I am more of a bicycle obsessive than a bicycle rider, which is something that I learned in reading Bill Strickland's amazing memoir Ten Points. Last fall, I was really pleased with myself for riding four fast laps with the pack in Prospect Park, and for managing my fear, as a rider pulled into a spot between me and the guy on the right. We were rubbing elbows and stayed like that for quite a while. I was forced into the uneasy position of just trusting the pace and the riders in front and on my side. This was really close for me, but as I learned in the book , it is nothing compared to the tight packs and organic movements of racers in a criterium, a race on a short looping course. The book isn't just about riding however, it is about growth, getting over a horrific childhood, the magic of children, and the way a wife and family can save a man. I think there are things in the book we can all relate to: temptation, rage, difficult moments in growing up, the joy and agony of being pushed physically and failing, but in Strickland's case they are taken to extremes. The author is a man who was literally forced to eat shit with a gun held to his head by his father. He was assaulted by him, had his nose broken by him, and had other experiences that started out in some quasi-normal state like going to a baseball game that end oddly. Thinking about it, I'm realizing that the memoir reads like the weekly crit he rides in, trying to earn ten points to fulfill a promise he made to his daughter. This quest enables him to transcend his childhood as he gets fitter, and like a breakaway pull free from his past, but then he finds himself reeled in by the pack and old patterns. Again and again this happens, the surge to break free and the reeling in. But something happens to him midway through the season when he gives in and learns to be one with the riders and the race. He stops fighting, sits in (which is what his blog is called) and can finally break free, change patterns, and score some points. Thankfully my hell wasn't nearly as deep, but I could relate to the book on several levels, and found it to be an incredibly moving account of a journey. I'm so happy for him and love reading his blog at bicycling.com, where he is the Executive Editor. It made me think of my childhood, my child and, the love and to some degree saving grace of my wife. The book also makes me want to get on my bike and tuck into the pack in the park with the annoying guy too tight on my right, because for a little while it felt like we were flying.
This morning I quickly put together an updated version of my resume and got great feedback on the changes but I also was told that I wrote that I've been in my current role since June of '08 so in the words of the person who told me, I am in fact working in the future which is very Web 3.0 even 4.0.
It is exhausting talking about one's career to strangers and afterward it often leaves me a little sad. I go over possible mistakes, I think of Voyager closing, the fact that I left Hearst too soon, Workman too soon, didn't start this or that. It opens a door to too many uses of the word "should have" and I find I need to be careful to shut that down. It is what it is. Would I do it differently possibly but then I might not have B and W waiting for me at home and I wouldn't trade that for anything.
I don't like being told I'm too senior for things or too junior for other things.
Putting it out there on Facebook has led to a few nice notes and leads.
Last week I wrote a post about a project that my mother Carol Mack put together. It is a documentary theater project in which seven award-winning playwrights interviewed seven incredible human rights activists and than wove together the results of the interviews into a new play called SEVEN. This afternoon she was interviewed on the Leonard Lopate Show along with Inez McCormack the woman she interviewed and Susan Yankowitz another playwright involved in the project. It is being performed in a staged reading at the 92nd St. Y onMonday Martin Luther King Day and will be staged in the Spring in NYC and potentially around the country. The director and the cast are incredible and you can read more about the activists and the playwrights on a small site about the project. Listen to the interview below:
I was invited to a screening of the new U2 in 3D movie two night ago. It was great. Taped at stadium concerts in Brazil and Argentina. At times Bono can be a little preachy for my taste and I get freaked out by 100,000s of thousands of people chanting and putting their arms in the air but he is a ROCK STAR and their songs are great. It is amazing what a 4 person band can do. The 3d effects are not overused and bring the crowd and music to life. It is one of the first 3d movies to have zoom and some other shots or so we were told. I thought the 3d was used to great effect when you feel as if you are one of the crowd and, there are only a few instances of Bono and guitars hovering out in front of your face. Also one incident of 3d cartoon style drawing but even that was cool. The credits are all in 3d and seem to go on forever before a little more concert appears. All in all very cool and different from any 3d movie I've seen before so I've put the promo widget into this post.
Two years ago I got rather far in interviews to be the GM of Zagat.com. I had to write a vision statement which was basically about their dropping the paid wall. They had hopes to leverage user comments, user reviews for restaurants they didn't cover, and start a social network. It would have been timely perhaps a little ahead or possibly depending on your viewpoint a little behind. At any rate it became apparent that it was not negotiable at that time and I pulled back from pushing for the spot. Even with Yelp, chow.com, the NYT coming on and countless others, Zagat's could still be a big force in the space and I'm sure whoever buys it will open it up and try to realize the potential.
Last week I had lunch with an old colleague of mine at Aquavit. I was too embarrassed to bring along a camera so this one from Flickr will have to stand in its stead. I had wild mushroom salad, the smorgasbord (for how often do you get to order that?) which had four different herrings and other delicious stuff, and an olive oil cake with olive oil ice cream. I loved the lounge where you wait for company and the clean elegant feel of the restaurant. When B and I decide to leave W at home with a sitter and venture out for a special night I think I'll make reservations here. Amazing.