Friday, August 26, 2016

Humboldt and Bonpland as polymaths

Going different ways…
Friedrich Georg Weitsch (1810):
Alexander von Humboldt and
Aimé Bonpland near Mt Chimborazo
(imagined landscape)
.
Bonpland: It’s been a propitious five years. Finding 6,000 new species. We’ll go back to our countries to report of course, but I think someday I’ll settle back here.
.
Humboldt: To grow maté on an orange plantation?
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Bonpland: I like farming and being a jack of all trades.
.
Humboldt: You’d rather be a jack than a polymath?
.
Bonpland: You’re the academic, Alexander, the geographer and naturalist. I see an opportunity in herbal teas.
.
Humboldt: A jack of all trades is somewhat skilled in many trades, a polymath is learned in many academic fields. I still think you are as much a polymath as I am, Aimé.
_________
Voice-over
Both were polymaths: von Humboldt an explorer, geographer, astronomer, scientist, botanist, zoologist, artist and more. Bonpland an explorer, botanist, physician.

“He saw the earth as one great living organism where everything was connected…” Andrea Wulf: The Invention of Nature: The Adventures of Alexander von Humboldt.

Their conversation in 1804 foreshadowed Bonpland’s return to South America in 1816 where he lived until his death in 1858.
...

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Is the story sufficiently strong to sustain a novel?

At a writer’s workshop…
.
Anita: I don’t know whether to tell the story of this architect through fiction or nonfiction.
.
Rachel: So it’s the reverse of Ayn Rand’s Fountainhead?
.
Anita: Starting with a philosophy and using an architect as a protagonist? Yes, it's the reverse. This is the story of an architect and his buildings. He has beliefs but they come second to his designs.
.
Rachel: I know you can express your views elegantly, and you can structure a spiral of suspense, but are you sure there’s enough in your story to sustain a work of fiction?
____________
Voice-over
Writing about a person and their work, by writing a biography or making a documentary, may be easier than fictionalizing it.
Some things to consider in crafting a fictionalized adaptation: lead character, opposition, challenge, climactic battle, inner journey, dialogue.
...

Monday, August 15, 2016

It didn't happen… to Uchimura

Unrealistic pessimism…
.
Alexei: Gymnastics makes me feel like saying ‘How do they DO that?’ Especially Uchimura.
.
Horsing around on the pommel
Vitaly: He was worried before Rio. After what happened in London. Landing badly from the pommel horse. He thought things might go wrong again.
.
Alexei: But it didn’t happen. He got the gold.
.
Vitaly: And then that $5,000 he racked up in roaming charges playing Pokemon. It’s a lot.
.
Alexei: But it didn’t happen. Softbank capped his charges at $30 a day.
Google Pommel
__________
Voice-over
Kohei Uchimura had a rocky 2012 London Olympics. He said he changed his routine too close to the event and turned in a performance less stellar than his usual. But he changed strategy for 2016 Rio. He fixed his routine a year before and practiced that every day. He also focused on the team gold. This time it did happen!
...

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Decorator crabs and cosplay

Decoration as disguise and defence…
.
Moshe: Certain crabs are supposed to beautify themselves with seaweed.

Will: I think you are referring to decorator crabs. Don’t you mean they try to disguise themselves?

Moshe: Isn’t that what dress is about? Beautification is an act of disguise.

Will: I understand some crabs also drape themselves with toxic algae to protect against predators.

Moshe: Yes. Some human costumes look toxic too.
__________
Voice-over

Do you think they'll see us?
The Majoidea crabs which attach materials to their shells do so to hide from, or to ward off predators. Most people decorate themselves to stand out from the background, to attract attention. For a few however, the act of decoration may be to isolate themselves or occasionally hide.
...

Monday, August 1, 2016

White Rabbit Medicine Record

WHITE RABBIT WHITE RABBIT WHITE RABBIT
.
“The White Rabbit Medicine Record” (Kusuri no Techou) is a white rabbit-embossed notebook in which the pharmacy enters the meds they dispense to you. So it’s all there for the next pharmacist to check for drug interactions.
Stay safe and keep records of your meds in the White Rabbit notebook!
.
WHITE RABBIT WHITE RABBIT WHITE RABBIT
...

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Early morning emails

Incoming Skype call at 7 am…
Linear communication model
.
Art: Are you up?

Mark: You sound like you’re still in bed.

Art: Of course. I do all my telephoning before I get up.

Mark: Ha! And I do all my daily emails before I get up.

Art: You see. It’s a new linear model of communication.

Mark: Cricks the neck though.
____________
Voice-over

New media makes supine early morning emailers of us all.
...

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Frank Lloyd Wright on the Unbuilt Buildings

Unfinished symphonies…
Fallingwater
Frank: Many artists produce works that are never performed. Music that is never performed, for example.

Ken: True. Paintings that are never displayed, novels that are never published, buildings that are never built. Undiscovered works.
Johnson


Frank: An architect can only be judged by the buildings that were ever built. I designed more than a thousand buildings but only half were built. It is those I regard as my works.
__________
Voice-over
Guggenheim
Frank Lloyd Wright: performance artist in many arenas. Oversaw structures more durable than pavement chalk. Made pronouncements more confident than contrite. Strategized maneuvers which triumphed over tragedies.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Book, Film or Website?

A choice and a decision…
Adapting into a feature film
Teacher: Your task is to decide how to tell the story of someone famous, or maybe someone not so famous. The story of their achievements, and their failures. The twists and turns in their life.

Margaret: Is it about their work or their character?

Teacher: Both. The character of a person is reflected in what they accomplish.
__________
Voice-over
How best to tell a story of a person and their work? Why?
(a) By writing a biography.
(b) By adapting the story into a novel.
(c) By making a documentary film.
(d) By adapting the story into a feature film.
(e) By making a website about the person.

...