Photos from a weekend escape to Miami Beach.
American made products need more exposure like this great #AmericanField event in Boston.
Last week, I had the pleasure of being invited to attend IdeaFestival 2013 in Louisville, Kentucky.
This yearly gathering of the eternally curious is easily one of my favorite conferences. I always leave with tons of brain nibbles that keep me thinking long after I’ve returned home.
Up front, I need to thank the team for flying me down and taking care of me while there. All they ask in return is that I share my thoughts with those who will listen and I’m happy to do so.
Sadly, I had to miss the first day of the festival which focuses on the youth of the world and is known as Thrivals. Last time, it was my favorite day and since I don’t think our youth get enough credit or exposure for what they are doing I wish more people knew about this.
Overall the event hasn’t changed much since I attended in 2011 and that isn’t a bad thing.
There is a single track that everyone attends. Each speaker has 45 minutes to present and then there is a 15 minute conversation between them and a moderator with time for questions from the audience. It is a format that I haven’t seen used much at other events and it sets a great tone.
IdeaFestival is in the family tree with TED, PopTech and OTA Sessions where only speakers with a unique perspective on their corner of the world is invited on stage.
I loved hearing what Ariel Waldman has been doing with Spacehack and her life since leaving the agency world. Dr. Daphne Miller‘s passion for soil, farms and what we eat struck a nerve with me that I wasn’t ready for and I bought a copy of her book Farmacology as soon as she was done speaking. I worried I was going to be bored when Professor Rafe Sagarin took the stage, but as he spoke about how marine life adapts and innovates and I was glued to his every word. Finally, seeing my friend Kevin Smokler on stage first thing in the morning to discuss his book Practical Classics and the state of high school education was a special treat.
Sadly, one horrible talk did sneak in. I guess that happens at every conference, but I nearly screamed for the person to get off stage after the constant self pimping and bullet ridden slides. Thankfully there were enough other talks to wash the bad taste out of my mouth.
The one thing missing from the event that in my mind made them stand out from so many others were the performances. Last time, they had slam poets, musicians and other artists performing in between some of the sessions and there was none of that. Yes, at night there were opportunities to take in various artists, but having it included during the day was a powerful way to expose more people to the arts and I encourage the organizers to bring that back next year.
That being said, I can’t think of another conference where speakers include experts on Sherlock Holmes, a magician sharing insider secrets and a man wrongfully imprisoned for fifteen years for a crime he did not commit.
Someday I hope to earn an invitation to take the stage myself, but until that day arrives I’m more than excited to sit in the audience and be inspired by some of the most inspiring individuals I’ve ever had the pleasure of hearing speak.
Before I end, I must shine a light on Hasan Davis. I have not seen someone walk on stage and own it like he did in a long time.
He had me laughing, crying and standing on my feet to applaud him all in the span of fifteen minutes. Thankfully, I was able to track him down in the hallway and thank him for being part of the event and for sharing his story with me. The man is doing great work and hasn’t had an easy road to get where he is today.
IdeaFestival has the tagline of “stay curious” and they certainly help me do that.
Hopefully it is in the cards for me to attend again next year.
Earlier this year I was asked to come in for an interview with Terry Whitaker for her show And That’s the Truth.
We talked about my theater background, career and determination to make the world a better place. Of course we also chatted a bit about Amazing Things Will Happen.
This was kind of trippy to watch since it was filmed so long ago and some things have changed, but overall I’m very happy with how it turned out.
The new Samsung Galaxy NX camera is so packed full of technology, that it is going to force others to follow suit.
Photo I took the night I fell in love with the voice of singer and songwriter Natalie Gelman.
A photograph of my home office that was submitted to Where Bloggers Blog.
People are always asking how they can find and book more speaking engagements so I thought I’d share my answer to the question.
Two new product reviews for the Capture v2 camera clip and ShaveTech USB rechargeable electric razor.
C.C. Chapman shares his experience at The 2013 Hambletonian
Before arriving in New Jersey yesterday, I knew almost nothing about the sport and history of harness racing. Until I was invited to cover The Hambletonian I knew very little.
Turns out that it is a pretty big deal in many parts of the globe. Both Sweden and France love it. There are even equestrian tours that go around the globe to visit farms, tracks and races.
The first thing I noticed when I got to The Meadowlands Racetrack is the old school vibe of the place. You know that it has been here for years and has seen tens of thousands of people enter over the years to take in the races on Friday and Saturday nights.
They are currently doing a massive remodel to modernize the whole complex. The drawings I saw of what is coming makes me definitely want to come back in the future.
We headed over to the paddock where horses are kept during races. If their stable on the farm is their home, this could be considered their office.
They had brought in a beautiful and dignified lady of the track with the name of Nadia B Fella.
The plan was for me to get a better understanding of what it felt like to be a driver in a sulky behind the horse.
The sulky is the brightly colored harness that the horse pulls behind them in the races and instead of having a jockey, in harness racing they are known as drivers.
Sam “The Voice of the Meadowlands” McKee brought me out on the track with him. As we talked about our kids, racing and how much faster it would be when the actual races began at The Hambletonian this weekend I took in the beauty all around me. Seeing the New York skyline as we rounded the second turn gave me a big smile.
Sadly, my GoPro died just as we were getting going, but you can get at least a little feel for what it is like by watching this video.
A few minutes later Sam handed me the lines and said “now it your turn” and away we went.
He had failed to tell me to keep them taught or else Nadia would just open it up and trot at full speed. She enjoyed the freedom and I loved the rush of being in control as we zoomed around the track.
Trying to imagine what is it going to be like on Saturday when ten drivers and their horses take to the racetrack is hard to imagine.
Looking down the long lines of empty seats I know that this weekend they will be filled with cheering fans from all walks of life as the races get underway. I’m excited to be part of it all.
If you are in the area, you should consider coming down and watching the race in person. If you DO come let me know as I’ll be there and perhaps we can connect.
I’ve also been told that I should encourage you to tweet, Facebook or share about The Hambletonian. Any relevant social share that includes the #Hambo13 hashtag is going to be put in a random drawing for $500!
Can’t be there in person? You can watch it live on CBS Sports Network.
Stay tuned for more updates from the track and to find out if I win when I put a little money behind a horse for the first time.
The photography gear breakdown of what I’m bringing to cover The Hambletonian horse race.
C.C. Chapman’s thoughts on the difference between photographs and pictures.
My love of fish tacos finds me in heaven in Mill Valley, California.
My first visit to a redwood forest allows me to check another item off my life list.