Nov 28, 2015

Astronaut Mae Jemison, M.D.

Astronaut Mae Jemison, MD with suit tech Sharon Caples McDougle, First black woman in space, beautiful, radiant, brilliant, orange space suit, NASA, Endeavor Mission, USA, 1992
Dr. Jemison at left with her suit tech. Sharon Caples McDougle at right (via)
Astronaut Mae Jemison, MD, NASA, Endeavor Mission, USA, 1992, running tests in space, clothing on space station, sci-fi, african-american, First black woman in space
Floating in space during STS-47 (via)

Dr. Mae Jemison, MD.
First black woman in space.

There are about a hundred thousand things I want to say about how awesome this woman is. I love these two photos of her. At top, Mae and her suit tech Sharon Caples McDougle (awesome interview with Sharon here) seem to radiate pure brilliance. It is very obvious that they have a special relationship and that they both love what they do. Space suits! - absolutely utilitarian - totally freaking cool.

Dr. Mae Jemison is an avid Star Trek fan and especially fond of the character Lieutenant Nyota Uhura. When opening her communications with NASA Mission Control at the beginning of her shifts, Mae would proclaim Uhura's standard line: "Hailing frequencies open". Famously portrayed by Nichelle Nichols, the role of Uhura was one of television's first significant feature roles for a black actor. Spanning from 1966-1969, Nichols' contribution to television came at a significant time during America's Civil Rights Movement - and when Nichols was considering leaving the show, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. made a personal plea for her to stay. Nichelle Nichols is also credited to have shared in the very first on-screen interracial kiss on television with co-star William Shatner. As the story goes, Nichols and Shatner purposely messed up every take in which the studio wanted to film versions of the scene that omitted the kiss.

Dr. Jemison did herself appear on an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation as Lieutenant Junior-Grade Palmer and is the only real-life astronaut to have ever appeared on the show.

Nichelle Nichols as Lieutenant Nyota Uhara as (via)
Dr. Mae Jemison as Liutenant J-G Palmer (via)

"Never be limited by other people's limited imaginations...If you adopt their attitudes, then the possibility won't exist because you'll have already shut it out ... You can hear other people's wisdom, but you've got to re-evaluate the world for yourself." 
Dr. Jemison at the Annual Biomedical Research
Conference for Minority Students, November 2009

Nov 17, 2015

Matahdatah, Zaouli, Kankudai, Pancakes, Farm Boy

I love this audio/visual project so much (more information). Also, M.I.A. had most everything to do with concept and production. It really gets my heart racing. She even has some Zaouli dance in there (remember?)!!
M.I.A.'s music is so dear to me. Her album Kala was the soundtrack I used as a line cook years ago. Her tempo and stories sped the whole team up with a unity and importance that I had never before experienced as a person assembling things for my money. Her music made our repetitive work as a group lyrical and important. Hot kitchen!

You spend all this time doing something, and then you become expert - sometimes / most of the time / your expertise is actually just an afterthought of the thousands of hours spent having to make money for yourself. Watching these amazing working people fills me with respect and really makes me think... I should stop wasting time. It is so scary knowing that if I has spent as many hours on what I most want to do more than anything, that I could already be pretty good at it. All panic aside, I really have no regrets for my time spent. Everything I have done up until every moment has been like a drip in a cave - and so I am basically an approximation of a human stalagmite. This goes for you too! I promise to try and document my journey with honesty, and frequently.

Anyways. Onwards!