Here's my update from the past few weeks!
Why? To push myself to be a more thoughtful consumer of information, I want to process and highlight content that I read, watch, make, play, listen to, and talk about. I’ve modified my daily journal form to help me keep track of these things, and I want to post a weekly best-of. It’s mostly for myself, but I want to share it in case it might be interesting to anyone else.
Between Jan 21 and Feb 12,
1) ... the first episode of a new Netflix series, "Abstract". It's sort of like Chef's Table for art and design. Episode one followed Christoph Niemann, an illustrator who most famously has 22 New Yorker covers, in a 47-minute documentary. His insightful models and clear explanations of how people interact with illustration deepened my understanding of communication design, and I will devour the rest of this series if the other episodes are anything like this one!
2) ... Lion at Coolidge Corner. We knew the story beforehand, but the movie was still compelling and tearjerking. Whenever I watch a movie about India, I feel the baggage of having to interpret whether it is telling the shallow story that Western audiences have seen before of India as a place of intense poverty and corruption that gets disrupted by white people. Unfortunately, Lion mostly does tell that same story about India, and I'm not thrilled about that. But I did connect with Saroo, the main character. We both left India at the same age (though for vastly different reasons), and I have definitely woken up some days and felt like I've abandoned the place where I was born.
... another bowl! This one looks so nice mostly because of the red cedar it was made from. I enjoyed turning, and I'm ready to start thinking about my next project!
I listened to...
... an episode of This American Life about different responses to the Trump administration. In Act 6, we heard from employees at the Department of Energy who disagreed with many of the new administration's policies and beliefs. They shared their thoughts on whether it would be more effective to resist from within or from without. They went two different ways, and I'm not sure which one I believe in.
... One World Schoolhouse, and I moved on to Creativity, Inc. I love the book so far, and it made me realize that I want to have a lot in common with the author, Ed Catmull. As a teacher, I want to feel more like the manager of a creative team than like a lecturer or manufacturer. Though I'm more skilled at "technical" modes than the arts, I do think of myself as a creative type. I want to engage that side of myself more and broadcast the message that STEM can be as creative as we think of art and music to be.
Also, my library loan on Creativity, Inc. ran out, so I went back to reading through Sapiens. Going from the cutting edge of computer graphics to the cusp of the agricultural revolution is a huge contextual shift, but I like learning about human history! In my education, it feels like we glossed over the first 150,000 years of human existence, and I feel like that's neglectful. I'm glad to be learning about it now.
I talked about...
... the meaning of a liberal arts education. Leaf and I are going to visit Carleton, her alma mater, soon. Often, we find ourselves discussing the differences between the colleges we went to. Carnegie Mellon is a research university in the middle of Pittsburgh, and Carleton is a small liberal arts school that has basically a whole town to itself in Minnesota. There are too many variables to tease out many of the causal factors, but it doesn't stop us from trying.
One question we keep coming back to is this: What are the differences in the philosophies of education of these two institutions? We talk about what kinds of students are attracted to our schools, what students learn to do while they're there, and what they are prepared for and what they choose to do afterwards. Leaf and I ended up in similar places, but I'm not convinced that I would have been happy at Carleton or that CMU would have been good for her. Ask me again in two weeks!
... a new iPhone game! Turns out it's actually a cult classic from 2014 that I totally missed. Desert Golfing (iPhone / Android). For $1.99, you get no menu, no pause button, no ads, no options. It's a couple notches above Pong in simplicity, and I think that's what people love about it. After 419 strokes, I'm on hole 162.
That's all! Tune in next time!