Thursday, May 29, 2008

Creativity and fear

It's a rain delay at the French Open. Nadal is up two sets. If you've never had a chance to watch him play on clay, it's the surface that brings out his most creative moves. He's known as the "King of Clay."

I've been thinking a lot about creativity lately. Came across this article from Scientific American called "How to Unleash Your Creativity." Fear is almost always at the root of the loss of creativity. The fear of looking foolish, of failure (or of success), the fear of committing oneself to a course of action. The fear of limits.

What makes someone like Nadal be able to succeed and fail in front of millions of people, week after week? I'm going to go back and see if the rain delay is over, and perhaps I'll come closer to finding out.

Updated: Nadal soundly beat Nicolas Devilder of France in three straight sets. Something the commentator said about Nadal made me think of this post. He talked about how Nadal is "relentless" during each point. I'm pretty sure that this unwillingness to relent is key in succeeding creatively as well. Another thing that stood out during the match, this time concerning Devilder, is the aspect of hope. After not winning a game in nearly three sets, Devilder finally won one right before the end of the match. He broke out with a huge smile, and his final game was recharged, if short.

Relentlessness and hope. Two partners in continued and fruitful creativity.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I Surf, Therefore I Am

I got Peter Kreeft's latest book in the mail yesterday, and, even though I'm only 10 pages into it, know it's going to be a classic. A short description:

This is the first book about surfing ever written by a philosopher. The author, a 70-year-old surfanatic, has been Professor of Philosophy at Boston College for over 40 years and has written 50 other books on philosophy, religion, and culture. But compared to this one, the others are nothing but straw.

It gives ten compelling existential reasons why everyone should surf: reasons from the great philosophers: Moses, Buddha, Confucius, Lao Tzu, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Jesus, Machiavelli, Freud, and George Morey. It explains how surfing is the easiest and most delightful way in the world to attain what you most deeply long for, for it can make you good, mystical, peaceful, wise, heavenly, happy, sexy, and even rich.

It also contains a manifesto defending bodyboarding as true surfing, not “sponging,” and a short handbook of seven practical lessons for beginners in this noble art. The book is suffused with the offbeat and unpredictable humor that characterizes both the sea herself and those who have fallen in love with her.

French Open 2008

For all you without cable or stuck at a desk all day (like me), The Tennis Channel is streaming the French Open for free (you just have to register your email). I'm pulling for Rafael Nadal over Roger Federer (although Novak Djokovic is looking good this year). And I'm predicting Jelena Jankovic against Maria Sharapova for the women's finals. Should be some epic matches.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Great laugh

Untitled from Narrow Ridge on Vimeo.


I got tagged by Livia the Great over in Switzerland (who I am deeply jealous of because she got to go here). Thought I'd better jump on it right away before my day consumes me with a stack of video tapes to shuffle through.

What was I doing 10 years ago?
Living at the foot of Pike's Peak in Colorado, married for four years to my soulmate Annie, eating all my sister's food, eating all my parent's food, making unbearably boring educational videos. (Wait, that's what I'm doing today.)

Five things on my "to-do" list today
1. Digitize a plethora of video tapes
2. Finish editing a video to be shown on Saturday.
3. Discover my life's purpose over lunch hour down at the bookstore.
4. Put gas in the car and check the oil.
5. Put away half of the books on my bedside table that threaten to bury me in the night.

Bad Habits
Procrastinate, overeat, forget to check the oil for weeks at a time, daydream during important meetings, leave my clothes on the floor until they stick there, pass the buck when scolded for not remembering important information during meeting, share too much about myself too quickly, retreat into cave for long periods at a time, tend to focus on my bad habits too much.

Five places I've lived
1. Bolivia, South America
2. West Palm Beach, South Florida
3. Columbia, South Carolina
4. Seattle
5. Chicago

Five jobs I've had
1. Hardware store sales
2. Scuba diving equipment sales
3. Chuck E. Cheese pizza maker and mouse
4. Assembly line worker
5. Landscaping crew member

If you find yourself tagged with one of these lists, drop me a line so I can pop over.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Belated Pics

"I can especially relate with Van Gogh. Based on his furious brushstrokes, he must have thrown a lot of temper tantrums."
"If I've learned one thing in my three years, it's that the harder I blow, the more spit I generate, and the more cake I get."

"Someone mentioned something about swinging? Put down the camera, Mom. "

The Sleeper

I'm thinking Ian has what it takes to be president one day.

Thursday, May 01, 2008


A few days ago, Ian began clapping. While in his swing, in his exersaucer, sitting on my lap. A wonderful accomplishment in and of itself, but not the milestone that gives me great hope for my little boy.

Two nights ago, as I was lying in bed watching a repeat of 30 Rock on hulu with Ian - perched on my all-too-comfortable belly - I asked him to give me a clap during a commercial break. I nearly fell off the bed when he did! To make sure it wasn't a coincidence, I asked him to do it again, and again, and again. Then I distracted him with something else, waited a few minutes, then said, "Ian, give me a clap."

Clap, clap and clap.

Our first "conversation."

I must have really made a big deal about the clapping because yesterday when I walked in the door from work, the first thing he did was to clap and give me a look that seemed to say, "Hey dad, here's another one of those claps you were diggin' last night."