Happy Birthday Senor da Vinci

EG Inc took a slightly different approach for our Forensic Friday today.

I recently learned today, 15 April, is Leonardo da Vinci’s birthday.

Birthday-da-Vinci

Senor da Vinci was a true Evil Genius. I really wanted to celebrate this day but I was stuck on ideas.

After reading a GeekMom article by My Little Poppies, I was so inspired by the idea of celebrating DEAR this week, I thought: why not celebrate DEAD – Drop Everything And Draw?

And what better way to celebrate DEAD than with a DEAD artist… like Leonardo da Vinci.

For those not familiar with DEAR, it means Drop Everything And Read. Author Beverley Cleary wrote about DEAR in her book Ramona Quimby, Age 8. It was such a hit, the USA hold national DEAR programs on April 12th, Beverly Cleary’s birthday. She is still alive too –  celebrated the big 1-0-0 this week.

At our local school (not US), the spawnlings practice both DEAR and DEAD in the classroom. I thought the timing was perfect for our Forensic Friday.

The thing about da Vinci is that he wasn’t just an artist. He was a polymath; an individual that was brilliant at everything (particularly during or influenced by the Renaissance). We’re talking painter, sculptor, engineer, astronomer, anatomist, biologist, chemist, geologist, physicist, architect, musician, philosopher, and humanist.

Over-achiever.

But I like a challenge. Today was in celebration of Leonardo da Vinci.

 

Now remember we ARE on school holidays at the moment, and the two older spawnlings have definitely earned a rest. So I opted for just one of his many interesting inventions, The Flying Machine. I took most of my cues from a book I picked up a year or so ago:  Inventions – Leonardo da Vinci, published in 2014 by Lake Press Pty Ltd.da vinci book

The Flying Machine was completely inspired by da Vinci’s jealous admiration for birds; particularly their ability “escape the Earthly bonds”. Namely, gravity.

This was a great opportunity to kick the spawnlings outside – let’s find some birds or wildlife and draw it! We live next to a park with PLENTY of birds that wake Zaltu up every damn morning.

Do you think we could find a bird today?

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All we could find was this bug. I don’t even know WTH it is.

But we were committed to the cause!! (*committed to something…)

After our great exploration, we returned inside to observe and draw our wildlife.

Sinister really enjoyed this part:

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Nefarious decided he wanted to paint the adventure, rather than the achievement:

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And Zaltu… well, Zaltu…

Rainbow Zaltu
She chose to paint the participants in the adventure. Namely, herself. Literally.
As you can see, she was mighty impressed with me calling an end to the artistic display. Zaltu calls this piece “Rainbow Zaltu”. You can have it as a complete work of art for a mere block of chocolate… but don’t call me when the artwork wakes you at 3am asking why the possums are allowed to play outside her window and she is not.

 

Seriously though, Zaltu painted a beautiful wrapping paper design for da Vinci’s birthday presents. And was then upset when I had to explain there were no presents to wrap.IMG_9800

At which point, Sinister realised da Vinci gained his deep understanding of bird muscles from observing them inside and out (read: dissecting them) and was a little … concerned. During which time Nefarious read ahead in the book and learnt about the blowy-uppy weapons da Vinci designed and wondered why we weren’t building our own canons instead. Broken wrist remember?

We then had pizza for dinner and I sent them to bed – at 5.30pm. Because they tired me out.

For a bunch of activities to do for a day, it was actually kind of fun. The spawnlings were truly amazed by the concept of a polymath. The sheer amount of study da Vinci undertook to confidently do the work he did. Not so much Zaltu (she is only 2) but definitely the older two.

It was great watching them both realise you did NOT have to limit yourself to one speciality. You CAN be a marine biologist who incorporates art and software development in their work. You CAN be an astrophysicist who includes chemistry and electrical engineering in their project designs.

DEAD was just something to start the discussion. The best ‘birthday present’ today was listening to all three talk about what they wanted to create tomorrow.

I’ll let you know how Zaltu’s Batcave turns out.

 

…Dr Seuss style

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I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living. It’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope, which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh at life’s realities.

– Dr Seuss

In EG Lair, Dr Seuss is held up as one of the greatest philosophers of modern time. 

Books stretch across many shelves, filled with the logical and brilliant views of a man who is too often passed over as a childrens author. And yet his teachings are perfect for any budding evil genius.

Did you know that Dr Seuss (aka Theodor Seuss Geisel) was also an artist beyond his book illustrations?

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Self Portrait as a Young Man Shaving

Did you know that during World War II, he was in the animation department of the US Army, where he wrote ‘Design for Death’ – a film that later won an Academy Award for Documentary Feature (1947)? He was also a prolific political cartoonist for PM, a New York newspaper.

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Can’t remember exactly how this one goes.
Something along the lines of “Searching for the perfect formula of raising taxes without losing votes.”

Did you know that you can check out this amazing array of work in art galleries around the world?

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Fave quote from “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!”
Pop-up Gallery of Dr Seuss

Seriously, you want to know how to educate your spawnlings to be Evil Genius and take over the world?

Read them a book or two of Dr Seuss. One of our favourites is “Oh, the Places You’ll Go”. That should start them off nicely.

Then take them to a gallery and show them the plethora of artwork that Geisel produced to try and express his view of the world.

There are plenty of galleries. The original is in Chicago, but at present they have a National Touring Gallery travelling around the US – currently you can find them at Legends Fine Art, LA JOLLA, CA. You can find more details here.

Recently, the first ever travelling exhibition of work outside the US visited Sydney, Australia. Hopefully, it’s success will encourage the range to be shown to even more spawnlings around the world.

Why am I so enthralled with Dr Seuss? His writing and artwork has a style of pointing out that decomposing pink elephant in the middle of the room. The message is so simple, you wonder how we lost such a basic understanding of human behaviour to begin with. But that’s the whole point. Show children how simple the world should be, and how much adults keep stuffing it up by over-complicating things.

Once you understand this, you start to see the utter genius behind his vision – the brilliantly evil way that he sows the seeds in young malleable minds.

The artwork is a whole new medium for this message. And it really is a style of art instantly recognisable as HIS.

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Go to the Gallery. If you can’t make a gallery, search the galleries online. I have shared some of our favourites on the EG Mum Facebook page, but there are so many more to learn from.

And read a book to your spawnlings. Listen to the words you are sharing with them. And share in the wisdom of Dr Seuss.

What’s your favourite Dr Seuss book? 

I want a 3D Scanner

We’ve all been there. The doorbell rings, the neighbours are invited in – and you suddenly realise your child’s designs for a freeze ray gun are currently displayed, front and centre of the kitchen.

Awk-ward.

Of course, in our evil lair, the freeze ray gun design is at least a little more inconspicuous than other designs on the fridge – say the bungee torture chamber, the chocolate drowning tools, or even the worst of all: death to Evil Genius Mum by pollen saturation.

But alas, only so many of these amazing designs can be displayed at any given time. And with each child, the battle for prime position is ever so much more entertaining.

So, we have devised a way to store our evil plans for future reference, and in such a way as to protect our interests from prying eyes.

Digital Storage.

For every A4 or smaller design created in two dimensional format, the design is scanned and filed on the external hard drive under the appropriate designer’s name (and subsequent sub-folders). For those that aren’t easily scanned, digital photos are taken and then stored in similar manner.

Lego Mini Daleks by Sinister

Simple right?

That is, until Sinister started showing an interest in sculptures. It started off with Lego, and then progressed towards clay sculptures.

So now I have to start looking into 3D scanners for the Evil Genius Lair.

Seriously? Yes, seriously. In the time it takes me to photograph one of his sculptures from every frackin’ angle possible, Sinister has gone and placed a dozen of these Mini Daleks all around my work-space like landmines.

do like the HP Topshot. Maybe. At least this one will still do all the other stuff I need a printer to do. It does 3D scans for me and then sends the image to wherever I need it – even here on this blog.

FARO Focus 3D Scanner on LEGO trolley

Of course, if you want to go the other way with 3D scanning, and start scanning rooms and environments, check out the FARO Focus 3D Scanner instead. Bonus: MADE WITH LEGO!!

I’m not sure exactly what I would use it for – maybe I’d just scan my secret room each day and compare shots to see if anyone had been messing with my stuff.

Oh what the hell. I just want it because it has LEGO with it.

But back to the original question, what do you do to store your kids’ crazy ideas?

** I received no sponsorship for this article. I just like finding cool shit like this.