conversation

Ideas

So, it’s been an embarrassingly long time since I’ve posted a blog.  260 days.  Therefore, I’ve come to the decision that I’ll pick up right where I left off.

Attending a conference.

Earlier this week, I made my second trip to Aspen, Colorado this month to attend the Aspen Ideas Festival, put on by the Aspen Institute.  Just twenty days earlier, I was running my own conference on the campus of the Aspen, Meadows.  Aspen is an absolutely wonderful place. It’s easy to navigate, has stellar breakfast and deli options and is surrounded by stunning countryside (aka the Rocky Mountains). It is also remarkably clean. Clean smelling, clean looking.  Leaving a smelly, polluted New York for a few days in the crisp mountain air seems like just the place for enlightenment. Read more…

Arts and Craft Beer

hermetic\her-MET-ik\
adjective 1: relating to or characterized by occultism or abstruseness : recondite
2a: airtight b: impervious to external influence c: recluse, solitary

This weekend, I was home in Delaware – the original cause for the visit being a bridal shower – but the weekend slowly enveloped into several visit with friends, good home-cooked dinners, and to my gleeful surprise, a visit to a local craft brewery in Greenville, Delaware. The spot was called Twin Lakes Brewery; the estate itself is little more than an old colonial house, a barn, and well, twin lakes. But right off the bat you could tell that this was a place full of life and growth – most notably so by the construction workers who were hammering and drilling on a structure adjacent to the bar, which we learned later would house a canning assembly line and outside fermentation tanks.

The first stop was the “tasting” room in the top level of the bar – comprised of an arrangement of worn-in, classic couches, fringy quilts, patterned pillows, a fireplace, and a bar – with two taps. That bar was serving two beers, the first being their signature beer – Greenville Pale Ale – which had a crisp, clean taste that was both refreshing and original. It paid the bills, our first guide explained. The second, a Stout, was deep and rich in color but surprising light on the palette, especially mine which was unaccustomed to dark beers.

Just as we were all beginning to question when the tour might start, it did. After searching for a spot to escape the noise of the construction, the CEO of Twin Lakes, Sam Hobbs, settled on narrow greenway between the pasture which housed the estate horse, Delicious, and the barn. Sam, who sported a Zermatt sweatshirt and sneakers, had quite a few things to say about filtered water vs. unfiltered water, and he shared with us bits of information about the landscape and the history of the Brandywine area. For example, the twin lakes on property were the site of Joe Biden’s first date. He explained the brands of beer in the Twin Lakes arsenal, and the fact that all of these beers are made to be drinkable. He himself drinks his first beer in 6 seconds, and then slows down a bit on his second, third, fourth…

We ventured inside the barn to witness the manufacturing process and observe silent ongoings in the hermetically sound tanks and canisters. Yeast CO2 bubbled cheerfully from a pipe into a bucket of water. Happy Yeast it was. I was completely charmed by the human quality of this place. It was quirky; it ran with a improvisational feel. We chomped on barley and rubbed hops into our hands to smell the aromas, all the while sipping stout from a growler the brewer carried along with us. Someone took my cup, but I didn’t care. By the end, albeit a stranger or a friend, we were all beer drinkers, and we’d get our fill of original, drinkable beer.

We settled back into the tasting room for a few more samples, and lingered until well after last call. We settled our checks and took along with us a few pint glasses and t-shirts, signs of a well-to-do experience. Fresh. Local. Delicious.

The Morning Show

stolid \STAH-lid\ adjective
Meaning: having or expressing little or no sensibility : unemotional

I wake up, most weekday mornings to Elvis Duran & The Z100 Morning Show. I don’t appreciate waking up to an alarm. The word speaks to itself – it’s abrupt, obnoxious, and well, alarming! Why wake up scared/spooked/angry when you could wake up to Elvis Duran and his crew’s sometimes stolid banter regarding various topics including “I Quit” stories, Justin Bieber, crotch adjustments, etc? Starting the day with a laugh helps… but today’s topic, not only made me chuckle…it made me think.

Photoshop.

They started by discussing people who have “photoshopped” ex’s, former friends, estranged family members out of pictures and then took calls from listeners about their own experiences with the Adobe design program (which I have yet to master by the way). Someone even started a (keyword lucrative) business of cutting out the excess baggage. Entertained, I kept listening but stopped a moment when Elvis said pictures used to be the best way to capture history as is, without any changes or adjustments… or something along those lines. Profoundly pensive Elvis – spot on.

True, if photoshop was mainstream during many a person’s middle and high school years a lot of angst and anger could have been avoided… but in all seriousness, I do think there is something to be said for the simplicity of the original cameras that allowed such history to be frankly captured. Can you imagine photoshopping bodies in and out of war time photographs or wrinkles out of legendary presidential portraits?

However, I believe that the photoshop legacy is cyclical. Couldn’t it be argued that the portrait painter, and painters in general, in the earliest of centuries weren’t themselves photoshop gurus of their era? What’s to say that aristocrats didn’t ask for a tuck here or there or a brightening of their overall skin tone? Painting itself is an interpretation; the computer is a modern enabler of artistic liberty bestowed upon the masses.

Perhaps, as seen during the dawn of the first camera, our society might return to the natural order of photography – capturing things as is without succumbing to the temptation of tweaks. Would we be surprised by what we see?

Dance-Off

Where was I?

From the headphones came a monstrous sound, the quality of a pawn-shop boom box… and his legs were moving. Dancing, shaking, trembling to the beat, which slipped out into the thick air of the car through the crevices between ear and accessory.

The train lurched forward and made its stops, but the man didn’t mind – nor did his music. The train passengers shuffled around his swiveling body, whose gyrations met the bass line with syncopated jerks.

Unfortunately my trips on the subway weren’t as entertaining today. This morning an emergency brake incident caused a delay in trains, mine ended up at all of the local stations and at each there was no room for the dancing man and in fact, there was very little for me.

Tiny Dancer

Today I was fortunate enough to find something fabulous just only five minutes after stepping out of my apartment building. Settled in on the subway, resting lightly against the side railing of one of the benches, I began my usual routine of looking around.

This environment was different. There was so much noise! It came from an enourmous pair of headphones, titled backwards on the back of a head upon which sat a black suede hat with a feather on the side; the tall body of which was outfitted in a green and black checkered suit. A black leather briefcase slouched at his feet. One arm held a lenthgy jacket of a similiar fabric. The other stretched outward to the subway car’s wall; the hand spread naturally on it’s surface. Five feet back was where I stood; from there his nailbeds looked green.

From the headphone came a monstrous sound, the quality of a pawn-shop boom box…

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