The unexpected benefits of a cancelled flight

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Rushed through lunch and passed some CMYK toner along the way.

Rushed to the airport as the rain started to fall.

Flight was cancelled so I ordered a pizza. Chatted with Thor and found that he was going to see Hannah Gadsby that night. (If you haven’t seen her show Nanette, it’s incredibly moving and powerful.)

A few taps on my phone and I found a single ticket had been released at face value.


The new show of hers called Douglas is equally incredible.

The rain eventually stopped and the night was beautiful.

Finding the story

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

August 6, 2019 – The reason I was back in New York? There was an acquisition—an acknowledgement that two organizations together were something greater. (It can happen.)

The goal for this particular day was to find the essence of this union, and their combined future.

An early exercise was for the executives from each company to give a brief explanation of how they came to be at this particular table. (It’s really hard to summarize one’s life work in succinct fashion.)

As an outsider of sorts (I’m a design contractor), when it came to my time, I summed up my story as best I could in the shortest amount of time:


“My father was an engineer and an entrepreneur. He married a bohemian artist that loved to make things. Together? They had a designer.

I went to college to study cinematography, that program was cancelled it that year so I figured visual communication was close enough. I ultimately got a bachelor of science degree in design. Because it is science. And anyone can learn it.

Design is the science of art.*

Part of my education was in Switzerland, and that taught me minimalism. I like to joke that that means I do as little as possible, but really it’s about stripping away artifice and getting to the core of a message. A purpose.

And I’m happy to be here.”

We had a challenging day working through the history of the companies and had a great meal afterward. My only regret? It wasn’t a two day workshop. Because it’s nice to reflect on things and extend the discussion.

But work is a marathon, not a sprint. There will be time when we make it. And time is something we need to make.

*  I don’t know if I’d totally hang my hat on this statement as it stands, but it has some legs that could be stretched out.

The moments in between

Mom on a boat back from Celia Thaxter's garden

This snapshot was taken on the boat ride back from Appledore Island on July 23, 2011.

We had just spent the day exploring Celia Thaxter’s Garden, a tiny but dense plot of wildflowers meticulously maintained that mom had been hoping to visit for many years.

I hadn’t posted this particular photo when I shared more from trip, but it is among my favorite because mom’s intent is so clear, basking in the moment and savoring the day.

I thought about this image in the middle of a month-long expedition to South Africa I’ve just returned from.

The first part of the trip was spent exploring Kruger National Park.

Before an early morning bushwalk, our ranger and guide mentioned we might not see particular big game as animals tend to flee from folks walking on foot. He spoke deliberately, giving each sentence a moment to linger.

“Use all of your senses.” he said. “Be open to the small things.”

I had seen so much already. There were moments of elation catching wildlife along the way, learning about animal behaviors and the environment on the trail. There was even a solid shot of adrenaline as a young male elephant became very curious of our small group. (I have a torn handkerchief to prove it, as we ran for cover wrestling with a stickerbush along the way.)

There were challenges too—long, hot, exhausting days and cold nights, and unexpected rain that pelted our skin like needles.

And then there was the last night in the park. We were driving back from our evening bushwalk in an open air safari truck as the sun was going down.

I closed my eyes and thought of mom.

Warm strobes of light with blurred edges flashed between branches of trees—a hypnotic disco without music. The truck creaked and bounced while the temperature dipped noticeably as we rode down small valleys, replaced by a warm wall of air on each ascent.

I didn’t need to see that sunset, I could feel it and the moments in between.

And I was so very lucky.

(There are many, many photos from this trip, I’m still sorting… It’s actually September 26, 2019 as I write this, but I wanted to post a stopgap.)

Hello so soon

Monday, August 5, 2019

Old Slip phone booth and smokers pole

Smokers pole and phone booths

Somehow I find myself back in NYC, but this time? For work! I landed this day and headed over to the Financial District, enjoying new things to see, old friends and colleagues.

Old Slip public art

Brooklyn from Manhattan

Brooklyn from afar.

Trinity Church New York

Trinity Church of Wall Street

Temple Court

Restaurant week deal at Temple Court. Go, if only for a cocktail to see the view above of the Beekman Hotel (The Temple Court restaurant / bar) is integrated.


Oculus interior

I’ve been here before, but didn’t post the photos. That was an emotional visit. This time I got some adapter doo-hickey at the Apple Store located here because they keep fiddling with plugs and stuff.

Super annoying.

Like the VOID box in the middle of the space that peddles VR experiences.


It’s neat to see it all again.

It’s so gratuitous.

Oculus steps

Oculus exterior

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Sunday, August 4, 2019

The concession stand at a movie theater in the suburbs of Cincinnati, Ohio

This latest (and perhaps second to the last?!) Quentin Tarantino movie left me flummoxed. It felt slow. The dialog wasn’t as sharp. There was a lot of build-up and then the rug was pulled out.

It ultimately found the violence he reveres, but it had the creepy factor too.

I’m trying not to spoil anything, and though I walked away scratching my head, I think it’ll hold up as good as a Rockford Files episode. Which is saying a lot.

In brief: I think it’ll hold up well, but it was slow getting there. But who am I kidding? Slow getting there is awesome.

Also? Neon.

Look Around

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Meredith said she’d be coming into town for the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s event called Look Around. This was my first clue that it was something special. (She has a good spidey sense for these things. )

It was a hard event to grok… Artists spread around Washington Park, with more along a route from Ziegler Park… All told? About 600 musicians, poets, and dancers staggering performances throughout the spaces.

In some ways it was difficult to get from point A to point B, but the journey always had something to see or hear. It didn’t hurt that the weather was pretty great, creating a fine backdrop for the entire experience.

In hindsight, I’m glad it wasn’t a traditional show where you sit there and have the musicians move into view. It was active and demanded a bit more from the audience. That said, sometimes it was hard to see the artists.

With such things, there’s always a bit of the feeling that you’re missing something. You have to make choices. The good thing? There were no wrong answers.

But let me tell you, finding a bench to rest up when all was said and done? That moment came at just the right time.

Bi-Okoto on the south lawn.

Spoon, Cage the Elephant, Beck

Friday, August 2, 2019

Spoon, the band

Triple set at Riverbend: Spoon, Cage the Elephant and Beck.

Ticket purchased, mostly to see Spoon. They’ve been on my bucket list for some time, but maybe I’ve seen them before? I scrubbed through some older music posts and nothing emerged other than a strong desire to port my old journal over to WordPress and run a dead link report.

Spoon was good. Extra loud, which may have been an effect of the outdoor venue, but overall? Filed under “yay”.

I didn’t know Cage the Elephant before today and they certainly charged the crowd with sweat equity. I kept hoping for the lead singer to take at least one coat off (it was hot this day). He complied. By their last song he was barely wearing anything. Essentially we saw a 19 song striptease.

Beck closed things out with a set that was too short, but sound ordinances kept the music from going on too late. A bit more canned backing vocals than I’d like, but the band had super high energy. It didn’t soar as much as the Midnite Vultures tour I’d seen 19 years ago (setlist), but I’m gonna pin the venue on this one.

An amphitheater obliterates a fair amount of nuance.