Saturday, February 13, 2010

British Columbia Dead Man Valley

OK, to be honest, I made these pics sometime around 10 years ago, around the year 1999 or 2000. Nevertheless the present situation is probably very the same. What is time? So, I'll take you on a short virtual trip into some depts of Canada into some places that are quite distant from 'normal civilization'. Places where the next gas station is 90 miles away and the best place to shop is right in the woods, not kidding,nevertheless the licenses to fish are much more cheaper than in Europe or Austria. You get the permission (the licence to fish) and according to the season of the year it's allowed to fish certain kinds of fish.
We did some ice-fishing, however we didn't catch very much, nevertheless we caught enough to get a taste what the fishes are like here in British Columbia. And they were delicate (delicious).
10 years ago, this means around the time of a new millenium starting and more, a time before 9/11 happened, cheap flights from Europe to North America, no very tight security measures (just the usual hassles when dogs come to sniff at you because you've got an apple in your bag ('dangerous seeds that might threaten the dominance of Monsanto).
Our flight took us from Linz to Frankfurt to Vancouver. After spending a couple of days there we went with a greyhound bus to Kamloops. The driver of the bus was a former scientist in the atomic industries who had given up his job in order to drive a simple bus and to get engaged in local politics. In the bus there were also a young woman and a young man who had just returned from their trip to Europe and now came back to their home town Kamloops.
When we headed over a mountain and saw Kamloops down at our feet the young woman made a sigh and said "Ohhhhhh, Kamloops", which I guess was a sign of her love to her hometown.Though the young man and the young woman both grew up here in Kamloops they hadn't known each other. They made a date and today ... maybe they are a happy family, have babies, children ... don't kow. I didn't spy on them but they were sitting just in front of me and I couldn't help but checked their coversation, their comments about having been in Europe etc.
At Kamloops we got picked up by friends who came with an airconditioned Ford 450 pick-up truck. Airconditioning is very advisible in this area here. Winters are cold and the summers are hot. Though Canada got a lot of water rescources, there are areas which need artificial water supply. Ginseng is grown here ...
So we got picked up and drove some 100 miles to an area which is called 'dead man valley'. Well it looked like there would have died more than one man :) no, just kidding. People are dying all over the world and no one makes a big fuss about it, or shuldn't in order to make people depressive when they haven't got plans for more than one life.
After driving miles and miles through endless woods and along lakes we find ourselves in an area with some wooden lodges, huts, horses and corals. Actually it looks like some areas in the Austrian Alps, however the huts are somehow different and there are even tipis standing around.
Indian culture has left it's influences in this area here. When driving here we passed by some Indian graveyards. In the time of the 19th century passing over to the 20th century there was the influenca here that killed hundreds and thousands of Indians. Unlike the European invaders they were not resistant against this virus. In such a case and with lacking medical resources you don't have much choices ... you just die when you get such a virus.
As we make the decision to live a little bit longer, we have to chop some wood because the nights are still pretty cold here.
It's also a nice idea to have a fire outside, where you can return when you hands get cold. The wood is a bit damp so it makes lots of smoke. Hm ... smoke signs ... have been used by Indians to communicate across wider destinations. If you want to communicate by this way you'll need a bunch of people who hold a carpet or blanket over the fire to keep the smoke from escaping. And then in certain rhythms you let the smoke escape which produces smoke clouds or smoke balloons rising to the sky. Hm, I don't think the Indians used Morse-signals :) haha so if you know more about Indians cloud-codes please tell and comment (I'm usually too lazy to make Internet researches).
As there are bears, brown bears, in this area it's of advantage to have some dogs around. Bears are not so fond of dogs, dogs bark when a bear is approaching. Bears are'nt usually a problem but they can be one. It's dangerous to frighten bears. That's possible when they concentrate on their food or their children and you frighten them even if you didn't want to. Then bears can have an aggressive reaction. To avoid this, when walking and hiking in the woods, we wore some tiny bells. These tiny bells make the bears aware that somebody is coming and they voluntarily don't want to make their way crossing yours. I saw bears a couple of times from a distance. The thing that was amazing to me was that they can really run up mountains. Their front feet are so strong so that they have the power to do this. You know that other kinds of animals only depend on the quality of their back-legs in order to survive, like canins, rabbits etc.
So it pays to have some dogs around in the wilderness, some watch dogs in order to avoid problems with bears. Because they can make a habit of showing up at your trash, checking it and coming again and again. And this is a thing that you definitely don't want to let them do.
The above picture shows a cabin or lodge where we slept for a couple of weeks. It had no bathroom or toilet (whatever you call it) so even in the middle of night we had to go outside to see a bathroom that was quite in the distance of a couple of hundred meters. It takes a minimum amount of braveness to walk to the bathroom in the middle of a dark night and someone might tend to rather control his or hers bio-rhythm :) .
One thing that we were told was that in Canada everything is bigger. The woods, the deers, bears, fish ... whatsoever. Compared to Austria this might be true for a couple of things. Flying over the country definitely gives a different impression than flying over European countries. European countries are somehow tight, the villages, towns and cities are growing into something more complex. An expression of this phenomenon is also the management of the European Union.
Looking from an airplane, the views upon European and North American cities are quite different. The European cities seem to be in a kind of disorder, this because they have grown since the middle ages (or longer) and were built because of logics of defence, strategic points and considering the natural environment. North American cities seem to be planned from scratch with a lot of cubic patterns.
Walking in the woods and hiking up the moutains clears ones mind and gives strength to body and soul. The urban fanatism is left behind. Nature itself challenges you, is demanding and you are directed by also your personal needs in order to survive.
A simple consideration that comes up, has to do with death and flesh or death and meat. There is a question to sacrifice yourself or to make others sacrifice themselves.
The egoistic will to survive makes others to victims of your personal lust and desire. If a lion or tiger would show up then would you say "Hi it's me and I'm your meal for today, eat my flesh and drink my blood, be happy and content, enjoy your life, because I don't care for mine". ?
Nevertheless if I remember some verses of the King James Version of the bible there were some words of Jesus who said something like "Except you eat my flesh and drink my blood you have no part in me ...", something like that, I guess this verse is somewhere in the gospel of John.
So you might say, that walking in the wilderness doesn't clear ones mind but rather makes someone go nuts. Hm, maybe, nevertheless ... there are people and they are not a view who go to deserts for example they travel to the Sahara in North Africa to make certain experiences. John the Baptist and Jesus Christ himself spent times in the wilderness. So it might pay to visit some kinds of 'desolate' areas where you can free your mind from the blessings and curses of civilisation.
Through heavy rainfalls we got completely wet. Yes we found shelters under big trees however you can't stay under big trees forever. We found a rotten watch 'tower' of a former gold mine and some dry wood so we could make a fire and dry ourselves. We crawlded into some caves of this gold water and saw some 'Cat-gold'. Most of the caves were under water and we were not equipped nore in the mood for diving.
On the outside we were watched by eagles, there were many eagles, some rare sort with typical shouts.
When the days got warmer we did a bit of gold washing. Yes, there was gold in the ground, tiny little pieces which sparkled in the sun, however not enough to get rich, haha :)
Neither enough to pay for our flights or other expenses. The gold just somehow said "I'm here".
In an old cabin, left by human beings long ago, I found a book that told me a bit of the history of British Columbia. It told of fights between Indians and Whites. It told of mass murder of animals to get their furs. Just normal history as everywhere else, people exploiting the grounds and resources, trying to make huge profits and giving their lives for this purpose. The history of money-making.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Vancouver Photos Impressions

I spent a couple of times in Canada, mostly British Columbia, so I'll share now some photos I made in Vancouver.
Imagine, going by ship to Canada? Well, no, we went by airplane. It was pretty cheap at that time to fly. And no big security hassles.
Nevertheless it's quite possible to go to Vancouver by ship. (Or by bicycle if you are from the US, (just kidding) :).
A part of the harbor.
A bit more of the harbor.
And more harbor.
A place to stay, hm, we spent some time in youth hostels too, not just motels.
Rubbing my eyes.
Is this British?
That one looks modern.
Some street views.
Some tiny streets.
Can't remember this one, you might know.
Yes, we are definitely in the middle of the world. Seems so.
Skyscrapers and beaches. It's too cold to take a bath.
Details from a LOL Totem. You can suggest what IT's saying :)

Monday, February 8, 2010

Magical Oriental Carpets

No, I don't sell carpets. Last year I got an old oriental carpet and posted about it. I didn't buy it, such things are usually pretty expensive. However once you've enjoyed 'living on a carpet' you don't want to miss it anymore.
Carpets (especially oriental ones) give you a place and a feeling of being home, especially if you move a lot around and are 'mobile'. Besides giving you this feeling they can give you inspirations and concentration of your thoughts when studying a problem. On the other side, depending of the qualities of the carpet, they can make your mind to wander around, getting new views of new or old things that you are dealing with.
I found, that the main inspiration of a carpet depends on two major things: The one is of course your personal and mental position, the needs you have ... and on the other side the patterns or motives that are integrated in the carpet. The motives of a carpet are signals that you receive. The motives are a source for embroading (amplifying, updating) your fantasy but can also be considered as a return to order and pacification.
Our own, usually unconscious pictures steer our needs. Also our picture, our vision of our own living (conditions). Our genuine housing requirements are frequently overlaid thereby by prestige thinking, forming of an opinion in the media, habits, life circumstances, but also by personalities in our direct life environment.
On such a carpet we could make a journey and a treasure search in the realm of our own fantasy. On a multicolored flying carpet we can be carried into old times, into the charm world of the fairy tales of 1001 nights. Here, wondrous conversions, unbelievable monsters, stormy seas, islands which save immeasurable wealth can be expecting us.
We see mysterious labyrinths, which lead into the rooms of spellbound beautiful princesses; we see fear-ordering Padishahs and courageous warriors. The dark prophecies of the bewitchers ... and all exciting adventures of the heroes who find a happy end in the long run. Despite all lifenear reality and sober logic - there are nevertheless only fairy tales!
If one reads fairy tales from many countries, one determines that there are many similar fairy tales in the different countries, only name, landscapes, certain terms differentiate them. By this fact one recognizes, that humans on the whole earth think generally very similarly and wish something similar for themselves.
You find the longing after luck, after justice, after love, after prosperity. Property (correctness) is to be rewarded, the bad should be punished. In addition, you find fears of bad charms, of bad animals, demons, ghosts, etc. Therein it shows up , the things people are afraid of. In the imagination of using a flying carpet you can recognize the desire to be able to travel fast to distant places.
In the story 'Ahmed and Pari Banu' (1001 nights) the magic carpet is a universal means of transport, which can be used by its owner or ... everyone. Actually it doesn't fly, but teleports itselves with the persons who take place on it, to the goal.
Some characters that are asscociated with the stories of 1001 nights are for example Aladin, Ali Baba, Harun ar Raschid, Sherezade, Sindbad and Salomo.
Concerning Salomo: Salomo is kind of a legendary king who was nevertheless a very real person (the son of King David) in the history of Israel. Therefore you can find stories about him like the one, that he possessed a flying carpet that could carry a whole army.
Salomo collected humans, spirits, birds and wild animals, instructed then the lion, the king of the four-legged animals to meet other animals from the deserts. Then he called the eagle, the king of the birds, and instructed him to let all robbery birds fly together.
He gave the instruction to his assistant Damuriat to call all geniuses, devils and stubborn spirits and he assigned Asaf, the son Berahjas, to bring all human troops together.
When everything had adjusted itself in innumerable mass, Salomo with its crowds sat down on this flying carpet; the birds and geniuses flew over it and before it ...
If you are not so fond of 'fairy tales' you maybe would like to put the different kinds of carpets into some intellectual or even materialistic boxes. We could make a rough organization of the samples (carpet-looks) into three categories:
1. the geometrical style
2. the curvilinear or florale style
3. the figurale style, which refers to humans, animals or even guns and weapons in some cases.
The geometrical style uses the straight line with horizontal, vertical and diagonal sections and forms from it its different samples. Geometrical samples like octagonal stars, hook-occupied oktagons and squares appear in the entire carpet art of Anterior Asia.
The florale style however uses the curved line. Therefore one speaks also of a curviliear style. This kind sometime had the task to give moral views in presenting epic or mythic scenes as a conception of and 'from' paradise.

Oriental carpets are like picture books, in which one can read if he or she understands to recognize and interpret the indications and ornamentations of the various samples. Nearly all carpets follow a basic concept, from which single ones deviate only rarely. Usually they are developed symmetrically, with a medaillon in the center (but also without) and- nearly always - with a circulating, more or less spreading 'Bordüre' (didn't find the proper English term, sorry). This concept was taken over by the machine-carpets-manufacturers in Europe.

The strictly divided internal span of an oriental carpet is to represent the world order (in a transferred sense) and the circulating 'Bordüren' present the finiteness of our being. All classical carpets are conceived in such a way. Someone, who knows the symbols of a carpet can read in a carpet like in a book.

There are (for example) the carpets of Tibet: The color-glad motives tell of the rich symbol content of the buddhistic religion. There are kites to admire or snow lions, but also florale representations such as the lotosflower or bamboo, as well as landscape features such as rocks, the sea and clouds. You find also the eight buddhistic symbols of luck and other ritual articles.

Generally it can be said that the symbols that are used by the people of Tibet are very 'multilayered', their decoding is sometimes difficult. The interpretations, sound themselves often differently. They have cosmic meaning as well as religious meaning. (The body of the Ur-Buddha - Adi Buddha - is at the same time conception of the world and universe.). Thus symbols of animals often refer to the elements and these have again a correspondence in the mental consciousness of humans, in the consciousness stages, which finally lead to the illumination, to the buddhaship.

The early samples of the Tibetan carpets show very much similarity with Chinese carpets. The buddhistic symbol content is the same. But despite Chinese and Mongolian influences, the creative Tibetans developed their completely own style. In Tibetan carpets, the spiritual character is supposed to be more strongly pronounced than in the Chinese ornamental art. Well, you are right if you doubt this differenation, however there is a difference in the want and need to just decorate a room with a carpet, or in the intention to send a message of inspiration or meditation with the production and presentation of a carpet. And in direction Hollywood I'd say that there IS a difference between calling the winter SonnenWende (solitduce?) "Christmas" or "X-mas"

Carpets were manufactured in Tibet for different purposes. Most common is the 'bridge' (90cm x 180cm). One uses it as warming place to sleep on. In addition there are small ones for sitting at the fire. Others serve as isolating curtains for door or tent openings. Two piece-carpets were (are) also used as saddle covers for wood saddles. In temples, carpets are (were) used as seats for the monks.In former times carpets with tiger samples (tiger-motives) were reserved for highranking personalities and buddhistic priests (meditation).
Carpets represent the cultural heritage of countries and ... maybe civilisations. Above you see a carpet that's supposed to be the oldest carpet of the world (something over 2000 years old, so you might call it 'ancient'). I put an emphasis on carpets from Tibet, this in order to empahsise a spiritual aspect. However there are most beautiful carpets coming from Persia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Pakistan, Caucasus and ... for example Afghanistan.
'Afghani' is a term which does not only describe a certain kind of cannabis (hashish) but also describes a certain sort of carpet. Afghanistan (30 million people) is as large carpet attaching country. For these oriental carpets a low-red is typical up to a brown tending basic colour. The samples, often dark-blue and black, are regulatory strictly geometrical and show octagons and changing filling motives (like in the photo above a kalashnikow machine gun). However Afghanistan can be considered as the prototype of a transit country. Since earlyhistorical time the ways of the people migrations, conquerers, dealers and missionairies of the most different religions crossed here.
Coming back to some material aspects of carpets I have to refine myself, because going into details would build an encyclopedia and not a blog-post :) .
There would be aspects of the used material (wool or cotton), of colors, of kinds of attaching chairs, of national and local specialities ... so, if you want to spread something around, explore yourself and the world, then study and write about carpets and not about blogging :) HaHa. Become a Pro-Carpet (sounds like prophet :) and not a ProBlogger. Haha.
Because in ten years people will be more interested in carpets than in blogging.

Soooo ... Afghanistans largest city is the 3,500 years old capital Kabul. Second largest city of the country is Kandahar (Herat) in the south of Afghanistan, from Alexander (the large one :) created. Then there is Mazar e Sharif in north Afghanistan with the grave of the fourth calif Ali (a place of pilgrimage) There is the most splendid grave mosque of Afghanistan from the late 15. Century.
Well a carpet could be considered as a representation of a certain kind of society. OK, let's do some carpet-sociology. As a democrat I would pay attention to the knots of such a kind of carpet or society.
The refinement of oriental carpets is usually defined after the knot number per surface.
The number of knots determines the roughness or fineness of a carpet.
Rough: 15.000 - 25.000 knots per squaremeter
Fine: 200.000 - 400.000 knots per squaremeter
And of course there are all kinds of qualities or quantities in between these two extremes.
So if you got a nice oriental carpet you can determine the approximate number of knots per square meter by counting (on the back of the carpet) with the help of a ruler. In the case of five knots on 10 mm horizontally and six knots on 10 mm perpendicularly, which therefore results in 5 x 6 = 30 knots per square centimeters and 30 x 10.000 = 300.000 knots per square meter.
And now we come to an aspect of time:
With a knot density of 10 x 10 knots (=100 per cm ²) for a square meter you need one year of attaching work. With a knot number of 15 x 15 knots (= 225 per cm ²) you will already need three to five years per squaremeter. With 24 x 24 knots (= 576 per square centimeter) (world class silk carpet) you'll need for the production around 11 years.
If you have some mathematical obsessions you might be interested to know that the knot density of Persian carpets is indicated in Radj. The Persian datas for attaching densities are indicated in knots on the chain per Radj. The length of a Radj correspond with 7 centimeters, thus 0.07 meters. A meter corresponds therefore to 14.29 Radj and the knots per meter of chain computes itself from Radj x 14,29. A carpet with 22 knots per Radj has therefore 310 knots per meter of chain, because 22 x 14.29 = 314.
So I guess you are right when you guess that I have a kind of obsession with or of carpets, especially magical ones :) Right now I'm posting from a carpet (well at least not in the air, but on the internet-air :) and I spend a lot of my lifetime now on a carpet, staying on the ground though of course I'm sometimes heavenly minded :)
Thank you for reading thus far, however I read a lot more before I wrote this post.
I hope to 'see' you again ... on this blog. Best wishes!

And here's a bonus :) I made a video about my favorite carpet. Hope, you'll enjoy it :)


Friday, February 5, 2010

Mermaids Sirenes Sea Virgins

In the area of Gosauzwang (Gosaumühle, Gosau-Mill) which is located at the Hallstätter Lake in Upper Austria there are quite a few houses that are pretty old.
'Pretty old' means: Houses that still 'stand' and where people live in and which were built in the 16th century. Besides there are remains from the times when the Celts and the Romans lived and worked here.

A house, built in the 16th century.
At one of these houses I found this painting of a mermaid (in German you call them also 'Nixen' or 'SeeJungFrauen'). This painting of a mermaid was most probably done in the first decade of the 20th century, sometime between 1909 and 1910, when the houses here got renovated (repaired).
A painted mermaid between the door and a window.
The painting shows a typical mermaid, a young naked woman with a fishtail. There are mountains in the background. This is a hint, that this mermaid isn't just an abstract mermaid, but is supposed to be a 'being' (spirit or ghost) that is existential in this particular lake (Hallstatt-Lake).
The credits for this (mostly older) artwork are on the collage below.
Looking a bit at the history of mermaids makes it clear: No new thing. Since the antique times in Egypt, Greece etc. there have been reflections in the arts and tales about mermaids.
Mermaids are more or less mythological beings, water spirits,nature spirits that try to insert an influence on people (mostly men).
That's what the original looks like. Hm, maybe not super-professional, nevertheless ...
One thing that is untypical in the picture above is that the mermaid got red hair. Usually mermaids are supposed to have green hair. As this painting is over a hundred years old and probably got darker in this last century, I virtually refreshed it with the photo - editing program
Red-haired instead of green-haired.
In the indo-european mythology the element of the mermaids plays an important role in connection with the realm of death, the latter as being beyond a water, or under water. In the Edda a mermaid is a Lady over the souls of the drowning, a water spirit around the souls of the deceased.

The erotic component stands in apparent contrast to it, because in traditional societies everything is in a cycle of death and love and/or fertility and developing. These are endlessly repeating, each other causing principles.

Dance, singing and music are the joy of the mermaids, like the fairies (elfins). By singing, the mermaids actually pull listening younglings (teenagers) down into the depth. The mermaids are disastrous (or unfortunate) natures, limited natures, to the water as their element. Maybe they are a form of ancient celebrities.
The moon and some mountains above a lake that you can't see.
In the Greek mythology a siren (Seirenes, Acheloides or Acheloiadesis) is a female fabulous creature (mixture nature of originally woman and bird, later also woman and fish), which attracts boat operators by its bewitching singing, in order to kill them (and get everlasting lifes 4 themselves).

In medieval times, the sirens were represented also as mixture natures of humans and fish and called sea virgins, depicted as beautiful women, whose bodies (not only their voices) are seductive.

In the moral myth interpretation of the ancient and medieval Christianity, sirens were considered as embodiment of the dangerous temptation outgoing from women. Considered as worldly attractions enticing to sense (wake up) desire.
A mermaid? :)
In some more modern adaptions of the topic, sirens are equated with mermaids (sea virgins).
Concerning their all knowledgeness and death circumstances they resemble the sphinx (a 'se-mantic' creature knowing the past and the future).
Artwork: John William Waterhouse: Hylas & the Nymphs, Knut Ekwall: Fisherman and the Siren, Fuessli: Rheintöchter, Gothic:
A legend version told that the sirens itself entered (on the request of Hera) into a contest with the muses. The subject was: Who can sing more beautiful?

Someone (Kafka) said that "there's one thing that's more fatal than their song and that's their silence".

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