Castle on a Cloud: A Musical Exploration of Clouds

I haven’t been participating much in the current musical projects lately, but the one about clouds jumped out at me. Partly because it fell on the C day of the AtoZ April Challenge. And even though I didn’t use it specifically for that post, I am happy to do a musical bonus and share a few songs I like that contain cloud references. Clouds have variety–shape, intensity, the weather they signal. The songs here show a similar variety.

It’s sunny here today, but that won’t stop me from enjoying a few clouds, including this first one, with its “clouds in my coffee.”

You’re So Vain (Carly Simon)

My cacophonous experience of last night had me wanting people to get off of my cloud, too. I could really understand the feelings behind this one. ūüôā

Get Off of My Cloud (Rolling Stones)

The castle on the cloud holds the possibilities that seem so far away from Cosette’s everyday life. The castle welcomes no trespassers, no intruders. The castle provides hope for a better future, a future where she can be held and nurtured by a loving parent.

Castle on a Cloud (Les Miserables)

Check out information about the band, City of the Sun here. Even though there are no lyrics, you can actually picture the clouds parting. The energy of the song is intoxicating.

“The clouds have parted, I am free.” (City of the Sun)

There is mention of clouds getting in the way, but perhaps clouds are an opportunity to see new possibilities. Get a new perspective. Maybe needing to see them from more than just “up and down.”

Both Sides Now (Joni Mitchell)

Do Nothing Day: Phineas and Ferb

Here’s a song where clouds are just light and fluffy, representing fun, freedom, and a chance to recharge.

Slow down. Look around you.
Put your to-do list away.
The clouds look like sheep and vice versa.
Let’s have a do-nothing day.

I’ll be planning a do-nothing day very soon. Something to do with quilting, no doubt.

Finally, thanks to my daughter, Kate–the Collaborator–for helping me brainstorm cloud songs and finding the YouTube videos. Thanks, Kate!

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For other Cloudy music, you can visit:

Bear: http://bearspawprint.wordpress.com/2014/04/03/clouds/

Eva: http://47whitebuffalo.wordpress.com/2014/04/03/clouds-a-sound-off-of-sorts/

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Containers of Surprise (and Delight)

Invitations: Potential “Surprise” Holders

invitation

invitation (Photo credit: Theis Kofoed Hjorth)

This blog post was not planned. The photos and words are the result of a day of surprises. They arrived in an invitation, in a new day, in a museum, and in the art it held. The surprises actually began yesterday. My husband and I were already out on an outing with our friend, Steve–an outing of “Western” proportions, involving Costco, Starbucks, and IKEA. Luckily, Steve and Dave were going to hang out at Steve’s apartment between Costco and IKEA, which gave me time to get some work done at Starbucks. That was my compromise for taking an afternoon away, to get a couple hours of work done sometime during the day, and the guys didn’t mind.

While I was sipping my iced latte and working on a literature review, my cell phone rang. I was surprised to see it was my regular taxi driver, Mac, calling. Surprised because classes don’t start until next week, and I didn’t really expect to hear from him until then. But as he’s done in the past, he and his wife wanted to take Dave and me on an outing the next morning. The connection was awful and I couldn’t make out everything Mac was saying, but I did get that they would pick us up at 9:00 and something about the afternoon. If he gave me specifics about where we were going, I didn’t make them out.

A New Day: More Surprises

English: Taipei County Yingge Ceramics Museum ...

Taipei County Yingge Ceramics Museum (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I woke up thinking I probably should have declined the invitation and stayed home to get more work done, but the one thing my moratorium allows for is social¬†events. The reason is I tend to hole up too often and not get out and do fun things. So I got ready, but wasn’t really looking forward to it.¬†But my reluctance changed quickly to excitement when Mac greeted us with the plan for the morning. We got into his SUV (not the taxi) and headed to Yingge Ceramics Museum in New Taipei City. Dave did a lot of ceramics in college and I love anything in arts and crafts. In fact, this was a place on my “wish” list, and we were on our way! I was glad that I had not talked myself out of going.

Museums: Another Kind of “Surprise” Container

Three floors of exhibits and more out in the back of the main building. We did not get through everything in the 2 1/2 hours we spent there. Here’s a view of the open space from the third floor.

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Beyond the amazing exhibits, there were loads of other surprises in this museum. For starters, admission is free! Not just on special days or at the holiday time, but always. Even the audio tour players and head sets were free. You left your ID card with them; you could punch in numbers at various exhibits to hear lots of details. They had the audio sets available in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, English, and one especially for children. There may have been others, but you get the idea.

Some of the exhibits were so delicate, I had to remind myself that they were ceramic. For example, this piece, Unread Books, looked so real that I could almost picture the pages turning.

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Another piece I really enjoyed. The English title is something like, Look Up and See the Blue Sky.

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And the kitty lover in me couldn’t resist the whimsical rendering of cats in the afternoon sun.

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Surprises in Art

A huge kimono type garment hung in the museum. It was exquisite. It was clearly, decorative only. It’s hard to get a sense of the scale from this picture, but let’s just say that it was too large for any one to wear. The real surprise of this piece though are the thousands of ceramic butterflies sewn (or clipped) to the cloth. (No clear indication of how they are attached.)

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Prepare to be amazed!

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The sheer volume of these butterflies and the size of this piece of art are just breathtaking. The museum makes great use of lighting to highlight many of these pieces.

Another surprise was a piece with an English title,¬†Sad Child with Short Wings.¬†I’m not going to try to figure it out. But it was cool looking. Stands about 15 inches high. (In this photo, it appears a little bigger than life.) ¬†hehe

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My Personal Art Surprise

This piece had an English name of¬†Dilemma.¬†As I looked at it, I was baffled. People kneeling in a circle facing one another, holding their dismembered heads in their hands. Two of them had empty hands and one head was on the ground. I thought the dilemma pertained to some sick game of “Musical Heads” in which a head is taken away before they start the music back up, and that the dilemma was how to decide who leaves the game, or who no longer has a head. Like I say, I was baffled. You take a look! (The lighting for this piece makes it hard to get a good picture, but I think you get the idea.)

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I turned to my husband and told him my insane “theory,” and he asked me if I had listened to the audio for it. I didn’t realize that one had an audio, so I was excited. He told me the number of that entry, #94. I don’t think I’ll ever forget. When you enter 9-4-Enter, you hear the story of this ceramic piece. Here’s the English version.

With no more strength to move forward, those people melt down. Each looked around and found that the others were in distress as well. They had no one to help them. When looking forward, they only saw a pitch black road that led to uncertainty. When looking backward, they found the road they just took had disappeared. So where to go and what to be? “That’s too painful. Could I not think about that?” they cried out! And they pulled off their heads.

WOW! And I thought MY interpretation was a little odd. I think desperation of that sort would go beyond “dilemma” to something more, well, desperate. I thought about the times I get frustrated and don’t know what to do next, but pulling my head off isn’t usually in the list of options. The words of the people, “That’s too painful. Could I not think about that?” was done with such a whiny tone, too. Once I heard this interpretation, I knew that I had to include it in tonight’s post. So let me know what you think about it in the comments below.

So that was our unplanned trip to the ceramics museum. Our hosts only had the morning for the outing, but Dave and I could have spent the day. We didn’t even get through all the exhibits and demonstrations. We are already looking forward to a trip back when we can spend the whole day. Dave already found out the museum is a ten-minute walk from the train station. I’m sure I’ll have more things to share. Until then, look up and enjoy the blue sky! ¬†: