Saturday, March 9, 2013

Two of my favorite talks from TED are now live

I believe you'll be glad you invested the time to watch these two.

In this one, Ron Finley talks about the power and the defiance of growing your own food--in South Central LA. 

In a powerful performance that brought the audience to its feet, Shane Koyczan does a longer version of the poem that became a huge Internet hit. 

Friday, March 8, 2013

A little Paris magic in La Quinta

During lunch one day at TEDActive, I shared a table with an attendee from Paris.  We ended up talking about the city, which we both love. 

In the course of the conversation, I mentioned my favorite spot in Paris, about twenty or so yards in front of Notre Dame.  I've discussed this spot in an earlier blog post, because it affords you what I call a moment of perfect potential.  As I described the location, he became more and more animated. 

"Yes," he said, "I know it very well.  It is perfect.  I proposed to my wife there."

I may never see that man again, but in that moment we bonded over our appreciation of that little bit of perfect ground. 

We both walked away smiling.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Is this the best travel jacket in the world?

I'm referring to the Revolution jacket from SCOTTEVEST, which some preliminary research suggested might indeed be just the travel jacket I'm seeking.  What do you think?  Do you know of a better option?

I'm seeking something lightweight but warm enough to layer with a shirt during walks on my sabbatical.  Having lots of pockets is a plus, and compressing into a small space is definitely good.

Ideas, anyone?

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Food truck Wednesday nights return

When the weather is warm enough, each Wednesday night in the street between Fullsteam and Motorco, a few food trucks gather and pull to them a crowd of students, runners, hipsters, Durham lovers, old people--you name it, any people who feel like eating and socializing in the cool night air.  Parlour and Pie Pushers are almost always there, and other food trucks come from time to time. 

These two food trucks have stayed away during the winter, but they decided to emerge this first week of March.  Joining them was KoKyu.  The weather was really too cold for eating outside, but many of us showed up anyway, bought some slices, and huddled in the warmth of Fullsteam, which generously lets folks stay inside.  As cold as I was, I was happy to be there.  (I'll be even happier when the weather turns warm.)  The pizza was delicious, and the ice cream heavenly. 

If I'm in town and you want to catch me on a Wednesday night, that's often where I'll be. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Guess where I'll be Saturday night?

If you follow local concert venues, then this one is easy:  I'll be at the Lincoln Theater seeing these guys.

Yeah, that's right:  the Gaslight Anthem is coming to town.  I am psyched!

How can I not love lyrics like these, which speak perfectly to me:

Let it out, let me in, take a hold of my hand
There's nothing like another soul that's been cut up the same
And did you want to drive without a word in between?
I can understand, you need a minute to breathe
And to sew up the seams after all this defeat
All this defeat
 Oh, you'd like another video?  How about this relatively new one, which stars Elisha Cuthbert?

If you're in town, you should not miss this band.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Tesla Motors is haunting me

I almost bought a Tesla Model S Signature electric car last November.  I had decided that if I could get one of the first batch, I would do it, insane as the purchase would be.  Gina worked long and hard to make it happen, and she and a Tesla rep in California finally did. 

I backed out.

I did so for lots of reasons, but quite a few had to do with concerns about the company.

I did my best to make peace with the decision.  I was doing okay until I first saw one on the road in Silicon Valley, and then a few months later got to sit in my friend Ralph's.  Damn, that is a sweet, sweet car.

Still, I resisted. The wait time shot up to multiple months, and I made peace again with the decision. 

On the last night of TEDActive, Bill and I stood around a small outdoor dinner table with several fine folks, including a Tesla rep from Denver.  He offered great responses to all of my concerns.  He even said the wait time for a Model S Performance--basically, the Signature model without the name plate and the maroon color, which I did not want--was down to a month. 

Foolishly, tonight I configured one online.  Even with the recent price increase, it was cheaper than the Signature model (though still insanely expensive, of course), and it is now available in blue, my favorite car color.

I continue to resist.  I continue to try to make peace with the decision.

Wow, though, is that an amazing car.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Hotel bathroom wars

My pal and fellow writer John Lambshead observed in a comment to a recent post that I "and hotels have a very close relationship like an old married couple."  I suspect he is right, but I blame the sheer volume of my travel and the desire of hotels to have guests do things their way. 

I like to customize my space.  I want things the way I want them, and I figure if I'm paying for the space, as I am in a hotel room, I should be free to customize it within reason.  (I do not think I should tear down pictures or make other destructive changes to spaces I do not own.)

So, when I check into a hotel room where I will be staying for more than a night, as I walk through the room and set up my stuff, I make a lot of small adjustments.  Turn the the TV to face the bed.  Arrange the work desk to accommodate my laptop, tablet, phone, charging gear, and so on.  Put my current book on the bedside table.  Put my toiletries to the left of the sink (the right-side sink if there are two) and arrange the daily items in order of use (toothbrush, toothpaste, Q-tip, deodorant, brush, comb).  And so on.

Yes, as I said, I want things the way I want them.  More to the point, though, I do these things for two very good reasons:  to maximize efficiency in the morning, when I am always both rushing and likely to be muzzy-headed from lack of sleep, and to minimize the likelihood of me forgetting or screwing up anything important. 

Hotel staffs clearly do not like people like me, particularly in the bathroom.  When I return to my room after a day of work or, as this past week, TED sessions, my carefully constructed bathroom order is always different.  The trash can is back where they want it, not where it was.  All my toiletries are rearranged, as if the toiletries good fairy had come in the day.  And so on.  They remake my world. 

If by this point you feel you have waded long enough in a pool of potentially contagious OCD weirdness, I don't blame you, but I do disagree.  I don't consider it OCD; I consider it efficient. 

Of course, I would. 

Anyway, I hate that hotel staffs do this.  It costs them time, and then it costs me time.  I know it's a small thing, but with as little as I've been able to sleep for these past several years, I begrudge every senseless waste of even a few minutes, because I could be sleeping during those minutes.

I could, of course, just give in, accept their ordering, and move on.

Yeah, right.  That's not going to happen.  I feel I am in the right, and my setups are more efficient for me, so I continue to restore things to their proper places.

And my friends continue to laugh at me.


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