Paris

Paris (UK: /ˈpærɪs/ parr-iss; US: /ˈpɛərɪs/ pair-iss; French: [paʁi]) is the capital of France. The City of Paris has an area of 105 square kilometres (41 square miles for those not familiar with the by now widely spread metric system) and has a population of 2M people within its city limits. The Paris Region covers 12K square kilometres (4.5K square miles), and has a population over 12 million people. Roughly the same size as Belgium (that other city just north of Paris) or a good two million more as the total headcount of Sweden (the larger Stockholm Region by comparison is half the size of Paris, and has a sixth of the population, a good two million including yours truly). 

Paris was founded in the 3rd century BC by a Celtic people called the Parisii, who gave the city its name (and not after Paris Hilton as some may believe). By the 12th century, Paris was the largest city in the western world, a prosperous trading centre, and the home of the University of Paris, one of the first in Europe. In the 18th century, it was the centre stage for the French Revolution, and became an important centre of finance, commerce, fashion, science, and the arts, a position it still retains today.

Paris is the home of the most visited art museum in the world, the Louvre, as well as some other big names like the Musée d’Orsay and the Musée National d’Art Moderne. The most notable architectural landmarks of Paris include Notre Dame Cathedral (12th century); the Sainte-Chapelle (13th century); the Eiffel Tower (1889); and the Basilica of Sacré-Cœur on Montmartre (1914) to name just a few.

Paris is not only the city of light and a romantic destination for many tourists around the globe, it is also the place where I first met my soulmate some good twenty years ago. A city full of memories of old and new friends alike.

So, when I woke up on Saturday and got greeted with a FB safety check that some of my friends in Paris checked in safely, it became instantly clear that disaster had struck in the centre of a city that is dear to me. Not a natural disaster inflicted by the whimsical moods of Mother Nature, but one inflicted by mankind.

A terror attack just one day after the terrible bombing  in Beirut.

Sad, meaningless, just a total waste of energy.

Is humanity in the twenty first century not grown beyond those barbaric acts our human history is known for ? Did we not grew up and learned from the past ?

The Celts, the Aztecs, The Dark Ages, Nazi Germany, Stalin, … they all had their dark spot to say the least, but humanity ploughed forward, and one could only have dreamed we were seriously moving to a flat world,  a world where humanity works together to solve the challenges of the 21st century and generations to come.

A world where we have to take global decisions together on our climate in just a few weeks, in that same city of light. Agree on how we can save our planet before we do unrecoverable damage that puts an end to humanity, full stop. Not just the left or the right, the north or the south, the east or the west. The full planet, all of us. Game over for species Homo Sapiens.

But it is not just us who can harm our little habitat here (although we do have a very good track record of being destructive), there is a long list out there of what can and will go wrong in the future and we have enough challenges to conquer and give our species a change of survival (if you wonder why Zurple and Quignee are keeping a close eye on Elon Musk and his Space X program, check out this awesomely inspiring blog).

Enough challenges ahead of us from a simple accidental asteroid to artificial super intelligence. We should not be shooting and blowing up people on a Friday evening (on no evening for that matter).

I am sad, and angry, and feel kind of helpless. Helpless we are not moving as humanity in the right direction of the bigger picture (which goes way beyond us as a species) and are still stuck in meaningless terror and violence.

Grumpy
Sad, Angry, Resolved.

I am sad, but at the same time resolved.

I cannot build a rocket to Mars or code a conscience into A.I. but I can speak up for our species in my work, in my photography.

Make sure I share the message of hope and inspiration.
Of building an intergalactic species that is known for its science and arts, just like the city of light. A species that believes in toys and imagination, in creativity and equality.

I hope my great grand children will look back and still find some inspiration in our generation.

I for sure will leave them my photography and hope it will inspire their children to look back at the past and smile on these whimsical great grandparents that took their toys to places to inspire creativity.

Paris, Beirut, Planet Earth, I Luv Ye.

B.

In LEGO, …

Lego (/ˈlɛɡ/) is a line of plastic construction toys that are manufactured by The Lego Group, a privately held company based in Denmark. LEGO consists of colorful interlocking plastic bricks and an accompanying array of gears, minifigures and various other plastic parts. LEGO bricks can be assembled and connected in many ways, to construct such objects as vehicles, buildings, bridges and wonderlands of imagination and long forgotten childhoods.

The most interesting aspect of LEGO and the long forgotten wonderlands is that it can be captured and explored in what is called Toy Photography.

Toy Photography which will be featuring yours truly in Seattle next month (read March), in the art exhibition “In LEGO, We Connect …” in the Bryan Ohno Gallery next to the fantastic Avanaut and the awesome Lady Corbett.

inlegoweconnect

I am excited !

Turnaround

Turnarounds are scheduled events wherein an entire process unit of an industrial plant is taken offstream for an extended period for revamp and/or renewal. Turnaround is a blanket term that encompasses more specific terms such as Inspection & Testing, debottlenecking projects, revamps and catalyst regeneration projects.

Turnaround can also be used as a synonym of shutdowns and outages and 2014 has just gone into such a turnaround while 2015 is taken online by Planet Earth.

In Belgium we used to have a tradition of giving the turnaround mission statement in what most people call their New Years Resolution.

I am not going to turn this post into a promise of absolutes, with no more wine, commitments to daily gym sessions and only healthy veggie juices instead of caffeine for breakfast or committing to run half a marathon (these are just the healthy ones).

No such absolutes.
I am not taking myself into a full stop turnaround.

Yet I do want to take a next step in my creative passions in 2015 and take my photography to the next level.

A level I will be sharing here with you.

For now, I wish you a perfect turnaround into 2015.

Jelly

In the U.S. and Canada, jelly refers to a clear or translucent fruit spread made from sweetened fruit juice and is set by using its naturally occurring pectin, whereas outside North America (read Europe and the rest of the world) jelly most of the time refers to a gelatin-based dessert. Unless you are talking to a marine biologist specialized in the non-polyp form of individuals of the Phylum Cnidaria.

The difference is subtle, yet important.

Jelly

Jelly can be made from sweet, savory or hot ingredients. It is made by a process similar to that used for making jam, with the additional step of filtering out the fruit pulp after the initial heating. A stockinette “jelly bag” is traditionally used as a filter, suspended by string over a bowl to allow the straining to occur gently under gravity. It is important not to attempt to force the straining process, for example by squeezing the mass of fruit into the stockings or the clarity of the resulting jelly will be compromised.
Patience is a virtue when talking Jelly.

Jelly can come in a variety of flavors such as grape jelly, strawberry jelly, hot chile pepper and even jellyfish.

It is typically eaten with a variety of foods. This includes jelly with toast, or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
The Jellyfish variant is considered a delicacy in Japan and Korea.
Dried that is.

Jelly Too

Pectin (from Ancient Greek: πηκτικός pēktikós, “congealed, curdled”) is a structural heteropolysaccharide contained in the primary cell walls of terrestrial plants and not found in Jellyfish.

It was first isolated and described in 1825 by Henri Braconnot.

It is produced commercially as a white powder, mainly extracted from citrus fruits, and is used in food as a gelling agent, particularly in jams and jellies.

Not to be confused with gels used in photography (that is another post).

“Good jelly is clear and sparkling and has a fresh flavor of the fruit from which it is made. It is tender enough to quiver when moved, but holds angles when cut.”

Now that is a definition I like.

Jelly.