[Thoughts] We are all crazy.

I recently discovered the channel "School of Live" on YouTube. I am still undecided about it: some videos seem ridiculous, some others are interesting.
Here is a video which stroke a chord with me. 

Its label, "How to Defuse an Argument", is not the thing which stroke me.  What stroke a chord is the message at 3:04 within the video: "We are all crazy. No one is sane.", along with the idea that there are two cognitive mistakes which can be associated with this message, only one of which is explored in the video.

The aspect which is described in the video is that everybody should remember moments whem they, too, were not 100% rational, from "a bit crazy" to "ravening mad", and try to remember how they wished to me treated at that time, and try to treat others the same when they have their own moment of craziness: "We are all crazy".

But it seems to me that there is another aspect, at least as important: if you feel crazy, don't assume that you are the only one. "We are all crazy" (at least from time to time). When I was young I was joking about being crazy to other people all the time. I felt or wanted to be different from others, and I felt that this was a kind of craziness, a form of madness. I was jokingly explaining that the first step toward being a mad genius was to accept one's own madness. Much much later on, after a shrink suggested in some way that I was indeed crazy, I got afraid of being crazy for a few years, trying to find a "normal" way. (Turns out that a few years later various other shrinks corrected the diagnostic. I might still feel "crazy", but at least I do not seem to be in the clinical sense.)

All along (both when I was proud of being crazy AND when I was ashamed of being crazy), I assumed that it was only me (and a few others), and that the rest of the world was "normal", aka "not crazy". And when I could not understand people's behavior, many times I assumed that I was missing information, or in a more general way that the fault resided in me if I could not see the logic in other's action. But little by little, I think that I realized that a lot of the action of other people, of other societies, do NOT make sense. "We are all crazy".

Of course, the cognitive trap is not so much in the definition of "craziness" as it is in the signification of the verb "be". In Spanish and Portuguese, the verb "be" has two translation: "estar" for the impermanent and "ser" for the permanent. The sentence "We are all crazy" is using the impermanent signification, to mean that we all have moments of craziness, let it be for tiredness, stress, hormones,... In the end, we are all capable of craziness.

[Glass Etching] TNT "out of your league"

I met a girl at a party which I liked, and left her a contact card. When she contacted me, I invited her to a restaurant, and she came with a tee shirt with a big writing "OUT OF YOUR LEAGUE".  Yesterday she suggested to meet again, and I got inspired: I want to draw a TNT with a tee shirt "OUT OF YOUR LEAGUE". Which I did, and etched, this morning: here is the result.

Since I was doing the whole project in one run (I usually work on a project in a few days, half an hour at a time), I took regularly pictures and timed the whole execution (2h and 20 mns) from the first touch of the pencil on the paper to when I ordered my tools (redaction of this blog post not included). The idea is that people who want to learn how to glass etch can refer to this post (among others) to get an idea of the process.

First I chose the support (a flat glass plate) and penciled on paper the size of the drawing area on the plate, and within this area the character that I want to draw:

When I am happy with the design (as Franquin said, one uses the eraser even more than the pencil), I marked in a stronger way the final design:

So that when I ink it (you can't erase any more after that!), I do have the design that I want:

I then flip the drawing, put it on my home made "light table", put the plate on top (four well placed erasers maintain the drawing close to the surface of the glass), and start copying the design. In other occasions I copied the face version of the drawing on the face of the glass, and then copy it to the back by transparency, but this process is faster and minimize the amount of transformation (and is quite easy with the light table):

You can see the result after copying: the two are quite similar!

Then I etch the glass plate with a dremmel and a diamond head, and wash the ink:

After some hesitation, I colored the hair, and the letters (with a distinct diamond head, as this using more of the diamond powder on the head):

I like the final result!

It took me in total 2h and 20mns, but I have a lot of experience drawing TNT and I had already the idea, so the design process was fast. When I copy an existing drawing it can come down to 1h, and when I have to design and the inspiration does not come, it can take days or weeks or months... 

And the girl? The reason she wanted to see me was because she felt it  was important to tell me that she had fallen in love "from one day to the other" with a "Peruvian guy living in the south". Blah. 


[Cooking] Saturday Baking

It was a grey and cold Saturday and I am invited for lunch on Sunday so I decided to bake a bit (the heat of the oven warms up the appartment and the smell of the cakes warms up my heart).

I did some Sun:

Some smile:
Some... cake for a five guest lunch:
and some small cookies to offer to the concierges,colleagues and friends:
It was a nice way to warm up the appartment :) 

[Santiasco] Alerta Ambiental

I did not see the air of Santiago that bad for a long time. 

The mayor of the Santiago declared an "alerta ambiental", which means restrictions on 1/3 of cars without catalytic exhaust pipe, prohibition to burn wood, and advice to avoid physical exercise for all:

Intendencia RM @IntendenciaRM 7h Alerta ambiental para este domingo 29 afecta a vehículos s/sello verde 5 y 6. Prohibido encender calefactores a leña intendenciametropolitana.gov.cl/n10151_29-05-2… via Twitter Web Client

It is bad (and indeed according to the standards of North America this is the worst category) but note how this situation is only half way in the scale of categories of pollution alert for Chile:

Last winter (remember that it is Winter in the south  when it is Summer in the north) the pollution went all the way to "pre-emergencia" in Santiago, and this year some cities already went to "pre-emergencia" and "emergencia". 

And we are only end of may, at the beginning of the winter: the worst month is supposed to be August... 

[Learning] DuoLingo Portuguese lecon 6:

I am planning to go to Sao Paulo (Brazil) in August for the wedding of a friend, so I decided to learn some Portuguese using DuoLingo. 

I had some 'lingots' leftover from my previous experiments with DuoLingo, so I bought some optional modules, and in particular the "pickup lines" one. I don't know if I would trust it enough to use this particular one:
Anyway, the application declared me good to go:
I will (try to) continue to work on my language skills. A pity that there is no course in Slovenian on DuoLingo! 


[Glass Etching] Prizes EI2001 2016

At the final event of my course about pedagogical animations, each student choose to improve by themselve one video that they did in group during the semester, and the students choose themselves the three best such videos of the semester. This year, this final event will be in early July on [2016-07-07 Thu], the day after I come back from a month-long trip to the other side of the world: I made sure to have the prizes for the final event, and the presents for my five amazing Teaching Assistants who will be managing the course while I am away, before I leave. I used a similar theme to the one I used last year for the "Pedagogical" prizes of the TUApp 2015 event, some owls, symbol of wisdom in antique Greece.

Here is an example of one of the prizes given to the students. The typo is not voluntary (it should be "Pedagogical Animation" or "Animaciones Pedagogicas", not "Pedagogical Animacion"), and I could still correct it, but I am thinking about letting it in: it is typical of the course after all, with my English getting mixed with my Spanish...

This year I am relying even more than usual on my Teaching Assistants, so they deserved special attention (that, plus Jorge, who was my T.A. last year, complained that he received "only" a box of chocolates when he was hoping for an etched glass ).
So here is my thank you to Natalia:

Here is my thank you to Jorge:

Here is my thank you to Tiare:

Here is my thank you to Isidora:

Here is my thank you to Eduardo:


[Pollution] From "Alerta Ambiental" to "Emergencia Ambiental"

Winter is here, and with it the heating burning wood, which causes massive pollution in the cities of Chile when the weather does not clean up.
In preparation for the lack of wind this week, the government declared this monday
  • "Alerta Ambiental" in the cities of Santiago, Talca, and Maule;
  • "Preemergencia" in the city of Temuco; and
  • "Emergencia ambiental" in the cities of Valdivia and Osorno.

The air is still good, it is preemptive, but a reminder of bad things to come...


[Glass Etching] TNT Dessert plates

I found some nice dessert plates at the cristaleria, so I etched two with drawings of my favourite character! 

[Song] Participe Present - François Béranger

Ce matin je me suis réveillé avec la chanson "Au point de sang" de François Béranger. C'est une chanson que jouait mon père les Samedis matin en faisant le ménage, pendante que ma mère, mes frères et moi-même étions à l'école.

Écoutant la vidéo sur youtube (ma configuration musicale est encore à réarranger), me vient la justification de la chanson "Participe Présent", que je n'avais pas bien écouté par le passé, et qui mentionne Pinochet, et le Chili:

J'aime en particulier le dernier couplet:

si poète il y a

C’est dans les combats qu’il se trouve

Dans le combat des p’tits matins

Dans les lendemains qui déchantent


if a poet there is

he is found in the fights

in the fight of the early morning

in the disapointing tomorrows

si un poeta hay

se encuentra en las peleas

en la pelea de la mañana

en las mañanas desepcionadas


[Drawing] Prisoner in the eye

I can't remember exactly the first time I drew this motif of a prisoner inside the pupil of the eye of a clown, but it must have been while studying for my Ph D in Paris. I used the motif  again when I was in Waterloo, and again, in glass and in copper while living in Chile. 

Each time, there was this feeling of being trapped in obligations and expectations, from the society, from people around me, from my past self and more importantly from my imaginary future self. As for all those people who end up prisonner of the image that they so painfully created. 

But the drawing stands to say that in the end, most of us are only prisoner of ourselves, and it is only up to ourselves to open the cage and let ourself free to follow whichever path we fancy. which is not to say that the path is easy to choose ('just listen to your heart!', bah !), but merely that the choice is always here, at every moment, and that the constraints of continuity are there only to save time, otherwise lost in perpetual self questioning... 


[SHHHIT] Santiago House Harrier Invitational Trail, Day 2, part 2

On Saturday night we gathered at Flannery's pub to celebrate.

It was very cold, I lent three of my "cuellos" to a fellow hasher:
He did find them very funny to use :)


[SHHHIT] Santiago House Harrier Invitational Trail, Day 2, part 1

On Saturday morning, I joined with a fellow hasher to lay the trail.
Here was the plan:

Here is the result for the runner trail (notice some differences?)

The air was not very good:

And you could see it when watching the buildings from the park:

On the way I saw a rock with my name on it!

We informed everybody, and there were still 11 entousiastic runners:

After that we had a few celebrations: