Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Color Blue Part II of the Cinderella Movie talk

I recently read an article about the existence or evolution of the color blue and I think after watching Disney's 2015 version of Cinderella...

I GET it!

The article is called No One Could See the Color Blue Until Modern Times and it basically states that blue is not found in nature - rarely in humans and engineered by us in flowers - and everything was either a shade of green and the oceans were described as being wine colored in ancient Greek literature.  Blue wasn't even a color until someone made it up and started to refer to things as 'blue' in modern times.  Historically, the most identified colors were Red, then Yellow, and then Green yet no Blue.  In fact, the only ancient culture that had an identified name for the color blue was in Ancient Egypt as it was a dye they made.

Hmm...so I didn't know what a color is and I wanted to make up one, I should just start calling it some random thing until it catches.  Sound good to me.  

But really, one way I can describe this phenomenon is by having a pack of crayons.  When I was a kid, I remember I had a 12 pack of crayons and they came with all your standard colors.  When I was in 2nd grade, it seemed that they had developed a new pack of 24 and then 36.  Before the 24 and 36 pack came out, you only described colors with your basic, red, yellow, green, and yes, blue.  But when those other colors came out, there were colors like red-orange or blue-green (I was so fascinated with the two color combos as a kid - especially b/g) or even hot pink in the new 36 pack.

Yeah, wow, neon colors were the shit back in the day!  All the boys and girls fought for the Hot Pink colored crayon because it was just so different!
Actually, these aren't the original 8.  Most are in here but you get the point.


Think about.  When you were used to drab, matte colors, you only knew and used it and didn't think much of it.



In fact, you knew these colors very well.  Then Crayola threw a wrench in your system by introducing the 24 pack, the 36 pack and then the 64 pack of colors!
Ooooooh ~!

Man, what were you going to do with all these color?!  Why, your world has now been broadened but so much more, now!  Oh!  And there's a Crayon Sharpener!!! (Oh, the things the 3rd grade me found fascinating)

No more just peeling back the crayon or sharpening it by scratching it on a piece of paper to a nice point or under the roof of your desk (BTW, I never did that when I had no paper...maybe).

Broken crayon tip?  Pssh!  You have evolved and now have the tools to efficiently sharpen and color like a fiend! 

After getting that 64 pack of crayons in 3rd grade, you just had so many options to work with!  When you asked your friend for that Forrest Green Crayon because it was just slightly darker than drab old green and you've upgraded, you knew your prospective had changed.  Now, you can recognize or at least put a crayola name on shades and tints besides your basic 8 colors to everyday items and your color pallet has grown!

Then the mother load came out in 3rd grade...the coveted 96 Box of Crayola Crayons and whoever had that box was your bestest friend EVER!

I never got one because my dad was way too practical to have been a kid once and was one of those old dudes that would say, "When I was a kid, we didn't have [Insert shiny noun]!  We made our own by hand!"

Needless to say, I was definitely buddying up with attention hungry kids that were fortunate enough not to have parents that spoke about their depraved childhood and wanted to share that experience with you - me.  jk.

The coveted Holy Grail of all Crayon Boxes!



Holy Shit!  96 Colors?!  I could barely count that high, let alone name that many colors.  And, oh!  The things we can color with it!  My mind was officially blown.

Boom.

Apparently so were Crayola's because - and I didn't realize it at the time - the new colors were such a hit!  They came out with bigger packs with more exotic colors!  Crayola banked on us greedy little color hungry kids that based our popularity on the number of crayons, the variety and if you sat next to the cool kids with those crayons!  Crayola had such a demand for more crayons and colors that they probably got smart and used the consumer to help with the naming of all these exotic color.

I forget how many colors but when this box first came out, there were the mystery unnamed crayons.  Crayola then ran a contest, "Name the New Colors", to enlist kids to name their new crayon colors introduced in the box - but really...we knew the parents were the ones naming them because who doesn't like free shit for their kids!

Well, now, thanks to that 96 color box, we have things like Macroni n' Cheese orange (which is kinda gross if you think about how bright that orange is for cheese), Watermelon and other stuff like that to broaden our young minds.  Below is an example of a child's favorite dish.


But this?  Wow...Definitely not for kids as they probably don't know how to read half of that.



Actually, if I were honest to myself, I would say my fascination with colors did start with a box of crayons but those names are so obscure (they actually are because this was part of a special limited pack, not your normal crayon pack).

If I was a kid, with only an 8 or 12 pack of crayons, my world would have been confined to those meager colors and I wouldn't have known any difference because I wasn't exposed to it but now we all can probably list 10 different names for the color blue, or green or red.  

I get fixated on certain things but in high school, for some reason, finding different names for colors was one of my fascinations.  Heck, if you watched Pokemon in the 90's and 2000's you'd at least have expanded your color knowledge if you knew the towns the characters visited. 

Getting back to the ranch and to my original thought, this movie of Cinderella was over inundated with not just blue but brilliant cerulean blue!  It was very unnatural to my eyes, but with how easy it is to enhance and digitize things, I wouldn't be surprised if they did spruce it up a bit...and by a bit, I mean a LOT!

So moral to this story, apparently color is very much different from person to person, culture to culture but until someone deems a different shade/tint worthy of naming, no one else will really notice.

Therefore, I name that particular blue 'Freaky Ass Retina Burning Nuclear Cinder Blue'.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Photogenic T-Rex - "Dinography"

My friend Jodi turned me on to a couple that takes pictures of their kiddo's dinos on the rampage found here:



Screen Shot 2013-11-21 at 3.52.56 PMScreen Shot 2013-11-21 at 3.53.27 PM
Very Naughty, INDEED!

Well, we started to do a few as well but maybe I started off a bit ambitious with Mr. Stampy:

Mr. Stampy being mailed home to greet our CSing guest :D

We have mini dinos (as soon a I can find those pictures, I'll post them), too but since we're moving, others have ashed to take care of them while we're gone and one friend in particular had a blast taking her new T-Rex out Geocaching.


It's almost as if Rexy is saying, "Let's go hunting!"


He's so silly and such a Ham!

Thanks, Darlene for taking care of Rexy!  I'll keep updating with more Dinography posts from Darlene and others of my old dino friends.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Sweet, Friendly Dogs Found During a Hike

Today, my good friend and I went for a hike in a new area my husband and I found while geocaching.  It's at the base of a beautiful waterfall and the river carved out some really neat groves into the surrounding rock.  The spot is also a popular recreational swimming hole for those that know of it.  It was a beautiful day and we were actually making really good time since the sun had not set yet.  On the way back, my friend heard something and stopped.

"Everything okay?"  I asked.

"Yeah...I just thought I heard something."

We walk further down the trail and we see a dog.  I look at the pup and see it's wagging its tail and barking.  I didn't think much of it but look around for its owner - 'probably swimming in the pools somewhere' - and was going to continue on.

I looked at my friend but she stopped and was listening to something.  I paused as well because I suddenly heard something, too.

It was a yelp!

I rushed to the edge of the flume and saw that another dog was struggling on the other side of the flume!

"There's another dog in there!"

She and I rushed to look and since I had been there this past weekend, I knew the how to get to the other side.  My friend went looking for a large branch as I rushed to get as close to the other dog as possible.  I was saw that there was a ledge that was just at the waterline and that the dog could possible get out if it found it.

I called for its attention and clapped but the dog continued to scratch and claw at the other wall helplessly.  My friend brought a larger branch than the one she had originally found and we were hoping that the dog would latch on or at least be more manageable to steer away from the other wall and closer to the ledge where we were.


The dog would latch onto the branch for a little bit but would start struggling again out of desperation.  She was getting tired and who knows how long she was already treading water before we showed up.  We started the trail 45-60 minutes prior and by the time we came by, no one was around to hear the other one's bark for help.

She was starting to panic and so I decided to jump in and get her but I didn't know how deep the water was because it was mucky, dirty, nasty stagnant sludge I didn't want to get caught on anything if it was too deep.  My friend suggested to try the branch to see how deep it was and it turned out to been only up to my chest but it was still disgusting.  I took off most of my clothing and jumped in and grabbed the scared and tired dog.  She still so very scared and kept on paddling for dear life.  Poor thing had be in such a panic that she had scratched up the wall and ground her nails down to the quick.


She still struggled in my arms, still in fight or flight mode and when I got her up the ledge, she was exhausted.  Taking a good look at her finally, she was definitely shaken and skinny.  It seemed like she was lost for a while to get as skinny as she was but her friend was that called our attention didn't look so bad.  The poor dear was weary and had a limp so for the most part we had to carry them out of the flume area and hold them by their collars so they didn't run off again into the forrest.

Safe and Sound 

Upon observation, the poor dog's paw was bleeding heavily and she limped because one paw was worse than the other but both were bleeding none the less.  When we got them home, we fed them and gave them water because it seemed like they were lost for a while.

 

I call her Mary because she's a Mary for falling in, but she's sweet and gentle and was a bit skittish.  We fed them slowly and gave them water but she finally calmed down a lot once she sat in the grass and wasn't around the river where everything had happened.  She seemed to be a bit older probably 6-8 years old and was probably arthritic and couldn't really get up over the lip of the flume because of it.


I call him Wilbur 'Oinky' Bacon because he oinks like a pig and actually grunts and snorts.  He's a beautiful pit-bull puppy that seemed like he got lost from his hunting group and found 'Mary' and clung to her ever since.  He essentially saved her by sticking by her side and barking to get our attention.

Good Puppies


These two were dog tired and were fed, watered and slept comfortable indoors for the night.  We thought they were hunting dogs but we can't be sure.  They didn't have tags but they were extremely sweet and cuddle puppies.  I would keep them both if we didn't have to move out of the country.

I'm glad we went hiking that day.

Hopefully, I don't get leptospirosis from that nasty as water but even if I did, it was worth it!

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Memory Lane 懐かしい... Kyuudo 弓道 - Japanese Archery

One of the best things I did while I was in Japan was join a club.  I know it sounds corny, but it really was.

Kyuudo 弓道 - Japanese Archery

I learned a skill that has been around for thousands of years, met some of the greatest friends ever and I think it helped with my Japanese language skills... bit.

Its first noted recollection was during the Yayoi Period (500 BC-300AD) in the Chinese Chronicles, Weishu in 297AD.  Though Kyudo was used for combat purposes at one point, it eventually more of an art form or meditation.


I didn't know what I wanted to do when I first got to Japan but my councilor at the exchange office back at home told me to do something and stick with it for the full year.  It'll be worth it.

And she was right.

I decided to join the Kyudo Club because everyone was joining something at the time and I saw a poster of it. Actually, my good friend Kayoko was on that poster and I should actually thank her for unintentionally inspiring me to joining.

It was rigorous and at times frustrating because of the language barrier but I honestly made some great friends though the whole experience.

I'm going to put on some of my old post about my experiences as well as some of the pictures I took when I had the opportunity.

Practice hall or Bushitsu

This is where all the equipment was kept as well as where we practiced the forms.  I saw more of the outside than I did of the inside more often than not.  In fact...I probably saw the inside (this view) about 5-10 times....definitely < 10x.

The Matou or Targets (back by sand)

Here's what it looks like outside.  Usually when practice is going on, two people are in the back chanting/singing Ha~Na~Re meaning Release [arrow] after you let loose your arrow.

It's usually a whole progression of kata's or meditative movements but luckily, I had enough forethought to get most of the progression on camera as well as on video.

I've inserted my old blog of the day I got back from doing the whole routine back in 2008:

Yet again, this is more for my own purpose of remembering steps so yeah... it will be boring. If you want to know what I'm talking a about SKIP on down and watch the VIDEO at the bottom with the procedures I'm trying to explain.

Miki & Kayoko were teaching me for the past 3-4 weeks how to properly set up and do the entrance into the shooting area:

1) line up with the Sign thingie that I can't read because I'm Kanji Illiterate. Yumi in Left hand and Ya's in Right at your side but the parts behind you have to form a "V". The bow string should be up against your elbow and arrow similarly so.



2) one small step with the left foot and Rei (small bow) together.

3a) Start with another Rei and then go on your tippy toes and down. As soon as your feet are flat, both fists at your side need to almost punch in the direction of the floor and a loud "E!" need to shouted. All of this should be done in a 3 second count (3 byou)

3b) Also start with another Rei after A does their "E" and follow in suit with the tippy toes but when you should it would be "O!" instead as you thrust your fists towards the ground.

4) Now everyone as one need to step three times into the shooting area starting with the left foot. Left, Right, Left, sliding towards the Matou and on the left foot, you turn about face towards the right and bring your feet together. You should be in the center of the Doujo as well, centering yourself.



*** Note, when you finish the L,R,L, your bow will be pointing towards the Matou. Just before you do the about face, hold your bow straight so that when you turn, you don't hit the person in front of you. Then put your bow tip down towards your right. It shouldn't be touching the floor and should be about 10 cms hovering. If you don't have anyone in front of you, you can freely move your bow without holding it up straight and when trying to center yourself, the bow should be pointing directly at the front of you but centered as well.

5) Now that you are centered, you look to the left towards the Matou and move your left foot to create your "Ashibumi" or foothold/stance (whatever the meaning :P). Straight from the Matou look forward sweeping your head right in doing so. Then looks straight down at your right foot and adjust it to your left so they are Parallel.


6) Now that you've got your stance, you may lower you bow (modoshite???) and you turn the bow so that the string is not facing the outside anymore but rather towards you.


7) Bring both your bow and arrow so that your hands are about eye level and make sure your elbows are bowed out. Make sure you grip the arrows in your hand so that you can bring out the Haya out first.



*** Haya is the one with a thicker white seam on the top or left by the hane. Otoya is the one with a thicker seam on the right of the Hane.


8) Grip the Haya with your Left hand pointer, elbows still bowed, and with your right hand, Te no Uchi (??) or the back or hand facing you, find about half way down the arrow and slide it until your right hand meets the string. Now, the second and last time you grip the Ya, you hold it with your Kake, thumb facing you this time and bring it all the way towards the string as well. You only move the Ya twice and then hook it up to the sting or tsuru, making sure it is on securely. All the while, you still have your arms bowed out and the ya should be eye level to the point that if someone were to look at you from the opposite side of the ya, they shouldn't be able to see your eyes.

9) After you hooked your Ya, you take the Otoya and place it between your Middle and ring finger with the arrow head facing the other direction. Make sure to leave out a good 10 cms sticking out through the other side; arms still bowed out.

10) Now with that set up, with your MeTe, grab the string side of the bow, your pointer and middle finger facing out while your thumb is facing you and bring the Yumi down onto your Hidari Hiza (Lt Knee).

11) take your MeTe and place it on your right hip and then Ya wo Motte, or Grab the ya that is sticking out on the right side of the string with your MeTe. Grab the Ya by the head and place it on your hips just as you started.

12) Now you look at your Ya and Yumi and your do a check: Look above the Ya and below it. Down the Ya to the tip and straight at the Matou. now Hantai/reverse. When you are done you are ready to prepare your Kake.





13) Kake wo tsukete: take your MeTe and grip the Tsuru a bit below where you are actually supposed to hold it. Hold it a bit loosely at first so that you can slide it up to string and hitch it into a groove on the Kake. Once you are sure you have it ready and have heard the sound or felt that the Kake is hitched to the Tsuru, you can tighten your grip as well. Make sure you have your Pointer and Middle finger tilted slightly towards your direction rather than away.

14) Now you are ready to draw the bow. You look to the left for your Monomi towards the Matou (almost until it hurts) and then you slowly raise both hands up to Uchi Okshi. Kata o sagatte: Make sure you loosen you shoulders as they tend to tense during this.

*** Usually as this point, if you were behind the first person, you'd set you you Kake and have it rested upon your knee until you reach "Kai".

15)Daisan: from Uchiokoshi, your turn the Yumi & Ya towards the Matou, pulling the Yumi a bit further than before, usually until the Yumi is half way down the Ya. Make sure the Yunde's Tenouchi is now closed tightly and your thumb is pointing towards the Matou, pointing it a bit downwards. Your MeTe is slightly above the Yunde and make sure to loosen you shoulders as well as keeping your Monomi straight at the Matou. Make sure your Monomi is still locked towards the Matou.

16) Now you have to do that weird thing with you Hiji where you turn it so that it twists towards the right and is flat. As you pull both the Yumi and Ya down for "Hikiwake", use only the power from your Hiji and NOT the Shoulders. You'll also be pulling it at an ark towards yourself rather than a straight line BUT your Yunde as well as your MeTe need to be pulled down at the same time until the Ya is just above your Kuchibiru.






















17) It is crucial at this point to make sure that your Monomi is definitely directed at the Matou and your Hiji is turned otherwise the Yumi's Tsuru may whack it...HARD! At Kai/Yudaoshi, you hold the Yumi and Ya for 5 byou and when you have the image in your mind on how to release the Ya, make sure you keep in mind the Matou as well as you MeTe while Yunde holds steady. When releasing the Ya, your MeTe must release at an ark about 45 Degrees.

*** If you are behind someone, at this point of Kai, you can start Uchiokoshi and follow all the way through the cycle.

18) Hanare/ Release

19) Yudaoshi: After Hanare, your arms are extended for a few seconds. Your Yunde is holding the Yumi and your MeTe is still holding the (final) Ya. For "Yudaoshi", you bring your fists to your sides once again just like the beginning and then turn the Yumi 1/3 the way to the left. Then you can finally release the Monomi by turning your head right and looking forward. Once you turn your head, you can touch the tip of the Yumi down onto the ground and then turn it again to the left.

20) You prep for the next round by bringing that last arrow in your MeTe held by your Pinky and Ring Finger to the side of your hips where you are holding the Yumi. Use the Thumb of your Yunde to hold the Ya as you grab it fully by your MeTe once again. The whole purpose of that is to get a better grip over the Ya with your fist rather than your weakest fingers. You should have the Ya head just below the pointer in a fist and then put it back to your waist.

21) Now you are going to follow steps 7-19 all the way through until the first time you turn your Yumi to the left. If there is someone in front of you, you raise the Yumi up right again and do an about face TOWARDS the Matou this time. Now you will be doing everything Hantai/Opposite from the beginning when you made your entrance.

22) Your Yumi should be in front of you centered and your legs still apart. With your Right leg behind you, bring it forward half way between its original spot and the left leg. Your arms are still at your sides in line with your chest and then you bring your left leg to join the half way point with the right leg. Don't pause and start stepping back from your right leg, then Left and right again until you are in light with that sign thingie that is in hard Kanji :P. You wait with your arms at your side as well as your bow still centered in front of you yet not touching the ground (about the hight of your fist) until everyone is done

23) When everyone else is done and if you are the last one to get back in line, you lift the Yumi up a bit to let them know that your are ready and as soon as that yumi starts to come down again, everyone "Yuu"s (deeper bow than Rei) and all is done.

Yay!

I think that I actually nailed that shot.  Beginner's Luck, I guess.