Monday, January 31

Mundane, Prosaic...

this is an audio post - click to play

My Sister, Beth

This is shamelessly recycled from an email to my dear friend Sophie, who wrote something in response to my work in progress about horses.

I wrote:
That horse symbolism is very powerful, very deep. When I was very young, I took riding lessons -- because my sister did. She had a pony named Blaze, then later a horse named Kool. One day, I was bareback on a neighbor's horse in the ring, while my sister guided the horse (Caliph? I think) on a lead line. She said, "I'm going to let out the line more so he can jump." There was a little jump in the center of the ring. Because I was bareback and only had Caliph's silver mane to hold onto, I said, "No, don't." A couple of turns later she did. Caliph went over the jump and I fell off, landing on my arm. Nothing broken, but it knocked the wind out of me.

That was the last time I ever rode.

/memory lane

The fact that I never rode again has NOTHING to do with horses. I still love horses, and I'm not afraid of them.

My arm was not broken in the fall, but my trust was.

I should go riding again someday...

Sunday, January 30

Darkness Made Visible

I don't ask for much; I'm pretty low maintenance. But now I'm asking: please visit Darkness Made Visible, the website of deviantARTist Ron Bay (Bark). The more I see Ron's work, the more I want to see Ron's work.

WIP - Temperance

Well, I'm getting a lot of negative responses (well, mainly from Gini
and Sophie, really) about the inapproriateness of the anthropomorphized
cat on the Temperance card (which is not just about balance but about
tempering, alchemical mixing -- like anthropomorphism, y'know?) so I
may be abandoning this version of Temperance and starting over from

But I don't care what anybody else says, this image resonates with me.

If my cat had opposable thumbs and a chemistry set, she could probably
take over the world if she wanted to.

Unconscious Mutterings

  1. Coroner:: Quincy
  2. Mystify:: heart
  3. Corroborate:: firm
  4. Misinterpret:: analyze
  5. Humorless:: poet
  6. Calculus:: geometry
  7. Eye for an eye:: blind
  8. CPR:: heart
  9. Stitched:: up
  10. Facility:: ease

Two hearts in this one.

Saturday, January 29


this is an audio post - click to play

Work-In-Progress: Horses

Work-in-progress from the series, "Another Horsedreamer's Blues."

"...she's trying to be a good girl / give 'em what they want /
Margery's dreaming of horses..." -- Adam Duritz

45 Mercy Street by Anne Sexton

In my dream,
drilling into the marrow
of my entire bone,
my real dream,
I'm walking up and down Beacon Hill
searching for a street sign --
Not there.

I try the Back Bay.
Not there.
Not there.
And yet I know the number.
45 Mercy Street.
I know the stained-glass window
of the foyer,
the three flights of the house
with its parquet floors.
I know the furniture and
mother, grandmother, great-grandmother,
the servants.
I know the cupboard of Spode
the boat of ice, solid silver,
where the butter sits in neat squares
like strange giant's teeth
on the big mahogany table.
I know it well.
Not there.

Where did you go?
45 Mercy Street,
with great-grandmother
kneeling in her whale-bone corset
and praying gently but fiercely
to the wash basin,
at five A.M.
at noon
dozing in her wiggy rocker,
grandfather taking a nap in the pantry,
grandmother pushing the bell for the downstairs maid,
and Nana rocking Mother with an oversized flower
on her forehead to cover the curl
of when she was good and when she was...
And where she was begat
and in a generation
the third she will beget,
with the stranger's seed blooming
into the flower called Horrid.

I walk in a yellow dress
and a white pocketbook stuffed with cigarettes,
enough pills, my wallet, my keys,
and being twenty-eight, or is it forty-five?
I walk. I walk.
I hold matches at street signs
for it is dark,
as dark as the leathery dead
and I have lost my green Ford,
my house in the suburbs,
two little kids
sucked up like pollen by the bee in me
and a husband
who has wiped off his eyes
in order not to see my inside out
and I am walking and looking
and this is no dream
just my oily life
where the people are alibis
and the street is unfindable for an
entire lifetime.

Pull the shades down --
I don't care!
Bolt the door, mercy,
erase the number,
rip down the street sign,
what can it matter,
what can it matter to this cheapskate
who wants to own the past
that went out on a dead ship
and left me only with paper?

Not there.

I open my pocketbook,
as women do,
and fish swim back and forth
between the dollars and the lipstick.
I pick them out,
one by one
and throw them at the street signs,
and shoot my pocketbook
into the Charles River.
Next I pull the dream off
and slam into the cement wall
of the clumsy calendar
I live in,
my life,
and its hauled up

Thursday, January 27

Flutterby (Modified by Brian Kelley)

New Intuitive Painting (Modified by Brian Kelley)

When I was meditating this morning, I was starting to get
concentrated... and as often happens at that time, images started to
arise, quick flashes like dream imagery. (I once talked to Leigh about
this, and he says that this is not uncommon, it seems to happen with
one of his students on every retreat -- and I recall something in Ajahn
Maha Boowa's book saying that this happens to about 1 out of 20 or 25
people... but I digress).

Anyway, this image arose, and I tried to paint it. Some details are
different, but the basic image is the same.

Title: Line

Wednesday, January 26


Since Flickr has flaked out, I've found a new way to get pictures up on this here blog: I email them directly to blogger, with the text of the email as the post and the attachment comes through. Sweet!

Kudos to the Blogger folks; this is a first-rate web app.

The Empress

It's good to be the queen...


Meditations recently have been somewhat bouncy and distracted -- look, a shiny thing! -- but today settled into a very pleasant experience, very much grounded in the body. Kept coming back to the heart center, breathing out the phrase, "May all beings be happy at heart." I feel very peaceful.

Tuesday, January 25

Flaky Flickr

Flickr is being flaky, so the new stuff I've been trying to post isn't coming through to Blogger. Please see my deviantART gallery if you're interested.

If not: not.

Monday, January 24

this is an audio post - click to play

Unconscious Mutterings

Material world::spirits

Satin sheets::naked


Real estate::up

Dress up::play






Sunday, January 23

The Subsistence Heart

How long
Did I live
On fortune cookies and parsley sprigs,
Soy sauce packets and
Water from the aquarium
In some doctor's waiting room?

Saturday, January 22

this is an audio post - click to play

Review of "The Stepford Wives"

See: review of "The Stepford Wives" on DVD, over on our Movie Lovers blog.

Friday, January 21

5 Things To Do At The End Of A Sitting Meditation

via the website of my teacher, Leigh Brasington

Five things to do at the end of a sitting:

1. Recapitulation - what did I do and how did I get there
2. Impermanence - all these high, but mundane, states are now gone
3. Insights - did I get any; what were they
4. Dedicate the merit from this sitting for the liberation of all beings
5. Resolve to be mindful as I get up and go about my activities

5 Things To Do At The Start Of A Sitting Meditation

via my teacher, Leigh Brasington.

Five things to do at the start of a sitting:

1. Gratitude
2. Why am I doing this
3. Work up some determination
4. "Breathing in I calm body and mind, breathing out I smile."
5. Metta - always for yourself, others as well if you wish

Return of The Movie Lovers

A long while back Gini and I did a his and hers movie review site on Geocities called "The Movie Lovers." Now we are resurrecting that in modern, blog form (so much easier than mucking about with the html).

Hurry and take your seats: the opening credits are rolling now.

The Movie Lovers

Thursday, January 20

Waiting For Rusty

this is an audio post - click to play

High Priestess Card

High Priestess Card
Originally uploaded by upasakabrian.

The High Priestess of the Tarot Deck.


Apple Remote Desktop

It may not be their sexiest product, but I LOVE LOVE LOVE Apple's Remote Desktop. I can see what's going on on Gini's computer and help her if she's having trouble... I can now print from the Print Center without having to get out of my chair... I can use the bedroom computer and still have access to my main machine in my studio (AKA the living room).

No one with a home network of Macs should be without this insanely useful product.

[/unsolicited testimonial]

Wednesday, January 19

Free The Associations!

From Unconscious Mutterings

  1. Yoda:: wisdom
  2. Mensa:: smart
  3. Pink:: vagina
  4. Text message:: phone
  5. Galactic:: hitchhiker
  6. Chicks:: hens
  7. Quesadilla:: yum
  8. Backpack:: travel
  9. Socket:: light
  10. Compromise:: do


Originally uploaded by upasakabrian.

Alternate take on Card 1 of Tarot's Major Arcana, The Magician.

Another artist joked that she didn't want to do yet another version of the magician that looked like John Travolta in "Saturday Night Fever."

Tuesday, January 18


Originally uploaded by upasakabrian.

Work In Progress -- Card 2 of the Tarot, The High Priestess.


Originally uploaded by upasakabrian.

"I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.

I loafe and invite my soul,
I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass.

My tongue, every atom of my blood, form'd from this soil, this air,
Born here of parents born here from parents the same, and their
parents the same,
I, now thirty-seven years old in perfect health begin,
Hoping to cease not till death.

Creeds and schools in abeyance,
Retiring back a while sufficed at what they are, but never forgotten,
I harbor for good or bad, I permit to speak at every hazard,
Nature without check with original energy. "

--Walt Whitman, Song of Myself

Note: I am, at the time of this writing, like Whitman, 37 years old...

Sunday, January 16

this is an audio post - click to play

The Magician (Revised)

Originally uploaded by upasakabrian.

Revised version of The Magician tarot card, edited by me and by my good lady wife, gincon.


My astrological reading from Barbara Ivacek, done on 1/14/05, is available for downloading as an MP3 in a zip archive here:


The zip file is a 46 Mb download, and the reading lasts approximately 56 minutes.

And the future's so bright, I gotta wear shades... B-)

Friday, January 14

Astrological Addendum

When I told Barbara the Tarot card I was currently working on was The Magician, she laughed and exclaimed, "Well that's YOUR card!"

The Astrological Reading

I had my reading with Barbara Ivacek today, and it went well beyond what I could have hoped for. She agreed to be on speakerphone so that I could record the reading onto my computer via a program called Express Dictate, and I then used AudioHijack and iTunes to convert it to an MP3 file... an hourlong read compresses nicely down to 64 Mb...

I'm bursting to tell all about the reading, but I think I need to sit with it for a while, to let it all marinate... But one thing, the biggest thing: a conjunction of the sun and Uranus is going to happen in March, what Barbara described as a "once in a lifetime transit." Intensely good aspect; she used words like enlightenment, illuminating, ascending. We were both delighted when I told her that March happens to be the time when I'll be at the monthlong meditation retreat... Oh boy...

So much great news, and so much insight.

Oh, and Barbara was very encouraging about the Tarot Challenge -- she can't see me ever doing readings (although she says I certainly had the psychic facility for that) but that doing a new deck would definitely be cool...

The funniest moment was when she pointed out that as far as career: I have no planets at all in that house. The overwhelming majority of the planets are in the 12th house, the Pisces house, the house of the Spiritual Seeker, the Artist, and the Healer...

Do Yourself A Favor

If you want to...check out visual stimulation, the art blog of diosapderdida, aka Rebecca Lopez, aka Brat In Boots. Extravagantly gifted, honest, candid... Becky's the most talented artist I've seen. Truly, no hyperbole. She's the real deal. Look no further.

Check her out, and while you're at it, head over to her page at deviantART.

WIP - The Magician

WIP - The Magician
Originally uploaded by upasakabrian.

Work In Progress -- The Magician. For the Tarot Challenge 2005 at deviantART.

Thursday, January 13

Buddha Rupa

Originally uploaded by upasakabrian.

Buddha rupa. Began with a photograph of a staue on my altar, then desaturated and painted over in Corel Painter.

Wednesday, January 12


Originally uploaded by upasakabrian.

Made with an eye toward my natal chart.

Sun in Pisces. Born 2/27/67 at 8 AM in Albany, NY, USA.

The central image of my natal chart comes via the website, Dancehammer Communications Starbase - Astrological Web Application.

Tuesday, January 11

Night Horse

On Friday, I have an appointment with Night Horse, AKA Barabara Ivacek, to interpret my natal chart.

I'm very excited.


Originally uploaded by upasakabrian.

Diddled in Corel Painter IX, using the zoom blur.


Originally uploaded by upasakabrian.

Original photo, taken with my back to the sun, shadow cast on a snow-toupeed boulder in the woods behind Prestwick Chase...

WIP "Tarahlynn's Frustration"

WIP "Tarahlynn's Frustration"
Originally uploaded by upasakabrian.

Work In Progress, "Tarahlynn's Frustration"

Sketch of "Frustration"

Sketch of "Frustration"
Originally uploaded by upasakabrian.

Early sketch of "Tarahlynn's Frustration"

Of Course I'm From Neptune, I'm A Pisces!

You Are From Neptune

You are dreamy and mystical, with a natural psychic ability.
You love music, poetry, dance, and (most of all) the open sea.
Your soul is filled with possibilities, and your heart overflows with compassion.
You can be in a room full of friendly people and feel all alone.
If you don't get carried away with one idea, your spiritual nature will see you through anything.

What Planet Are You From?

Monday, January 10

Parking Lot Glacier

Parking Lot Glacier
Originally uploaded by upasakabrian.

Landscapes of wonder on the edge of a parking lot. From a series of photos taken 01-07-05

My deviantART ID

My deviantART ID
Originally uploaded by upasakabrian.

For identification. Based on a photo taken 01-07-05.


Reposted from my journal on deviantART...

"I see you averting your glances
I see you cheering on the war
I see you ignoring your children
And I love you still
And I love you still

I see you altering history
I see you abusing the land
I see you and your selective amnesia
And I love you still
And I love you still

--Alanis Morissette, Choruses from "Still"

Mood: Peaceful
Listening to: "Still" by Alanis Morissette
Reading: "On Photography" by Susan Sontag

A pleasantly peaceful equanimity has emerged. Acceptance, balance, letting go of those things which only cause tension and disturbance. Cravings arise and pass. No big deal.

Yesterday our friend Laura took me to the store called "A.C. Moore" to help me buy mats and frames for the prints I ordered from the devART printing service. We had a lot of fun picking them out -- she usually agonizes over decisions like these, but I quickly found what felt right, and went with them. It doesn't always have to be a struggle. It didn't cost very much, either: 3 mats and 3 frames for under $40 USD.

Hopefully next weekend we can get to doing the actual matting and framing.

Then we went over to her house and I installed some software (Photoshop Elements and Painter Classic) and hardware (an old CD burner and USB harddrive we haven't been using).

Then we picked up takeout and came home to the Sovereign Kingdom of Bunnyland, benevolently ruled over by Queen Gini and King Bri. Laura's fella, Rusty, joined us, and the four of us had great food for dinner (Thai, sushi, and stuff from the health food store).

Rusty had previously burned a CD of themes from TV shows and movies, and we had a rollicking time playing a game of "MediaPedia." (My name for the game, "Vast Wasteland" was summarily voted down. )

Then we played the Alphabet Game (going around in a circle: A is for Argumentative, B is for Blissful, etc.) and "That Reminds Me Of...", the free association game. Much psychological insight could have been garnered, so it's a good thing no mental health professionals were present.

Much gratitude to have such good friends, like-minded companions. They bless this life richly and lavishly.

Saturday, January 8


Originally uploaded by upasakabrian.

Photomanipulation done in Corel Painter from 2 stock photos...

Visualizing Metta

Visualizing Metta
Originally uploaded by upasakabrian.

A visualization of the practice of metta, or loving-kindness meditation.

Based on 2 stock photos.

Accidental Cruciform

Accidental Cruciform
Originally uploaded by upasakabrian.

The jet's contrail forms the crosspiece against the tree. Completely serendipitous...


You Are a Prophet Soul

You are a gentle soul, with good intentions toward everyone.
Selfless and kind, you have great faith in people.
Sometimes this faith can lead to disappoinment in the long run.
No matter what, you deal with everything in a calm and balanced way.

You are a good interpreter, very sensitive, intuitive, caring, and gentle.
Concerned about the world, you are good at predicting people's feelings.
A seeker of wisdom, you are a life long learner looking for purpose and meaning.
You are a great thinker and communicator, but not necessarily a doer.

Souls you are most compatible with: Bright Star Soul and Dreaming Soul

What Kind of Soul Are You?


Two exits, no waiting.

Mood: Sick
Listening to: "Trouble Me" by Natalie Merchant (10,000 Maniacs)
Reading: "How to Draw the Human Figure"

This is an excellent time for reflecting on the suffering inherent in bodies. This body is subject to aging; it has not gone beyond aging. This body is subject to illness; it has not gone beyond illness. And this body is subject to death; it has not gone beyond death.

The Buddha recommended certain reflections to the monks and nuns during times of sickness. In the Nakulapita Sutta, the Buddha said:

"The body is afflicted, weak, & encumbered. For who, looking after this body, would claim even a moment of true health, except through sheer foolishness? So you should train yourself: 'Even though I may be afflicted in body, my mind will be unafflicted.' That is how you should train yourself."

Venerable Sariputta later amplifies:

"There is the case where an uninstructed, run-of-the-mill person -- who has no regard for noble ones, is not well-versed or disciplined in their Dhamma; who has no regard for men of integrity, is not well-versed or disciplined in their Dhamma -- assumes form (the body) to be the self, or the self as possessing form, or form as in the self, or the self as in form. He is seized with the idea that 'I am form' or 'Form is mine.' As he is seized with these ideas, his form changes & alters, and he falls into sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair over its change & alteration."

Friday, January 7

Sitting In The Fire

From Pema Chodron, about being on the path you're on and finding yourself called upon to help people in extremely painful situations.

I once asked a spiritual teacher what happens as your life gets smoother, and he said you have to up the ante and go into more and more difficult situations. You have the capacity to go into the hell realms of the world and help the people there because you're less triggered by how awful things are. As your own life gets smoother, you can move closer to people who are in severe mental or physical anguish, because you no longer have any fear of it, and therefore you can be of some help.

A Contract With Eisner's Spirit -- MC Escher Remix

A Contract With Eisner's Spirit -- MC Escher Remix
Originally uploaded by upasakabrian.

Full Title: "A Contract With Eisner's Spirit -- MC Escher Remix."

And if that weren't enough, I think the elongated legs might have come from DJ "Jazzy" Dali...

Now *there's* a name for an artistic hip-hop act: MC Escher & DJ "Jazzy" Dali. Because I'm the oldest of old school, yo.

Thursday, January 6

A Contract With Eisner's Spirit

A Contract With Eisner's Spirit
Originally uploaded by upasakabrian.

The recently departed Will Eisner authored the comic strip "The Spirit" and the pioneering graphic novel "A Contract With God"...

Major Arcana: The Hanged Man

Major Arcana: The Hanged Man
Originally uploaded by upasakabrian.

The Hanged Man of the Tarot Deck's Major Arcana.

Description from "Tarot's Hanged Man" by Nina Lee Braden
The Hanged Man often refers to taking time out for spiritual searching, perhaps using "unconventional means" of searching. It involves changing directions or perspectives. There is an element of waiting involved and sometimes sacrifice. It can indicate a Rite of Passage, an initiation or a transition. The card has sometimes been called the card of the Dying God. The Hanged Man means listening to your inner self, sometimes even when it seems to go against logic. It means looking at things in new and different ways. It also indicates unconventional behavior. It is a time of being alone often and reflects the need to withdraw from time to time in order to recharge or regroup your inner energies.

Wednesday, January 5

Indian tsunami survivors...

Originally uploaded by heterotopias.

from Flickr

Indian tsunami survivors wait for food at a tsunami relief centre in Nagapattinam, 350 km (219 miles) south of the Indian city of Madras, January 3, 2005. India said on Monday its tsunami toll has risen to 15,160 dead or presumed dead as the number of confirmed deaths rose in southern Tamil Nadu state and more missing were reported from the Andaman and Nicobar islands

REUTERS/Arko Datta

Uploaded by heterotopias on 5 Jan '05, 10.14am EST


Originally uploaded by upasakabrian.

A photomanipulation, made to assist in sending prayers and thoughts of compassion & good will.

Will Eisner, Rest In Peace, Please

Another of the greats has passed. Will Eisner, creator of the comic "The Spirit" and a seminal figure in the world of graphic novels, has passed away. He was 87.

Anyone at all interested in how comics work should avail themselves of Mr. Eisner's groundbreaking book, "Comics and Sequential Art." That work comes with the highest possible recommendation. (It should be kept in a place of honor along with Scott McCloud's "Understanding Comics.")

Tuesday, January 4

On Susan Sontag's Photograph

Originally uploaded by upasakabrian.

When I learned of the recent death of Susan Sontag, it affected me more strongly than I could have predicted, and I remain unsure why this should be so. But so it is, and this painting is part of my effort to acknowledge and investigate the unexpected intensity of this reaction. I suspect it's a displacement; other emotions in my life, recent stressors, going underground and emerging at a safer distance...

Susan Sontag passed away on Tuesday, December 28, 2004, after a long struggle with cancer. She was 71 years old.

Monday, January 3

YA Geek Quiz

Yet Another Geek Quiz

You are 34% geek
You are a geek liaison, which means you go both ways. You can hang out with normal people or you can hang out with geeks which means you often have geeks as friends and/or have a job where you have to mediate between geeks and normal people. This is an important role and one of which you should be proud. In fact, you can make a good deal of money as a translator.

Normal: Tell our geek we need him to work this weekend.

You [to Geek]: We need more than that, Scotty. You'll have to stay until you can squeeze more outta them engines!

Geek [to You]: I'm givin' her all she's got, Captain, but we need more dilithium crystals!

You [to Normal]: He wants to know if he gets overtime.

Take the Polygeek Quiz at

Yuletide 2004 Movie Online

The "Yuletide 2004" movie is now online.

These are days you'll remember
Never before and never since (I promise)
Will the whole world be warm as this
And as you feel it
You'll know it's true:
That you are blessed and lucky
It's true that you are touched by something
That'll grow and bloom in you
--Natalie Merchant, "These Are Days"

Sunday, January 2


Originally uploaded by upasakabrian.

Clockwise: Brian, Jeff, and Gini. Photo by Daisy.


Originally uploaded by upasakabrian.

The classic New Year's Eve photo. Jeff, Daisy, and Gini. Raise your flute and salute a digit turning from a 4 to a 5! Huzzah!


Originally uploaded by upasakabrian.

The bunnies, and one of the Mommy's fingers, for contrast. Awww, aren't they sweet?


Originally uploaded by upasakabrian.

The bunnies. Gini showing off her new Evenstar pendant, a replica of the one Arwen gave to Aragorn in "The Fellowship of the Ring" (chapter 21 on the DVD)

"It is mine to give to whom I choose... like my heart."


Originally uploaded by upasakabrian.

Our wonderful Mommy, the founder of our feast. Isn't she lovely? Boxing Day, 2004


Originally uploaded by upasakabrian.

Our buddy Rusty and his lovely daughter Bly, Boxing Day, 2004. Doesn't he look delighted about having his photo taken? But isn't Bly lovely?

Saturday, January 1

Must Remember To Eat More Curry, To Remember To Eat More Curry, To Remember To...

New study appears to show that eating curry can help treat Alzheimer's.

I'll have what she's having... whoever she is... do I know you?

On Copyrighted Material

On Copyrighted Material
Originally uploaded by upasakabrian.

The full title is "On Copyrighted Material: Being A Screenshot Of A Copyrighted Blank Page From An Excerpt Of The Recently Departed Susan Sontag's Book 'On Photography,' As Found On"

I can't say for sure, but I'm guessing that whoever sloganized "Information Wants To Be Free!" was probably not a bookseller.

©2005 Brian Kelley

On The Passing Away of Susan Sontag

Brilliant essayist Susan Sontag has passed away. Her piece in the NYT on the Abu Ghraib photos influenced my art in an obvious, direct way. Her observations in books like "On Photography," and "Regarding The Pain of Others" should survive for quite a bit longer than her body. She had vision, the words to express her insights, and a formidably analytical mind.

I would like to read more of "On Photography," especially. Maybe it's time to buy the book, or at least get it from the library. The excerpts are so good, I can't imagine the book would disappoint.

Rest in peace, Susan, and while you're at it, look at the birdie and smile for the camera. Say cheese!

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?