Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Sunday, March 23, 2008

More than you thought to understanding comics

After watching an amazing Adobe presentation from Dan Bliton on using manga as a training medium, I checked out Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art. It's making me look at things in a new way. In Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud talks about how we iconify objects and ideas, and the process of conceptualization (learning) reminded me of On Intelligence by Jeff Hawkins (interview) and Ways of Seeing by John Berger (excerpt).

Additionally, McCloud has some great thoughts on how a reader or audience identifies with characters in a book or movie, so distilling the character down to essential elements of humanity in comics and cartoons is more successful in getting the reader or audience to identify with those characters.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Dalai Lama road trip

His Holiness the Dalai Lama is on a road trip and coming to Seattle in April. The five-day Seattle event takes places in multiple locations, including Key Arena and Qwest Field. Check out seedsofcompassion.com for more info and free tickets!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Music for Maniacs

I just stumbled across a great music blog. Music for Maniacs reviews all sorts of off-the-wall stuff and usually includes links to mp3s, so you actually get to listen as well.

There is a fascinating entry on LemurBots, which actually create and play music instead of just playing pre-programmed music.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Persepolis graphic novel makes it to big screen!

Yeah, Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis is being released as an animated film! Based on her graphic novels, Persepolis takes place in pre- and post-Shah Iran. It's a very humanizing look at another part of the world. You realize, yet again, that people are the same all over.

NPR has a short audio segment on the release, which won at Cannes earlier this year. The books are among my favorites, so I'm really looking forward to seeing this!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Free college courses - just add elbow grease

Although I suppose I shouldn't be, I am continually amazed by the depth and breadth of high quality learning material that is available for free online.

Let me take a step backwards. One of my favorite (and as usual, cancelled) television shows was American Gothic. This quirky, superbly written CBS series was created by Shaun Cassidy. Yes, the Shaun Cassidy of Hardy Boys and Teen Beat fame. CBS, being CBS, killed the show after less than a year on the air.

Aside from the high quality and uniqueness of the show was the fact that a teen-idol had created it. I mean, how surprised would you be in 10 years if you found that Britney Spears or [insert random pop star here] had created a critically acclaimed TV series? Maybe I'm being shallow, but that's something I just don't expect from a teen idol.

I got to wondering what was different about Cassidy that led him down this path. Turns out that, instead of going to college, he wrote to Columbia University and asked them for their reading list. Then he read all the books on that reading list.

So, with available information, and a healthy dose of motivation, you can learn anything you want.

Which brings me to my point: Whether you want to go to school or not, everyone should *want* to learn more about the world around them. And in the 21st century, lack or accessibility of information is not a valid reason for not doing this.

Got an interest? Google it. Don't trust the internet for accuracy? Limit your results to colleges or government web sites. Better yet, why not formulate a study plan using actual college course lists and syllabi? Many schools have free lectures online, so you still get a lot of that instructor vibe if you follow along. Some schools, like MIT, have a web presence dedicated to free courseware. Use your local library for supplemental reference texts, and Just Do It.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Last post(?)

You never know when it will be your last post. If this was my last post, there are some things I would want to say - especially to my kids.
  1. Please, learn from others' mistakes. That includes me. That's why I'm writing this.
  2. Despite all temptation, *never* think that you know it all. You might know a lot, and that's good, but there is always something to learn.
  3. On the other hand, have confidence in your abilities. Speak up if you know the answer.
  4. Learn something new every day. Be a different and better person than the one who started the day.
  5. Never stop doing these things. In 10 years you'll look back at yourself and say "Wow!"
  6. Share something every day. Not everyone will appreciate this, but some will. And some of those you will inspire.
  7. Choose your audience. Not everyone will care what you have to say, but some will. If you can't make a change, talk to those who can.
  8. Choose your battles. Save your strength and your reputation for the important things. Many things will piss you off, but they're not all battles worth fighting.
  9. If you really *have to* say something that is risky or might get you in hot water, write it down. Then wait. Read it over the next day. Or the next week. See if you don't already feel better. Or maybe you still feel like you want to send it or say it. And that's fine. This is a good way of weeding out the little things.
  10. Life may be lonely at times, but don't *ever* feel like you're in it alone. There are people who care about you who you may not even know (yet).
  11. Don't take life too seriously. Don't sweat the small stuff. And yes, it *is* all small stuff.
  12. When the going gets tough, ask yourself, "will any of this matter in 100 years?"
  13. Read "Sunscreen," by Mary Schmich, and then listen to Baz Lurhmann's version (credited to Kurt Vonnegut). Take this advice.
  14. Read Kurt Vonnegut. Now there's a guy with a sense of humour.
  15. Take time to relax every day. Laugh.
  16. Know that life is about disappointment. And every disappointment *is* an opportunity. You just won't know until afterward. Sometimes it may take years to see it.
  17. Read Steve Jobs 2005 Stanford commencement speech. Yes, life is about coincidences and connecting the dots.
  18. Look back and connect your dots. Find your strengths. Exploit them.
  19. When you go through your day, take note of and appreciate the things you use automatically, without thinking. Water, electricity, gas. Think about what you would do if they weren't there. There are times they won't be.
  20. Learn the power of silence (also known as "keeping your mouth closed - and your foot out of it").
  21. Don't blog everything. The internet is forever. When you get ready to post something, ask yourself, "do I want my children and my grandchildren reading this?"
  22. Say "thank you." If you really appreciate someone, tell them. Don't wait until it's too late.
Thank you.