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.
It's sort of a mental attitude about critical thinking and curiosity. It's about mindset of looking at the world in a playful and curious and creative way.
Deadlines refine the mind. They remove variables like exotic materials and processes that take too long. The closer the deadline, the more likely you'll start thinking waaay outside the box.
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.
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.
The coolest toys don't have to be bought; they can be built. In fact, sometimes the only way they'll ever exist is if you make them yourself.
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.
From earliest times, humans - explorers and thinkers - have wanted to figure out the shape of their world. Forever, the way we've done that is through storytelling. It is difficult to let the truth get in the way of a good story.
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 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.
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.
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 like to work fast. I despise not having the right tool or, worse, knowing I have it but not being able to find it. It's a pointless delay that wrecks my pace - and mood.
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.
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 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.
The Internet is probably the most important technological advancement of my lifetime. Its strength lies in its open architecture and its ability to allow a framework where all voices can be heard.
I'm obsessed with the form of a toolbox. The idea of a portable kit that has everything you might need ignites something inside me. It's like Batman's utility belt.
New York State is giant and has some of the most beautiful landscape on the Eastern seaboard. There is so much history in New York State, from the Erie Canal to the Catskills, the birth of American stand-up comedy.
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!'