I hate advertising. I really, really hate it. (Generalization, I know.)
Mary, Sam and I don't watch "TV." We watch DVDs, hulu, YouTube, etc. This past week we were in Tahoe and spent a couple of nights "watching TV." It was awful, horrible, yuck. I used to not mind ads, but I also used to not mind dial-up internet connection. [I am a PROUD member of the Dial-Up Generation!]
Ads are horrible. They add very little value. They often destroy the content. The creativity is invested in interrupting me in as pleasant a way as possible (kind of like trying to make a fart be as quiet as possible.) The ideas are often remedial. The targeting is usually for other people (people who don't really exist, they are just composite personas). They are looking for consumers, not people.
The experience is bad. I would actively choose to watch my cat playing with a piece of string than most advertising.
I used to like advertising. Now, I just hate it. It is so bad.
I am glad things are collapsing in our little advertising world. I am glad things are going to be re-built. I am glad that people comfortable with the status quo are not sleeping well.
I love culture. I love making people's lives better. I love innovation. I love insights. I love companies with resources actually playing with us, telling us meaningful stories, showing us things we had not seen before that keep me thinking, smiling. I love the freedom of expression, interaction, development available between companies and people. I love that we all can create and communicate at a level that no one predicted (well at least Hollywood and SF writers failed to note.) I love that the idea of profit is being turned on its head. ("Why can't we make profit doing _____?") I love the amount of sharing going on. I love that access to information is quickly approaching "cost = 0". I love that people are paying more attention to intrinsic value, universal truths, plain ole authenticity.
I am glad I am starting something new in 2009.
Monday, December 29, 2008
I hate advertising. I really, really hate it. (Generalization, I know.)
Thursday, December 25, 2008
or whatever you celebrate. For me it is a time to reflect on the year, enjoy some time off and be thankful for all the love in my life (which most likely includes you.) So, given the state of things, this is an incredible Christmas.
Mary, Sam and I have a White Christmas ... seriously the whitest Christmas we've ever seen! It snowed all night and will snow all day.
Woo-Hoo! Sam asked for one thing this Christmas, and he got it ... copious amounts of snow.
Our snow Santa wishes you a Merry Christmas! (He is buried now.) Also, this may be the only Christmas wishes we get out today. The snow seems to have made wireless coverage touch and go.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Just a quick travel note.
We made it to Truckee yesterday evening with no problems. We stocked the house (which ROCKS) with food and had a nice evening. This morning we got up and opened one of the presents: SNOWSHOES!
We went to Donner Memorial Park, where we did a short nature trail in our new shoes; we went right by some of the Donner Party sites, then walked the museum and watched a short Donner Party film. We drove home for lunch and learned how to put snow chains on in the cold snow. We then went back out and did a longer snowshoe trip, probably about 2 miles or so. It is definitely a good workout and we all had a BLAST!
We'll do a sledding, snowman building day tomorrow probably. Plus continue to use our incredible Snow Flingers (see pics on Flickr.)
Lastly, Mary, Sam and I have noticed that it has been 5 years now that we have been together. I am so happy, so lucky and so in love. Here's to 10x5 more years!
OK, time to get back to my puzzle. I love vacation.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
I am officially drained.
The illness drained me physically.
The semester/new job drained me intellectually
The goodbyes are draining me emotionally.
One more class.
One day to prep for travel.
One glorious week of recharging, family fun in the SNOW, GLORIOUS SNOW.
I wish you all peace, fulfillment and a glorious close to this year.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
The above picture was taken on January 4th of this year as Sam and I crossed through Donner Pass on the California Zephyr. When we got back, we decided we should consider spending Christmas in the Tahoe/Donner region ... get some snow.
So last month, we booked a cute little condo in Truckee for Christmas week, as our Christmas present for each other. Unfortunately, all the news and Farmer's Almanac have poor Sierra snow this year. However, today the region was hit with a storm that should last until Tuesday! (Sorry for all the people this is inconveniencing, but I'm sure most of the people in the region are rejoicing.) Hopefully the snow will keep falling (although preferably not on Saturday the 20th when we drive up.), because we have a sledding hill right across the street and plans to do some skiing/snowboard as well. Of course building a snowman on Christmas morning would be quite wonderful as well.
Dreaming of a white Christmas...
It definitely makes it easier to put up with our current Bay Area rain knowing it is the same system making snow we'll be playing in next week.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Like many people, I am currently reading Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers. It continues the tradition of his amazing storytelling theorist ability. For the third book in a row, I've seen so much discussion about it being "nothing new" or "wrong" or "obvious vs insight" or "supposition vs accurate account." Whatever, I'm enjoying it. Again, he tells stories about numbers that get people talking. Thank you, sir.
The book focuses on the many details that create success. I am not going to retell too much, because he is masterful at explaining these things in an approachable way. But, one of the things he mentions is being in a "birthrate trough." One of the strange things about my growing up is that I was quite aware of being in one of these troughs. I took the above image off of wikipedia (you can click on it to make it bigger); it is total number of births in the U.S. by year. I was born in the middle (1975) of that obvious trough in the middle (1973-77).
By the time I was a teenager and aware of the importance of things like birthrate and population, I understood that there were many more people older than me and many more younger than me. For the past 18 months, Charlie and I have been getting many requests for agencies looking for Snr. Planners, those most likely in my age group ... even during the economic downturn. I have heard several people of other age cohorts comment on my "confidence in employability." While I recognize I have a unique optimistic view of things, I do also think I am simply a product of my times.
I also think that this birth trough combined with being at a great age where personal computers were a dominant "vision of the future" force of our childhood (I was 8 when the Macintosh was introduced), helped create a certain unassuming vocational confidence. (By the way, if Gladwell mentions this past page 139 ... then I'm sorry for being a repeat.)
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Over 30 months ago, I wrote this post about the 10 things I was going to miss in Chicago. I excluded the people, because that was too obvious (especially now with the Avery and Ian addition!) Enough time has passed that I should be able to get a good read on how accurate I was.
#10 - The city smelling of chocolate - yeah, I miss that. I can still smell it.
#9 - The Folk and Roots festival - something I didn't mention at the time, how easy it was to get to these things! I used to walk to this festival, I could practically hear it from the house. I miss walking to music, bars, restaurants, etc.
#8 - Lincoln Park Zoo - We still haven't been to a zoo here. It would just suck. They won't have Polar Bears, Zoo lights with ice sculptures or lions that roar all the way to your bus stop.
#7 - The El - I really, really miss the El, no train on earth as great as the El.
#6 - The Lake - as predicted, not so much. The lake at winter is pretty cool; the chunks of ice crashing into each other. But, the ocean has a strong calling to me. The crashing waves, the many beaches, the wildlife ... spectacular.
#5 - The winters - kind of yes, kind of no. I miss changing seasons, but man the weather here is remarkable! No coats, no checking to see if it is going to rain, snow, hail. I love enduring and experiencing weather, but I love easier life experiences even more.
#4 - The Art Institute - BIG time. Great museum scene in Chicago; I wish I had spent more time in the museums with the audio tours.
#3 - The diversity - True. San Francisco diversity sucks. I miss Chicago diversity. I miss hearing Polish on the El. (Have I mentioned missing the El?)
#2 - The architecture - surprisingly not so much. I think the architecture is easier to carry with me. Chicago architecture is such a constant; it is not going anywhere in my Chicago experience.
#1 - Wrigley - duh. Of course. You know what I like most about AT&T Park? Free wi-fi, so I can read about the Cubs. I did get to see 4 Cubs games pretty easily last year!
Chicago is great, but we are starting to learn San Francisco. In fact, I am working on a story that involves both: Whiskey & Smokes. One day I'll piece it together.
Until then, I am looking forward to hitting the frozen midwest soon. I'll be visiting Eric, Sarah, Ian & Avery with a special appearance by my own mother in mid-January. It'll be good seeing everyone. Wow, it will have been almost 3 years since I saw my mom! That's a long time.
singular boy, originally uploaded by phantom kitty.
I forgot to mention this. Mary and I went and saw Rhett Miller at Yoshi's in SF on Tuesday, November 25th. The venue was good, the show was wonderful. He just rocks. When Mary and I first started dating there were three artists that played all the time: Rhett Miller, Shawn Mullins and Edwin McCain. Three guys that Mary can be dreamy about and I can picture grabbing a beer with, not bad.
And a classic performance: "The El" @ Schuba's (I miss making out under the El.)
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
But, much of the restorative care comes back to "going back" ... back home. I think we turn to trusted old-school remedies, because it takes us back to the ultimate time of caretaking, our childhood. So, despite the broths and fruits I should have been having, I turned to a Cajun remedy to bring me back. Andouille sausage, eggs, cheese and toast.
I'm feeling better already.
I know, what a novel statement, eh? I am sitting on the couch sick for Day #2.5, and it just stinks. I hate that my teeth hurt, I hate that last night I closed my eyes and watched fat black letters with red trim get smaller and smaller to write out a story that I could not read, I hate that I am making myself sick of peppermint tea, I hate that I am seeking a way not to swallow, I hate feeling the hours pass and I feel accomplishmentless, I hate feeling guilty about kissing my wife (did I just germ her?), I hate wearing sweatpants (in fact I went with jeans instead today), I hate not playing with people who are fun.
I do love Conan and hulu and sunshine and soup. I will try to focus on those things.
The above picture is from the Dial House bathroom on Friday night. The weekend was good. I likeminded in the morning. It was pretty busy because many students came (thanks) and NY Times exposure. I am pretty sure this is where I got sick; there were a few sickies coughing/sneezing in hands and then shaking mine (cough into your sleeve people!) Then we (cam + students) headed to Role Models, which was good fun (any "crude comedy" with a 75% on Rotten Tomatoes is going to be my cup of tea.) Afterward, we ate and chatted. I've been thinking about the whole leaving teaching thing, and I feel as if I may have maxed my student relations anyway. I absolutely love many of my students. I love to hear their stories, visions, hopes and thoughts. I look forward to watching them become whatever they become. However, there are so many I feel this way about already. I don't want to add more, because it would just have to take away time/energy from the current troop. I left AAU/joined up with Dial House for many, many reasons ... but truly it is the right time.
Speaking of Dial House, I was so glad to have the chance to take Mary to the Holiday Party there on Friday evening. I got to show her the place, people and work that make me so happy. Why I fit in. We drank at the bar, sat on the pool table, chatted with Alex: good fun. We ate at Clay Oven on our way home and laughed.
Saturday was relaxing joy. Mary and I took a walk on this:
Then we had some red beans and rice with Zak, Linda and Leo. Sunday, we took our first City Guide Walking Tour; we checked out Noe Valley and I learned many things, including why it is okay to have 3 fire hydrants at an intersection despite the lack of parking. I think we are going to try and learn more about the city in the coming months.
OK, that's enough updating. My sick hands, brain and eyes need a break. Please excuse typos, I just don't want to re-read this now.