Sunday, February 3, 2008 --- It's been so long...since I've seen you, my old friend...

I have missed my poor blog. I didn't realize how close we had become...until I couldn't spend time with it? (Do blogs have gender identities? Hmmmmm. Perhaps that could be a future post topic...) Anyway, in pondering my remorse for being such a bad blogger -- a great song popped into my head about friends -- by Joan Armatrading.

Now, before you go and think I am in my late 40's or early 50's, I'm not. Of course, I have had grey hair since I was 19 years old -- so perhaps I have an old soul? That aside, I got into Joan as a kid because my mom used to listen to her all the well as Maria Muldaur, Cat Stevens, Joni Mitchell, et al. Her "Me Myself I" album has long been one of my favorite selections to listen to when I am feeling moody and introspective. So, in honor of my good friend-blog, I'd like to share this great song, "Friends", with you all. Might I suggest a nice glass of wine -- or your favorite smooth spirit of choice -- before you listen? Joan's voice is deep, rich and strong -- I find that it kind of sinks into you like the heat of swallowing a luscious gulp of red wine...I find Amaretto di Saronno works well, too. Anyway, I've included the lyrics here for your enhanced enjoyment. I'll be back soon...thanks for hanging in there with me, everybody!

[ Sidenote: Congrats to the GIANTS!! Woohoo! You can take the Butterfly out of New York, but you can't take the New Yorker out of the Butterfly! ;-D ]


[It seems as though the closing embed tag keeps getting dropped when publishing -- which makes the song player not want to work in Mozilla -- probably cock-sucking-Blogger's fault...What else is new?]

Friends by Joan Armatrading

It's been so long
Since I've seen you
My old friend
I remember your eyes
How they would shine
Those crazy times
When you and I
Fooled around
I remember the time
You fell in love
Didn't know how
To say goodbye
To your baby
And you made me take
The goodbye note
And that little girl
She cried and cried
And she asked me if
I knew exactly why
You'd gone
I told a lie
I said you felt
She'd be much happier
With someone else
But then you'd do
The same for me
Remember when
We stayed out late
We'd cause a fight
But we would never stay
To the end
I loved you then
I love you still
You know I think
I always will
You're a good friend
A good friend
To me
Who was it
Who came for me when I was
Stranded in the bad man's land
Who was it
Who put up bail for me when I was
So desperate to get out
Who believed with me
That I was not guilty
Who gave me beer when I was thirsty
And who gave me twenty-five dollars to hold

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Wednesday, December 5, 2007 --- Today's Question: Whether to shit or go blind?

See that beautiful tree with its orange and red leaves? Up until this morning, that tree was merrily going about its business believing that it was still Fall in Virginia. It has been so warm here, that our leaves changed very late and have been holding on to some of the trees longer than usual. But this morning, we had our first snow of the season...and let's just say that the poor tree doesn't know "whether to shit or go blind..."

It is very odd to be looking at the colorful foliage covered with snow...but the contrast sure is lovely!

I thought the berries on this tree were pretty, surrounded by the fresh new snow...Needless to say, it is a perfect day for hot beverages and wood burning in the fireplace.

Welcome Winter! You are beautiful.

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Sunday, September 23, 2007 --- Fun with Eggs on the Autumnal Equinox!

Today was the Autumnal Equinox -- a rare opportunity for eggs to stand up on end! Here are two eggs that I spent some time photographing this afternoon by candlelight...

...different angle...

...sepia toned...'cause I liked the way this looked too!

...sepia toned again...

And finally, by natural light, just for the fun of it. Took this one with my phone camera -- still came out pretty good for a phone picture!

Hello, Autumn! Let the Dance of the Leaves begin...

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Thursday, September 6, 2007 --- A modest collection in a wooden box...

Another thing I love...this contains my collection of tavern puzzles. They often get mistaken for Medieval torture devices which rather amuses me. But, I also think they are beautiful examples of Blacksmith art.

I do not have a very large collection -- I only have eight puzzles currently, but I would like to expand it further. This is a good Christmas gift idea for anyone who wants to jot it down [Hint: mom].

We have pictured here, left to right, top to bottom:

Row 1: Double Bypass, Blackbeard's Revenge, Dirty Dog
Row 2: Patience Puzzle, Long Island Catch, Satan's Stirrup
Row 3: Double Trouble, Matched Set

For more information on these puzzles, visit the wonderful world of Tucker-Jones House, Inc.

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Saturday, August 11, 2007 --- Studies in Facial Symmetry...the Amber Valletta series.

As a graphic designer, photo editing softwares like Photoshop and Fireworks are a part of my everyday life. But, when I am not using these programs for a design project, I love to edit and manipulate photos purely for the fun of it. I suppose you could call it one of my "hobbies"...

One of my favorite things to do is a Facial Symmetry study. The majority of us have extremely assymetrical features...and, if you have ever done one of these on yourself, you will probably get very disturbing results! Typically, one side (half) of the face reflecting itself to create a "symmetrical whole" will produce a very strange-looking wide head, and the other half becomes a narrower head, or has what I call a "pinched" face. Trust me, generally, it is not very attractive. When I have done my own face in the past, one side produces a cute, wide-eyed and wide-foreheaded, semi-retarded-looking girl and the other side, looks like I was squeezed in a vice as a child...I shall call her "pinhead"!

Not too long ago, I was listening to an NPR or PRI podcast -- and I heard a story regarding the study of facial symmetry and attractiveness. I seem to recall it had something to do with criminals as well, but I have been unable to find the exact story on either website. [Connections between lack of symmetrical features = perceived ugliness = less-liked and fewer opportunities = tendency toward anti-social behavior = crime, etc.?? Something like that...]

Anyway, scientists have been doing variations of these facial symmetry studies, body proportion ratios, genetic health, etc. for a long time. The thing that stuck out to me in this story, is that they mentioned studying the faces of many people, famous and not famous, that were perceived universally by subjects as "beautiful" -- and it always came back to having high symmetry and particular facial size-ratios. The model Amber Valletta was mentioned as having one of the highest measured facial symmetries and almost perfect size-ratios -- and therefore, in the study, she rated very high with subjects on her "perceived" beauty. This got me would be interesting to do one of my Facial Symmetry studies on Amber Valletta's face!

I needed to find photos that were as "forward facing" as possible, preferably with a relatively "even" or "neutral" expression. I found three very interesting pictures to work with that I thought would yield interesting artistic results. As I began to work on them, I was truly amazed...I have never seen anything like this...

Normal Front View

Left-Side Symmetry ------------------- Right-Side Symmetry

There is almost no difference between her Left-Side Symmetry and her Normal Front View -- while she does still have some asymmetry (crooked smile, slight nostril difference, etc. which, personally, I think creates her most charming attribute, her impish grin) -- it is so slight that her Left-Side Symmetry could be a post-plastic-surgery "after" photo, displaying a minute nose job correction and right side chin implant. I would say this is her "too perfect" incarnation.

What is even more unusual, is that her Right-Side Symmetry looks completely normal. It does not look as much alike to her Normal View as the Left-Side Symmetry did, but it is still so much like her that it could be a slightly different "twin" sister. Neither one of these symmetries has any hint of being abnormal-looking, like you would expect to see with most faces. Indeed, apart from the "overly perfect" aspect of the exact-mirror symmetry, these women could be triplet sisters with small facial differences. This is incredibly unusual and I am amazed at how these pictures turned out.

These next two groups were very bizarre! I did them purely for the crazy symmetry fun of it -- to see what would happen! She still looks like a beautiful lady, but with some serious...ummmmmmm...birth defects?!? Yikes.

Normal Front View

Left-Side Symmetry ----------------- Right-Side Symmetry

Here is a body series, but again, aside from the weird shadows on the face and the crazy bodies, look at how much the face on the Right-Side Symmetry version still looks very normal!

[ I would recommend clicking on the image to zoom in on the face -- you'll see better how "normal" it looks close up. ]

Normal Front View

Left-Side Symmetry ----------------- Right-Side Symmetry

Photo credits:

Picture #1: Photo by Jeff Vespa/ - Image courtesy

Picture #2: Photo by Raymond Burrows

Picture #3:

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________ - THE BUTTERFLY BLOG - Copyright ©2007 Vanessa Lee Hamlen. All rights reserved.

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I am a graphic designer. I love animals and have quite a few pets. There is a frustrated DJ inside of me --- hence, my ongoing obsession with making music mixes.

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Musical Goodness

-- Music from Butterfly's personal library --

LORI'S LABOR: A collection of 6 unique playlists with varying intensity and mood for your listening pleasure! I created these original mixes for my friends to use during the labor and delivery of their first baby, Nicholas.

You can visit their blog here: ---> The Bridenstines!

Listen to my comical, purposefully nasal, total HAM-job submission to the 2007 Blogger Christmahanukwanzaakah Online Holiday Concert in the mini-player above!
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