if you are a man like Hearst with a land far above the clouds inherited from family, a whole lot of money, and a passion for European art?  

Well of course you build yourself a castle:

Shop from European auction catalogues for hand carved ceilings for your dining room where you will be sharing a bite with Churchill:

Have your architect design intricate passageways to the room where you will play pool with Charlie Chaplin while listening to one of the radio stations you own:

Build a pool in shades of Mediterranean Blue where your Hollywood guests will weather the California sun:

Decorate your garden with European statues:

Create magical corners by guest houses:

 Tend to the backyard where your exotic animals will roam:

And relax in your Roman Bath at the end of a long, tiring day:

I truly admire this man, and how he realized his dreams for himself, his family, his friends, and the public.  After all, he is the one who said "A dream is not a dream unless it's shared!"

Sunday, September 2, 2012

* A Lighthouse Docent's Love Story

Today, hoping to learn the history of the place I am staying, I participated in a tour of the Pigeon Point Light Station given by the Lighthouse Docent Christopher O'Donnell.  This charming seaman is originally from Sydney, and has the engaging deep blue eyes that compete in brightness with the lighthouse he is in love with.

I first saw him when I walked into the structure where the Fog Horn used to be.  He was talking about the beautiful glass object that stood in the middle of the building.  He kept explaining the centerpiece - The Fresnel Lens - to a group of young men surrounding him as he locked eyes with me and flashed the most enticing smile only men in captain's hats are capable of.  Without skipping a beat in his speech, he made sure everyone in the earshot distance understood to not pronounce the letter 's' in Fresnel for it is a French word.  

The more he revealed the intricate details about the anatomy of the lens and the history behind it, the more he sounded like the young man he possibly used to be talking about the woman he adored.  After he finished his speech to the young fellows around him, he walked towards me and thanked me for the smile I had on my face for he could tell I was truly listening.  I could not help but follow him outside, and watched him make the light station come alive in his dignified yet humorous Aussie accent.

Yes, I learned quite a bit about lighthouses, and Fresnel Lens today, but I also learned that this man is here only because he is still in love with this place, and is still hopeful that one day this light station will be restored back to its glory as he remembers it.  I will be rooting for his wish to come true...

Saturday, September 1, 2012

* I Am A Tintype

I visited PhotoBooth in San Francisco today and had a Tintype portrait of myself made.  What's so very special about this place is that they are the first photography studio dedicated to Tintype portraiture, and all types of hand-crafted photography.  

Michael, the Tintype photography expert, sits you down, chats with you a bit, and quickly figures out how he will have you pose.  He then moves a headrest behind you so that you stay still for the picture since you have only one shot with Tintypes.  I had looked at his photography before, and my only question to him was why almost in none of the his pictures people smile.  He said he did not want the fake, stressed smile on people's faces.  That made me better understand the solemn and sincere faces in his photos, and made me appreciate his work more.

The picture taking part took just a few minutes with the posing, and light measurements.  I had my picture in my hands within the next twenty minutes, and I was caught off-guard to see a mirror image of my un-smiling face in shades of silver unlike any other picture of mine.  It is so unique, it took a while for it to grow on me.

I love it....