Sunday, November 30, 2008

harvey krumpet

"some are born great, some achieve greatness, some have greatness thrust upon them .....and then there are others". . . and so begins a really clever, touching, beautifully filmed short entitled "harvey krumpet" . . . . hailing from australia (the film, not harvey) this animated short won the academy award for animated short films in 2003!
there's more at the harvie krumpet homepage but hey, enough chit-chat, let's enjoy the show . . .

Saturday, November 29, 2008

snowy day walk part two

and now for the same journey through colour pictures. my thinking as i took these was for something that evoked memories in me . . . i looked for situations or spaces that reminded me of something or somewhere . . .

snowy day walk

a week and a half ago i got to spend a day working at trent university where i listened to teacher candidates debriefing their placements and offered advice as to how they could reflect on their experience. nice work.
even nicer than that though was that i got to walk back from trent into peterborough along the trail that has been established along an old railway line. the bit i walked is about eight kilometres long and cuts through old wetland and farmer's fields before it eventually makes its way into that part of peterborough that still denies it is part of peterborough, preferring to be known either as "east city" or ashburnham. no matter what you call it, it's a really beautiful area.

i usually ride this path - for it is a path as it is completely and beautifully paved - but walking it allowed me to see little details, views, and moments that i would otherwise not see. i don't usually take pictures in black and white but i thought i'd give it a try - aiming for texture and composition.

mary oliver "first snow"

"i am certain of nothing but the holiness of the heart's affections and the truth of the imagination." -- john keats. in mary oliver's writing there is a sense of the melding of romance and an understanding of nature articulated through her imagination. for example, in the poem i would like to share with you today, mary has a sense of snow that marries the flow of thought with the experience of being inside the falling snow itself. as i read this a flood of images and experiences passes through me.

the snow 
began here

this morning and all day

its white

rhetoric everywhere

calling us back to why,

whence such beauty and what

the meaning;

an oracular fever!
past windows,
an energy it seemed

would never ebb,
never settle

less than lovely!
and only now,

deep into night,

it has finally ended.
the silence

is immense,

and the heavens still hold

a million candles;
the familiar things:

stars, the moon, 
the darkness
we expect

and nightly turn from.
glitter like castles

of ribbons, the broad fields

smolder with light, a passing

creekbed lies

heaped with shining hills;
and though the questions

that have assailed us all day

remain--not a single

answer has been found--
walking out now

into the silence and the light

under the trees,

and through the fields,

feels like one.

mary oliver, "first snow," from new and selected poems, beacon press, 1992.

Friday, November 28, 2008


snow, in addition to presenting a seemingly endless chore in terms of its removal, holds something of a romantic grip on me through its association with england. i can still recall my first memory of the sighting of snow as i sat in a classroom in second form at st. george’s school in altrincham. the teacher let us leave our desks and rush to the window to watch it fall and settle on church street below - absolutely unheard of!

henry wadsworth longfellow (seen here looking a little intense and tight around the eyes!) - an american - held something of a similar relationship with snow i think as is evinced in his poem "snowflakes":


out of the bosom of the air
out of the cloud-folds of her garments shaken,
over the woodlands brown and bare,
over the harvest-fields forsaken,
silent, and soft, and slow
descends the snow.

even as our cloudy fancies take
suddenly shape in some divine expression,
even as the troubled heart doth make
in the white countenance confession
the troubled sky reveals
the grief it feels.

this is the poem of the air,
slowly in silent syllables recorded;
this is the secret of despair,
long in its cloudy bosom hoarded,
now whispered and revealed
to wood and field.

henry wadsworth longfellow (1807-1882)

for reasons i can't source out beyond some sort of romantic connection with an england long gone - an england i connect with some features of my childhood - i love seeing old images of snow in the pennines and north yorkshire moors. here’s a lovely image from the winter of 1963 taken in the colourfully named hamlet of "winewall" . . .
on the subject of the winter of 1963, i was trolling the depths of the british film archives when i came across this short film shot by the less than prolific but very clever geoffrey jones. jones’ two most famous films “snow” and “rail” are outstanding examples of editing and juxtaposition. for example in “snow” you will see a sequence of clips of the tough-as-nails railworkers shovelling out tonnes of snow and then the camera flashes over to the passengers as they tuck into tea and scones in the buffet car, almost oblivious to the appalling deep-freeze on the other side of the window.

as the train travels faster and faster through a snow covered, english landscape, it is accompanied by a dated but complimentary soundtrack that mimics in its rhythm, the rhythm of the film itself. “snow” was nominated for the short documentary oscar in 1965.

jones died in 2005. the guardian's obituary suggests that few have achieved so much with so little” in reference to the astonishing fact that jones’ entire output over half a century amounted to less than ninety minutes of film.

to read more about the extraordinary winter of 1963, derby sulzers maintains a page on which stories of nasty winters and their effect on rail service in england are told in detail. the entry for 1963 can be found by scrolling down the page. it is worth the effort for those who love to see life as it was fourty five years ago in england, this film will bring back many memories.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

the lollipop

among the many sweets that have tickled the palate and fancy of the golden fish there is one that occupies a special place- no it's not my favourite sweetie - but it is one that when made properly and flavoured carefully (and with real flavour please!) can climb up pretty near the top of my fave list. the sweetie i refer to is the lollipop! which as you know is referred to on this side of the pond as "a sucker". lollipops have a bit of a history which begins either in the 1750's or the 1920's depending on who you believe.
millie small knew all about boys and lollipops and nailed the combo right here . . .
if you've always wondered how they make lollipops then read this. but if like me you're a foodie who loves to watch people make amazing food then you need to see chocolatier jacques torres as he makes a chocolate lollipop . . . . yummmmmmm!!!!
hey, wanna make a medicine-filled lollipop? you do?! then you'd better watch this . . .

and finally, from a dvd entitled minuscule comes this cute excerpt detailing a sort of "battle" between ants and flies over a lollipop . . .

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

europe endless

time to slap on the headphones . . . set the equalizer to fatten up the bottom end and listen to technopop circa late seventies out of germany . . . a high point for kraftwerk . . . europe endless . . . .

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

paul joseph constantine gabriel

i came across the work of belgian artist paul gabriel (1828-1903) quite by chance today. hurray for chance!!!

windmill on a polder . . .

watercourse at abcoude . . .

a windmill at dusk . . .

Monday, November 24, 2008

motorcyles by chicara

i've never been a motorcycle fan but the bikes that do call out to me are the lovely old machines that grace the pages of yellowed autobiographies or history texts. take for example my absolute favourite . . . the vincent black shadow . . .
when new, the vincent black shadow reached 60mph in 6½ seconds and covered 0 to 120mph in 44 seconds. motor cycle in its test of the shadow gave "110mph as the maximum speed achieved in third gear", and added "not obtained" for top speed because they couldn't find enough road to hit the top end in fourth! great fun!

over to the left of the mainstream of hardcore bike culture are some people who develop and design machines that have distinct genetic connections to motorcycles but which are somewhat removed from some of the practicalities of motorcycle ownership and driveability. one such man is chicara.
of the four chicara creations seen here, the one that has the greatest appeal for me is the "japanese motor unit: 1950". to take a much closer look, click on the image . . .

Sunday, November 23, 2008

the black hole

a really clever and very short film with a little bit of a quirky kick at the end . . . the question for you my readers is - what would you do if you had this "black hole" at your disposal?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

cooking outdoors at sixteen below

by some fluke or miscalculation, my propane tank still has some gas in it after a summer of hamburgers and so last night i decided to spark it up and cook some steaks. now for the record, my family does not eat a lot of meat. one person is a vegetarian, one person is more-or-less vegetarian but will eat chicken that is disguised as whatever it takes, and two others are omnivores. so the steak was a bit unusual for us.

so out i went into the biting wind and blowing snow crystals to render these steaks for the omnivores. did i mention it was cold? sixteen below (celsius) with the windchill! my first task was to hammer on the lid to break the icy seal that closed it shut. this took a few mighty wacks to each of the three sides that i could reach and i discovered that (being hollow) the barbeque gives off a lovely bell-like quality when treated with such disrespect . . . . i turned the dial to get the propane flowing and failed to hear the usual obligatory hiss . . . . so i chucked a match in and messed with the dials until whoompf!!!(and you really do have to see a barbeque in the dead of night - a cold cold night to really appreciate just how widespread and pretty that "whoompf" actually is.) there was a nice orange, red, yellow and eventually blue glow.
i lowered the formerly-attached-to-four-hooves product down onto the grimy grill which mercifully i couldn't really see because it was pitch black but for the blue glow of the flickering propane. then i realized i'd forgotten to get the tools - found them frozen onto the barbeque. a little more hammering and i loosened up some tongs and a spatula.
the food was good - i made up a nice batch of fried herbed potatoes and a gravy that included the heel of a bottle of chilean red.

my boy and i were delighted!!!

hills that become mountains

blue hills.
a form of katuata sees a poet named teagan crafting an insight that many men - particularly reflective men - could see clearly as describing themselves . . .

a small boy sees hills
then he will make them mountains
he will have to climb.

if he can climb them
what will he have overcome
that he did not make?


Friday, November 21, 2008

thomas de hartmann: the big seven

steven larose

steven larose has some very lovely paintings over on his site. to my eyes they have the feeling of something that might live underwater or possibly some merging of jellyfish and bacteria . . . . . a really nice piece of writing about steven's work can be read here . . .
here are a few of my favourite works by steven.

madame blavatsky's wandering years . . . the slave of pomp . . . work song dynasty . . . to see more of steven's paintings then pop over to his homepage. to see a lot more of steven's work then nip over to his flickr set! steven also maintains a very cool blog. . . .

Thursday, November 20, 2008

stay in my memory

bim - "stay in my memory" . . .

loren dropped by and commented on how amazing it is that this was done by one person . . . he's so right! here are the details:

description: animation by katy davis:
gobblynne on myspace.

music by bim:
bimmusic on myspace.

you can buy bim's music at the apple store, following this link: bim on itunes.
here's the skinny from katy. (oh and katy . . . this is stunning fantabulous work!!! thanks so much!) "the pop up book (which I made myself) along with the girl at the end, and the dragon, are all filmed with stop motion photography. i then drew the characters on paper and coloured them in photoshop - there's 1,651 drawings just of the characters ouch! i put it all together using after effects."


the mysterious explorations of jasper morello

i'm loving short films these days and this one is really gripping. it's one of those films that draws you along, somewhat against your will but you're always glad that you stayed with it. nominated for an academy award in 2005, the story for this film is set in a steampunkish world of dirigibles and steam powered computers, this animated film tells the story of jasper morello, a disgraced aerial navigator who flees his plague-ridden home on a desperate voyage to redeem himself. the accidental discovery of an abandoned dirigible leads jasper through uncharted waters to an island on which lives a terrifying creature that may be the cure for the plague.

the mysterious explorations of jasper morello . . .

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

loren's image of a hooded merganser in flight

i'll be straight-forward here . . . you need to visit the blog of a man who can take and share pictures like this . . . a hooded merganser in flight.

i am not a birdwatcher. i may never be. but this moves so far beyond the bird and the water into something much more essential and present.

i was deeply moved by this image for nothing more than the fact that a moment like this exists in this world. thanks loren!


thoth the egyptian deity . . . thoth the artist
thoth was an egyptian deity, in fact one of the most important of the egyptian pantheon. "thoth was considered the heart and tongue of ra as well as the means by which ra's will was translated into speech. he has also been likened to the logos of plato and the mind of God. in the egyptian mythology, he has played many vital and prominent roles, including being one of the two deities (the other being ma'at) who stood on either side of ra's boat. he has further been involved in arbitration, magic, writing, science, and the judging of the dead."

so, if you are going to take up this name, you would need to be prepared for some comparisons. in my view, the new york street artist thoth would both endure and rise above those comparisons. thoth delivers what he terms "divine prayformances", usually in the angel tunnel of central park.

i saw this film a few years ago on television with my children. it was difficult because the subject matter fell well outside what they were used to in television fare. a man through whom is channeled the most extraordinary, most powerful creative energy singing in falsetto, dancing in a gold lame loincloth, dreads piled high on top of his head, sawing away on a violin.

but what's most extraordinary is the inability you too will feel to click the off button. look at the rapt faces of the audience - not your ordinary artsy-filled audience that you might expect would show up for a performance like this, but average people out for a family day in the park.

i hope that you enjoy this extraordinary film about an extraordinary person . . . .


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

norfolk tides

i have never had the fortune to visit norfolk, a low-lying county on the south east coast of england. i have seen many many beautiful pictures of it though and one day i imagine i'll spend time there. john fincher took this photo from sheringham watchpoint, looking out to weybourne.

this is by way of a shout-out to loren who has been posting stunning photographs accompanied by powerful poetry for some time now . . . . what you'll see is a short wildlife film showing the wildlife that can be found along the north norfolk coast during the winter.

Evolving Tides from Peter Naylor on Vimeo.

the wooden box

it's been a while since i've done the "gotta have one of these" thing here at the golden fish. sorry to those of you who rode my avaricious coat tails and have been disappointed of late!!! here's a really lovely site to visit which has three objects rendered in a variety of woods and in a few sizes, any one of which i would be happy to see in my home. woodworker nick molignano of woodbox art is creating and selling these lovely items:
a sliding lid box available in your choice of sixteen different woods and seen here in leopardwood . . . clocks available in thirteen different woods and seen here in nicaraguan cocobolo rosewood . . . and jewellery boxes in nine woods and seen here in cocbolo rosewood . . . if you like what you see then drop in on nick at woodbox art. i think you'll find that his work is not only beautiful but is very reasonably priced.

the wooden box

the wooden box stands on its end,
the open side against the wind.
high amber grass rolls in waves
and laps against the knotted boards,
long unused except for spider caves,
and now one of the many hoards
the wind puts leaves and petals in.
i watch nearby while a low dark sky
shoves heavy clouds with lighter wind.
the roaring trees know I am shy.
a spirit in the box soon stirs;
it tilts backward then leans forward,
the grass rage and all prefers
not to have the box remain;
it lifts light, as if to fly,
and falls on back without a strain,
up and open to the starting rain.
each droplet makes a blushing stain.
the grass it pressed is yellow-brown,
which springs up more as rain falls down.
completely drenched I look around
and turn the open side to ground.

thomas jardine

Monday, November 17, 2008

incredible images of enceladus

i wrote about the cassini mission some time ago. cassini and its probes continue to produce incredible breathtaking images and heaps of information. here's an amazing set of images of enceladus.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

the lost jungle

there i was looking over the golden fish calendar of upcoming events and i got to thinking, surely to goodness it's got to be movie night soon - and hey, it is!!! hurray! tonight i've got a classic - "the lost jungle".
the lost jungle is the feature-length version of the 12-episode serial of the same name. legendary animal trainer clyde beatty plays himself, while the very pretty cecilia parker plays the role of his sweetheart ruth robinson. discreetly tucked away in the cast is one mickey rooney. see if you can spot him.

the plot has all the classic aspects of 1930's adventure . . . technology in the form of a dirigible, danger in "darkest africa", villains in pursuit of hidden gold. of course there's also the dashing hero and vulnerable heroine. in this case the film even includes a bevy of wild animals bent on making the hero and heroine into a dinner of sorts.

the lost jungle

Saturday, November 15, 2008

rainy day colours

a rainy november day - up early to wander through the fog into the woods where the trees are bare and the ground is rich with colours . . .

rainy day colours . . .

laurie anderson - "langue d'amour"

laurie anderson is (among other things), a performance artist. laurie slipped into public awareness with her groundbreaking tune "o superman". like nothing else heard before, "o superman" showed up at a time when electronic pop was at its peak and music wasn't valued unless it could be danced to. with the right sort of medication you could probably dance to o superman but you might lose friends or even the right to walk freely on the streets if you did! if you'd like to give it a try then here 'tis . . .

o superman carried the burden for her first big release entitled "big science". i bought it as soon as it came out on the basis of my having seen pictures in a book about modern american performance artists in which her major work "united states parts i - iv" was featured.

i was drawn to many of laurie's ideas but most especially to a musical instrument she created called the tape bow violin.
"the tape-bow violin is an instrument that uses recorded magnetic tape in place of the traditional horsehair in the bow, and a magnetic tape head in the bridge." laurie could tape record anyone saying anything and then play the entire phrase across the magnetic tape head or deconstruct it into phonemes, words or even play it backwards.

immediately following the success of "big science" laurie released a version of "united states: parts i to iv" alongside her poppiest release of all "mister heartbreak". it is from this album that today's music is selected. the core group for this release featured some major names including adrian belew, anton fier and bill laswell. the album reached number 60 on the billboard chart.

"let's see. uh, it was on an island. and there was a snake.
and this snake had legs. and he could walk all around the island.
yes. that's true. a snake with legs.
and the man and the woman were on the island too.
and they were not very smart.
but they were happy as clams. yes.
let's see. uh... then one evening the snake was walking about
in the garden and he was talking to himself and he saw the woman
and they started to talk. and they became friends.
very good friends.
and the woman liked the snake very much. because when he
talked, he made little noises with his tongue, and his long tongue
was lightly licking about his lips.
like there was a little fire inside his mouth and the flame
would come dancing out of his mouth.
and the woman liked this very much.
and after that, she was bored with the man.
because no matter what happened,
he was always as happy as a clam.
what did the snake say? yes! What was he saying?
ok. i will tell you.
the snake told her things about the world. he told her about
the time there was a big typhoon on the island
and all the sharks came out of the water. yes.
they came out of the water and they walked right into your house
with their big white teeth.
and the woman heard these things. and she was in love.
and the man came out and said: we have to go now!
and the woman did not want to go. Because she was a hothead.
because she was a woman in love.
anyway, we got into their boat and left the island.
but they never stayed anywhere very long.
because the woman was restless. she was a hothead.
she was a woman in love.
and this is not a story my people tell.
it is something i know myself.
and when i do my job, i am thinking about these things.
because when i do my job, that is what i think about.

oooo la la la la. voici. voilà
ooo la la la la. voici le langage de l'amour.
oooo la la la la. la la la.
voici. voilà. la la.
voici le langage de l'amour.
ah! comme ci, comme ça. voilà. voilà.
voici le langage de l'amour.
voici le langage de l'amour.
attends! attends! attends!
attends! attends! attends!
ecoute. ecoute. ecoute.
ooooo la la la la. ooo la la la la.

yeah. la la la la. here. and there.
oh yes. this is the laguage of love.
oooo. oh yeah. la la.
here it is. there it is. la la.
this is the language of love.
ah! neither here nor there.
there. there.
this is the language of love.
this is the language of love.
wait! wait! wait!
wait! wait! wait!
listen. listen. listen.
ooooo. oh yeah. oh yeah. yeah."

here's langue d'amour . . .

head here to laurie's website for current news.