Saturday, September 29, 2012

Under the Gibbous Moon

Long Beach Pike under the waxing gibbous moon

Although I've been away from this blog, I've been working on improving my photographic skills. Yeah, I still have a long way to go before I'll be satisfied with my technique and vision, but I'm making progress.

Recently, I was able to visit Long Beach's Rainbow Harbor area. The moon, almost full, looming over the jubilant lights of the Pike caught my fancy. So, I took a picture. ;-)

Anyways, I've been promising a "Photo of the Day" style of blogging for a while. Well, stay tuned. . .

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Space Age Nostalgia

The Jetsons first aired on September 23, 1962.

A couple things have turned my mind to the Space Age over the past few days.

First, today marks 50 years since The Jetsons premiered. Although the original run was just one season, I must have seen each episode multiple times as reruns. I never really loved the show, but it did capture my imagination with its bright mid-century futurism. Yeah, it was a cartoon, but the science fiction tropes of the setting authentically reflected optimistic views of future technology, such as the robotic maid and flying cars.

Well, with fifty years yet to go before we get to the Jetsons' time, we might have robotic servants, but I'm doubting that there will be floating cities and flying cars anytime soon. ;-)

Space Shuttle Endeavour flies over northern Redondo Beach

The second thing that brings up Space Age nostalgia took place last Friday. As the Endeavour flew around the Southland, it seemed to be a bittersweet celebration. The dreams of manned space flight feel so distant, from a different era. Of course, I have no fond memories of the Cold War and living under Mutually Assured Destruction, but the space program seemed like the bright and inspiring silver lining to the long nuclear standoff.

Finally, when Endeavour flew into view, I was so excited to wave goodbye to this old icon. Certainly, I enjoy looking at the images from our robot explorers on Mars or floating through space, but I really hope that a manned space program isn't too far away in the future.

Oh well, there's always our imagination in which to explore new worlds and fantastic situations. ;-)

Judy Jetson, dreaming of a bright future.

Let's listen to some music.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Beyond the Beautiful Crowd

Tim Kelly Lifeguard Memorial statue at the Hermosa Beach pier, facing the Strand's nightlife district

All of the beach cities in the Los Angeles South Bay have a peculiar feel at night. They have bustling and busy centers of people partying, socializing, and drinking late into the night, filling the quiet hours with laughter, raucous sounds, and music of all types. However, when one wanders just a short distance away to the beach, leaving the lights and crowds behind, the Pacific Ocean's constant murmur washes away the noise.

It is an interesting contrast, a little creepy. It makes you feel small and transient.

But if the sublime loneliness of the beach is too much to handle, the shimmering lights of the party places are just a short stroll away. ;-)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

I'm Still Here

Stop sign with pink and white balloons

Alright, it's been a while since my last post. Sorry. ;-)

I've been mighty busy, a bit fatigued, and writing a whole lot, just not here at Paideia. This has been the longest period of blog dormancy in well over a year. Honestly, I apologize. Hopefully, I can get back on track here and lay out some awesome posts for you all.

Certainly, we'll be putting up quick hit "Image of the Day" posts. At least that will keep things moving here.

Thanks for sticking around.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Flowers for the Lion-Hearted King

Leonotis Leonurus: Lion's Tail

Yeah, I missed out of Friday Flowers. Let's make it up with a few photos today.

Rather than going with one of my standards, roses or dahlias or fuchsias, I figured we would take a look at some Lion's Tail or, as it is also known, Wild Dagga. And such a selection fits thematically with our chosen birth date celebration, King Richard I of England "The Lionheart" who was born on September 8, 1157.

We're going medieval on you all tonight. ;-)

Leonotis Leonurus: Wild Dagga

So, chill out with the wild dagga and listen to a few tunes from the 12th century.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Candy Apples

Candy apples featuring images of Merida from Brave

One of the worst things about getting old is giving up on various delicious treats, scrumptious culinary delights that sweetened childhood and granted sugary solace through the trials of early adulthood. Now, as middle age advances, these caloric comforts do greater harm than good. It is a bitter goodbye to my darling desserts.

But diet and exercise are the necessities to a healthy lifestyle. Yeah, I know that I've made these promises here at Paideia before, but this time I mean it. ;-)

We'll see how it goes, but I'm getting too old to keep on eating like a kid. So long, dear candy apples! Farewell, chocolate chip cookies! (Of course, pumpkin pie is still allowed a seasonal visit for the Autumn holidays.)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Sublime Chance

Detail of Moonrise over the Sea (1822) by Caspar David Friedrich

Yeah, I'm a Romantic at heart.

Today we celebrate the birth date of Caspar David Friedrich, born on this date in 1774. His works have a moody darkness to them, with figures overwhelmed by the sublime beauty and grandeur of Nature. They are pensive visions.

In these landscapes, humanity seems so small, so fragile. Yet, there is a peacefulness within, an awareness of the transience of life in the face of the ancient cycles of the world. I find myself swept away into Friedrich's quiet world.

Detail of The Chasseur in the Forest (1813) by Caspar David Friedrich

And we can't pass up on celebrating the centennial of John Cage's birth. I'm really not much of a fan, but he certainly had a significant influence in the philosophy of aesthetics, from musical composition to poetic structure. I could write a vast commentary on his works, but gjuum llokdd hid, maqucf fronticly, dna kltovit ahendwei magdran. ;-)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Half Simpleton, Half God

Late Summer view of the Lily Pond at the Norton Simon Museum

It always amuses me that, whenever I take a vacation from the daily blogging, my readership seems to soar in terms of pageviews. Sometimes, it is because something about which I have written enters into wider consideration. This time it seems just random. It's curious, but I'm happy that some new readers have stumbled upon this humble blog.

As the photo above indicates, I went to visit the Norton Simon Museum over the weekend. They have a pretty good exhibit on still lifes, entitled "Significant Objects: The Spell of Still Life." Now, I'm not a fan of that genre of painting, but it was interesting looking at the huge collection on display, everything from Dutch tulip drawings to Claes Oldenburg's giant soft ketchup bottle. Yeah, it was comprehensive. ;-)

Hopefully, I'll get to write up a review of the show. It'll be tricky, since there is no photography allowed, but most of the images are available on the internet or from my own collection of photographed works. But for now, here's a Lipchitz:

Figure (1926-30) by Jacques Lipchitz

And, for half of this post, let's celebrate the birth date of Anton Bruckner, who was born on this date in 1824. Does this have anything to do with still lifes or my increased vacation readership? No, but incoherence is the name of today's game. ;-)