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Showing posts from June, 2012

Rainbow Pools Swimming Hole, Yosemite, and Priest Station, Groveland

Photograph copyright 2012 Alexander Chow-Stuart. Yesterday we had a fabulous time at the Rainbow Pools swimming hole, just outside the northern end of Yosemite, 15 miles east of Groveland on the 120. As swimming holes go, it's a beauty - with a large pool to swim in, cascading water and high rocks to jump off (see above). Photograph copyright 2012 Alexander Chow-Stuart. Our almost eight year old son and three year old daughter, and the friends we were with, all loved it.  Our son spent over an hour swimming across the pool and back again several times. We didn't have time yesterday, but there's also a hike of about one and a half miles to a spectacular waterfall where the south and middle fork of the Tuolumne River meet. If you're in or around Yosemite and want a refreshing break, Rainbow Pools and Falls come highly recommended! And thanks to our good friend, Steve Anker, at Priest Station Cafe , 16756 Old Priest Grade in Groveland, for recommen

The 2 Misos

Photograph: Alexander Chow-Stuart. Hudson, who is almost eight, made a clay model of our lovebird Miso. Generalissimo Miso approves!

John Boswell's Astonishing Symphony of Science Music Videos

Thanks to the truly moving and gentle Mr Rogers mashup, Garden Of Your Mind (see my blog post below ), I have discovered the astonishing work of John D Boswell - aka melodysheep - a genius musician and video artist whose ability to weave together science and music, creativity and love for humankind, makes him quite unique. The video above, We Are Star Dust ( Joni Mitchell was right:), from Boswell's Symphony of Science series, is literally one of the most thought-provoking and inspiring combinations of sound and image that I have seen - it may even change the way you think/feel about yourself and your body and your place in this incredible cosmos. The video below, The Quantum World! , is equally remarkable and challenging - you may not think/feel the same about the seemingly "solid" physical world around you after watching it. It is incredible that in the space of brief and beautiful music videos, Boswell/melodysheep communicates such profound ideas abou

Thank You, Sonora Regional Medical Center ER

A collage and mask made by Paradise. On Thursday night, our three year old daughter, Paradise, was jumping on our bed - despite warnings not to - and fell, just on the mattress, but badly enough so that she was unable to move her head and did not want us to lift her. We were relieved that she could still move her arms and legs, but were sufficiently concerned about her neck to call 911.  Within minutes, a fire and ambulance team arrived and (with Hudson timing them: it took precisely the three minutes they said it would) strapped Paradise to a rigid "pediatric board" with head and neck restraints, so that they could move her safely. We were taken to ER at Sonora Regional Medical Center , where Paradise was given immediate and very gentle and caring attention. She required X-rays and then a CT scan, but thankfully, in the end, all was good and, aside from a sore neck, Paradise is fine. We just want to thank everyone involved, including the fire and ambulance res

Mr Rogers Remixed - Stunningly

On a completely different note from my previous post, this remixed PBS video of Mr Rogers is stunningly beautiful and touching. According to The Wrap, PBS reached out to mashup video artist John D Boswell , who created the Symphony of Science series - and who happened to be a Mr Rogers fan. Boswell created something beautiful and unique (which Mr Rogers was, for sure) - and the line, " Did you ever grow anything in the garden of your mind?" is just totally inspiring and uplifting, as is this whole video.

Drone Attacks and The Cycle of Terror

Abu Yahya al-Libi in 2008. Photograph: Reuters/Guardian. This Comment Is Free piece from today's Guardian newspaper,  Abu Yahya al-Libi and this perpetually self-defeating "war on terror," written by Moazzem Begg , is one of the most illuminating pieces I have read on the West's approach to dealing with terrorism - and the effect of the US campaign of drone assassinations of alleged high-profile terrorist targets. I am not for a minute suggesting that we do not face real threats from real people, but the dehumanization of the "war on terror" by these remote-controlled attacks from the sky, and the failure to even try to engage in any meaningful dialogue with what the intelligence services would term "bad actors" (the terrorists) seems to imply a never-ending cycle of killing and incitement to hatred of the West and, in particular, the US. The irony of our dealings with people who at times are our "allies" ( Osama bin Laden ,

The Transit of Venus - Go Space!

Transit of Venus, June 5 2012. Photograph courtesy of NASA. We watched it from outside our house with a simple pinhole camera that Charong made - but NASA somehow got the better image! The transit of Venus (Venus passing in front of the sun) occurred on Tuesday, June 5, 2012, at about 3pm local time for us in Sonora, California - and while it was hard to see (without blinding yourself!), it was a remarkable event. Please read this fascinating Guardian article about the transit , which includes this great quote from Fraser Cain, founder of the space website Universe Today : "Only six [transits] have occurred since the invention of the telescope," Cain said. "It's because of the transit of Venus that we even know how big the solar system is. It's one of the most fundamental observations that have ever been made in the history of  astronomy ." It's true that, when I stepped outside our house on Tuesday, I was hoping for something as remarkabl

The Queen's Diamond Jubilee Concert Fireworks

I have to admit that this spectacular firework display over Buckingham Palace did stir my British roots and make me very glad that, like me, Hudson and Paradise enjoy dual citizenship, and that this is part of their heritage, too. When I lived in Soho and Knightsbridge, I used to run around Buckingham Palace and the Mall and St James' Park - and seeing this footage made me wish we all could have been there to watch the gala. ( Video courtesy of BBC TV and YouTube )

Nicolas Roeg - His Own Timing, His Own Wisdom and Kindness (revisited)

Even though I ran this piece relatively recently, I feel like posting it again, because I was thinking about Nicolas Roeg today and what a huge influence he has been on my life. Also the crisp new Criterion DVD and Blu-Ray of the film we made together, Insignificance , is available...and perhaps you might like to watch it? Anyway, greetings to Nic, a wonderful man and still my friend (as is Ryan Gilbey , who wrote the wonderful Guardian article about Nic included here)... Theresa Russell and Art Garfunkel in Nicolas Roeg's Bad Timing I look on British film director Nicolas Roeg as many things: a friend, a mentor, almost a second father to me, but also the filmmaker who had the greatest personal influence on opening my eyes to what film could do. His films, not least Performance, Walkabout, The Man Who Fell To Earth, Don't Look Now and Bad Timing, had the greatest individual resonance for me, because they changed the way I looked at identity, sexuality, death,