Pursuing natural health & thinking beyond the superficial. Deconstructing Culture.

Posts tagged ‘Design’

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Blog Makeover 7

My yearly blog makeovers seem to be getting earlier and earlier each year *blush* but I just couldn’t help it this time 😛 I hope you like it!

Here’s a rundown of the last six:

One:

Two:
FashionThatPaysTheme2

Three:

Four:

Five:

Six:

And this is how I feel- ‘Pure’ by Superchick:

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9 Years and Still Trying, Lol! Designing for Fun… Well, Morelike Obsession?

I first started this blog as a creative outlet for fashion design as a hobby/competition and then branched out but I’ve kept up the designing and improved. The design process has gotten more and more convoluted but hey it keeps my skills limber though not my fingers!

The last time I wrote about it was exactly one year ago HERE (no I’m not posting this as an anniversary coincidence 😉 and no I still haven’t won anything, not even gotten through to the first stage/round of acceptance/processing!)

Nowadays drawing patterns and prints from scratch doesn’t really happen and those of us left mainly focus on alterations of base templates from each other.

dollydesigns

Art, Design, Pinup, Fashion, Competition, Contest

A Design another Member did for me/tribute back in the day which I still treasure. (The model’s supposed to be me but darker.)

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Fatal Attraction – Not something to aspire to but can be worth striving for

Gustav Klimt - The Kiss

Gustav Klimt – The Kiss

Klimt - The Embrace

Klimt – The Embrace – the Gold version of ‘Fulfillment’

Note – this is a post only for people of a discerning, mature nature (that excludes ‘sophisticates’ who are just children playing dress up, thinking themselves special and ‘privileged’ for being part of a ‘secret’/club and then enacting their warped fantasies on everyone everywhere they can).

I keep telling people not to fall in love with gods unless they are gods, you see the human/vampire love for example in the media and unless you’re truly exceptional a mixed species relationship is not for you (and being exceptional or ‘extreme’ is not all it’s made out to be, neither is ‘normal’ but still).

We are incredibly attractive, not least to each other. Our love can last more than a lifetime for one being and we can find each other. True love for us is not the same as love for humans who’d see it (and for whom it would be) obsession, infatuation, an overwhelming need. Pain, love, need, desire, fixation, devotion – it’s all there and yes it seems/sounds just so sexy. Though for some of us sensual (different to sexual and doesn’t have to be sexual, doesn’t even have to be erotic, just powerful) is a better word. We can just look at each other and smoulder.

But its not for people, they can’t handle it, the body and even the mind is not suited for so much feeling. It’s taboo for numerous reasons and there are those who like to take advantage of/sabotage such relationships.

Now we all know the entertainment media is the ‘illuminati’ playground and despite my use of visual and music media as explanation aides I don’t actually keep up to date with celebrity so while for illustration I’ve heard the hysteria over ‘Katy Perry music videos’ (and various awards shows) I hadn’t actually paid any attention to them. Why should I? It’s all about us and I know that already, it’d be the equivalent of listening to your own records all the time and seriously, I’ve never needed or wanted an entourage/trumpeters to blow my own horn – I can do that myself 😉 . I included one of her songs ‘Roar’ or my ‘The Legend of Korra’ – the Girl who merges the Unseen with the Seen post without realizing it was her song, and then saw a picture of her ‘Dark Horse’ video and colour me intrigued…

I was never particularly interested or impressed by her music nor videos early on except her debut hit which obviously shattered a lot of social perceptions. (I remember a church sign proclaiming ‘I KISSED A GIRL AND I WENT TO HELL’.) But as somewhat associated with horse ‘mythology’ I just had to watch it and… Well, spot on. Her videos are very theatrical in a pantomime way but she has become very much the ‘illuminati puppet’ in terms of a vehicle for symbolism. I think it’s a great video but it’s a bit like setting an age range on a film; you can appreciate and laugh at messages like this when you know what they’re about, who they’re about, even know the individuals, were the characters etc. For many people spotting/learning about this kind of thing there’s automatic fear, rejection, disgust (rightfully so for many parts of it and its true her videos also make great parodies and parody material) but there’s a difference between reacting and responsibility; it’s like when I write online and then sites put up articles, pictures, quotes etc ‘accord’-ingly in ‘reply’/commentary/for/against (as if I’m even talking to them or anyone in particular).

There’s a lot to dislike and be worried about in terms of practices in Dark Horse, but for me and others at least, there’s a lot to smile at, if you think it inherently evil you really need to sit in front of a mirror for a long time. There’s parts in it that are controversial based on preference alone as well such as the pole dancing but after seeing some of her videos I actually think the composition works (not that I condone those professions, lifestyles etc I’m talking about a tiny minority where it’s sometimes ok between a couple for example) and I appreciate that she can do the gymnastics I can/could (it feels good to be fit and flexible). I don’t appreciate the pushing of this stuff on the mass mindset though, the making of celebrities to think/believe/act like they are these beings and all the debauched things many of them participate in for ritual, the glamorization (though it is glamorous/lush/scintillating/appealing what have you) and normalization of what really is the height of excess/exaggeration in its portrayal. Making the exotic common, and debased. Not everybody acts like that/partakes in what is shown, many do but I’m not talking about them *dismissive hand* they can go jump. And it’s not like an addiction for everybody, it’s not looking at others as a some kind of delicacy and being hungry all the time (and certainly not like a ‘piece of meat’). There’s a ton of psychopaths and sickos in this world, some of us come up against more than anybody’s ‘share’ of them and when you deal with them frequently you have to put in the effort to separate yourself and keep yourself calm, centered, whole. If you want to call a whole group depraved and contaminated it’s just as easy to say the same about humans, but I don’t, I’m more humane than most people. Even if it’s just the tiny minorities in these various species (humans included) that are trying their best not to succumb to degrading ways whilst expressing their thoughts and feelings.

Dark Horse – Been there, done/am that, the ‘siren’ vibe that is, not the monotomic consumption, gimme gimme gimme attitude, rich/poor class system and so much more – but when I’m in love (and its only ever one at a [long] time, if not really just one throughout) if he wants to adore me he most certainly can.

Is it wrong to feel insatiable over the one you love? If you’re desiring things that are damaging, hurtful, things they don’t want, are fundamentally repulsive, against their nature etc then yes it is. But having a love so powerful it doesn’t die and is easily fanned again no matter what the circumstance is really quite rare – when not psychopathic – there’s plenty of instances where people spend most of their life relatively ‘happy’ in one relationship. However when it’s fairytale-esque in actuality rather than imagery it can be daunting, the usual ‘I will do and go through anything for you’ scenario in many fairytales is what draws/enchants/entertains people, but that’s life for some of us. We feel like that/that depth of passion consistently and don’t deny that many, many people are stirred by the idea of someone being so dedicated to them, so protective, so admiring, so wanting. The problem is limits, personal boundaries, ethical choices and ignoring/not caring about them… Some people take passion and act like it’s an excuse for treating someone they supposedly love in ways they shouldn’t even think about treating an enemy.

E.T – the colours are perfect in this and of course they’ve taken a lot of care with the props/costuming, whilst still theatrical it’s ‘smoother’ than Dark Horse and in practice the whole ET (or any) abduction (as opposed to rescue) scenario is a no-no. Notice how he has to change bodily to become more compatible with her too but the intensity of the feeling, that reaching for each other is something many of us can relate to without being invasive (and which could be said without making greys/alien/any kind of abduction look like something people/beings actually want except those doing the abducting.)

I do like that ‘she’ (not sure how much ‘creative control’ she really has, how much she knows, is influenced etc) has a sense of humour. You can’t be/remember a long existence without being able to see the funny things, or act a little silly (note that doesn’t mean recklessly stupid and foolish) ok you can and those people are just *roll eyes* too serious for me (and that says something, I’m a grouch but I’m morelike Oscar the Grouch, he’s kind and witty really) – this is one of her funnier videos. That supernatural tiger (or any animal) imagery btw is significant, some people will know that, unfortunately much from a ‘spirit guide’ or projection point of view or sadly a having it done unto them situation.

Unconditionally – I’ve said plenty of times my love isn’t unconditional (nor available actually – facets/mirrors even from an ancient Egyptian scenario) but who wouldn’t want their beau to take them to a ball, lift and twirl them or be the one doing the chivalry, benevolent charm? I’ve not seen many complaints against the idea of a lover (and not an abductor/traitor/enemy) flying away with you in their arms. The problem again is people take things too far and indeed on a regular basis; it becomes a decadent, indulgent immorality for many. People can’t control their passions and it becomes dangerous in a bad way, predatory, and they build up systems to feed it.

Love me – I like this one, go girl (although I’d use the throne to batter them instead of kicking it over).

I’ve embraced my ‘dark’ side. I’m a richly deep, magnetic, provocative yet also sweet, lighthearted, funny person. I’m complete, replete. I’m your poison and your cure. Did you want me to be a tool; or a crawling, crumbling, crippled creature? Do this scare you? It should, because I’m in no way evil or intoxicated, neither am I submissive or tolerant of those of you who are.

Poe – Control Lyrics
http://www.lyricsfreak.com/p/poe/control_20109683.html

Don’t you mess with a little girl’s dream
‘Cause she’s liable to grow up mean

Surprised you to find that I’m laughing?
You thought that you’d find me in tears
You thought I’d be crawling the walls
Like a tiny mosquito and trembling in fear

Well you may be king for the moment
But I am a queen understand
And I’ve got your pawns and your bishops
And castles
All inside the palm of my hand

While you were looking the other way
While you had your eyes closed
While you were licking your lips
‘Cause I was miserable
While you were selling your soul
While you were tearing a hole in me

I was taking control

Now I have taken control
Now I have taken control…

This is beginning to feel good
Watching you squirm in your shoes
A small bead of sweat on your brow
And a growl in your belly your scared to let through

You thought you could keep me from loving
You thought you could feed on my soul
But while you were busy destroying my life
What was half in me has become whole

While you were looking the other way
While you had your eyes closed
While you were licking your lips
‘Cause I was miserable
While you were selling your soul
While you were tearing a hole in me

I was taking control

Now I have taken control
Now I have taken control…

So this is how it feels
To breath in the summer air
The feel the sand between my toes
And love inside my ear
All those things that you taught me to fear
I’ve got them in my garden now
And your not welcome here

Come a little bit closer
Let me look at you
I gave you the benefit
Of the doubt it’s true
But keep in mind my darling
Not every saint is a fool

While you were looking the other way
While you had your eyes closed
While you were licking your lips
‘Cause I was miserable
While you were selling your soul
While you were tearing a hole in me

I was taking control

Now I have taken control
Now I have taken control…

Don’t you mess with me.

[Poe’s Father film director Tad Danielewski:]
There has to be more to life than this, because in our confrontation with a cold cold universe, there is something comical to the idea that we can really impose our will on humanity– power corrupts!

[Poe as a child – her name is Anne :]
This is scaring me.

Second dialogue:

[Anne :]
…I live at the end of a 5 and 1/2 minute hallway

[Father:]
And at the end of it all lies of course the final phenomenon of deterioration entropy, which is a predictable disintegrations which the creative life ceases: everything has to fall apart.

[Child:]
Why are you always so serious?!

 

Note: I don’t like the films ‘Fatal Attraction’ and ‘Basic Instinct’ nor the use of the iconic scene for Rihanna’s post-domestic-violence interview nor the use of it in the latest Wonder Woman film.

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6

I change the look of the blog annually, this is the 6th makeover 🙂

This was the last one:

5 Screenshot

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Imitation is Life? What are you a Clone or Human?

I learned about shading in school, probably like most children with graphite pencils first then colouring pencils, we weren’t taught about tone and blending, that’s something I saw from Mum – she drew and still draws stylistically and at times cartoony. At school we were taught to draw ‘realistically’ – later on I thought we’d finally learn about art history and movements. It didn’t happen, we were told to copy animal skulls and stuffed animals in pencil, shown how to draw in perspective and made to do linocuts (which I got out of by delaying as long as possible because I thought it ruined my original.) That was it, all the rest of time we did whatever we wanted which was not very much, some of us did try at times – I branched out into chalk/charcoal/pastel for example and that I bought for myself. One problem was I wanted to draw my way, which I hadn’t really figured out yet though had ideas, but was told in no uncertain terms “you have to draw from life not from imagination, or you’ll fail”. Hmm I’ve never been one for modern art but I do like abstract to an extent and surrealism, plus I used to love fantasy art. Great. How to get round it, since Art was kinda relaxed I could bend the rules a little. So I still drew what I considered fantasy art but using objects from real life like clothing, facial expressions etc and with a focus on texture. That said I still drew the backgrounds at the very last minute so I could get away with drawing them how I wanted and she had to admit my use of colour and ‘energy’ was at least powerful in a complimentary way. That said, I didn’t leave much space for the backgrounds, just in case. (I also didn’t want her drawing all over my work, which she had a habit of doing unless you quickly moved it/got in the way and started talking about something else.)

The other problem was that not learning how to use multiple mediums/techniques meant come exam time we roughly knew what we wanted to do but not necessarily how to do it, I was told to look at the artwork of former students (because ultimately our work belonged to the school so they still had most of it) and learn from that i.e. copy what I saw. I didn’t like that.

I think nature is the ultimate science and art but I wasn’t keen on ‘imitation is art, imitation is life’ – I don’t think we comprehend the entire picture, we try to by sense parts of it by using machines and copying or literally using animals. So when it came to the art exam and I wanted to use watercolours I decided against it and stuck with what I knew; a couple of other girls were braver and used plaster of paris and acrylics (I was interested so helped both, yes that was not allowed but oh well – it’s not like we could get it all done in the limited time otherwise. Ironically when one of them tried to help me in return the resident bullies told her not to as well as their other usual crap.)

I didn’t and couldn’t keep up with physical art after school, materials way too expensive and no space, so I went digital/virtual. By that time I was stuck in a mental rut, I’m used to drawing what I see and every time I try to draw stylistically it just looks wrong no matter how attractive it looks when other people do it. I’ve done some pieces like that but I haven’t developed a personal style, however when I look at signature art I do find it lacks variety. For the moment I’m just sticking to shading and tone.

I’ve said it before but digital art takes aaaages, you can’t be free spirited or slapdash with it – at least it’s easy to erase unlike regular mediums. But still, people take for granted how much time/effort goes into it, I liken it to watercolours – it’s all about the layering. Something ‘simple’ and plain looking can still have 20-40 layers, a bunch of those just for the shading. Then if you’re drawing in vectors i.e. scalable images that no how you re-size them their proportions stays the same – that’s just hell because it’s like drawing backwards; erasing/removing sections is the way you get a picture there and it’s not fun or easy. My fingers swell up easily too so I’m not doing myself any favours with typing and drawing this way.

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Anyway as unimpressive as the following examples may look especially since they are pieces rather than a whole landscape/picture they illustrate textures. It’ll also probably mean more to people like me who make their own brushes.

Many people are influenced by anime, this type of shading and outlining looks cool but it’s not realistic.

anime style 1

anime style 2

anime style 3

anime style 4

SATIN

satin-style-1

satin style 2

satin style 3

satin style 4

SATEEN

sateen

Fabric with a slight stretch (softer versions of the above)

jersey cotton

jersey cotton 2

CHIFFON

Chiffon

FAUX FUR

faux fur 1

faux fur2

Or you could just leave them plain but unfortunately aesthetic value of the drawing is part of the appeal no matter how much I’ve tried to get people to understand it’s the quality of the potential design outcome that counts and hence give people who aren’t as graphically competent but still have good ideas a chance.

plain

All of the examples above are entries into fashion competitions on Chicstar using their templates (compulsory). I’ve been entering for 8 years and never won even one of the minor prizes, recently they gave me a ‘chance’ to progress but took it back like it was a mistake lol. I also keep wanting them to accept more original design Patterns rather than Ideas – ‘Ideas’ is a competition where you submit images of clothes specifying the part(s) you most like which they’re then supposed to re-draw on their templates but much of the time they just copy the whole thing. That method pays less than Patterns, if either an Idea or Pattern is accepted you get to change the colours/patterns, if it goes public you and the other members can change its features but you can no longer change the silhouette, those alterations are called Designs. If a Design is accepted it’ll be made into a prototype for auction. If that’s accepted it’s considered a Win and will become part of their stock. Almost the whole shop consists of the Wins of two/three designers but that’s always been the way of it there. I’ve even been in batches where in one of their token acts of accepting other members they’ve chosen Design(s) from every other member who submitted but me. I haven’t even won the customer photo contest lol where you don’t have to jump through so many hoops and the rules (particularly the hidden ones) don’t change as rapidly and there aren’t anywhere near as many. Why do I keep trying? There have been other members who made a point of quitting after they finally won something, it’s partially like that but mostly because it started as a hobby but got more demeaning, frustrating and humiliating so I focused on helping other members, some who’ve been ungrateful and just ended up as a regime change, others who get acceptances after I say how much I like them or take a stance and then act like I had nothing to do with it even though I’m one of a few really old members and despite not liking me personally when I say something about the London fashion scene and how things do there ears do listen. Mostly though people give up and it’s understandable but sad.

It’s supposed to be a talent competition but favouritism dominates, that’s not to say the favourites aren’t talented but they’re certainly not the only ones, especially when it’s the idea of the end result that’s supposed to be the basis, not how well you draw. Most fashion designs looks messy and stylized rather than realistic but it’s very much become a drawing competition even with the new-ish standard templates. Before that we drew clothes with or without models and however we wanted, plus we could submit in colour/pattern without having to be accepted first. We’ve often had to submit what were our original pattern designs as alterations of one of the favourite’s acceptances when they went up for public entry otherwise we’d have little to no chance, however the changes you can make have been further restricted and there’s not much you can add so it’s the favourites who submit the most. It’s gotten to the point where they have to pay for votes, they previously had a coupon scheme where members could share a coupon with the public and get commission but two of the favourites hijacked that and others found their coupons being marked down as ‘fake’, ‘not working’ etc and that was scrapped to pay for votes. Now you have to enter the Idea competition to get that pay but if you wear their clothing and submit a customer photo you get cashback too. I wrote up all the rules in a user friendly way before but they kept changing and since members don’t have an equal chance I stopped promoting the place. I just keep trying myself now and supporting those who are there, when a conversation about the lack of transparency and unfairness starts the posts are often deleted.

Thankfully the one they temporarily accepted was a generic part of an Idea as intended rather than the whole thing which wasn’t a skirt to start with and so just ended up like a ra-ra skirt which I could then customize. I’m not happy with the Idea competition, though they’ve made it compulsory to enter to get your credits so I enter maybe once every two months or so, I prefer my own ideas i.e. original patterns unless agreed otherwise like if the acceptance goes public and other members can submit variations. I also found it a hassle when that one Idea was temp accepted since it wasn’t something I had thought about (plus the usual time wasting and entry restricting happened where they change the goalposts and tell you one thing then tell you that’s not allowed do the thing they previously said was disallowed, then do another etc etc), most members just submit them because they have to and don’t even check their progress.

This was the original from an image search found in various stores – a quick search just told me Lands End for example:

201311161649538123

I changed it by adding another layer to the bottom and moving the buttons before even submitting it and said I liked the hem:

Coat 2

They drew it this way:

54364_F

It was accepted and as you can see from the examples above I did my best to change it completely (I was also the first on CS to draw in different skin colours and fabrics when we started with designs fully drawn on paper, it was then picked up by a member who was a popular and already successful designer in manga and animation and then other members took her lead, she being what they aspired to be). If they had drawn more than the hem I would have declined it (yes I have declined and lost eligibility status in the past in contests they’ve had where everyone else eligible went along with it, it’s that kind of behaviour that probably got it rescinded, they were probably drunk when they accepted it anyway on the 26th Dec! Ha it’s been said that if I was up against mannequins in the photo contest I’d still lose! I’m the biggest loser on the site and I’m beginning to wonder if I’m kind of proud of that title now since I’ve stood up for many people, although unable to help myself…)
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The problem with art, traditionally taught art anyway is that it’s very much about copying, for example all those masters who had workshops of artists producing works in the master’s style and forgeries that were often done by people taught there (like designer items that are called fakes when they’re made in the same factory or from the same pattern or leftovers/run off/unwanted parts of the order). The same applies to other subjects e.g. culinary/food. Most things have been thought of before but the norm is to change/adapt/add to and display them when they’re not in fashion, that gets people copying you and if you’re unlucky overshadowing/replacing/surpassing you whilst they often still keep an eye on what you’re doing to keep their position.

Imitation is part of involuntary/automatic life survival/propagation but I don’t find it flattering for conscious decisions, I find it insulting when it’s done to steal, claim credit for, twist to a different viewpoint, jumping on the bandwagon etc. It’s also something to watch out for when big business and organisations sponsor/fund/donate to schools. There are many motivations for wanting to make use of such a huge pool of potential talent/ideas and how often have you thought – “school students do better than that all the time” when looking at a famous person’s work? Not all the time of course, but often enough.

It’s easy to say ‘nothing’s unique, someone else just thought of it’ but I’ve been in enough situations where I came up with something and then someone else present/involved used it whole or a significant part and managed to elbow me aside, I’ve also had people ask me for help or involvement in projects and not get credited even when publicly presented and I was there with them (once even on stage – I was an original member that was taken off the bill but still there). On 1 contract it was admitted I’d done 70% of the work out of a team of 7 people but I wasn’t even mentioned and then devalued and lied about afterwards; another approx 35% but the other 55% person tookover, acted like they did everything and then said at the end ‘oh Dolly and ___ helped a bit’ and the 10% person didn’t care because their position was secured by high level nepotism. Ever lent or given someone money, even your savings for their business and they didn’t even give you a share or acted like they owed you nothing; worked for them and never got paid?

Imitation shouldn’t be the norm, if you’re influenced by somebody or saw/read their work then bloody mention them, what’s so difficult; why paraphrase, incorporate their structure/style etc without it? What are you afraid of? That you’ll get less credit, that you won’t seem so cool? So what? It’s pathetic. If you can’t think of ideas yourself or credit those you take from then you’re in the wrong area, do something where you can actually use that brain of yours yourself for something other than thinking about the best way to cash in. I use so many quotation marks in my writing that it can look funny to me sometimes because I use them for phrases too but if I didn’t think of it (and even if I did I acknowledge I might not have been the first or anywhere near it historically) then I’m not interested in presenting it as mine. If I think it’s better than mine I’ll say so, if I think it’s been done before I’ll mention it and sometimes don’t go over that ground again at all but direct people to the source instead.

It’s like when I was uni many lecturers just wouldn’t accept that you could think for yourself, they were obsessed with the bibliographies/citing, your work had no value (hey we weren’t asking for validity at that stage, just to have an informed opinion) unless it was regurgitated from someone established/recommended reading. Even the conclusions! I’d write my own thoughts about what I’d learned from other people and they’d still ask me – source? Excuse me!?!? Weren’t we supposed to have observations that weren’t mutually agreed in advance by qualified people? Then I realized, no you’re not. That’s for when you get to PhD level. 🙄 What a waste, you could learn a lot of it yourself just by having the reading list and going to libraries/bookshops in comparison to tuition fees. Tuition should have been saved for lab, field work, seminars and going on the private projects of teachers, not to be practically read aloud to (that’s what audio books and videos are for) & expected to copy to a more plausible level than plagiarism. When I used other sources they’d get confused and unsure if they could accept them or mark above a certain level.

I don’t want your reflected glory, I find the idea of vicariously basking through someone else’s ability/work/achievement disrespectful to me.

It’s like when you’ve done everything and then some that the council tells you to do for a business, handed in the paperwork, but they won’t accept it unless you spend an arm and a leg to hire a ‘professional’ in that type of paperwork, explain everything to them because they weren’t there/don’t know the business like you do, and then have them put together that information in a nice shiny folder with pockets to hold the tables/sheets for you to fill in based on the info you provided and already did yourself that were just as effective but not as pretty oops I mean not as qualified as the contractor’s. Aw look they included a CD of the tables that anyone can make in Word or Excel and their contact details just in case you need more at a good (hundreds) price. People are obsessed with red tape. Akin to the amount of forms people can get themselves for little to no cost and fill in with free guidance from financial advice providers but still go to a solicitor and pay through the nose. We’re not encouraged to think or think about thinking, rather to defer thought to titled authority.

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The story behind the Mario Savio speech is interesting, I first saw it in a Linkin Park music video ‘Wretches and Kings’ but then read up on it.
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To end with: Mum has noticed Youtube getting heated with opinions about Michael Brown… Yes him again. Four days ago the git face, I mean the esteemed, eminent Professor (astronomer) Brown (not Dan Brown) came out with another big announcement. He and his assistant have come up with a way to fill our spiritual void after the loss he caused when he told Pluto to get lost shorty, you’re not big enough, be gone midget… Or words to that effect. So now thanks to God I mean Mr. Brown et al we finally have a 10th planet, oops I mean 9th planet? Did he demote Pluto just so he could jump on the decades nay thousands of years worth of research if we go by the Sumerians and claim the position of the missing planet as his own discovery by changing the name I hear you say? *Shock* *Gasp* *Horror!* Who would do such an awful, audacious, egotistical, arrogant, deluded, up his own backside thing… A lot of people actually given half the chance. The problem is he can make a claim about a real Planet X because of all the controversy and hysteria over all the possible things it’s (if it does exist) associated with and all the names it has e.g. a twin star making our system a binary one, a dark star system of its own that overlaps ours, Nibiru, Wormwood etc it’s size, distance and direction is ever changing though apparently on a regular orbit to the many, many researchers out there. There’s so much confusion and hysteria that it’s all considered conspiracy theory or mumbo jumbo until someone with a relatively household name and credentials says something. His observations about its effects on other bodies are not new and no he hasn’t observed it.

“I would love to find it,” says Brown. “But I’d also be perfectly happy if someone else found it. That is why we’re publishing this paper. [in Astronomical Journal] We hope that other people are going to get inspired and start searching.”

He’s. T-a-k-i-n-g. T-h-e. P-i-s-s. Proper.

It’s the ‘Hey we just discovered new land… Oh wait are those people over there…? Oh well stick a flag in the ground anyway and call it ______, we’re the only ones that matter here, go call the guards/soldiers, oh and we’ll decide from now on who gets to come and go and call them the immigrants and we’ll blame them and those we impoverish for everything!’ mentality on loop. (Seriously do you know masses of people actually think Anglo-Saxons were British and take that to mean native? And why start from there? Totally forgetting about the Romans beforehand? And those they conquered? And the vikings afterwards before the Normans? But that’s the problem, people use the terms ‘British’ and ‘English’ interchangeably and act like the English Nation is a representative of the rest/even all the counts.)

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Coral Castle – A Work of Love, Pride, Obsession?

Coral Castle Review

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Coral Castle was a surprise destination on a trip to Florida Keys so I didn’t have time to research, I’d heard of the name but knew nothing else so didn’t know what to expect other than the assumptions that it was a castle and made of coral.

Wrong on both counts.

The site is a squarish plot with most of the objets d’art being open air so upon paying and entering at the lower right hand side you are supposed to be met by the/a tour guide. We found two members of staff at the greeting area with modern seating but they didn’t rise to greet us, seemed uninterested in showing us around indicating that we could walk around ourselves and not giving any site specific information and that was all after the woman had laughed and talked to the man about my outfit who called it “harem”. Such a great introduction. At the time I was just embarrassed, thinking back on it I should have said if not thought “I hope your information and delivery of such is better than your limited cultural knowledge (which is probably limited to Princess Jasmine of Disney’s Aladdin)” but as aforementioned they quickly proved their disinterest in their jobs anyway.

As soon as you see the site you realize that there is no castle, it’s more of a small house with large garden, I wasn’t so much as disappointed as surprised given its fame but it still has enough charm to lure you in. The thing I next realized or thought I realized was “hey is this really coral, it’s not coral is it?” Typically when I make such observations no one believes me if they listen at all and after the ‘salutations’ of the ‘tour guides’ let’s just say I didn’t feel compelled to ask them. Basically it didn’t look or feel like coral to me but I couldn’t emphasize that to present company because of its texture and because you know, we were in Florida; if you’ve been told it’s coral (even if it’s just an assumption based on a name that has already shown to be incorrect) then you’ve no reason to think otherwise. However having just looked up the site prior to writing this – it turns out I am vindicated! It’s actually oolite limestone which is formed in/from water environments and whilst this can appear like ‘shelly limestone’ partially made up from animal skeletons and fossils of them, to me it was more porous and granular than ‘shelly’. Additionally, according to some Coral Castle originally called ‘Rock Gate Park’ but was apparently changed after visitors noticed some fossilized coral and shells in the stone. To me that’s a bit like seeing a scrawl on a monolith and telling the public with certainty that the site was built by that namesake. ‘Rock Gate Park’ is a lot more fitting to me, but what do I know? (I’m just a cave woman 😉 )

THE MYSTERY

Ed Leedskalnin is the name of the man who built Coral Castle, a structure that can’t be called a rich man’s folly because wealth didn’t seem to figure into the his life. Born in Latvia 1887 to a family of stonemasons he emigrated to the US at approx age 26 after his 16-year-old fiance left him just before the wedding. Approximately 6 years later he came down with tuberculosis and something about that episode ignited his desire to build this… Tribute, memorial, masterpiece, ‘crazy/eccentric’ proof of worth. Intensely secretive about his work and methods, he felt its original location in Florida City compromised or inaccurate (depending on who you choose to believe) and moved it 10 miles to Homestead. It apparently took him at least 28 years to build, 3 of which he spent setting it up again somehow able to resurrect it and add to very quickly. Either way this was a colossal feat that he purportedly did single handedly, only letting a few friends visit before it was finished and even working at night so that other people wouldn’t see his methods. In total he moved and organized over 1000 tons with individual pieces weighing upto 30 tons and they stand together without joining/mortar.

Once the site was finished records say he made a living opening it as a tourist attraction and in 1951 at age 64 he died of kidney infection/failure, single and unmarried. $3,500 was found in his ‘home’ on site – his life savings after spending so much of his time and energy over the years.

WALKING AROUND

How to describe the layout..?

Imagine one of those lego boards that you stick bricks on, a diorama of what ‘should’ be a floorplan or a roof-less doll’s house. There are tables, chairs, rocking chairs, elevated chairs like thrones, beds all made of stone and then anyone interested in masonic architecture will recognize inclusion of cosmology and energy with the Moon, Mars/Jupiter (people differ on which), Saturn, the obelisk, fountain with two crescent moons (reminiscent of Hathor’s crown) with a six sided star in the centre, a sundial set for the solstices, a telescope and bringing the outside in/inside out merging duality and interestingly enough a Repentance Corner. There’s also parts you can’t access such as some very narrow steps going downwards, modern features added are fencing and lighting. I should have paid more attention to the plants to see if they had a message too but the most notable was the Ixora – other names West Indian Jasmine, Jungle Flame, Jungle Geranium, Flame of the Wood/Forest, Burning Love – a native of India, parts of South East Asia and Africa that made its way to the US and associated with mental/physical/spiritual aspiration, valour/courage, passion and both a prayer and Ayuvedic mecidinal flower in India.

Coral Castle Review

Coral Castle Review

Coral Castle Review

This place wasn’t designed for a hermit or person of solitude, there is a designated dining area for example with a large table, water bowl and multiple seating, as well as a lounge like area and the ‘bedroom’ has two single beds. The place looks like it was built to entertain and marvel but the bedroom is small and uncomfortable looking/feeling even without it being made of stone. That feeling is continued when you visit the house aka the ‘Tower’ – a duplex prison block looking house (appears bigger on the outside but the thickness of the walls take up much of the space) where the creator of this place lived and worked and a spartan place it is indeed. Simple, functional with tools in the workshop downstairs and hammock upstairs – all the decoration was put into the ‘garden’ – into the display of his vision and intention. His workshop didn’t appear very organized, tools lying about including chains, saws, tuners, copper wire, a flywheel (even though he didn’t haven a conventional electric input on site or running water), hammers, chisels etc.

Coral Castle Review

From other reviews I’ve read they always feel the need to point out height/weight 5ft/approx 100lbs so roughly my size but just as I’ve never found my size prohibitive or inhibitive and it’s only ever been seen as a problem to other people (which I have to compensate/counter for with self-deprecation and poking fun at myself to makes others comfortable and prevent/minimize them making fun) whereas I actually really like it and of course my perspective is relative to me so nothing seems too big or small because this is what I’m used to and like many other people use a workaround if necessary, I find it both insulting and undermining to consistently mention his size let alone in a diminutive sense and imply that building Coral Castle was all the harder for it. The only reason I’m mentioning it is because many of them then go on to talk about how he did it and so contradict themselves in their efforts to purport ‘it can be done’ and ‘anyone can do it with enough determination and hard work’ particularly those who believe the technology/methods are efficient enough for one person. If he had been 7ft 300lbs it still would have been a monumental task; taller/bigger doesn’t mean stronger, more able, determined nor a higher pain tolerance (or more attractive and intelligent – yes seriously, people make those assertions all the time! Even plus sized people who know how size discrimination feels are being patronizing and demeaning nowadays!) It reminded me of someone extra amazed at a woman who crossed the Atlantic alone due to her size (at least it wasn’t necessarily because she was a woman – http://www.sailing-women-on-yachts.com/solo-sailing.html) and my response was “everybody is small to the ocean”.

He didn’t claim to love his solitude so perhaps the nature of the Tower – itself a name marker of being alone, indeed of being kept alone – and the bedroom represented a loneliness. Whilst the gesture is welcoming, energetic, gregarious and elaborate, maybe some parts are different – I wouldn’t say baring his soul because the Tower was off limits until after his death but what was hidden is both sad and strong.

At the end we visited the gift shop which seemed to be filled with trinkets and knick-knacks, many made of shells. A lot of pretty things to look at and clippings/photos on the wall, I remember noting Billy Idol’s interest in the place.

THE MECHANICS

This is where the debate comes in (aside from why his fiance left him) – how did one man and maybe a few friends make this? Ed himself was both old fashioned (in an ancient sense) and ahead of his time in that he wrote about magnetic currents (and had an interest in perpetual motion) and may have found comfort in current day’s re-assertions or rediscovery of the ‘plasma universe’ in which magnetism and electricity hold the priority for manifestation and consciousness rather than breaking everything down into atoms, electrons, protons etc. Some people reported that he used harmonics/frequencies, so there is a side on anti-gravity techniques. However, he was at the very least of a humanoid body living in the set of parameters we call/think of reality as generally dictated by our limited sensory perception and tools of the period, so he wasn’t adverse to the grit and grunt side of bearings, fulcrums/leverage, tripods/pulleys/winches and photos of which can be found in the gift shop plus online, he did not deny that. A book published 45 years after his death (1996) by Orval Irwin explains how it was built, or at least what he saw or what he thinks he’s allowed to say on how it was built. Perhaps Ed felt the need to glorify his methods for publicity or perhaps he really did use hybrid methods, one has to bear in mind that for the orthodox theories on ancient buildings there’s still debate and alternative evidence. People often bring the Great Pyramid construction into comparison with the mystery over Coral Castle, I’m in two minds – I’m not sure they are the ‘right’ comparison but at the same time I can see why. The pyramids particularly the GP is an almost incredible feat in extremely accurate positioning and modern simulations claim there was a ball balancing on the top at one point plus we can’t build the thing using modern techniques. We can make models but to stand up to the test of time like they have, and then to claim it was done via slave and farmer labour (farmers having limited time ‘off’ in a year), sourcing and transporting giant stones over such long distances and terrain and then putting them on ‘primitive’ barges on the river to location before setting them up is in itself asking for a large suspension of disbelief if the theory hadn’t been repeated over the years and normalized. I’m not commenting on it or offering an alternative, just saying sometimes you have to imagine you’re hearing something for the first time and theories behind structures like this can be in all honesty hard to talk about or listen to unless you’re comfortable/confident with certainties.

How did Ed move all these carvings a distance of 10 miles? Ed had the chassis of an old Republic truck on which he laid two rails. He had a friend with a tractor move the loaded trailer from Florida City to Homestead. Ed lived a very simple life; he did not own a car. Instead, Ed would ride his bicycle 3.5 miles into town for food and supplies on a regular basis.

Many people saw the coral carvings being moved along the Dixie Highway, but no one actually ever saw Ed loading or unloading the trailer. Ed did much of his work at night by lantern light and to help protect his privacy, he built numerous “lookouts” along the Castle walls.

Who’s Ed?

Coral Castle Review

Coral Castle Review

CONCLUSION

Some people are obsessed with debunking and think that reproducing smaller scale models with a theory, skilled team(s) and resources (equipment availability/accessibility, functioning equipment, disallowing for catastrophes and ‘acts of god’) proves something was made that way yet under different conditions; and then others are interested in more exotic explanations (which should be fine under the ‘science’ heading of an enquiring mind but there’s a teenage mentality of pointing and laughing) and can ignore possible mundane methods or hybrids with lesser used/known technology. Just because a method is possible doesn’t mean it was the one used or maybe it was used in conjunction, or maybe it was and after so long a build up we’re reluctant to lose some if not all of the mystique. As far as I’m concerned I’ve always been of the opinion that if you don’t know then it’s fine to say you don’t know, the public doesn’t need answers given as definites or opinions provided as knowledge about everything and anything whilst experts and people with experience or different ways of thinking are arguing with daggers at the ready for ages and then it takes an ordeal to change the official line even if they do come to an agreement. Perhaps if saving face wasn’t the ultimate priority it’d be a lot easier.

The builder was intentionally secretive, one of friends less so post-mortem – so who do we believe and why? Mystery doesn’t have to be a threat and science doesn’t have to strip everything, he made the place to be a spectacle and it is, he had many ideas and convictions ranging from magnetics to a kind of balance similar to Feng Shui and politics and this landmark is a testament to that. We can speculate all we like and why not, it’s interesting – but when you’ve got various people from various fields arguing about the cranes needed, how much you can manage on a winch, that because a heavy door can be made to move easily that the rest of the site must have been made just as efficiently, it gets petty quickly – especially since with modern hydrolic equipment the site could be erected relatively quickly in weeks/months but would a person like him (assumptions based on his intelligence and resourcefulness) use the same methods for approx 30 years? Maybe it was a case of ‘if it’s not broken, don’t fix it’. We don’t know. What we do know is that it was a mammoth job, sourcing/transporting/carving/building, he had few friends, he re-positioned the site quickly and he claimed he’d discovered the (or at least some of) secrets of ancient builders. He built this thing for us to see and appreciate, his masonic skills and interest in symbolism and possibly psychology on display.

From the other visitors I saw they were either underwhelmed (roadside, small attraction that doesn’t ‘do’ anything for modern visitors used to sensory overload or youngsters) or over awed by the magnitude of the achievement. I think I was in-between, I wasn’t really able to concentrate on the place because I wasn’t alone and it was a quick curiosity stop on a longer journey. One thing I didn’t like was the romanticism, something put me off – partially the age difference between him and the girl he/they claimed to make it for but also the depth of his anger/passion and managing to sustain it for so long, perhaps I recognized something that I didn’t want to/couldn’t acknowledge. The Coral Castle website claims she was invited over the years but didn’t visit but overall there doesn’t seem to be much information about Ed other than his emigration and periods of major illness, even his beloved’s name is disputed so I don’t know whether he knew where she was or how to/whether he did contact her or the circumstances of their relationship/engagement but in regards to the site he knew what he was doing, kept it to himself/precious, pulled off the massive feat and wanted deserved praise/attention for it. In hindsight I should have been more understanding and perhaps kinder if as the result seems to indicate there was love, protection and consideration in the design (even if it was too grandiose and ‘generous’ with the cosmos involved), if it was for someone lost and a loss for which the years just pile on without healing; I just hope that if it was a labour of love – both for the person and as a project of his own endurance, that he thought it was worth it by the time he died.

Most famous edifices of supposed love/tragic love were commissioned by the uber rich at the cost of mass suffering and poverty, this one wasn’t and would have taken a huge toll on Ed himself so it’s better than the other tributes/tombs/temples in that sense at least in my book.

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