Getting the most out of 88 piano keys…

Inspiring M*U*S*I*C :   Hauschka

Beautiful music using ping pong balls, barbecue skewers and electrical tape?  Before I would have doubted, but I am now a believer.

In this incredible display of human creativity, German-born musician Hauschka creates an amazing layered sound by inserting objects like ping-pong balls, aluminum foil or leather in between the  strings or by attaching them to the hammers of his piano.

Hauschka (whose real name is Volker Bertelmann)  is an independent musician  who uses objects to “prepare”  his piano, in a style known as “prepared piano technique”.  This delightful tradition seemed quite revolutionary to me at first, but it actually dates back to  late 19th and early 20th century with French composer Erik Satie.

Take a listen to Satie’s Gymnopedie No. 1, and you can hear where Hauschka got his inspiration.

Independent experimental musican Hauschka hails from Dusseldorf, Germany

To learn more about Hauschka, visit his official webpage here or a music biography at

Other Videos from the NPR sessions in October of 2010:

  • Hauschka at NPR:  Mount Hood 
  • Hauschka at NPR: Improvisation 
  • Hauschka at NPR: Deconstruction

Happiness is like a butterfly…

Happiness is like a butterfly...

Look who was in my greenhouse this morning!

“I am a happy camper so I guess I’m doing something right. Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.”
― Henry David Thoreau

Inspiring: R*E*C*I*P*E*S Georgia Jean’s Famous Potato Salad

“If you want to understand any woman you must first ask about her mother and then listen carefully. Stories about food show a strong connection. Wistful silences demonstrate unfinished business. The more a daughter knows about the details of her mother’s life – without flinching or whining – the stronger the daughter.”

-Anita Diamant, THE RED TENT

Mom’s potato salad with a sprig of wild mountain parsley harvested from just outside my backdoor,

If there is a taste of summer for me, it would have to be my mom Georgia’s potato salad.

Tangy, creamy, and a perfect blend of flavors make up this delicious and cooling summer salad.  When ever there was a gathering and you were asked to bring a dish to share, my mom almost always brought her salad.Continue reading “Inspiring: R*E*C*I*P*E*S Georgia Jean’s Famous Potato Salad”

60 Tips for a Stunningly Great Life

“We are all here for some special reason. Stop being a prisoner of your past. Become the architect of your  future.”     –Robin Sharma

This is a great list  from Robin Sharma (author of  The Monk who sold his Ferrari) that is beautifully simple but rings so much truth.

If we all could put even a handful of these into action in our own lives, imagine the life we could live.  A life lived well is an inspiration to every soul you come into contact with.  Enjoy!

1. Exercise daily.

2. Get serious about gratitude.

3. See your work as a craft.

4. Expect the best and prepare for the worst.

5. Keep a journal.

6. Read “The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin”.

7. Plan a schedule for your week.

8. Know the 5 highest priorities of your life.Continue reading “60 Tips for a Stunningly Great Life”

Vochol: Art on Wheels

While coming into the Denver International Airport recently, I came across this little gem.  Incredible!  This VW beetle, called “Vochol”, was created by 8 artists from the states of Jalisco and Nayarit in Mexico over an 8 month period.   In this traditional artform,  glass or plastic beads are pressed into wax to form intricate patterns signifigant in the culture, such as deer, eagles, or scorpions.

Here are some stats on what it took to make this one of a kind bug:

  • 8 artists
  • 9,408 hours
  • 2,277,000 beads!!!

The VW beetle was designed to highlight the centuries old tradition of the Huichol people while raise awareness of a slowly fading indigenous culture.  The Vochol has impressed people in museums of both Mexico and the US, as well as other locations.  Before being at DIA, it was at the Smithsonian, and will be on display until August 31, 2012.

As a quick side note, as I was standing there taking photos, a band starting playing, and as I glanced over, I saw a guy down on one knee proposing to his girlfriend.  I guess this bug really WAS inspiring.  Enjoy!

Cool Mexico City Metro Project

Close your eyes.  No, really.  Image a place you would LOVE to be transported to magically.  What image comes to mind?

Well, I crossed paths here with an Australian guy living and working in Mexico City doing a project that transported me straight into one of my favorite cities in the world!

Mexico City, in all it’s craziness,  is a city that I love to visit, and it has popped up here in my *Inspiring A*R*T…Street Art! ” and my “Inspiring C*I*T*I*E*S: Mexico City” posts.  Peter Davies is documenting all the some 148  metro stations in the metro area in the Mexico City Metro Project in photographs.  His photos  highlight the bustling streets surrounding the stations, street art, people, food… name it!  Having visited many stations in the city, I really felt like I was there!

So if you love Mexico City, or are just generally curious, I would recommend checking out his blog.  He is also documenting it on his Matador Network page.

Here are some fun facts about the Mexico City metro:

  • At 3 pesos, it is the 5th cheapest fare in the world.
  •  At an average 1417 millions passengers a year, it is the 5th most traveled metro after the other mega cities of Tokyo, Moscow, New York, and Seoul.
  • Lance Wyman designed the logos and typography for the 1968 Summer Olympic games held in the city.
  • The metro system opened on Septemeber 4th 1969.
  • The colorful logos were designed to be recognizable visually, taking into account the high illiteracy rate at the time.
  • During the 8.1 magnitude earthquake that rocked the city on September 25th, 1985, the metro was not damaged, because of it’s rectangular structural design versus arches.

Public transportation rocks, and using it is a small step you can take to lighten your impact on our great green earth.  What  public or alternative transportation options are you using in your town of city?

Street mural in Ataco, El Salvador

Street mural in Ataco, El Salvador

Lovely mural taken in the region known as “Ruta de las Flores” in Ataco, El Salvador. Loved how the painted skyline blends into the real one above!

I photographed it while backpacking from Panama to Mexico with good friend Chris Shackley a few years back.

Inspiring A*R*T…Street Art!

I love art in public places.

It can make a social commentary, make you think a little more, or just give life  and beauty to our public spaces.  Often when I see street art I am impressed by the artistic expression and detail that goes into these masterpieces.

Or sometimes, if it is in a bizarre, hard-to-get-to-location, I think “how did they manage to paint THAT place?”

Here is a small photo essay documenting some street art I encountered during my time in Mexico this spring in the Oaxaca, Puebla, and Mexico City.  Enjoy and please feel free to share any cool street art you have come across in your travels or in your hometown!

If you are interested in a few other cool projects in other parts of the world, check these out too….

Living Wall Project, Russia:  Street artist Nikita Nomerz is giving life to abandoned structures around Russia by painting faces on them.

The Underbelly Project, New York City, USA:  A group of street artist went underground in NYC to paint an abandoned subway station in the Underbelly Project.

Two Figures, Oaxaca City

Luchador, Oaxaca City
Oaxacan woman, Oaxaca City
Fish biking, Mexico City
Calle Regina, Mexico City

The Virgin of Guadalupe Detail, Calle Regina, Mexico City
Monkey Santa, Mexico City

The Wooden Smoker, Oaxaca City

Monster Party, Oaxaca City

Masked Monster, Oaxaca City

Share this:

Like this:

%d bloggers like this: