Thursday, May 30, 2013

Book Review: "Is There Life After Death?" by Anthony Peake

Book review # 2! I don't plan on always doing 2 books in a row, but I had reasons for doing so this time. Hope you enjoy!

I finished reading this book about 2 years ago, but it continues to be one of my favorites. I had originally picked it up off the sale table out of passing curiosity, thinking I knew what I'd find: anecdotes and ancient belief systems, but very little scientific proof regarding the afterlife (or lack thereof). What I found was a turning point in my understanding of quantum physics (which, I admit, had been next to nothing before this), accompanied by fascinating accounts of scientific investigation on this and related subjects. Anecdotes and information about various belief systems also make up the picture, and it is a very detailed picture in the end.

The range of subjects covered by this book is broad and varied, reaching to various parts of the world, history, and science. Unlike what I might have expected, this book doesn't shy away from conclusions or possibilities that may seem less than appealing to the reader. This is not a self-help or motivational book - it is a scientific study. That said, don't be surprised if thoughts of the Matrix come to mind, and you find yourself more interested in movies like Groundhog Day and Vanilla Sky. This author does a good job of keeping the reader's attention on some very complicated subject matter. You won't be a quantum physicist by the end of this, but you may have a better understanding of the scientific conclusions to be drawn on the subject.

While one goes in thinking to learn more about what comes after the end of life, this book has a lot to tell us about life itself, in terms of the nature of reality. You may find yourself thinking of everything a little bit differently, including time, matter, and your own psyche. The fact that the author is explaining things that the human brain does not have the capacity to perceive leads to that exciting feeling that you are learning something you're not supposed to know, which is definitely part of the overall appeal of this book.

I won't give away anything more, because the book does save its ultimate conclusion for the end. I will say that the eventual answer is very much theoretical - the best answer that science can come up with at the moment, but as plausible a conclusion as I've come across anywhere. This, of course, is only one part of what I got out of this book, and hopefully it will be as fascinating a read for you as it was for me.

February 22nd, 2013:  Birthday Effects... by ~Eseopia on deviantART

February 21th, 2013:  Beach Birthday Sunset by ~Eseopia on deviantART

February 20th, 2013:  Blackout at the Beach... by ~Eseopia on deviantART

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Book Review: Who is Ana Mendieta?

After giving it some thought, I'd like to make a little room in this blog for book reviews.  I have a fair number of books in my possession, many of which I am quite fond of.  This week, I'd like to introduce you to a recent favorite of mine - a graphic novel titled "Who is Ana Mendieta", the work of Christine Redfern and Caro Caron.

I was lucky enough, not only to see the original artwork for this graphic novel, but to have the chance to study it up close over a matter of about two months.  During this time, the panels were on display in the art gallery at which I work.  They told a compelling story in a cartoon style not quite like anything I'd seen before - elastic and raw, with so much punch and emotion I would almost forget it was all in black and white.  I found this format to be really effective at communicating the passionate and unapologetic nature of the story, and its heroine.

The novel itself reads as a biography of Ana Mendieta.  It focuses mostly on her years and work as an artist in the 70s and 80s, working in sculpture, film, and most notably her "earth-body" works.  It also focuses on her role in the feminist movement of the day, and the overall climate of that time in history.  While the biographical nature of the work, and the depiction of the influences surrounding Mendieta's life, make it seem at first like a snapshot of the time in which she lived, there is a story arc, which makes itself most clear toward the end.

A word of warning - this is a "graphic" novel in more than one sense.  Nudity and violence are not shied away from in the telling of this story, being as they are a significant part of it.  It is a very honest depiction, and the greater part of it is very beautiful.  Not gratuitous, but beautiful, brutal, and honest.  One of the big accomplishments of this novel, I think, is that there is so much focus on the beauty of Mendieta's life, such that it stays in the mind as strongly as the hardships and tragedy of it.

On either side of this story are longer pieces of text:  A forward by Lucy R. Lippard, and then an end part titled "Blind Spot - a note to readers".  At the very end is a newspaper-layout of articles giving more information on certain details of the story, illustrated with thumbnail cartoons from the main part of the novel.  Each of these sections holds interest, fleshing out the main narrative with smaller ones, using different formats to make it easier to take in piece by piece.  I am impressed by how well this technique works for this book.  It really is an accomplishment to be able to tell this story in a way that keeps the readers' attention, while providing the context of an incredibly complicated time in history.

Long story short, this book took me right in.  I wound up feeling as if I had a personal connection to this artist, whom I might otherwise never even have heard of.  The novel as a whole is fascinating and thoughtfully crafted, even as it delivers a hard emotional punch.  Not a book I'd recommend for all ages, but I feel it is important to have Ana Mendieta's story out there to be read like this.

Thanks for reading, Blogger world!  Before I go, the 365-part project continues :P -

February 19th, 2013:  Surrealist Jam in the Sun by ~Eseopia on deviantART

February 18th, 2013:  The Sun and Sands of Time by ~Eseopia on deviantART

February 17th, 2013:  Storm Before the Calm by ~Eseopia on deviantART

'Till next time!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Do I really have to sign up for everything?

Hello blogger world!

I'm trying to edit this entry to make it sound more civilized.  I am writing today with regards to the amount of signing up that is involved in job hunting these days.  Some places still accept a resume and cover letter and let you let that be that.  Others, as I may have mentioned before, have full-on psych exams to fill out so they can make a profile of you, to go with your resume of course.  Ideally, this makes it so that if you want to apply for multiple jobs, you can just select whichever ones you want and they do the rest.  What really bothers me is the number of passwords I have out there.

There are a number of things you may have to sign up for during your job hunt.  With some places, you just have to create a profile with the company itself.  This on its own can lead to quite a few profiles depending on where and how many places you apply.  Some companies hire through job search/hiring sites like  This can potentially cut back on the number of passwords you need to create, but only when applying for jobs at places that hire through the site.  And of course, you have to sign up for the site itself.

One thing that has become a little bit irksome for me is when I find a job I want to apply for on one of these sites, only to find that it's been posted by another, similar site, who is doing the hiring for said company.  In theory it's good to have profiles on 2 sites instead of one, but I've often found the second site to be a little more weakly structured, and honestly, it's just one more layer of 'security' I don't feel comfortable being compelled to deal with.

Beyond that, I recently discovered a new potential layer of password-guarded security.  While applying for jobs at Michael's (arts and crafts), I was required to create a profile with PeopleAnswers (the site that created the questionnaire I had to fill out for my Michael's).  Granted, this ultimately made it easier to apply for job openings, but it occurs to me that my information is getting spread around quite a bit in an age where information is a hot commodity.

So let's review:  There's the company itself one may have to sign up for, and the job search site that lead you to that company (and potentially the job search site that posted on that job search site on behalf of that company), and even, potentially, the company that created the questionnaire you must fill out in order to create a profile on the original company's site.  So far I haven't run across that many levels of passwords, but in theory, it could very easily happen.

On that note, it's easy to feel gypped when job searching.  I can't help thinking someone out there (probably a few someones) are making money on my efforts to find gainful employment.  I'd like to be making money too here.  Every site I have to sign up on starts looking like a password guarded information eater.  Maybe I should ditch the job hunt and start an internet job search engine.

So that's been my pet peeve of late.  Thanks for reading!  :)

'Till next time, blogger world!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Venturing into the Talent Industry

The game of catch-up continues.  In fact, what follows is a draft entry from a few months ago :P.  Enjoy!

Good Day Blogger world!

In addition to a few more entries to my picture-within-picture daily journal, I bring you another scenario from my job-searching experience.

I am creating a profile on Hennessey Casting.  This is fairly new experience for me, despite the fact that I've accumulated more than a few years of dance training.  I've been training as though I will ultimately audition for something, though my forays into actual auditions have been few as yet.

Understandably, Hennessey wants to know more about me than the typical recruitment site.  My dress size is something I'm going to have to do a little research on (I suspect they don't mean department-store vanity sizing).  There is also "Leg size".  I can only assume they mean length, and I'm uncertain where to start from.  Maybe they mean inseam.

So far this is kind of fun.  I get to talk about the things I like to do, like singing and dancing :).  I consider myself a competent singer, and years of training have given me dance abilities.  I'll have to make up a resume specifically for this - a res-CV of sorts.  I'll also have to get together some good photos of myself.  They need at least 2, and I know I at least have that many.  Hopefully I can give them a good idea of what I look like and what I do.

I'm non-union and self-represented.  Not sure what that'll do for my chances.  Doesn't exactly scream 'experience', but it's the truth.  The final multiple-choice question is "Are you human".  In any other context I'd take this as a security question, though in this case I suspect they recruit performing animals as well.

The last section to fill out is "More Wonderful Details about ME".  It says, "So, what's your 'thang'?  Fire Breathing?  Figure Skating?  Stunts?  Thirty hot dogs in under a minute?  I want to know!".  This section seems to be open to interpretation.  I try to think of what, specifically, a caster would be looking for.  Here's what I came up with:

"I am a visual artist, singer, and dancer with better-than-average flexibility.  I can do full splits, left or right leg, with front leg on 2 yoga blocks (full middle splits are also possible for me, but only after considerable warm-up).  I can bend backwards into bridge from a standing position."

I really ought to have paid more attention to this category of employment.  This is the first site like this that I've come across.  So far it seems very user-friendly.  Time will tell if it turns up anything, but it's not like I've had significantly better luck with other recruitment sites.  I'll have to explore more of those with you in future blog posts.  For now, I think I'll wrap this one up, hoping for some opportunities to come from my favorite sector - the cultural one.

Later Blogger world :)!

PS:  Taken aback that the Hennessey Casting website gives a non-existent physical address.  Went to all the trouble of signing up, so I guess I'll stay there a little while at least.  The twitter feed seems to have legit casting ops.  The phoney address is the only thing that throws me off, really.