Day of the Dead

Day of the Dead 2015

The Day of the Dead, or Día de Muertos, is one of many Mexican traditions that has captured the imagination of people all over the globe. It's even inscribed in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.

It's hard to explain if you're not Mexican and haven’t grown up with it.

Many years ago, while at university in Mexico, I took a contemporary art class with a French lecturer. She was really nice and knew her stuff. The class was interesting and engaging and I remember enjoying attending, which didn’t happen often. She'd only been in Mexico for a few months when the Day of the Dead came and I'm not sure what she expected. Surely she’d read about it and seen the beautiful, if eerie, imagery that’s associated with the celebration.

But she clearly wasn’t ready for what happened. Several of my classmates brought her a small skull made of sugar with her name written in the forehead.

This is not only common, but it’s in fact a very nice gesture. Kids love them. It’s basically a huge block of sugar with some more sugary stuff to decorate it. We think it’s funny.

She didn’t think it was funny at all.

She panicked. The next class she didn’t show up. We waited for a while and then all went on our ways. On the following week the head of the department came to the class to explain what had happened. She didn’t understand the skulls and thought we all hated her and wanted her dead! She was so disturbed by it that she decided to quit.

As I said, it’s difficult to explain.

Anyway, I love the short film above and thought it’d be a good time to share it. Enjoy. I hope.

Sydney, Australia flyover in Apple Maps

Last night I did a clean install of my Mac and today I opened Apple Maps for the first time in this Mac. It asked my permission to use my location and when I said yes, it identified I was in Sydney and I saw a little button to 'Start Flyover'. I don't remember seeing that before, so I clicked yes.

Wow, I sure do live in a beautiful city.

Watching this 90 second or so flyover made me smile. I liked it so much that I decided to make a video and share it. So there you go, this is Sydney, Australia.

Week 26: Aperture Workflow eBook, Timelapse photography, and Essentialism

Effective Aperture Workflow Book Updated

If you use Apple's Aperture you need to get this book. It's written by Scott Davenport, an active member of the Aperture community and a great landscape photographer.

 
 

I purchased Effective Aperture Workflow many months ago and enjoyed it immensely, but more importantly, I learned a lot from it. Scott goes through his workflow in a lot of detail and believe me, it's a good workflow. I've adapted many things from the book into my own.

The book is available in the iBookstore and includes a bunch of video where Scott shows you as he explains. It's only $6.99.

Last week Scott updated it with new content and I'm going through it again.

The Art Of The Timelapse by Michael Shainblum

Not much to add to this other than... wow. See more from Michael Shainblum at his website and Vimeo channel.

Greg McKeown on Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

I often fall for this. Sometimes I try to do way too many things and end up finishing none. Or the ones I finish are half-assed because I had to split my time and attention on too many non-essential things. The worst is, as Greg McKeown explains in the video below, when you do something that's successful and that opens a lot of new doors and you try to go through all of them. Success can bring failure indeed.

The video is about Greg's latest book titled Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less (Amazon | iBookstore | unfortunately I couldn't find in Audible). I just purchased it and it's next on my reading list.

Week 13: Nikon Df, OmniFocus 2, and Flo Fox

Photographer Mick Rock on the Nikon Df

When the Nikon Df was first announced I was really excited. Then I saw the photographs and my excitement quickly turned into disappointment. The camera looked like they had just bolted on analog-looking knobs and dials on top of a modern body. At least in the pictures, it looks hideous. The specs are a weird choice as well, but the price is what really killed it for me. It's just plain ridiculous.

I had completely ignored the Df since then, but today, Rob Boyer wrote an article in which he shares his impressions after having held one. It seems it's not as bad as it looks in pictures, but that's about it. 

Rob also shared the Nikon sponsored video below where Mick Rock, an acclaimed rock music photographer, shares his thoughts on the Df.

I like the video and his philosophy about photography. I found particularly funny that they bleeped when he said bastard, in the following quote:

I know when I've got the shot. Do I know the exact frame? Sometimes I'm moving too fast to be that sure. But I know what it smells like when you've nailed the bastard.

I love that quote. I ended up spending some time going through his work. Good stuff.

OmniFocus 2 for Mac is back

OmniFocus 2 has been redesigned, a new beta is available for download (if you registered way back when), and it's scheduled to ship in June. This is great news. You can read about it at the Omni site. I just downloaded it and will be playing with it over the weekend. First impression is that it looks much better than the previous beta, but still too... plain. I have to use it to get a real feel for it, but it does look a bit boring.

Flo Fox by Riley Hooper

Two videos in the same weekly roundup? Yep. I can't not share this one. Truly inspirational. What a woman. If I ever complain again about something petty please somebody whack me in the head. Just watch it now.

Learn more about Flo Fox at her website. Then read this article on NYMag. Then go out and create something.

Week 6: Love, pockets, and Evernote

Find what you love and let it kill you

This week I read an article by pianist James Rhodes in the Guardian titled "Find what you love and let it kill you". It's beautiful and there's really nothing I could quote here without taking away from the piece. Please go read it now. It's worth it.

I've become a fan of Rhodes and just purchased one of his albums in iTunes. Amazing music and he's the type of artist I love supporting.

Via: Steven Pressfield.

Jerry Seinfeld on creating a show today

Jerry Seinfield:

Why would I put a show on a big heavy rectangle in your house when I could put it in your pocket.

This guy is brilliant.

Evernote adds descriptive search

From their announcement:

Imagine walking up to a bookshelf in your home. If you know where your desired book is, you see it and grab it. If you don’t know where the book sits, then you’ll try to recall the color of its spine, neighboring books, chronological placement, or any number of other attributes of the book until you find what you need.

Evernote’s search has always been great at providing the first part. If you know what you’re looking for, type in some keywords and the notes appear. Today, as part of our drive to create great experiences for users with a lot of notes, we’re introducing a new approach called Descriptive Search, which will let you find those notes, even if your memory of them is fuzzy and contextual.

This is great news and it works well if you use tags extensively. Unfortunately, it's not smart enough to look in the titles of notes. For example, I have a notebook in Evernote titled "Blog Post Ideas" where I create a note for each idea for an article I may want to write at some point. To keep them organised, I start the title with a related keyword. For example, articles about Aperture start with "APERTURE: Bla, bla, bla". I know I should use tags for this, but it's easier and faster for me to just start the title with a keyword.

Today I tried to search for "blog post ideas about aperture" and I didn't get what I expected. The search was for notes in "Blog Post Ideas" but that were tagged with "aperture". Since none of those are tagged it didn't give me any meaningful results.

I guess I should start using tags a lot more. There's a whole chapter on tags in Evernote Essentials that I just might read again over the weekend.

Week 3: Writer's Block, Evernote and The Passage of Time

Jerry Seinfeld on writer's block

Jerry Seinfeld did an AMA (Ask Me Anything) chat on Reddit last week. The whole thing is interesting and he was very candid with his replies. But what I really loved is his answer when someone asked him how he deals with writers block. He said:

Writer's block is a phoney, made up, BS excuse for not doing your work.

Gotta admire the guy. Perfect response.

The Overwhelming Evernote

Tim Stiffler-Dean wrote an article on Medium called The Overwhelming Evernote in which he explains how to avoid getting overwhelmed when you first start using Evernote. He includes a few good tips on how to use the service.

I'm a big fan of Evernote, but that wasn't always the case. I tried it many years ago and it didn't stick. Back then, I threw everything at it under the idea that it was an "everything bucket" and very quickly it became an unmanageable mess, so I just gave up. It wasn't until I read Evernote Essentials that it all made sense. Tim's article is a good introduction.

London in 1927 & 2013

This is just awesome. Producer/director Simon Smith describes it thus:

During the 1920s, cinematographer Claude Friese-Greene travelled across the UK with his new colour film camera. His trip ended in London, with some of his most stunning images, and these were recently revived and restored by the BFI, and shared across social media and video websites.

Since February I have attempted to capture every one of his shots, standing in his footsteps, and using modern equivalents of his camera and lenses. This has been a personal study, that has revealed how little London has changed.

The science of stage fright | TED-Ed

I've always believed that most people experience stage fright to some extent when speaking in public. Some manage it well and may even feed on it, while others suffer sweaty palms and racing hearts.

This video by Mikael Cho explains what stage fright is and suggests that if you understand it you are more likely to overcome it.

It's interesting and beautifully animated. Source: Ted-Ed - The science of stage fright (and how to overcome it).