The best map of Arda - Earth - I've ever seen. It's lovely. I've long loved maps of all kinds, fascinated by the perspective - so high up. Of course, as with all things, some are more beautiful than others.

Can you find Gondolin? Morgoth couldn't for the longest time, but then, he's got plenty of it. All it takes is a mistake, a small slip, and evil comes marching in.

Find out more by reading the fantasy bible, The Silmarillion.


Orangutan Surfing Civilization

A real thing, fictionally speaking. Check it out: KAMANDI!!! What a crazy piece of work. Love it. I am enthralled with the idea of complete fictional worlds/universes - mythology, comic books, fantasy, sci-fi, etc. Nerd stuff, to be sure. It's the details that ultimately hook me - back stories, character connections, different but consistent rules for reality (magic, technology, super powers, etc). Mythology and religion are like this too, of course, but with a great deal more respect given, though not always deserved. Not as entertaining either.

The Orangutan Surfing Civilization sounds like awesome times.


Duck Hemisphere

Your eyes don't lie, right? It's a duck, or some sort of water fowl. I never knew - never even dreamed, really - we could all be but lice on a duck's feathers. But hey, if it's turtles all the way down, why not duck continents too, and we but bugs crawling on its surface? Or some such.


Don't make it weird

Did you know that ducks are the hardcore rapists of the animal world? S'true, look it up.

Also, whoever made this flyer in irony is genius; whoever made it in sincerity is scarily dim.


Spoiler Alert!

I've not read the book, nor seen the movie. But I gather there's a dog involved, and said dog goes from pup to old age. And dies, according to this spoiler - I sure hope not!

Do dog deaths upset you more than people deaths, fictionally speaking? I mean, often, the people had it coming - how many action films have you watched and witnessed hundreds of people's deaths with barely a shrug, or even, a thrill? Yeah! Dogs, on the other hand, are almost always innocent, and every dog death in fiction is tragic and heartbreaking. A weird imbalance, yes?

This. Is. Dog!

Any dog speaks for them all - for they are all, dog.
Except for fancy mutts, who think themselves people, better than "dog". Stuck up bitches.



You are familiar with the internet concept of "photobombing", yes? In which a person inserts themselves into another's portrait. Example:
The originator of the meme, somehow - Michael Cera. Cerabomb. Also too:
X-ray photobomb. Righteous.


Aquadogs (What a country!)

What a country! What a world. This guy gets an idea - hey! Dogs underwater are funny. People love their dogs. Maybe they'll pay me good money to take pictures of their dogs underwater. And verily it was so. FSM bless America. Enjoy.
Cute but terrifying in a "doll come to murderous life" kinda way.
Aw gosh aw gosh I'm in it now!
What are you thinking of?
Work like parachutes.
Like dogs in general, mostly cute and awesome but just below the surface, sometimes revealed, wild monsters of fang and claw.
Protip! No matter how well you know the dogs and how cool said dogs might be, never stick your hand in between two of their mouths when they're set on something. Only scars will result.
Also too, cuz it's cool and apropos:
This is the baby from Nirvana's "Nevermind" cover. All grown up! Time, man. It doth fly.

A memory of a dream remembered

Shamelessly stolen from l.e.s.t.e.r. Ex post facto OK, brah?

This was the dream I lived, twice. On a lake with a canoe and a keyboard, a hoe and boots for working and hiking. A dog - Kennedy (above) - by my side through the woods deep and wide, over beaver dam into the Wastelands, no where was off limits to a boy and his dog in the Summer of 99. Good times. But just a dream, and in that dream fashioned another dream, far off into the future, one day to build a castle of stone and wood high on a mountaintop. Lo! And so it has come to be, a sizable financial commitment to an idea birthed in the heat of fantasy lived, for a season or 4.
Check it: I used to canoe way out to the other side of the lake (a mile or so) where there was this sweet little island of cliff and pine. I made a soft seat of the fallen pine needles and spongy ground between three pines overlooking the lake and mountains, and read Joseph Campbell's "Hero with a Thousand Faces". From late spring to early fall almost every other weekday afternoon, weather permitting, of course. It was magic, and I reminded myself then to remember it, now. And so here it is. Thanks for the pics, l.e.s.t.e.r.


Just a sip

Surprisingly, water tornadoes don't suck up to much water. Who knew? Science, that's who. The cloud you see in a water vortex is condensation due to the extreme pressure/temperature difference within the vortex and without. It does kick up a lot of water on the outside of the funnel, and so too any poor water creature caught in the path - hence raining frogs. But just a sip of water upwards, as the tornado is a downward event.

Imagine you were a sailor some 10,000 years ago, in a small craft of handmade design, and you came upon a waterspout. Angry Gods, right? And that's where science precisely sets us free - what was once mysterious and full of evil portent can be explained naturally. Anything and everything can be explained rationally if the eye of science is turned upon it. Eventually. And it is confidence in this process - science - which sets us free from all prior dogma and belief. This belief - in the scientific process - is our salvation. Ramen!


The Same Shape

A fire vortex. Wicked metal. And it is the vortex that repeats at all levels of our reality, from the very small to the large beyond comprehension. It is one of the, if not the, default shapes of reality. Gravity follows the vortex, and in it creates almost everything, via stars, and galaxies of stars. Here, heat rising rapidly in cooler surrounding air creates a vortex of fire whirling up the compressed space, as with all things: Imbalances creates motions, motions bring change.

The spiral is the symbol of the vortex, and should be our symbol of understanding.


Not a water based prank

A real photo, apparently, from Tibet, of a monk aflame. If it's come to people lighting themselves on fire in protest, safe to say society has become overly authoritarian, and needs to relax, quite a bit.

Some serious stuff to light one's self on fire, right? Damn.


Master Pranks of the Subcontinent, Volume 2

Amazing pic. Cheers to the gumption of the pranksters, for this truly is a master prank - look at all the folks involved, and the timing, and obvious preparation. But jeers to such pranking - I hate pranksters! Think of the graduation ruined, the faculty furious, expulsions and firings and all kinds of cacophony. It's just not right - laughs at other's expense should never be. Respect, people: It's a two way street.

There's probably a formula which expresses the frequency and nature of pranking with the manner of the punishment, ergo, a society which allows pranking yet still metes out fair justice is a balanced, and healthy society. A society where pranking is out of control is chaos and disorder. A society that fears to prank fears for its life. Or is some boring Stepford world.


Overly clean glass

Overly clean windows, doors, and walls are a danger to human and dolphin alike, not to mention the many millions of birds who die tragically each year. For all our sake, people, leave your windows slightly dirty.


Hey D'oh

Hey, Dolphin. What up?
Oh right, head into glass.


Fuck the Ocean (LOL)

Like, right? Why would you be swimming in the ocean or lake anyways? It's your own fault! Do you realize what lies beneath the surface of ALL oceans and lakes?
In the deep dark waters strange monsters lurk.


House on the Lake

For reals: Floating islands of Lake Titicaca. Titicaca might be the best word ever invented, by the way. These folk weave floating islands of local reeds and keep on weaving, the islands floating along for hundreds of years. Check it.    
And as with all lake houses, if you're stopping by it's considered polite to bring a 30 cube of Bud Light and some Funyons.


Gondolin Water Works

Here's Gondolin, as of May 5, 2012.
That wall with the pine shadow is about 10 feet tall. Protecting against the natural inclination of the mountain, which is to drain right there, and to other side. When I found Gondolin some years back, there was a bog to the back and right of the garage shown above, all due to a drainage pipe further up the hill passing on water from still yet further up the mountain. This bog was relatively new and had just killed most of the pine trees in the vicinity, to my chagrin, for it opened up a gap in my fence of pine and wood. And so with all long term considerations given, this must be addressed by draining the bog. And so I dug (and dug, and dug, and dug...) a stream:
You can see a portion of it in the upper left. Here's a closeup of that stretch:
Not the best picture, and for that I am further chagrined. But you get the drift, I hope? A small channel dug into the ground corralling a previously creeping, spreading flow of water that soaked a large area. Another shot, of the newly dug lower stretch:
I also just cleared the deciduous trees and shrubs to the right, as I am truly gardening the forest, pruning deciduous where I can in favor of conifers. You can see the new leafy trees directly ahead, probably 10-15 years old and grown in since this land was first clear. They claim any new land first, and I wonder how the conifers ever gained a foot hold at all. Fun fact to know and share - the entire conifer family is only approximately 300 million years old.

Anywho, the bog is gone, and the stream is now some 400 feet long, all dug out and waiting to be prettified. The amount of water channeled through this system is incredible, and even more so, I've got projects here in Gondolin to last a lifetime. I envy myself.

As a goodbye, here's an artistic blurry photo of a deciduous bloom, in honor of all its fallen sisters:


Another World

It's like a fantasy land written by a bearded Sperglord. But it was real, and here captured in 1910 by Prokudin. Dude ruled - here is he, indeed, chilling by an olde tymey stream:
A macro:
Prokudin's got it right: Everyone needs a walking stick. A sturdy one is useful for so many pursuits.


Black and white memories

My mental images of the past - all of the past, well, from the 1950's to the beginning of time - are in black and white. People lived in black and white back then, right?

Of course not. Their sky, blue, their grass, green, their dirt and wood, brown and tall. Just like our world. But having seen enough black and white photos of recent history, I've been programmed to think of the past as B&W. It's weird, but I think pretty common. And hence how shocking it is to see an old time dude or event in color. Honest Abe looks fine in color, and is ugly as sin. Can you imagine him running for President today? LOL Abe.
Tolstoy, Leo (1908). Looks like he could be in an old time hippy band, playing bass or rhythm guitar.
Zindan Prison in Bukhara, 1907. Good times, good times. In color!


World at War

Think of all the wars in our history - all of them. From the world at war in 1914 to the petty little royal wars of this kingdom or that in 963, this tribe or that in BCE360, this clan or that in BCE26,000. All the wars, all the violence, all the death and destruction - for why? And I ask this from an evolutionary perspective.
Survival of the fittest, I suppose. Via technology - I'd argue technology was created and ever honed because of war and violence, up to and including this day. And what a mighty world we've built with this technology.
With so much loss. Think of all the dead, and not just the troopers, soldiers, warriors, etc, but the women and children, the old folks brutally chopped down. So much death and loss, but so much gained.

We're Gods now, super heroes bestride the World. But terrible, petty, vengeful Gods, prone to violence and random acts of killing.

Is it worth it? Probably yeah, right?


Another day 'troopin'

Some workplaces are better than others - some days, better than others. From certain points of view. For example, you could be 'troopin' on some sweet diplomatic mission to the Beach Planet, or camped out for the night in the charred ruins of some pointless Suburban Mall Planet, toasting a dead comrade. Just a matter of luck, I suppose - gallows luck, in the scheme of things.


At-At Boy

What boy or even girl wouldn't want a fully articulate wooden At-At model, made in Japan? I say thee about 27% of the whole. Losers, in other words.

The At-At doesn't seem to be the most practical way of transporting men o' war when you have levitation devices on everything. Why not just float them Troopers in there, rather than the cumbersome legs and plodding?

Cool factor, that's why.


Bull Moose Rally

Not a sight to see when you Rally around a forested corner. I'd punch it - but that's always my reaction. It might be wiser in this situation to come to full stop, and pray to whatever God it is you pretend to worship.


Pool Party

Protip: If you ever see a mother moose in a pool with her kids, jump in! Mooses love pool parties, and the more the merrier! Especially with non-moose.