Friday, March 23, 2018

March 2018 Nor'easter Photos


This past week, we experienced a March Nor'easter here in New Jersey.

The snowstorm was pretty rough (power out for 2 days & cracked car windshield) but I got beautiful pics of the snow covered trees against the blue sky after the storm cleared.

I added them to my album of nature photos:

by Paul Micarelli


Monday, March 19, 2018

"Floral Mandala" by Paul Micarelli

I have been processing my large archive of abstract art. I want to share them online and create prints for exhibits & sale.

by Paul Micarelli

A radiating arrangement of petal-like shapes morphs into an ever-shrinking circular pattern as it extends out from the center:

 "Floral Mandala"
by Paul Micarelli

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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Joseph A. Micarelli's Photo Album

I am the de facto archivist for my family- the one who keeps extensive records and photos. Not only do I keep my own photo archives organized by year & event, but I usually make albums of photo prints for family members' birthdays.

Even though the Buddhist principles of non-attachment (stemming from the realization of impermanence) resonate deeply with me, it is still in my nature to want to preserve memories. I feel it is a way to communicate with others through time & space.

So, I felt this sense of communication recently when I went to visit my aunt on my dad's side of the family. I had spotted some old photos, and she ended up bringing out a photo album that was put together by my grandfather, Joseph A. Micarelli (1922-1984) who was married to Marie (Rietzen) (1925-2003). 

Google Photo Album:

My aunt and uncle had wanted to scan the photographs, and began taking them out of the album, which unfortunately would have ruined the album. Luckily they didn't get too far with it. Most of the photos were captioned with names and dates, so I thought it was important to preserve this info with the pictures. After seeing the care and time that my grandfather had put into making this photo book, I realized where my knack for archiving photos originated! I expressed my interest in taking the album & digitizing it, by scanning each page as a whole. Then, somewhere down the line I could digitally crop out individual photos if I wanted.

My aunt kindly lent me the book, so after a month or two of not getting around to it, I decided to just take a day and scan away! I didn't want it to be something that I was holding onto for years, because I never made the time to get it done. Because the pages were larger than my scanner, I had to scan each page in halves, then stitch them together on the computer. Once I got the process going, I got in the zone and finished it in one day.

I uploaded the photos to the Google album, linked above, and made the high-resolution images available to my family on Facebook and through email. It feels good to reconnect my extended family (of which there are many) to the lives and memories of our ancestors.

My Pop-Pop died when I was in first grade, so luckily I do have some vague memories and impressions of him. Looking through & saving these old photos gave me a new level of connection to him and my other relatives.

As I scanned these photos, I couldn't help but think how amazed he would be to know his grandson was using computers to save and share his images with the entire family. I guess that's why I also archive photos and info from my own life- in the hopes that one day I will be able to communicate across time & space through them, and reach out to those living in the future.

Here are a few pics from the album:

My grandfather Joseph Micarelli around 1940, 18 years old:

My grandparents from my dad's side, Joseph & Marie Micarelli, on their wedding day May 12, 1945:

The Micarelli family photo from 1934. 
There were 8 boys & 1 girl and they lived in Boston:

Saturday, March 10, 2018

"Dissolution" by Paul Micarelli

 Turning inward, the ego and the sense of self begin to dissolve into abstraction... 

This is an experimental video made using the Imaengine app. I created the soundtrack in GarageBand.

Filming, Editing, & Soundtrack by Paul Micarelli

Monday, March 05, 2018


I'm keeping the space theme going, from my last 3 posts- about Interstellar, Black Hole Simulations, and the Andromeda Galaxy. Space travel is one of the most important topics facing humanity. How fast we can travel off-planet and sustain ourselves, in space colonies or inhabiting other worlds, will determine if our species survives any potential cataclysm that might affect us on Earth.

On r/space I watched this short film called "FTL" about an astronaut who leaves our planet, to pilot the first craft to travel faster than the speed of light (FTL travel). His mission is to travel to an already-colonized Mars to drop off a communications satellite, presumably using some sort of gravitational warp drive to make the trip in a fraction of the time. Unfortunately, this technological achievement is recognized by some form of higher intelligence, which pulls the ship & it's pilot to an awe-inspiring first contact.

It had some of the same themes as the movie Interstellar, which I just watched the other night. It addresses the question of the limits people will go to make new discoveries- including giving up their families & personal relationships as a sacrifice for the common good of the human race. It also explores the possibilities of what might happen when we meet with beings of higher intelligence.

This was very well done for a short film on a limited budget, and carries the emotional weight of experiences that humans will very likely face as we travel to the stars.

Saturday, March 03, 2018

Movie Review: "Interstellar"

Last night, my fiancée & I watched "Interstellar". Admittedly, I pick space movies to watch a lot, so she wasn't too thrilled at first about watching it. However, we both really liked it & spurred conversation today about black holes, the nature of space-time, higher dimensions, relativity, space travel, and cosmic consciousness.

I found myself kind of internally criticizing some of the movie's more scientifically far-fetched scenarios, but it's just sci-fi & entertainment, after all. Despite the fictional nature of the story, it was full of questions & possibilities for real science.

"Interstellar" actually helped spur scientific research, through the process of creating accurate visual effects to simulate approaching a black hole. Interestingly enough, simulating black holes with computer graphics was the topic of my last blog post.

Besides the scientifically-inspired attempts at accuracy, the visuals in the movie had a transcendental effect similar to those of "2001: A Space Odyssey".

The interstellar craft approaching the black hole, "Gargantua".

The story takes place in an unspecified time in the near-future, when the population of Earth is facing a blight that is destroying crops. In a time of global famine and planetary depletion, NASA makes finding another world to inhabit a top priority.

The main character, Cooper, is a pilot who is recruited to travel through a known "wormhole" in space-time near Saturn. The wormhole leads to another galaxy, and appears to have been created by an advance collection of intelligent beings. Astronauts had been previously sent through the inter-dimensional tunnel to find inhabitable worlds in this new galaxy, and Cooper was chosen to join a crew to follow up on these missing scouts.

Cooper leaves both his daughter "Murph" & his son Tom behind, sacrificing his relationship with them to save them and the rest of the species. The familial connection between Cooper & his daughter is the driving force of the movie. Due to relativistic effects of traveling near the speed of light & entering powerful gravity wells around distant stars, there is a experienced time differential. Cooper ages at a rate much slower than his daughter, and also enter hibernation for periods of his journey. They can communicate through some kind of quantum data feed I believe, that allows the ship to receive messages, but they cannot send any back to Earth.

The film explores many of the effects that physical and cosmic forces would have on various modes of space exploration. The strange effects of the theory of relativity are fundamental elements of the story & visual effects.

Although the exotic physics concepts were enough to make "Interstellar" interesting, it then went into an almost metaphysical level. Without giving too much away, the movie shifted into a mind-blowing vision of higher-dimensional space, where time is no longer seen as a linear. It appeared as an almost spacial quality, where all space & time can be seen as an interconnected terrain that can be navigated like our familiar 3D experience.

The ability to enter this dimension, where all space & time exist, leads to a narrative loop that the main characters find themselves in. It turns out that humanity's destiny may be an existence as multi-dimensional energy beings. Cooper's encounter with this mode of reality ends up being the reason he gets there in the first place- leading to a circular causality that is reminiscent of the "grandfather paradox" in time travel.

"Interstellar" was a long film, (especially with Comcast's bullshit commercials, throughout an OnDemand movie) but it was well-worth watching. Yeah, some of it was pretty ridiculous, but it was really thought-provoking and visually stunning. Especially if you are interested in space travel, physics, cosmology, the idea of higher dimensions... or just enjoy a beautiful, mind-bending film, I definitely recommend this movie.

Official Monkey Buddha Rating: 8.5

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Simulation of Falling Into a Black Hole

Continuing on the cosmic theme of my last post, I wanted to talk about black holes. I saw this really cool simulation taken from the point of view of someone being pulled toward a black hole.

The comments led me to a page from JILA, the joint physics institute of the University of Colorado at Boulder & the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

This page has several animations and steps describing the process of approaching the event horizon of a black hole. It also outlines the weird breakdowns of physics that happen in these exotic anomalies in space-time.

I took a screenshot of the video below for the beginning of this post, as the black hole distorts and warps the light coming from the galaxy behind it.

My first exposure to the science of black holes was my high school physics class & Stephen Hawking's classic "A Brief History of Time". This book explores the deepest mysteries and most mind-boggling discoveries in physics, especially cosmology, in terms most people can understand. The insights into the theories of relativity and the nature of reality were true mind-openers for me.

The Mystery is Endless. For every explanation we create about The Universe, several more questions will be created. This is not a source of despair- but a profound realization of the fractal, practically infinite detail & scale of our world.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Andromeda Panorama

As my 40th birthday approaches, I have reached a point that most people consider "middle-age". Age has never really been a concern for me. Every day is a gift, and my life is lived in moments... each of which I consider miraculous.

I feel young, and am beginning my life many ways. I'm getting married this year to an amazing woman & life partner. I've started 2 businesses, and have interesting opportunities opening up for me as I type this post. My main career, at this point, is being a freelance graphic designer as Paul Micarelli Design. Also, my custom portrait & photo booth business Fantasy Photos is also going to be gearing up for festivals and events during the warmer months.

There are many things to be thankful for, and just being alive is a blessing. This adventure in consciousness has been an amazing experience already, & I plan on enjoying it for many years to come.

If I feel like I'm getting too wrapped up in the details and issues of life, I step back & take the cosmic perspective on things.

Recently I went with my fiancée to the Edelman Planetarium at Rowan University, my alma mater. The main show was an animated exploration of "Mayan Archaeoastronomy". It illustrated how the culture of the Maya in ancient Mexico created architecture that was related to the heavenly bodies.

Before the show, there was a nice presentation about the stars and constellations visible in the night sky at our location. As the projector zoomed in and out of different stellar areas, I was reminded of the unimaginable vastness of The Universe.

Then, I saw this high-resolution image online of the Andromeda Galaxy (at the top of the post). This insanely detailed composite photo further illustrated the seemingly infinite fractal scales of the cosmos. The picture was taken by the Hubble Space Telescope last year.


This galaxy, that is relatively huge & full of billions of stars, is just one of trillions (?) of other galaxies! HERE is a zoomable version, and you can see that as you zoom into any tiny section of the galaxy, it is literally filled with stars to the point where it looks like visual static.

It is truly humbling & mind-boggling to consider our place in this sea of light and energy that manifests in so many forms. Although my four decades have been like a flash in the cosmic scale of time, and my presence is a speck in the endless depths of space, I have cherished it & lived to the best of my ability.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Trump™ President's Day

To celebrate President's Day, I would like to honor our current President, Donald J. Trump. He is an honest and respectable man, who has spent his life working hard & using his genius intellect to earn wealth through reputable means.

As someone who has shown nothing but respect & empathy to women, minorities, and those less fortunate than him, he is the perfect person to lead this country. President Trump has a calm, steady temperament that we need in these dangerous times of fake news from the "lame-stream" media, with their pesky journalists and facts. 

His humility is truly the example that Jesus and all the prophets & saints of history would envy. We can take refuge in the knowledge that God's own hand is guiding President Trump's finger on the nuclear button.

In this photo, we have President Trump shaking hands with Ted Nugent- the lovely and patriotic man, who, by their current trajectory, will be the Republican party's next nominee. What a class act! In his elegantly tasteful black jacket & camo cowboy hat, Mr. Nugent is giving the President a beautiful American flag guitar out of a high-quality cardboard box. We can only hope to have someone like Mr. Nugent, who is just as qualified & dignified as Mr. Trump, to follow in his footsteps. 

God willing, Donald Trump will declare himself Supreme Commander of America and elections will no longer even be necessary. Then, we will begin a glorious multi-generational Trump Family reign over our country, with Ivanka and Barron following their wonderful father, as the rightful hereditary rulers of this country!

So let's all take a moment, bow our heads, and thank God for having the omniscient wisdom to put such a knowledgeable & highly-qualified individual in the most important position on Planet Earth. 


(Re-posted, with great amusement, from my Facebook page

Seed of Life- Gold on Black

I created a gallery of my 3D-rendered art with downloadable, high-resolution images:

 by Paul Micarelli

Here is another addition to the gallery, featuring 7 golden rings arranged into the "Seed of Life" configuration. This symbol is a fundamental element of sacred geometry, which is the fusion of mystical wisdom and scientific knowledge. These self-referential patterns illustrate how the laws of nature organize reality.

"Seed of Life- Gold on Black"

Feel free to download any of the images in the album above, for use as wallpapers or backgrounds. If you share it, please give credit or a link.

I don't run any ads here, so I'd appreciate it if you check out my Cafepress shop. There are prints and products with this design available:

The Monkey Buddha Bazaar:
 Seed of Life - Gold on Black

To help support "The Monkey Buddha" and my artwork, please donate using the button below. Thank you!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Valentine Rose

I took this closeup photo of one of the roses I gave to my fiancée for Valentine's Day, using a macro lens on my iPhone.

by Paul Micarelli

Flowers have been used throughout history as symbols of the ephemeral nature of love & beauty. Their organic, aesthetic appeal of a rose blossom has biological and metaphorical parallels with the human body.

It is important to literally "stop & smell the roses"- meaning that we take the time to become conscious of our surroundings and perceptions of them. Mindfulness to the world around us, in all its infinite variety and nuance, reveals the deep beauty in all existence.

Monday, February 12, 2018


There's been a meme I've been seeing, consisting of images that are variations of the Connect 4 game box.

I like this one, which just gets rid of the game all together, with the suggestion-

Ironically, games often facilitate connection between people, whether we are playing others in-person or playing people online. 

I've spent a lot designing games, and they are catalysts for human interaction that are unique and memorable. However, it is also good to be able to socialize with people without the need for an activity to facilitate it.

Thursday, February 08, 2018

"Alien Bionet" by Paul Micarelli

I have been processing my large archive of abstract imagery recently. I want to share them online and create prints for exhibits & sale. This is one of my favorite pieces of my abstract art.

This organic tangle of fluorescent strands reminded me of a biological structure or a colony of microorganisms from another world.

by Paul Micarelli

 "Alien Bionet"
by Paul Micarelli

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Saturday, February 03, 2018

Fractals: Hunting the Hidden Dimension

I noticed that fractal Mandlebrot set resembled the Universe in this medieval picture of "God the Geometer"

I have shared this documentary before, but this is one that is worth reposting. I just watched it again the other night, and it is an excellent intro to the mathematical concept of fractal geometry.

Fractals are one of the most important concepts to grasp, if one is trying to understand the nature of reality.

The Monkey Buddha Archives:

The main quality of a fractal is recursion, which means repeating characteristics. These self-similar qualities are found throughout the natural world, and are a fundamental property of The Universe on all scales. Using relatively simple formulas, complex patterns can be generated with computers that reflect these iterative qualities.

These patterns can be represented by visual data and graphics, to produce the eye-catching artwork that is now so familiar. I have created many pieces of abstract art using fractal software. Here are some examples:

Friday, February 02, 2018

Colorful Shrooms & Demon Peppers

My buddy is a beekeeper, but he's also a talented artist. He creates a lot of art that is based on the plight of bees & their environment. Check out his Instagram page where he posts some of his art:

Recently, I scanned & fixed up a bunch of his artwork for him. One of his marker drawings was a cluster of orange mushrooms in the mountains. I was messing with the hue adjustment after scanning it, & thought it would look cool if it cycled through a bunch of different colors.

I created an animated GIF & uploaded it here:

Here's the original:

Here's another drawing that was a collaboration. He had a marker drawing of a hot pepper, dripping with honey, being held by a bee-covered demon hand! He was planning on using this image to promote his family's "hot pepper" flavor of honey. I took his drawing & enhanced it in Photoshop:

Here's the scan of his original drawing:

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Trump™ State of the Union 2018

I've made a personal tradition of pouring a whiskey on the rocks and watching the annual State of the Union speech by the current U.S. President.

Sitting through speeches from Bush, and now Trump, have been exercises in tolerance, though it feels like masochism. They're just not believable or wise characters (to anyone who hasn't gulped down the Kool-aid). Sure, Obama was a better speaker and a more thoughtful politician, but his State of the Union speeches were just the same dog-and-pony show. The purpose of this ceremonial speech is to express a vision of this country and society, and ideas on how to move it forward it a positive and realistic way. It's very hard to do that meaningfully or effectively in a 1-2 hr speech that needs to be simplified for the masses.

Trump did a decent job of reading off the Teleprompter, and didn't make a total ass of himself... Woo-hoo! The bar is set so low for this guy, that Republicans were basically applauding him for remaining coherent & finishing each sentence.

Every single State of the Union consists of the opposition party sitting & scowling, while the President's party is applauding & standing. However, the clapping after every line was just getting silly, and the sound of Trump clapping at himself into his mic just felt like it was to feed his ego, more so than in celebration of the content of his speech.

The Democrats are catching shit for not standing or clapping at different parts of the speech. It's hard to react to someone you disagree with, without coming off as a jerk. The GOP dealt with the same optics during Obama's term. The reason for the lack of enthusiasm is not because liberals or progressives don't care about the issues that Trump was talking about. The reason is- Trump is just not sincere about any of it! It's all lip service, & laughably bad lip service, at that.

I mean, let's be honest, the only thing Trump cares about is Trump. The guy is a known fraudster, a con-man, and a shitty businessman who has screwed over countless people, especially entrepreneurs to make himself money. The fact that his supporters have fallen for his ridiculous charade feels the same as when you hear of elderly people losing their savings to an obvious scam.

Then, there is the issue that the Trump administration, despite acting like a force for law & order, are completely subverting the law and national security to empower Russia. Yeah, I know, "NO COLLUSION!"....yeah, ok. Trump's connection to Russia & Putin isn't hard to figure out. As I said before, he's such a shitty businessman and credit risk that American banks wouldn't loan to him. Therefore, he had to go to foreign banks and perhaps less-than-reputable organizations to get financing. He obviously never wanted to release his taxes and financial info because it would make him look bad in some way. Otherwise, he'd be waving it in the cameras and bragging about it.

Now, there are investigations going on and some of his people have already been indicted. The problem for Trump is that he is treating every twist & turn in the worst way possible. Trump is not a genius. He's not even kind of smart. He's a dummy. Sometimes it's hard to know if he's intentionally lying or if he genuinely doesn't know what he's talking about. Thank God, because a smarter narcissistic sociopath might have done more damage by now.

30% of the country and the Republican Party have proven that they'll fall in line behind anyone unquestioningly, no matter how unqualified or incompetent. I wonder who will be next on their ballot in 2020. Jim Bakker perhaps? Ted Nugent? Really, how low can we go here? I'd rather not know...

Ok, now I'm starting to rant. Let me talk about the content of the speech. Oh, wait, there wasn't much more than the typical platitudes, & inspirational stories that politicians use as props. I'll just say that the most disturbing aspects of the speech to me were the blatant authoritarian appeals. He really wants a Trumpocracy, where neither merit nor integrity matter, only loyalty to him.

• Keep Gitmo open!
• We must have unquestioning praise for the military & police forces.
• Cabinet members should be able to fire agency employees for "not being a good American"!
• Let's increase our already bloated military, and start a new nuclear arms race!
• "USA! USA! USA!" (Idiocracy is coming true)

These were a few of his extraordinarily dangerous ideas. I also love the fact that he talks about lowering drug prices, then talks about escalating the war on drugs. The connection & irony is completely lost on him.

Who could've imagined that putting a self-absorbed man-child, reality-TV host, failed casino owner, & product huckster in charge of the country would be a bad idea?

Well, I know I did, even back in 2011!:

 As a postscript, let me also say that having Joe Kennedy III give the Democratic rebuttal shows just how fucked the American political system has become. Out of the millions of people in this country capable of being political leaders, the Dems bring out another Kennedy? Sure he spoke better than Trump and did his best to put on a show, but it all seems so contrived.

We have to figure out how to evolve beyond the limitations of the 2-party system, and the dangers of 1-party rule, if our democracy is going to survive.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

"Going Clear" & Scientology

Last night my fiancée & I watched the HBO documentary "Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief".

I have already extensively researched the "church", it's founder L. Ron Hubbard, and his successor David Miscavige, but I was still thoroughly amazed by the documentary. We kept looking at each other, thinking "What the f...????"

The basic ideas that Hubbard formulated for Scientology are not any crazier than some other New Age ideas. He claimed that people have mental blocks created by emotional or unconscious energy that has built up and not been resolved. Through instruments such as e-meters and the complex hierarchical system known as "The Bridge to Total Freedom," these barriers in our consciousness can be overcome. "Going clear" refers to the process of removing these mental obstructions.

Where it gets really crazy is in the more advanced stages of "The Bridge" when you begin to learn about Xenu and the history of the Universe, according to L. Ron Hubbard's wild imagination. You are only revealed this secret information once you pay hundreds of thousands of dollars, of course.

Scientology preys on people who, by their very nature, are vulnerable and looking for answers. Unfortunately, this is also the strategy of many other existing religious faiths. Once a system of thought or belief reaches a certain size, it naturally begins to institute systems of control to maintain its structure. The only way to maintain a religious institution is to relentlessly keep recruiting people, & then ensuring that they don't leave the bubble of influence.

More importantly, Scientology seeks out high-profile people or celebrities who have deep pockets to donate to the organization's billion-dollar bank account. Meanwhile, certain members like those in the SeaOrg are allegedly kept in virtual servitude, working for less than $1/hr. Through an onslaught of lawsuits and legal delays in the 1990's, Scientology managed to secure tax-exempt status from the U.S. government, even though it should have been bankrupted from back taxes owed, instead.

The whole thing is totally bonkers, and the most disturbing thing to me is always the cult of personality that exists in these situations. The worship and reverence for serial liar and con-man L. Ron Hubbard is so stupid. The images of the members in their faux-military regalia, attempting to appear important, was the silliest thing to us:


It was definitely interesting to see how all the people who came out to speak against Scientology had (at one time) been true-believers & top members in leadership roles. They eventually realized they had been brainwashed and completely captivated by this organization. Each one was finally pushed to the brink by the church's shitty practices.

As someone highly resistant to following authority of any type, I personally can't understand the mindset that allows people to be manipulated in this manner. One look at L. Ron or Miscavige, and it's "clear" to me that they are power-hungry creeps. I guess people desperately looking for direction or deeper meaning in life are more easily swayed by those offering those answers.

Although I am very interested in merging scientific & spiritual worldviews, Scientology is not a good way of doing it. There is danger in any organization having unchecked power over it's members, especially when controlled by a single personality.

"Going Clear" was an excellent documentary, but it was pretty disturbing to watch. It gives a compelling look at not only the operation of Scientology, but how people get sucked into other cults & religions, too. Human behavior is an endlessly fascinating phenomenon...

Friday, January 26, 2018

"Creator" by Paul Micarelli

I have been processing my large archive of abstract imagery. I want to share them online and create prints for exhibits & sale.

"Creator" imagines the Source of all existence not as an anthropomorphic deity, but as an abstract flux of energies in the infinite quantum field. The Great Mystery is how these seemingly random field interactions give rise to the orderly phenomena we perceive on the gross level.

by Paul Micarelli

by Paul Micarelli

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Monday, January 22, 2018

"Fantasy Photos" Promo Video #1

Fantasy Photos
"The Only Limit is Your Imagination!"

Right now, I am self-employed as a freelance graphic artist, Paul Micarelli Design. Although this is my main source of income right now, I'm also the owner of a custom photography business, called Fantasy Photos.

Last year, after I was laid off from the studio where I worked, I decided to pursue my dreams by creating my own businesses. Although it's very slow & difficult to build a service from scratch, the experience has been the most rewarding journey I've ever had.

Since I'm the sole proprietor of both companies, I do everything myself right now. Although I'd love to just handle the creative end of things, I also need to do invoicing, marketing, book-keeping, and everything else. Thankfully, my wonderful fiancée helps me with the Fantasy Photos business when we go to festivals or have the Fantasy Photo Booth set up.

I have been busy with my graphic design work recently, and the opportunities for Fantasy Photos seemed to slow down for the winter. I'm not going to as many live events, due to the cold weather.

Therefore it was a good time to create some promotional material, and I decided to make the promo video at the top of this page. My brother is the owner of MicPros, an audio/visual production company. He helped me put together the video according to my direction. I took his video & created the soundtrack using the Garageband software.

I'm happy with the way it turned out, and think it represents the sense of fun & quality I strive to infuse into the brand.

Please "Like" & "Share" with others, to help me spread the word about Fantasy Photos services. Thank you!

Friday, January 19, 2018

Domain of the Golden Dragon

Recently I went to visit my aunt, from my Dad's side of the family. She bought out an old album of black & white photos, that my grandfather had put together in the mid-20th century.

Since I'm the archivist of my family, she entrusted them to me to digitize the photographs. I am in the process of scanning them, and it's an amazing feeling to flip through these memories that my grandfather had the foresight to document. He had no idea that one day his grandson would be using a computer to digitally preserve his experiences. It makes me wonder how my life & work might continue to affect people after I pass from this world.

Among the many pages of photos from the 1940's & 50's was this awesome certificate- "The Domain of the Golden Dragon". It was a humorous document from 1944 that was bestowed upon to my grandpop, Joseph A. Micarelli. He was a cook in the Coast Guard and was one of 9 children in an Italian family from Boston. He passed away when I was in first grade, so although I remember him, I didn't get to know him as much as I would've liked.

After looking it up online, I discovered that this Golden Dragon certificate was given to sailors who crossed the International Date Line.

I sent a pic of it to my brothers & sister and told them "Guys, I hate to break it to you, but Pop-pop was in a secret society!"

(click to enlarge)

Because this is such a cool document from my grandfather, & I love anything to do with secret societies or ancient mystery schools... I'm going to transcribe the whole thing!


Ruler of the180th Meridian

International Date Line
To all Sailors, Soldiers, Marines, wherever ye may be and to all mermaids, flying dragons, spirits of the deep, devil chasers, and all other living creatures of th yellow sees, Greetings: Know ye that on this 21 day of SEPTEMBER 1945 in latitude 009º longitude 180º there appeared within the limits of my august dwelling the 


Hearken Ye: The said vessel, officers and crew have been inspected and passed on by my august body and staff. And know ye: Ye that are chit signers, squaw men, opium smokers, ice men, and all-around landlubbers that Joseph A. Micarelli having been found sane and worthy to be numbered a dweller of the Far East has been gathered in my fold and duly initiated into the

Silent Mysteries of the Far East

Be it further understood: That by virtue of the power vested in me I do hereby command all moneylenders, wine sellers, cabaret owners, COOKS, managers and all my other subjects to show honor and respect to all his wishes whenever he may enter my realm. Disobey this command under penalty of my august displeasure.

Golden Dragon
Ruler of the 180th Meridian
WLE Sinkler

Copyright 1944 by Lloyd Wofford

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Quantum Mandala #3


I have an app called Forge of Neon that allows you to make these awesome 3D designs made of light points & trails.

As I was making one of these designs, it reminded me of a combination of patterns of quantum energy & a spiritual mandala. So, I decided to make a series of "Quantum Mandala" designs in both looping animated GIF format & as a video.

On the fundamental level, Reality is an infinite sea of pulsations of patterned energy. This is an attempt to visualize the beauty & intricacy of these ubiquitous energy patterns that form our world.

by Paul Micarelli

Sunday, January 07, 2018

Vitas "7th Element"

I saw this video mocking the "Bitcoin bubble" posted in a Reddit comment about cryptocurrency. I thought the actual music video used was crazy & hilarious. In the video comments, someone gave the name of the original song- "7th Element" by Vitas:

Here's another version:

Apparently, the Latvian singer Vitas also has a "normal mode".

As far as digital forms of monetary exchange are concerned, the economy is all numbers and digital signals, anyway. I think Bitcoin & cryptocurrency is an interesting approach to society's economic needs. There's no reason that traditional money or economics has to be the only game in town. As technology progresses, all our currently held systems or institutions will be eliminated or adapted. 

Eventually, society should evolve into a post-currency mode, such as the fictional model used in Star Trek:

The Monkey Buddha Archives:

Thursday, January 04, 2018

White Elephant 2017

Every year on Christmas Eve, my family plays a game called "White Elephant".

Each person brings a mystery present & puts it in a pile. Everyone draws numbers, then takes turns picking & opening a wrapped gift. When you're number is drawn, you can choose to steal a gift from someone else. If someone gets a gift stolen, they pick a new one from the pile.

My family (including me) has a wacky sense of humor and is pretty competitive, so things get crazy fast.

Probably the weirdest gift was this framed piece of "art". It is a nicely matted Happy Birthday plate, with fake butterflies glued onto it. My Dad stole it from someone- but that's only because it also came with a gift card to Cracker Barrel restaurant! Anyway, It was so bizarre that I had to post it:

The gift that I brought was a gag gift, having fun with my Uncle Ron. I used my expert skills to Photoshop his face onto Michelangelo's sculpture of "David," & called it "Ronald". Uncle Ron is a real ball-buster and loves to crack jokes on everyone, so this is my way to give him some good-humored payback.

My nephews were allowed to play with the adults this year. I saw my one nephew go for the box on his turn, & I muttered, "Oh no...." He opened it up & everyone went nuts, laughing at my ridiculous creation.

Anyway, Uncle Ron tried to steal the masterpiece to "keep it out of circulation" as he said. Unfortunately for him, my brother-in-law stole it again, and put it right on his mantle. Luckily, Uncle Ron's got a good sense of humor & realizes he will never out-do me when it comes to prank gifts!

Usually I get lame gifts when I play the game. This year, however, I picked Bailey's Irish Creme chocolate truffles, which I like. I told all the kids they had alcohol (they don't), so no one would steal them from me! It was another fun Christmas Eve with the family playing a fun game that has become an annual tradition.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

"Mood Swings" by Paul Micarelli

I'll be celebrating the New Year in Philadelphia with my brothers & our significant others this weekend, so I won't have a chance to post until 2018.

This has been a crazy year. I have been planning a wedding & busy starting my own businesses, Fantasy Photos and Paul Micarelli Design. However, I still try to keep my pulse on news & current events.

Having the ridiculous human being known as Donald Trump as President of the US has proved to be the embarrassing disaster that anyone with any common sense could have predicted. Only the most insulated conservative true-believers think he has any redeeming qualities whatsoever. I have mostly given up on commenting on politics, especially Trump's painfully obvious con-game on the country, because every damn day there is something that makes reasonable people throw up their hands in disgust or disbelief.

I don't know what this upcoming year will bring, but at this time of transition it is important to remember that the only constant is change, as Heraclitus observed. All things will pass in time, including Trump, America, humanity, planet Earth, the Universe, and ourselves. Every moment is a bardo, or transitional state from the past to the future. The only "real" time is the ever-changing NOW.

The ancient Romans used the two-faced Janus as the symbol of the transition of the new year. In that spirit, I'm posting this creation I made, using two stylized self-portraits:

"Mood Swings"
by Paul Micarelli

In reality, my emotional state is pretty stable, & I don't swing between moods nearly this drastically! My whole adult life, I've practiced meditation techniques and, more recently, different styles of yoga. I've learned to control my emotional reactions, without bottling them up in an unhealthy way. I still have deep emotions, though, and sometimes I can lose my cool like any other person. Everyone has varying states of mind and conflicting sensations:

Emotional & Calm • Good & Bad • Hot & Cold • Light & Dark • Happy & Sad • Loud & Quiet

Reality, according to human perception, seems to consist of these kinds of binary states & dualistic extremes. The truth, however, is that out of the Infinite Unity, all seemingly opposite things arise & dissolve. Duality and multiplicity are illusions of our discerning consciousness and our mind's desire to seek patterns of categorization.

These conceptual models of opposites are helpful as tools in understanding the world, but can blind us to the fundamental "One-ness" of everything.

As we move continually into new states of being, may we keep this truth in mind- and realize that all the phenomena in this world is a dance of energy in an infinite field of possibility.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

"Shaman's Mask" by Paul Micarelli

I have been processing my large archive of abstract imagery recently. I want to share them online and create prints for exhibits & sale. This is one of my favorite pieces of my abstract art.

When I made "Shaman's Mask,"the image looked to me like a psychedelic version of a tribal mask that a shaman or a medicine man would wear. The shaman is one who travels inward, dissolving the ego and merging with the source of all things, to understand & deeply integrate with the nature of reality. Using the knowledge of life and the world on all levels, a holy person can find the best way to guide people who need healing or advice.

Spiritual energy radiates from the white light behind the shaman's mask- the blinding mystery of infinity leaking through the fractal, energetic plane of existence.

by Paul Micarelli

 "Shaman's Mask"
by Paul Micarelli

**Buy Prints & Products With This Design***

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