Tuesday, May 8, 2007

5 Things Meme (long overdue)

I was tagged...a long time ago! The "Five Things Readers Don't Know about You" meme was going around and it came to me. I did an earlier post to buy myself some time and included an explanation of the word "meme" and some links, but then this main post languished in my drafts box. Below, I present 5 things that some might know, but many may not. I figured most won't know all of them, so I will repeat some of my favorite odd stories here and with few family ones sprinkled in -- at least now they'd be all in the same place. Jeremias Paul, who tagged me, tried to track this meme to find its source. Thus, without further ado, I present:

1.) My dad named T-Max film
Yes, it is true. He presented several variants of TriX and ~Max, including TMax. As he was a company man, he received no compensation, but has the letter framed in his office. Older Kodak folks at trade shows know him simply as "Gordie."

2.) My brother and I were exposed to tuberculous when we were younger
Neither of us have it, but if we get a "tine" test, it would come back positive. We have no idea when or how this happened. Both of us were put on a medication and xray regimen for a year. The drugs basically killed the bacterium. All the doom and gloom aside, I feel in good art and historical company; many artists, authors, and musicians had TB. When I took a seminar on modernism in graduate school, I read a fascinating paper that compared Kazimir Malevich's abstractions to the spread of tuberculous and bacteria in petri dishes, both in terms of formal and philosophical concerns.

3.) My last name should be Green, not Brown
My grandfather was born in Cuba to Christian missionaries, the Greens. My great grandparents came to Cuba not knowing how tough it would be to raise a family. My great-grandmother died in Cuba when my grandfather was 2 and my great-grandfather couldn't still minister, provide, and take care of the kids so some went to family, others to friends. He was adopted by family friends in the US, the Browns! Thus, I should be Leslie Green - technically.

3.5) This same grandfather helped to design the engine on the first plane to break the sound barrier, Model B-29, the Bell X-1. He went to Syracuse for aerospace engineering but never finished due to the depression and later worked for Bell Aircraft of Buffalo. He died when my father was 18, so I never met him. The plane is on display at the Smithsonian.
4.) In elementary school, I participated in a super geek thing called "Olympics of the Mind"
Yes, I was one of those kids pulled out of classes occasionally to attend "gifted" sessions. In elementary school, this was so NOT cool. It was not fun to stand up, walk out of class with everyone watching and walk down the hall. In retrospect, it was amazing and taught me creative problem solving. We got to do all this cool stuff like make up board games and play with early computers and robots (programming a turtle to make math shapes). I believe it was fourth grade in which I started doing doing the competitions, which are now called "Odyssey of the Mind," but my group participated in the "build a balsa wood structure" problem. We had to build a light weight structure out of balsa wood and glue. Weights would be periodically placed on top of it and occasionally a billiard ball would come crashing into it on the side. While all this was happening, we also had to dress up and sing a song (our song was based on Kermit's "Rainbow Connection"). Much as in the Pinewood Derby, the kids that won definitely had adult help!

5.) Ansel Adams printed this picture of me (see below)
As you can probably see by now, my Dad is a font of great stories and experiences. During his Kodak days, he was the rep to the Ansel Adams workshops in the 1970s. He had heard that Ansel, at some point during a demonstration, would ask for a negative. So, my Dad put one in his pocket and saddled up beside him. When asked, my father furnished this negative to Ansel. He burned, dodged, and then printed it and then afterwards called my dad over to sign it and give it to him. My father, a RIT grad, was thrilled to meet the master, but his heart sank when he heard what he had to say: "Thank you so much for letting me print this. It's always great to demonstrate on a problem negative." That's me, age 2, sitting on the grounds of Sonnenberg Gardens in Canandaguia, NY in 1975. I guess I was a good compositional element early on!

I have a few more that I will use as Monday Show and Tells (including, bowling and painting). Whew! Done!


Jennifer said...

Great stories! I only knew 3 out of 5 and the details made them all interesting. -JL

Anonymous said...

Wow, you really pulled through. It was worth the wait and now I'm jealous that I don't have such a deep rooted history in photography. Bayer, the company my father works for, did however own Agfa, or was affiliated with them in some way, so on his lunch break my dad always used to buy me bricks of slide or negative film from the company store at a dollar per roll. Not bad, not bad, but that doesn't compare to your history!

LKB said...

That's neat!

We used to get free film and processing until I was in college. Crazy! Every now and then he'd come home with a brick or paper or something. We also got Kodak vitamins from the company store. Perhaps this was from the extra gelatin? Scary huh?

Are you around for dinner or something in the coming weeks?