Friday, March 17, 2006

Signs of Intelligence: Earth from Above and Cool Toilets

IMG_0704.JPGHow does 100 signs of stupidity = a sign of intelligence?

The answer is Yann Arthus-Bertrand and his photo display, "The Earth from Above: An Arial Portrait of our Planet Towards a Sustainable Development." It is the most impressive photo exhibit I have ever seen. It was on display along the waterfront in downtown Wellington the whole time I was there.

IMG_0698.JPGYann has traveled to over 100 countries, photo-documenting the planet from the air. Many of the photos cronicle the affects of the human population on the earth and on itself, others simply capture our planet's incredible beauty. The images are posted along with statistics and information related to environmental, humanitarian, and sustainability issues.IMG_0712.JPG

The exhibit has been traveling around the world for several years, and is a work in progress. You can see many of the photos and learn about the related issues on his website, yannarthusbertrand.com.

And in other signs of intelligence, I'd like to tell you about the toilets in Australia and New Zealand. Yes, the toilets! They are virtually all dual-flush, meaning you do a little flush for pee, and a bigger flush for non...pee. This is such an obvious way to conserve water, and they're obviously ahead of many countries because of their lack of water supplies, but it's still a sign of intelligence.

Next blog: A little update on my travels, website development... and maybe some poi stuff...
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Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Sign of Intelligence: Ben's wacky (mis?)adventures: (R?)Evolutionary Epiphanies: Privilege = Responsibility

So, this blog is about two things. One is poi. The other is Signs of Intelligence. I thought I'd make a post directing y'all to my little brother's blog about the state of relief work in New Orleans.

Yes, he does some poi, and he's very much a sign of intelligence.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Poi Pilgrimage Continues in Wellington...

So, Wellington is a cool city. It reminds me a bit of San Francisco with the hills and the way people drive and park. It's also very windy, and I went on some great runs up until I caught a cold.

Things are going well here. We've made some great friends with local fire spinners, who let us camp in their back yard. Big thanks to Todd, Grif, and Jess! Grif took us on a great tour of Wellington hilltops, including a stop at their (one and only) windmill turbine. Hopefully they'll build many more.

We had a particularly good get-together with Migoto, a young Maori woman who'd doing her masters degree on creating a system for documenting/teaching poi momves. She did a big poi session with us in the TePapa museum, where we first met her just after she finished a performance. She showed us a whole lot of "short poi" and taught us the basics. Short poi is blowing my mind. It uses a huge amount of bouncing off the arms and is very rhythmical. I see huge potential.

A few days later, Migoto took us to a Maori Kapa Haka practice with her group. They made us sing and pressed noses with us. It was a very warm, friendly, and funny group of people. They got Dan to demonstrate some non-maori poi, which he did while singing Merry Had A Little Lamb. We spent some time trying to keep up with the group as they learned traditional songs and "actions." At the end of the night they did a short Maori Kapa Haka (poi and song) performance, just for us.

I'm now staying with Tash, and am working away on the website via DIAL UP! It seems that New Zealand is pretty behind the times in the telecommunications department, due to a monopoly telecommunications company that is holding the country hostage. Fortunately I seem to be getting work done nonetheless. For a sneak preview, visit www.playpoi.com/site and give me some feedback.

DVD: Finished at last?


The DVD is finally being produced, and we should have 1,000 copies as of Wednesday. I have to say: this has been the hardest project I've ever worked on. I don't get why everything had to keep going wrong. We finally, after so many delays, got a DVD off to the print shop, and were told that they would be finished on March 1st. Hurray! Right?

Wrong. It was too good to be true, and a few days later we were told that the DVD failed, except they couldn't really tell us why, and marc was back to working 12 hours a day as a Production Assistant, and I was back to troubleshooting everything from New Zealand, where phone calls cost me 70 cents/minute.

This set things back another week, after so very many "another weeks" have passed. Every anotherweek equals me being hundreds of dollars further in debt, so this was really quite painful. I am pretty sure that I have lost more money on poi artistry related ventures than any other poi artist in the world.

But I remain strangely optimistic! :)