Episode 118

One-Step Corn Kerneler


May 7th, 2013

1 hr 35 mins 49 secs

Your Hosts

About this Episode

TOPIC: Toward an (Admittedly Dubious) Unified Field Theory of Creativity

This week, Dan and Merlin consider a framework for understanding the basic modes and focal lengths involved in producing creative work.

Why and how do we get so hung up and frustrated about getting good at what we do? Why's it so hard to take an abstract idea for making something great, then end up feeling pathologically stymied when we struggle to actually make it?

The boys return to the classic topic of expertise, especially the frustrating ironies that separate the pro from the amateur from the, as they say, "failure."

Also under consideration is Roger Von Oech's fascinating modal, character-based approach to making stuff—acknowledging the very different work of the Explorer, Artist, Judge, and Warrior. But, critically, also striving to keep those characters in the right order and on the right parts of the right task at the right time. Then, knowing when to change things up.

Finally, there's a bit of discussion on Merlin's squirrely obsession with focal length—to not only choose the right mode at the right time, but to stay open to the idea of alternately zooming way out and way in at each step of the process. Accepting the benefits and trade-offs of switching between your macro and fish-eye lenses.

It's a really good episode—at least way better than it sounds. And, the hosts agree that, until you find a better model for understanding How to Make Stuff, you could do a lot worse than giving this admittedly Byzantine method a spin for yourself.

Links for this episode:

  • [SPONSOR] Shutterstock.com
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  • Selection of Merlin's TextExpander 4 Snippets
    Extremely random stash of Merlin's TextExpander snippets, as mentioned in [*Back to Work*](http://5by5.tv/b2w), [Episode #116](http://5by5.tv/b2w/116).
  • This explains everything | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
    In which Merlin presents his highly dubious Unified Field Theory of Creativity.
  • [AUDIO] kung fu grippe - "Origin Stories: John Siracusa on Flu Shots"
    5by5 | Hypercritical #38: Virtually Spotless (October 14, 2011) Genesis of The Siracusa Flu Principle.
  • Batman: The Dark Knight Returns: Frank Miller, Klaus Janson, Lynn Varley: 9781563893421: Amazon.com: Books
    Written by Frank Miller. No spoilers, please.
  • Pym Particles - Marvel Comics Database
    Dr. Henry Pym originally discovered and isolated a rare group of subatomic particles, which have become known as the "Pym Particles", which could increase or decrease the size and mass of objects or living beings. The Pym Particles work by stunting matter into the Kosmos Dimension when shrinking an subject or accruing extra matter from that dimension when enlarging.
  • Pym Particles (Concept)
    Pym particles first existed in an elixir form that had to be splashed on the object to enlarge or shrink it. Eventually this elixir was made into a gas so if could be quickly aspirated for easier transportation. After accidentally transforming into Giant-Man, Pym further refined the chemical into a variety of color-coded pills. The particles still proved unstable as they trapped Pym at a height of 12 feet. Pym Particles work by the user either shunting mass to the Kosmos Dimension (for shrinking) or taking mass (for growing).
  • camping : Shutterstock Stock Photography
  • Amazon.com: Intex Raised Downy Queen Airbed with Built-in Electric Pump: Sports & Outdoors
    Raised queen-sized inflatable airbed with dual chamber construction
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  • [VIDEO] "The Shining" - "Have you ever had a SINGLE moment's THOUGHT about MY responsibilities?!?"
    JACK TORRANCE: Have you ever had a SINGLE MOMENT'S THOUGHT about my responsibilities? Have you ever thought, for a single solitary moment about my responsibilities to my employers? Has it ever occurred to you that I have agreed to look after the OVERLOOK Hotel until May the FIRST. Does it MATTER TO YOU AT ALL that the OWNERS have placed their COMPLETE CONFIDENCE and TRUST in me, and that I have signed a letter of agreement, a CONTRACT, in which I have accepted that RESPONSIBILITY? Do you have the SLIGHTEST IDEA, what a MORAL AND ETHICAL PRINCIPLE IS, DO YOU? Has it ever occurred to you what would happen to my future, if I were to fail to live up to my responsibilities? Has it ever occurred to you? HAS IT?
  • "Back to Work" Media Survival Guide
    It's a start.
  • Deconstructing Creativity: The 4 Roles You Need to Play to be Fully Creative - Litemind
    These concepts above are not new. The idea of the four creativity roles comes from Roger Von Oech‘s classic work on creativity A Whack on the Side of the Head, as well as the Creative Whack Pack (which is a deck of cards where each of the four roles is a suit — very fun, do check it out too).
  • The four roles of the creative process | creative.web.net
    The following is from A Kick in the Seat of the Pants: Using Your Explorer, Artist, Judge,
  • A Whack on the Side of the Head: How You Can Be More Creative: Roger von Oech: 9780446404662: Amazon.com: Books
  • A Kick in the Seat of the Pants: Using Your Explorer, Artist, Judge, and Warrior to Be More Creative: Roger Von Oech: 9780060960247: Amazon.com: Books
  • 5by5 | Back to Work #62: Cultural Molasses
    TOPIC: Karmasucks, No-Sayers, and Black and White Thinking. Dan and Merlin consider the karmasucks and black and white thinking that lead to inertia and a culture of derision. Anyone can laugh at an agenda, and it only takes one turd in the punchbowl to ruin the party, so don't ask permission, ask yes or no questions, and keep your judge behind your explorer.
  • [IMG] kung fu grippe - Awesome Comic Book Keyboard Stickers
    Dan is awesome. Ellie put most of the stickers on herself. What a cool present.
  • Regretsy | Where DIY Meets WTF
  • Macbook Keyboard Super Hero Skin by killerduckdecals on Etsy
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  • Amazon.com: Amco One-Step Corn Kerneler: Kitchen & Dining
    Amco Houseworks, an award-winning brand, has been making cooking and cleaning easier since the 1970s. It's a commitment that's earned it the love and respect of professional and home cooks around the world. Amco Houseworks creates quality, innovative, stylishly designed kitchen tools and accessories that help people enhance the quality of their cooking and entertaining. Amco Houseworks uses commercial grade stainless steel to craft its top quality kitchen utensils and accessories. We specialize in combining precision and performance to create stylishly designed premium kitchen tools. Our products are innovative, are intuitive and easy to use for the cooking enthusiast. This Amco one-step coren kerneler easily removes kernels from the cob in one quick motion. Place the corn kerneler at the narrow end of the cob and press straight down to the bottom of the cob. All kernels will collect neatly and there'll be no more kernel mess to clean up. It holds approximately 2 ears of kernels. To empty, pour kernels from the spout and start again. It is designed with a stainless steel blade that adjusts to the width of the corn and is top rack dishwasher safe.
  • Inedia - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Breatharianism is a related concept, in which believers claim food and possibly water are not necessary, and that humans can be sustained solely by prana (the vital life force in Hinduism), or, according to some, by the energy in sunlight (according to Ayurveda, sunlight is one of the main sources of prana). The terms breatharianism or inedia may also refer to this philosophy practised as a lifestyle in place of the usual diet.
  • 5by5 | The Pipeline #7: Merlin Mann
    Merlin Mann is an independent writer, speaker, and broadcaster. He's the creator of 43 Folders, the co-host of You Look Nice Today, a regular guest on MacBreak Weekly, and the author of an upcoming book entitled Inbox Zero.We discuss figuring out and focusing on your values, a new perspective on productivity, ignoring the lizard brain, doing what you like, rejecting novelty, serving the right audience, Picaso, cognition, action, self-discovery, mindfulness, buddhism, and the new book.You can find out more about Merlin on his website, via his weblog, Kung Fu Grippe, and by following him on Twitter.
  • On Writing: 10th Anniversary Edition: A Memoir of the Craft:Amazon:Books
    “Long live the King” hailed Entertainment Weekly upon publication of Stephen King’s On Writing. Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer’s craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade every writer must have. King’s advice is grounded in his vivid memories from childhood through his emergence as a writer, from his struggling early career to his widely reported, near-fatal accident in 1999—and how the inextricable link between writing and living spurred his recovery. Brilliantly structured, friendly and inspiring, On Writing will empower and entertain everyone who reads it—fans, writers, and anyone who loves a great story well told.
  • The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life:Amazon:Books
    All it takes to make creativity a part of your life is the willingness to make it a habit. It is the product of preparation and effort, and is within reach of everyone. Whether you are a painter, musician, businessperson, or simply an individual yearning to put your creativity to use, The Creative Habit provides you with thirty-two practical exercises based on the lessons Twyla Tharp has learned in her remarkable thirty-five-year career.
  • How To Draw Comics The Marvel Way: Stan Lee, John Buscema: 9780671530778: Amazon.com: Books
    Stan Lee, the Mighty Man from Marvel, and John Buscema, active and adventuresome artist behind the Silver Surfer, Conan the Barbarian, the Mighty Thor and Spider-Man, have collaborated on this comics compendium: an encyclopedia of information for creating your own superhero comic strips. Using artwork from Marvel comics as primary examples, Buscema graphically illustrates the hitherto mysterious methods of comic art. Stan Lee's pithy prose gives able assistance and advice to the apprentice artist. Bursting with Buscema's magnificent illustrations and Lee's laudable word-magic, How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way belongs in the library of every kid who has ever wanted to illustrate his or her own comic strip.
  • 8½ (1963) - The Criterion Collection
    Marcello Mastroianni plays Guido Anselmi, a director whose new project is collapsing around him, along with his life. One of the greatest films about film ever made, Federico Fellini’s 8½ (Otto e mezzo) turns one man’s artistic crisis into a grand epic of the cinema. An early working title for 8½ was The Beautiful Confusion, and Fellini’s masterpiece is exactly that: a shimmering dream, a circus, and a magic act.

This week's episode of Back to Work is kindly sponsored by Shutterstock (use code "BACKTOWORK5" for 30% off).