Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Adam Savage is fascinating.

A long time ago I had a goal. Now, when most people set a goal for themselves it is something concrete. Like, I want to get that job. Or I want to climb 5.11. Something like that. This goal was different. This goal was to star in an "I'm going to Disneyworld" commercial. I should point out, I have no great desire to be on television, I have had a few opportunities and I have always turned them down. I also am not a huge fan of anything Disney. So why, you may ask would I want to do an I am going to Disneyworld commercial? Simple. In order to do a commercial like that you have to do something really cool, like win a Superbowl. Why is this important? I'll get there. I was talking about Adam Savage.

Like everyone else, I first learned of Mr. Savage from Mythbusters, which I watched and enjoyed, but I quickly moved on from it. I thought it was interesting, but I lost interest. Though I admired Adam and Jamies knowledge, and ability to make learning fun, I think it was a little too repetitive for me, clearly I am in the minority as it is still going strong.  I think I stumbled upon Mr. Savage next watching a TED talk.

This TED talk struck me for a couple of reasons. I am somewhat handy, but everything I learned about construction I learned in my late teens and early twenties on film sets. I learned a lot of things working in the film industry - as did Mr. Savage - one of them was how to build a set for photography. The only problem with my construction skills is that things I make only look good from one side, and I am not great at finishing details. But Mr. Savage can build anything, and watching him obsess over recreating a Dodo bird and a Maltese Falcon fascinated me. I was particularly fascinated by the Maltese Falcon in this Ted Talk because I love the story, having read the book, and having seen the movie dozens of time. There is a story about a guy who finds a Maltese falcon at a garage sale and it turns out to be a prop from the movie worth millions. I have always wanted a falcon on the mantle.

Now, it is clear from watching this Ted talk that Mr. Savage is a bit obsessive. Just listening to him talk, the speed at which words and ideas spill from his head is overwhelming. But his obsessiveness is mixed with such a genuine enthusiasm that he is a bit infectious.

Shortly after seeing this Ted talk - I think - I stumbled on Tested is a technology website that at some point in the last 18 months or so Adam and Jamie from mythbusters seemed to have had some sort of merger with. Tested is primarily a technology website. A lot of the technology discussion isn't of much use to me, though Will and Norm - the regular hosts of the site - have great personal interaction, and there is clearly a lot of knowledge being brought to bear. Even though I am not always interested in the tech conversations, I find myself listening to or watching their podcasts because they are genuinely funny, well informed and a good source of information.

But the part of that I really have enjoyed is the look into the world that is Adam (I feel I have gotten to know him well enough now to be on a first name basis!) There are a number of videos 'from Adams cave' where we get a real glimpse into his psyche. First, he has multiple shops, and offices, and all of them are filled - FILLED - with stuff. This upsets me at a deeply personal level. I am very much a minimalist. I have very few possessions. Almost no 'knick knacks' - but Adams office is filled with really fascinating stuff. Filled in a way I never could have the space around me filled. It literally makes me uncomfortable to watch him talk about the things in his spaces, I feel crowded and cramped. So why do I like it? Because in spite of this, the stuff is fascinating! From a full size C-3PO to an Iron Man Mark 1. There is a whole progression of Blade Runner Pistols. I love watching him build things - primarily because I am fascinated with the process of say, making a mask out of latex and all the steps involved - I would love to cast the inside of a kayak to fit me precisely - He has a life size T Rex head hanging in his shop..... I am speechless.

We also share some similarities which makes it an interesting way to view my life in a 'What if' sort of way. We are about the same age, both born in the same city and we both worked in film. I wonder where I would be if I had stayed in that industry? That is an interesting game to play.

He recently started a new series of videos called 'the talking room' where he spends some time talking with people he knows. The first (and as I write this only) episode is an interview with Chef David Chang, who I knew only a little bit about before this video - I actually am fascinated by food production at the commercial restaurant level, and am fortunate enough to know several talented professional chefs - I heard a mention on a podcast that an upcoming 'talking room' is with John Landis, which should be interesting.

What does all of this have to do with Disneyworld? Well... This. I no longer have the dream of doing a "I'm going to..." commercial. Now the dream is to do a podcast on tested with Mr. Savage. I am hoping he develops an interest in kayaks or expeditioning, maybe then I could be of some use to him. He seems like the kind of guy that would be fun and interesting to talk to over a Whiskey. I don't think you should pick a president that way, but choosing someone for a conversation, that method has never steered me wrong.

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