Stuart

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This is Stuart, the neighborhood cat. He technically lives (i.e. gets food) a couple of houses down, but really, he lives where he, himself, lives; does his thing where he gets it done; and sleeps where he sleeps – in this case, my porch, which happens to be in his territorial patrol. He always has a friendly word and is amenable to a quick head scratching. And then he’s on his way again – sometimes back on patrol, sometimes to cat dreamland.

I think he sets a good PR example: do your own thing, in harmony with your environment and community, in a non-overbearing way that’s confident and content yet friendly. That’s something we all can aspire toward.

What do you think? Ever learned or observed a broader concept from an animal or pet of your own? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Tomatoes, I Have Never Understood You

Nor you me…

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But I am enjoying these heirloom summer babies pretty much on the regular lately. All shots here produced via Hipstamatic.

New Music: Dessa. Thanks, Night Vale.

Sweet sounds from a surreal podcast: “Call Off Your Ghost” by Dessa

I’ve long been a fan of the Welcome to Night Vale podcast. Part of the broadcast is a segment called “The Weather” where music is featured. I’m not a huge fan of this part in general, however, a recent episode proved to be a huge exception, thanks to Dessa.

A Minnesota based singer/rapper, Dessa’s live performance of “Call Off Your Ghost” from Welcome to Night Vale’s live show in New York City’s Town Hall had me rewinding it multiple times to hear again, until I finally just bought the whole album.

Here’s video of a similar live performance, which I believe is actually even better than the one on the podcast. “Call Off Your Ghost” kicks in at 3:59:

You can find out more about Dessa at her Bandcamp site.

What do you think? When is the last time you discovered new music in an unlikely place? Have you ever sought out a musical artist based on hearing them for the first time? Let us hear from you in the comments.

If Facebook Can Experiment, So Can You

Change up your own social algorithm and see what happens.

The Many Faces of FacebookThe world has been aghast lately at the revelation of Facebook’s creepy social experiment. Sure, it’s weird at best and borderline unethical, but it got me thinking: what if we took a cue here and did some experimenting of our own? Can something good come of this?

Smile More

In the past few months I’ve been making the conscious effort to smile more at others. I travel on business regularly, so I’m constantly in front of zillions of service or travel industry workers, whom I’ve been smiling at more so lately just to see what happens: simple grins and a little eye contact for everyone — not weird, extended fake smiles — just friendly, quick expressions at a drive-thru, coffee counter or lunch table.

And you know what? I’ve seen more smiles as a result. So what if it’s a conscious effort on my part? It’s simple enough and is a basically effortless way to give & receive some positivity.

There’s nothing groundbreaking about my informal experiment, but it’s interesting to me that I’ve been doing some content altering of my own here lately and have gotten some useful qualitative feedback, especially in light of the latest Facebook debacle. Here are some more non-scientific but interesting examples:

Making people smile on the London underground

High Fiving Strangers

What about you? Ever changed up your routine or made a conscious effort to see how a certain behavior makes an impression on others? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Only So Much To Say

Only So Much To Say - Richard Smith - rsmithings.com

Stream becomes portal. Tree becomes a mountain range. Leaf becomes Dalí’s mustache. Best viewed at full size.

This is a photomontage I created about a year ago, practically forgot about, then came back to appreciate more completely only later thanks to Pinterest. I remember it taking not very long to compose, and having all the elements come together serendipitously, which, for me, is my favorite manner. This one appears more abstract from a distance, so it doesn’t have the instant recognizabilitly, and therefore sudden popularity, of many of my other pieces — but the reward is there for those with an eye and desire for detail. The abstractedness gives way to a surrealist blending of natural scenes and forms, offering a rich level of intricacy not immediately apparent in a smaller view — which is just the way so much of our digital art world is at first blush on Instagram or many other image sharing destinations. And that’s the inspiration for the title: in the smaller format, there is only so much to say, just a limited amount, for a fleeting few seconds… while further exploration reveals so much more. Check out the originals at Flickr.

Originals at FlickrWhat do you think? Have you ever created something you thought was OK at the time only to come back later with a different appreciation? Do you regularly revisit art or music you’ve experienced in the past and come away with a new interpretation? Let us hear from you in the comments.

After Hours – Crystal Method Featuring Afrobeta w/Lyrics

Lyrics to After Hours (feat. Afrobeta)

Ooh, ah aw. (4x)
It’s too early in L.A.

What you gonna see?
(laughs)
It’s on my ace, gon’ down.
What you gon’ & seen’?
I can’t go down…
Oh, oh,
Down…
Down…
Oh, oh, oh, oh,

Ooh, ah aw.

We can go home tonight.(2x)

It’s got the pants, put me in a trance.

Ooh, ah aw.
We must go home tonight.
Even though it’s wrong.

(laughs)

What you gonna see?

Up in ya, take your time.
We couldn’t make it if you’re blind.

Up in now, take your time. We couldn’t make it, if your mind. (2x)
Up in now. (3x)

Up in now, take your time.

This is my crack at deciphering lyrics on this track. Find out more about it and the rest of the new album here. Find out more about Afrobeta here and The Crystal Method here.

UPDATE: Afrobeta weighs in!

Very cool! Thanks for checking this out, Afrobeta!

The Crystal Method are one of my all-time favorite musical acts. I literally own all their records, and that’s not something I can say about many bands or musicians, except maybe for Led Zeppelin and a few others. I’m so glad they’re still making awesome music and keeping the creativity alive this many years in.

What do you think? Have you ever tried to decipher lyrics from a mysterious song? Are there musical acts you discovered in the ’90s that you’re still enjoying? Let us hear from you in the comments.

New Works: Surrealism From Nature

Until We Meet Again Come view the most recent works added to the RSMITHINGS.com portfolio of surreal photomontage creations. Three new pieces have just been added: “Until We Meet Again” (above), “Transitional,” and “Be The Butterfly” (below, respectively). Each came about only in the last few weeks or months, and rides along a theme of nature and mystery, incorporating elements from my local area. Links to source files also illustrate the creation process in these pieces. “Be The Butterfly” is even available for purchase for a limited time through Fine Art International. Transitional Be The Butterfly


What do you think? Have you created any art lately? Ever thought about selling your artwork? Have you ever discovered a favorite new artist online? Let us hear from you in the comments.