Prayer doesn't work because someone out there is listening, it works because someone in here is listening. I've paid attention. I've pictured what I want to happen in my life. I've meditated extensively on my family, my future, my past actions and what did and didn't work for me about them.
Audiences of critical thinkers are my favorite kinds of audiences. There are jokes I tell in the show that don't get laughs unless I am in front of an audience of critical thinkers. Put me in front of a crowd of science teachers or astronauts! The guileless aren't our audience - it's the critical thinkers we love.
I think the whole thing that Jamie [Hyneman] and I have in working together is that we are constantly simplifying each other's designs, and we both appreciate that the quickest and the dirtiest solution is usually the most elegant, the least expensive, and the fastest.
I had saved a few hundred photos of dodo skeletons into my 'Creative Projects' folder - it's a repository for my brain, everything that I could possibly be interested in. Any time I have an Internet connection, there's a sluice of stuff moving into there, everything from beautiful rings to cockpit photos.
I think one of the defining moments of adulthood is the realization that nobody's going to take care of you. That you have to do the heavy lifting while you're here. And when you don't, well, you suffer the consequences.
I felt like I had kind of played it out, and I wanted to see what was next, and then came Mythbusters. You know, it's the best job I've ever had, on its worst day it's better than anything else, but it's a huge amount of responsibility, and there are days when just going into work and building something from someone else's drawing sounds like going back to heaven.
The main trend with the theme episodes is that anywhere there is a misconception about the way the physical world works, we're finding fertile material. Whether it's in a phrase like "going over like a lead balloon" or "a needle in a haystack," or tackling movie myths or even a genre, like MacGyver or James Bond, we're finding that all these things can lead to people believing the world works in a certain way. It might not be correct, but we can test out if it's true.
The fact is that the British Museum had a complete specimen of a dodo in their collection up until the 18th century - it was actually mummified, skin and all - but in a fit of space-saving zeal, they actually cut off the head and they cut off the feet and they burned the rest in a bonfire.
These are people from everywhere, from Lawrence Livermore and JPL and Sandia National Labs, the FBI, all over the place, real scientists who see what we're doing, and they consistently thank us. "I agree your results aren't always right," they'll say, "but your methods are clearly showing that science is a re-creative process, and it's an interesting process because it's messy, and no other shows show that."
Mostly I make lists for projects. This can be daunting. Breaking something big into its constituent parts will help you organize your thoughts, but it can also force you to confront the depth of your ignorance and the hugeness of the task. That's OK. The project may be the lion, but the list is your whip.
The idea of an ordered and elegant universe is a lovely one. One worth clinging to. But you don't need religion to appreciate the ordered existence. It's not just an idea, it's reality. We're discovering the hidden orders of the universe every day.
In the summer of 2002, we had spent six weeks shooting the three pilots of Mythbusters, and Jamie[Hyneman] called me up afterward - well, first he called me up to tell me to clear my crap back out of his shop - and he said, "Well, that was kind of fun, wasn't it? I mean, I don't see where this could go, because we pretty much did everything. But it was fun."
I'm a lifelong movie addict, and one of my favorite projects is making replica props and costumes. Nearly every one of these - from R2D2 to Hellboy's revolver - ends with the paint job. And it's not just cosmetic. The paint literally tells a story: what this thing is made of, where it's been, what it's been used for, and for how long.
I'm always going to be making costumes. It's one of the ways I relax my brain. In addition to the pleasure of having the piece, there is a deep and abiding pleasure for me assembling something in my head - learning to know something in its totality in my head, and then putting together all the constituent parts into a cohesive whole.
Whether it's the experiments on 'MythBusters' or my earlier work in special effects for movies, I've regularly had to do things that were never done before, from designing complex motion-control rigs to figuring out how to animate chocolate.
I think at this point, there's a certain bizarre chemistry between Jamie [Hyneman] and I that we can't ignore a lot of the mechanics of, that we're quite aware of. Half of it is absolutely genuine, and half of it is us playing around with that fact.
Growing up in New York, I was sort of shocked when I realized that my children are Californians. They are 14 years old, and I explain to them frequently that they will never realize the glory of a snow day. You wake up and the world says, 'Oops, it's too much fun to go to school, you've got to stay home and deal with the snow!'
In theory, cars are fairly simple. If they don't start, it's either the fuel system or the electrical system. Teach yourself about the path of each in your engine and tracing it is fairly straightforward. But at the beginning, mastering each new system seems like an unreachable shore. The car is effectively a black box.
I am incrementally a pessimist, but I see the international debate that Edward Snowden has engendered, and I think this is exactly where the discussion should be. So, I would say I'm more optimistic than pessimistic.
I find it's too much for me to read endless critiques, even if we're being well-defended, of exactly what we're doing. When someone tells us something we're doing wrong on the boards, we try to respond, we try to be responsive to the fan boards, but yeah, I can't read them.
Back when I was a professional model-maker at Industrial Light & Magic, my specialty was hard-edged construction - spaceships, miniature sets, and architectural stuff. These objects were sometimes just 12 inches across yet needed enough detail to fill a movie screen.
I'm not a sculptor; I'm a hard-edged model maker. You give me a drawing, you give me a prop to replicate, you give me a crane, scaffolding, parts from 'Star Wars' - especially parts from 'Star Wars' - I can do this stuff all day long. It's exactly how I made my living for 15 years.