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Jon Lybrook - Art and Technology Journal

2012.12.19.00

"Anecdotal cherry picking of data is not an argument." - Christopher Scott Martin


2012.10.08.00

Preparing a Seagate GoFlex Desk 3TB Drive under FreeBSD

Had a Seagate GoFlex Desk 3TB disk fail with my backups last week, and the regular setup routine I use under the FreeBSD program 'sysinstall' was not working entirely. Something changed with their firmware and Seagate was unhelpful, so I developed the following procedure to configure the disk:

1. Check /var/log/messages to determine the device ID. Typically the second USB drive is called da1.

2. If new, or there are problems, wipe the disk for a fresh start
dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/da1 bs=1m count=128

3. Fdisk using sysinstall and use the entire disk.
Type 'sysinstall' from a shell then choose the following:
Configure | Fdisk | Choose the disk you want to format | a | w | OK | Leave MBR untouched | hit escape multiple times to exit everything

4. Add and format the desired slice:
bsdlabel -B -w da1s1 auto
bsdlabel -e da1s1 # edit partition table if need be
mkdir -p /1
newfs /dev/da1s1c # ignore any disk label errors

5. write disk label:
tunefs -L newpartition /dev/da1s1c

6. mount the disk
mount -t ufs /dev/da1s1c /newpartition

7. Set permissions
chown jonlybrook:jonlybrook /temp2

8. Copy everything from the current disk to the new one, if applicable
cd /oldpartition
tar -cpf - . | tar -C /mypartitionname -xpf -

9. now, to make the new disk mount properly, like the old one when booting:
umount /oldpartition
umount /newpartition
tunefs -L oldpartition /dev/da1s1c

New disk ready for service.

2012.09.25.00

English comedian Eddie Izzard says he's not a capitalist, that he's a creativist. Some people make things to make money, he makes money to make things.

That said, this is the final week of my two month show at Hapa on Pearl Street in Boulder. Thanks to everyone who went to see the show and supported my continuing work!

All works in the show are available in limited editions here:

Contemporary Limited Edition Prints by Jon Lybrook

2012.08.13.00

Bioenergetics, Neuro-Linguistic Programming, and Vipassana Meditation, Oh My!


2012.08.07

The show goes on!

My new art exhibition was hung on Sunday and looks wonderful, thanks to Bonnie’s kind support and brilliant attention to detail. The folks at Hapa Sushi and their lovely curator and resident-artist Sasha (http://sashasgallery.com) have likewise been super-helpful at getting everything organized and ready for the party!

The show will be on display for two months, through September 30, so you’ll have plenty of time to see it. But don’t wait too long…these things are over before you know it.

Hapa Sushi is at 1117 Pearl Street in Boulder. The hours are Sunday-Wednesday 11:30am-10pm and Thursday-Saturday 11:30am-Midnight. Phone: (303) 473-4730

Also, nice review in the Westword today about me and the show by Susan Froyd.


2012.07.20.00

Not much to be said about the shooting in Aurora that hasn't been said before. Our country has a thousand times more deaths by guns than countries with stricter gun control laws. How a normal person needs access to automatic weapons designed to kill scores of people efficiently simply can not be justified through sound logic.

How to fight the fear and hatred that cause and that are caused by such senseless slaughter of innocent life can best be surmised in this posting by Colorado state senator Mike Johnson:

http://blogs.denverpost.com/opinion/2012/07/20/face-hate-displayed-aurora-theater-shootings-love/21847/


2012.05.30.00

Possibility of a new exhibition at a prominent Pearl Street location in Boulder later this summer. Good energy.

Had to set up some gear for a studio shoot and used it to photograph Bonnie's recent works in ceramics. They are absolutely beautiful and professional quality, yet she says she doesn't like putting her work out for public criticism. Maybe I can convince her otherwise.

I never know quite what to say about specific pieces either once completed. It's like a jazz musician trying to talk about a live solo weeks after the fact.



2012.05.15.00

"You don't have to be well to be wealthy, but you have to be whole to be holy."

2012.05.05.00

"No man can put a chain about the ankle of his fellow man without at last finding other end fastened about his own neck." -- Frederick Douglass

2012.04.30.00

I've been getting help from the company that makes my scanner software for a problem that has them stumped. They sent me an automated email message from their ticketing system in German. One of the sentences was translated by Google as "Possibly your problem is attitudinal".

2012.04.26.00

This time last year I went on a 10-day meditation retreat where I learned a lot of principles of happiness and self-discipline through the Vipassana Research Institute. I was a little worried when I went that they were cultists of some kind, but they’re not. I’ve since found a lot of really cool people, doctors, computer programmers, therapists, psychotherapists, yoga teachers, and artists I respect have practiced this style of meditation. The head teacher is in his 90s now and they have recorded lectures from him back around 1991 when he was teaching thousands of people a year based on the literal words of Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha’s descriptions of how to meditate properly. It’s a technique for meditation that’s been preserved for 2,500 years, but not a religion. Even though it’s based in the teachings of the Buddha, it’s not Buddhism.

While on the retreat, you sit, listen to the recorded lectures and meditation instructions in a big hall with other meditators, and then meditate in silence for 10 hours a day! 4:30am until 9pm with 1 hour breaks for rest and meals. They have some basic rules you have to follow, one of which is complete “noble” silence for the 10-days. You are not even supposed to make eye contact with other meditators. You can talk with the teacher briefly if you have questions though. It’s a hard-core isolation and introspection to promote mind-body awareness to eliminate negativity from your life. Once you learn to control and eliminate the negativity, all that’s left is peace, harmony and happiness. Simple in concept, but it takes daily practice for it to work. Every human being on the planet and from the dawn of time has faced these same issues. Buddha was the first to formalize a technique for dealing with them effectively. Courses are given several times a year throughout the world.


Vipassana Research Institute Website

2012.04.09.01

Flow is the state of mind where learning, intense focus, and quality progress in an activity are accelerated. Reading an interesting article now which defines flow as having certain characteristics, regardless of the discipline:

1. An intense and focused absorption that makes you lose all sense of time.

2. Autotelicity, the sense that the activity you are engaged in is rewarding for its own sake.

3. Finding the "sweet spot", a feeling that your skills are perfectly matched to the task at hand, leaving you neither frustrated nor bored.

4. A sense of automaticity, the sense that "the piano is playing itself", for example.

5. Less judgement, and a silencing of self-critical thoughts.

2012.01.15.01

"One who has crossed over the mire,
crushed the thorn of sensuality,
reached the ending of delusion,
is a monk undisturbed by bliss & pain."

This quote from The Buddha poetically reminds us to accept all experiences and sensation - pleasant, unpleasant or otherwise and remain aware that everything in the universe is changing and impermanent. I like it. |-)


2011.12.29.01

Little white lies vital to maintaining the status quo poison a healthy sense of reality. So are little black truths told out of scorn and malevolence. Investing wholly in either is equally ignorant.

2011.12.17.01

If visual art mirrors the world around us, and theater and film address the human condition, then music must reveal the inner-workings of the human mind.

2011.11.10.01

Negativity causes tension in the mind and body. We have total control over it, yet seem helpless to stop the headaches, backaches, cancers, knee-jerk reactions, and addictive behavior patterns as the result of our negativity.

Meditating tonight I had a deep sense of awareness of how the developing tensions in my body and mind were the result of negativity even though I wasn't thinking about anything necessarily negative. Deep seated causes were rising to the surface, heightening my sensitivity to any thoughts related to anger, hatred, lust, greed, and clinging. All these "defilements of the mind", as S.N. Goenka calls them, are emotions directly tied to primordial instincts of "fight or flight". When we can neither run or fight in response to things agitating us, it creates tension as blood is diverted to our heart, legs and lungs as we prepare to expend energy. Addictive chemicals are released into the body that give us a rush. The breathing increases too, and so in that way, the breath is the indicator of our mental as well as physical state at all times. The technique of Vipassana meditation says that by focusing on the breath snd being aware of it at all times we have access to a direct channel to the subconscious mind.

Why would anyone care? A good portion of our usable brainpower lies in the subconscious, so by accessing it we can increase our capacity to solve problems -- both internal ones as well as external. We never really know what's in the subconscious...if we did, it would be within the realm of our consciousness. The point is to know our minds in order to change negative thoughts which lead to negative behavior patterns that disrupt the mind, are harmful, and ultimately destructive - undermining our own sense of peace and that of others. To achieve peace for others in the world who want it most, we need to start with ourselves.


2011.10.19.01

Had a wonderful anniversary with my bride of 10 years last night. Bonnie and I enjoyed a fire, Brunello wine, chocolate and each other's company all evening, uninterrupted by computers, TV, phones, or other common distractions for us.

Saw a wonderful quote that is pertinent to meditation and life:

What you focus on E X P A N D S . . .



2011.10.02.01

Saw Furthur last night at Red Rocks with Angela, Dave, and their friends from Ohio. I enjoyed talking with Dave #2 about show's we'd both been to in the late 80s. Bonnie wore her shirt to breakfast in Louisville today (excellent brunch at Waterloo -- Huckleberry was a 50 min wait) and got nice comments from the hostess at the Louisville Rex who's parents and boyfriend had gone to the show too.

Very interesting to see how the new deadheads are behaving and wonder if I was the same way at that age, or what? It seemed like being proficient at bullshit to make your way in the world and avoid responsibility for anything you do is much more a part of their modus operandi than it was for me back in the day....or maybe it was just I was more different/stupid/straight/nice than I wanted to let on. Although I certainly had my moments of being a conformist, smart, hip, and inconsiderate.

Seemed like the only honest, intelligent interaction I had with a younger person there was some seemingly rich, straight-laced kid who had flown in from L.A. for the shows on Sat/Sun. Not much of a hippy, he was commenting on the quality of the Furthur show and one's he'd seen at the Greek Theater, and how Steely Dan was one of the tightest groups he'd ever seen. Not boasting, just being honest and wanting to interact. Judging from his peers and their general approach to things, I could tell he must be lonely, but was in a much more advantageous mental state and emotional position than many of the "non-conformist" hipsters.

2011.09.18.01


Vegetarian response to the Darwin / Jesus debate
Vegetarian response to the Darwin / Jesus debate
2011.09.14.01

Been accelerating my aikido training, after over 10 years of being an inconsistent practitioner. Beginner classes were getting a little slow-paced and weren't providing enough cardio exercise for me, so I added a class. It just so happens there are several classes held that night, one after the other, so I've been trying to start going to all of them. This amounts to about 4 hours extra practice every week! Eager to see how that helps body-mind connection.

Ki-Aikido, as it's known in the US, has a large mental and social component to it about which I'm only beginning to scratch the surface. Things they say over and over are starting to click, however. Easy to intellectualize alot of the truism spoken about in the teachings of Tohei Sensei and others, but to experience it in your body is without comparison.

One thing I noticed last night was how when a partner grabbed my wrist or connected to my body in any way, they were communicating to me their intention and state of mind quite clearly. This information was valuable, since it provided me with everything I needed to decide how to respond to this particular attack. Attacks done with force and rigidity are often easy to overcome since the attacker has committed to a particular stance and grab. It's not so easy for them to change from that commitment and so, by putting myself in a different place in relationship to their body, (which I can do by remaining relaxed and not tensing up in response to their tension communicated), they quickly lose any power their determination may have had in the beginning. Tables can be turned surprisingly quickly under these circumstances.

2011.09.10.01

Been thinking about the word "recognize", lately. The word literally means to "re-understand". It is, in a sense a form of prejudice, since in order to recognize something we need to have seen or experienced it at least once before.

2011.08.30.01

Knowing when to lead and when to follow is a confusing concept sometimes -- even when the roles are made quite clear.

2011.08.19

There is no greater hypocrisy and arrogance than the sentiment that my sense of morality, and the issues surrounding it, is superior to others'.

07-10-2011-02

While practicing Vipassana meditation today I tried something different by focusing on the awareness of my posture while doing the full body scans. Since taking the 10 day course back in April, my experience has been mostly on focusing on awareness of every part of the body, head to toe, and the sensation of just that body part I was on that moment, as instructed. Only problem is I found myself slumping at the end of the practice and the postural aches seemed more troublesome.

I believe this practice of the technique is still correct, but by maintaining an awareness of:

1. breath
2. body posture (not slowly slipping into a slumped posture)
3. constant change happening with sensations on the body
4. compassionate equanimity to these changes

during the body scans, the meditation seemed more focused and I had less aches by the end (hardly any, in fact). I'll continue to experiment with this approach.

07-10-2011-01

Saw a surprise performance of the Itchy-O Marching Band (IOMB) last night in Denver. They appeared at a Justice League of Street Food event. Kind of like Blue Man Group in their talented use of percussion and technology. These guys were walking around with instruments along with backpacks strapped with their own PA systems and sound processors in some cases. Very inspiring and innovative performance art:



Itchy-O Marching Band Webpage

2011-06-22-02

A few interesting tidbits from Nabel Sensei's ki aikido class this month:

1. When giving criticism, for it to be effective it should be a little bit off the mark to give the person's ego a little wiggle-room, and so the criticism can be accepted more easily.

2. When giving a compliment, it's more difficult because in order for it to be accepted it must be dead-on accurate for the person to believe you.

3. If the universe is a sphere of infinite size, as science currently purports, *any point* in that sphere can be the center of the universe.

2011-06-22-01

As promised:

Jon Lybrook's essay on Vipassana 10 Day retreat

2011-05-28-01

Had a great experience on a Vipassana Meditation Retreat a few weeks ago and am looking forward to posting a longer piece about it here.

In the meantime, I have begun posting more vintage films from my college days here:



Experimental Films by Jon Lybrook

2011-03-31-01

Spring is a time of rebirth where our world and all its inhabitants awake from dormancy. Birds lay eggs, which later hatch. Grass turns greener and starts to grow. Squirrels start to get busy reinforcing their nests with new material worn thin from the long winter. Bears emerge from their death-like state of hibernation, their pulse and metabolism flow increasingly faster as they awake, like water drops increasing to cascades down, across and from the snow-packed mountains. The slow, winter drone of nature begins the increasingly rapid arpeggios of tone, color and vibrance as life begins again, renewed.

Our basic options at every turn are to continue to change, or to decay. In youth we acquire in order to thrive. We strive for experience, possessions we need and want: shelter, freedom, friends and love. Later in life we seek to simplify our lives, shed the things that keep us tied down and restrict us, that keep us from our full potential and that bind us to our past transgressions, and past selves. We seek to shed our old ways and old connections which remain static, negative, and perpetuate decay. Items, ideas, and people must be let go of in order for us to continue to become our True selves once again, as we were when we were born.

Truth is not just basic facts based on logic and contrived designs supporting our shallow beliefs and simple arguments. Truth is positive intellect and emotion combined, which radiates Beauty, and are comprised not just of empirical facts that are accurate, but goodness and kindness toward all other beings. Truth -- the real Truth -- burns bright and shines on others, warming them, sustaining them, and helping them to find their own meaning and joy, perpetuating the message and the meaning that life, and the human race that springs from it, and all they strive to do in the name of Truth and Beauty, is ultimately good.

Not certain which other philosopher or author's ideas I'm paraphrasing here, but I'm sure one exists!

And so the cycle continues...Happy Springtime!


2011-03-25-01

Returned back from New York last week where Intaglio Editions visited the ultimate "art fair". AIPAD is the Association of International Photography Art Dealers and is held in NYC every year at the Park Avenue Armory. It was attended by approximately 140 fine art photography dealers from around the world. Leafing through art bins, the median price was about $10,000 -- quite the step up from your average art festival. I think the average price in bins at the Art Student's League of Denver's Summer Art Market (which is a fabulous festival by the way) was around $100 -- to give you some basis for comparison in case you don't attend such things regularly.

Any one of the gallery owners was a wealth of information about the history of photography, as well as regarding technical processes. Platinum/Palladium was the best represented alternative process among contemporary work. Vintage prints were mostly silver and albumen, followed by gum bichromate, cyanotype and finally, photogravure, which seemed to have the least represented. One gallery had some vintage rotogravures circa 1950 which were interesting to see but technically horrible. Rotogravure, as I learned, was a faster, drum printed approach to creating photogravure.

Gallery owners I asked seemed to mostly equate vintage photogravure with Camera Works - the hand-printed magazine published by Alfred Stieglitz in the early 1900s. I saw only two Edward Curtis prints the entire show.

There were a number of inkjet and new media represented -- even one work presented on a framed iPad that was going for $8,000. Also a couple of video installations.

Among contemporary works, Platinum/Palladium was the best represented (Beth Moon's work being among the most engaging). Gum Dichromate (by Cy Decosse and printed by Keith Taylor), Polymer Photogravure (by Josephine Sacabo), and Tintypes (by N.W. Gibbons).





2011-01-02-01

Welcome 2011!

Last year was great for increasing my powers of project management, physical, mental and emotional stamina and abilities, and love for myself and others close to me. We traveled to Japan, Connecticut, Yosemite, Las Vegas, and Death Valley. This year will prove less challenging and stressful for all of us in many ways, I hope.

We released some killer enhancements to Basixwellness and WordSecure thanks to my amazing team at Tera Bear Consulting.

Bonnie is taking on the goal of taking one photograph per day and posting it to her Facebook account.

I foresee lots of work on writing, photography, meditation, Search Engine Optimization, various outdoor activities around Colorado with lovely Bonnie and the Jeep Rubicon (baby), and uber advances in photogravure printmaking and web application development skills as it pertains to user interface, SEO, and security. I expect to be talking about it more after the custom blogging interface for Pro Artist Websites gets much needed attention.

Capitol Coverage Project will be getting a makeover early this year as will the terabear.com servers.

SEO requires advanced AUTHORITY on subjects in order to be effective. That's not the goal here. I'm not sure who is really an authority, but odds are few of those who speak the loudest know beans compared to those folks with more interpersonal skills, charity, and humility. Increasing these qualities are among my challenges for 2011.

Ultimately, greater freedom and beauty in life are the goals of this work in 2011. May you share in it with me.

- Jon

2010.12.04.02

Lines in the prints were determined to be from the pusher blanket, the pattern for which was coming through both sizing catchers. New sizing catcher blankets and a different blanket configuration seemed to be the solution. Removing the woven pusher and replacing it with a pressed pusher blanket is the next step.

Rivere paper is also seeming to be a cleaner alternative the the Hahnemuller Copperplate...

2010.12.04.01

Back in the studio printing Paula's photogravures from Rwanda with her. Such warm, beautiful photographs of people originally, now objects d'art.



2010.11.29.01

Funny how it's often law-breaking criminals who are the ones who feel most compelled to point out and condemn another person's simple faux pas.


Trip to Japan - October 2010

Editor's Note: I am breaking from convention of having the most recent posting first for this installment of Jon Lybrook's Art and Technology Journal so it may be read consecutively.

2010.10.15.01

First night in Chikago. After a fairly uneventful 21 hours of travel we arrived in Fukuoka airport last night around 8:30 pm. Both of us were sick for the trip but Bonnie managed to recover quicker than I. She had also gotten sick first so it would make sense that she should recover first. I was seated next to a 50-something year old guy wearing green holographic glasses who was a little too friendly and eager to tell me about his life experiences and fondness for Valium which he was pretty clearly under influence of at the time. He spoke like he had marbles in his mouth, probably due to the effects of the drug. I managed to avoid him for most of the trip by explaining I was sick and couldn't talk a lot because I needed to save my throat so it and I could recover.

After some confusion in the Tokyo-Narita airport we were soon on a commuter flight to Fukuoka. I was charmed by the warm formality of the flight attendant exchanging repeated bows with an elderly customer getting on board. The way people acknowledge one another here is such a refreshing change from the casual eye glance and nod people do around Boulder -- if they can even be bothered to do that here. Complete avoidance of eye contact is more the norm and I'm just as guilty of it as the next person.

Found out later Bonnie had accidentally brought apples on her carry-on bag from Seattle which could have been disastrous for us in customs in Tokyo, but she smiled at the young customs officer when we arrived for inspection and we whisked through without him even looking in the direction of our bags. Apples and other produce are illegal to carry in and out of the country due to the risk parasites they could contain could present to local crops.

We brought omiyagi to vi and his family in the form of two, one pound bricks of white "New York" cheddar from Safeway which were wrapped in tin foil and looked quite like what I would imagine plastics explosives might look like. TSA ignored these and instead rifled through my box of honey jars in another bag.

vi and his wife Kayomi met us at the airport and we drove to their home in Chikago on his mother-in-law's property. vi's house is a totally traditional, wooden, Japanese construction. It took him and two carpenters about four months to build. In some cases wooden pegs are used instead of nails to hold things in place. The air here is slightly smokey and earthy with a strong presence of pine. Not sure how the floors are treated but they are slightly tacky to walk on, mostly due to the moisture in the air. The beautiful home is essentially vi's office which he abandoned in order to give us privacy for our stay, for which we are eternally grateful.

I had been sleeping off-and-on through the trip, getting sleep where I could and to try to adjust to the time change. We lost a day coming in. I found the following dessert looking thing in the fridge when I woke up around 5:30am Japan time. I thought it was some kind of berry treat like yogurt. Turns out it was tomato gelatin of sorts. Tangy and light.

Max called to confirm my weird international phone is actually working and to get Marty connected to help us with some project work. Slight lag, but it was reassuring to know he can get in touch with me readily over here if/when needed. So grateful I can rely on him and Brooks to keep things moving forward so I can take this break and see Japan again.

Birds are now chirping loudly as it is nearly 8am. Bonnie tried to get back to sleep after I accidentally woke her arranging myself to do some writing on the mini-laptop we brought. My back is still recovering from the cold but Christian-san helped adjust it before we left which helped alot.

Not sure what the day holds. vi has a client to visit in the evening who happens to be a dentist. Good thing, since he lost a crown the day before we arrive. I wonder if he'll arrange a trade...



2010.10.16.01

Bonnie and Kayomi went to a yoga class this morning while vi and I took a little time to visit a couple stores. We perused a drug/convenience store, then a dollar store, which in Japan is called the 100 yen store.

After dinner Kayomi took us all to a Korean restaurant that had little gas grills at each table that enabled customers to grill their own meat and vegetables. vi ordered an egg dish that was quite tasty. Bonnie and I went outside our comfort zone a little bit and ordered an assortment grillable meats including intestines and tongue. The tongue was sliced thin and was pretty tasty. The intestines were very flavorful and rich, but kind of fatty. Vegetables included some kind of squash and green pepper.

We then drove back to vi's mother-in-law's house and took a stroll around his neighborhood before his and Kayomi's 6 year old daughter Moyo came home from school. We walked to the Oda family shrine where many of Kayomi's relatives are entombed.

When Moyo came home she was at first shy but quickly warmed up to us. We had brought a number of gifts for her including a science kit having to do with visual illusions and experiments.

This evening vi had an appointment with a client -- and needed to get a crown replaced on one of his teeth. He and Kayomi said we could watch Moyo's ballet lesson, then Kayomi would take us to some stores while we waited for vi to return, so we all piled in the car to head for Kurume. Moyo was dressed in white tights and a pink tutu. In the car we asked Moyo questions about her ballet and school which she did her best to answer.

The ballet studio was up a few flights of stairs Moyo introduced us to the lady at the front desk who put out some chairs and indicated we could watch through a glass window. We were wondering if the window was actually a one-way mirror and through miscommunication asking her about this, she said we could observe from within the studio, as opposed to from behind the glass. As it turns out, Moyo was the only one in class as the other student at her level was not attending class that evening so we were able to sit in and take lots of photos. The ballet instructor (who was also Kayomi's yoga instructor) seemed to know her stuff and Moyo was very attentive and followed her instructions well. We were amazed at how graceful a six year old could be. She has a long physique like vi, and will surely become a gorgeous dancer if she decides to stick to it.

In the evening we walked the arcade -- an enclosed, outdoor shopping mall in Kurume. We visited a couple department stores, which had clothing and fashion accessories as well as gourmet delicacies. We also visited a grocery store with all kinds of Japanese food products, produce, and seafood of all varieties -- many of which we can't get in the United States, such as whale meat. We would have several opportunities to sample whale meat, but did not. Bonnie and I have seen whales on a few occasions and have a fondness for them as majestic and benevolent behemoths of the oceans. It was a little dilemma between our hearts and desire for new experiences. In this case, our hearts won out.

We wound up getting some sushi from the supermarket that had just gotten discounted and found a table near the food court upstairs to sit down with Kayomi and Moyo to eat. Kayomi also bought tako yaki, fried octopus and batter shaped into balls.

I got the impression Kayomi could understand way more english than she spoke. But I was curious about so I worked up the gumption to ask her why she decided to marry our friend vi. She said because he was straight, kind, and a little bit crazy. All qualities that I could agree with and relate to.


2010.10.17.01

Today we took a train to Beppu where we were to stay in a ryokan (a fancy, traditional Japanese hotel) which had an onsen (natural hot spring baths) connected to it. Here's their website: http://yunosato-hayama.co.jp/index.html

vi and I left a little early so we could walk to the train station together and shoot photos en route. Bonnie, Kayomi and Moyo were driven to the train station by Kayomi's mother later. We chatted and photographed sites, flowers, and shrines along the way and were soon passed by the girls in the car. This was a slight cause for concern as we did not want to miss the train, so as we got closer to the station, vi suggested we jog a bit to make up time. I am in worse shape than he is but managed to run with my gear and not completely exhaust myself. I also had the advantage of having come from 5200 feet above sea level.

We made the train with minutes to spare and after a modicum of confusion and a couple of transfers, were soon on the train to Beppu. The train was a beautiful, old one with wooden interiors and comfortable seats that could be swung around in sets of two to face one another. We couldn't all sit together however, so Kayomi sat elsewhere while we took turns visiting her. Moyo played with the visual illusion/science kit with help from vi and Bonnie.

Views from the train were pretty and we were soon flying by rice fields that were mid-harvest in some cases -- some traditionally by hand but most by combine. While traveling, the train attendants and conductors would bow formally to the passengers before entering or leaving the car.

After arriving in Beppu's train station we were treated to a school band performing various show tunes and meddlies with precision. We got some information about how to get around at an information office, then set out to see a little of the town of Beppu and to find food. It being a seaside town, we soon found ourselves along a wharf, and along it a shopping mall where we found some decent kuru kuru sushi (sushi presented by sending it along a conveyor belt). After eating our fill of sushi and green tea we exited the mall and walked along a pier where vi helped Moyo to negotiate the blocks forming a concrete barricade. After this we secured a taxi to the ryokan Kayomi had reserved for us and our first big adventure in Japan.

The first thing I noticed as we pulled into the ryokan was how the bellman was waiting at the entrance and driveway to the hotel and bowed to us as the cab pulled in. He then took all our bags and escorted us to the front desk. After checking in we were escorted to the room on the second floor. It was a nice, traditional style Japanese room with a patio and bath and tatami mats raised above then foyer. We removed our shoes and walked into the living area on tatami mats which consisted of a large, low table in the middle of the room with seating pillows. Reproductions of classical Japanese art hung on the wall and a large LCD TV was at the ready.

We then had the opportunity to relax and enjoy some green tea and a manju (sweet, bean-filled cookie) before going down to the onsen (natural hot spring filled bath). The baths were separated into private baths for couples and families, and men's and women's. We decided to split up by gender at first so vi and Kayomi could show us each the ropes. The hotel provided sandals for us to wear outside the room (which Bonnie and I later purchased as souvenirs).

The process of bathing in Japan is effectively the same in onsens as it is in the home: First you strip bare, then soap yourself up entirely, using a water basin and low-mounted shower head. They don't run the shower constantly as we do here in the U.S. Once you've lathered and rinsed fully you can then submerge in the hot water. This onsen was a little shallow for my tastes, but had pretty rock formations all around with old Japanese writing on the wall along with a depiction of a kappa with a - a mythical beast inhabiting lakes and rivers. A simple, circular light fixture in the wall seemed to mimic the moon in the landscape. Kappa are known for their fondness for eating cucumber and humans, and dragging children to a watery death. For that reason they are often used on warning signs around bodies of water considered dangerous for children. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kappa_%28folklore%29

After the onsen we put on our yukatas (robes) and went back to the room where we met up with the girls before dinner. The meal came in about four courses that defy words. Supremely managed by Kayomi, the staff served an extravagant cornucopia of food and drink, which started with a metal cauldrons over flame that we used to cook vegetables and meat and ended with an elegant fruit cup. Every morsel was a work of art, both to taste and to see.

After dinner we split up and each went to a private onsen. Because it was so late Bonnie and were able to secure one of the best baths offered which was a deep stone tub for two which was outside, but made private by a tall fence and surrounded by Japanese maple, rocks, plants and lanterns. From the tub we could see the moon through a crack in the enclosed bath area. The air was just cool enough to be a pleasant change from the hot onsen water.

Afterward we went back to the room where futons had been laid out for everyone. There was also a western bed in an adjacent room. Moyo wanted to sleep in that so she and Kayomi took the bed while vi, Bonnie and I sacked out and slept soundly all night.


2010.10.18.01

In the morning we had one more opportunity to hit the bath before checkout time. vi and his family grabbed an available private bath while Bonnie and I opted to use the bath in the room which, while smaller, was still a stone tub and no less luxurious feeling.

After checking out we were strategically close to the "Hells" of Beppu which consist of several different geothermal pools with various qualities. Some were like smooth porcelain that bubbled, others were blood colored and murky while still others were white or azure. We bought a pass to get us into all of them. Some had gardens or statues while others had little zoos. One even had an over-crowded alligator farm. One area near the visitors center offered seafood and vegetables cooked in the steam directly from one of the nearby springs.

One of the recurring themes in the "Hells" were onis. An oni is a large, red, ogre-like demon that supposedly inhabit the hells and are present in much Japanese mythology and folklore.

Our final stop in the hells was a geyser which, like ol' faithful, goes off at regular intervals. The enclose around it was man-made however, with stadium seating all around it. The event of the geyser going off left a bit to be desired, but it gave us the opportunity to sit down for a little while and eat some green tea and walnut ice cream.

Once we had about all the hell we could take, we found a cab to take us to the train station and eventually made our way back to Chikago by dark.

2010.10.19.01

The next morning Kayomi made us breakfast at the main house, which she grew up in with her mother. Her mother recently turned 80 and still works part-time as a care giver for the sick and elderly. Most of her clients are younger than her. Kayomi showed us how to make tamago: a sweetened egg dish - almost like an omelet, but rolled instead of folded. It's made in a special, square pan. Bonnie decided she had to have one after Kayomi's thoughtful lesson. Her mom had just harvested the first crop of soybeans and was cleaning and de-stemming them after breakfast. Within an hour I was presented with a piping hot container of edamame -- steamed and seasoned. They were the best I had ever had.

After a quick stop by an extremely pink convenience store, we were soon on the road for a temple at Mt. Kiyomizu in Setaka. The temple and related sites are among a large bamboo forest. Before we got there, we stopped to take photos when we came across a guy processing rice out of a metal barn. vi said the guy probably worked for many of the local farmers. They'd give him the crude rice and he'd give it back to them processed and ready to sell or eat themselves.

A quick walk from the parking lot and we were surrounded by many ornate statues. The mountain gave us much lush scenery and was a perfect backdrop. It was a little late in the season for the bamboo for it to be that picturesque, bright green you see in travel brochures. It was kind of gray-green at this point, but no less marvelous. vi told us that bamboo actually stays the same width as it grows and that thinner bamboo is actually just a different kind.

Further up the mountain we came across an area known for having something like 2,000 Buddha statues. Once all unique, at some point some people decided the religion should be done away with (perhaps in favor of their own) and knocked the heads off many of the statues. Later the heads were all replaced, but with generic ones in some cases, comically, as when the head is much too big or too small for the statue.

After another couple sets of stairs we found ourselves at the temple at Mt. Kiyomizu where a small festival had just concluded. We wandered around and took photos and were eventually approached by a friendly monk who spoke some of the best English from any Japanese person I heard on the entire trip. He invited us to come into the temple and even tried to get is inside the shrine within the temple to see some of their artifacts, but the head monk denied the request. Apparently that is only allowed to the general public once a year.


Beyond the shrine and up the hill a little more we found a nice overlook, and near it a restaurant where we were able to order some udon and a fancy soda with in a glass bottle. The bottle is sealed with a marble which you whack with the flat of your hand to open the drink. It makes a mess, but the bottle is pretty. You have to drink properly from the correct angle though, or else the marble slides back into place and cuts off the flow of soda.



2010.10.20.01

Today we went to the town of Yame, known for its quality teas. The tea plants are shaped like arc-shaped 'hedges' and crafted this way to allow people and machinery to get in between to hand pick the leaves most effectively. The leaves are fairly hard, but tear easily.

At the tea shop we stopped in we were able, after some reluctance on the part of the staff, to get a tour of the facility and saw how the tea was ground and processed. This month they were producing Hojicha (roasted green tea). Many restaurants were serving Hojicha this time of the season. We saw how the tea was ground, then taken by conveyor belt to the roaster where it was then cooled and bagged into large sacks. Some was then run through a machine that wraps tea in teabags.

Our excellent friend, guide and interpreter vi brokered a good tea deal for us. He even got them to throw in a cute little tea mascot shaped like a smiling green teapot with the words "Yame Tea" written on the leaves on top. I like the way they used a green string to connect the smiling teacup and represent pouring tea.


-- end Japan Trip Log --

2010.09.25.01

Evening of jo and boken training with Slava, Nathan, and Christian-sensei at the Boulder Library park followed by a half hour kettlebell sweat at home!

Some work on coding bugs then a wonderful dinner of chicken pad thai over ink noodles courtesy of the lovely and talented Bonnie. I love her so much.

Did some training with Max last night who got me up to speed on the true importance of using quotes when designing associative arrays. Why is it important you ask? This makes a difference when creating serialized arrays from regular arrays as they define data types as a part of their syntax.

So in php I craft a standard associative array assigning a quantity with an ID, in this case the quantity is always 1:

$myarray=array(4=>'1',37=>'1',130=>'1');

This puts the number 1 in a string context rather than a number context, so when you serialize the array you get:

a:3:{i:4;s:1:"1";i:37;s:1:"1";i:130;s:1:"1";}

Instead of the following that occurs if you create $myarray omitting quotes:

a:3:{i:4;i:1;i:37;i:1;i:130;i:1;}

The 's' stands for strings in the first serialized array, while the 'i' stands for integer.

Why are our IDs expecting numeric strings instead of integers? I have no good answer today, but will find out...so stay tuned!

Some days work out pretty well when you work out then get back to work quickly so you can get home to spend time with those you love.



2010.09.19.01

Spent the weekend up in Cheyenne. Bonnie and Bob collected fruit from the Burge's three apple and one pear trees. We boxed them up and brought them to the Wildlife Animal Sanctuary outside of Hudson, Colorado where they would be used as food for bears.

Sampling some, I was surprised to find the apples were sweet, crisp and tasty! Next year the bears may very well be getting less than the lion's share of these apples.

At the sanctuary, bears and birds alike seemed to have ample fruit laid out in large piles for their consumption. The bear area is comprised of several acres of fenced in land with large concrete cylinders buried halfway in the ground for the bears to use as caves. They also have several climbing structures and water basins to stay cool in the summer.

While there, we bought a bear puppet in honor of the occasion and in anticipation of our visit to see Miss Miriam, our niece, and new nephew Nathan in October.

2010.16.09.01

OK, maybe some business in Japan. Lots of art in Kyoto, after all. The U.S. and Australia were the only major powers not to sign the Kyoto Protocol Agreement. Of course. The U.S. accounts for 25% of all greenhouse gasses produced worldwide. Why would we want to sign up to clean up our own mess when no one pays us to do it?

Maybe because the U.S. some kind of smug, over-privileged teenager with such feelings of entitlement that he refuses to clean his own room unless he's paid money or exempted from other chores for him to do it?

Frustrations at this kind of unfair, self-serving attitude and imbalance with powers and problems greater than myself have generated much anxiety and despair in my life over the years. The frustration with jackasses in power doesn't go away. It grows. People and corporations should generally be responsible for their actions...and if not, be held accountable for the results. So, how do we resolve such contradictions in balance, morality, and overall fairness?

Emotional cleansing is allowing me to be more vibrant through any feelings of anxiety, self-doubt, or whatever is making life difficult emotionally until the negative feelings have passed. Christian sensei taught me a number of really interesting techniques recently - some using visualization, others involve making sounds and activating some noises rather physically.

The first technique I want to share is used to take back energy you may have given to someone - either intentionally or unintentionally. Here is how it works:

1. Acknowledge the differences and similarities between you and the person you are interested in recovering your energy from.

2. Imagine a comb moving up from the bottom of your feet, through your body, through the top of your head, and out through your auras, removing any energy belonging to the other person.

3. Now send that energy back to the person to a place we they may receive it should they choose to.

4. Imagine that person. Now visualize any positive energy belonging to you they may have leaving their body, traveling to you and being received back into your body.

5. Now imagine their life as a picture, and your life as a picture side by side. Again, recognize the similarities and differences. Now imagine their life's picture being sent away from your life's picture.

6. Imagine a great force of love, forgiveness, happiness, and unconditional positive regard about your head. Half this energy goes out to that person where they can receive it. The other half comes down to be received into your body.

Feel the love? Feel connected? Feel better? It's all within....If you have the right tools. Thank you Christian sensei for providing some good ones!

2010.09.13.01

Trip to Japan booked. All pleasure, no business. :-)


Yoko Hiraoka on the traditional, 13 string koto
Yoko Hiraoka on the traditional, 13 string koto
2010.09.10.01

Saw koto player Yoko Hiraoka and flutist Mark Miller tonight at Chuck Ceraso's art studio in Lafayette. I've been meaning to go to Chuck's concert series and never have, but tonight provided the opportunity.

I've heard this kind of music on movie soundtracks dozens of times, but I was not prepared for the powerful experience of musical textures the night would bring. The koto is a 13 string instrument invented in the 6th century in China which was soon brought to Japan and refined, like most good ideas.

Yoko was in a formal, elegant white dress. Mark dressed comfortably all in black. His wry wit balanced out Yoko's pure and sweet demeanor as perfectly and as distinctly as the sounds of their unique instruments.

Mark played the shakuhachi, or Japanese bamboo flute, on several pieces throughout the evening. The most serene piece was called "So Green" by Art Lande, with Yoko on the 17 string bass koto (invented not until the early 1900s) and Mark on the bass flute. Warm, calm and meditative.

Throughout the evening we were treated to the sharp, sometimes straining staccato of the koto, in contrast to the soft, warm and embracing, charcoal feel of the bass winds. The overtones and color of the flute made it clear Mark Miller was a virtuoso. Yoko too seemed very much grounded and at home on the enormous 17 string bass koto, which was about the size of a small kayak.

I realized the sharp dissonances and bent notes typical of the koto make melodic arpeggios so much the sweeter when they occur.

The white picks slipped on the ends of middle, pointer and thumb look like little Japanese doll sandals on the ends of her fingers.

They also performed improvisation inspired by several old Japanese poems which they read prior to playing.

At one point during one of the more dynamic improvisations I noticed a fat, black beetle make it's way across the red, carpeted floor and directly toward the koto player's foot. It crawled over the edge of her open-toed sandal and I watched in sympathetic horror as it nuzzled itself just under her toes.

"Will she lose it?" I thought, "and just scream and shake her foot now in the middle of the performance?". At what point during the improv, which was going so well, would it occur? The most quiet part probably... The beetle wandered along the ridge of her toes. Travesty averted. Whew. I figured he'd keep walking in the direction he started, but no, he back tracked and began walking up her big toe and over her foot! "Oh my God. She's got to be feeling that now", I thought.

But no, she was focused and the beetle then walked around her foot, under her high heel and back in the original direction it came from. The performance of the piece was a complete success and compelling in spite of the brief visual distraction and tension for me.

And that's the story of Yoko and the beetle.

I will definitely be going back for more concerts at Chuck's. An amazing evening full of friendly, warm and sincerely talented people, which is everything I've come to know about Chuck himself in my various art encounters with him over the years.

Chuck Ceraso - Ceraso Gallery and Studio



2010.09.09.01

Tiny smoke plume from foothills
belies the raging
devastation just beyond

2010.09.07.01

Fires rage to the west; 50 homes lost and 7K acres as of 5pm today. Smoke looms everywhere along the front range. No lives lost yet in the firestorm. Let's hope it stays that way.

Getting ready to mail the 130, hand-printed birth announcements to my sister.

When one door closes, another opens. "It's only a beginning." - Chicago

2010.09.03.02

News is like Art: Point one percent of the time it can be completely, positively, beautifully, and forever life-changing. It is for that reason, if no other, that we should pay attention to it.

2010.09.03.01

Our friends Steve and Steph have been proving their amazing love and commitment to their family every day lately. Last month, Rachel, their oldest daughter of 20 was badly injured in a car accident. Her little Toyota was T-boned by a truck. She was barely bruised externally, but suffered a major head trauma, bleeding at the brain stem, and was in a coma for a couple weeks. Her operating system was basically wiped clean. She has been working hard every day rewiring her body and mind with the help of the good people at Craig Hospital in Denver and continuous support of her incredible family.

I'm certain Rachel's commitment to life and the support she's being given will put her ahead of the pack again in no time, but it gives us pause to reflect on the crazy routines and habits we develop and see what's really important.

Love triumphs over all of life's setbacks.



2010.09.02.01

I convinced our friend and kettlebell coach Christian to come along and give blood with me yesterday after kettlebell practice at Bonfils Blood center in Boulder. Christian is blood type O-negative which makes her a rare, universal donor. She is also very kind and generous, so it didn't take too much convincing.

One gentleman had been honored there recently for giving 50 gallons (that's Gallons) of blood which equates to about 400 donations over his lifetime. They even printed a nice poster in his honor and had it hanging high. Since they only let you donate a pint once ever two months, he must have been giving at every opportunity for 67 years. The guy didn't look that old either, so I guess giving so much life to others must be what's keeping him young and healthy.


Christian Sensei preparing to give blood in between kettlebells and aikido practice.
Christian Sensei preparing to give blood in between kettlebells and aikido practice.
2010.08.31.05

Our friends Will and Lisa live such artful lives. He's a lead tech writer for a large multi-national and she works in green building materials and design. This year they decided to further commit to their sustainable living philosophy and grow high-quality organic hops. About a dozen people had come by the farm when I left around noon on Sunday to take advantage of the $5/pound picking and freshly spun honey from Will's bees that also reside on the farm. Hops is a beautiful plant and it attracted happy and peaceful individuals to share in the first year's bounty.

Niwot Hops - Organic Hops


Hops at Niwot Hops
Hops at Niwot Hops
2010.08.31.04

Speaking with loud indignance about others says volumes more about the speaker than those about whom they may be speaking.

2010.08.31.03

Friend vi's photography has always impressed me. These insect photographs in particular are wonderful and exotic to see, as nothing like this is in Colorado. Looking forward to visiting vi and his family in Japan this autumn.

Little Creatures by Mr. vi

2010.08.31.02

Found this interesting post while ego surfing on the web (an unproductive pasttime but good to do every now and then). Very pleasant surprise to see something I put out on the internet helped others to do something creative and wonderful.

From the site slippingglimpse:

"The language of the poem comes in part from sampling and recombining the words of visual artists as they reflect on their own digitally inflected work (among them, Helaman Ferguson, Manfred Mohr, David Berg, Ellen Carey, Frances Dose, Marius Johnston, Jon Lybrook, Susan Rankaitis, Hildegard of Bingen)".

Not sure why my work is often considered digital since it begins, and lately ends, in the analog realm, but people sometimes rush in to label something or someone something simplistic to suit their own purposes or agenda. Also not sure how Hidegard von Bingen can be considered a digital artist (though perhaps she did finger painting), but I'm honored to be listed among such a talented group of artists!

slippingglimpse - "Pipping Pimpse"

2010.08.31.01

Just spent the weekend printing baby announcements for the new nephew, Nathan! Also delved into printing polymer photogravure tests from my experiments with the Nikon D3x from earlier in the summer.

The custom aquatint screens I use were under scrutiny due to some lines that appeared on the proofs, however it was later proven to be some head patterns in the film positive. The film printer is getting on in years and probably needs more frequent head cleanings.






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