April Notes

“Too often we hold fast to the clichés of our forebears. We subject all
facts to a prefabricated set of interpretations. We enjoy the comfort of
opinion without the discomfort of thought.”

― John F. Kennedy [Commencement Address at Yale University, June 11 1962]

Persillade (French pronunciation: [pɛʁsijad]) is a sauce or seasoning mixture of parsley (French: persil) chopped together with seasonings including garlic, herbs, oil, and vinegar.

Mirepoix – mixture of diced vegetables cooked with fat (usually butter) for a long time on low heat without coloring or browning.

Gastrique – caramelized sugar, deglazed with vinegar or other sour liquids, used as a sweet and sour flavoring for sauces.

How to use Dicord:

“It is true that we can imagine cultures in which pleasure is very different, where people rub food in feces to improve taste and have no interest in salt, sugar, or chili peppers; or where they spend fortunes on forgeries and throw originals into the trash; or line up to listen to static, cringing at the sound of a melody. But this is science fiction, not reality.
One way to sum this up is that humans start off with a fixed list of pleasures and we can’t add to that list. This might sound like an insanely strong claim, because of course one can introduce new pleasures into the world, as with the inventions of the television, chocolate, video games, cocaine, dildos, saunas, crossword puzzles, reality television, novels, and so on. But I would suggest that these are enjoyable because they are not that new; they connect—in a reasonably direct way—to pleasures that humans already possess. Belgian chocolate and barbecued ribs are modern inventions, but they appeal to our prior love of sugar and fat. There are novel forms of music created
all the time, but a creature that is biologically unprepared for rhythm will never grow to like any of them; they will always be noise.”

Paul Bloom in his 2010 book How Pleasure Works: The New Science of Why We Like What We Like:

Fluency Heuristic – a cognitive heuristic in which, if one statement or idea can be processed more fluently, faster, or more smoothly than another, the mind infers that this statement has a higher value. In other words, the more skillfully or elegantly an idea is communicated, the more likely it is to be considered seriously, whether or not it is logical.

Gravid – pregnant – from Latin gravis, meaning “heavy.” It can refer to a female who is literally pregnant, and it also has the figurative meanings of pregnant: “full or teeming” and “meaningful.”

Elements of Design
  • Line — the visual path that enables the eye to move within the piece Shape — areas defined by edges within the piece, whether geometric or organic
  • Color — hues with their various values and intensities
  • Texture — surface qualities which translate into tactile illusions
  • Tone — Shading used to emphasize form
  • Form — 3-D length, width, or depth
  • Space — the space taken up by (positive) or in between (negative) objects
  • Depth — perceived distance from the observer, separated in foreground, background, and optionally middle ground.”

Skepticism, also spelled scepticism, – a questioning attitude or doub toward knowledge claims that are seen as mere belief or dogma. For example, if a person is skeptical about claims made by their government about an ongoing war then the person doubts that these claims are accurate. In such cases, skeptics normally recommend not disbelief but suspension of belief, i.e. maintaining a neutral attitude that neither affirms nor denies the claim. This attitude is often motivated by the impression that the available evidence is insufficient to support the claim. Formally, skepticism is a topic of interest in philosophy, particularly epistemology. More informally, skepticism as an expression of questioning or doubt can be applied to any topic, such as politics, religion, or pseudoscience. It is often applied within restricted domains, such as morality,
atheism (skepticism about the existence of God), or the supernatural.

Epistemology – the theory of knowledge. It is concerned with the mind’s relation to reality. What is it for this relation to be one of knowledge? Do we know things? And if we do, how and when do we know things?

100 Faces (64 to 100)

64 to 70 of 100 Faces. Ink in 9 by 12 Canson XL mixed media sketchbook
71 to 77 of 100 Faces. Ink in 9 by 12 Canson XL mixed media sketchbook
78 to 83 of 100 Faces. Ink in 9 by 12 Canson XL mixed media sketchbook
84 to 89 of 100 Faces. Ink in 9 by 12 Canson XL mixed media sketchbook
90 to 96 of 100 Faces. Ink in 9 by 12 Canson XL mixed media sketchbook
97 to 100 Faces. Ink in 9 by 12 Canson XL mixed media sketchbook. #100faces

White America’s Token Gestures

One of my hobbies growing up that I revisit occasionally is collecting coins. Every once in a while the US Mint releases a coin that inspires me.

This Dr. Maya Angelou quarter released last year inspired me. I purchased a couple of sets from the Mint last year. It is distressing, however, that an enslaver of Black people is on the other side of the coin.

In a flurry of excitement over the Dr. Maya Angelou quarters, I want to know WHY a quarter was produced within months of being announced, while the highly anticipated Tubman $20 note is still not in circulation.

All seven circulating united states banknote denominations feature white men: George Washington on the $1 bill, Thomas Jefferson on the $2 bill, Abraham Lincoln on the $5 bill, Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill, Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill, Ulysses S. Grant on the $50 bill, and Benjamin Franklin on the $100 bill.


Back during the Obama administration, a concept design was promised to be unveiled in 2020 to coincide with the centennial of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote.

Obama administration Treasury Secretary Jack Lew had selected Tubman to replace Andrew Jackson, a slave-owning president who forced Cherokees and many other Indian nations on deadly marches out of their southern homelands, on the $20 bill.

The plan was halted by President Trump’s Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who said as far as he was concerned, Jackson would remain on the $20 bill.

Harvey B. Lindsley/Library of Congress via AP, Getty Images

If the Biden administration proceeds with the full scope of redesign plans laid out by Treasury Secretary Jack Lew in 2016 (before it was tabled by the Trump administration), we will see not only a change to the $20 note, but also the addition of suffragists Lucretia Mott, Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Alice Paul to the back of the $10 bill, and civil rights icons Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Marian Anderson on the back of the $5 bill.

These three new notes would break the century-old exclusion of women from being depicted on American banknotes—the last and only woman to appear in a portrait on a federal banknote was Martha Washington, more than a century ago—and would feature Black historical figures on federal banknotes for the first time.

Beyond expanding representation, the new designs would reflect some of the major social movements of the past 200 years that have helped to move the United States toward its founding ideals of freedom, equality and justice.

Filmmaking Week 5

What is Theme?
Write Your Story

Time to settle on one idea (ideally one of the three you pitched in class) and expand it into a full story.

*At this stage, you are not writing this in screenplay format, yet*

Write in prose form, with two additional requirements:

#1: Do your best to only write what we would see on the screen. In other words, no lengthy backstory descriptions, and no explanations of what is happening in a character’s mind. Describe the people, scenery, dialog, and actions. Develop the plot through scenes as they progress from one to the next. Each scene should reveal the next part of the story and provide new information to the reader/viewer. (If you’re having trouble with this style of writing, imagine that you are playing a movie on mute, and describing what is happening out loud to someone who can’t see the film.)

My Story: A giant grow-man sized 12-year old bulldozes his way through middle school in search of maturity, self-control and belonging at an independent school. The Theme is the chaos of being bigger than everyone in middle school, including the teachers. The short is set in 2023 on a suburban campus and takes place over the course of one school day.

A little flood of little kids get off a school bus before and after Tommy.

Tommy wades through a sea of middle school kids in the lobby of Lewis to check in and surrender his cellphone.

Tommy is sitting in a classroom sharing a desk with a kid 1/2 his size. His head is bent low to hers as they work out on a project together.

Tommy stands in the lunch line surrounded by kids who are two heads shorter than he is.

Tommy runs around on a field of grass knocking smaller kids out of his way to get to a soccer ball.

Tommy stands in the hall looking down at a teacher who is yelling at him for knocking a kid over. The kid is behind the teacher pointing and laughing.

Tommy stands at the white board with 4 other kids working on a math problem. The tallest other kid at the board comes to his arm pit.

Tommy is on the basketball court playing in a scrimmage. He gets passed the ball, drives to the basketball and shoots with two defenders hanging off his body trying to stop him. He runs over another defender in the lane.

Tommy and two friends sit on the wall outside of Bradley, drink Peace teas and wait for the bus.

Best Picture Debate

Each member of the class will be assigned one of the Best Picture nominees (draw from a hat first, then trade with someone if you’d like).

Prepare a convincing (and, if you wish, entertaining) statement you will present in class on Monday about why you think your film should win Best Picture. Statements should be 2-3 minutes long. You do not need to have watched the film, but you should at least watch the trailer and do some reading about your film. We will likely watch the trailers in class on Monday.

MY Answer:

How do we measure what the “best” picture is? Best at what? Quality is subjective. If we just stick to objective measurements, the winner would just be the highest-grossing movie every year. This year Avatar: The Way of Water would win hands down: $2.2 billion and counting. Most of the other best picture nominees have been box-office flops.

James Cameron’s Avatar: The Way of Water, a sequel to 2009’s Avatar, should win multiple Oscar even using subjective grading. Thirteen years after Avatar, The Way of Water is nominated in four categories, Best Picture, Best Sound, Best Visual Effects, and Best Production Design (formerly known as Best Art Direction). The Way of Water continued the story of the Sully family and pitted them against an old enemy in new Avatar.

Cameron crafted exciting action and stunning and imaginative visuals and venture into conceptualizing and creating an entirely new alien world with its own flora, fauna, ecology, atmosphere, and so on. Everything was rendered in mind-boggling life-like detail with bright colors and an authentic yet fantasy-like feel. Everything is gorgeous in a cinematic, dynamic way. Cameron build an exciting narrative around action set pieces.

The computer-generated imagery, the motion capture, the 3D, the textures and physics of creatures and objects moving in space, and underwater are state-of-the-art digital film-making perfection; all of Avatar’s fantastical creatures and cultures were designed and rendered from scratch.(Speaking of which, why doesn’t this movie qualify in the “best animated feature” category?)

New creatures in the film include over-friendly whale-like mammals called tulkun, and naturally, there are whalers extracting from their blubber the Pandora equivalent of whale oil, Amrita. Similar to the nectar in Hindu mythology that is supposed to make its consumer immortal, Amrita stops aging.

The Way of Water hammered home the point that we should protect our oceans. Cameron is genuinely trying to save the world. For me, that makes it the Best Picture.

100 Faces (1 to 8)

8 of 100 Faces. Ink in 9 by 12 Canson XL mixed media sketchbook

I am joining a quest to draw a 100-faces. I will do them in pen and ink for my first round with a goal of 8 to 10 per day (and per page – so smallish) in a 9 by 12 sketchbook. Then I will move on to more extensive / bigger for another 100.

I am also working on doing self-portraits every week but more than just photos. I don’t have a number goal for selfies but I am trying as many mediums and methods as I can.