Samuel F. Merendino, Sr., 1928-2014



Harmony, East And West

Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Book 4:
Take the shortest route, the one that nature planned—to speak and act in the healthiest way. Do that, and be free of pain and stress, free of all calculations and pretension.
Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Verse 8:
The supreme good is like water,
which nourishes all things without trying to.
It is content with the low places that people disdain.
Thus it is like the Tao.

In dwelling, live close to the ground.
In thinking, keep to the simple.
In conflict, be fair and generous.
In governing, don't try to control.
In work, do what you enjoy.
In family life, be completely present.

When you are content to be simply yourself
and don't compare or compete,
everybody will respect you.
I love the philosophical similarities here.

New Photo, 'Depth of Place' Series



A new multi-layered photo I've been working on recently.

Great Twitter Conversations, 10/1/13-11/30/13

From the recent archives—my favorite conversations on Twitter from late last year. Thanks to everyone listed for making it so fun and interesting!

Psychology:
Religion:
Politics:
Media and Social Media:
Economics:
Non sequitur:
Philosophy:
Art:

"Hacker Spirit"

My definition of the "hacker spirit" is:
  • Exploration, playfulness, cleverness. 
  • Pushing the limits of a system (whether cultural, technical, or physical), but never in an illegal, harmful or immoral way.
  • Working smart, not just working hard; getting the most output for the least energy.
  • Being like water, which always finds the path of least resistance, and is not afraid to go into the low places.
  • Using all the tricks of the trade to your advantage.
One need not be a computer hacker to embody the hacker spirit.

Esmé-Dancer

Here's Esmé bounding at her second-grade ballet "final":


Love this girl.

Milemarker: Interesting Twitter Conversations, 8/3-9/30

Here are my favorite conversations from Twitter during August-September 2013. Thanks to all for making it so interesting!

Values, society, morality:
Politics:
Religion:
Psychology
Arts & language:
Non sequitur:
Social Media:

Hiromi Arrives!

Hiromi, whom we met five years ago in Japan, is staying with us for three months while she studies English at Case Western University. We are excited to host—looking forward to learning from her, and showing her our corner of the world!


Fortune Favors Chaos

When I think of the Earth as something created by God, it is not impressive. Although it is beautiful, it is full of pain, suffering, destruction, defects. What god would allow such flaws?

However, when I think of the Earth as something that evolved by chance, it is an amazing, serendipitous place. Although it still contains pain and suffering, these are merely the result of an indifferent universe. And when I consider that the tremendous beauty of the world has largely come from chaos, that is when I realize how profoundly fortunate I am to be alive, to be a part of all of this.

Interesting Twitter Conversations (6/21 - 8/2)

Conversations I want to remember from my Twitter timeline from the past couple months:

Philosophy:
Politics:
Morality and values:
Non sequitur:
Health:
Religion:
Economics:
Media:
Sustainability:

A strange dream

Last night I had a strange dream: My family and I attended some sort of non-denominational morning church service. There was a forgettable message, at the end of which a large screen slid down into the stage opening. We spent the last part of the service watching a film of various nature scenes, accompanied by symphonic music. It was a bit like Roth’s “going home” scene in Soylent Green. I whispered to my wife, “Well, this minister is taking a few shortcuts, isn’t he?” Another member of the congregation turned around and attempted to explain the purpose of the film, but his voice was drowned out by the music. Near what I thought might be the conclusion, the theater became disconnected from its moorings: the entire room tilted toward the stage, to about an angle of 60 degrees. Everyone held onto their seats to stop from sliding and falling. No one seemed particularly bothered by this.

Links 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Birthday Kids

Max just hit the double-digits, and Esmé is now seven. Where does the time go? 


Signpost: Interesting Twitter conversations, 4/28 - 6/18

I continue to enjoy the varied and deep conversations I have with people on Twitter.

Philosophy, Spirituality & Religion:
Urban Planning:
Politics & Economics:
Privacy:
Infrastructure:
Photography:
Science & Technology:
Non sequitur:

Closing of "Space-Time" photography-video exhibition



"Space-Time" features photography from Jason Robert Carroll and a video installation from Elena Harvey Collins.

"Jason Carroll and Elena Collins explore the complexities of space, both physically and conceptually, taking long looks at some of our most abandoned, mundane, and subliminal spaces."

Closing: Friday, May 17, 2012, 5-11 PM
Location: Survival Kit Gallery - 1305 W. 80th Suite 303, Third Floor (Located in the W.78th St. Studios Bldg.), Cleveland, Ohio 44102

Click here for the event page on Facebook.

Interesting conversations, through 4/28/13

Memorable thoughts & conversations on Twitter over the past couple weeks:

Non-sequitur:
Economics, etc.:
Religion:
Psychology:
Gun control: "We need to dismantle the #NRA, and apparently also this Congress. Let's dismantle both, then re-build a new Congress." (@JoeG4Freedom @th3v0t4ry @osPatriot @Zionistchuck @demsforprogress @yulianagarcia @forgottentq @usernamenuse @BridgetteJohns2 @unclemiseryguts @ledfist @CriminySTFU)

The Internet: "A little help: there was an article circulating a while back about how viral internet stuff isn't really viral." (@kayaoakes @ChurchSnobTEC @malawijay @adamgurri)

"Space-Time" photography-video installation featuring Jason Carroll & Elena Collins opens April 19, 2013



"Space-Time" features photography from Jason Robert Carroll and a video installation from Elena Harvey Collins.

"Jason Carroll and Elena Collins explore the complexities of space, both physically and conceptually, taking long looks at some of our most abandoned, mundane, and subliminal spaces."

Opening: Friday, April 19, 2012, 5-11 PM
Location: Survival Kit Gallery - 1305 W. 80th Suite 303, Third Floor (Located in the W.78th St. Studios Bldg.), Cleveland, Ohio 44102

Click here for the event page on Facebook.

"With their intent gaze visually manifested through multiple exposures, and exhaustive film shots, they implore us to think twice about our assumed surroundings, digging past their immediate appearance and assigning them heightened significance. We are forced to consider our personal relationships with these spaces, as well as the histories of others there before us."

Interesting conversations for the week ending 4/6/13

You'd think that 140 characters would limit one's ability to carry on interesting discussion. Apparently not…read on.

Urban planning: "In Cleveland, philanthropic foundations, for christ's sake, help fund highway projects…Unbelievable." (@schmangee @thestile1972 @CLEstreetcar @thisismycle @chezrebellion @theGreaterMarin @lynnphares @danmoulthrop)

Religion:
Gun control:
Photography: "Dilemma…trying to decide if I should print one of my photos on aluminum for my upcoming show. 90% chance of awesome…10% chance of big waste." (@RudyHellzapop @cheerbear34 @thomasatmyporch)


This week's interesting conversations, ending 3/30/13

Turner

I don't think I'll ever tire of the beautiful drama in J. M. W. Turner's paintings. 


Interesting conversations, week-ending 3/23/13

Antidesign

Antidesign is an inquiry into 'that which is not designed'—recognizing that design can sometimes obstruct or detract from function and beauty. It examines human constructions (and sometimes natural occurrences) that have zero focus on aesthetics.



Interesting conversations, week ending 3/16/13

  • Genetic modification, neo-feudalism & patents: "I got Monsanto to genetically modify me so that I produce my own caffeine." (link)
  • Non sequitur: "Suburban moms are worse. Throw SUVs at them." (link) - "I just made a regression of my relationships. In chronological order vs. length of relationship and the results are very very depressing." (link)
  • Racism, morality: "Albert Einstein called racism 'a disease of white people.'" (link) - "A liberal Muslim homosexual ACLU lawyer professor and abortion doctor was teaching a class on Karl Marx…" (link) - "If you lack empathy, then you are evil. It's just that simple." (link) - "properly implemented (ie no bias) eugenics is fully functional" (link)
  • Economics: "Free markets are excellent at allocating resources in the short term. But they fail miserably at steering society in beneficial directions." (link) - "Perfect example of why capitalism doesn't always work: Male baldness research gets more funding than malaria." (link)
  • Religion: "Francis totally needs to get laid // Preferably with an adult." (link) - "Right…Wing…Nut…Job…ALERT! - 'Society Never Gave Single People The Right To Engage In Sexual Intercourse'" (link)

Welcome, cats.

Introducing Hades (front) and Jiji, the newest members of our family.

Lin Yutang Quote #1

"The world I believe is far too serious, and being far too serious, is it has need of a wise and merry philosophy."
From The Importance of Living (1937)

Thoughts on RISK as one gets older

I just turned 40, and there is something I've been thinking a lot about recently: RISK. But perhaps not in the sense you might suspect. …

… I've been thinking about risk in the sense of 'opportunity cost'—one of the few useful philosophical constructs from business school. …

…At some point in one's life, it becomes more 'risky' NOT to take a risk, than to take a risk, start a business, pursue a passion, whatever…

… At some point, the opportunity cost of waiting around, forgoing your passion, overwhelms the potential risk from the venture itself.
Assembled from several of my posts to Twitter (1, 2, 3, 4)

Interesting Twitter conversation round-up, week ending 3/9/13

  • Life: "… At some point, the opportunity cost of waiting around, forgoing your passion, overwhelms the potential risk from the venture itself." (link 1link 2)
  • The Beautify of the World: "'I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.' - Michelangelo Buonarroti" (link) — "I found the National Trust for Historic Preservation Barn Again.program. Texas has the most old barns!" (link) — "The…object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land. - G.K. Chesterton" (link)
  • Religion: "Question for Christians: Does God deserve credit for creating HIV as punishment for homosexuality, or credit for the cure being developed?" (link) — "Why does God miraculously heal cancer sometimes, but never, ever, ever amputees?" (link) — "The Bible story of Job teaches us that God wants followers so mindless & utterly servile that they will praise him even as he tortures them." (link) — "Mental illness - 'Jesus is watching you vote!'" (link) — "Growing up Baptist, I can report that the parties hosted by preacher's kids were always the wildest." (link)
  • Social Media: "Even though Twitter is public, people sometimes don't seem to like being challenged in their views. Seem to prefer the echo-chamber. Not me." (link)
  • Economics: "I love this - 'Warren Buffett to American CEOs: Please Stop Complaining About Uncertainty'" (link) — "Wealth in an age of corporate personhood…why should it exist at all?" (link)
  • Politics: "Racism: Israel introduces 'Palestinian only' bus lines, following complaints from Jewish settlers" (link) — "Most experts believe North Korea's latest rhetoric is just the usual propaganda engine cranked up to 11." (link)
  • Gun Control: "Gun nuts talk about 'a second American revolution', call themselves 'patriots'…they're really just terrorists by a different name." (link) — "So stupid, it must be true: 'NRA Official Barred From Carrying Guns Because Of Domestic Violence'" (link)

Michelangelo's Unfinished Slaves

From the Accademia in Firenze:


Twitter roundup, week ending 3/2/13

So many (too many?) great conversations on Twitter this week:
  • The best one was about, of all things…MILK! "Headed out to milk the cows, milk leaves my farm driveway in pure whole form." - @NYFarmer (link
  • More on CATS: "OMG…and just like that we have cats…" (link) — "By the end of today, two black #cats will have taken up residence with us. We're almost as nervous about this as we were about having kids." (link)
  • More on GUN CONTROL: "Owning a gun for anything other than hunting is a signal that you do not believe in our ability to maintain a civil society." (link) — "#Facepalm: Walmart Customer Shoots at Shoplifter to "Mark" Him for Police" (link) — "One year after fatal Chardon High School shooting, superintendent isn't interested in having teachers carry guns" (link) — "MIT campus on lockdown after reports of armed gunman wearing body armor" (link)
  • On MEDIA: "Last night I watched the entire Oscars. I truly hope I never have to do that again." (link) — "Considering how intertwined 'real' life is with 'digital' life, I believe that all of existence is becoming a sort of #AugmentedReality." (link) — "My brain is starting to function in 140-character bursts. #SocialMedia" (link)
  • On PHILOSOPHY: "'God sees murder and homosexuality as the same level of sin.' Sure He does, Sweetie!" (link) — "'I learn by going where I have to go.' - Theodore Roethke" (link
  • On URBANISM: "I love being a tourist in my own town." (link) — "Rankning the happiness of cities by tweets: #CLE is 329/373 (bottom quartile). Buck up people!" (link) — "Well said - RT @schmangee: "'In NE Ohio, we treat land with the same respect we treat toilet paper.' And the reason is: Land is cheap here." (link

Great conversations on Twitter, week ending 2/23/13

  • Dear Twitter counsel: Our household is thinking of acquiring two 6-month old black #cats. Making a huge mistake? They are fixed, healthy. (link)
  • Religion requires faith; you're never really sure if it's 'working'. Science can be checked, confirmed. (link)
  • What is 'community' in the connected world of 2013? I'm thinking a lot about this lately. (link
  • If you’re white, you can be oblivious, passively accepting the status quo, and reap the rewards. (link
  • Is it of any utility at all for an atheist or agnostic to pray…perhaps in a meditative sense? Currently pondering this. (link)
  • When I hear people home school their kids, my first reaction is why? Inside voice, of course. (link

Observations on the social media ecosystem

Physical reality: connection by proximity. Facebook: connection by propinquity. Twitter: connection by predilection and proclivity.

On The Condition of Being Highly Receptive to Stimuli

A consolidated post containing a series of thoughts I posted to Twitter in late 2012:

I believe that most people have pretty heavy filters through which they see the world. Some people perceive the world without these filters.


When certain people perceive the world without the protective filters that most have, these people are called 'sensitive'.


'Sensitive' people often have a very high-bandwidth pipeline of stimuli coming into their brains. This can be hard to handle at times.


People who are highly receptive to stimuli can often get distracted by the smallest things; their mood can change at the sight of a color.


Those who are sensitive, who are highly observant, can be hypnotized by emotionally resonant art, architecture. Literally stunned by it.


As a sensitive, highly observant person, it can be tough living in a world with so many stimuli. But it's also incredibly rewarding.


Highly sensitive people do not need drugs, alcohol to get high. These things can be dangerous to them. All they need is a walk in the woods.


With so much beauty in the world, those lucky enough to be highly sensitive have the ability to be 'high', so to speak, just by living.

Via @JasonRobertC (me) on Twitter.

I Love Specs—Upgrade Time!



We purchased our ‘main’ desktop computer on February 1, 2007, from a reputable local computer shop (AVA Direct). Since then, I’ve upgraded most of the PC’s major components, including, most recently, the motherboard and CPU (which basically makes it a new computer). It’s interesting to think that if you buy a good physical case (in this case, a Thermaltake Lanbox), you can basically upgrade forever within the same physical frame. If you’re interested, here’s the evolution chart:

Processor
1. Intel Core2 Duo (2-Core) E6600 2.4 GHz (original to system 2/1/07)
2. Intel Core2 Quad (4-Core) Q6600 2.4 GHz (upgrade 9/13/11)
3. AMD FX 8350 (8-Core; 2 logical x 4 physical) 4.0 GHz (upgrade 12/29/12); upgraded stock CPU cooler to Zalman CNPS8900 on 12/27/13

Memory
1. 2 GB (2x 1 GB) OCZ Gold DDR2-800 SDRAM
2. 4 GB (4x 1 GB) OCZ Gold DDR2-800 SDRAM (upgrade 1/7/09)
3. 16 24 GB (3x 8 GB) Crucial Ballistix Sport DDR3-1333 SDRAM (upgrade to 16 GB 12/29/12, to 24 GB 1/19/14)

Graphics
1. Radeon X1950XT 256 MB 
2. Sapphire Radeon HD 4830 512 MB (upgrade 12/26/08)
3. MSi Radeon HD 7870 2 GB (upgrade 3/31/13) 

Hard Disk
1. 1.0 TB: 2x Maxtor 500 GB, 3.0 Gb/s, 7,200-RPM, 16 MB cache
2. 3.5 TB: Seagate Barracuda 2.0 TB + Hitachi Deskstar 1.5 TB, 6.0 Gb/s, 7,200 RPM, 64 MB Cache + 64 GB Samsung Solid State Boot Drive (upgrade 11/5/11)

Optical
1. Lite-On 20x DVD±RW Dual-Layer, LightScribe
2. LG 12x Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Burner, LightScribe (upgrade 10/12/11)

Motherboard
1. Asus P5B-VM Intel LGA775
2. Gigabyte GA-78LMT-USB3 AMD AM3+ (upgrade 12/29/12)

Networking
802.11n + Ethernet

Display
1. 2x Sony SDM-S73 17" SXGA (1280x1024) 16 ms TN panel LCDs, 2.6 MP 
2. 2x HP LP2465 24" WUXGA (1920x1200) 6 ms S-PVA panel LCDs, 4.6 MP (upgrade 01/13/10)

Case/PSU
1. Thermaltake Lanbox with 550W Rosewill PSU
2. Upgraded PSU to Thermaltake 850W (12/29/12)

OS
1. Windows Vista Home Premium 32-bit 
2. Windows 7 Professional 64-bit (upgrade 01/09/10)
3. Windows 8 Professional 64-bit (upgrade 12/29/12)

Input
1. Logitech wireless keyboard, mouse
2. Razer Black Widow Ultimate Keyboard, Razer Naga Epic Mouse (upgrade 1/3/11)