Sunday, July 27, 2008

A few thoughts from Philadelphia International

We're sitting in Philadelphia International with a flight delayed an hour (so far), and I figured I'd share a few thoughts on what's going through my head nowadays:
  • I really want to go to Tuscany, Italy. Or Napa Valley. It needs to happen.
  • Philly Int'l is the most unorganized airport I think I've ever been in, and I've even flown into and out of African airports. At least people there smile at you. "City of Brotherly Love"? I don't think so.
  • Funny how you can feel out of place at a family reunion. Don't get me wrong, it was a blast. But it's difficult to socialize when the only cousins close to your age don't seem to give you the time of day. I'm ready to get back to Atlanta now.
  • I have a Florida Gator fan in my family! And he didn't even go there. And he probably will never go there. He's going to a community college near Panama City. Oh well.
  • My sunburn is successfully peeling its way off my body.
  • I finally got a linen shirt yesterday -- we were all looking for them in Africa, but nobody seemed to be selling them. It's incredibly comfortable, and I feel so relaxed and laid-back.
  • There was a really hot girl in line at security right behind my mom, but we all got split up for a minute and she was gone. Unfortunate. She was the prettiest girl I've seen in this, I miss Athens.
And that's all for now. I'm gonna go enjoy the free wireless here.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Tanzania: In pictures and in thoughts

So I finally put some of my Tanzania pictures up for all the world to see -- and not just for you Facebookers now. I put some of my favorites into slides using Keynote and put in some of my own text and some borrowed, but you'll see that for yourself. Enjoy!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Frontloading this week's fun

This is a cover of Peter Gabriel's "Sledgehammer" (watch the original's weird) that Dave and the boys performed this past Monday. AND I WAS THERE!!!!!111!!1!1 The concert was mindblowing. I got emotional and was on the verge of tears during the encore (I blame it on the heat and the dancing). It was an intense cardio workout.

LeRoi, the sax player, was injured earlier this summer in an ATV accident and is still in a Virginia hospital, so Jeff Coffin from Bela Fleck and the Flecktones (and a lot of guest DMB spots) was filling in. Dave got the whole crowd to chant "We love Roi" for the cameras, so maybe this show will make it to DVD sometime. It was great.

There's a bunch of YouTube clips from the Lakewood Amphitheatre show here, and a bunch more from the tour itself here.

Things to accomplish in my life

My previous post got me thinking on I topic I've actually given a lot of thought to lately (follow that?). It's one that I'm shamelessly taking from the phenomenal Morgangster, but it's also one that would be useful for everyone I think.

So here we go. My I-don't-know-how-many-items-long-and-ever-expanding list of things I want to accomplish in my life, great or (more likely) small. Call it my bucket list if you will.

1. Compose elevator music
2. Ride an elevator more than 100 stories tall
3. Attend the TED Talks
4. Give a TED Talk
5. Taste the local wines in Tuscany
6. Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro
7. See a James Taylor concert
8. Play guitar with JT
9. Run the bases at the current Yankee Stadium
10. Run the bases at the new Yankee Stadium if I don't make it in time
11. Walk to work
12. Get a dog
13. Learn Swahili
14. Bench 300 pounds
15. Run a 6-minute mile
16. Lose ten pounds
17. Own a vineyard
18. Raise a family (wife and kids...just a dog doesn't count)
19. Meet Dave Matthews
20. Not faint or cry when I meet Dave Matthews
21. Balance my checkbook
22. Get a credit card
23. By a Ferrari...with cash
24. Go on a mission trip for longer than a week
25. See a UGA football national championship
26. Meet the Gym Dawgs
27. Catch a pass from Matt Stafford and/or tackle Knowshon
28. Be on ESPN's top 10 plays
29. See the world (whatever that means)
30. Read the whole Bible
31. Sing
32. Laugh
33. Do stand-up comedy (and get booed off stage)
34. Have someone actually read my blog
35. Be humble
36. Not settle
37. Graduate
38. Appreciate sushi more
39. Be good at photography
40. Complete a triathlon on my own
41. Be like my dad
42. Be like my grampa
43. Be someone's Best Man
44. Meet "the one" and know it
45. Drive a motorcycle
46. Get LASIK
47. Spend a summer hiking the Appalachian Trail
48. Learn to play golf
49. Figure out what to do with the rest of my life
50. Go back to Tanzania for an extended period of time with the locals

"The conductor doesn't make a sound!"

I watched another TED Talk that was linked up on the ol' Presentation Zen that I seem to talk so much about, and -- as usual -- it was awesome. It's the one sitting right above this paragraph if you didn't already notice. You can also watch it on the TED website here. But this one was a little different because the presenter, famed classical music conductor Benjamin Zander of the Boston Philharmonic, spoke all about classical music. And his love for it. And everyone else's love for it ("They just don't know it yet!"). There's a lot of great stuff to take away from the talk -- he hits on everything from Nelson Mandela to 7-year-olds struggling at piano -- but I wanted to highlight just one idea: "awakening possibilities."

Zander speaks in the latter portion of his talk about his realization that the conductor never makes a sound (all grunting and everything aside, I guess) during an actual performance. He relies on his players to realize his dream and vision. And the only way he says to do that is to "awaken possibilities" in them, to make them believe in themselves and to enable them along the way. It seems pretty basic, and it probably is, but it's a different way of looking at the idea of executing a strategy or vision, especially in the business world today. To make your followers' eyes shine.

For more on Zander from PZ, check Garr's book review here.
For more on the TED Talks from my boss EJ, click here.

(h/t as usual - Presentation Zen)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Happy fireworks and freedom!!!


I love the 4th. There's no better reason to sit around, grill some burgers, watch some fireworks and bask in everything that is America. God bless America, and God bless all of us in it. Today, tomorrow and every day forward.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

You can begrudge them their money...

(image: The Last Word)

But you can't say anything about their patriotism.

Yes, I know, that might be a little exaggerated, but say what you will about NBA players -- and professional athletes in general -- but they're doing exactly what we've set them up to do. We've glorified their existence to no end, we've snatched up any and all of their memorabilia, we've even watched them in the tabloids. But now we're sending them overseas to represent us. To represent everything that America stands for. And this round of Olympic Games is the perfect stage.

We're coming off stunning defeats in both the 2004 Summer Games and the FIBA World Championships. The world believes that they have caught up to us in the sport that we invented (yeah, he was Canadian, but he invented it in Springfield, Mass.) and have dominated since. They have the chance to come together as a team instead of simply a group of individual stars. And they can show the world how basketball was meant to be played.

I was inspired by tonight's installment of "Road to Redemption," a series about Team USA's preparations for Beijing, and I've gotta tell you...there's a great vibe going around that team. They seem to really have bought into Coach K's philosophy. They even listened to wounded American soldiers (from Iraq) speak about "selfless service." And there were tears coming to their eyes.

So here's to you Team USA. Bring it home for us this year. We're behind you.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A little tour around my summer sub-lease

I had a little free time after hitting happy hour at On the Border today, so I decided to walk around my apartment and apartment complex -- 330 McGill Place -- to snap a few pictures. And here are my favorites. The rest are in a Picasa slideshow that you can view here or at the bottom of the post. There were people in the swimming pool, so don't expect any creeper pictures of them. A little too awkward.

Starting out on the little balcony outside my room. There isn't any furniture, but it's how I first saw that band at Butler Street Baptist, and it gives a good view of the Atlanta skyline at sunset, too.

Still out on that balcony, this is the porch light right outside the door.

I liked the porch light so much I decided to do a black & white also.

This is an illustration of what I do for most of the time when I'm not at work. Sad, I know, but I just can't get enough of SportsCenter sometimes.

I discovered that we have a mini fan on the floor by our TV as I was wandering around. I couldn't get a good action shot of the blade, so this will have to suffice I guess.

Yes, we have a beer pong table. But it does provide a good view out to the first-floor porch, which does have some furniture on it.

Here's a view up our staircase. Only one of these switches actually works, and that's the far one. It controls the stairwell lights, which also cannot be controlled from the top floor. More than a minor annoyance when the stairwell becomes pitch black at night.

I'm trying to teach myself how to cook, which means that I've basically lived off of frozen pizzas, Ramen, macaroni & cheese and sandwiches. But I'm surviving so far.

This warning reminds me of the movie Groundhog Day, and specifically the scene(s) when Bill Murray tries to kill himself repeatedly. If you haven't seen the movie, it's not nearly as morbid as it sounds.

It was raining outside yesterday.

My address. Fairly self-explanatory.
Who's ever heard of a speed limit of 9 anyway?

The first left inside the complex leads to my apartment. And that arrow is almost pointing directly at my door from this angle.

A pretty flower near the pool area.

I had to stretch pretty high to get this shot, but I think it was worth it. The view is looking out the front of the complex to Ralph McGill Blvd next to downtown Atlanta.

The latch to the BFI dumpster was left open. Looks a little more artsy than it actually was I think.

You have to hit this button to get out the front gate. Then you have to scan your card to re-enter. I, unfortunately, forgot my card, so I had to stay within the confines.

Perched on the bricks of the gate looking out onto Ralph McGill.

I still got a spectacular view of the sunset from inside the confines.

And again, this time with the sun playing a star-ring role. Get it?

I absolutely love the clouds in this picture.

This picture makes me want to have a dog that much more.

I hung on to the fenceposts by the gate for about 15 minutes getting various shots. Right as I was about to jump down I realized that I hadn't gotten a picture of the actual posts. So here you have it.

And I almost forgot this one on the other side also. That's an apartment building across the street in the background.

And finally, the entrance to the complex. Good ol' 330 McGill.

I hope you enjoyed looking at the pictures as much as I had taking them. I got a few weird looks by cars passing by and pedestrians. I never would have imagined that so many good pictures could come simply from walking in a line about 150 feet from my doorstep. It all depends on whether you focus on the little things or not.

And here's that slideshow: