Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Floodplains of Ryan

We bumped into Ryan on his way home from the Nigerian mosque in Chicago. Ryan majored in Spanish and French in college (you could say he has a way with romance languages!). 
He currently runs a blog called Floodplains that chronicles West African scholarship in real time. It has some out of world photos of west African scholars, interviews with people, and articles and postings from around the internet...
We talked about a lot of things with Ryan: books, philosophy, religion... The conversation became most fascinating when we asked Ryan about his inspirations. He is inspired by books and loves the Elephant Vanishes by Haruki Murakami. He enjoys the way the stories of the people and how their senses of adventure seem so realistic. Though the characters live normal lives and work 9 to 5, they live their lives adventurously.
Another one of Ryan's inspirations was Neil deGrasse Tyson, a renowned astrophysicist, author, and the director of the Hayden Planetarium. Ryan really likes the way Tyson makes "astrophysics palatable" and ties it into life. The way Tyson spoke about science made Ryan appreciate science and ponder the universe and its secrets. To get a feel for what Ryan was talking about you really have to listen to Dr. Tyson speak... 
When we asked Ryan about his dreams, as we always ask, Ryan gave us an awesome answer. He said that he dreamt that he was cooking soul food (greens, steak, mac & cheese, yummm....) for a bunch of students visiting from China. And each student fit a cliche body type. There was the really tall one, the really stout one, and even the lanky one. While the students ate, they were critiquing his food, and their commentary sounded like a dub-over from Iron Chef.
Yum! Thanks for sharing, Ryan. It was a pleasure to meet you.  

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