Archive for April, 2012

Tiger Marines

A more traditionally-styled collage. I think I started this collage hobby by trying to say too much, and it mostly ended up convoluted or cheesy. So I’m going simpler, with a style that’s more common, as found on various blogs. This took me only an hour to complete, compared to my older collages, that took anywhere between 4 and 8 hours.

Title: “Tiger Marines”
License: Creative Commons BY-SA-NC 3.0/US. Click for a larger, printable version. Credits in the EXIF metadata.

Poisonous Invasion

The media, insisting on focusing at the event itself, rather than also analyzing the cause.

My worst collage so far. It just doesn’t work, no matter what I try with it.

Title: “Poisonous Invasion”
License: Creative Commons BY-SA-NC 3.0/US. Click for a larger, printable version. Credits in the EXIF metadata.

Love from Afar

When you love someone, but you can’t tell him/her so, the pain inside is unbearable. Eventually, the dream becomes a fantasy, and it’s very difficult to escape its tentacles.

Title: “Love from Afar”
License: Creative Commons BY-SA-NC 3.0/US. Click for a larger, printable version. Credits in the EXIF metadata.

Teleportation of Goods

The inevitable time when our planet will be almost barren, and basic needs would be acquired via transportation, dug in objects found in our solar system and beyond.

Title: “Teleportation of Goods”
License: Creative Commons BY-SA-NC 3.0/US. Click for a larger, printable version. Credits in the EXIF metadata.

A Dozen Newborns

The tragedy of being “farmed” and modeled under society’s mold, holding us back from what we could become if we were born truly free. We are all born as diamonds in the rough, but most die as black carbon.

Title: “A Dozen Newborns”
License: Creative Commons BY 3.0/US. Click for a larger, printable version. PNG version available on request.

Rush Hour in New York

So much beauty around us, but so many people choose to become anonymous and lonely, living stacked in a big city, ultimately losing their authenticity.

Title: “Rush Hour in New York”
License: Creative Commons BY 3.0/US. Click for a larger, printable version. PNG version available on request. Picture credit.

Olympic Games

The commercialization of the Olympic Games in a society that endorses enjoyment and consumption, with the professional athletes willing to do anything in their power to deliver. The Olympic spirit serves as nothing more but an excuse.

Title: “Olympic Games”
License: Creative Commons BY-SA-NC 3.0/US. Click for a larger, printable version. Credits in the EXIF metadata.

Can’t Wait Till Next Year

My first collage artwork ever, is done. Took about 8 hours of work in Photoshop, learned a lot in the meantime. My first collage subject is about the philosopher and my favorite indie artist, John Maus, and his need to “appear”. More explanation about the subject here.

Title: “Can’t Wait Till Next Year”
License: Creative Commons BY-SA-NC 3.0/US. Click for a larger, printable version.

Textures and shapes used were freeware, only the sky and the ground are using other pictures as source. Tutorial soon!

Update: My collage board at Pinterest!

Collage art

I’m making an 180 degree turn, and getting myself into collage art. I decided that a couple of days ago. Funny thing is, for most of my life I hated collages, I found them to be some kind of art-cheating. But after seeing the works of Julien Pacaud and Jeffrey Meyer, I’m convinced that collage art is one of the coolest, versatile mediums out there. I started following the tag “collage” at TumblR lately too, and there are more updates for it than any other type of art right now. Hipster times…

“Ministry of Disasters” by Julien Pacaud. Possibly my most favorite collage artwork ever

The kind of collage I want to do is inspired by the two artists I mention above, but I want to show more contemporary elements in the composition. Collage artists are mostly using very old, usually copyright-free photographs, and this creates a fashionable, surrealistic world of nostalgia. But I feel that by not using more modern items (e.g. TVs, cellphones, modern cars etc) there’s an inevitable restriction in the work. Sure, the actual element used in an artistic work doesn’t have to be a factual representation of the object, but by only using old objects, a constrain arises in the spectrum of influence and interpretation. At least that’s my take on it, and I hope to do something about it.

In order to use modern objects I’d have to either pay for stock photography (no money for that though), or use pictures from FlickR. Unfortunately, Creative Commons-licensed pictures are not that high in numbers in order to create the best collage possible, so I might have to use copyrighted images too. Credits will be given for each picture used, the resulted PSD file will be offered as “open source” for educational purposes, and a tutorial will be written too for new, aspiring artists (update: tutorial is here). My works will be generally licensed under the CC-BY-SA-NC license (unless all elements are coming from CC-BY images, in which case my work will be CC-BY too), and at least for the collages using copyrighted elements, I won’t use commercially. With these precautions, I believe my work will fall under the “Fair Use” clause.

A word about Kefir

When that fateful day of September 3rd 2011 I dropped grains completely and found back my health, I did it originally through the SCD diet (similar to Paleo), that also embraces the healing of the gut via home-made, lactose-free, probiotic yogurt. I’ve since moved to Paleo/Primal (which is a more complete diet than SCD in my opinion), but I kept SCD’s yogurt regimen, specifically from goat milk, which is more tolerable than cow dairy (goats have A2 casein, instead of the human-incompatible A1 found in most cows).

Six months passed, and with the additional help of ketosis, most of my ailments are completely vanished. I’d still get an occasional IBS breakout, no more than what would be considered “normal” though by most people.

For a month now, I don’t do yogurt anymore, I’ve moved to home-made goat kefir (fermented for 24-36 hours). Kefir contains up to 40 types of bacteria & yeasts, while yogurt usually contains 3 to 10 strains of bacteria. It also contains up to 5 trillion of these organisms, while yogurt usually goes up to 1-2 trillion per cup (a probiotic pill usually has up to 15 billion, most of them already dead by the time they’re bottled). Even people with lactose intolerance can tolerate kefir better than other dairy. Most importantly, the kinds of bacteria/yeasts that consist kefir, actually colonize the human gut, while yogurt’s strains only pass through, and are active in the gut for a short period of time. In other words, kefir is way more potent than yogurt.

Kefir is the stated reason why Caucasus people used to live up to 150 years old, before the modern cuisine caught up with them too. Kefir doesn’t only have internal healing and anti-cancer properties, but it can also heal external wounds. Its bacteria/yeasts strains work together in (visible by the human eye) colonies called “grains”, and attack any foreign microbe that is not part of their pack. E.Coli doesn’t stand a chance if it has the bad luck to fall into a cup (or a gut) of kefir.

My kefir, fermenting goat milk

Since I started having kefir, I haven’t had a single breakout of IBS, even when I stopped my Paleo-ketogenic diet and went plain Paleo (devouring quite a few carbs per day). Under “normal” circumstances, that would give me IBS symptoms at least once a week, but not while drinking kefir, no. In my mind, there’s no going back to yogurt, other than as the occasional treat: kefir is here to stay. It’s easier to make than yogurt too!

So why does kefir works so well? It’s for the same reason why some times fecal transplants from family members work for the treatment of IBS, SIBO, or C-Diff and other super-bugs: because you repopulate the gut with healthy strains that are compatible with the human gut. Kefir was probably “invented” by mistake. In the olden days, people would use the tripe of goats/sheep as a flask, to store milk or water. It probably only took one “bad” home-maker woman to not properly sterilize the tripe with hot water, before turning it into a flask. So the surviving bacteria from the tripe of these animals, fermented the milk. The poor husband, high up in the mountains of Caucasus taking care of his animals, had the choice of either drinking this weird sour milk/water, or go thirsty for the rest of the day. He drank it, he didn’t get sick by it, and so the story of kefir started. That was 2000 years ago, and while it’s just an assumption on my part on how it all started, it feels natural that it probably started this way. In contrast today, probiotic pills and yogurt strains are extracted from bovine tripe, but again, cows are incompatible with the human physiology, so these strains don’t stick in our gut. Goat/sheep’s strains do, so kefir became a superfood.

One word of caution though: to get these great benefits of kefir, you MUST make it yourself. The store-bought kefir products only have the limited effect of yogurt has, but not the extended properties of kefir. You see, you can’t bottle kefir with active yeasts in it: the alcohol produced by the yeasts would create pressure into the bottle, exploding it by the time it reaches the grocery store! Plus, the USDA is strict about some organisms that they haven’t fully researched yet, so kefir manufacturers in the US are forced to use the few well-known yogurt strains to make kefir. So if you want to get it right, you have to make goat kefir yourself. Buy the kefir grains from Amazon or elsewhere (make sure these are NOT kefir “starters”, but actual grains), and grow them according to instructions. Let them multiply and be happy & merry!

And as always, PubMed is your friend. The proof is in research too, not just anecdotal reports.