Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Find the Grasshopper

(click to enlarge)

 I've been on a roll photographing animals & nature this summer, and added this photo to my album:

by Paul Micarelli

I was sitting in the back yard, and saw this small grasshopper land among the green blades of grass. I got as close as I could, so you see some of its cool details. In the photo, it blends in well with the lawn. It's coloring is a natural camouflage.

Monday, August 14, 2017

"Fantasy Photos" on Facebook

I posted recently about starting a Facebook page for my graphic design business, Paul Micarelli Design.


At the same time, I created a page for my startup business, Fantasy Photos.

www.fantasyphotos.net

Fantasy Photos is a company I started that specializes in fun, custom portraits. They are perfect for gifts or special occasions. If you are reading this and have a Facebook page, please give the page a "Like" to support my efforts.

Facebook:

For many years I created these special portraits for my family & friends. After I got laid off from my job at a graphic design studio this year, I decided to follow my own dream by starting Fantasy Photos.

I also offer the Fantasy Photo Booth service, for parties or live events. I take the customer's photo against a green screen, & replace the background with a scene of the person's choice! It has proven to be very popular at festivals and shows that I've attended as a vendor, and I'm looking to book more events.

Visit the website at www.FantasyPhotos.net for more info. Thanks!

https://www.fantasyphotos.net/fantasy-photo-booth

Friday, August 11, 2017

Daddy Long Legs

I added a new photo to my nature album:

by Paul Micarelli

Earlier this week, I saw this daddy long legs spider on a leaf. I was able to get in close while it was resting there.

We have these creatures all around us... but when you look at them, they are are totally bizarre.





Monday, August 07, 2017

Hummingbirds


https://youtu.be/lzW9-I-1M7E

At my parents' house, my Mom has hummingbird feeders in her gardens. She loves these tiny, fast birds and also has hummingbird decorations around the house.

When I sit in their sun room on the back porch, there are hummingbirds that always buzz around the feeder by the window. I decided to try to get some footage of these speedy creatures, so I set up a lawn chair right underneath one of the feeders.

I had to stay perfectly still & wait for maybe 5 minutes, then they started hovering around and approaching the feeder. First a male came, then a female, & then both perched on the feeder at the same time. Finally, a third hummingbird came and they had a scuffle and they all flew off.

Originally, I had about 4 minutes worth of footage, but it was a lot of the birds just sitting there & drinking. I edited the video down to about a minute and a half, so it didn't get too boring.If you are watching on a computer with speakers, you can turn the volume up to hear the buzzing of their wings and their chirps at certain points.



Friday, August 04, 2017

Paul Micarelli Design on Facebook


Facebook:
 Facebook.com/PaulMicarelliDesign

Although I have been writing on this blog for a dozen years, I've never really tried to monetize it, other than posting about designs available in my store. This is more a leisurely pastime for me, for my own enjoyment and for those who want to read The Monkey Buddha.

My career has been in graphic design, and a few months ago I was laid off after 15 years with a studio with whom I had spent my whole career. It was fairly unexpected, but I had been unknowingly been preparing myself for that moment. I actually wasn't as upset as I would've imagined. Although I felt anxiety at the set of problems ahead of me, I also felt a degree of freedom. After working every weekday 9 to 5 for all those years, it was weird not having to keep to a schedule.

However, I did not treat unemployment like a vacation. The very same week, I was updating my resumé, ordering business cards, and adding work to my online portfolio.

Coroflot Portfolio:

Although I wanted to find a new job, a part of me wanted to see this as an opportunity to create my own vision of a business. After many years of creating custom portraits for my friends & family, I formed Fantasy Photos in May 2017 and started my first business.

www.fantasyphotos.net

Even when working in the studio, I had been doing freelance work on the side. Now I am also trying to grow my design business. I've been learning about internet marketing and building web pages to expand my expertise.

I just started a Facebook page (finally!) for my graphic design business. I specialize in all forms of print & digital media, and have a lot of experience with branding and promotions for small startups. I have also worked with the biggest companies on the planet, so I work with clients of all sizes.

If you or someone you know could use my services & skills, do not hesitate to contact me through this website or social media. Thanks!

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

The Original Fidget Spinner?



My Mom had this classic-looking toy on her kitchen table. I picked it up and put my thumb & pointer around the black cube in the middle, and gave it a spin.

A little later, I was joking with her & told her that I looked it up online. I said it was the original "fidget spinner" and was worth $500! She said "Really?!?!" & believed me for about 2 seconds, before I started laughing.

I couldn't find anything about it on Google, but it appears to be an old game where you spin the cubes to show random letters Then, maybe you try to make words out of it? It's not as fun of an explanation as being the first fidget spinner, but it was an still interesting old-school toy.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

"Watch Ya Mouth" Game

There was one last thing I wanted to post from my vacation in the Poconos. I had to put the video together first.

One afternoon, my family decided to play "Watch Ya Mouth". It's a game my sister brought, and plays with her kids. The players have to try to pronounce words, while wearing a mouthpiece that makes you look like the Predator alien.


It was so funny and ridiculous that I had to take video of us playing. Today I finally got around to editing the clips together.

In the video, my attempt is first, then both my nephews, then my fiancé Loretta, then my sister Mandi, then finally my Dad.

Hilarity ensued...

YouTube:



Filmed & Edited by Paul Micarelli.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Poconos 2017

My family goes on vacation every year to either the Jersey Shore or the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania. This year, we stayed at Big Bass Lake in the Poconos.

It's nice to be able to spend time with my whole family, even if everyone can't stay for the entire time. The weather wasn't that great, but it was still a fun week.

I already posted about the Flea Market Finds & my nature photography.


Here are a few random photos from the trip, with more in the album link below:

Photo Album:
Poconos 2017

 A kayaker on Big Bass Lake

 
 Sunset over Big Bass Lake

 Playing the game I created, "Da Vinci's Challenge" with my nephews.

 
 Loretta & I went on a hike with my sister & her kids on Davis Trail in Scranton, PA


 An ominous rattlesnake warning on a large boulder at Davis Trail in Scranton, PA
This gave me flashbacks to my encounter with a timber rattlesnake on a trail a few years ago.
I was continually scanning the ground after seeing this.

 "Energy & Persitence Conquer All" -Benjamin Franklin, on Davis Trail in Scranton, PA

 Loretta & I ready to have dinner at Nick's Lake House

Monday, July 24, 2017

Poconos 2017- Nature Photos

I added some photos to my album, of animals and natural landscapes that I took while on vacation in the Poconos.


by Paul Micarelli

The weather was rainy a lot of the week, but I still managed to get outside enough to see sunsets over the lakes, animals, and the beauty of the natural environment in the mountains.

 This large dragonfly was sitting on the screen window. 
The wings had a cool combo of camo & cell textures

I was able to snap a photo of this water snake as he swam past the dock.
 
 
 This dragonfly had hit the window and was injured. 
My nephew & I put him in the woods, hoping he would eventually recover.

I saw these fuzzy clusters of flowers on the Davis Trail in Scranton, PA.

A waterfall on the Davis Trail in Scranton, PA.

This blue heron was walking past the beach behind our house.

Sunset over Lake Harmony

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Poconos 2017- Flea Market Finds

My family goes on vacation every year to either the Jersey Shore or the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania. This year, we stayed at Big Bass Lake in the Poconos.

We usually start the week off by going to the giant Blue Ridge Flea Market on Sunday morning. There are seemingly endless tables of random crap, & plenty of interesting characters for people-watching.

My sister started a "Flea Market Finds" game- where we try to find the funniest, most bizarre, or craziest item for under $5.00.

My pick was a set of "Fore-Playing Cards". My fiancé is bewildered about why I always have to choose things with sexual themes for this game, but they are usually the funniest items I see.

I'll post some of the other crazy finds below, but check out the album for more:

Photo Album:

This was my pick for the game, "Fore-Playing Cards" 

 Weed-tarded Shot Glass

A weird metal sun sculpture?

 
"Don't Ask Me For Shit" hat

 A bearded wizard mannequin head, with Michael Jackson's face. 
Next to the obligatory Nazi sword.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Ancient Paths: Discovering the Lost Map of Celtic Europe

 I was on vacation last week, and read the next book in my long reading queue. The Ancient Paths, by Graham Robb, is about the rediscovery of the ancient Celtic culture that was once spread across Europe.

Amazon:
by Graham Robb

Because there was no written history, much of the details about the Celtic way of life has been lost. Many people now associate the word "Celtic" with Ireland, but, in fact, it is a term that describes a far reaching tribal culture that was spread throughout western Europe- including France and Spain. The isolated island of Ireland ("Éire" in Gaelic / "Hiberina" in Latin) was the last area not overtaken by the Roman Empire, so the last vestiges of Celtic art and identity were preserved there.

The educated elites of Celtic culture were the Druids. This is another term that has been confused over the centuries. The Druids were not magical wizards, they were actually the ancient equivalent of the "Renaissance Man," like Leonardo da Vinci. The Druids were professionals trained in many different forms of knowledge & skills, such as astronomy, natural law, the understanding of plants, politics, and medicine.

Unfortunately, Celtic culture and knowledge was pretty much wiped out by the Roman Empire. They were not just looking to tame the Celtic & Germanic "savages" of the rest of Europe and create a buffer zone between them and Rome. The Romans were mostly interested in expanding their business interests and extracting wealth & resources from these areas. All war and invasion is usually about money and power, regardless of the pretext given to the citizens of the invading nation.

Like so many cultures who have succumbed to a more powerful enemy, the vast knowledge and history of the Celts was almost completely wiped out. Graham Robb has used archaeological clues to reconstruct some aspects of Celtic civilization, which was extensive & advanced in certain ways. There was already a network of roads & locations based on cosmological alignments in place when the Romans overran Gaul and the Iberian Peninsula. This is why the Roman legions were able to spread swiftly throughout the continent on their various campaigns.

One aspect of the book that personally interesting to me was the use of sacred geometry in Celtic art, especially the Flower of Life pattern that I used in the creation of the game "Da Vinci's Challenge". Robb shows how these geometric constructions guided the designs of the ancient Celts.


Overall, the book was very interesting, and gave me a new perspective on two parts of my ancient heritage, since my ancestors included the Irish & Italians. The narrative gets bogged down a bit by the endless place names and speculations on various specific locations, but I would definitely recommend it to anyone interested in history. It made for good vacation reading & I finished the book by the end of the week.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Art by Ed Harrington

I've been finding a lot of great artists on Instagram, so I've been posting them here as I come across them.

Artist & illustrator Ed Harrington creates mash-ups & twisted takes on pop culture icons, including many characters from the 1980's that were popular when I was a kid.

Here are some of his websites and a few of my favorite images:

Website:

Instagram:

Tumblr:




Friday, July 07, 2017

Paul's Feeling Strange

https://youtu.be/oCcKgunRIpk

As I began to question the "Strangeness" of my experience & the world around me, reality began to dissolve away into an chaotic infinite energy field.



"Paul's Feeling Strange"
Filming, Editing, & Soundtrack by Paul Micarelli
 
This is the second "Strange" video I've uploaded, which I've been meaning to do for awhile.



"Paul's Strange Dream"
Filming, Editing, & Soundtrack by Paul Micarelli

I made both videos a few years ago, but I finally got around editing this clip & creating a music track in Garageband.

Visual effects created using the El Alef app.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

AMERICA F*#K YEAH!


I'm grateful to live in a country like the United States, where life is relatively good. Still, I'm not really a nationalistic person, or one to feel overly-sentimental about an abstract concept, like a country.

This is about as patriotic as I'm going to get... rocking out to AMERICA F*#K YEAH! from "Team America World Police", the ridiculous movie from the creators of South Park.


Sunday, July 02, 2017

Ant Carrying a Dead Beetle

https://youtu.be/0qVXV-8SO5Q
 
While camping last month, I saw this ant carrying a dead beetle along a tree. I love taking nature photography & video, and animal behavior always interests me.

I got a closeup video as the ant scurried along, with the dead creature firmly in its jaws.

Monkey Buddha Vids:


Thursday, June 29, 2017

Paul's Strange Dream

https://youtu.be/MD3Eb0bqpq0

This is footage of an evening nap that led to my consciousness briefly slipping into higher dimensions...

I took the video a few years ago, but I finally got around editing this crazy clip & creating a music track in Garageband.

There is another "Strange" video & also a short nature video I've put together in the last couple days that I will be uploading, as well.



"Paul's Strange Dream"
Filming, Editing, & Soundtrack by Paul Micarelli

Visual effects created using the El Alef app.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Fantasy Photos: 2017 Sea Isle Skimmer Festival



Last weekend, I was registered as a vendor for Sea Isle City's Skimmer Festival. I was promoting my new business, Fantasy Photos.

I'm taking commissions for customized digital portraits, which make great, unique gifts.

For live events or parties, guests can get their photo taken at the "Fantasy Photo Booth" and replace the background with a scene of their choice.

There's more info and examples on the website (along with social media links):

https://www.fantasyphotos.net/


There were thousands of people at the Skimmer Festival, and my spot was right next to a beach entrance. I feel my booth gets a very good response from most people. I'm hoping it's an effective way to reach a large number of people.

I've done a few of these events now, & I feel like each one is a chance to improve and learn in some way.

Recently, my Dad & I took an afternoon to put together a simple 4.5ft shelf, to display a second row of framed pictures on my table.


I've got a tent, a banner, and most of the materials I need for a 10'x10' space at a show.

My next objective is to make a folding plywood booth, to enclose the green screen for the "Fantasy Photo Booth".

There are at least a few more events I want to attend this summer, and I'd like to continue doing these shows to promote my business. It's fun meeting new people & talking to them about their ideas. It's a great feeling to be able to stimulate other people's imaginations. I've had a vision for what I want "Fantasy Photos" to be, and I've been doing my best to make it happen. The customers I've already had are all happy, and that's what's important.

Here are some photos of my booth at the Skimmer Festival:




 Mackie the Stilt Man

 Fantasy Photo Booth

A view of the Sea Isle City boardwalk.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Big Paul's Adventures in History VII

I have a lot of photos of my Dad sleeping in many different chairs, on many different occasions.  

Before his retirement last year, he worked hard in the food retail business all his life. When he would get a chance to sit down & relax, it usually turns into a snoozefest. Family events or holidays inevitably become napping opportunities for the big guy.

My old friend Dan J. gave me the idea- to have pictures of my Dad sleeping right through important times in history. I thought this idea was hysterical & created this series of "snapshots" showing Big Paul experiencing historic events, in his own special way.


This is the seventh set of of "History Adventures," as he sleeps his way through the most important events in history.

To commemorate my Dad's birthday & Father's Day, I made the 3 new History Adventures below.

Click the link to see the whole series:





 "Big Paul's Adventures in History"
Muhammad Ali

The Champ yells at Big Paul to get up, 
but he was knocked out before the fight even began!

 
 "Big Paul's Adventures in History"
Battle at Iwo Jima

Marines raise the American flag, 
amazed that someone could sleep through the battle.

"Big Paul's Adventures in History"
Fall of the Berlin Wall

The sledgehammers, smashing the symbol of Communist oppression, 
were completely drowned out by the sound of Big Paul snoring.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Nature Photography- Thin-legged Wolf Spider

I've taken cool spider photos before, and I recently took some that make a fine addition to my collection.


Last week I was talking on the phone & stopped dead in my tracks when I saw a large thin-legged wolf spider on my parents' kitchen floor. I was like, "Woooah! Ok I gotta go, there's a big spider on the floor." A lot of people would just kill it, but the nature photographer in me always wants to take a picture. After abruptly ending the phone call, I slowly moved in as close as I could & took a photo before catching it.


After catching it in a bowl, I took some more pictures that were clearer. Spiders are really interesting creatures. Most people have a ingrained fear of them, but I try to get past that automatic response and look a little closer at the nature of the living organism. After getting a few photos, I let it go in the woods to live the rest of its spider life.


 My hand for size.