The Flower-Popping Power of Purple Lenses

Me with a grapefruit and purple-lensed glasses. Left: naked eye. Right: view through purple lenses.

To see things differently doesn’t always mean seeing more. Limiting the senses– a candlelight dinner, a silent cathedral–enhances sensory experience.

One way to limit color vision is to wear colored lenses. I have been wearing purple lenses as sunglasses, and occasionally indoors, for several weeks weeks. They came in a pack of 12 assorted colored sunglasses from a company called Glo-X.  Continue reading

Shine Pig Season

Shine Pig

As the sun sets each summer evening, it sends a shimmering pig up the side of a tall storage building down the street. At first, the pig looks like it’s standing on the sidewalk, then it ascends the wall and fades as the sun disappears.

Brian noticed and identified it a few years ago. I still remember him standing at the window of our apartment, repeating the phrase  Continue reading

Spend Quality Time with an Inanimate Object and it will Come Alive

I have an inanimate object in my life: it is an unbroken Brazilian agate geode.

I’m hand-sanding all the way through it with sandpaper (read more about the project here) and have spent so much time with it that it’s taken on a life of its own.

Here are five ways my unbroken geode has come to life.

1. I’m afraid it will “die” by falling and breaking and the water leaking out.

The geode has water at its center, like an alien being with a Continue reading

Scratching the Surface of a Water-Filled Unbroken Geode

Geode sanding, 40 grit.

There is a finite amount of water on the earth, endlessly cycling through everywhere water goes, from rain to groundwater to sweat to vapor to ice to the sea and back again.

The water that I drank this morning may have been in a sewer pipe last year. It might have seeped through the pores of a neanderthal. But water trapped inside a geode, like a pouch of buried gold coins, has been out Continue reading

Reversing the American Flag Optical Illusion

“I’m a vexillologist,” an older gentlemen said to me on the BART train platform, “and I’ve never seen that.”

He handed me his card. Vexillology is the study of flag symbolism.

I was on my way to the Oakland Women’s March carrying a large American flag that I had handmade several years ago.  I’d never taken it out of my studio. The flag is regulation-sized (3×5 feet) and totally official, except that I reversed the colors: the blue star field turned light yellow, red turned turquoise, and white turned black.

The Inverse U.S Flag Illusion

The inverse U.S. flag is a classic optical illusion, and I’d first come across it in a book of visual Continue reading