Saturday
Apr162011

Been There, Done That

When we feature a new trip on Everlater, I end up looking through hundreds of new travel photos. Lately though, I've begun to notice how many of these epic trips have passed through locations that I've already been to. It brings a smile to my face at first, but then I wonder - are we all just going to the same places?

My dad just returned from Hawaii and he beamed proudly at the incredible sights he had seen and photographed. They were indeed incredible - I had seen them for myself 10 years ago.

I can very clearly remember standing in complete silence out in the middle of the worlds largest salt flats while in Bolivia 2 years ago. It was unlike anything I'd ever experienced. Totally barren, and the only moment of my entirely life devoid of sound.

Why does seeing photos of other people traveling there seem to cheapen my own memories? Because I want to believe that moment was something special - something that only I experienced.

 

Looking the other way at the learning tower of Pisa (http://lolsnaps.com/news/3229/0/)I just spent an hour flipping through every printed photo I've ever taken, and was struck by how many of them were totally meaningless. Some beautiful sunset. A meandering river. Distant hazy mountains. I didn't have a clue where most of them were taken. Standing there at that moment I was certain I would not remember the beautiful vista - nor be able to adequately describe it a week later to the people I cared about who weren't there to experience it with me. I'd leave the people out of the shot to preserve the pristine wilderness.

Years later, I find myself throwing most of them away. Instead of just capturing what my eyes see, I've resolved to take photographs that will trigger the feeling of the moment - even years after it has passed. A photo means nothing if you can't remember why you were there, who you were with, or what it felt like.

 

Tuesday
Dec142010

The Haze of Digital Distraction

My first experience reading Adbusters magazine has left me wondering - hopeful for myself - yet worried for the masses.

 

What will we all end up becoming?

I sit down in seat 3B - a black flickering screen stares me in the face. I understand why it is here, but I cannot fathom why no one else turns theirs off. Have screens become such a commodity, so expected, that they must be left on - even when we cannot use them?

The women on either side do not talk to me - though we will be sitting inches from each other for the next three hours. One will later apologize for gently grazing my arm while shifting in her seat. Sure, it's a polite gesture, but it feels over the top. Aren't we part of the same society?

I try to read - my thoughts frequently pondering what I will do next. I'm thinking clearly - better write it down before the moment is gone. But I know that if I pull out my laptop, I will get sucked into a world of infinite distraction. And lose my place.

Thankfully I have a pen and paper.

Then I realize that I'm still reading the magazine - absorbing nothing. Lost in my own thoughts of how I might become a better person. How I might avoid distraction. How distractions and entertainment are no longer something we choose - they are something we must fight hard to resist. I've already chosen a half a dozen times *not* to put in my earbuds. But finally I give in - trying to drown out the man talking behind me.

He is talking about football, and I feel compelled to listen - not because I hope to connect with this man - but because I literally cannot shut off this insatiable thirst for information. Information I know has no application to anything that will ever be truly important.

I open up the White Noise app, and choose the airplane setting. He is gone.

The women to my left shifts, and her leg rests lightly against mine. I do not recoil. Instead I wonder if she has done this intentionally and how sad it is that even the slightest physical contact with a stranger is so rare as to be noteworthy.

I look to my right - all four people are reading a book - holding it inches below their flickering TV screens. One is listening to an iPod too.

A familiar tone sounds, and I wonder if the plane will descend soon. I have no idea how long we have been aloft because, well - it has been so long since I've written anything that I barely recognize my own handwriting.

My brain has run out of thoughts now which tells me it is time to do something else. In this world of ubiquitous multitasking - the thought of sitting quietly for a few minutes with nothing to do is borderline terrifying.

But I won't pick up the magazine again because I'm nearing the end and fear that once I've finished - I'll have nothing left to spark these brief moments of honesty and reflection that are so often lost in the haze of digital distraction.

Friday
Jul092010

At Least You Have Your Health

I always tell people that I never get sick. In my mind, it's true, but in reality it happens about once every year or two. Perhaps because I rarely get sick, I don't know how to cope with it. I'm bored, hot, and sore. I moan, and writhe. I don't eat.

On the other hand, it's a reminder of how amazing I feel 99.8% of the time. Hard to imagine a life inside, stuck in bed, feeling like crap, would be worth living.

Today will quickly fade, and tomorrow I will feel great again. Let this be a reminder that even when I'm not sure what I want - 99.8% of the time, I can do anything.

Wednesday
May262010

My Trip to Argentina & Chile

Everlater just dropped this cool new widget which lets you imbed your trip map (and up to 5 photos) in any webpage. Below is my best trip...you can navigate around the map and click on any of the markers to see the stories and photos from that location.

Pretty sweet huh? For instructions: How to put travel maps in your blog

Friday
Oct162009

Is NFL Parity Dead?

According to this video, the NFL Network would have you believe so. Give me a break. Here are the top teams (by record):

The "Good"

  • Cincinnati Bengals (4-1) have only scored 11 more points than their opponents.
  • Indianapolis Colts (5-0) won by 2 and 4 points in week one and two respectively against mediocre teams, then won comfortable against three teams with a combined 4 wins.
  • Denver Broncos (5-0) have admittedly won big games against three good opponents, all have come on scores in the final seconds. Could easily be 2-3.
  • New York Giants (5-0) won three of their games against miserable opponents (with one total win amongst them) and escaped with < 1 score victories in their only games against decent opponents.
  • Minnesota Vikings (5-0) won a game they shouldn't have (incredible 40 yard pass with no time left) and didn't pull ahead of Detroit till the last play of the third quarter.
  • New Orleans Saints (4-0) are a pretty good team.

 

The "Bad"

  • Buffalo Bills (1-4) lost two games by a combined 4 points. Could easily be 3-2 (which still wouldn't necessarily indicate that they are that good).
  • Cleveland Browns (1-4) lost each of their last two games by 3 points.
  • Tennessee Titans (0-5) lost each of their first 3 games by a score or less.
  • Kansas City Chiefs (0-5) lost two games by a score or less.
  • Detroit Lions (1-4) hung well with both Pittsburgh and Minnesota, two very good teams. Lost to Washington by only 5.
  • Carolina Panthers (1-3) has played decent opponents all year.
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-5) isn't necessarily any good but have had a strong schedule (Cowboys, Giants, Washington, Philly).
  • Seattle Seahawks (0-5) same as above (Washington, Green Bay, San Fran, Minnesota).


So not only are most of these teams not as good or as bad as they seem, most of them are in the opposite position they were as few as 2 years ago.

No my friends, NFL parity is not dead.