Friday, August 30, 2013

QotD: "And that moment when the bird sings very close / To the music of what happens" RIP Seamus Heaney

R.I.P. Seamus HeaneyEarlier today the Irish poet Seamus Heaney died (1939-2013). I first came across Heaney in college in a graduate seminar on Irish Poetry. Yeats was, of course, the focus, but we also covered "Irish poetry after Yeats" (which was the title of the book we used!).

Heaney also did some interesting translations (Beowulf and Greek plays), that made him one of the best selling poets of our time.

And here's more from the quote of the day:

There are mud-flowers of dialect
And the immortelles of perfect pitch
And that moment when the bird sings very close
To the music of what happens.
- From "Song" by Seamus Heaney

Digitalización de literatura de Biodiversidad, presentation with @WUlate for @CONABIO staff

Digitalización de literatura de Biodiversidad: an Overview of the Biodiversity Heritage Library. Martin R. Kalfatovic and William Ulate. CONABIO Teleconference. 29 August 2013.

Presentation for a group of CONABIO staff that we did via an suprisingly glitch-free WebEx teleconference.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

QotD: "With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood" M.L. King, Jr.

Spot of MLK's "I Have a Dream" Speech
Today marks the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. As Martin Luther King, Jr. noted in his "I Have a Dream" speech, that original date, was 100 years from the time of the Emancipation Proclamation. So today, we mark the 150 year since then. And do we see any progress of King's Dream?

I think we have. made progress on equality. But even with great strides, the Civil Rights Act, the striking down of DOMA, there is still a long way ahead. Perhaps a such a long walk for equality writ large that humans will never get there.

Perhaps, indeed, "freedom", is a state always to be sought, but never touched ... and so, again, perhaps the words of the old Negro spiritual "Free at last! Free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!" are but a Dream.

And yet, and yet, again, perhaps:
"With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day."
And yet, again, perhaps ... as with Zeno's Paradox, we will ever approach the dream, and yet, never touch it.

See the full text of Martin Luther King, Jr's. "I Have a Dream" speech here. You can also see the complete video of the 17 minute speech embedded below.

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Thursday, August 22, 2013

QotD: "The Old Ones were, the Old Ones are, and the Old Ones shall be" / NecronomiCon Providence getting underway today!

H.P. Lovecraft house, Providence, RI
Hey all you H.P. Lovecraft fans (yes, we know you're out there!). Just wanted to remind you that the NecronomiCon Providence is starting today (August 22, 2013). And today's quote is from The Dunwich Horror and Others by H.P. Lovecraft himself.
“The Old Ones were, the Old Ones are, and the Old Ones shall be. Not in the spaces we know, but between them. They walk serene and primal, undimensioned and to us unseen.”
― H.P. Lovecraft, The Dunwich Horror and Others
More about the NeocroniCon Providence below (and the link above):
The Lovecraft Arts and Sciences Council, Inc. is a non-profit organization based in Providence, Rhode Island. We are a networking center for scholars, authors, and fans exploring the literary world of H.P. Lovecraft and associated authors. We seek to examine the intersection of science and art that lies at the foundation of the H.P. Lovecraft literary genre. We work closely with experts and enthusiasts around the world to foster a critical review of related research, literature, art, and the cultural impact of Lovecraft’s writings on the modern world.
We strive to organize public educational events including NecronomiCon Providence – a biennial convention that explores the work of H.P. Lovecraft and that of his myriad literary and artistic offspring, via speakers, panel discussions, book readings, and workshops. We also organize historic tours, art exhibits, film screenings, plays, and concerts to highlight the world of Lovecraft with a particular emphasis on his home city of Providence – a city that Lovecraft honored and immortalized in the minds of countless individuals around the world.

Sorry I won't be there.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Results of the Arlington County Fair competitive exhibitions, photography

So, for 2013, I had six entries in the photo competition for the Arlington County Fair. I thought I had some sure winners, but was surprised by what the judges thought. Here's the rundown:

All My Instagrams (2012-13)Collage or Photo Essay: All My Instagrams (2012-13). RESULT: FIRST PREMIUM (Blue Ribbon).

This was a surprise Blue Ribbon to me; it's a collage made from about 2,000 Instagram photos. Just a novelty shot.

Arlington Girls Go K-PopENHANCED OR ALTERED PHOTOS (COLOR): People or Animals Arlington Girls Go K-Pop. RESULT: THIRD PREMIUM (White Ribbon).

Another novelty shot. This time, winner of the White Ribbon.

Sunset: Rhode Island State HouseLandscape or Other Scenery. Sunset: Rhode Island State House (2013.07.26-IMG_4994). RESULT: HONORABLE MENTION (Green Ribbon)

This was an OK photo, so I'm happy with a Green Ribbon.

Blue Silouette: GraceExhibitor’s Choice: Blue Silouette: Grace (2013.01.19-IMG_7533). RESULT: HONORABLE MENTION (Green Ribbon)

Another Green Ribbon, which was good for this picture.  

Casco Viejo, Panama City, PanamaArchitecture, Structure or Sculpture: Street Corner, Panama City, Panama (2013.01.07-IMG_7164). RESULT: NO RIBBON

Very disappointed in this picture since I selected it over a strong other contender in the category, this picture from Morocco. 9243802714_e3df596d88_ox

Seoul SelfiesPeople (single or group, formal or informal): Seoul Selfies (2013.03.31-IMG_1422). RESULT: NO RIBBON

This was my biggest disappointment since I really thought this was my big winner! My second and third choices to enter in this category was this picture from Morocco:

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Friday, August 02, 2013

QotD: "... and made a gateway in the form of a Gothic arch by setting up a whale's jaw-bones" N. Hawthorne

"I built a cottage for Susan and myself, and made a gateway in the form of a Gothic arch by setting up a whale's jaw-bones. We bought a heifer with her first calf, and had a little garden on the hillside to supply us with potatoes and green sauce for our fish. Our parlor, small and neat, was ornamented with our two profiles in one gilt frame, and with shells and pretty pebbles on the mantelpiece, selected from the sea's treasury of such things on Nahant Beach. On the desk, beneath the looking-glass, lay the Bible, which I had begun to read aloud at the book of Genesis, and the singing-book that Susan used for her evening psalm. Except the almanac, we had no other literature. All that I heard of books was when an Indian history or tale of shipwreck was sold by a pedler or wandering subscription-man to some one in the village, and read through its owner's nose to a slumbrous auditory." From "The Village Uncle", Nathaniel Hawthorne in Twice Told Tales 

Today's quote is inspired by a visit to the Captain Edward Penniman, part of the Cape Cod National Seashore National Park. The Penniman house, built in the 1860s, was the fruits of the Captain's long and successful whaling career. The original whale-jaw gateway of the house was made from the jaw of a Sperm Whale (Physeter macrocephalus formerly Physeter catadon, there are photos of the gateway in the house where one can see the teeth in the jaw). The current gateway is of more recent vintage and is of a baleen whale.

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Thursday, August 01, 2013

Five Providence, Rhode Island, bookstore, or how to spend two rainy days in Rhode Island

Stopped off in Providence, Rhode Island for a couple of days before heading towards Cape Cad. No real plans other than to visit the Rhode Island State house, so the time was pretty open. The weather was a bit dreary, so spent a lazy, couple of rainy days in Providence spent hanging out in a couple of bookstores. 

Here's a brief rundown on the stops:

Cellar Stories Books
A perfect used book store; creaky shelves, eclectic collection well organized along with piles of unsorted materials. Welcoming staff. The only thing missing was a cat (unless I missed it!). Also a great pulp fiction collection and various printing antiques around for ambiance.

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Symposium Books
It seems this shop recently relocated from the College Hill area. Primarily a remainder (and perhaps gently used?). Some interesting selections and a pretty good poetry selections. Two tempting, but unpurchased, items were a facsimile edition of John Shade's (sic) "Pale Fire" and the facsimile edition of Nabokov's The Original of Laura.

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Brown University Bookstore
The name pretty much sums it up; nice cafe, textbook and other school supplies, but also a really nice selection of books.

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Books on the Square
Welcoming and family friendly (as well as what seemed like a neighborhood hangout since everyone seemed to know each other). Nice selection of current and local interest books.

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Paper Nautilus Books
A classic used book store with a bent towards the finer end of literature. Very good poetry selection as well as fiction and non-fiction. There was even a small box of vinyl records (including a Buffy St. Marie album) as well a artwork for sale. I picked up a nice autographed copy of Vikram Seth's All You Who Sleep Tonight. The quietly friendly man on staff reminded me a little of a younger Mr. Penumbra (you'll have to Google that yourself!).

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The Brewster Bookstore
Just a little corner bookstore, not in Providence, but in Brewster, MA.