Beauty In Marble

The Winged Victory Of Samothrace

On my visit to the Louvre last February; I saw this marvelous statue in person. Something about this broken figure is striking to nearly everyone who sees it. I don’t know what it is, maybe the way the wings and the folds of fabric suggest movement, or perhaps it is the mystery of the missing pieces. If they were present, perhaps this would not be such a moving piece of art.

Whatever the reason; it is truly marvelous to see. Age and history, and the timelessness of beauty made an impression on me. If can, I will go back to the Louvre next week, and see it again. This statue is the primary reason I want to return. I don’t think I saw enough of it last time.

-EJH

Midori MD Paper Cotton Letter Pad Review.

I bought this Midori MD Paper Cotton letter pad from Jetpens a few weeks ago, and have been using it regularly ever since. I am quite impressed by the quality and feel of the paper, it has some tooth, but just enough to notice, not enough to be annoying when using a sharp nib.

It is very resistant to bleed through, and the color balance of the paper (somewhat off-white, but not quite ivory) shows off the brighter inks very well. The paper is thin, not quite Tomoe river thin, but still a thinner paper than you might expect given it’s wonderful performance.

The lines are more widely spaced than I would prefer, but they are grey which I like, and have good margin width, which makes the letter seem more substantial.

Which brings me to the size… This isn’t a standard size, it is about the height of an A5 paper, but has a width which is about the same as a B5 paper, so it is closer to a square than a tall rectangle. The size is pleasant, and I see why it was chosen, but it presents a problem: envelopes have to either be made to size (Which I have done), or the matching envelopes have to be purchased. (Which is very expensive), you can also use a regular long envelope and do a tri-fold, but I much much prefer a single fold, and so I have to use the matching envelopes despite their cost. I think that is an area that Midori can improve, the envelopes cost about $1 each!

The paper can take a light watercolor wash with no complaints, there is some ghosting and a bit of wrinkling, but no bleed-through and no sign of the paper weakening.

Overall; I really enjoy using this paper, and I will keep it on hand as long as Midori continues to produce it.

-Ezra Hilyer

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Escape on two wheels.

I think time is the greatest luxury of all. I took this weekend and took off for Ocala National Forest. I loaded up my bike and spent the second half of Friday out riding the back roads, and today (Saturday) I am still out here riding and exploring. In the morning, I woke up as the sun was coming up, I re-started the fire, and then slowly got breakfast ready, and some coffee going. There is a luxury in taking the time to do these small routines with no rush. To sit in my comfortable chair (Thank you Kermit Chair Company!!) and just stare into the fire as I make my coffee feels like the greatest of rewards.

Later in my life, I will sail around the world by sea, and either ride, or peal, or walk around it again on land. That will be my retirement. Slow travel to see every continent. I anticipate many such slow mornings. Watching the sun rise slowly and savoring each moment.

-EJH

Wherever you are; life goes on elsewhere.

Think about a place that you remember. A place that you would like to go see again. Right now that place is as real as the place you are currently in right now. It is vibrant and people are there, or the wind is rustling in the trees at this moment. The small little section of the world that you inhabit is only a temporary frame, and can be changed easily for another.

I have some places that I found enchanting, and interesting, and I often think about what is going on there right now. Are there other people absorbing the moment and the feel of the place like I did when I was there? Are they then years later thinking about that small place in the wide world?

No matter where you go, there you are, but that also means that where you aren’t, the world still is.

-EH

Changes, and a new focus.

Life has marched onward in the 2 year interim between my last post and now. I won’t go into all the changes and struggles, but since I can not remain fixed while the currents of time rush forward; I must change with the times.

Travel, adventure, exploration. These are my goals.

My daughters are now old enough to begin to experience some of these things also; so I can take them with me and we can explore together. One of the things I am most grateful about my own childhood, is that I was able to travel and see things, and meet people. I didn’t live a small life even as a child, I lived in a number of places, and met new and interesting people. There was adventure to be had. I want to take my kids on those same kinds of adventures.

Wisdom Comes Slowly

Albert Einstein

I recently read the biography of Albert Einstein by Walter Isaacson for the second time, Einstein has fascinated me ever since I went through a course on physics: his ideas captivated me then, and have stayed with me ever since. Einstein was more apt to use descriptions and visual imagery to show his ideas rather than just dumping his formulas bare and cold onto the world. He was a visual thinker and an amazing mind, someone who worked hard to solve problems but confronting them from many different angles, and worrying them to death until they gave up their secrets. He once said:

“It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”

In the first 2/3rds of his life, he revolutionaized our concepts of time, gravity, and the very fabric of space and time. He was a simple patent examiner trying to knock Newton off his throne, and was at first ridiculed and ignored, then finally as fame and recognition came, he was lauded, and made into a reluctant public figure. He was unafraid to dabble in areas outside science where his opinions weren’t always welcomed, but over time many of his predictions and proclamations came true. Especially as WWI and WWII were brewing.

Einstein was a man of peace, he held radical pacifist views early in life, and though he was often accused of naiveté, he persisted in his desire to avoid military conflicts throughout his life. No doubt his views were heavily influenced by his experiences in Germany during the first World War, and the resignation of his professorship in the Prussian Academy as the Nazi Party took power in 1933.

When I first read the biography, I was interested most in the early part of his life, and the ideas that drove him to formulate his Special Theory Of Relativity, and the later the more broad General Theory, and his futile attempts to find a Universal Field Theory to unify the troubling randomness of Quantum Mechanics, and Relativity into one set of equations that could explain the sub-atomic level interactions of matter, all the way up to stars and whole galaxies. In the end Einstein never found his grand unifying theory, but equations found in the notebook beside his death bed show that he was still trying to figure it out right up to the end.

This time reading through the book though, I was most struck by his thoughts and ideas late in life, as the youthful fire of brilliance burned perhaps less hotly and mellowed down into great red burning coals of wisdom and pondering. Many of his more profound ideas don’t have anything specific to do with science at all, but with the condition of humanity. He was a pacifist, and yet his relationship with weaponry was complex: as he was instrumental in seeing that the US was the first to develop Atomic Weapons. This troubled him greatly in the ten years that he lived after the first atomic bomb was used against Japan in 1945. He wrote this explaining his motivations for the letter to Rosevelt, but throughout the rest of his life he was bothered by the idea that mankind now had the power to destroy itself. He said:

“I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”

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