[Santiago] Brown Air

Wednesday I went to an Astronomy observatory one on of Santiago 's hills in one of the "good"  neighbourhood, for a meeting. I took the following picture :


[Cooking] Winter Pies

I woke up at 5:30 full of energy, worked 1.5h, and felt exhausted and cold and depressed, yet unable to sleep... The remedy: pinging on Skype each of my brothers, putting music on louder than usual (not so loud as to wakeup the neighbours who parties all night!), and baking pies to warm up the appartment (it's winter in the South Hemisphere).

I made a Mango pie with the last can of Mango pulp that my PhD students brought me from Cuba. Drew what I remembered to be the symbol for Homesick in Mandarin (turned out that I  remembered  wtong...). It looks good! 
I made a Lemon pie with some lemons and oranges that where hanging around: my neighbour Gloria had requested one for her birthday anniversary, which is today. Turns out that she is not there, she went to visit her family out of Santiago: I will make her another one another day... 

Now, to find people to help me to eat those pies! 


[Caricatures] Various supports for caricatures

Here are some caricatures that I realized on various supports for a couple, Jacques and Marilu:
I first did the  design on paper, and implemented it on tee-shirts :
I implemented an extract of it on two hats:
Jacques wakes up at night to take medecines, and likes to have hot water ready, so I made a thermos mug for him: he loves it! 
Of course, I did the same for Marilu with my caricature of her:
Then, I etched those drawings on glasses to complete the set:
I could actually burn the caricatures on wood spoo s to really complete the set, but they will move soon to a new house so I will wait a bit :) 


[Metal Etching] JyBy's pirate flag

Today, I etched my Pirate flag on a metal mug:

Rather than to directly  redo the drawing on the mug, I decided to make a pochoir:
I then fixed the pochoir on the mug with rubber bands to copy the drawing:
That gave me the bases of the  drawing, with little to no distortion :
Then I redrew above what I had copied, to correct the distortion and improve the drawing:
Without forgetting to write my email address on the bottom, so that if (when?) I forget it somewhere, the person who finds gets some help if he/she desires to return it to me! 
The mug new cost 7000 Chilean pesos, or 11 USD. I spent two half days doing the design and etching. I wonder how much artists would sell such things, including the personalized design? 


[Drawing] Pirate flag

This morning I was inspired to draw a Pirate flag caricature of myself. Here it is:

Beside the sharpie pen and the musical note representing my pleasure at drawing and playing music, and the red nose and crazy hair escaping a crazy hat, it has also an eye bigger than the other, a protuberant jaw and a crooked teeth (as I do). But maybe I am the only one seeing those characteristics in me! 

Here are the intermediary drafts:
The light table that I designed and built was very useful to duplicate the drawings so that I would keep a copy of the intermediate steps of the creation! 
Here is the summary of a morning's work:

Next step: reproducing it on a tee shirt, on a glass, on a metal mug, or even on a real flag! 

  I wonder if people would buy such stuff, if the flag was a caricature of themselves or of the friend to whom they wish to offer the object. Selling it in the street would require to draw faster and to do many less details, but I don't imagine people ordering it on the Internet... 

What do you think? 
Would YOU order a pirate flag caricature, or other types of caricatures (e. g.  penguins)? 
How much would you pay for it on a glass? On a metal mug? On a A4 size flag? On a Tee-shirt? Would you pay for it to be shipped from across the world? Or just for the digital design,  that you could have printed on stickers and tee shirts, and put on your website and use as an avatar on your social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Diaspora ?  


[Chile] Air quality and the dangers of Sport

A few weeks ago, I felt particularly "depressed" on Friday morning, and again on Saturday morning. Not wanting to give up to depression, I forced myself to go to a sport social event (http://www.shhh.cl/) in order to "fight the blues".  I ran 7kms with some friends, but almost passed out on a couch at a friend's place for 40mns. When I told the story to a friend on the next day (Sunday), she told me that I was crazy to run 7kms when the whole city was in "environmental emergency"!

When I went to see the doctor one day later (Monday), she told me that the pollution in Santiago this year has reached record heights and duration, and that even the government admitted that those levels had not been reached since 1999, 16 years ago. Given that I don't watch TV nor listen to radio, she advised me to install an application on my phone to monitor daily the quality of the air, or at least before doing any kind of sport, even on a static exercise bike in the afternoon (which means almost every day for me).

I found several applications, but one caught my attention in particular, which compares the Chilean labeling of air conditions with the labeling according to USA's norms: here is an example of a reasonably normal day:

I was intrigued. The norms for the Chilean labeling are given on the official page where the government announces restrictions on which cars can drive during air quality emergencies (http://portal.mma.gob.cl/pronostico-rm/). I found the norms for the US labeling on Wikipedia (http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs313/en/). The thresholds for alerts in Santiago are on a completely distinct scale from the recommendations of the World Health Organization's. For example, just taking PM 2.5 and PM 10:
  • The World Health Organization's recommended maximum PM2.5 level is 25 μg/m3, while Chilean's norms consider a value of 46.5 µg∕m3 of MP 2.5 as "bueno"  on [2015-07-06 Mon]. On [2015-06-22 Mon] it was 98.8 µg∕m3 of MP 2.5 as "alerta"...
  • The World Health Organization's recommended maximum PM10 level is 50 µg/m3.  At Parque O Higgins on  [2015-07-06 Mon], it was 74.1 µg∕m3 or "bueno". On [2015-06-22 Mon] it was 173.6 74.1 µg∕m3 or "regular"....
I am not the first one to worry about this discrepancy: other foreigners have commented on it in the past (http://southernpacificreview.com/.../santiago-air.../). Chilean's reactions, as far as I saw, range from resigned to amused: when told about this, a colleague, single mother of two, told me "well, I guess if we looked at US labeling, we would never go out of home". And she is right: the US labeling given by the application are almost always "unhealthy for some" or "unhealthy" for the place where I live and work, "Parque O'Higgins"...

I was advised to move to another place: many colleagues live in "Las Condes", which is higher in the mountains and where the air ratings are consistently better, with a commuting time ranging between 2*40mns driving a car and 2*1.5h taking public transportation. Some staff live well outside the city, and commute for 2*2h a day, sleeping and reading in the bus. The air quality is better in general, but even those places were affected during the air quality emergency.  

Beyond the thoughts about moving to live in a place where I can breath better, there is a more personal morale to the story: several times before, I learned after spending a week-end feeling "depressed" that there had been an air quality emergency, but as my energy level did not improve much when the alert had been removed, I thought that it was a coincidence. Now that I know that a "regular" status of the air quality can hide very distinct levels of air quality (according to US and WHO standards at least), I have to revisit my assumption: I will try to learn the distinction between depression and asphyxia! 

  • http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs313/en/  for the recommendations from the World Health Organization mentioned above;
  • http://portal.mma.gob.cl/pronostico-rm/ for the map generated by the Chilean government;
  • http://southernpacificreview.com/js/airquality.html for an analysis of the air quality by US's standards in real time; and 
  • http://southernpacificreview.com/.../santiago-air.../ for the explanation of how the table is computed.