Double take time in the mundane aisles of Walmart. I’m always attracted to the exotic, the beautiful, the purple. All of those attributes aren’t usually found mere feet from generic chips and flips…flops. Yet, there it was.

This stunning beauty even stood out from the other orchid plants crammed into a sizeable display. In fact, the ones I usually oooh and ahhh over seemed kind of plain by comparison.

At first glance I thought the larger than usual flowers were “merely” an arresting cobalt. Then I noticed the iridescent purple sheen that almost shone from odd angles of petals.

When light hit certain parts particular ways, suddenly the thing had done a chameleon act and looked like a living purple gemstone. I’d never seen anything like it.

Even the rear view is breathtaking.

Unfortunately, so is the price. Double its paler siblings. It would be worth it, if not for the pesky kill factor. I’m not tempted beyond resistance to spend $25 on even something so gorgeous, when it’s also delicate and difficult to coax into lasting much longer than a box of gourmet chocolates. So I walked away, but not before standing there taking pictures past the point when people started to look at me funny.
I have a sinking feeling going back to get it will be as hard to resist as an open box of the aforementioned gourmet chocolates.

These images are incredible. The title of the article says it all. I’m not going to try to comment or even rave about them, since it would spoil the cool factor. Enjoy.

Many beautiful and exotic flowers grace the islands of Hawaii. These are some of my favorites that I saw and photographed there.

The hibiscus in Hawaii is in a league of its own. Much larger than the ones I’d seen on the mainland. The greater size emphasizes the depth and beauty of the ruby throat, complimented by the lovely apricot hued petals.

For all that striking red anthuriums are common in more pricey arrangements and can be seen as potted plants at home, coming across a display of them growing out of the ground is very cool. I’ve always thought they look like plastic until you really examine them, but in actuality they’re about as exotic looking as a flower gets.

This one wins the most exotic flower contest for me, though. The bird of paradise is stunning. They too look artificial until examined closely. In fact, they’re not really very flowerlike. They look to me like what a flower from a distant, world might look like…an alien beauty here on earth.

With its creamy white petals, yellow center, and heavenly fruity fragrance, the plumeria is arguably my favorite. A lei strung with these floral gems also known as frangipani gifts its wearer with a delicate perfume that travels with them, a reminder of the tropical paradise long after the islands have been left behind.

And finally the bougainvillea. Thorny bunches of vibrant color cascade from large plants that are unforgettable, whether single or marking a property line like a brightly hued hedge brimming with pink, purple, or white flower clusters. Each cluster has tiny white flowers growing from them, like extra decorations trying to gilde an already gorgeous lily.

Each unique. Each unforgettable. Each an indelible ambassador of islands that take root in your soul.

From the moment I first saw a Ken Done image, I was in love with this wonderful artist’s talent and vision. Vibrant color, bold lines, fun subjects…Done’s work has come to represent all of Australia for me and countless others.

His iconic images are burned into the world population’s retinas, as they have been used in promotions for Australia, prints, posters, apparrel, and much more.  I own several Ken Done shirts, including a gorgeous Koala Blue sweatshirt that makes me happy just to look at it. It reminds me of how much I love Australia…and because it’s just unbelievably cool looking. I love the way he’s made his work so accessible to art loving fans of his unique style. There’s something charmingly special about being able to wear images created by your favorite artist that make you smile as you walk down the street, even if you’re not having a particularly great day.

And it doesn’t hurt that he uses purple a lot. There’s always the potential of stumbling across an image of a purple koala or two….

Click here and then on Thumbs for a look at his current exhibition.

*Spoilers for tonight’s The Walking Dead season finale!*

This interesting New York Times article explores the possible ramifications of this week’s stunning, brutal, thought provoking episode of The Walking Dead. I have some ramifications to explore too. Even with a series about postapocalyptic zombie fighting horror world survivors, there are sometimes places in the metaphorical sense that you don’t expect them to go. Tonight they went there with Rick, and evoked unexpected sympathy. I mean, what’s a father to do when faced with a group of horrible, awful, terrible men about to go all Deliverance on his group, with his son as the prime target? I’m not sure, personally, but for that character, in that circumstance, in a brutal world of loss and pain and only rare bittersweet joy…it played out in the only honest way it could.

The episode also spotlighted the fact that as we watch young actor Chandler Riggs grow up on TV, we also watch him grow as an actor. He visibly advanced his craft tonight, right before our eyes. This seems to be a series that attracts a very high caliber of talent.

Case in point: Scott Wilson as Hershel. I really like that character and the actor who plays him. It’s so nice to be able to say that in present tense, after the Governor recently got through with
him. Tonight’s intercuts of what now seems bucolic life at the prison were a really nice gift for Hershel fans. The warm and optimistic sage leaving a legacy of self-sustainment and memories, juxtaposed with the brutal and terrifying reconnection of our favorite archer with his true family was genius. This show has a gift for creating heartwarming moments within the framework of a world gone shocking, awful, and relentless.

It also creates questions that will nag at fans until the next season comes. Are the people of Terminus some kind of cannibalistic cult? That would be my guess. Will we eventually see Mary (aka one time Tasha Yar) come after Michonne with a spatula? One can only hope! That Samurai sword vs Sponge Bob’s favorite kitchen utensil wielding catfight would win a place in the annals of pop culture history. Will Daryl be kabobbed with his own arrows? One can only hope not! Was the way our heroes were herded into a train car indicative of something more sinister than even potential cannibalism? I do not yet know. I wouldn’t be surprised. The Walking Dead can run surprisingly deep, especially for a series that came from “comic” books.

This post by Billy Corgan just made my entire day. Not just one, but two new Smashing Pumpkins albums next year! So awesome. I fell completely in love with the Smashing Pumpkins the first time I heard their song The Beginning Is the End Is the Beginning on the Batman Forever soundtrack. Now I practically break land speed records to buy their newest soonest. At one point, I almost got into a tug of war with another fan over the last Pumpkins CD on its release day. I walked away victorious, but feeling a little guilty that I had it and another fan left empty handed. One good thing about hard copy CDs being so hard to come by, in brick and mortar stores that are themselves becoming all but extinct, is the ease and physical safety factor of MP3 downloads from the likes of Amazon. I’ll be waiting, Buy Album hitting finger poised for the pounce, as soon as the new ones drop.

It’s really interesting to read this article about the daily routines of famous writers. A lot of it is from before computers became extra appendages for so many of us, and seems a bit quaint for it. I like seeing photographs of writers who have been merely fuzzy mental portraits with words trailing from them like comet tails that communicate. And it’s always fascinating to writers and readers alike to learn just what makes some of the creative powerhouses they admire the wordsmiths they are. It can be surprising to learn just how quirky and vulnerable and human they really are or were.


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