Tuesday, May 25, 2010

quote of the day

Someone once asked me why women don't gamble as much as men do, and I gave the common-sense reply that we don't have as much money.  That was a true but incomplete answer.  In fact, women's total instinct for gambling is satisfied by marriage.

--Gloria Steinem

familiarity breeds contempt

That's a phrase that has been around awhile, the first recorded expression of it being Chaucer's Tale of Melibee in 1386.  It's usually used to explain why we like people less the more we get to know them.  I experience something like that in my creative pursuits. The more I work at honing the skills I'm trying to acquire the more mundane and crude they seem.  Here's an example: Since I retired I'm learning to cook, and although Dorothy likes the dinners I serve her, I never really know when to quit.  I usually go by a recipe, but  I like to make my own sauces.  When I make spaghetti sauce I add all the spices and then make adjustments while it simmers. Sometimes I think it needs more oregano, or maybe some basil. I keep tasting and adjusting until it tastes like spaghetti sauce.  Dorothy says she likes to eat other people's cooking, and I always wondered why since she is an excellent cook. Now I understand.  When you're too close to the process it's difficult to enjoy the result.  I have the same problem in the landscapes I paint. I never know when I'm done. I keep applying paint until I think the painting just can't accept any more. In my efforts to get a balanced composition, correct light and shade, hue, and perspective I lose the ability to appreciate the final result. It's impossible  to look at it with a fresh eye, to be surprised or delighted by the first sight of it like I am when I go to a gallery and view the works of others. I'm also learning to play the piano. I use online tutorials. It's really a monkey see monkey do enterprise.  I learn each part of a song, the left hand chords, the right hand melody, the riffs and base lines that give style to a musical piece, then  put it all together.  I takes lots of practice. By the time I can play a song proficiently it sounds mechanical to my ear.  I haven't played much in public so it remains to be seen if I am able to maintain a song's integrity and yet lend to it my own style.

So I wonder if chefs, artists, and musicians actually see the art in their own creations or if they depend on the feedback of others.  Some creative people have problems with depression and maybe this is why.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

quote of the day

When a great moment knocks on the door of your life, it is often no louder than the beating of your heart, and it is easy to miss it.

--Boris Pasternak

Friday, May 21, 2010

what i'm reading now

Cyber War,  by Richard A. Clarke and Robert K. Knake is an interesting and unsettling read. The authors lay out the threat to national security by foreign hackers or "cyber warriors" and what must be done about it.  The book begins by explaining how the Internet functions. It's an education on how information gets from one place to another and how our infrastructure has become dependent on computers. It also reveals how vulnerable the United States is to cyber attacks from foreign countries; not only militarily, but economically. For instance, our military's ability to move troops and material can be interrupted by hackers. The electric grid of the country can be shut down by someone with a laptop computer.  In a cyber war America would be at a disadvantage because we are so dependent on computers and our potential enemies (North Korea for example) are not so vulnerable. This is an important book to read.  The authors not only expose the danger but offer some solutions to prevent the disaster that would occur if an all-out cyber war erupted.

Friday, May 14, 2010

quote of the day

No work or love will flourish out of guilt, fear, or hollowness of heart, just as no valid plans for the future can be made by those who have no capacity for living now.

--Alan Watts

Monday, May 03, 2010

quote of the day

Everything I eat has been proved by some writer or other to be a deadly poison.  Everything I don't eat has been proved indispensable to life....But I go marching on.

--George Bernard Shaw

spring time in the front yard

 We planted this "Nelly Moser" clematis several years ago. It just didn't want to grow and I even accidentally cut it with the weed eater last year. And now, here it is just beginning it's spring growth and showing three beautiful blooms.
As you can see, the Frances Williams  hosta is looking good next to the dianthis. And the undulata hosta is looking good this year as well.