The waves were perfect on September 6th, 2011, courtesy of Hurricane Katia. Clean, coming in well spaced-out sets, barreling with lots of power. I was out with good friend, David Brown, who pulled out a pocket camera to capture this moment. The rainbow stayed there all evening, along with an early-rising moon, shrimp boats with lights-a-twinkling, and just a few other lucky surfers out.
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Wow! Check out this photo that local Chase Nawrocki of St. Augustine, FL, captured earlier this week while out surfing with his deck-mounted GoPro camera. That guy in the background is just a little too close (and too big) for comfort! Out in the water, there are often times when we surfers wonder what might be over our shoulders. Now, we know! Thanks to Chase and the Surf Station for sharing this.
OK, at 5,234,888 views you’ve probably seen this one. Poor quality, but spectacular content. Classic. I just love it. I was never much of skateboarder. A lot of athletes can do both. However, ideally, you learn to skate before you learn to surf. I believe it easier to translate skating skills to surfing, than the other way ’round. learned to surf before I learned to skate and could never pull that surfing style (with big carving turns) out of my system, which you’ve got to be able to do for skateboarding, at least on ramps. I did get into street skating for a time, but never anything like you see here. Another thing I like about this video is the Ten Years After tune. Great music choice. Nice editing. Enjoy!
A mesmerizing shot of the beautiful, virgin white snow that arrived in Hartsville, South Carolina on Monday, January 10th. The fresh and somewhat rare 6″ of powdery goodness was part of large storm system blanketing parts of the northeast and south.
My mother-in-law, Tracy Chapman sent this while visiting Nana up on the farm.
Good work, Tracy!
Note: Florida was the only state in the nation that did not receive snow from this storm. All 49 other states got in on the action, including Hawaii that had snow fall on Mauna Kea on the Big Island.
You might be tempted to call Meyer’s walking away with a major overhaul in front of him cowardly or irresponsible, or question his heart and character. However, I would suggest that his act was courageous and profound, wholly accountable and without remonstrance.
You see at age 46, with three national championships under his belt, one year removed from serious health issues and with a wife and three children who saw far too little of him, Meyer finally realized that the sacrifices he was having to make to enjoy this level of success were far more significant than another crystal trophy, and their consequences more imperishable.
No he can’t.
And if he didn’t get to see much of them the last four years, what makes you think the six before that were any different? Or the ten before that?
So Urban quit his job as coach for the Florida Gators for the sake of his family to become a better husband and father.
I believe this reveals far more about heart and character than this year’s recruiting haul, any improvement he might have been able to engineer next season or any future championships he might have been able to win.
And if you focused on it at the expense of everything, and everyone else in you life –your wife, your children, your friends, your health– then you could almost guarantee realizing your goals. That’s the way it happens, more often than not.
The question then becomes, “What really constitutes ‘success’ in life?”
To me, that answer is achieving a healthy balance of overall physical and emotional wellness; of being loving, kind and compassionate; responsible to those who depend upon you; and respectful to everyone else.
How often do you see marriages fail, families fractured or children cheated out of having their biggest fans at hand when they take the field, stage or just sitting down for dinner?
I should probably be careful of being too “preachy” because I know I’ve missed my fair share of dinners over many years in business and certainly can’t claim accomplishments on the scale of an Urban Meyer. That’s the battle that all of us whose role it is to provide for their families, face over the course of our careers. And it is always a tricky balancing act.
In a world where success is too often, too narrowly defined as “productivity” in the workplace, it’s easy to overlook the things that provide the most important measures of human performance. The kind of things that don’t fit neatly inside a trophy case.
The 2010 Winter Olympics are behind us and I for one am sad to see them go. There were so many compelling moments that defined the Vancouver Games for me, from snowboarder Shaun White’s incredible Double McTwist 1260 in the half-pipe (a trick only he can perform); to Apolo Ohno passing the Chinese team in the anchor lap of the 5000 meter short track relay to become the most decorated American in Winter Olympic history; to the final frantic seconds of regulation and overtime in the US–Canada gold medal hockey game. But nothing brought me to edge of my seat like Lindsey Vonn and Bode Miller’s exhilarating performances in the men’s and women’s downhill.
What I love so much about all of our Olympic Athletes and find so well-exemplified in these two in this event, is their absolute understanding and embracement of a simple, but profound principle, one I believe creatives should never forget: That distinguishing achievement often requires more than talent and training; more than skill and desire; more than preparation or luck. It most often requires exceptional courage and a willingness to take extraordinary risks. And that’s not easy or natural for anyone.
Consider that when Vonn raced, in addition to a badly bruised leg, she also faced the pressures of a spectacular run by teammate Julia Mancuso, just moments earlier. Vonn was rattled. But rather than downplay the moment, Lindsey’s husband and coach, Thomas, who had just finished watching Mancuso’s blazing finish from his position at the bottom of the hill, radioed up to his wife, who was nervously fidgeting at the starting gate, specifically to confirm for her that Mancuso had just completed a “special run”; and to relate, “You’re going to have to be perfect to win.”
Vonn would later state that this simple, strategically calculated message from her husband allowed her to “focus on that challenge” and “let go of her fears”. She subsequently took the most aggressive lines all the way down the mountain, coming perilously close to wiping out at nearly every turn. The result: she beat Mancuso’s “sepcial run” by over a full half-second.
Likewise, ignoring treacherous course conditions resulting from warm weather and light snow, Bode Miller attacked the downhill course with reckless abandon to become the first American men’s skier to stand on the podium for that event since Tommy Moe, sixteen years ago. His bronze medal time was 1:54.40, only nine one-hundredths of a second behind gold medalist, Didier Defago, the smallest differential ever between gold and bronze in Olympic history. Said Miller of his and the American team’s performance: “We went after it. We weren’t scared. We were always aggressive.”
Of course, while a willingness to lay it all on the line can pay huge dividends as it did in both of these instances, it never guarantees success, and often sets the stage for spectacular failure. Later, attempting to go 5 for 5 in Olympic events in the slalom –the one event for which he had not won an Olympic medal– on a challenging course of sticky, wet snow that was proving difficult for many of the racers, Miller did not change his approach. The consequence: he ran into trouble almost right out of the gate. Said Miller, “It’s unfortunate to go out so early, but you have to take risks… and I did.”
I believe creatives from designers, to copywriters, to marketing strategists should take the same approach as Miller, Vonn and others and not allow themselves to be constrained by fear. I appreciate creatives who are willing to explore their most conceptual ideas, even if it results in more misses than hits. I know that doing so will give them their best chance to come up with something great, which is the only thing I ever want to present to a client.Great creative work must always take a point of view. It has to have “something to say” to be memorable. Remember that people respond to “different” and “unpredictable”. In this sense, “safe” is risky. The real problems begin when fear- the fear of mistakes, the fear of looking foolish, the fear that someone won’t “get” your idea, prevents you from saying anything at all.
I once heard Jeff Kling, ECD of Euro RSCG put it this way: “Screw-ups are tools of evolution. They help us survive.” There’s a lot of wisdom in that statement. Remember also that in the business of marketing and advertising, we’re not looking to connect with the 80% of people who may not “get”, like, or even care about our creative, but rather the 20% who do and are inspired to act upon it.
So the next time you’re faced with a daunting creative challenge (or business challenge, or life challenge), don’t allow yourself to become compromised by fear. Rather, recognize that most of life’s rewards do not come without risk; that we all fall down sometimes; and that even those instances leave us better prepared to make some truly extraordinary runs in the future.
If nothing else, we’ll put people on the edge of their seats. At least for marketers, that’s our job.
I’m guessing that somewhere out there, perhaps on Facebook or maybe inside the Apple Apps store, there has to be a music application that allows you to list all of the concerts you’ve ever attended.
Maybe it does something fancy like allowing you to pull corresponding album covers or band logos into your list, along with the date of the events; concert venues; friends you went with; and the opportunity to upload photos or videos from the shows, and perhaps some notes.
If such an app doesn’t exist, then someone should promptly develop it (I’ll take a 15% cut on revenue for the concept, and the rest is yours). Or, perhaps if I have time one day, I’ll investigate it further and if I can’t find anything similar, we’ll develop it ourselves at Renaissance Creative.
Regardless of whether such an app currently exists, I’ve always wanted to create one of these lists for myself.
I’m a huge music fan and I’ve seen a pretty fair number of concerts in my time ranging in genre from Rock, to Rap, to Country, to Punk, To Pop, to Reggae, to Christian and so on. In addition, I’ve been fortunate in my time, for my age, to see some truly iconic acts, such as Elvis Presley and The Clash, to name two.
So, I’m going to go low-tech here and just make a list.
There’s no way I could ever recall exact dates, nor the names of the specific venues (though I could probably recollect all the cities), so I won’t even try. I will try to list them chronologically, generally– as best my memory serves. I’ll also include notes on interesting facts about shows that merited it. I have a feeling I’ll be updating this post from time to time, as I recall additional shows. I’ve already been writing it for two days.
Elvis Presley – 1977, just a few months before he died. My first concert (with my parents and grandmother), at age 13. I was so embarrassed to be there… until he sang. He had an incredibly strong voice and I was pretty blown away. I went on to become a big fan. Still am.
Kenny Rogers – 2x with parents
John Denver – 2x with parents. Still a big fan.
Styx – My first concert with friends, if I recall correctly
The Cars – 2x
Van Halen – David Lee Roth got so drunk drinking Jack Daniels from a bottle that he forgot the words to the songs and had to stop (singing, not drinking).
U2 – Touring behind their second album, War.
The Clash – So thankful I got to see this band at an outdoor venue in Daytona Beach before they broke up. They were incredible!
SAGA (not to be confused with GAGA)
The Police – 2x
David Bowie – So awesome. Another cherished claim.
Hoodoo Gurus – I did not miss the rare opportunity to see this iconic Australian surf band right here in Jax.
Michael Jackson / The Jacksons – 1984. He / they played 3 consecutive shows in the old Gator Bowl (now Everbank Field), with 136,000 tickets sold at the peak of his career. I went for the sheer spectacle.
Tommy Tutone – The former bassist lives down the road in St. Augustine and work at The Surf Station. I saw them at Grad Night in Disney World.
Joe Jackson – Front row center in Miami. My friend Danny knew someone.
Flock of Seagulls
Oingo Boingo – 3x
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
The The – 2x One of my all-time favorite bands. I plan to write a separate post for this still undiscovered and underrated group (Actually solo performer, Matt Johnson).
New Order – Disappointing live.
UB40 – Also disappointing live.
INXS – Brilliant when Hutchence was alive. I would love to see where they would have gone with him.
Beastie Boys – 2x
Run DMC – Hung with Run at the bar after the show! (OK, sat next to him, anyway)
Thrill Kill Cult
Social Distortion – 2x, Loudest Concert I ever heard. My ears were just ringing. I know I lost hearing there, but they were fantastic.
Gene Loves Jezebel
Love and Rockets
REM – 3x
The Cure – 2x
Gin Blossoms – 2x
Jane’s Addicition – 2x
Red Hot Chilli Peppers
Nine Inch Nails – 3x. I met Trent Reznor personally, who actually dated and lived with my ex-girlfriend, Beth Narducci, for a couple of years in New Orleans. Nice guy. Humble and unassuming. I’ll write a separate post on that sometime.
Ministry – Saw them in an industrial warehouse, a perfect setting. Exhausted, I tried to climb out of the mosh pit, but was thrown back in by some punk grrrrls. Thought I was going to suffocate.
Toad the Wet Sprocket
Adam Ant – Another performer I’m so glad I got to see. The “Bad Boy” Brit rocked a little bar in Orlando. Two drummers. Played all his hits. It was great.
Sublime / Long Beach Dub All-stars – One of my all time favorites, but I missed the opportunity to see them with Bradley Nowell (Was invited and urged to go by a friend).
I hate to see such gifted souls lose themselves to drugs and other demons like that.
Chris Issak – Great performer. Talented musician and fuuny. Love all his stuff.
The Cult – House of Blues. Small venue, great concert.
Elvis Costello – He’s a hero of mine. Intelligent. Original. Diverse. Passionate. Saw him at the Hard Rock Café in Orlando.
Jimmy Buffet – 3x I love Buffet. His concerts are getting older and “grayer”, but he is pure “escapism”, which I respond well to.
Eagles – Great band. So many songs.
Beach Boys – Older, but what amazing voices and tunes.
Elton John – 2x
Toots and the Maytals
Lloyd Cole – Perhaps you’ve never heard of him. If not, you should learn more. I did a blog post on him, here. I can’t believe I was able to see him live in a small Jacksonville bar, just a few feet from him. An incredible show!
Wiggles – Umm… parents will know who they are.
Third Day – I went from Ministry to Third Day!
Big wave surfing at Shipstern’s Bluff. I’ve traveled to a lot of places for waves, but have never made it to Australia or Tasmania, an Australian island and state, where this wave is located. It’s hard to believe people paddle out here and live to tell about it. It does look fun though, in a very sadistic sort of way.