Thursday, May 27, 2010

Outflanking pain by embracing beauty - as demonstrated and illustrated by VIDEO Humming birds in the morning set to Beethoven's tempest

Both the content and the construction of this video are very telling of how I'm surviving even though the torment of my body- far from subsiding- has increased, and the medicines I have available to me do not effectively deaden the pain or spasms or address the other related issues.

I've always loved nature, and by soaking it in I find peace and experience God. I barely even watched TV when I was a child, I was always outdoors.

So its very fortunate that when my body went kaput, I was in a place where I could so easily access and behold nature- weather, plans, animals. Those three months I couldn't walk, I could still look outside and see birds on the feeder, the dogs playing in the snow, and scenes like the one in the picture above.

Its nice that I can move around now, but the dynamic is really no different. I am so fascinated by plants and animals and weather that I can get distracted by watching them or taking pictures and video of them... that time I spend focused on the beauty around me outside, or in honing and presenting it in a video, is about the closest I come to having relief from my promethean torments these days.

The other things which are powerful enough to draw me out of my own personal daily hell are
  • Touching, talking, being with Tess
  • Lending an ear to a friend or family member
  • Engaging and embracing the beauty of the natural world by working with it in the yard.
Indeed... one day in the hospital was especially dark... so dark we didn't think I'd be here assiduously NOT talking about it now. I got through that day by holding Tess, working on a rug, and lending an ear to a friend in need.

Before I went to the Seminary, I most communed with God by helping people in sorrow and by being in nature. Nothing has really changed there.

Perhaps that will help you understand why I'm not angry at God about this. God has provided me a safe, comfortable, beautiful place to live where I can always experience Him through His Creation.

God has given me Tess now for 15 years.

He's given me people who love me, and who need my love... people who help me and who need my help.

I don't expect God to be some sort of prayer-operated vending machine. He's under no obligation to relieve me of pain or restore my health. He has been true to His promises though, the way He always has been.

Its DEEPLY ironic, but in this time when my body and mind alike are greatly impaired, I am the most fully and richly me I've been in ages. It all comes down to embracing and being surrounded by
  • Beauty in nature
  • Love
  • Truth
And receiving them with gratitude. Sure, it takes a lot of creativity to get through each day, but its that very creativity which gets me through.

Creativity first takes me out of myself- which is a good thing, something I desperately need given the pain, torment, turmoil of my body and nervous system.

Then it fills me with peace and beauty... my words don't reach far enough to quite make this connection, but maybe if I say it this way:
- Creativity for me is a form of meditation / prayer ... creating art is not primarily a manual act but an existential experience.

That'll have to do. The video and my discussion of it is below. You'll see that this video quite well fits in to the sort of pattern I described earlier today... it wasn't at all technically challenging... the major "tasks" for me were cutting out the parts of the video where there were no hummingbirds (I shot these on a tripod for 10 minute spells the last couple of mornings) and finding the right music. Beethoven's Tempest is PERFECT for these frantic, frenetic creatures!

But taking time to do these things did me more good than taking any of the score of pills I've taken today... and such is usually the case. Even when I take the maximum amount of medicine I'm allowed, my perception of pain never drops below a 7 on the pain scale.

Of course without a high end camera of the sort they use for "time warp" its impossible to catch the action of these frenetic fellows, but I love the way the sunlight catches them in the morning, and they often perch on this feeder.

The music is public domain from, played by Paul Pitman

The segue image is an old public domain image from a Russian language encyclopedia

The music suits the subject perfectly, and when when my body itself is in a tempest, I need to embrace and loose myself in beauty.

For more on this piece of music see

For more on hummingbirds, see

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Diabetics be warned: More cute baby papillon dog videos

Ambrose in a basket at 4 weeks - almost walking

Ambrose at 3 weeks sort of walking on one of my mother's toothbrush rugs

Ambrose about 2 months wagging his tail and playing in and with a basket

Rushing water - Hoosier Zen - Video taken on our 15th anniversary outing

Today is our "liturgical" 15th anniversary- we were married during the church service on Pentecost Sunday.

Our other anniversary is June 4th.

This portrait of Tess is stitched together with Microsoft Image Composite Editor

My wife and I went here today for our 15th anniversary. We honeymooned near Lake Superior, so for our anniversary we wanted to be near water too.

I hope others can use this either as stock footage, or to loop to just go to a nice relaxing place, thus the lack of title slides.

Monday, May 10, 2010

This is how I outflank pain: Majestic clouds- panoramics, synths, and video

These are the panoramics created by Microsoft's Image Composite Editor.
I also shot video clips tripod mounted, so you can well imagine how stunning they are from these. I'm looking to see if there's an easy way I can make them available to other artists the way that I get creative commons licensed music from and

I also have at least one project I'm working on.

I didn't expect much when I uploaded these to PhotoSynth, but they came out among the best I've done.

It seems to be axiomatic that the more pain I'm in, the more photos and video I shoot. Several reasons...
  • Pain takes away my ability to think or process, but not to be creative
  • Without the ability to think, process, even stand up without passing out... there's not a lot else I CAN do
  • I often find my best recourse to be not heavy narcs but creative arts. While I'm engaged in them, I can loose my awareness of myself, and thus of the pain. Other than when I had a morphine drip in the hospital, when I'm doing creative things is the closest I have come to being out of pain for the last 6 months... .
Unfortunately, editing, mixing, posting, talking about what I've created... these draw on energies and clarity of mind I don't often have.

So my stunning videos will have to wait.

The project I've started with one of the cloud videos will too... the concept was easy to come up with- I noticed how the clip resembled the roaring water of a waterfall when viewed sideways- but execution...

As for outflanking pain...

Every expert of war from Sun Tzu onwards has taught that you never meet an enemy at his strongest point, you look for a weak spot, you go around the side (which is outflanking.)

This experience-which-is-so-far-beyond-"pain"-as-Mt-Everest-is-higher-than-a-hill laughs at medicine. The meds kill one pain, another arises.

Meeting the enemy head on with medicine is NOT working, and has NEVER worked.

Granted, I'm thankful for what relief I can get... together with Tess, my mother, my dear ones, the pups, the birds, and the Military Channel, I'm able to make it through each day, but only in loosing myself and going outside myself do I get any respite.

This can occur with Tess, when doing light landscaping, and when engaged in the visual arts.

I don't know if this flanking maneuver is something others in a similar state could do- I dearly hope no one else IS in a similar state!- but while "that-which-is-beyond-pain" wins every day, I still make the most of each one. What ever time I'm allowed when my body isn't shaking with spasms of pain, I'm embracing or creating beauty in one of these forms.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Mother's Day gift/card pink tulip photos uploading - Special FX by "Image Analyzer"

The rest of the Word Pictures based on the mother/daughter pink tulips will have to wait, but as promised, the best pictures of that shoot are being uploaded to all the usual sites.

The special effects you'll see on some of them are from a freeware program I just became aware of, Image Analyzer.

I was drawn to it because it promised an automated way to make photos extracted from a video or taken with a camera phone have higher quality / resolution (as per my challenge before the latest eruption of demonic pain hit)

In toying with it, I discovered a filter called "increase local contrast." It produces very artistic effects I've not encountered with any other program. That filter alone will guarantee it a place in my toolbox.

So... is uploading the images to Multiply and Facebook as we type this. Its time for me to take more meds and go to bed, so the remaining Word Picture versions of these will have to wait.

Any of the Word Pictures I've done with the commandment would work well for a mother's day card if the lady is of a faith tradition where it is relevant. Add your own text to a space in the picture, add the picture to a card template, what ever.

There's countless ways to make a custom greeting card with an image... I'm sure multiply and vendors advertising on Facebook would be delighted to provide you with this service.

I hope some of you are able to make good use of these. I'm still on the darkside of the moon, so tschuss!

Make your own personalized mother's day card! Use my mother/daughter pink tulip word pictures!

I chose the mother/daughter pink tulips for this verse because the image so naturally brings to mind family, offspring, parents.

Any of the images from that series with the verse from the 10 commandments would make a great mother's day card.

Download the image, add your own text, or print the image and write something on the back.

Here's my latest version of it... I'll work on posting the others and the unedited pink mother/daughter tulips after the line of storms we're under all sorts of weather alerts for passes through.

Questions, comments?

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