Archive for November, 2010

Reaching for the SkyStorm

This weekend John Wilson and I will be traveling to Elizabethtown, Kentucky to spend the day (and night) with the creative team behind SkyStorm Studios.  The studio has been going through a renaissance and a bit of a creative explosion lately.  I can’t say a lot more other than they have invited us into their lives to look at their projects and help shape their plans and we’re honored.

I have to admit that I’m tremendously excited to sink my teeth into sharing options on projects and being part of the evolution of a ton of great books.  It is clear to me that there are projects here that show tremendous promise.  Seeing them realized for friends seems like a really good way to dedicate my time.  I’m sure I’ll have much more to say on down the road, but this weekend takes me to a city I haven’t visited in years and I’m looking forward to the trip.

Before I go though, I’m spending a rare Friday night in town (departing in the morning).  Tonight, I’m planning to visit a local restaurant called Marikka’s for what just may be my favorite spot for German food.  It’s been far too many years since I visited this former haunt and a nice plate of rouladen with green beans and spaetzle awaits.   I tell you, I would go there just for the spaetzle.  They have these wonderfully thick German noodles that I crave every so often.  Usually I don’t make it over.  Tonight, I will dine!

Past, present and future!

What a quick two weeks!

From the Colbert/Stewart rally to the “day job” conference in Washington, DC to the 36 hours between flying back and leaving for a show to Mid-Ohio-Con, this has been a very busy time.  I’m happy to report that, as the holidays approach, this whole tread of activity within my life shows no sign of letting up anytime soon.  There will most certainly be more stories to tell.

First, let’s discuss the Comedy Central rally.  You know, I had a lot of fun at the event.  That said, it left me feeling satisfied but maybe just a little underwhelmed.  When I went, I was wanting to feel the passion that broke through the comedy which was so clearly realized here (Crossfire clip, 2004)…

What I got felt very staged.  I wanted that counterculture rallying cry that could voice with humor and cutting wit the frustration I’ve recently felt.  Sadly, what I got was a show.  It was a really good show, but it was only in the final minutes that I found the rally I wanted to attend.  I could have used more of an afternoon of this kind of discussion…

I think I had too high a set of expectations.  It was a wonderfully entertaining event and the crowd and their signs stole the show.  I’ve just felt frustrated with the political world for a while now and I wanted that voice of reason to shine through.  In the end, looking back, it got lost in its own cloudy lining.  An opportunity missed.

Enough of that though…

One of the very best things about these last two weeks has been the surprise reconnection with friends who mean more to me than I can say.  The promised reintroduction of some of them into my life and the realization that there are times when you can, quite honestly, pick right back up where you left off was a really pleasant surprise.

Thanks to Facebook, my college buddy Jon Lay (pictured above) read I was heading for DC and would be at the rally.  We tried to connect there, but it was clear it would be impossible as the crowd was unbelievable eliciting surprised reactions even from DC locals who are used to this sort of thing.

That evening, it also looked like we might miss each other due to separate schedules for the day.  Only as the sun set did a text arrive letting me know he was heading out for a beer.  I made my way over through Dupont Circle to touch base with him and two of his friends.  A legendarily fun night would follow.

FYI… Before I go on, one of the guys with Jon runs a blog you should be reading called Topless Robot.  Great geek culture fun at its finest!  Go… bookmark… return.

Anyway, this was Halloween weekend so the costume crowd was out in force and the second club we made it to had dancing.  We left the first after they literally pulled the tables, the chairs we were sitting on and the seat cushions to make room for more people.  That was not met with a good reaction, but that’s a story for another time and the second bar, dubbed simply Lucky Bar more than made our evening a great one.

This second club had a more relaxed vibe, great food and a staff that felt like they were part of our group for the evening. I think my impression of the place was helped by a kind couple from Reno who offered us the other side of their booth.  They became great “one night” friends for the evening.  Though really blurred, here’s a shot of the two of them…

And a photo from inside the club…

It was just one of those memorable nights and I was able to reconnect with a buddy who lives in the same town, but I had drifted away from just due to life.  Thanks to some flashback Wednesday night gaming planned, that should be a thing of the past and that’s a really good thing.

Similarly, Scott Moore (no relation, but might as well be related and is pictured above) saw I was going to be at Mid-Ohio-Con and came up on Saturday.  Though we didn’t have quite as much time to reconnect, the invitation to visit him in Cincy was offered and will be accepted in the weeks ahead.  Again, here there were moments that felt like not an hour had passed since we hung out in years past.

These two were part of a group of college friends that were, at times, inseparable.  Scott never actually lived with me, but we pretty much lived life together in college and that distinction would have been moot.  I can’t understate how great it was to be met with a smile after all these years and welcomed back into their lives like I never missed a beat.  That, to say the least, is true friendship (and I think I have now drummed that point into the ground).

To top it all off, while at the NCURA (National Council of University Research Administrators) conference, I had a chance to chat with a wonderful woman who I was lucky enough to call my first wife, Cindy Shirley (pictured above left with her friend Aubree Hanson).  Cindy and I have remained friends over the years, but not had a chance to chat much.  As she does the same “day job” I do only (only on the other side of the country in Seattle) she was at the conference and we took some time out to catch up.  As this outstanding blast from the past two week period really hit its stride, it was great to get a chance to sit down with her and hear how her life has evolved, hear all the latest boat racing news and catch up on a former family.  She’s very happy with a wonderful partner in life who was a friend from back in my boat racing days.  I was really pleased to see how great her life has turned out.  She’s an awesome individual and deserves it.

I came away form these last two weeks really appreciating all the great people I’ve known in my life.  I’ve taken a lot of roads and looking back I can say with certainty, success or failure at each turn, I would not change a thing.  I’m very lucky.