Thursday, October 20, 2011

Web 2.0 Summit

Vic Gundotra, Sergey Brin and John Battelle
Live Tweeted and reported from the 2011 Web 2.0 Summit here in San Francisco this week. So, much material to absorb and write up. Don't even know where to begin from Mary Meeker's mind bending keynote to MC Hammer talking about his new search engine. Not to mention Sergey Brin showing up to talk about all manor of interesting things.

I'll have a number of stories to pitch and there have already been some interesting conversations brewing with interested folks around the globe.

Today has also presented a great follow up with the live feed from PopTech 2011 in Maine where the likes of Nils Gilman, among many others, delivered up even more interesting stuff to flood the minds of those in the loop. Not to mention the incredible talk delivered by Iceland's Olafur Grimsson, possibly one of the most with it political figures ever.

So, it's been a solid three days of happy information overload on top of accepting an artist in residence spot here in San Francisco and the rapidly evolving miniatures projects following on the heals of the Microworlds release.

Busy busy...

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Microworlds at SFMOMA!

Dropped by SFMOMA today, actually was in the neighborhood, and got to see Microworlds happily on display in the gift shop. I know it's not like my work is in the gallery space but it was a thrill to experience. They were even nice enough to let me take a couple of quick photos of the book on display. 

Humbled, flattered and beside myself just not know what to think about it but knowing that it feels great to have that kind of presence and recognition. I was also able to get the proper contacts to work out some sort of book signing. If it comes together I'll be posting about that as well. 

I'm now feeling guilty about not being more on the ball in giving the photography it's own blog already. Though there is a Facebook page in place now with a new website on it's way in the coming months as well as the announcement of new projects and even a few teaser images for one that I'm sure will be an immense amount of fun and a huge personal challenge for me. Fun, challenging, what's not to like? 

So, stay tuned for updates on a signing at the MOMA or another venue in the near future! 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Curiouser and Curiouser

For anyone who has been following Curiouser and Curiouser, it's evident that it's a big project for me, though I haven't been too active sharing about it through this blog. With the recent launch of Microworlds from Laurence King, a migration of from Yahoo to Go-Daddy and both plans for five new series and a mini-documentary as well as some video content from my end as well, there's just a lot to share.

The time has come for me to either push things ahead with the projects or seriously scale them back, and I'm neither inclined to scale them back or sure my psyche would let me even if I wanted to.

That said, I'm approaching a phase, yes, my photography work is phasing, where production costs and demands have grown to a point where I need things like sponsors, assistants, grants and studio space. So, huzzah on one hand and oh no the other. I don't think I understood the functional differences between hobby art, art as a vocation and simply art that gets too "big" to function without a solid resource base.

Today is a good example, though I'm compelled to soldier on and take a risk or two. I "saw a shot" yesterday when my physical and metaphorical hands were full. The light was good, the space was excellent and things just looked "right". It really would have been an awesome shot if I could have literally dropped everything and ignored the world while I disappeared into my work for an hour or two, something I absolutely love, I might add. Today is a bit different, though in some ways the mental image of the space is building in my head and I can see the same shot in a new expression that will be even better and likely haunt me until I just go exercise the demon and make it real. The "problem" is that it's raining. Problem simply because my camera isn't weather proof, I need extra hands to hold an umbrella or two and I don't want to drag a c-stand to the location in the rain. Other than that, it's perfect.

So, I'll likely keep on posting here occasionally about the photos but also need to buck up and act like a "real" artist. Look for a new website and a bit more sharing from me in the coming months.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Indoor Vs Outdoor climbing

I recently, and finally, got around to visiting San Francisco's Planet Granite and while I'm primarily an outdoor climber, I have to say it was pretty nice. I have admittedly limited experience with indoor climbing facilities but this one seemed like a good one. It was clean and well maintained, with friendly staff and a nice crowd of climbers in a range of skill levels, something the gym seemed set up to accommodate.

I'm really a fan of being outdoors as much as possible and I like the solitude that most of my favorite climbing spots offer but it was a nice change to have some company as well as a cushy landing area so I could be a little more daring and care free about just climbing. I think if I climbed inside too often I'd train myself to take bad risks outside, not something I'm interested in doing. Though, while I'm happy taking a slow and calculated approach to my ascent there was definitely real value in being able to work on technique and push some boundaries in relative safety.

The drawbacks were that it was much harder to just "zen out" and lose myself in the rock, a habit that I'm certain contributes to my lack of getting "stuck" or suffering from writer's block. I'm also pretty fond of topping out, making a cup of coffee or something and getting some work done in the most literal sense of working "remotely". As long as I have cell signal, I can write, edit and fire off emails or make calls. Not something I see myself doing at a climbing gym. I also wonder if climbing in a gym would ever fully feed my need to momentarily "get away from it all" but today, I have to admit as I look out at a rain soaked San Francisco, the climbing gym sounds pretty good.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Oni Kai

Couldn't be more pleased with the kids in my, now expanding, Aikido class for Rec and Parks. My students are learning far more quickly and in different ways than expected. Having all the little ones in a croup by themselves is presenting a couple of unexpected challenges while offering up some great opportunities for learning on both sides of the equation.

I'm definitely developing new approaches to teaching Aikido and doing a lot of embedding core concepts and base skills in ways that more often resemble play before then gently showing a cross application of what my tiny  Aikidoka have learned. Keeping the focus well off of conflict related themes for the most part seems to be helping them relax and learn through play rather than simple repetition and discipline and helps them avoid a conflict based mindset while still gaining the most valuable of physical Aikido skills, getting out of the way and falling safely.

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Sunday, October 2, 2011

My bike!!

Coolio Japanese Jeep branded MTN bike. 
Last week my much loved and often abused "vintage" Stumpjumper M2 was stolen. Im still a little miffed about that but it's long gone and there's no use crying about it now, not exactly productive or proactive. Sadly, it got snatched after I put brand new Conti slicks on it but I did take my saddle and seat post with me, imagine my surprise.

So, now I'm in the market for a cross bike or a decent road bike and currently riding a cushy, if heavy, full suspension Japanese mountain bike given to me until I find a replacement.

It's a Jeep branded bicycle, something not so unusual in Japan where brands like Jeep and Coleman have a much wider range of logo laden outdoor gear, both having mildly elevated status due to the exotic import factor. Coleman used to make some really nice things for the US market as well, even if it was long ago eclipsed by the likes of North Face, Patagonia, REI and other more upscale marks.

So far I've swapped the stock post and saddle for my Specialized gear and shaved about a 32nd out of the valve stem opennings so the rims will take standard size tubes. The tubes that were on it were long ago dried out and flat with no suitable replacement in the US. Ill do what I can to further upgrade it before I give it back to my friend but for now it's presenting a good learning experience for my rigid frame trained reflexes, not pretty in a couple of less than sharp turns yesterday. Nothing like very publicly bailing into a mailbox to put your ego in check.

...and it does look kinda cool.