Jaynes Your Way
Here are my thoughts about films, life, and what not. If you don't like them I'll give your money back.
Like many who've come across is the Harvard Classics Set, I've often thought of reading the entire series from start to finish. For those of you that don't know what the Harvard Classics Set is set of 51 books assembled by Charles Elliot. His premise was that anyone can gain a liberal education with just the contents of a 5 foot book shelf and 15 minutes a day -- it might whiten your teeth too. Elliot was the president of Harvard University for 4 decades and helped steer the way the school operated, changing it more to the model it is today. When the first set was released in 1909 only 13 percent of the US population had finished high school and only a minuscule 3 percent had finished college. The promised of buying intelligence probably appealed to many since there weren't many available paths to high levels of learning. At the very least it would display well in the living room and signify the eruditeness of the household.
Christopher Beha embarks on the journey to read the entire 22,000 pages of the set over the course of the year. He documents in the more memoir The Whole Five Feet: What the Great Books Taught Me About Life, Death, and Pretty Much Everything Else. I am very thankful that I only had to spend a weekend reading this book, then dedicating the effort and time to tackling the whole set, but at the same time it's a little weird to read about reading. Beha's year of reading was far from just sitting around reading, and he does a great job weaving the reading with the many life events that happen to him in short space of 237 pages. I have to imagine that reading the great minds pre 20th century would help deal with the trials Beha faces. I don't think he has to force the synchronicity of the life events on the wisdom of writers like Emerson, Marcus Aurelius and Dante.
I find the most interesting part of the book is Beha's constant struggle to justify the breadth of the reading. Most of us spent College diving deep into a very short reading list, though it felt long at the time. I don't think he gets to a answer for himself or the reader, but I have to think that the breadth is justified. If you spend your time on a very small selection of writings or even one author you don't really share in the conversation that books represent. Reading and then talking about a similar canon draws you near to other people and helps you see other views. While you can't read everything, there is a common list of books that people are talking about or that provide common insight into the human experience. I lean on the reading more so you have more competing ideas floating around your head.
Great book to gain some knowledge of the Texts and maybe encourage you to read it for yourself. I haven't made up my mind if I will. If you do they are FREE online at Project Gutenberg: http://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Harvard_Classics_(Bookshelf)
Was at the GA Happy Hour this past friday and was chatting with some friends about my experiment with a standing desk. I used the term desk loosely because it was a plastic shipping container on my actual desk.
But it did the trick. One of them mentioned it was catching on at the North Wing of GA. Didn't think anything of it till I was reading a blogpost on HN from Colin Nederkoorn and saw a previous post about the $22 Ikea standing desk hack. I read it and immediately went to Ikea and purchased the side table and bookshelf.
Here is the final product, and at the very least it looks way better.
Hey everyone! I am running the NYC Half Marathon for a non-profit called Camp Interactive. At first I was just going to run it because I needed some motivation to get back in a running schedule after finally getting over a training injury in early 2011. BUT then I realized this is an awesome cause!
Camp interactive does two things that are near and dear to my heart. First they teach kids how to use technology creatively and also gets them out doors. As a computer science grad with a MA in film I love the programs that they are teaching kids. Video editing, web dev, and all around geekiness! Then getting them out doors as well speaks to my growing up in Boy Scouts. I can't think of a better program to be running for. I can't think of two better ways to give underprivileged kids in NYC a literal way to get out of their environment and way to get out in the future with tangible skills
Please help me by donating for the run. I'm going to sweeten the deal a bit by treating this like kickstarter to get to my goal of $1500:
If you donate $1 or more I'll send you a thank you tweet during the race.
If you donate $25 or more I'll buy you a beer or find a way to get a beer to you
If you donate $50 or more I'll send you a batch of cookies. I am insanely good at baking. State fair winner
If you donate $75 or more I'll send you a nice photo of a NYC location of your choice. 9/11 photos Others (requires flash). Just let me know or my choice
If you donate more than a $125 or more, besides being a rock star, I'll figure out some way to thank you. dinner, a stay at Casa de Jaynes if you're an out of towner, house chores? We'll work something out. Just leave your name in the donation or drop me an email.
“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain.”
-- Maya Angelou
I spent some time at MoMA a few weeks ago and enjoyed some great new exhibits and some old favorites. I try to see Starry Night--one of my absolute favorites--every time I visit MoMA. There was a larger than normal crowd so I circled around the room looking at everything else for a while. In one of the corners was three or four paintings by Georges Seurat.
|Photo by: MoMA|
Seurat spent the summer of 1886 in the French coastal town of Honfleur in order to “wash the light of the studio” from his eyes, he said. He meticulously applied at least twenty-five colors here, in the form of thousands of dots carefully placed on the canvas. Long bands of clouds echo the horizon and the breakwaters on the beach. The vast sky and tranquil sea meet at the horizon line, bringing a sense of spacious light to the picture; yet from up close they also have a peculiar visual density. Seurat added the wooden frame later, hand-painting it with the same technique to add greater luminosity and suggest the extension of the image past its boundaries.
The quote "wash the light of the studio off my eye's really interested me. Could he have painted this if he had stayed in his studio? Probably, but what would have been lost if "the light of the studio" was his only point of reference. The above picture doesn't do it justice, but the color scheme is mesmerizing.
It was a good reminder for me that you need to get out and experience
I'm going to adopt the attitude of "wash the light of the computer screen off my eye's" and try to get out of screens, which is going to be hard, but maybe I'll see something worth making or doing.