I was surprised that this book is as much about writing as it was about running. I guess that can be expected from a writer but there are some surprising gems and insights about writing in here that readers not interested in running might miss.
I Loved and was also incredulous at the description of the moment Haruki Murakami decided to be a novelist. I love that he remembers this in great detail. And also how irreverent it is. Also the fact that in japan writers are considered somewhat degenerate or depraved and being a writer is part of an unhealthy lifestyle.
Also loved his description on how to keep at it as a novelist (and also a runner), based on his experience of running a night club. Basically, he realized, you only need to satisfy 1 out of 10 customers, and keep at it. That’s it. You grow your satisfied customer base, your avid readers, repeat customers that way. Slow and steady and stay the course of what you’re doing – whatever your unique brand is – and nevermind the naysayers or the other 9 people. refreshing.
Occasionally you come across something that seems like the perfect combination of things. Zimmermann’s work, especially in this series, plays on something so simple you might be forgiven for thinking it’s too easy, but just look at the results, he has an amazing eye. I can’t get over the results. I love looking at these.
Check out his portfolio for more in this series, and a 2.0 version and his other work. Portfolio.
I cannot believe I did not write about this before, I signed up for Disney+ just to be able to watch The Mandalorian. And I was not disappointed. Growing up I was a Star Trek fan, Star Wars was too much lore, too much like Lord of the Rings in space. More fantasy than sci-fi and the Star Wars fandom did not help my perception of it.
However, I cannot believe I never realized before how much focus there is in the Star Wars universe on visual storytelling. Even if I don’t care that much about the words of the story there is just so much emphasis on amazing visuals. This was recently highlighted for me while looking through a lot of film stills and seeing how well they are composed. Shot after shot, even as a film still, were an amazing stand alone striking visual. Watching the Mandalorian helped me appreciate and reignited an interest in the existing Star Wars canon.
I saw a lot of criticism that The Mandalorian did not have enough story, not enough dialogue, whereas for me the striking visuals with little dialogue were heaven. Watching the first season of The Mandalorian was an awesome experience. I really enjoyed it.
Additionally, there is something amazing about watching people who are good at their craft do their thing. And so it is with the team behind The Mandalorian. There are no rough edges, no rushed edits. The attention to detail is impeccable. The music is amazing. I even appreciated the dedication in paying homage to the existing universe and characters. Attention was even paid down to doing lots of practical effects that mirror the original trilogy which was limited by technology, but now has become a texture of the star wars universe. So many details for newbies and die-hard fans alike to enjoy.
The attention to detail, the references, homages and visuals continued in season two (with a bit more dialogue and story). I also enjoyed the next season, and of course the team tied it all together with a very exciting suprise ending.
You know, while watching this I was just waiting for it to jump the shark. Things kept coming dangerously close to the precipice. While pebbles would fall into the abyss and we stayed relatively on course, I was on board for the ride. But then in the season finale we jumped the shark with flourish, like an olympic diver. It was almost magnificent if it hadn’t ruined a perfectly good sci-fi show. I suppose I should reserve final judgement for season 2, but the flying snake really took the cake for me (spoiler alert! sorry…)
Up until then we had a reasonably good sci-fi meditation, with my fave striking visuals and stark palette that make for good film stills. On occasion it even grappled with some interesting scif-fi fodder and had enough oddball reveals to keep you coming back for more. It was a good ride even if the ending so far, was too much for my liking.
We all make math mistakes. Sometimes people die because of them. Matt himself tried not to put too many of those examples in this book, instead we get an amusing compendium of errors that illuminates how we are wired to make math mistakes.
Matt is also the owner of an entertaining math themed youtube channel and be sure to check out his live math show if/when he tours again.
p.s. counting pages backwards is a stroke of genius! I kinda wish all books did this from now on.
Since this is a journal of sorts, adding this here for posterity, since Westworld was a show I enjoyed, particularly the first season, season 3 not so much.
As a visual maker and processor this show certainly goes under the visual spectacle tag, with a healthy sprinkling of good sci-fi and excellent storytelling (esp, season 1) for the last part.
p.s. there is almost no media I readily re-watch, re-read, re-do, but this is one show where it is a joy to give it a second viewing once all the spoilers have been revealed, to really marvel at the story unfold.