Southampton (UK)

Walking around Southampton (UK) with my point and shoot

Blue - Southampton-2

Tudor - Southampton

Park - Southampton

Lion - Southampton-2

Lion - Southampton

Campus - Southampton

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Drugs of Abuse: Ketamine

Ketamine, like PCP (Phencyclidin) is a dissociative anesthetic, and the idea when Parke – Davies laboratories synthesized it was to actually replace PCP, as PCP had severe side effects. Ketamine was a promising compound since it had a shorter half-life, but then ketamine had its own side effects, most notably hallucinations and the striking “near death”and body detachment experience that people report at higher doses. This is what is commonly referred as the “k-hole”.

Ketamine (and PCP as well) is an antagonist of the NMDA glutamate receptor, which is a key receptor in the consolidation of certain types of memories. Interestingly, it seems that ketamine may be producing some of its effects not by blocking NMDA receptors, but through opiate (or other) receptors.

Both PCP and ketamine can produce effects that resemble those associated with schizophrenia, so they may give some insights into the mechanisms underlying this disorder.

Last but not least, Ketamine is also an antidepressant, and a fast acting one. That in itself is remarkable, since most classic antidepressants target serotonin or norepinephrine pathways, not glutamatergic ones.

And Mozart’s Requiem will play / On tiny speakers made of clay

some sources:

Wolff & Winstock

Li et al.

Marek et al.  

A moment in time

M dozing off while his girlfriend sings at the back. Filmed with an iPOD at the end of an awesome evening.


On a side note, YouTube was able to identify the song being played on the background, so it automatically added an advertisement to the video. That sucks. I mean, really???

Piranesi

Though Piranesi (1720-1778) wanted to be an architect more than anything, he had very few commisions. As a printmaker on the other hand there were not many people with his talent, and his fan base include writers and artists from many of the artistic movements that came afterwards.

The etchings of his imaginary jails are extraordinary, and I think his influence on people like Escher is pretty obvious

Paintings from the darker side of life – The Isle of the Dead, by Arnold Böcklin (1827–1901)

This dream – like painting was not named “The Isle of the Dead” by the artist himself, but by an art dealer. The idea of the widow and the coffin was given to him when Marie Berna visited Bocklin’s studio, and it alludes to her husband’s death. The painting inspired Rachmaninoff to write an orchestral poem, though interestingly enough he based it on a black and white reproduction of the original. Rachmaninoff was rather dissapointed when he learned the original was in color:

I was not much moved by the color of the painting. If I had seen the original first, I might not have composed my Isle of the Dead. I like the picture best in black and white.*

I wonder what Bocklin would have thought of that, considering how he painted at least five versions of this painting, all of which are in color.

Rachmaninoff also commented on the creative process for this piece:

My composing goes slowly. I go for a long walk in the country. My eye catches the sharp sparks of light on fresh foliage after showers; my ears the rustling undernote of the woods. Or I watch the pale tints of the sky over the horizon after sundown, and they come: all voices at once. Not a bit here, a bit there. All the whole grows. So The Isle of the Dead, It Was all done in April and May. When it came, how it began— how can, say? It came up within me, was entertained, written down.*

* taken from “Sergei Rachmaninoff A Lifetime in Music by Sergei Bertensson and Jay Leyda

iPad3 – sketches

I have been playing around with my iPad and stylus pen. These are some quick sketches (sometimes not that quick considering the amount of time I spent trying to find a brush I liked). I still have trouble when trying to draw thin lines or parts that require detail, so I guess I have to get used to zooming in and out all the time. Overall and until I get more comfortable with the workflow it is a great way to sketch an idea fast.
My original idea was to draw some cartoons, so I am not sure why I ended up doing these ones

5 min break

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Old man with walking stick

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Dancer

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But what I like the most is how you can draw robots

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John Jacob Niles

John Jacob Niles would be the ideal soundtrack for the ghostly tales of the Gothic – Texan writer William Goyen (an incredible short story writer by the way). Niles composed music and travelled around the US (mostly the Appalachians as far as I know) collecting traditional songs and turning them into something so haunting it gives you the chills.