Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A *blank* person

In ecology we refer to people by the topics they study. For example, you can be a "plant person", an "elephant person", a "fish person", etc. Generally we use it to refer to the primary organism we study but sometimes we like to say "that guy, he's a molecular-microbial person" which tells us that he likes really small complicated things. Essentially, it's a shorthand way of letting people know what you study without spewing your dissertation all over them. Really, it's just a quick way to say, "I'm a nerd and I'm OK with that."

I find this way of pegging people both charming and a bit daunting. When I first met many of the students in my cohort they already knew what kind of "person" they were but I didn't. It set me on edge as I fluctuated between being a "crayfish/invert(ebrate) person" to being a "plant person." I'm really not ready for my title. I'm an undecided person. Undecided, but looking forward to specializing. It seems to me that being an expert in a topic carries a great deal of responsibility, but I look forward to to the day when I can stop saying "I don't know." And as I write that, I realize it will be a very sad day when I know everything. If I am going to be an ecologist, a teacher, a crafter, a person, I need to value asking a question and seeking the answer. It's only partly about the end result, but what I do while I get there.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Make it if possible

I am constantly inspired by the tremendous number and variety of crafting blogs available on the Internet. These blogs and the blog owners are the reason why my own fingers itch to create, and then write about it, here in this virtual space. Yet as we all know, creativity is a gradual process, that starts with inspiration, and then goes through several fits and starts before actually coming to fruition. It's a personal process. What type of crafter am I? I have to reach a "critical mass" before I am able to let my fingers and brain engage. I am also sometimes paralysed by my excuses for why I can't craft. I am, however, certainly usually not one to create for the sake of making stuff. I like to create and then give away (mostly because by the time I'm done with a project I am so lost in the production and subsequently immune to its existence. Well, only sometimes).

So I make if possible. And I have a long mental list of projects I'd like to make. One is a laptop case to go along with my nifty new machine. Here, maybe I'll use this as my inspiration. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


Do you ever wonder how a color gets its name? It never crossed my mind until today when I picked up my dry cleaning. I walked into the shop, my mind working ahead of itself ("...the post office next...will it still be open?...and then groceries..."). I thought I'd hand over my slip of paper, get my jacket and jet out again. The attendant, an older man, balding in shorts and a tie-dyed tank top said, "That'll be $6.50" and then said something to the effect of, "I bet you didn't know, but in the mid-1800s the father of organic chemistry encouraged his students to find a color fast pigment. Everyone wanted a royal blue color, something that could be used to dye natural fibers and would stay the same after every washing. So one student set out to create this dark blue, but was unsuccessful and instead developed a deep red-pink shade that no one had ever used before. At the time the French has just won a significant millitary battle in Italy in the town of Magenta, and so this became the name of the new color." All of this, because on the rack, covered in plastic, was my bright magenta jacket. Fresh and ready to go.

I left the store with a clean jacket and a new perspective on color. I almost can't imagine a color not existing. How is that possible?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Coming soon

I've tried this before with too much structure and it didn't work. So I thought I'd try again. In 500 words or less. And each time with pictures, too. I have to think more carefully about how I want to communicate and with only 500 chances I might just get it right. 500 or less -- I like it already!