Showing posts with label Fantasy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fantasy. Show all posts

May 13, 2019

Dragon Power


In honor of the amazing (2nd to last) episode last night of Game of Thrones...

I am posting this artistic Dragon. 

That dragon last night sure was able to do a lot of damage. 

It was a very dramatic and sad episode. 

I won't give it away. 

But an air force of dragons can certainly do quite well. 

Dropping some serious firepower is what they do.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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September 17, 2018

Great Comic Characters

Just loved these adorable comic book characters.

They are originals put together by the comic creator. 

The characters are made from colored Perler Beads.

Once the beads are laid out into these awesome characters, they are iron-melted together.

Each of these was advertised for $20 (not the $15 listed at the top of the picture), but we got a deal. 

Together as a set, they are very cool, colorful, and fun to liven up any environment. 

I have them on a display at home and it's nice to not be so serious all the time, and instead let loose with some creative juice.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 10, 2018

Living Life Vicariously

So the Capitals won the Stanley Cup.  Go DC!

This little figurine made a debut on the counter of the concierge late last week for us to cheer them on!

You can ring the bell for help and while your waiting, get excited about the game. 

While these types of sports are not my thing per se, I do like watching a good Rocky movie or action flick where the good guys beat the sh*t out of the bad guys.

Whether you'watching your favorite sports team, your Hollywood dream stars, or even an occasional do (something) good politician, we are living vicariously through them. 

It's not our success we are seeing, but somehow we temporarily suspend our own selves and live through others (their eyes, their actions) and we partake just for a second of what it's like to be them winning or doing something really significant in life. 

We all can't be superstars in the center ring duking it out (all the time) and so we take a step back to see others that we relate to face up to the challenge, fight and hopefully win big. 

We don't walk away with the trophy, prize money, or fame, but we congratulate ourselves somehow for being on the winning team. 

Heck, I didn't do anything but have faith, go along for the ride, and then take pleasure in seeing my guy(s) win. 

Yet, from the humdrumness of perhaps some of our own everyday lives, we fantasize and garner the courage and strength to do our own great things. 

We can't be the strongest, smartest, most good-looking, personable, and talented in the world, but we can see parts of ourselves in others and we can try to model the best of them in ourselves and leverage what we got going on!

I don't really like spending a lot of precious time living like this through others--I don't mind getting inspiration when I see something amazing, but really I just want to try my hardest to be the best that I can be. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal) 
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June 9, 2018

Dr. Insane and Meshuggenah Island

So I want you to know that there is a very thin line between fantasy and reality. 

There are those who want you to not only question reality, but also to accept alternative deceptions. 

They want to substitute fantasy and conspiracy and their version of "truth" for what is happening and real or intentionally phony. 

But (more) fake news and lies are not real news and truth. 

They ask questions, and they provide "answers."

But the answers are more often contrived to make you think they are a reality when they are brainwashing and mindf*cking you. 

They show you maps and pictures--it is nothing but entertainment to sow fear and for mass hysteria and distortion. 

Dr. Insane is running her own Meshuganah Island. 

You can easily get caught up in it. 

But I caution you that there is a thin, thin line between fantasy and reality. 

It's not a game.

The game and joke are on you. 

Misinformation, psychological operations throw you off track. 

Yes, there are secrets--there have to be. 

Not everything is for everyone to know at the moment.

But the world is not run on: I say, he says, she says. 

There is power. There are plans. There is execution. 

Randomness sometimes. 

Intent sometimes. 

Corruption all too often. 

You can't really know. 

Were we smart or just plain lucky?

Someday, the unknown becomes known, but not on rants and raves. 

Follow the data carefully and question it to make sure. 

In the end, the King of Kings is guiding everything and therefore there is no reason to fear. 

The world is going according to plan.

Fear leads to you wanting to gain control. 

Some people want to vent or to pretend they know something when they don't. 

There is no reason to conjecture and cross with Dr. Insane into Meshuganah Island.

Making things up makes things worse.

What we do have to do is to keep good winning over evil with truth. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 13, 2018

Ship+ In A Bottle

You ever wonder how they build that big ship in that little bottle. 

Someone needs very dexterous hands and a lot of patience to put the pieces through the opening of the bottle and assemble the ship inside. 

But this second grader, Dylan Yasseri, upped the game on this whole concept and imagined a whole beach in the bottle. 

The sand, ocean, sky, birds, crabs, fish, umbrella, and even the shack (snack?) bar!

This is one reason that kids are so awesome--their purity of heart and their endless imaginations make almost anything possible.

The fantasy becomes the reality. 

The colors are magical too here. 

If adults could maintain even half the heart and creativity of our children--oh what a world it could be. ;-)

(Source: Andy Blumenthal Photo of Dylan's beautiful painting).
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May 8, 2018

Don't / Can't - Turn Back Now

My father used to say a very wise thing:
You can only go forward.
You can't go back.

Often in life, I reflect on how wise this is and he was. 

Sometimes, we are hesitant or afraid of what lies ahead, and we turn our heads back and reinvent history and creatively fantasize how wonderful things were before and maybe we should go back.

Like the Israelites thousands of years ago, who G-d redeemed from the servitude of Egypt, but with hundreds of years of a slave mentality, they were in a sense paralyzed with fear of going into the foreboding expanse of the desert. 
"If only we had died by the L-rd's hand in Egypt. There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted. But You have brought us out to this dessert to starve this entire assembly to death." (Exodus 16:3)

But we know that going forward is the only way to learn, grow, and progress. 

Just like the Israelites that went forward through the depths of the Red Sea on dry land and to receive the Torah on Sinai and for forty years in the desert to ultimately get to the amazing promised land of Israel. 

Thank G-d, they didn't turn back--there really was no turning back.

Back is death.  

Forward is life. 

We have a journey that we need to complete. 

The destination is wherever G-d takes us. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 16, 2018

Me Myself and I

I thought this was really fascinating about how we interact with others.

It's a theory by Martin Buber called the I-Thou relationship.

In every relationship, there are really 6 people in the room:

- Who I am.

- Who I want to be.

- Who I am perceived as.

-----------

- Who they are.

- Who they want to be.

- Who they are perceived as. 

----------

Taking about a break between reality, fantasy, and perception. 

Is it any wonder that there are so many communication breakdowns and relationship disappointments. 

We need to coalesce around a unified persona of I and thou--and if we don't know, perhaps we need to ask for clarification.

We don't want to talk past each other. 

We want to talk to and work with each other. 

I am me and you are you. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 14, 2017

My Realness and My Dreaminess

Just a quote from the show Homeland that I wanted to share:
"My dreams have a realness...
My Reality has a dreaminess..."
This is so true!

Dreaming and reality have a definite touchpoint and carryover between them. 

In Judaism, their is a saying that:
"Sleeping is one-sixtieth of death."

Life-sleeping-death all exist along a continuum. 

The elements of our being cross all three of these domains. 

When we are alive, there are elements of dreaminess--and it often doesn't feel quite real. 

When we are asleep, our dreams can often seem so real that we actually feel them and physically react them--we may even scream and wake up an incredible fright. 

When we are dead, I believe that we live on--that our soul never ceases--that it is a part of our everlasting G-d. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 11, 2017

The Fine Line Between Fantasy and Reality

So I've started to realize that there are at times a (very) thin line between fantasy and reality. 

In some cases, people hear some facts or some truth, and then in their mind, they concoct entire stories of fantasy or full-fledged conspiracy around it.

But more than that, the fantasy in their minds, because it starts with a real fact or two then becomes entirely perceived as reality itself. 

We saw plenty of this in the last election cycle and even today, with one political side or the other purchasing phony dossiers or making up stories about the opposition--and they may even have some underlying facts associated with it. 

But around these facts, entire scripts and stories are concocted through inductive reasoning or highly imaginative thinking, whether for example, of deep Russian conspiracies reminiscent of the era of McCarthyism or the Salem Witch Trails of yesteryear. 

Again, I'm not saying that nothing is there, but the question is whether there is real truth then to the whole conspiracy that has been drawn from fantastical minds of opposition agents, reporters, and others gainfully benefiting and perhaps running amuck with these grandiose versions of alternate reality?

What I am coming to believe is that it's not so much that people are willfully making up these stories (although there can certainly be plenty of biases, exaggerations, and agendas at work as well), but that in their mind, they create these bombastic versions of what seems like truth to them and then they pawn it off and sell it to others who are only to happy to latch unto some juicy new gossip or theory of "what's really going on."

Similarly, some people who get very mad may actually take albeit a genuine fight with another person and pour layer upon layer of evil doings and manipulations on them until by the time their mind is done, the other person has become the devil themselves--and the fantasy for a short time seems like it is the reality--until such time that cooler heads prevail and reality replaces the mind's fantasy or it's ultimate fears. 

In short, there is a very fine line between fantasy and reality--our minds can get carried away with facts or notions of the moment and build those into full-fledged conspiracy theories of "who done it" and "why didn't we see it all along."

Certainly, this doesn't mean that there aren't some very good pretenders out there who truly are doing very bad things and covering their tracks, and it's for the gifted and detective minds out there to perceive those and prove them as being the greater reality.

But we have to be careful in accusing people--until such time that the facts are all there and the perception or fantasy of our mind's eye is shown to be the reality indeed. 

We need good investigative journalism, excellent law enforcement and intelligence, and clarity of mind to know what's real and what's fake in life and in our fantastical minds. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 8, 2016

Help Is Coming

So I used to have a boss who said something really funny.

He used to go, "Everybody says they want to help us" and then bemoaningly he would seem to repeat that a few times. 

The next part which he didn't need to explicitly say was that "But no one does!"

It was the words, but also much the tone--yes, the walls could be caving in, the ship could be sinking, everything going up in flames, and of course, everyone is there looking on, shaking their heads pitifully, and seemingly stretching out their hand in an offer of help. 

For this boss though, the help couldn't come fast enough or with enough resources to help resolve all the issues going on at the time. 

I suppose first and foremost, we have to help ourselves. 

Secondly, there needs to be a core understanding from the beginning of what is really doable and what is simply fantasy fare. 

Third, if help is on the way--great, but it's got to be timely enough and come with enough raw horsepower to make a genuine difference. 

Finally, sometimes miracles do happen and everything works out great--the day is saved--but even then so much underlying damage has been done that you need to rebuild from the core foundations again. 

And for the next time, you'll need to ensure capabilities beyond what was ever imagined before. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 12, 2016

Oculus Rift Has My Attention

This picture is an older version of Oculus Rift--larger, heavier, more clunky than the streamlined version coming out this April for $599.

Zuckerberg's Facebook announced the purchase of Oculus virtual reality (VR) in March 2014.

I can't think of another piece of consumer technology that I want to try out more than this. 

Initially for immersive 3-D experiences in all sorts of entertainment, including gaming, movies, television, and more. 

But soon to follow are use cases for virtual meetings, classrooms, doctor's appointments, and anything requiring our interaction and communication. 

Hush-hush is the more intimate use for things like virtual sex. 

Also, there are opportunities for augmented reality where physical reality is supplemented with computer sensory input making your real-experience that much richer and informed.

With the Oculus Rift, I imagine myself immersed on a safari in Africa, flying into the reaches of space, relaxing at the most beautiful beaches, praying at the Western Wall, fighting my way through first person shooter and action adventures, and reliving biblical and other major historical events.

I don't see VR for myself as an escape from reality, so much as being able to experience many more of life's realities and possibilities out there. 

My only fear is that as VR gets better and better, it becomes easier and easier to fall away from our challenges in the real world, and just live inside a mask with a controlled environment where our virtual choices and experiences seem all too convenient and real. ;-) 

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Weston High School Library)
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January 31, 2016

Truly My Love

So this is the graffiti on the wall of the ladies bathroom in Barnes and Noble. 

My wife said to make sure everyone knows that she took the photo and not me (uh, that would be awkward). 

I can't make out all the graffiti on the wall, but the one in the center says:

"True love isn't something made up in stories or books. It exists truly, if you believe truly, and truly fight for it. Real love is magic."

Another one talks about "Gonzales" who is the most beautiful man.

And yet one more...

"I wish I knew how to tell my boyfriend I love him."

Let me just be frank that the Graffiti in men's bathrooms is nothing, nothing like this. 

It's more obscene, uses lots of 4 letter words, and has women's first names and phone numbers. 

Why do women write and profess their love for men on bathroom walls, while men seem to think and express themselves in far more graphic terms--and why do this while in the stinkin' bathroom?

I think this may make for some interesting gender studies for someone out there. 

From a technology perspective, I think if people are going to insist on thinking and fantasizing in the public bathroom, perhaps we need some white boards or monitors that you can write and erase from--that way at least we can make room for the next guy/gal to write their truly's next. ;-)

(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)
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January 11, 2016

Powerball Powers Past

I suppose the makers of the Powerball lottery never envisioned a $1.3 billion jackpot. 

As you can see the sign only goes up to $999 million. 

Yeah, stupid planning from the people that run the odds (where winning is 1 in 292 million), but they can't figure the odds of the lottery going this high, ever.

Anyway, win it or lose it, someone stands to walk way with a lump-sum payment of $806 million, and after federal, state, and local taxes you're looking at maybe half or less of that. 

Either way, not a bad take-away from a $2 lottery ticket. 

Lots of needy people to help and good deeds to do. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 9, 2015

Dreams Can All Be Good

So the Rabbi's wife told us a neat idea about dreams (which was very poetic in Hebrew). 

Basically it goes like this:

"If you have a good dream then your day is good, because you remember that good dream 

And even if you have a bad dream then your day is still good, because you are no longer dreaming." 

It's nice when you can come out a winner and have a good day no matter what happens in your dreams at night. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Nesster)
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October 9, 2015

It Doesn't Get Better Than This



This video was composed and produced by one of my very talented colleagues, David Ausman (2015). 

I was really impressed by the skill and creativity of this music video as well as the vivid portrayal of a fantasy vacation to Havana, Cuba. 

He recorded it in his own voice and used Garageband and his digital piano to jazz it up. 

When I asked him how he got the idea for this, he said that his associates overhead and told him a friendly conversation they overhead that went like this:

"Bob: Bill! I haven't see you in ages. How have you been?

Bill: Bob, you old sob! How ya doing?

Bob: I'm doing great, especially since I'm no longer posted in [edited out].

Bill: I know, I know. So how are you liking it back home?

Bob: (pointing his finger at Bill) It doesn't get better than this!

Bill: (pointing back) Yeah, it doesn't get better than this!"

Now that he shared this funny story with me, I also can't stop thinking about some fantasy fun trip somewhere. 

And most important that when we appreciate everyone and everything we have in our lives then "It [truly] doesn't get better than this!" ;-)
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July 5, 2015

Big Data, Small Moments

There is a definite rhythm to our lives. 

And by analyzing the peak times of Google search terms, we can get a good picture of what it is (as Seth Stephens-Davidowitz notes in the New York Times Sunday Review).

- From starting a new day to taking care of bathroom business, looking for healing, and even goofing off. 

- Midday is some personal time for shopping, travel plans, and a news update. 

- The evening is a nice dinner and maybe some sexual intimacy.

- The night time is scariest with anxiety about health, leading to panic and thoughts of suicide, and easing off with drugs and pornography. 

- As we roll towards the early hours of the next day, we have a philosophical reawakening with contemplation about the meaning of life and our place in it. 

If we can get all this just from some data analytics of Google search terms, can you imagine what else we can learn about the masses and YOU, the individuals that make it up. ;-)

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

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April 30, 2015

Morning Entertainment DC

So this morning there was an interesting banjo player in downtown DC.

He was playing and this little dog in the shopping cart behind him was jumping around dancing. 

Sometimes I wonder as I get older:

- Will I remember all these scenes from my day-to-day life?

- Will they seem real or more like a surreal fantasy?

- Will I feel that I stopped "to smell the roses" or simply hurried on by doing all my things?

In each person a soul--but do we see the spirit or just the bodily facade--somebody homeless trying to get by, a simple distraction, street entertainment, fleeting fears of mental illness or other dangers, just an annoyance maybe, or a handout for someone in need. 

Ever wonder who are you and why are you deserving (or not) to have the fancy suit, tie, shoes, and bag, nice haricut, and are going to a cushy job and fat paycheck, while someone else is standing on the corner playing the banjo?  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal) 
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March 30, 2015

That's Getting A LIttle Personal

This was a funny advertisement hanging in Hot Topic in the mall. 

It says: "Get in our pants"--well, excuse you!

Using sexual come-ons to sell, sell, sell...is not a new marketing strategy. 

As they say in the biz world, "Sex sells!"

Perhaps a more targeted ad about quality, fit, and pricing would be more to the product point.

But why sell with facts, when you can sell with fantasy. ;-)

(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)
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September 26, 2013

Social Networks--Online and At The Beach

There was a comical editorial in the Wall Street Journal about Social Networks. 

This guy, Farhad Manjoo, is addicted to Twitter. 

He writes: "I check it first thing in the morning, last thing at night, and about a billion times in between."

And he admits he doesn't understand his own addiction: "I've never been able to explain what I get out of Twitter, or exactly why I find it so enthralling."

Manjoo is afraid of what an IPO will do to Twitter--will they have to advertise more, become more like Facebook, favor pictures over text, lose it's strength in the area of breaking news--hopefully, he is referring to more than what he ate for breakfast!

People are spending inordinate amounts of time on social media--friending and following people they don't even know!

Perhaps, it's the fantasy--compliments of virtual reality on the Internet--of being associate--"friends" or "connected--with the rich, famous, powerful, and wise or with the kids who would beat us up in the schoolyard only years earlier. 

Online--we're all sort of friends, aren't we? 

Our avatars or online profiles don't differentiate much between those we really like or not--we are free to pretty much follow anyone, anytime--unless they block you because you are annoying!

Virtual reality in social media--perhaps the great equalizer--the freedom fighters in the Middle East can post videos of the Sarin attacks as easily as the President can post his inaugural message. 

The material is there and free for the ingest by everyone.

Social media has a purpose in bringing us together and spreading the word, videos, and pictures of the times--it make the big world smaller for us to get our arms around. 

Then again, a social network of a few close family members or friends on the beach--also good, maybe better for the soul. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 4, 2013

Cafe Barbie Debuts 2013


What an awesome idea for a cafe that can appeal to girls and women worldwide--a Barbie Cafe.

It opened in Taiwan last week and it is licensed by Mattel the founder of Barbie dolls (1959).

At 7,100 square feet and with $1.7 million dollars of investment, you get a lot of Barbie ambience--especially plenty of pink and frills (and calorie counting).

While some women may be turned off to the girlie stigma of a Barbie Cafe, there are probably many others who are enchanted with the dreamy image it bring from childhood and the ability to express a certain femininity, the Barbie way.

My prediction--in the near future, there is going to be a Ken Cafe opening up right across the street. ;-)

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