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Monday, May 24, 2010

How Do You Fill A Gaping Void? IGNORE EVERYBODY!

I am the first to admit I am sucker for buying the latest books. The only problem is most of them collect in my bookcase and I'm lucky to get past the preface or maybe a chapter or two.

But last week my good friend, Mark Ferrell, whose workshops have lately been the hot topic all over Stacie Tamaki's Flirty Guide Blog gave me the heads up about a new book called "IGNORE EVERYBODY And 39 Other Keys to Creativity" by Hugh MacLeod. I am also the first to judge a book by its title so grabbing this one was an absolute no-brainer for me.

Last night I started reading it at 10:30 after thirty minutes of the Ten O'Clock News was all I could handle. Normally, at this hour I would get through a few pages and hit the pillow. My wife was falling asleep but I simply could not stop reading. So I quietly slipped into our closet with my book light and finished all of the Top 40 keys at around midnight.

Needless to say Hugh had me from the liner notes. I can't really say enough great things about this little book so I am not even going to attempt a book review. The best way to meet Hugh MacLeod is right on his blog called gapingvoid.

Hugh is a cartoonist and a lot more. He draws cartoons on the back of business cards. Sounds simple enough. Too simple? Yes, his approach to creativity is direct, humorous and at times even overly poignant. Whether you are a copywriter, artist, designer, photographer, painter, art director, tech writer or anyone else pursuing a creative endeavour this little book is a MUST read. Actually, it is full of big and little life lessons for just about anyone whose career needs a jump start.

Thanks Hugh. I am off to bed right now to spin it again.

Friday, May 21, 2010

What A Weekend! It Starts with Andy Mark's Dinner and Ends with Rev. Ed Holt's 100 Mile Dessert On A Bicycle!

Anyone who knows me knows I sometimes squeeze a little too much into not enough time. Last weekend was no exception. It's not that I planned it this way but sometimes all the cool stuff just happens at the same time.

It all began at a Martini Madness not too long ago when my good friend, Stacie Tamaki, of The Flirty Guide and I met Andy Mark. Andy is one of the most active spouses in the wedding industry constantly supporting his wife, Lisa Whelan and her photography business. The conversation soon turned to my other favorite subject of food and Andy said to check out his food blog. The next day I went right to www.itscookin.com and fell instantly in love with a recipe for a grilled avocado salad.

The more Stacie and I talked the more it sounded like a great idea to resurrect the dinner party concept she pioneered many years ago before formal networking even existed in our industry. Stacie is no slouch of a cook herself and used to invite about six industry peers to her tiny duplex in Campbell. Dinner was not only great but the social aspect was off the charts. At 2:00 a.m. the conversation was often still bustling. She developed some of her closest industry relationships from those little gatherings.

So Andy and I picked May 15 and worked out a Mediterranean theme menu around several restrictive diets of our guests. This first picture is of the two cooks showing off Andy's zucchini appetizer in the special I MC Events vibrant green colored serving bowl.

Our menu also included an incredible French cheese tray, my capresé kebabs, white bean dip, pan roasted halibut, steamed chard and couscous with currents and toasted almonds. As if that wasn't enough, we topped off the evening with a really fun interactive dessert. It was a chocolate tasting hosted by Andy's good friend, Christine Doerr, of Neo Cocoa, "The Hearts of Chocolate Truffles." Also enjoying our first dinner party was event designer, Duncan Reyes, videographer, Dave Ethridge and photographer, Jasmine Wang.

As you can tell from this extremely rare shot of Stacie T. with a wine goblet toasting Duncan an absolutely splendid time was being had by all.

However, around midnight I had to be the party pooper and head back to Santa Cruz. My first century of the season beckoned only a few hours away. My good friend and cycling compadré, Rev. Ed Holt was meeting me at 6:00 a.m. to embark on the Strawberry Fields Forever Century Bicycle Ride. Normally, I like to get more than just a couple of hours sleep before a long ride but this time it just wasn't in the cards. Here's a shot of Ed and I before we embarked on our journey through the hills and fields of Santa Cruz and Monterey counties.

Many cyclists agree that the Strawberry ride has some of the best food of any organized ride. It is well supported and the rest stops never disappoint. The highlight is the final rest stop at the famous Gizdich Ranch in Watsonville. Famous for their apples and bake shop we were treated to fresh cider and apple pie. This is cycling at it's finest.

So 100 miles and 6,000 vertical feet later Ed and I were nicely spent. We were certainly not the first to finish but we were satisfied to have niether bonked nor quit. I chalked it up to another weekend full of life. You just can't beat food, friends and fast times on a road bike. My thanks go out to Andy for a great culinary effort, Stacie for her never ending social networking skills and Ed for persevering the entire 100. All of you continue to make my life richer.

That Cycling Chef Guy.