Month: February 2014

Sports and Me

The better I understood most sports the more I enjoyed them. In elementary school the P.E. instructor, Coach Schneider, took great pleasure in teaching us through the sports. It took me a while come around to the subliminal lessons though. Early one year (I can’t recall which) he introduced my class to baseball. Every time my team switched from fielding to batting I ran in slower than my classmates so as to strategically position myself at the back of the batting line. Coach Schneider caught me, however, and the third time I did it he singled me out and pulled me forward.

“Now, why do you keep running back there?”

“Because everyone yells different advice to me and I get very confused.”

I would suspect that most people would love support and advice given so freely but the differing opinions only confused me when I was put in the small spotlight of batting position. I felt subjected and bombarded by too many expectations. All the shouting created an unpleasant noise in my head. When he smiled lines appeared around his eyes that distinguish his face in my mind even now. He escorted me to the batting position, set me up in a basic stance and then told me to ignore what everyone else was saying. All I had to do was listen to the voice inside, feel out my moment, and then adjust my position to optimize my own decision.

I missed the first ball.

I missed the second ball.

CRACK!

Oh, the ball failed to fly out across the field for a home run but it did get me as far as first base. The next challenge: making it around to home plate. Piece of cake, right? Each time someone else came to bat my heart pounded. Would the ball fly in my direction? Would a fielding team member catch it and tag me? Would I make it to the base?

Eventually I did make it all the way around the bases and cross home plate and as I became older I realized I was taking that first game too seriously. While Coach Schneider’s purpose was to teach us he also wanted us to kick loose and enjoy engaging our muscles. He taught us to use our bodies to power ourselves towards a goal. When we have a goal if there are people throwing their two cents in our jar the jar can get full. Its confusing having so many avenues to choose from and it doesn’t help if the influential people in your life are pushing you in different directions. Eventually that coin jar gets full and the coins are no longer noisy, they’re over flowing and burying you in a sea of copper and zinc. Coach Schneider was one of the first people who taught me to turn the jar into a tube – in one ear out the other as they say. No matter what people are going to have differing opinions and some people are going to push for you to do it their way but sometimes learning to trust yourself and choosing your own way can bring you success as well. So what if you strike out here or skin your knee there? Do you still want that goal? Well, get up off your butt and go stand over home plate. Learn from every swing you take at that ball, learn to hop between bases and fool the fielding team, and somewhere along the way you’re going to learn to hit home runs.

When I am writing a character who is struggling or confused or trying to negotiate with multiple parties I draw on experiences like these.

That is your philosophical thought of the week. Happy exploring!

Artisan Earrings and Bracelets for Sale!

It’s official! I now have earrings listed and available for sale on eBay. Please visit my account, kiriramdeo, and browse the items available for sale. I have earrings, bracelets, and matching earring and bracelet sets which are assembled with a wide variety of materials (crystal, rondelle crystal, glass, bronze alloy, tibetan silver, Swarvoski crystal, zinc alloy, gold, etc.). I’d also advise you to keep checking periodically as either an item may be relisted if unsold and also to keep an eye out for new items. I have four to five new items scheduled for listing over the next week and a half so far. Each item is personally assembled by me and as such are unique.

Collection Cover

Now, I am aware that some people have allergies to alloy metals. Would you recommend using sterling silver hooks in some cases or hypoallergenic metal? What’s your experience with it? Please let me know in a comment!

Until next week, happy exploring!

A Highlight on Short Videos

While doing some freelance work the other day I came across a collection of video shorts. Now perhaps you’re familiar with the shorts associated with Pixar movies, such as Knick Knack (1989), For the Birds (2000), One Man Band (2005), Lifted (2006), etc. They’re short, attention capturing, and amusing, which are three points that keep them in my attention when asked about funny animated pieces. Though these are not feature length films they are seamlessly constructed.

In regards to my freelance work, I had to assess a site featuring short videos and after completing the assessment I decided to explore the site more. I came across a short called “Meet Buck” and it was so funny and bizarre that I had to share it with you. Here are a few screen shots of the independent short:

Screen Shot 2014-02-15 at 1.48.32 PMScreen Shot 2014-02-15 at 1.48.44 PM

Screen Shot 2014-02-15 at 1.48.47 PM

 

Oh dear, what has Buck gotten himself into? Matters don’t improve when the girlfriend’s father walks in moments later, a gruff, unyielding and intolerant figure. This short uses a combination of frame speed, color theory, and themed music to give an optimized performance. Go check it out! Do you see any shorts that catch your attention?

 

Defunct Winter Olympic Sports

So the winter olympics of 2014 started February 6th. The day before I came across an article on defunct Olympic sports. Many of them are eye catching and the winter ones are my favorites and I had to highlight three of them.

Let’s start with sled dog racing.

This sport only made one appearance at the 1932 Lake Placid Games. “Seven American and five Canadian athletes with six dogs apiece ran twice over a 25.1 mile course.” It was only a demonstration sport in the Olympics though Emile St. Goddard from Winnipeg finished first with a time of 4:23:12.5. While it is no longer a Winter Olympic sport, sled dog races are still held annually. In fact, currently there is a race called Yukon Quest which is happening right now! Yukon Quest is 1,000 mile international sled dog race that starts in Fairbanks, Alaska and ends in Whitehorse, Yukon. The race has run since 1984 and lasts for between 10-16 days. This year it started on February 1. There’s a countdown available on the site and more information on the race, mushers, and their locations. Go check it out!

Like sled dog racing, the winter pentathlon was also used once as a demonstration sport in the 1948 St. Moritz Games.

While the winter biathlon (still present in today’s Olympics) requires athletes to be highly skilled in both cross-country skiing and shooting, the pentathlon required athletes to be highly versatile  to win a medal. If the sport had carried over, Winter Olympic pentathlon athletes would need to be skilled in downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, shooting, fencing, and horse riding. in 1948 Sweden’s athletes swept the medal stand.

While polo does mention a merit as a Summer Olympic sport as it is an equitation sport (my favorite category) one more winter sport snagged the most of my attention: Skijoring!

Skijoring is “a wonderful hybrid between water skiing, horse riding and dog sledding.” The sport requires a person riding skis being tugged over the snow by a horse. The word Skijoring is derived from skikjøring, the Norwegian word for ski driving. The sport probably originated as a method of single person winter season travel. This was only used once in the 1928 Winter Olympics in St. Moritz, Switzerland but is still used as a competitive sport today. Usually a single horse is outfitted with a harness by which a skier holds on by an extended tow rope. Sometimes the horse is guided by a rider but it is possible for the skier to direct the horse on his/her own. I believe when the skier navigates the horse it a flat stretch during a race. When a rider guides the horse the skier is more free to navigate jumps and obstacles.

So what do the skiers use during skijoring? Modified water ski towing equipment. If you’re looking to try it and cut down on costs you could use a tow rope looped around a saddle horn or otherwise attached to the western saddle. There are two main types of skijoring competitions: a straight course and a horseshoe-shaped course. On a straight course a horse can run at top speed in the middle of a course. This way the skier can navigate slalom gates and jumps of different heights, grab rings or other items at unique stations. Leadville, Colorado has been organizing equestrian skijoring competitions with a highlight on speed since 1949.

Here’s an example of skijoring competitions still practiced today:

It looks like so much fun! It’s been years since I skied but I would love to try this! Follow this link to learn more about skijoring!

Mass Handcrafted Earrings

Ready to see the reasons I have been busy for the past few weeks? I can show you one of them (the informational video is not yet complete).

mass earrings
handcrafted earrings
(click on the image to be taken to the dA page post about them)

I have been spending most of my time sorting the beads and pendants I ordered, crafting earrings and, recently, bracelets. That’s the easy part. The longest part is photographing them and packaging them in preparation for listing and mailing. While it can be tedious it’s also soothing. In fact I find myself having trouble parting with some of them. That said, I do keep some for myself. Most of the supplies I use are metal alloy, acrylic beads, glass beads, crystal beads, and stretch line for bracelets. I do still plan on making rings but I want to get more comfortable with a new binding material I found.

So far, the hardest part about assembling them was getting started. I had to teach myself to stop scaring myself out of even trying. Once I started it easy! Next step is to experiment with fancy wire assemblies but before that I’d like to get through a few digital art pieces. That’s right, more art is coming!

As soon as they are up I will publish a post letting you know where to go to find out more and purchase any if your are interested!

Happy Saturday!

Conjoined Gray Whale Twins

On January 5, 2014 fishermen found conjoined gray whale twin calves floating in a lagoon in Ojo de Liebre lagoon, in Baja California, Mexico. Some reports say that fishermen discovered them while others say scientists made the discovery. Their heads and tails were fully formed and they were linked at the waist. Gray whales journey from the Arctic Ocean south along the coast of California, nearly a 6,000 mile journey, give birth on the way in the lagoons. Typically their gestation lasts for 13.5 months and usually gray whale calves are 12 to 16 feet in length. National Geographic says these calves “measured about seven to ten feet…in length” which is much shorter than most fully developed calves.  This shortened length could be attributed to that

  1. like with many other mammalian species, multiple fetuses developing at once will be born at a smaller size than one ‘normal’ sized fetus
  2. the calves were born prematurely
  3. the calves were aborted.

the calves may have been born prematurely

photo by Farah Castillo

I do wonder how coordinated these two would have been to breathe. They would have to take breaths at the same moment and maneuver to consume enough nourishment throughout their lives. From the photographs of the twins they were joined belly-to-belly and would have had to either take turns when coming of up for air or else swim and breach straight up into the air. 

gray whale breaching vertically

Most of all I wonder on the conditions of their birth. Did the mother survive? Did she attempt to nurse them after they were born? If they were aborted was it for deformity or some other chemical reason? 

When it comes to marine animals we know so little scientifically. Sometimes I fear the ocean, with its great power and mystery, yet at the same time those very factors are what captures my attention about marine biology. Nature is both terrifying and stunning in the same breath  to me.

 

Visit my online shop to view or purchase new handcrafted earrings I’ve made! New items are added as soon as I have photographed them. Want some custom earrings? Have suggestions for me? Please leave me a message either here on WordPress, on my deviantArt site, or  anonymously on my Tumblr site!

Until next week, happy exploring!