Archive for the ‘cool’ Category
Some fantastic person (specifically, Nite4awk, AKA freelance photographer Michael S. Den Beste) took illustrations from Calvin and Hobbes and placed the characters into some gorgeous real-life photographs.
These are simply too stupendously awesome not to share.
As I was admiring these things, I couldn’t help but think of ways that some of them could be improved even further, and I couldn’t resist throwing them into Photoshop and sprucing them up a little. The following were composed by Den Beste, with a few small embellishments added by myself. Full credit for these belongs to him (and of course to Bill Watterson for drawing the comic in the first place).
Added color to the comic panels and shadows to the snowmen.
Added fire and smoke in Giant Calvin’s wake.
Faded the smoke wafting away from the cigarette.
Added reflections in the water for the cartoons.
You can see all of Nite4awk’s Calvin and Hobbes images in this gallery, including a few others I didn’t post here. He also has a blog where he’ll hopefully be posting more of these in the future.
The legal barrier dismantled by November’s vote, same-sex couples line up to “make it official”
By Kelley Bouchard
PORTLAND — Michael Snell and Steven Bridges emerged from City Hall early Saturday and stepped into history, as the first of at least a dozen gay couples across Maine who exchanged wedding vows on the first day for same-sex partners to marry.
Forty-four couples obtained marriage licenses in the 10 or so communities from Portland to Bangor that opened their clerk’s offices as early as midnight for the special occasion. Fourteen were married almost immediately in city or town halls, while a few others were planning private ceremonies Saturday.
Bridges and Snell had been united in a commitment ceremony six years ago, so when a reporter asked them if they felt “more married” after the wedding, Snell responded, “No, it’s just official.”
Michael Snell and Steven Bridges of Portland wait in line at Portland City Hall to be the first gay couple in Maine to be married on Friday, December 28, 2012. Photo: Carl D. Walsh
The first five same-sex couples who arrived to get marriage certificates walk up the steps of Portland City Hall. Photo: Gabe Souza
Steve Bridges and Michael Snell, both of Portland, kiss after being the first couple to be married at Portland City Hall on Saturday morning, December 29, 2012. Photo: Gregory Rec
Katy Jayne gets a kiss from Lauren Snead after they obtained their marriage license. Photo: Robert F. Bukaty
Steven Jones and Jamous Lizotte wear laurel wreaths as they arrive at Portland City Hall. Photo: Robert F. Bukaty
Mary Parker, holding Grace, 22 months, becomes emotional as her partner for seven years, Becky Roak, fills out paperwork for a marriage license at Brunswick Town Hall Saturday morning. Photo: Tom Bell
Donna Galluzzo and Lisa Gorney leave the Portland City Clerk’s office after obtaining their marriage license. Photo: Robert F. Bukaty
The world is ending. Or maybe not. There’s been talk over the past couple years about how the Mayan calendar predicts that the world is going to end today, December 21, 2012.
In the ancient Long Count calendar used by the Maya and other Central American cultures, dates are measured by their distance from the date of creation, which was 3114 BC in our years. The largest unit of time was the b’ak’tun, a length of 144,00 days or 394.25 years. We are currently in the 13th b’ak’tun, which will end on 12/21/2012, at which point the 14th b’ak’tun will begin.
Now, according to one account of Mayan beliefs, our universe is the fourth one that has been created. The first three were imperfect, and the gods only created men after the fourth creation. The thing is, the third creation lasted for exactly 13 b’ak’tuns, and the current universe was created at the start of the 14th b’ak’tun of the third universe, which became year 0 for the fourth and current universe. Some have concluded, therefore, that at the start of the 14th b’ak’tun of the fourth universe on December 12, 2012, our world will extinguished and another will take it’s place.
There are two problems with this theory. First, the third cosmos was a failure, unlike ours, so there’s no reason to believe that our universe will be replaced after the same period of time. There’s no mention of an apocalyptic event on that date in Mayan writing, and experts say there’s no reason whatsoever to believe that the Mayans thought the world would end at that time.
Secondly, the Mayan religion is mythological and not actually true. I can’t stress this fact enough. The universe will not be ending today.
NASA’s Curiosity rover touched down successfully on Mars on Monday last week.
It was launched from Cape Canaveral on November 26, 2011 at 10:02 EST and landed on Aeolis Palis in Gale Crater on Mars on August 6, 2012, 05:17 UTC, after a harrowing decent pulled off with absolute precision.
Flight director Bobak Ferdowski, who gets a new hairstyle for each mission, and his famous mohawk.
Curiosity’s mission is called the Mars Science Laboratory. The SUV-sized rover is the largest ever sent to another planet, and it functions as a semi-autonomous explorer and mobile science lab. The purpose of its mission is “to search areas of Mars for past or present conditions favorable for life, and conditions capable of preserving a record of life.” It’s equipped with cameras to take high-resolution photographs and video of the Martian surface, and spectrometers to determine the chemical composition of rocks and soil, radiation detectors, and environmental sensors to determine air and ground temperature, humidity, air pressure, and wind speed and direction.
A model of Curiosity (right) beside models of Opportunity/Spirit (twin rovers, 2004-2010/present) (left) and Sojourner (1997) (bottom)
In anticipation of the upcoming Olympic Games in London next week, here are some beautiful photographs of nude American Olympic athletes. These images are from ESPN The Magazine’s third annual Body Issue, which is that sports media outlet’s classier, artistic answer to the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.
Forward, USA Women’s National Soccer Team Age: 32 5’11″, 170 pounds
Gymnast, US Gymnastics Team Age: 27 5’7″, 165 pounds
Sprinter, USA Track & Field Team Age: 26 5’10″, 195 pounds
USA Paralympic Rower Age: 23 5’8″, 125 pounds with prosthetics
Decathlete, USA Track & Field Team Age: 24 6’1″, 185 pounds
Sailor, USA Sailing Team Age: 29 5’6″, 146 pounds
Fencer, USA Fencing Team, Silver Medalist at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing Age: 33 6’2″, 200 pounds
Defender, US Men’s Soccer Team Age: 33 6’0″, 170 pounds
USA Women’s Indoor Volleyball Team
Sprinter, USA Track & Field Team Age: 32 5’4″, 135 pounds
Ralph McQuarrie, the legendary concept artist behind the original Star Wars trilogy, the original Battlestar Galactica TV series, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Cocoon, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and Jurassic Park, died at his home on Saturday at the age of 82.
Star Wars wouldn’t have been half the film it was without this guy. The visual style of everything in the Star Wars universe was based on Ralph McQuarrie’s art. The Millennium Falcon, the Death Star, the X-wing, lightsabers, Darth Vader, Cloud City, R2-D2 and C-3PO – all of these were taken directly from his concept illustrations.
Not a bad legacy.
Have you seen this movie yet? You really should do yourself a favor and go see it while it’s still in theaters. It’s a fantastic film.
Vas county, Dunántúl, Hungary — Zsolt Zsigmond
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Meteora, Thessaly, Greece — Ella Locardi
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Sunrise at Mesa Arch, Island in the Sky, Canyonlands National Park, Utah — John Lehmkuhl
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Gimsøystraumen Bridge, Lofoten archipelago, Nordland county, Norway — Henrik Johansson
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Augrabies Falls on the Orange River, South Africa — Hougaard Malan
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Japanese maples, Portland Japanese Garden, Portland, Oregon — Immortal Thrill-Seeker
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Transfagarasan Highway, Fagaras Mountains, Southern Carpathians, Romania — Horia Varlan
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Avenue of the Baobabs, Menabe, Madagascar — Taishi Maehara
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View from Mount Rigi, Swiss Plateau, Switzerland
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Serengeti, Tanzania — Amnon Eichelberg
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Tara River Canyon, Durmitor National Park, Montenegro — Maja
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Sandstone pillars at Wulingyuan, Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, Hunan province, China – Tom Horton
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Multnomah Falls, Colombia River Gorge, Oregon — Jesse Estes
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Camel thorn trees, Namib-Naukluft Park, Namibia, Africa – Frans Lanting
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Wedgemount Glacier just above Wedgemount Lake, Garibaldi Provincial Park, British Columbia, Canada – Ivan Andreevich
By Florence Waters
11 Nov 2011
A landscape so perfectly flat, vibrant and minimal that on first glance it appearas to be abstract now holds the record for most expensive photograph.
The chromogenic colour print, which is mounted on acrylic glass, far exceeded its pre-sale estimate of $2.5m-$3.5m (£1.6m-£2.2m).
Rhine II, 1999, is one of an edition of six photographs by Gursky, four of which are in major museums, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Tate Modern in London. Gursky’s name already appears in the list of five most expensive photographs with 99 Cent II Diptychon (2001), which sold for £2.1m in 2007. With this sale it has been relegated to fourth place.
The previous record was set in May this year by the American artist Cindy Sherman Untitled #96 (1981), also at Christie’s in New York. The dichromatic print which depicts the artist dressed up as a lovelorn adolescent, shot in 1981, fetched $3.89m (£2.4).
Gursky, born in Düsseldorf in 1955, is widely regarded as one of the most important and influential photographers of his generation. He is known for his large scale photographs, which seek out formal patterns in real environments.
The photo doesn’t look like much when viewed alone, but Gursky’s work is actually really great. He takes large-scale photographs of objects in a series (apartments, supermarkets, buildings, crowds of people) and frames them so they appear as rote patterns. His photographs work brilliantly as a series. They’re disturbingly provocative, reducing the wonder of human existence to a series of vast geometric forms on an inhuman scale.
Chicago Board of Trade II
Ratingen Swimming Pool
Tokyo Stock Exchange
I saw Tim Burton’s film adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street when it came out during Christmas break in 2007. I was inspired to do a little comic based off it. I finished the final panel, but then classes started up again and I never got around to finishing it. I had already scanned the drawing and colored it on the computer, however, so whenever I opened my Pictures folder, it was there near the top of the window, taunting me with cries of “Ben! Ben! Finish me!”
Then in spring 2009 a touring company performed the show at the “Collins” Sorry-but-it-will-always-be-the-”Maine-center-for-the-Arts”-in-my-mind-and-I’m-pretty-miffed-that-they-thought-they-could-just-rename-it Center for the Arts. This staging was a bit of an artsy departure from the show’s original version. Sweeney Todd is written for a 27-piece orchestra and a cast of thirty. The minimalist re-imagining of the show that I saw had only ten performers, doubling as actors and as the orchestra, the characters taking their instruments with them onstage. The musical is presented as being performed by the patients and staff of a mental institution, a performance-within-a-performance. The performance opens with white coated assistants bringing a young man in straight jacket onto stage, releasing him from his restraints and giving him a violin. The assistants pick up their instruments, the main characters enter with theirs, and the musical begins. This all sounds a bit pretentious and confusing, but it worked beautifully.
Personally, I enjoyed the live performance much more than I did the film. Onstage, the sight of a throat being slit with a straight razor is horrifying, as it ought to be; on film, the graphic realism of the scene comes off as more gory than anything else. And of course a performance is always so much more thrilling to see when it’s live.
Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street premiered on Broadway in 1979, with Len Cariou in the title role and Angela Lansbury as Mrs. Lovett. Sweeney Todd first appeared as the antagonist of The String of Pearls, a penny dreadful serial published from 1846-47. It was adapted as a melodrama for a London theater by George Dibden Pitt in 1847, before the published serial had even concluded. Several versions of the story were published in the years that followed, and it became a staple of British melodrama and an urban legend through the remainder of the century. There were at least a dozen literary, stage, radio, film and television adaptations of the story over the next century and a quarter. In 1973, Christopher Bond play Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street re-imagined the character not simply as a serial-killer but as a wronged man, Benjamin Barker, who has returned to England after years in exile to seek revenge against the judge who conspired to have him wrongfully imprisoned, raped and destroyed his wife and stole his daughter. In 1979, Stephen Sondheim took Bond’s play, turned it into a musical and created a classic.
In the beginning of this August the School of Performing Arts at UMaine put on a performance of the show, which I made certain to attend. It was an excellent performance.
On a related note, watching it me go back to the piece I’d started four and a half years ago and finally complete it. Boys and girls, attend the tale of Osmond Fuzzbottom and his unfortunate late Uncle Prinkel.