Sunday, October 4, 2015

Limbo + Recalibration

....Well the book is written, published and made it to #1 on Amazon for Museums.  Zero, Zero effect on my work, hard to believe that you can write a book, sell more than 1,000 copies and no emails or phone calls.

   Since the consulting has fallen off to zero, have taken a job working as a full-time professor, enjoy the teaching.  The advantage of teaching in Mexico is I am a big fish in a small pond, wouldn't be getting as positive feedback in the USA or Europe, but a good learning experience.  The studio classes are easy for me, very similar to my work in for-profit design fabrication studios, learn about the people, understand their skills or lack of skills and build their confidence to design projects.  The The theory classes are more a a challenge, need to better prepare and have more structured classes, will work to create lectures and class assignments.

  I am living in Estado de Mexico since May.  Have gone through a major depression, started taking Wellbutrin, has made a significant difference.  The toughest part is to have sacrificed and been hurt and then hurt more.  Can't understand the lack of care or support, I am just out here on my own.  I find myself staring at the walls of the apartment, deep in thought to then realize that I have been staring at the wall for a while.

  In classes I talk about my previous projects.  On Friday I was taking about a project from Indianapolis, $6.5M, only to think who am I talking about ?  It can't be me, there is no way I could do anything like that today.  I am totally burnt out, the last couple of weeks have been more stable, but finding an apartment, starting a job, buying a car was more than overwhelming.  It is like already being overwhelmed then overwhelming the overwhelming.  I really have no confidence that I could go back to a regular job.  I am making less money than I made at my first job in 1987.

 Watched the Keith Richards film, really enjoyed it, had no idea about his knowledge of Blues.  Here is a guy that has been through hell and he just keeps going, amazing, he can't be killed.  He has a great quote "you just keep going", well understood.  Compartmentalize and just keep moving forward.

  Very hard to get over the hurt and anger, I know I need to let it go, but I still have not hit bottom and I know there is more coming.  Need to get my stuff, figure out where it is going to go and then go through a divorce.  Hurt upon hurt.

  Mexico changes you, you lower you expectations and accept.  It becomes nice once you understand, it is sort of like moving from NYC to CA, if you keep a NYC attitude in CA you can do anything, if you keep a USA attitude in MX you can do anything.  You know that bad stuff is happening all around you, but you become blind, you have to.

  I have been going through a process of recalibration, trying to understand how to process where I am.  So different.  Have no confidence that I have a major project in me or the desire to try.  There are two major museum projects here and don't really have much interest, can't handle any more disappointment, better to keep my head down and heal.

 Most excited about writing the next book (I must be crazy, yes have a contract to write another museum book), research about interactivity and preparing lectures, all things I can control.  

  Dream of buying a condo in the USA and a condo in MX, but just dreams.  Just keep your head down and keep moving forward, will look up later.    


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Just do anything

Museums are going no where in USA or Mexico or anywhere for that matter.  Even if I have the number #1 blog and website, nothing.  And more nothing in Mexico, seems silly to be writing a book about an industry that is not giving back to me, I just give.  Working on several new websites, just to have a sense of fulfillment.  If I can get to the drug store and make a purchase it is an accomplishment.

I keep lowering my expectations and but they never seem low enough.  If I can make it to the library - an accomplishment, if I can get my shoes shined - an accomplishment, if I can do a little work - an accomplishment.  Trying very hard to lose weight, get at least a little done on the book everyday and do a little work.

Disappointing giving up on museums, but making an effort into retail, hoping for a little better response.      

Friday, January 10, 2014


Wow did I sleep well last night, best nights sleep in a long time.  Was thinking, "when was the last time I slept that well?".  I think it was Bali.  It was the last time I had my own place.

It has been four years in March since I returned from my trip around the world. Since returning I have been bouncing around, Los Gatos, San Francisco, New York City and Mexico City (plus travel for work).

I have rented a room in Lake Tahoe $650 a month, with a small kitchenette. Need time for my ribs to heal.  I have broken at least two ribs #7 and #8 on my left back.  I may have also broken the lower ribs on my left front.  There is no snow, so don't feel as if I am missing anything.  Also feeling a little scared, I have never been this out of shape and exhausted.

Will work on the writing the book, rest, try to get back in shape (227 pounds) and regroup.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Lou's Gone, Long Live Lou

Lou Reed 1942 - 2013,  New York Times Obituary

Folding Napkins

When we were kids, my sister and I would play a game.  After dinner we would refold our napkins and clean our silverware to make them look like they looked before dinner.  The winner would be the one who could make the napkin and silverware look exactly like they looked before dinner.

Now, I collect small items, old rangefinder cameras, headphones, pocket knives and watches.   I research a topic then look for the "perfect" item, most often the item needs to be less than $100.  I buy items review, check to see if it is "perfect", keep if it is, return it if not.  Once I feel that I understand an area, I move on to the next.  Realizing that it is a form of magical thinking.

For now, I am living in Los Gatos. Have given up on finding work in Mexico and trying to rebuild my life in California.  Still have work in California and have an agreement to write a book.  Will see what happens next.

So little of my life is within my control, where I live, my marriage, my work, all feel outside my control. Maybe, if the silverware is perfectly cleaned and re-placed the perfection will spread to the rest of my life.

Friday, December 7, 2012

On the Fence

Today I came back from a run and there was no running water at home, we haven't had running water since yesterday.  Something seems to happen about once a week, no water, no electricity, no phone / no internet.  Makes me better  understand "Sing, don't cry".

Been living in DF for more than a year and married for six months.

I find myself not wanting to leave the house, at least, in the house I have some control, as soon I walk out the door, anything can happen.  Have had many meetings in DF, no closer to any work in Mexico.  Getting close to just giving up on working in Mexico and not having any more meetings in DF, too frustrating.  Every meeting is at least three hours and then nothing happens.  Everyone is your amigo, but that means nothing.

Seems best to stay at home, work, use my headphones and travel when I can.

Often people say that Mexicans are lazy, I don't feel they are lazy at all, just apathetic.  With so much chaos, it is easier to just wait.

I am trying to learn that it is okay to accept an imperfect world (Mexico is very imperfect), and relax, but I have a foot in two cultures.  All of my work is based in the USA, but I am living in DF, having to keep to USA standards (return emails, return phone calls, respond to requests), but live in a Mexican culture of "Manana".

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


I get out of the car and it is quiet, an over whelming quiet.  What happened? It is like everything went away.  I just can't get over how quiet it is outside of DF.  I am obsessed with headphones, keep upgrading, I have realized it is the quiet that I am looking for.  Tuning out the noise.

Keep thinking about John Cage's 4'33 and the decision not to play and just listen.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Branching Decisions

I am going to mix my metaphors "Branching Decisions" and "Crossing Rivers"

I was born in Connecticut
At an early age had difficulty in school, latter diagnosed with Dyslexia
I was small for my age, with a late growth spurt
My father was rigid and had difficulty with compulsions
I used my artistic talent to get by in school
Learned to use technology to compensate for Dyslexia
After school learned how to survive and earn a living with Dyslexia
Earned living, first as an Art handling low pay, tried sculpting no pay
Working in museums was found to be dysfunctional
Work as consultant but no museum will need me all the time
Vacillate between employee and consultant
Role of consultant as client learns, work yourself out of work
Have to travel or move to keep working either working in a museum or as a consultant
Want stability, find a woman I love with a stable job
Learned to span cultures, time zones, to continue working as consultant

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Forgetting what is in my luggage

Closed down security at Liberty State Park, by accident.  Forgot that I had a .45 caliber revolver replica in my luggage and tried going through security.

The woman at the X-Ray machine "is this a test", with that, I remembered  what was in my bag. They shut down the area and surrounded me, I got the curator on the phone and they calmed down.

Friday, March 30, 2012


Saul Bass Movie Poster
Homeless Man #1 (two black eyes): "Looks like you have the same"
Homeless Man #2 (two black eyes): "Ya, but I fell down a flight of stairs"

I have been getting dizzy.  Today, I am an the San Francisco Public Library, I try to avoid this library, too many homeless people.  "There but for the grace of God (go I)", being with so many homeless people gives me a mixed reaction, I realize that I am not homeless, but I am very close.  Is it homeless of "home free"?

I am only half kidding when I ask Patricia "what country is this?".  I have been traveling, JFK, MEX, SFO, JFK, MEX, SFO...non stop.  Sometimes when I look at advertisements for jobs it says" 25% travel required", gets me thinking, "is there such a thing as 110% travel?".  CT, NYC, SF, MEX, I am spread out over two countries and at least three states.  

I have gotten into the habit of buying underwear at Walgreen's, it is easier buying than washing.  

Things that change:
- Language
- Currency
- Credit Cards (some for USA, some for Mexico)
- Time Zone
- Cell Phone (I have two, one for USA, one for Mexico)
- Keys
- Measurements (metric vs. imperial)
- Culture

My computer bag is my Linus's security blanket.  I am obsessive about forgetting things and my "magic finger" needs to inspect the hotel room before I check out.

I had to look back the last time I had an apartment was September 2008, that is four years.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

My favorite activities

My favorite activités:
  1. Skiing
  2. Listening to Music
  3. Museum Installations
  4. Making Art
  5. Visiting Museums
  6. Reading
  7. Photography
  8. Bicycling
  9. SCUBA
  10. Swimming in a pond or ocean
  11. Travel
  12. Driving
  13. Motorcycles
  14. Galleries
  15. Vietnamese Food
  16. Running
  17. Shooting
  18. Yoga
  19. Tennis
  20. Japanese Food
  21. Hiking
  22. Japanese Bath
  23. Massage
  24. Thai Food
  25. Riding Horses

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Favorite Ski Spots

My ski tracks from Fire Break at Heavenly

My favorite Ski Mountains:

Stowe, classic VT skiing, more about the atmosphere than the ski area best hotel at Stowe



Heavenly: Mott Canyon is Amazing!

Squaw: Granite Chief Fantastic!

Jackson Hole, Best skiing I have ever done!

Alta, skiing only, fantastic mountain 

Snowbird, Cliff Lodge has a great April deal

A-Basin, part of the Epic pass, great mountain, ski woods of Pallavicini lift

Innsbruck, some day I will get back there, amazing landscape

I dream of helicopter skiing in Alaska, skiing in Switzerland and cat skiing in Utah, again!

Greek to me

"What am I doing?"

It is 5:22AM in the morning at LAX.  Last night I flew from MEX (now I think in airport codes) to LAX, when I arrived we were escorted to buses on the tarmac, then to Bradley, where we went through customs.  It was midnight by the time I got through customs.  I ate way too much, sushi, two hamburgers and a milkshake.  It has been very tough finding good food in Mexico, so when I have the chance I eat whatever I can.  It remind me of living in Indianapolis, when I would go to NYC or SFO I would eat non stop.  Funny when food is not good, I find myself eating more, hoping the next item, might taste better than the last.  Then I had to walk to the other side of the airport terminal 7 (I was at the international terminal on the other side).  When I arrived at terminal 7, the terminal was closed except for baggage claim, I found a bench and slept the best I could until 4AM.  Then had to go through security again.

I am in CA so I can meet with my client in SF, communication from Mexico has been close to impossible.  I find myself giving up.  The day that the internet and electricity went out, I went down stairs to find the electric company changing all of the building's meters, the workmen were on lunch break, had their mortar and pistel out making guacamole in the garage of our building.  No notice of the electricity going out,  just got turned off.  There is no value in getting upset, you just accept.  "You are not a child, you need to control you emotions", are the types of comments I get, when these things happen.

So what am I doing?  Really not sure.  My current work contract is the best contract I have ever had.  But, I have already given up, can't see a way that I am going to be able to keep it, communication with the USA is too tough.

I have been making next to no effort with the Spanish language, can't seem to find the point, there isn't anything that I really want to know and there isn't anything I want to say, bad attitude.  I feel as if the only way to survive is to create "bubbles", the club is a bubble, the apartment is a bubble, don't want to venture too far outside the bubbles, things way to unsure and a little scary.  Miss nature and technology, trying to figure out MEX, can't stand the "wanna be USA malls", can't stand the "wanna be USA people", but the Mexico that I knew from 1996 seems to be gone.

In 1996 I traveled to Mexico for the first time.  I had already traveled a fair amount, and I was blown away by the warmth of the people of Mexico.  The warmth still seems to be there, but the culture has gone through a significant change due to the drug war and globalization.  People seem more scared and more of the "wanna be USA" and the world does not need anymore USA.

I have tried making contacts in MEX, see little to no chance of work in MEX.  I am sure I could get some work, but at a very low pay rate.  Teaching at the design school pays less than $1000 per month for three days per week, don't see any consulting work possibilites.  Currently communication is too tough to keep clients in the USA.

I have been "going" non stop.  MEX > SFO > JFK > DCA > BWI > SJC > MEX > EWR > MEX > LAX > SJC.  Moving out of IND, moving out of SFO, moving out of CT, moving into MEX, still need to move items out of CT.

I am obsessed with headphones, find music a great relief.

Many believe that "Gringo"is a variant of "griego" 'Greek' (cf. Greek to me)

"Greek to Me"

Friday, October 28, 2011


My Vocabulary:
Si - Yes
No- No
Hola - Hello
Gracias - Thank you
Perdon - Pardon
Disculpame - Excuse Me
Buenos Dias - Good Morning
Buenos Tarde - Good Afternoon
Buenos Noche - Good Night
Por favor - Please
Aqui- Here
Donde- Where?
Agua Mineral-Seltzer
Hablo Ingles-Do you speak English?
No comprendo español-I don't understand Spanish
Ahorita - A little time, could mean 10 minutes or 10 days
Manana - Tomorrow

Week One

I have made through my first week in Mexico City.  Arrived October 22, 2011 on the redeye from San Jose.  Patricia picked me up and we went to her aunt's 60th birthday party, very nice morning.  Often people celebrate their birthday's at church.  Patricia's aunt had a mass at church, then we went to an Italian Restaurant for brunch.  Many of Patricia's father's family was at the birthday.  Very nice they even included a picture of me in the birthday slide show.  

We then went and looked at many apartments.  The apartment that we liked is owned by a Jewish family.  There are many Jews in Mexico but they only like to rent to other Jews, so they wouldn't rent to us.  Renting an apartment is more complicated than in the USA, someone else who is a land owner needs to co-sign for you and if someone doesn't like you they don't need to rent to you.  Landlords like to rent to American and foreigners, but it seems to be a social dance to get them to like you for them to rent to you.  We gave up, moved out of the hotel Arquimedes 33 and moved into Patricia's apartment.  It took several visits from the gas company, but we got the gas on, so now we have hot water.  We need to get a stove, been stove shopping.

I have given up on a USA cell phone.  ATT blocked my cell phone, because I was calling from Mexico and erased all of my messages, without me hearing the messages.  I have a Mexican Cell phone and the reception within Mexico seems fine but internet is very sporadic.  We went out and bought a BAM a wireless internet connection, no better.  Very frustrating week, trying to communicate with the USA, no cell phone and sporadic internet.  We have joined a very nice club, where I can work, but their internet is also sporadic.  On Monday I went to the library of La Salle University, very nice library but no internet.  

It is interesting you can buy anything you want in Mexico, but the infrastructure to support "it" may be non existent.  

The Spanish did a job on the indigenous Mexicans, stole their gold, killed and tortured them and in return turned them to Catholics.  There is a saint for everyday and religion is part of everyday life.  Second to the church is family, everything is based on the family.  Third to family is friends.  Forth to friends are strangers, you treat strangers kindly, almost as friend.  Everyone looks out for each other, because everyone knows that banditos are everywhere.  Banditos may not be career criminals but just someone with an opportunity, so everyone is looking out for each other with a quizzical eye.  

Obesity is an issue in Mexico, #19 in the world.   I think it is relief from the tenacity it takes to get things done.  Wanted to get a locker at the Gym, went to the office, waited twenty minutes for them to get me a list of avaibale lockers, then had to go pick a locker, picked a locker, went back to the office, spoke to them, signed the paperwork, then went back, to find out there was a lock on the locker I selected, went and spoke to security, then back to the office to chose another locker, then back to the locker room, back to security and finally back to the locker room.  Of course all of this is in Spanish, no one spoke English.  Took an hour and half.  But, you have to smile.  Similar to "Asian saving face", you do not get upset, you just smile.  

20,000 pesos 3 bedroom Apartment - $1,538USD
18 pesos Shoe Shine - $1.34USD
34 pesos Cappuccino - $2.64USD
32 pesos Shirt Washed - $2.40USD

Cheap is cheap, but expensive is more than in the USA, still trying to get my head around Mexico costing more than San Francisco, but to get similar quality of USA it is more than the USA.   Much of it is due to Chinese tariffs, some of it due to no one pays taxes, so no money for infrastructure and some of it due to apathy.  People tend to accept mediocre, to get better than mediocre costs.    

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Directing the boxes

Sitting in a hotel room in Baltimore, MD.  Was here for the ASTC conference, announced new traveling exhibition at roundtable session.  Flubbed the presentation, looking out at the audience was too tough, "oh ya, she fired me, oh ya, used to work with them, etc.".

I keep thinking about the device at Fedex that directs the boxes to their destination.  I have moved out the of San Francisco apartment, my mom has sold her house and I have moved my stuff in Connecticut into storage.  My mom has bought a place in NYC.  I moved whatever I had in San Francisco to Mexico City and let a few things in Los Gatos.   Mexico City, Connecticut, New York City, Los Gatos, which place should I send which box?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

What I need

 Looking at moving to Mexico City in September, starting to think (again) about what I need:
  • Friends
  • Bed
  • Electricity for CPAP
  • Music
  • Bathroom
  • Desk
  • Internet
  • Place to run outdoors
  • Haircut
  • Dentist
  • Doctor
  • Laundry
  • Library
  • Coffee Shop
  • Trees
  • Grocery Store
  • Place to go for walks
  • Art Museums
  • Yoga Studio
  • Inexpensive restaurants

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


The Olive Garden manger came to the table to say "there is an issue in the parking lot".  I felt my stomach drop, knowing what was coming my way.  I sat at the table, waiting for Patricia to get back from the bathroom, while drinking my lemonade.  She paid the check and I went out to the parking lot.  Patricia ran past me on the way to the car.  

The parking lot was scattered with glass and the owner of the car next to me was screaming into his cell phone.   The people in the next car had also been burglarized and the police would not show up.  I called the police, knowing that they wouldn't show up.  My yelp review of our dinner:

Olive Garden  

Category: Italian 
1.0 star rating
$7000 Ziti and meat sauce.

My girlfriend and I stopped for dinner on the way back from Lake Tahoe, May 30th, 2011 at 7:00PM.  Went inside and ordered dinner (bad ziti, salad and bread sticks).  At 8:00PM the Manager came to our table to tell us there was an issue with my car.  Went out to the parking lot to find two windows of my car broken, glass everywhere and my computer bag and my girlfriend's computer bag stolen.  A second car was also burglarized, with their car windows broken and luggage stolen.  The police would not come to the crime scene.  I asked the Manager if this happens often, her reply, "about four times per year".

$2800 to repair car
$2200 new Apple Computer
$1200 new HP computer
$1000, new cellphone, ipod, headphones, glasses, sunglasses, etc.

If the management is aware of the issue, they need to hire security, irresponsible to not have security. As we were driving back to route 80 with busted out windows and glass scattered through the car, we saw four police cars arresting a man in the adjacent lot.  No idea if that was the burglar of my car, the police won't follow up on my phone calls.

It is my birthday next week, if I had known, I would have skipped the bad ziti and taken 25 people to Gary Danko's for dinner.

The first thing I did on the way home was stop at Walgreen's and get a composition book.  When I got home I wrote a list of all of the items in the bag, passport, laptop computer, social security card...

The car damage was $3,494 (the $2200 increased to $3400 and is still not finished), new laptop, $2200...

That computer bag was as close to a home as I have had since, July 31st 2009, I am feeling shaken, knowing I will be homeless in two months and as close to a home that I have is gone.

Computer Location
I know the location of my computer, the police know the location of my computer, but due to budget cuts, the police don't have the resource to go get the computer, better if I just don't think about it.  Sort of like holding your breath, just wait for it to be over.

"Patricia's parent's asked if I every had anything stolen before?"  Not a question I wanted to think about:
  • 10+ burglaries as a kid
  • Callaway Volkswagen Scirocco stolen NYC
  • Mugged NYC
  • Dad's car stolen CT
  • 2+ Buick Break ins
Added bonus
  • Home hit by lighting as a kid
  • Upstairs neighbor hitting car in Saratoga (hit and run)
Weird, I travelled for 6+ months, no issues.  USA lots of issues.

"A home is a place of residence or refuge.  When it refers to a building, it is usually a place in which an individual or a family can rest and store personal property. Most modern-day households contain sanitary facilities and a means of preparing food.  Sometimes, as an alternative to the definition of "home" as a physical locale ("Home is where you hang your hat"), home may be perceived to have no physical location—instead, home may relate instead to a mental or emotional state of refuge or comfort.  Since it can be said that humans are generally creatures of habit, the state of a person's home has been known to physiologically influence their behavior, emotions, and overall mental health. The loss of a home (due to whatever reason, be it through accident or natural disaster, repossession, or in the case of children simply the decision to move on the part of the parents) can be a valid cause of grief."

My computer bag was "my place of refuge".

When I lost my job in Indianapolis, thought might as well make the best of it, go travel around the world.  Now I don't know what to do.  I know I will be homeless by August, I have sleep apnea and can't get health insurance ( I have been declined by more than six companies).  Hoping I can get a Health Insurance Hipaa policy.  

It seems there is a pattern, get a staff job, work 1-2 years, work as a consultant, 18 months latter COBRA runs out, have to go back and get a staff job to get health insurance.

Best, I can figure; get used to the homeless lifestyle, outside the USA seems safer, people seem kinder outside the USA.  I spent by birthday by myself, that makes two years in a row.  I have work in California through at least March 2012, able to put money in the bank.  Just keep doing what I am doing, until something else pops up. 

My places of refuge:

  • Computer bag
  • Mom's (being sold)
  • Retirement funds
  • Doctor
  • Accountant
  • Sister
  • Friends
  • Jonsey and X-Ray
"Why do I keep hitting myself with a hammer? Because it feels so good when I stop"

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Life is a cheap hotel

Driving to the library today, listening to religious radio.  The preacher is saying, "if you were transferred to NYC for two months and were staying in a hotel for the two months, would you buy new drapes for the hotel room?  No, because Heaven is your home, your life here on earth is just your hotel room during your short stay".  I loved it!  He is right, not about heaven, but life on earth is just a short hotel stay.

I love cheap hotel rooms.  Going to go skiing this weekend, have a favorite cheap hotel, $29 per night.  I paid $350 a month for a hotel room in Ubud, Bali, $550 a month for a hotel room in Lake Tahoe, CA.  What could be better?, meet nice people, stay in incredible places, have a nice time and move on, isn't that life?

Recalibrate, I love that word, it is all about the calibrations, where do you "set your zero" and how far off from zero is a tolerable variance.   This coming from a guy who's thesis was on "error term" in design and built chairs with dreadlocks, a chair to reach Jah.

That is life, at what point are you out of your tolerances or how cheap a hotel room can you handle?

"Keeing your zero"

Cheap Hobby

Almost everyday I go to the library to work and I listen to Pandora through a set of headphones.  I often spend 10AM-6PM in the library taking a short break for lunch.  Spending so much time sitting in a chair in front of computer, music becomes super important.  So, I buy different headphones, try them out for a few days and return them.  Costs me about $10 a week in return shipping.  Have tried more than fifteen (15) headphones so far.  No, I am not crazy, really!

Link to my headphone experiences:

My Favorite Artists:
B.B. King

Beastie Boys

Billy Bragg

Bob Dylan

Bob Marley

Bruce Springsteen

Cannonball Adderley

Cat Power

Charlie Daniels

Chris Isaak

Crowded House

David Bowie

Diana Krall

Dire Straits

Duke Ellington

Elvis Costello

Frank Sinatra

Frank Zappa

Gil Scott-Heron


John Hiatt

Joy Division

Kid Rock

King Crimson

Los Lobos

Lou Reed



Neil Diamond

New Order

New York Dolls

Nina Simone




Radiohead (Classical Arrangements)

Rage Against The Machine

Sammy Davis Jr.

Stevie Ray Vaughan

The Fugees

The Grateful Dead

The Ink Spots

The Kinks

The Notorious B.I.G.

The Posies

The Ramones

The Rocky Horror Picture Show

The Stooges

The White Stripes

Van Morrison

Vijay Iyer

Violent Femmes

Wall Of Voodoo

Willie Nelson

Friday, March 25, 2011

The World is Flat

Amazing, sitting in a hotel room in Puerto Vallarta, working on a project for Indonesia, working with a project team in San Francisco. The world really is flat!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Going Great !

Hard to believe this month,  I am back from my Asia trip a year.  Things are going great!  

Weekends teach skiing at Heavenly, maybe the toughest job I have ever had, but love it.  Last week, my boss said to me "Mark, we have a three year old with only one leg, who is crying, would you like to teach her?", I looked at him and said "yes", without thinking.  He smiled and said "just kidding".  I have said "yes" to every student they give me, the two Korean boys who didn't speak English, the two ADD four years olds, the diabetic five year old, the girl who refused to go outside, I just say "yes".  Seeing kids who have never skiied before, on the chairlift, is my greatest joy. Funny, sometimes I enjoy the teaching more than the skiing.  Good thing, cause I have missed lots of powder days.

When not teaching skiing, my phone keeps ringing, very strange.  It is the busiest, I have been in a long time.  Have already completed one project for Niagara Falls.  Working on the design of a new science center in Jakarta, Indonesia and working on project management of the traveling Alcatraz exhibition.   Still have a couple of more projects in the wings.   I go to meetings, then find the closest library and work, love it, a nomadic museum planner.

Living in San Francisco with my girlfriend, all is going great!

My rules for 2011
  1. Live Cheap
  2. Say "Yes"
  3. Let people "want you"
  4. Advertise your passion
  5. Live life
"Kina Hora"
"The phrase pronounced either “Bli Ayin Hara” in Hebrew, or “Kein Ayin Hora” in Yiddish. Both expressions translate as, “without the evil eye” or “there should be no evil eye.” When it’s said quickly is can sometimes sound like “Kina Hora.”

The concept of the “evil eye” is primarily related to the destructive power of envy. When our patriarch Jacob blessed his grandchildren Ephraim and Menashe, part of his blessing was that “they should multiply like fish within the land” (Genesis 48:16). The Sages tell us that Jacob wanted them to emulate fish when it came to multiplying because fish do so under the water. It is impossible to view the fruitfulness of fish precisely because it occurs in a place that is shielded from view, and this hiddenness acts as a type of protection against the evil eye, in accordance with the Talmudic idea that “blessing only rests upon something that is concealed from the eye”.

For this reason, when people relate their or others’ gains, assets or blessings, they say “kein ayin hora”—if they are bold (or, some might say, foolish) enough to speak of these things at all. Wealth, physical and spiritual, is not distributed evenly in the world. G-d gives to one person something that He does not give to another. This can naturally cause envy, which essentially is an emotion that corresponds to a sense of injustice. The Torah tells us that the resulting spiritual energy can actually trigger a process of judgment against the one who is envied and lead to very destructive consequences for them.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Streaching Gears

Wow 4:30AM, this switching gears is tough, teach four years to ski 8AM to 4PM, take a nap, then work on museum design work until 10PM, back up at 4:30AM working on Niagara Falls presentation.  It feels as if everybody wants a piece of me, and there is not enough to go around.  Getting stretched a little too thin.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

"Pick your brain"

In 1992 I was almost fired for taking pictures of tables I designed for an exhibition.   I was working at Discovery Science Center in New Jersey, I designed tables, lamps, and stanchions for an exhibition.  When my supervisor found out that I had taken photos for my portfolio, the film was confiscated and I was written up and threatened with termination.   At the time I was being paid $21,000 per year.  The project was my first museum design project and I thought the photos would make a great portfolio piece.  The Science Center's position was the intellectual property was theirs and I was not allowed to photograph the project without their consent (which they were not willing to give).  

This has become a reoccurring theme.  I was scheduled to teach an online class starting January 10th, last night I found out the class that I developed was to become copyright by the online school.  I came up with the idea of the class, developed the curriculum, how could the school expect to own the rights to the information?  I could understand if I was being paid a reasonable sum, but, at $150 per student this was not the case.  Over and over I seem to fall into this dilemma, people want my experience and knowledge for little or nothing and then want to own the intellectual property.  I am realizing this is a major issue of my professional career. 

"Mark I would like to pick your brain..."

Thursday, December 16, 2010



I have always admired Lou Reed, he has always been his own person, except he did this Honda Scooter ad, very strange.   It made me wonder about him, "did he really have integrity?".  My dad could be such a pain in the ass, he would do strange things, but to know him, you knew that his reasons where to meet his own standards of integrity.

"Integrity is a concept of consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations and outcomes. In ethics, integrity is regarded as the quality of having an intuitive sense of honesty and truthfulness in regard to the motivations for one's actions.[citation needed] Integrity can be regarded as the opposite of hypocrisy, in that it regards internal consistency as a virtue, and suggests that parties holding apparently conflicting values should account for the discrepancy or alter their beliefs.

The word "integrity" stems from the Latin adjective integer (whole, complete). In this context, integrity is the inner sense of "wholeness" deriving from qualities such as honesty and consistency of character. As such, one may judge that others "have integrity" to the extent that one judges whether they behave according to the values, beliefs and principles they claim to hold." -From Wikipedia

"This Note's For You" by Neil Young

Don't want no cash
Don't need no money
Ain't got no stash
This note's for you.

Ain't singin' for Pepsi
Ain't singin' for Coke
I don't sing for nobody
Makes me look like a joke
This note's for you.

Ain't singin' for Miller
Don't sing for Bud
I won't sing for politicians
Ain't singin' for Spuds
This note's for you.

Don't need no cash
Don't want no money
Ain't got no stash
This note's for you.

I've got the real thing
I got the real thing, baby
I got the real thing
Yeah, alright. 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Terra firma

Hard to believe it was only September 15, 2008 that I headed off to Indianapolis, wow it seems like much longer ago!   It felt great to see the front wheels of my car touch land in the Bay Area.  Good riddance Midwest. 

Make it the Left Coast or the Right Coast for me.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Life's Soundtrack

One of my favorite memories of the last year is riding in the back of the bus heading north in India, listening to WFMU.  It was this crazy "movie" going on outside the bus window as I am listening to my favorite music.  So I collect information about stereos, a lot of information, I could tell you more about headphones then you would ever want to hear.  An ipod / iphone has gotten more through alot!

My equipment:
  • A potable DAC Headphone amplifier
  • IEM (In Ear Monitors)
  • Closed Back Headphones
  • A case for the headphones and DAC
  • An iphone 3G