Hello Orbit! See my coloring book!

A star, of sorts
Are you worried about conflict in the atheist movement? Do you like bright colors and coloring? Is all this change in the air making you wish you had something to occupy your hands? Buy a coloring book!

Or, you know, read all the deep and insightful posts here at The Orbit, but, come on, it’s a new site that features the images predominantly on the main page. How could I miss that opportunity? Being point person on the press release means that the pretty pictures I already had are just the ticket for a first post!

Continue reading “Hello Orbit! See my coloring book!”

Hello Orbit! See my coloring book!

Prettying up the place

As you may have noticed, I’ve got a fancy new banner.  Several of them, in fact, thanks to the work of Alex Gabriel.

Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 6.52.12 PM

He also made me some business card style square designs.

07 - v3EjX3v
10 - qsWlQTZ

09 - vLiIs54
08 - a0dOfxI
I know y’all are just impressed as all get out.  I am pleased, it’s much better than my previous logo.  I am especially pleased because it’s all based on my art — it’s a really lovely marriage of my maths brain and my arts brain.  I think he will give a better break down of the design process but these are the paintings I sent him from which he designed these.

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There’s also a shiny new headshot with my old bio that I may get around to updating.  I’ve also got a fancy new donate button, because it was requested of me by a reader, Deepak Shetty, who was kind enough to actually give before I figured out how to set it up.  I’ve also got an Amazon carousel thing because I signed up for this Amazon thing and they yelled at me that they were shutting me down if no one bought anything from my linking to them, which is fair, as I’ve never linked through them.

In all cases, don’t feel obligated to donate or buy anything, I just put the donate button up because I was asked to, and I am deeply flattered, and the Amazon thing is really an experiment.  You can’t see it if you’ve got AdBlock anyway.  It’s mostly there to show you what ukulele I bought, what gender text book I’m in, and that I eat too many Rowntree’s.  Did my taxes today… my average monthly payment from FtB in 2014 was, you know, $14.13, so, you know.

Anyway, as you may or may not know, I was diagnosed with severe Vitamin D deficiency last week.  I’ve been sick since last July, and it didn’t occur to anyone to test for that because, as the Slymepit noted, I’m extremely pale and it takes very little sunlight for someone of my skin tone to make adequate Vitamin D. On top of that, I live in South Carolina, not the Arctic Circle, so someone like me developing a Vitamin D deficiency is approximately like someone on an orange farm developing scurvy, it just didn’t occur to anyone.  My deficiency is likely due to the fact that I work from home, am also writing a dissertation (theoretically), am allergic to most of the things that grow outside, and avoid sunlight because I burn so easily.  Then it became a bit of a runaway problem because Vitamin D deficiency makes you more susceptible to catching viruses, which meant that despite my pneumococcal and flu vaccines and being well out of age range, I got pneumonia in the summer, then the flu, and then, for Christmas, mono, all of which lasted a very long time and kept me indoors even more than normal.

I have only lately been gaining my energy back from the mono and am now being treated for the deficiency so I have some hope that the massive cloud of fatigue and never ending stream of illnesses I’ve been battling since last summer might finally lift in the next month or two, which is apparently how long it takes for supplements to kick in.

Prettying up the place

Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll, transcribed by a Mac

Yesterday I tried Middle English, so today, nonsensical English seemed to be the next best thing.

Twist Briley again the slightly toes,
Did jarring gimbal in the wave:
Almonds you were the Bora Groves,
And the mom race outgrabe.

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the closet catch!
Beware the judge of Bird, and shunned
The feminist benders snatch!”

He took his mortal sword in hand;
Long time the men’s own photo he sought –
So rested he by the tom-tom tree
Instead a while in thought.

And, as an office thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the told you would,
And verbal does it came!

One, too! One, too! And through and through
The vocal blade went snicker snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

“And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, might beamish boy!
Of fab just day! Hello! Calais!
It chortled in his joy.

Twist Greg, and the slighty toes
Did John gambling the wave:
On Mimsy were the Bora Groves,
And the Momerath upgrade.

The original:

’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!”

He took his vorpal sword in hand;
Long time the manxome foe he sought—
So rested he by the Tumtum tree
And stood awhile in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

“And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
He chortled in his joy.

’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll, transcribed by a Mac

Canterbury Tales in Middle English, transcribed by a Mac

Once, long ago, Ms. Markham, my eleventh grade English teacher, made me memorize the beginning of the Canterbury Tales.  In Middle English.  Because it was basically a rote memory task that required repetition, it’s a parlor trick I still have in my memory banks.  I was playing around with my Mac transcription function and greatly appreciated its ability to type “Arnold Schwarzenegger” and “schadenfreude.” Obviously the next test would be Chaucer.

What I find most interesting about this transcription is that you can sort of half hear it, if you read it out loud.

One that I feel with the shorter so that,
The drop of March of passion to the realtor,
And bothered everything and switch the core
Of which virtue engendered is the floor;
One selfish act with the switch of breaking
Spirit half an difficult and hit
The gym the compass, and the young the summer
Of in the Ramas Honda Accord Urona
I’m smaller father smocking melody,
That Shevenell the needs an open yet,
So picket him not to inhere crushes,
The moving forward to going on to the motions
I’m Palmitas what to say can Strom just send those,
To family how is, Cruisin something on this;
Especially if I’m ever shadows in the
Oven but I’m to kind about it I wonder,
What it is for Monteforte to Seca
Him have open one that they were sick.

The Original:

Whan that aprill with his shoures soote
The droghte of march hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licour
Of which vertu engendred is the flour;
Whan zephirus eek with his sweete breeth
Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
Tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
Hath in the ram his halve cours yronne,
And smale foweles maken melodye,
That slepen al the nyght with open ye
(so priketh hem nature in hir corages);
Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages,
And palmeres for to seken straunge strondes,
To ferne halwes, kowthe in sondry londes;
And specially from every shires ende
Of engelond to caunterbury they wende,
The hooly blisful martir for to seke,
That hem hath holpen whan that they were seeke.

Canterbury Tales in Middle English, transcribed by a Mac

5 beautiful things from today

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I’m trying to force myself to be more engaged with the world, which can be difficult to do when you’ve got the imaginary pressure of “must write something brilliant” when really you just aren’t feeling brilliant at all.  Instead, see all of these other brilliant things.

1. Modern Art in Cake

Caitlin Freeman makes awesome cakes inspired by modern art.

 

modernartdessert

 

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modern art desserts1

2. Lenticular Rabbits

Street art by Roa, making use of the nature of the available canvas.

roa-8

3. 21 tips for depressos

17) Avoid fictional drama and tragedy like the plague. No Grey’s Anatomy, no to The Notebook, or anything that won a Pulitzer prize. You’ve got enough going on In Real Life. Comedy only.  Or trashy stuff. Old episodes of WonderWoman? I’ve got the box set. Mindless drivel, like the latest CGI blockbuster. Or clever, funny books. David Sedaris. Jenny Lawson. Fiction exists to elicit emotion, and the emotion you need to express most right now is laughter.

I take this advice very seriously in my life.

4. 2D/3D Goldfish paintings

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5. The Astronomical Kid raps

Music video for Astro aka The Astronomical Kid performing “He Fell Off”, the first video off of his mixtape “Deadbeats and Lazy Lyrics”. © 2013 Grade A Tribe (h/t Emmett)
https://twitter.com/astronomicalKid

5 beautiful things from today

Goodbye, Fairy Godmother Celeste Holm

As the self-appointed art and film nerd of FtB, it is my sad duty to inform you that Celeste Holm died today at the age of 95.  She is best known for her performances in All About Eve and Gentleman’s Agreement and originating the stage role of Ado Annie in Oklahoma!

But she has a special place in my heart because she was the Fairy Godmother in the 1965 television version of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella.  I watched this many, many times as a child.  But Celeste Holm isn’t the only amazing actress in this TV movie, oh no, it also has a very young Lesley Ann Warren, Pat Carroll (the voice of Ursula!), and Ginger Rogers!  So many amazing women with so many speaking roles in one movie in the 1960s!  If you have children, like musicals, or just generally like awesomeness, you should watch this movie.

Conveniently enough, I can give you a link for you to do just that RIGHT NOW!

<3

Goodbye, Fairy Godmother Celeste Holm

Nerdy Image Dump in Honor of Nicol

In honor of my bestest friend ever coming into town, and in honor of the fact that I found a harddrive with a lot of really old crap on it, I’m going to do an image dump of things I thought were awesome 8 years ago.

These things, it should be noted, are still awesome.

Nerdy Image Dump in Honor of Nicol

Youtube for Non-Profits

image

Expanded from original post at Social Axcess.

I am a big fan of the arts and, particularly, the arts in education.  I’ve spent a lot of time in my life either working on the business side of arts, like in film, or volunteering in artistic communities or for arts groups.  I think people are drawn to causes because they have personal meaning to them in addition to doing good, and I grew up in the arts community.  Creative pursuits made public school very nearly bearable and, in addition to my own anecdotal evidence, many studies support the fact that access to arts has a major positive impact on grades and scholastic success.

The site I write for is about Social Media, with a bent towards businesses, and while most of what they post seems to be aimed at for-profit businesses with a product to sell, non-profits can use a lot of the same tools to make themselves more successful. For example, in the state of South Carolina, the new governor, Nikki Haley, has threatened to completely cut the budget for the Arts Commission and ETV/NPR Public TV and Radio. In response, the Arts Commission has engaged in a small scale social and traditional media blitz, particularly on Facebook, that’s meant a lot of calls and e-mails to the representatives of the state and some spinoff groups joining the cause.  (Full disclosure: I’ve volunteered for SCAC on multiple occasions)

I bring this up not to toot the SCAC or etv’s horn — before the budget is finalized, it’s unclear how successful they’ve been — but because YouTube is launching it’s 5th Annual DoGooder Non-Profit Video Awards and it’s reminded me of how important it is for non-profits to exploit the same marketing and advertising tools that any business has access to. For the YouTube competition, The Case Foundation will give out $10,000 in grants to video winners and they’ll all be featured on the homepage of YouTube –advertising probably worth way more than $10,000 in eyeballs.

YouTube has also launched a page for non-profits which will be a channel dedicated to sharing non-profit messages. Joining not only gives you exposure, but access to Video Volunteers to help make your video a reality if your organization finds the process of making videos out of their reach. There are also lots of tips and guides, so if you’re a non-profit thinking about expanding your online presence, you could do a lot worse than starting with youtube.

This is, of course, great for any non-profit not just the arts.  I think any atheist, secular, gay rights, womens rights, or any of the absurd things I support could benefit, so if you’re associated with one, spread the word.

Youtube for Non-Profits