Middle Savagery

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Bali is quiet today. It is Nyepi, the first day of the New Year, and it is a day of mandatory rest and meditation. We are not allowed outside our flat–if we are caught on the street we’ll be firmly escorted back inside. We must stay very quiet and not indulge in any way, or we’ll catch the attention of demons that are currently flying over Bali. If we are quiet enough they’ll shove on and not stop to wreak havoc. There are no flights in or out of Bali today. Silence.

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Yesterday, however, was a glorious racket as Ogoh Ogoh were paraded down the street at sunset, twirled around and “confused” at intersections, then burned down at the seaside. Over the past week we’ve been peeping inside of temples to look at the in-progress Ogoh Ogoh as they were carefully built over metal frames. As we stood watching…

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Don't Forget to Feed the Baby

This is as true in everyday life as it is in battle: we are given one life and the decision is ours whether to wait for circumstances to make up our mind, or whether to act, and in acting, to live. ~ Omar N. Bradley

Depression is an issue that has been getting a great deal of press lately, particularly in the parenting community. The Parenting Magazine article Xanax Makes Me A Better Mom shows just how pervasive and controversial this issue is: according to the article, parents are more than twice as likely as non-parents to experience depression, and the comments section illustrates just exactly how harsh and judgmental people can be about it — whether you’re taking pills or not, whether you’re in therapy or not, as soon as you use the word ‘depression’ someone stands ready to condemn you for something.

I’ve been depressed for my entire…

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AndrBov

Futurism has always been one of my favorite artistic movement.   I remember the first time I went to an exhibition of Umberto Boccioni: I was a little child, my father  – a true art lover – drove me there. In front of each work he spoke for hours about every details, talking about the “philosophy” of the artist and the deep impact the movement had on the italian culture of that period. I didn’t listen at all, but I was so raptured by all those strange compositions, with fabulous colors and dynamics, that when I started with photography I tried to recreate with my camera the emotions I felt that day.

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Dynamism_of_a_Dog_on_a_Leash

One of the goals of futurism was to capture movement and dynamics. Note that artists like Balla were strong influenced by photography as well. Combiningpanning with long exposures gave me some good results. (above: Dynamism of a Dog…

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realdale

Dear son,

I love you. I want you to know that first of all. There are times you may not feel it. There are time you may doubt if you are really loved. There are times I am angry at you. But please don’t forget: I love you.

From the first time I heard you cry, up to this moment you are walking with me to school, the joy I have is still overflowing. Such a creation like you could only bring ecstasy like this. No pets, books, films, or food can even equate the happiness I feel when I’m with you. Please know that. Even if I don’t show it that much.

When you want something, be willing to wait. Know the value of patience and perseverance. I cannot give you all you want. But I will make sure you have everything you’ll need.

I may not be…

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Curves and Sass

I don’t actually have a guide for this yet, but I am newly pregnant and figuring things out! I dunno if it’s the case for every pregnant lady but I am HUNGRY, and especially hungry for iron-rich, red meat-y things that aren’t on my typical eating plan. Weight Watchers won’t allow you to attend meetings while pregnant, which is probably really good because there was a tiny part of me that was planning on losing the last 15 pounds while pregnant. When I have a day off, I find that I need at least a handful of naps, and sometimes I fall asleep sitting up. I’m working out still, but currently keeping it to prenatal yoga and pilates and long walks.  I haven’t had a major sweat in at least a month, and when I hit the doctor for confirmation that I was with child, I had gained three pounds.

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Maps have changed.

Cartography used to be fairly simple and largely a novelty:

Portolano

Unimaginable to the users of that Genoese world map from 1457, today’s maps are used daily by hundreds of millions of ordinary people around the globe to accomplish what’s now regarded as pedestrian tasks, like 3D flyovers:

Flyover nyc

Indeed, in the post-PC era maps have ceased to be cartographic snapshots of the Earth’s terrain and become spatial portals to a vast array of virtual services:

  • Wayfinding — In the not-too-distant future, the principal feature of maps may no longer be wayfinding. Yes, we still want to go from A to B and know where B is and what’s around it. Today, however, we also want to know not just what, but who among our social network is around B, even before we get there. And we want to know not just how to get to B, but by…

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Gigaom

According to Twitter, the presidential debate in Colorado on Wednesday night generated a maelstrom of more than 10 million messages in less than two hours, making it the most tweeted-about event in U.S. political history, and one of the most tweeted-about events ever — close to the record set during the Super Bowl. Obviously Twitter is probably happy about that, and you could argue that those kinds of numbers show that large numbers of people were at least paying attention to the debate, for better or worse. But is the kind of instantaneous commentary and snap judgement that the social network specializes in a good fit with the political process, or does it just turn it into a sideshow?

In the past, any truly public analysis of the performance of the candidates had to wait until the event was over, when the usual political operatives and pundits like former…

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Gods of Advertising

Status update: “Posing with the Beaver!”

One of the wonders of social media is that it allows us to present only what we want of ourselves to the world. Wrinkles, warts and divorces remain hidden. We put our best face forward and keep ugliness and negativity far from curious eyes. We show only virtues and rarely defects of body and character. Frankly, we are being more than pleasant. We are presenting idealized versions of ourselves: who we aspire to be versus (perhaps) who we really are. Facebook is the textbook example but the myriad other microblogging platforms provide ample camouflage as well. Duh, you say. Why would anyone want to share anything less than bliss in his or her personal life let alone Tweet about it?

The dilemma (if dilemma is even the right word) is that everyone is living a kind of virtual lie and one that grows bigger…

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Multo (Ghost)

In search of something to read this fine Sunday afternoon, I picked up a book I bought for five dollars the other weekend, a hopefully-not-too dry Anthropology collection from forty-five years ago. Opening it up to a random page, I found that familiar, but increasingly rare fragrance: the scent of old book.

BookPhoto: Nina Zumel

I don’t know how to describe the smell, it’s just — old book. My lack of descriptive power tells you all you need to know about why I don’t make my living as a creative writer. What can I say? It smells good. It’s a little bit chemical, a little bit dusty. It smells like old paper, old good paper. Old letters smell like that, too. Old newspaper clippings, I think, don’t.

It smells like my grandmother, too, like the smell of her clothes folded neatly and tucked into her dresser way back when I…

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