Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Design and Create

I consider myself a relatively creative person.  I enjoy writing, and when I get the chance, I love to design and conceptualize different articles of clothing and sneakers.  That being said, when I can step out of the mass-production box and create my own colorway of a sneaker (usually via Nike ID), I do so with aplomb.

I've created hundreds of different designs with 10s of different styles of shoes, but I rarely ever go through and purchase my creations.  Often I find it more satisfying (read: easier on my pockets) to simply create the shoe and acknowledge its fresh than to actually purchase the sneaker.  When I do make the plunge, I painstakingly make sure every detail is exactly how I wanted it.

My process is to pick an initial color scheme, tweak it till its balanced in all the right ways and when it finally speaks to me as a finished product... STOP.  Nothing is worse than a piece of sneaker art that's been ruined by one too many "improvements".

That being said, this entire piece was an excuse for me to show off my latest design.  I give you, my Nike Air Max 95 ID:

Monday, March 28, 2011

Monster We (Haven't) Met

I met a ghost, but he didn’t want my head,
He only wanted to know the way to Denver.
I met a devil, but he didn’t want my soul,
He only wanted to borrow my bike awhile.
I met a vampire, but he didn’t want my blood,
He only wanted two nickels for a dime.
I keep meeting all the right people -
At all the wrong times.

- Shel Silverstein
I had a great conversation with two early education teachers who operate in polar opposite situations: One teaches at-risk children whose backgrounds and prior experiences suggest they're on the fast-track to future incarceration, while the other teaches relatively well-adjusted kids from largely stable backgrounds whose futures look decidedly brighter.
Both teachers are passionate about their jobs with multiple struggles to deal with, but their day-to-day experiences are at the opposite ends of the spectrum.  While one teacher may have a child cockily report to her mother that "my teacher loves me," the other might have to deal with the pain of having to report a parent for a blatant disregard of crucial oral hygiene.  Both love their children equally and are dedicated to their jobs, but the nature of the jobs each has chosen makes their day-to-day a completely different ordeal.
The conversation I had with them brought to mind what type of scenarios they could be dealing with at a different point in time?  If the kids they both taught were even just 3 years older, would their experiences be the same?  A child from a "stable" background at 5 may have gone through a traumatic ordeal before age 8 and be a potential future danger to society.  An at-risk youth at age 6 could have a life-changing teacher at that age and be a star pupil by age 9.
Shel Silverstein's poem contains no obvious verbal complexity, but the depth of it is unfathomable.  The length at which our experiences and the times at which we go through these incidents affects us is an amazing spectrum of possibilities.  The breadth of the human experience is staggering, a fact that is simply and succinctly addressed in "Monsters I've Met".
Yesterday's devil may be tomorrow's polite bicyclist.  

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Here, There, Everywhere.

In my line of work (international super-spy, billionaire playboy, etc.), I find myself on the road fairly often. As such, I've gotten used to the rigors of travel, along with the small annoyances that come with it.  Apart from that, I've also learned to enjoy the little things that come along with travel to (sometimes) new and unfamiliar places.  

As my main region of work is in the Northeast classified, I often find myself running into cultures diometrically opposed to those I encounter in my day to day.  Growing up in the South, I've become accustomed to warm temperatures, laid-back living and the type of people this lifestyle generally shapes.  With this background, even though I've been traveling for a few years now, I still find myself amused by our "big city" neighbors to the North from time to time.  Subtle nuances such as acknowledging people as they walk by, avoiding direct conflict and generally being of a more open demeanor are personality traits not necessarily cultivated as the compass arrow points up.  

While these differences make for an interesting experience when I travel, it's a pleasure to encounter those who embody their regional stereotypes completely, as well as those who defy (admittedly ignorant) expectations.  They ensure that my life on the road stays interesting and I learn more about our little unfathomable world every day.

This past week, I had the pleasure of visiting frozen Boston for 6 days.  During that time, in addition to cursing the unescapable snow and blistering cold, I was blessed to be able to visit the oldest restaurant in the US.  There, in addition to amazing food and a great atmosphere, I was served by possibly the sweetest woman I've ever come across.  Not only did she give my colleague and I a complete history of the restaurant, she made us feel as if we were being served by a beloved family member at a homecoming dinner.  She even convinced me to eat (and enjoy) their famous clam chowder, a food I absolutely detest.  She then topped it all off by insisting that I use a bib which she further insisted on tying on me herself.  

Little experiences like these are what help get me through my frequent travel, especially when it gets difficult to stay motivated.  The fact that at any moment I can make a connection with another human with a unique viewpoint or experience to pass on keeps me optimistic to push on.