Robert L. Peters

31 October 2010

On mandatory optimism, wilful ignorance, and deleterious consequences of delusion…

London, UK

Watch a clever RSAnimate excerpt from a talk entitled ‘Smile or Die’ by Barbara Ehrenreich here. (Find links to audio or video of her original RSA keynote lecture here).

Viewer caution: this piece eviscerates the tyranny of positive thinking and its role in any number of our current social and political ailments and urges a move away from an inward-looking, apathetic society—toward a more pro-active and realistic one. Potential risk of altering one’s polyanna quotient exists…

Thanks to the guileless Bob Roach for the link…


30 October 2010

Refreshingly lively livery…

Johannesburg, South Africa

South African low-fare airline Kulula Air has been gaining worldwide exposure of late thanks to its creative, humorous livery. One of their Boeing 737-86Ns, named “Flying 101” is covered nose to tail with details and funny remarks about the plane. The captain’s window is marked with the big cheese (”captain, my captain!”), the co-pilot’s window with co-captain (the other pilot on the PA system) and the jump seat is for wannabe pilots.

Additional captions on other parts of the plane include:

•  galley (cuppa anyone?)

•  avionics (fancy navigation stuff)

•  windows (best view in the world)

•  wing #1 and #2

•  engine #1 and #2 (26 000 pounds of thrust)

•  emergency exit = throne zone (more leg room baby!)

•  seats (better than taxi seats)

•  some windows = kulula fans (the coolest peeps in the world)

•  black box (which is actually orange)

•  landing gear (comes standard with supa-fly mags)

•  back door (no bribery/corruption here)

•  tail (featuring an awesome logo)

•  loo (or mile-high club initiation chamber)

•  rudder (the steering thingy)

•  stabiliser (the other steering thingy)

•  a.p.u. (extra power when you need it most)

•  galley (food, food, food, food…)

•  boot space

•  ZS-ZWP (OK-PIK) = secret agent code (aka plane’s registration)

•  overhead cabins (VIP seating for your hand luggage)

•  fuel tanks (the go-go juice)

•  cargo door

•  aircon ducts (not that kulula needs it… they’re already cool)

•  front door (our door is always open… unless we’re at 41 000 feet)

•  cockpit window = sun roof

•  nose cone (radar, antenna, and a really big dish inside)

Thanks to Christina Weese (a GDC Listserv colleague) for the link. Congratulations to the in-house design team at Kulula Air for their clever, well-crafted design scheme…


29 October 2010

On appetite…


28 October 2010

R.I.P…. Helen Reimer Eidse (1928-2010)

Steinbach, Manitoba

My aunt, Helen Reimer Eidse, passed on last week… I was among hundreds who attended her funeral here in Manitoba (while thousands more attended simultaneous commemorative services in various cities and communities in Congo, apparently). Having grown up on another continent, I do not, admittedly, know many of my relatives well (in no small part due to their sheer numbers)—Helen was one of my long-since-departed mother’s ten[!] siblings [eight sisters, two brothers])—though in retrospect, I do wish I had had the opportunity to know this fine woman better.

Helen Reimer graduated as a Registered Nurse in 1952, the same year she married Ben Eidse, a talented linguist (who would go on to learn nine languages and ultimately translate the Bible into Chokwe, a Bantu language spoken by nearly 1 million in central Africa, and today the lingua franca of eastern Angola). Fueled by faith-inspired passion to make a positive difference where it was most needed, she gave her heart and a lifetime of service to the people of Congo, where for decades she ran a dispensary, a tuberculosis ward, and a leprosarium (where she administered groundbreaking cures for leprosy in the 1970s), while also bearing and raising four daughters: Hope, Faith, Charity, and Grace (yes it’s true… my cousins).

Among accomplishments far too numerous to list here, she ended up directing a total of 24 clinics, solicited medicinal donations from major pharmaceutical companies for her African charges, delivered over 100 babies per year, and introduced a nutritious strain of multi-colored beans (initially as a single handful to help the lepers in her colony at Kamayala as a simple, practical means for them to grow a nutritious cash crop—and today reportedly selling by the tonnes and one of the most popular offerings in the produce markets of Kinshasha, sub-Saharan Africa’s second largest city [with a population of over 10 million], about 600km from the location of the legumes’ first introduction near the Angolan border)—these are now known across the western Congo as “Mama Eidse beans.” Small wonder then that she is known in that long-embattled country as “Congo’s Mother Theresa.”

After Helen and Ben returned to Steinbach “to retire,” her home became a haven for the elderly, the homeless, and numerous foster children. It’s said that Helen read the newspaper differently from other people, with an eye for those with hurting hearts and broken lives—she called and visited parents whose children had been arrested, driving them to court and sitting with them during trials, and becoming an advocate for “juvenile delinquents” who had no one else to support them. Frugal to the nth degree, this fine woman would reportedly put even the most dedicated of today’s dumpster-divers to shame when it comes to active recycling, re-using, and re-purposing for the benefit of have-nots.

In 1995, Helen suffered a major stroke that confined her to a wheelchair for the ensuing 15 years—though this could not stop her from the prolonged and attentive listening to, singing with, laughing with, and prayer with (and for) all she would encounter. (At the funeral, my aunt Grace Warkentin, Helen’s younger sister, confided that Helen had recently expressed that “she was good and ready to leave this ‘cage of a body’ at any time”)… to which I can only reply: May you fly free and high, with the wings of the angel you seemingly have always been!

Two days after the funeral, I was very pleased to finally spend several hours in heart-felt face-to-face conversation with my cousin Faith Eidse, who had come up from Florida for her mother’s funeral. I’ve posted about Faith previously here—(she’s an award-winning writer, among other accomplishments)—I thought it appropriate to share a short piece that Faith wrote for Rhubarb Magazine here that sets a suitable context for remembering her amazing mother Helen…

Stay good, Menno homies near and far…


27 October 2010

"nuff said…"

(see more biting war & peace cartoons by Mr. Fish here)


26 October 2010

Glaciers, from below…

below the ice…

I’ve experienced the great privilege of spending time both on and underneath glaciers (in the Swiss and Austrian Alps, as well as in the Canadian Rockies)… but my own photos pale in comparison to the work of Portland-based photographer Eric Guth, who has seemingly made it his mission to track down the most spectacular glacial caves underneath massive, slow-moving bodies of (mostly) alpine ice. Eric has been known to spend days and nights in freezing temperatures in pursuit of spectacular images.

Read more about Eric Guth and his work here; view an online gallery of his eerie glacier photography here.

(Thanks to climber friend Gerald Brandt for the link).


24 October 2010

Climbing as philosophy…


23 October 2010

Cultural narratives… told with a pencil!

Winnipeg, Canada

I’ve long held that “we live in stories,” (a notion I first heard expressed in those four eloquent words by colleague Bruce Brown of Brighton, UK, at a Vancouver GDC conference I was participating in a decade ago). This leitmotif was driven home once again for me yesterday morning while attending a keynote presentation by Gerald Kuehl to hundreds of Manitoba art teachers at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.

Gerald enraptured those present with passionate, poignant story-telling of his ventures into Manitoba’s and Nunavut’s far-flung communities of First Nation peoples… where he has devoted the past decade-and-a-half to the exquisite portrayal (by means of graphite on paper) of elders—the spontaneous standing ovation at the end of his presentation could hardly do justice to the devoted narrative loosed by his illustrative talents.

This evening Gerald shared an e-mail with me from someone else in the audience on Friday (I hope it’s OK if I pass that on here): “Wow… today was so moving.  I can’t begin to find the words to say how much of what you do touches my heart. I cried throughout, it was so good. You understand us and what we have gone through as a people. I wish there were more people like you. I wish people didn’t hate us just because of who we are but, they do. It’s everywhere and then I have the very good fortune to meet someone like you, someone who does not judge. You are such a good man with a good heart. As my future daughter-in-law says, “I may be white on the outside but, I am brown on the inside.” And this is something you can say too. Thank you so much Gerald and I thank the Creator for showing me you.”

The images above are of Charlie Learjaw and Luke Moose (from recent posts by Gerald Kuehl to the Mother Tongue INDIGO project). You can view more of Gerald’s incredible graphite portraiture on his website here. In case you’re wondering, Gerald spends approximately one month on each portrait—he only works in monochrome, in part, because he is colour-blind).


22 October 2010

Show a little tenderness…

(In real time, as I was posting the above, colleague Kathryn Lancashire in Vancouver posted this link to the GDC Listserv… can you spell synchronicity?)


21 October 2010

Learning to draw… a watery redux.

The woods of Eastern Manitoba

I returned from a trip to Asia two weeks ago to quite the nasty surprise—20 inches (50cm) of standing water in the lower level of my home. It seems that we had a massive dump of rain locally while I was away (5 inches in a mere three hours, I’m told) just when the floating switch that turns on the sump pump decided to give up the ghost—the groundwater would have come up fast, and then the efficient concrete heat-sink below grade prevented it from receding.

Needless to say, the past ten days have been a blur of activity (thanks for your help, brother Jim and Evelin, my love!) what with pumping out the house, carting out wet furnishings and belongings, replacing electrical systems (sewage pump and hot water tank), cutting out drywall, bleaching wood, and thorough cleaning… the job’s still far from done and renovations will stretch through much of the winter.

Among the flooded casualties and ruined nostalgia were portfolios of my old drawings… some of which I hadn’t seen since the 1970s. Though mostly stained, torn, wrinkled, warped, and discolored (black mount-board stains adjacent surfaces blue and indigo when in wet contact for long enough—who knew?) I’ve managed to dry and salvage some developmental sketches, a sampling of which appear above.

To be honest, I’d have to say that some of these old drawings have actually been improved by the flood damage…


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