Monthly Archives: November 2008

Give Thanks

So most of today, I have been singing the chorus to the worship song, “Give Thanks” in my head, “Give thanks to a grateful heart, give thanks to the Holy One, give thanks…”
And then I forget the rest of the lyrics.
Today was a seesaw day. I had the opportunity to have an early supper with some old and dear friends – Mike and Kim from Channel Three (CH3) plus Kimm’s wife Kelli. I have known and been friends with these folks for over 24 years. It was a blessing to hang out, have a few glasses of wine/beer and some food over good conversation.
But this was deeply weighted by some very bad news I received beforehand.
Therein lies the crux or the paradox of life, the good and the bad many times are entwined. Entwined some times in the same hour. The big challenge for me is how to digest it, what to make of it, and how I will choose to respond to the circumstances of life.
One of the things that I have learned in the last 15 years is how to count my blessings or count the things that I am grateful for, even if very small, each day. Write them down if necessary to make the things that I am thankful for more concrete.
Today, I am thankful for dear friends with whom I have walked the miles with, in good times and in bad and in mundane times. I am also thankful for all the folks who did not get shot today in Mumbai. I am praying that peace will reign today in Mumbai. I am thankful for Scruffy and Belle, even when Scruffy had diarrhea inside in front of folks (oops) this afternoon. I am also thankful for the rain that SoCal received last night.
Rather than go on, I would like to link to Mary Beth Crain’s essay in the SOMA journal on “Reasons to Be Grateful“:

My great-aunt Lillian was a real pill–a stern spinster-type who made a loud practice of going around doing good and letting everybody know about it. And she was always lecturing you. One of her favorite admonitions was to “Beee grateful!” Whenever she caught you complaining, she’d deliver an unsolicited sermon on everything you had to be thankful for. Unfortunately, she was so sanctimonious about it that all you wanted to do was kill her.
As a result, Aunt Lil and her “Beee grateful!” became a standing family joke. We kids were always going around imitating her. If my brother stubbed his toe and let out an expletive, I’d respond with “Beee grateful! At least you have your toe! There are some people who don’t have any feet!” Then we’d all crack up.
Well, it took me about 40 years to realize that Aunt Lil was actually right.

Ms. Crain does not only recommend taking stock of what one is thankful for but also what one is angry at or un-thankful for. She hopes that the thankful list will be longer than the other list.
I think it becomes a spiritual discipline to choose to find more things each day to be thankful for than not. Let’s start today and tomorrow to enumerate out our blessings and what we are thankful for and keep doing it each day from here on out.


Nokia viNe Has Been Released

It is official, Nokia viNe has been released into the wild and is now available for download. This version of Nokia viNe is a mobile geo-path-tracking / photo / video location based mobile app that allows one to create “vines” or “journeys” on one’s phone and then upload it to the nokia server to be displayed on the web or via a widget.
Nokia viNe version 1.02 released by Nokia today is for the following Nokia mobiles: the E71, N78 & N79, N82 & N85, and the N95 8GB & N96. I have tried it with my Nokia N95-1 and it won’t login to the server and start working, sad this.
I promise to write a new Nokia viNe How To tomorrow that will reflect the changes in the new version that has been released to all. Not only are there some nice improvements and changes to the mobile app since I wrote my tutorial (faster uploads!), but the Nokia viNe web interface has greatly improved.
There are three features I would love to see in the next iteration of the Nokia vine mobile app and web interface:
1) Multiple logins on the mobile app. I currently have two logins and would like to toggle between accounts as to what I upload where.
2) Be able to have finer control of what is public and what is private, not only on Nokia viNe, but also on Sports Tracker and Share on Ovi. I like Flickr & Vox’s approach of up to 4 plus levels of privacy to public with: private (only you), Friends & Family, Contacts, and Everyone. At this point, there is no way I can control this from the Nokia viNe mobile app, nor from the web interface. Given that Nokia viNe is a location based service this is extra important for trust and safety.
3) Be able to determine in my account settings if I want my photos or video to be able to be downloaded once they are up on the Nokia viNe site. Right now, I have no control, which as a beta tester over the last 2+ months didn’t bother me, but over time it will. Flickr allows me to set who I want to be able to download my photos (none, family, friends, friends & family, contacts, and everyone). This is important for trust and copyright.
Overall, I would like to say Bravo! to the folks who have been working hard to make both the Nokia viNe mobile app and the web interface.
My other posts on Nokia viNe:
The Nokia viNe Promo Video is Cute & Funny!
Nokia viNe How To Tutorial (The Alpha Version)
Nokia Nseries Widget or Why Nokia Really Needs a Good Internal Communication System
Batteries for Ricky
Nokia’s (life) viNe

William Wendt and Early California Painting

William Wendt Painting

Tues 11.25.08 – This afternoon, my Mom and I drove down to the Laguna Art Museum to see the William Wendt exhibition, which is entitled, “In Nature’s Temple: The Life and Art of William Wendt”.
While some of Wendt’s paintings were a bit too landscape-y and verging on the academic, many of them were delightful and a few were transformational. Almost all of the paintings in the exhibition were from his California days (1901 – 1930s) and they represented a California that is now gone or at least highly developed over.
For all of the wide, open landscapes, sycamore and eucalyptus trees as figures, and canyons turned majestic, I loved his approach to color the most: greyed out greens and darks that were purple, as they were the colors of California when she is cloaked in glory. And in that glory is how Wendt portrayed her. A glory that can only now be found in glimpses, if one takes the time to go hiking in the hills or up a canyon and one diverts one’s eyes from the stuccoed McMansions on the ridgeline.
A docent overheard us talking about one of the paintings, and asked how we knew so much about painting and the California Impressionist era. I explained that I was the 5th generation of artist along my mother’s line and that my mother’s grandmother (great-grandma Rachel) dabbled in the California Impressionist style in a few of her paintings dating from 1910 – 1925 and that we still have the paintings in the family. I grew up with looking at those small paintings and we as a few others that my mom and grandmother have by other artists of the genre.
It is a genre I like and possibly love, as the California Impressionists were not painting in the vein of the American Romantics or Hudson Valley School or even the Ash Can School, but were taking queues from the innovations coming out of France and then applying the plein-air, loose marked strokes to the California that they saw.
Some of the best of the paintings we saw today could only have been painted in California, all while one could see the cues that Wendt had taken from Cezanne’s Provencal period as well as a few tips from the Les Nabis. As we stood in directly in front of Wendt’s work, most of the paintings dissolved into marks and colors, but when we backed up 15 to 20 feet, the paintings would look refined and defined, much like may Impressionist and post-Impressionist pieces.
Cues from the French or not, the true glory of the Wendt show at the Laguna Art Museum is the vibrant views of a California gone by. At times, I giggled at some of the works, “Look, Pacific Coast Highway as a one-lane dirt road.” “Hey, when did Aliso Creek ever have that much water in it?” “This painting looks like the grand view of Santiago Creek and its Sycamores” etc.
A celebration of Los Angeles and Orange Counties long before the current blight of stucco and strip malls.

Tidbits from 11:34pm on a Monday Night

Ok, so I have failed the last 3 days to write something substantial in the morning for my NaBloPoMo challenge to myself. I am writing but…
Due to the headache and the nearness to the midnight hour, you all will be getting a few tidbits out of me.
1) The new Nokia viNe update for alpha/beta testers, Nokia viNe 1.02 (11/20/08 release) is FAST! Yay! Instead of the upload time taking forever, my 5 photos of this evening’s sunset went so fast that I thought viNe was lying to me when it announced the upload was done. But it wasn’t, all my photos were up on my Sports Tracker account and up at the Nokia viNe flash viewing thingy. Yay!
The Nokia viNe 1.0 was supposed to be released to the wild last week, but they have delayed it and I will let you know when it is out.
2) As for MOCA’s economic failure and near collapse of the institution, I have a few things to say. I bent Tammy’s ear about tonight, but it can be all summed up in the fact that I think they have been way to rock star-y high brow about the contemporary art they were showing and did not really interact with the community over the last decade.
The Hammer museum has done a *great* job of involving the community by putting on annual group best of shows (best LA MFA graduates, best of LA young artists, etc), as well as having lectures and other community events that draw folks in. I would love it if MOCA were to have a best of LA young artists or best of Downtown artists or best of east side taggers or best LA mid-career artists that haven’t had a one person show yet. Etc. etc. etc.
MOCA, I would rather drive downtown to see great local events at either your Main MOCA space or at the Geffen then drive to Westwood. Give me a reason to care about you. Give me a reason to want to participate. The Hammer does. The Getty does. So, why don’t you?
The LA Times’ art critic, Christopher Knight, has an Open Letter to MOCA.

Sunday, a Day of Rest?

Not really. Today was my day to get a lot of little things done. To finish up the pieces. To tie up all the strands. While I got a lot done, I did not complete everything on my to do list.
Let’s cross our fingers that it can happen by tomorrow. In the meantime, I am off to bed.