Monthly Archives: April 2014

Kiera Brinkley – A True Inspiration

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I just got back from a quickie trip out of town and am getting ready to do a singing gig tonight at a private event.  However, I am so excited about this dancing duo that I just learned about, that I had to make this post before I leave.   This is Kiera Brinkley and her sister, Uriah Boyd.  20 year old Kiera is a quadruple amputee dancer and a true inspiration.

Soar is the in-progress documentary being made about this remarkable pair and I cannot wait to see it!

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When Kiera was only 2 years old, doctors were forced to amputate most of her limbs to prevent the spread of bacterial infection.  Her response was to begin to dance almost immediately, wiggling and squirming to hip-hop music at home.  When she attended Da Vinci Middle School here in Portland, her dance teacher persuaded her to get out of her chair and dance with the other students on the floor.  She hasn’t stopped since.  In 2009, the Dream Factory granted her wish to visit Juilliard and not she is a company member with Polaris Dance Theater, a Portland trouble of young contemporary dancers.

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Kiera is small, but is said to take up an expanding cloud of space, rolling and twirling seamlessly.  Her own will and courage is strong and she was raised in an environment that encouraged her to fulfill her dreams.  She is said to have a prim quality about her with pulled-back hair and makeup that is carefully applied.  Accounts characterize her as a “self-described people pleaser.”  Her dredlocked sister, Uriah is not as determined as her sister to continue to dance, but for now, this is what they do.

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When Kiera choreographs, she wants to have Uriah there with her.  Through their years of dancing together, they have formed a kind of language that siblings often form.  She refers to it as “sister telepathy.”  If Kiera attempts to communicate a certain move that she is unalbe to replicate with hre body, Uriah translates it with her own.

 

The next time you find yourself engrossed in self-pity, think about Kiera and be inspired.  This is a remarkable young woman.

 

 

 

One more to add to my shopping post! HUGE BARGAINS!!!!!

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The other day, I made a post about how to find great deals online.  I have one more to add to the list.  This one is Thredup.  Yesterday, i purchased $750 worth of gently used clothing for my daughters , including an entire summer wardrobe for 4 yr. old Ingrid….and got myself some fantastic bargains, saving more than $678!!  Really!  Great clothing for next to nothing!  They have a section of designer-only clothing, new with tags, kids clothes, bags, shoes and more.  This is a fantastic resource!  I’m loving it!

If you use this link, you can get a $10 credit, too!

 

Working Artistically With What You Have

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As an artist, I often find that the materials that I work with dictate the work’s overall composition and how it turns out.  I work with found objects a lot,  and try to follow their natural contours and shapes to create works of art that reflect the media’s natural properties. This is how it works with artist, Carne Griffiths, from London, whose works (below)  reflect a fascination with automatic drawing, optics and a clear love of nature and floral pattern.  These pieces are worked in a combination of liquids from coffee to gin and vodka, a range of herbal teas and alcohol,  coupled with calligraphic drawing marks and hand embroidered elements.  Aren’t they magnificent?!
invisible lines by Carne Griffiths

Cerebral detail

 

 

 

Obamaprayer – Is the “No Prayer in Schools” Law Really His Fault?

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America is a nation that consists of individuals from many different religions.  For instance, there are many thousands of Christians.

According to the 2011 Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches, from which members in the United States are combined with Canadian members, and of the National Council of Churches, the five largest denominations are:

 

Depending on religious definitions and varying population data, the United States is also home to the largest or second largest (after Israel) Jewish community in the world. In 2012, the American Jewish population was estimated at between 5.5-8 million.

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Then, there are the Muslims.  A lot of Muslims live in America.   In 2005, more people from Islamic countries became legal permanent United States residents — nearly 96,000 — than in any year in the previous two decades.In 2009, more than 115,000 Muslims became legal residents of the United States. Thomas Jefferson defended religious freedom in America including those of Muslims.   Jefferson explicitly mentioned Muslims when writing about the movement for religious freedom in Virginia. In his autobiography Jefferson wrote “[When] the [Virginia] bill for establishing religious freedom… was finally passed,… a singular proposition proved that its protection of opinion was meant to be universal. Where the preamble declares that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed, by inserting the word ‘Jesus Christ,’ so that it should read ‘a departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion.’

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There are also a lot of Americans that do not choose to follow any religious doctrine at all.  They are just as American as any other American living in the USA, and are protected under the exact same Constitution.      Atheists comprise almost 10% of the world population.

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These are only a few of the religions  in the USA.  There are many others.   My point is that in the United States of America, we have a diverse religious culture. Our religious preferences are choices.  They are not mandated by the government.  This is stated in the Constitution.

The leader of this country, our President,  is a Christian.  That is his choice.  In the United States, freedom of religion is a constitutionally guaranteed right provided in the religion clauses of the First Amendment. Freedom of religion is also closely associated with separation of church and state, a concept advocated by Thomas Jefferson.  President Obama was not elected President to exclusively uphold the Christian religion, nor was any President.  He was elected President to uphold the Constitution that governs this diverse nation.

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Because there are so many different religions in the United States, public schools are banned from mandating religious observances such as prayer.  If it were allowed, and our children were lead into prayer, WHICH RELIGION would have the right to dictate that?  If you are Muslim, would it be ok with you if your kid was forced to say a Christian prayer?  If you are Christian, would you approve if he or she was asked to pray to Allah?  This is not an anti-Christian sentiment.  It is not an anti-Jewish one.  It is common sense.   Apart from common sense, the legal basis for this prohibition is the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, which requires that:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…

The first part of the above amendment which reads “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion” is known as the Establishment Clause, while the second part (“or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”) is known as the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. Though each of these clauses originally applied only to the central US government, the Fourteenth Amendment extended the scope of the entire First Amendment to all levels of government, including the state level—thus compelling states and their subject schools to adopt an equally detached approach to religion in schools.  These are not Barack Obama’s personal rules.  They are the laws as stated in the Constitution.  He was elected to uphold that Constitution, and he is doing a fine job of it.

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If your kid wants to pray in school, there is nothing stopping him or her.  When little Timmy or Sally opens up that lunch box and sees the delicious lunch that his fathers or mothers or father or mother has prepared for him or her, there is no law that says he or she cannot lift up his heart to God and say, “Thank you!”.    If the President of the United States can take time out of his work to pray (which he does daily), then kids can pray whenever they want to as well.  They simply cannot be mandated by their school administration to do so because there are so many different religions here.

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Both conservative and liberal religious believers who want to see more of their own religion involved in public policies invariably make the argument that only their religion is “legitimate” and “true” while the others are following some sort of “false” or “hijacked” religious faith.In 2007, Barack Obama spoke to the congregation of the United Church of Christ’s Iowa conference.  He said:

…somehow, somewhere along the way, faith stopped being used to bring us together and started being used to drive us apart. It got hijacked. Part of it is because the so-called leaders of the Christian right are all too eager to exploit what divides us. …I don’t know what Bible they’re reading. But it didn’t jibe with my version.

 

 

I agree with Barack Obama.

Everything is a Remix – Documentaries that Will Broaden Your Thinking

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Here is a list of  documentaries about creativity that, like the one above, will expand your mind:

The Creative Brain – How Insight Works.

Design, The New Business

https://vimeo.com/31678404

Press Pause Play

https://vimeo.com/34608191

Infamy – A Graffiti Documentary

Influences – How Trends and Creativity Become Contagious

https://vimeo.com/16430345

Design: e2 : e2 – The Green Apple | PBS

Design Genius – Ghosts in the Machine

[1] Life In The Biosphere

Explore the wonder and interconnectedness of the biosphere through the magic of technology.

  1. Home
  2. How Many People Can Live on Planet Earth
  3. The Magical Forest
  4. Ants: Nature’s Secret Power
  5. Mt. Everest: How It Was Made
  6. Mariana’s Trench: The Deepest Spot On Earth
  7. Natural World: The Andes
  8. Shining Mountains: The Rockies
  9. Grand Canyon: How It Was Made
  10. The Intelligence of Plants

[2] Creativity and Design:

Learn about all the amazing things that people create with their imaginations.

  1. Everything Is A Remix
  2. The Creative Brain: How Insight Works
  3. Design: The New Business
  4. PressPausePlay: Art and Creativity in the Digital Age
  5. Infamy: A Graffiti Documentary
  6. Influencers: How Trends and Creativity Become Contagious
  7. RIP: A Remix Manifesto
  8. Design: e² – Sustainable Architecture
  9. The Genius Of Design

[3] The Education Industrial Complex:

The modern school where young minds are moulded into standardized citizens by the state.

  1. The College Conspiracy
  2. Declining by Degrees: Higher Education at Risk
  3. The Forbidden Education
  4. Default: The Student Loan Documentary
  5. College Inc.
  6. Education For A Sustainable Future
  7. Networked Society: The Future of Learning
  8. The Ultimate History Lesson With John Taylor Gatto
  9. The Education System in Communist China
  10. The War On Kids

[4] The Digital Revolution:

The Internet is now the driving force behind change and innovation in the world.

  1. The Age of Big Data
  2. Resonance: Beings of Frequency
  3. Life In A Day
  4. Networked Society: On The Brink
  5. Us Now: Social Media and Mass Collaboration
  6. WikiRebels: The WikiLeaks Story
  7. The Virtual Revolution: The Cost of Free
  8. How Hackers Changed the World

[5] A New Civilization:

We are at the dawn of a new golden age of human inventiveness.

  1. THRIVE: What On Earth Will It Take?
  2. Zeitgeist III: Moving Forward
  3. Paradise or Oblivion
  4. 2012: Time For Change
  5. The Crisis of Civilization
  6. The Collective Evolution II
  7. The Quickening: Awakening As One
  8. 2012 Crossing Over: A New Beginning
  9. Collapse
  10. The Awakening

[6] Politics:

Explore the politics of power and control and how it affects your life.

  1. Owned and Operated
  2. UnGrip
  3. The Power Principle
  4. The True Story of Che Guevara
  5. Earth Days
  6. Capitalism Is The Crisis
  7. WikiLeaks: The Secret Life of a Superpower
  8. The Putin System
  9. The War On Democracy
  10. Rise Like Lions: Occupy Wall Street and the Seeds of Revolution

[7] Biographies of Genius:

The biographies of modern geniuses who pushed humanity forward.

  1. Isaac Newton: The Last Magician
  2. The Unlimited Energy of Nicola Tesla
  3. The Missing Secrets Of Nikola Tesla
  4. Richard Feynman: No Ordinary Genius
  5. How Albert Einstein’s Brain Worked
  6. The Extraordinary Genius of Albert Einstein
  7. Leonardo Da Vinci: The Man Who Wanted to Know Everything

[8] War:

War is history’s oldest racket for stealing from the powerless and redistributing resources to the powerful.

  1. Psywar: The Real Battlefield Is Your Mind
  2. The Secret History of 9/11
  3. Robot Armies in the Future
  4. The Never Ending War in Afghanistan
  5. Shadow Company: Mercenaries In The Modern World
  6. Why We Fight
  7. The Fog Of War
  8. The Oil Factor: Behind The War On Terror

[9] Economics:

Learn about the financial system works and how people and societies are enslaved through debt.

  1. The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power
  2. Overdose: The Next Financial Crisis
  3. The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of The World
  4. The One Percent
  5. Quants: The Alchemists of Wall Street
  6. The Last Days Of Lehman Brothers
  7. The Four Horsemen
  8. Inside Job: The Biggest Robbery In Human History
  9. Capitalism A Love Story
  10. Money and Life

[10] Digital Entrepreneurship:

Profiles of the entrepreneurs who used technology to change the world.

  1. The Life Of A Young Entrepreneur
  2. Profile: Google’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin
  3. Profile: Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg
  4. Starting-Up in America
  5. Steve Jobs: One Last Thing
  6. Steve Jobs: The Billion Dollar Hippy
  7. Elon Musk: Risk Takers
  8. The Story of Twitter

[11] Sports:

Watch the inspiring stories of amazing athletes.

  1. Fearless: The Jeb Corliss Story
  2. Carts of Darkness
  3. Usain Bolt: The World’s Fastest Man
  4. Wayne Gretzky: The Life and Times
  5. Mike Tyson: Beyond the Glory
  6. Birdmen
  7. The Legacy Of Michael Jordan
  8. We Ride: The Story of Snowboarding

[12] Technology:

Find out more about the impact of exponential growth and the approaching Singularity.

  1. Ray Kurzweil: The Transcendent Man
  2. How Robots Will Change the World
  3. Human 2.0
  4. Trance-Formation: The Future of Humanity
  5. The Venus Project: Future By Design
  6. Bionics, Transhumanism And The End Of Evolution
  7. The Singularity Is Near
  8. Car Technology Of The Future

[13] Origins of Religion:

Explore the original religious experience of mankind at the dawn of civilization.

  1. Entheogen: Awakening the Divine Within
  2. Manifesting the Mind: Footprints of the Shaman
  3. Ancient Egypt and The Alternative Story of Mankind’s Origins
  4. The Hidden Knowledge of the Supernatural
  5. Re-Awaken: Open Your Heart, Expand Your Mind
  6. Shamans of the Amazon
  7. The Root of All Evil: The God Delusion
  8. Ancient Knowledge
  9. The Naked Truth
  10. Before Babel: In Search of the First Language

[14] Western Religion:

The fascinating history of the three Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

  1. Secret Quest: The Path of the Christian Gnostics
  2. The Secret Gate of Eden
  3. Forbidden Knowledge: Lost Secrets of the Bible
  4. Banned From The Bible: Secrets Of The Apostles
  5. The Road To Armageddon
  6. Muhammad: The Legacy of a Prophet
  7. A Complete History of God
  8. Gnosis: The Untold History of the Bible

[15] Eastern Religion:

Expand your mind by also studying the entirely different religious worldviews of the East.

  1. Inner Worlds, Outer Worlds
  2. The Life Of The Buddha
  3. The Seven Wonders of the Buddhist World
  4. Mysteries of the Cosmic OM: Ancient Vedic Science
  5. Where Science and Buddhism Meet
  6. The Yogis of Tibet
  7. Taj Mahal: Secrets To Blow Your Mind
  8. Light at the Edge of the World: Tibetan Science of the Mind
  9. Myths of Mankind: The Mahabharata
  10. Ayurveda: The Art of Being

[16] Consciousness:

Learn about the basic unity of existence and the miracle of consciousness.

  1. Athene’s Theory of Everything
  2. Theory of Everything: GOD, Devils, Dimensions, Dragons & The Illusion of Reality
  3. The God Within: Physics, Cosmology and Consciousness
  4. 5 Gateways: The Five Key Expansions of Consciousness
  5. Return to the Source: Philosophy and The Matrix
  6. The Holographic Universe
  7. DMT: The Spirit Molecule
  8. Kymatica
  9. Neuroplasticity: The Brain That Changes Itself

[17] Mysteries:

Indiana Jones-style explorations into the unsolved mysteries of the past.

  1. Alchemy: Sacred Secrets Revealed
  2. The Day Before Disclosure
  3. The Pyramid Code
  4. The Secret Design of the Egyptian Pyramids
  5. Decoding the Past: Secrets of the Dollar Bill
  6. Origins of the Da Vinci Code
  7. Forbidden Knowledge: Ancient Medical Secrets
  8. Secret Mysteries of America’s Beginnings: The New Atlantis
  9. Secrets in Plain Sight

[18] Mass Culture:

Learn about how our thoughts and opinions are influenced by mass culture.

  1. The Century of the Self
  2. All Watched Over By Machines Of Loving Grace
  3. The Power Of Nightmares
  4. Starsuckers: A Culture Obsessed By Celebrity
  5. Human Resources: Social Engineering in the 20th Century
  6. Obey: The Death of the Liberal Class
  7. Motivational Guru: The Story of Tony Robbins
  8. Bob Marley: Freedom Road
  9. Radiant City

[19] Corporate Media:

Discover how the mass media and advertisers channel our irrational impulses.

  1. Weapons of Mass Deceptions
  2. Secrets of the Superbrands
  3. Orwell Rolls in his Grave
  4. The Esoteric Agenda
  5. Propaganda
  6. The Myth of the Liberal Media: The Propaganda Model of News
  7. Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media
  8. Symbolism in Logos: Subliminal Messages or Ancient Archetypes
  9. Edward Snowden: A Truth Unveiled
  10. Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism

[20] Art and Literature:

Explore the lives of famous artists and how art opens people’s minds.

  1. Cosm: Alex Gray’s Visionary Art
  2. Banksy’s Exit Through The Gift Shop
  3. New Art and the Young Artists Behind It
  4. Salvador Dali: A Master of the Modern Era
  5. The Day Pictures Were Born
  6. Off-Book: Digital Age Creativity
  7. This Is Modern Art

[21] Health:

Explore issues in health, how our bodies work and the incredible power of our brains.

  1. The Human Brain
  2. The Truth About Vitamins
  3. How To Live To 101
  4. America’s Obesity Epidemic
  5. The War On Health
  6. The Beautiful Truth
  7. Food Inc.
  8. The Truth About Food
  9. The Living Matrix

[22] Drugs:

Documentaries on the effect of drugs — legal and illegal — on the body and mind.

  1. The Union: The Business Behind Getting High
  2. The Drugging Of Our Children
  3. How Marijuana Affects Your Health
  4. Making a Killing: The Untold Story of Psychotropic Drugging
  5. Clearing the Smoke: The Science of Cannabis
  6. LSD: The Beyond Within
  7. The War on Drugs: The Prison Industrial Complex
  8. Are Illegal Drugs More Dangerous Than Legal Drugs?
  9. The Prescription Drug Abuse Epidemic
  10. Run From The Cure: The Rick Simpson Story

[23] Environment:

Thought-provoking documentaries on the environmental movement and the growing threats to our biosphere.

  1. Earthlings
  2. Blue Gold: World Water Wars
  3. Shift: Beyond the Numbers of the Climate Crisis
  4. All Things Are Connected
  5. The Fight For Amazonia
  6. Flow: For Love Of Water
  7. Here Comes the Sun
  8. The World According To Monsanto
  9. The Story of Stuff

[24] Cosmos:

Expand your mind by exploring our indescribably large and beautiful Cosmos.

  1. The Search for Planets Similar to Earth
  2. Cosmic Journeys : The Largest Black Holes in the Universe
  3. The Mystery of the Milky Way
  4. Fractals: The Hidden Dimension
  5. Into The Universe With Stephen Hawking: The Story of Everything
  6. Pioneer Science: Discovering Deep Space
  7. Carl Sagan’s Cosmos
  8. The Strangest Things In The Universe

[25] Science:

The history of scientific discovery and how scientific instruments expand our perception.

  1. The Complete History of Science
  2. Secret Universe: The Hidden Life of the Cell
  3. Stephen Hawking: A Brief History of Time
  4. Quantum Mechanics: Fabric of the Cosmos
  5. The Light Fantastic
  6. DNA: The Secret of Life
  7. Parallel Universes, Alternative Timelines & Multiverse
  8. What Is The Higgs Boson?
  9. Infinity

[26] Evolution:

The story of our evolution and the emergence of self-aware human beings.

  1. The Origin of Life
  2. Homo Sapiens: The Birth of Humanity
  3. Beyond Me
  4. The Global Brain
  5. Metanoia: A New Vision of Nature
  6. Birth Of A New Humanity
  7. Samsara
  8. Ape Man: Adventures in Human Evolution
  9. The Incredible Human Journey
  10. The Human Family Tree

[27] Psychology and The Brain:

New research is shining a spotlight on how we can improve our brains.

  1. How Smart Can We Get?
  2. The Science of Lust
  3. The Secret You
  4. What Are Dreams?
  5. A Virus Called Fear
  6. Beyond Thought (Awareness Itself)
  7. The Human Brain
  8. Superconscious Mind: How To Double Your Brain’s Performance
  9. How Does Your Memory Work?
  10. Secrets of the Mind

[28] Modern History:

The story of the Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution and the rise of the modern world.

  1. History of the World in Two Hours
  2. The Industrial Revolution
  3. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich
  4. The French Revolution
  5. Big Sugar
  6. The American Revolution

[29] Pre-Modern History:

The story of the Americas and European history in the pre-modern world.

  1. Socrates, Aristotle and Plato
  2. The Medici: The Most Influencial Family In The World
  3. A History of Celtic Britain
  4. The Crusades: Victory and Defeat
  5. The Vikings: Voyage To America
  6. Copernicus and the Scientific Revolution

[30] Current Events:

Become more informed about current events that are shaping the world.

  1. Syria: The Reckoning
  2. Empire: Putin’s Russia
  3. The New Arms Race
  4. The Killing of Yasser Arafat
  5. Egypt In Crisis
  6. Inside Obama’s Presidency
  7. The Untouchables: How Obama Protected Wall Street
  8. Behind The Rhetoric: The Real Iran
  9. A History of the Middle East since WWII
  10. Climate Wars

[31] Ancient Civilizations:

Fascination explorations into the ancient civilizations of our past.

  1. The Persian Empire : Most Mysterious Civilization in the Ancient World
  2. What The Ancients Did For Us
  3. What the Ancients Knew
  4. Egypt: Beyond the Pyramids
  5. Secrets of the Ancient Empires
  6. Graham Hancock’s Quest For The Lost Civilization
  7. Atlantis: The Lost Continent
  8. Seven Wonders of the Ancient World

– See more at: http://www.thinkinghumanity.com/2014/03/300-plus-mind-expanding-documentaries.html#sthash.DPxFhhwR.dpuf

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Stacy Alexander

Welcome to Arte California!

 

© Stacy Alexander – 2017
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Reproduction or use of the content on this blog restricted without author’s permission.

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Stacy Alexander – ARTE CALIFORNIA – Welcome!

Talk About Your Awesome Musician from the Dallas Area….

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Ok….This guy needs to work on his guitar playing….and the first half of this song is yawnable….but …..BUT…..please listen to the second half. He brings it. Oh. My. God.  Does he ever bring it!

Want To Learn to Read Music?

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Here are some websites that teach you how!

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Shutterstock Music sheet   10 Websites Where You Can Learn To Read MusicIn this, the age of do-it-yourself educations, people now have more resources than ever to teach themselves to read music.

Here are some websites that can teach you how.

 

WikiHow

Music sheet01   10 Websites Where You Can Learn To Read Music

How to have fun while learning to read music.

An Introduction to Reading Music

Music sheet02   10 Websites Where You Can Learn To Read Music

 

Read Sheet Music

Music sheet03   10 Websites Where You Can Learn To Read Music

A free online course .

Music Arrangers

Music sheet04   10 Websites Where You Can Learn To Read Music

 

Dolmetsch Online

Music sheet05   10 Websites Where You Can Learn To Read Music

 

Ricci Adam’s Music Theory.net

Music sheet06   10 Websites Where You Can Learn To Read Music

 

eMusicTheory

Music sheet07   10 Websites Where You Can Learn To Read Music

 

Teoria

Music sheet08   10 Websites Where You Can Learn To Read Music

 

About.com

Music sheet09   10 Websites Where You Can Learn To Read Music

YouTube

Here are  two more resources

Top 6 Sites to Find and Print Free Sheet Music – by Mahendra
3 Tools To Write Your Own Sheet Music Online – by Simon

 

Mark Twain on Writing

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(from Mark Twain’s scathing essay on the Literary Offenses of James Fenimore Cooper)

1. A tale shall accomplish something and arrive somewhere.

2. The episodes of a tale shall be necessary parts of the tale, and shall help develop it.

3. The personages in a tale shall be alive, except in the case of corpses, and that always the reader shall be able to tell the corpses from the others.

4. The personages in a tale, both dead and alive, shall exhibit a sufficient excuse for being there.

5. When the personages of a tale deal in conversation, the talk shall sound like human talk, and be talk such as human beings would be likely to talk in the given circumstances, and have a discoverable meaning, also a discoverable purpose, and a show of relevancy, and remain in the neighborhood of the subject in hand, and be interesting to the reader, and help out the tale, and stop when the people cannot think of anything more to say.

6. When the author describes the character of a personage in his tale, the conduct and conversation of that personage shall justify said description.

7. When a personage talks like an illustrated, gilt-edged, tree-calf, hand-tooled, seven-dollar Friendship’s Offering in the beginning of a paragraph, he shall not talk like a Negro minstrel at the end of it.

8. Crass stupidities shall not be played upon the reader by either the author or the people in the tale.

9. The personages of a tale shall confine themselves to possibilities and let miracles alone; or, if they venture a miracle, the author must so plausably set it forth as to make it look possible and reasonable.

10. The author shall make the reader feel a deep interest in the personages of his tale and their fate; and that he shall make the reader love the good people in the tale and hate the bad ones.

11. The characters in tale be so clearly defined that the reader can tell beforehand what each will do in a given emergency.

An author should

12. _Say_ what he is proposing to say, not merely come near it.
13. Use the right word, not its second cousin.
14. Eschew surplusage.
15. Not omit necessary details.
16. Avoid slovenliness of form.
17. Use good grammar.
18. Employ a simple, straightforward style.

Blood Moon

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 blood moon

 

Dallas was one of the lucky cities that had a front row seat last night as the blood moon began to change from its silvery shade into a beautiful rose color.  We had about 10 minutes of clarity here in Portland, when the heavy cloud cover slid aside to afford us photographers a moment of glory.   The phenomenon  would have been more aptly named “Rose Moon” but that wouldn’t have been as dramatic. Right?  Just goes to show you how powerful words are.

 Just before the moon began to slide into the shadow of the earth, my friend and I were talking on the phone, half way across the USA from one another.  We both  looked at the moon at the same time.  “In stereo…” he said, and that was nice.   He “gets it”.

 Some Christians attribute prophetic significance to the Blood Moon of April 15, because it was the first of a lunar “tetrad” — four total lunar eclipses in a row, that will occur in 2014 and 2015 — and because each of those eclipses falls on an important Jewish holiday, Passover or Sukkot (the Feast of Tabernacles). The phenomenon will repeat itself three more times in six-month intervals ending in September 2015.  Miss those, and you’ll have to wait until 2032–33.  What caused this beautiful phenomenon? In a total lunar eclipse, the moon gets a red sheen as it passes behind the Earth into its umbra (shadow).

“Since Earth’s umbral shadow is darker in the center than at the edge, the moon’s appearance will likely change dramatically with time as the total phase progresses,” NASA said in a statement.

Could this be a sign of the Apocalypse?  Most Blood Moon prophecy advocates — Texas megachurch Pastor John Hagee, for one — won’t commit to specifics, preferring instead to speak in terms of a “world-shaking event” or “the end of an age.” Other Christians aren’t so sure the Blood Moon tetrad has any biblical significance at all.  I just thought it was pretty.  I’m shallow that way.   🙂

My Best Shopping Tips

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The choices that we make as consumers are powerful ones.  The system is simple.  The more you buy of something, the more it will be produced.  When you get picky and start to demand higher quality, sustainable products at affordable prices, and you start to apply your money toward this end, manufacturers will take notice and start to answer the call.  I hate to shop, but when I do, I know how to stretch a dollar.  I am not above buying re-purposed items, slapping a new finish onto a used dresser or wearing lightly used clothing.  This is a normal way of life here in Portland.  It is sort of frowned upon NOT to engage in this type of consumerism.  You couldn’t pay me to shop someplace like Sam’s Club that engages in animal cruelty by selling factory farmed meats and that sells “organic” produce from China.  No way!  Any careful shopper has alternatives, even if it appears that these types of places are the only affordable places available.   I am writing this today to share some of my best shopping tips.

 

1.  Sample Boxes

 

Conscious Box

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All-natural products can be pricey, so it is a good idea to know exactly what to buy.  I subscribe to a number of services that deliver sample boxes of all kinds of goodies pertaining to beauty and health care  each month.  That way, I can try them out and decide what I like.  Then, I go on the bargain hunt for those products.  One of the best  services of this type is the Conscious Box from consciousbox.com.   I use Pangea Organics cosmetics because they are high quality, all-natural and use sustainable ingredients, and my Conscious Box often contains samples of their products.   Their retain prices are high….so I try them out and buy the ones I like on Ebay or on Amazon.com at substantial discounts.

 

Love With Food

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When it comes to all-natural snacks, Love With Food at lovewithfood.com rocks!  I give these subscriptions to people that I love….because I love them!  🙂  Starting at only $10 per month, this company will send you  a box of eight or more delicious healthful snacks.  This way, you can sample foods, decide whether or not you like them, then pick them up either on their website or at your local natural foods store.  You can purchase more of what you tried or redeem them with points in the online Love With Food shop.  The great thing is that for every box or item someone buys, Love With Food will donate a meal to feed a hungry child.

 

2.  Online Shopping Clubs

When it comes to fashion….well, I love it!  I have a beautiful wardrobe that would be worth thousands and thousands of dollars if I had been dumb enough to pay retail for it.  I hate malls, and avoid them like the plague.  Instead, I opt for online shopping clubs that enable me to buy top designer fashions at discount prices.  One of my favorits is Vente-Privee at https://us.venteprivee.com/main/.   

Mind you, you’re not going to find a lot of sustainable products through this venue, but there are some….and if you shop responsibly in other places, it won’t create tremendous damage if you go off the good path every once in awhile, right?  Every time you get someone else to sign up, you get a $20 discount when they purchase something!  I did a good deal of my Christmas shopping from this company, purchasing exquisite cashmere sweaters for my daughters, an incredible jacket for one of my male friends and several pairs of nice slacks for my husband.  Even discounted, this stuff can be very expensive, however, but it is absolute top-of-the-line merchandise that you would pay much, much for if you paid retail prices.

Vente-Privee

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Now, if you’re looking for more down-to-earth prices for excellent current fashions, I highly recommend Twice at www.twice.com.  Twice buys and sells gently used clothing.

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If you have something you’d like to sell, simply request one of their pre-paid mailers and they will send it to you.  You can fill it, send it in, and they do the rest. (They buy your items outright.)   I have purchased several items from these people and everything has been in like-new condition.  They sell some great brands at extremely affordable prices.

6PM

Image 6PM is a fantastic online shoe venue.  Good example….My favorite brand of shoes is El Naturalista.  I like these shoes because they are the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever worn.  They are a little edgy in appearance, and the company uses sustainable elements in their production.  The red shoes circled above retail for $170.  I bought them on 6 PM (at 6pm.com) for only $52!

Now, here is a little trick.  I like to go into high end shoe stores and try on the shoes that I find attractive.  When I find something that I like, 9 times out of 10, I can then find it on 6pm!   So, I find the right fit and style in the high end shops…but I spend my money online at 6pm.com!

One Kings Lane

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For high quality household and miscellaneous items, I shop One Kings Lane (at www.onekingslane.com)  As a die-hard foodie, I am very particular about my kitchen equipment.  One Kings Lane often sells great kitchen items like gourmet knives, indoor grills, pillows, rugs and all kinds of great things for the home at exceptionally discounted prices.

 

Brad’s Deals

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One of the best non-specific online shopping sites I have found is Brad’s Deals.  (www.bradsdeals.com) .

This is how it works.  You go to their website and sign up, free of charge.  After that, Brad’s Deals sends an email each day that highlights some of the best deals on the Internet.  Could be anything, from clothing to kitchen implements to camping gear to cosmetics.  You never know what they are going to feature next, but the prices are always low and the quality is usually (but not always) high. It all depends on what you get.   For instance, I recently purchased a $200 pair of Uggs summer wedges for $29!  They are stylin’ and comfy and look like a million bucks!  I like North Face brand outerwear, and Brad’s Deals frequently features their stuff at very reasonable prices.

 

There are many, many other online shopping clubs and bargain deals out there, and I use a lot of them.  I also shop at local Farmer’s Markets for fresh produce, go to our local Portland Saturday Market for handmade artisan crafts to give as gifts and make a lot of things myself!  No room for a garden?  Plant in pots!  No time to make those pillow covers that you want?  Use the Japanese fold and tie method.  In other words, you don’t have to have a lot of money to get high quality, earth friendly (for the most part) things that you adore.    Your consumer choices do make a big difference….so please make them wisely.

 

 

How do you like YOUR eggs? – Texas Eggs

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My friend and I are both fans of Trader Joe’s, and at times, we chat about our favorites during our phone conversations.  I don’t eat a lot of dairy products, but today I woke up and was hungry for some cheezy goodness, so I thought I’d whip up some of my Texas eggs.  This is an easy breakfast dish for a hearty appetite.  I certainly won’t be kissing anyone today….but the eggs were great.

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I started things off by chopping 1/8th of an onion, a BIG jalapeno, 2 cloves of garlic and an organic tomato which I lightly cooked in some olive oil.  Added a little sea salt and pepper.

While all that was cooking, I tossed in an organic corn tortilla.

ImageNext, came the veggie sausage.  I like Gimme Lean brand.

ImageAfter the sausage, came two cage-free eggs from New Seasons.

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I let them cook for a minute and then scrambled them with the veggies.

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Next, I added a handful of super-sharp, aged cheddar cheese.

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I cooked the mixture over low heat until the cheese had melted.  Then, I added some of my favorite salsa.  This is Trader Joe’s roasted tomatillo sauce.  It has heat, but also has an incredibly distinct, fresh flavor without being cloyingly salty, as are many prepared salsas.

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I mixed the salsa all around and simmered it in to distribute the flavor throughout the eggs.

Next, I loaded the mixture on top of the corn tortilla and added some fresh, chopped avocado.  Mmm!

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I added a little freshly ground black pepper and fresh squeezed lime juice to the avocado.

Ta daaaaaaaaa!

picture 10 - finished eggs

TEXAS EGGS!

Yum-o!!

You Have What it Takes to Wake Up

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NOTICE YOUR OPINIONS by Pema Chodron

“There is nobody on the planet, neither those whom we see as the oppressed nor those whom we see as the oppressor, who doesn’t have what it takes to wake up. We all need support and encouragement to be aware of what we think, what we say, and what we do. Notice your opinions. If you find yourself becoming aggressive about your opinions, notice that. If you find yourself being nonaggressive, notice that. Cultivating a mind that does not grasp at right and wrong, you will find a fresh state of being. The ultimate cessation of suffering comes from that. Finally, never give up on yourself. Then you will never give up on others. Wholeheartedly do what it takes to awaken your clear-seeing intelligence, but one day at a time, one moment at a time. If we live that way, we will benefit this earth.”


From her book When Things Fall Apart


http://pemachodronfoundation.org/store/buy-books/#fall-apart

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Soft, Gentle and Beautiful Portland

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I was talking on the phone this evening, with a friend who lives in a harsh climate, and I was trying to tell him what it is like here in Portland during the springtime.  I used the words “soft” and “gentle” and “loving” a “wonderland”…yet I still did not convey in words the wonders that I beheld on my walk today.  This is what happens when I attempt to tell people how beautiful it is here.  No one quite “gets it” because it is indescribably beautiful.  Portland DAZZLES!

Maybe these photos will give you some idea.   This is my neighborhood.

The first photo shows how it looks down the sidewalk in front of our house:

the hood

 

 

 

 

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green

 

 

 

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red tulips tulip and muscara