Five Points – 4

I’ve Moved —

After nearly 13 years of calling Venice Beach, California my home, it is no more.  I’ve moved to Nashville, TN.

Venice has changed over the years.  Snapchat Global HQ moved within a few blocks from my place and exclusively occupies apartment buildings as offices.  This displaced all of the folks that once lived there, creating vacant weirdness and sketch at night and obtrusive low talkers (there is nothing worse than a mumbling low talker) that do not interact with the native community during the day.

So the neighborhood changed, but so have I.  My interests are different today than when I moved there.  I was ready for a change of scenery.

Plus, I work in the music business and am from the south, so a move to music city was a natural fit.

***

Since as far back as I can remember, I have been interested in real estate.

I like that it’s such a unique tool to build wealth – brokerage, wholesaleing, flipping, development, repurposing, … airbnb.

I like that it’s such a malleable canvas to create – structures and landscaping come to mind initially, but creativity and inginuity can/should be considered in most systems complimenting real estate – plumbing, HVAC, electricity, roofing, flooring, windows/doors, the ‘feeling’ of a space, how sound impacts the experience, light, a body of water, ability to host friends and family, a work shop to build art and more.

While I have been involved and consulted on many a real estate deal (I was a licensed California broker for 10 years) and studied many thousands of potentials deals, I have yet to own my own dirt, until now…

***

Where The Wild Things Are Secret Camp is an old house on a fair amount of acres outside Nashville proper.  The property has a year round stream, several verdant springs, a small pasture, an old Airstream, and a quirky old home that was built from wood and a bit of stained glass salvaged from a very old church.

There is plenty of room to camp and guest space a plenty for folks visiting.  There are animals everywhere, but the only hunting will be for ginseng.

I am so excited to be the steward of this forest and home and welcome friends, old and new, to enjoy it with me.

All that to say, you may rest easy knowing that if you ever need a place to be, you’ve got one in Tennessee.


Thank you LA

There are so many people that have helped and taught and befriended me during my time in Los Angeles, but a few really went above and beyond…they gave to me completely unselfishly.  Much more than I deserved.  And they did it even though I’m me!  Quirky, strange, odd me…they still helped me over and over and over again.

Aaron Blatt
Robert Knox
Chris Kelley
Chris Cowan
Simon Jones
Dale Rogers
Rene Merideth
Dan Busby
Dallen Stanford
Sherrijon Gaspard
Richard Stearns
Whakapainga Luke
The Venice Breakfast Club

and Santa Monica Rugby Club.

I penned this on my day of departure and I think its good to share again.

***

Thank you, SMRC!

It was a fateful afternoon at the top of 2005 at JFK, having just taken a job in principle on Wall Street..

An unknown number on my cell contained the growly voice of Coach Krohn. Bluntly after “Hello” a statement of my past experience with the Maccabi’s and a question about my plan for life.

Sure on the first. Not so sure on the second bit.

He invited me to join the boys in Austin to see how I played and whether I could get on with the boys.  I think I faired alright on both accounts.

I quickly returned to North Carolina to explain to my world that I was moving to Los Angeles.

SMRC made it happen.

Dreyfus gave me a job first. Then Knoxy. Then Blatt. Then Putterman.
Then Merideth.

Dominic and Chris and Nathan put me up first. Revel put me up second. Then I moved into this Venice apartment with Ross and Lucky that was gifted to us from Simon Jones’ wife’s sister. CK lived here for a time. As did Cowan. And many others on visits to town or as I let out across the earth.  Aaron and Ed and Enrique and Regal helped me pack up and out just this past weekend.

The team took me in and have become my family in this strange Los Angeles city.

Riaz turned up the missing link. Paddy flopped from the back to the front and back again. Jeremy didn’t say a lot, but he didn’t have to. Killian was just getting started. Stu made us good and hard.  Doug was the voice of reason from the sideline and Danny kept the engine humming. He would always share this his thoughts, but no one ever knew what he was saying, but he was nice, and Ross was a damn good player.  Nathan took the fight with his demons to opponents and hurt more than their pride. CK was as patient as a stone and had shoulder of one too.  Jerry Banks had a hard time catching the ball, but if ever did was hard to tackle. Stampy had twinkle toes for a big man and Carl always looked so focking good. Matthew was the sleeper that embarrassed more storied men.  Dom always had a plan.  Knox was/is unequal.  Blatt led with cool way and an iron fist.

All the boys were humble servants that gave more than their share when called to task.

The Green Wave supported us across town and across the country. Over and over and over again.

I’m embarrassed I can’t remember today more of the men that most certainly gave their heart and soul and money and body to SMRC that first year I arrived and since. Please forgive me.

The Gods were kind to us and the ball bounced our way more often than not.

We lived together and worked together and chased women together and played together and lost together and won together.

And we won it all.  We won the Division I National Championship in 2005.

Then we did it again the next year.

Went off a little like flash paper. Hot. Quick.

Those accomplishments and friendships forged have been the more proud one’s of my life.

By that third year the mojo faded and the band broke up. Boys moved away. Or moved on. Got married. Had kids. And then more kids.

It was fun to turn up to training and a B side test and share a laugh. Having only one foot in the stirrups was alright. As the years swept by.

And that’s the way it goes sometimes.

I’ll never forget Blatt reminding me one day at the yard after he’d landed a solid account. “This to will one day go away. So I expect it and then it doesn’t suck as bad when it happens.”, he said and smiled. Then he got back to work.

I know this now so it’s not so tough. It doesn’t suck as bad as it could. I guess.

Their have been so many women and men over the last 12 years that treated me kindly and helped me along the way. I am ever grateful and you will forever be my family.

I thank you with all my heart for everything.

I write this from the Pit. She’s clean and smart and I’m ready to go.  William and I have a flight at 4pm one way to Nashville.  I reckon that if I intend to work in the music business, I might as well go all in.

I hope you’ll come visit. I hope that I’ll be back soon.

And I’ll be missing you in the mean time.

Dolphins,

AD


2,147,483,647

I’ve always been fascinated with prime numbers.  They have all sorts of cool properties and behave interestingly, relative to most non-prime numbers.

This past week I learned of the eighth Mersenne prime number, 2,147,483,647, by way of Ghangnam Style.

From the Wikipedia:

The number 2,147,483,647 (or hexadecimal 7FFF,FFFF16) is the maximum positive value for a 32-bit signed binary integer in computing. It is therefore the maximum value for variables declared as integers (e.g., as int) in many programming languages, and the maximum possible score, money, etc. for many video games. The appearance of the number often reflects an error, overflow condition, or missing value.[9] In December 2014, Google initially claimed that PSY’s music video “Gangnam Style” exceeded the 32-bit integer limit for YouTube view count, necessitating YouTube to upgrade the variable to a 64-bit integer.


InstantDomainSearch.com

I had a fruitful conversation with a fellow entrepreneur this past week regarding registering a web domain name…about why it was exciting and felt good and how we both own entirely to many domains than we will ever utilize.

We came to the conclusion that registering a domain is a very small investment in the promise of bigger things and exciting adventure ahead.  Whether for a new business or idea or journey…owning a domain is a blank canvas for creating something from scratch that can easily impact humans one has never met, nor will ever meet.

My go to resource for finding the perfect name is instantdomainsearch.com.  Its super quick and filters results in real time to allow for really dynamic ideation.


MICRO

Friends doing amazing stuff alert!!!

Amanda Schochet and Charles Philipp founded MICRO – The World’s Smallest Museum

Here is an awesome write up about them from the Washington Post.

Go here to inquire about having a museum installed near you and/or make a donation.  Just think…you could the person responsible for bringing a MUSEUM to your community!?  Reread that one more time.  A MUSEUM!  So dang cool!

The wise money isn’t betting against them.  Go go go!!!


What I’ve been listening to —

I’ve been listening to Buena Vista Social Club on repeat the past week – https://youtu.be/JNYOVEXJBBM

Annual Report – 2016

Aaron ‘AD’ Davis here and I’ve rounded the sun for the 39th time.  This is my 2016 annual report (read 2012, 2013, 2014 didn’t get a personal account…only via my company, and 2015). It is more of a life and times of Aaron than anything else and you’re receiving it because our paths have crossed at some point. You can easily opt out by clicking here.

Please do get in touch if it has been too long since we shared a laugh.

The last year has been a doozy to say the least!

Highlights featured here include:

  • Exploration – My primary work effort continues to mature and grow.

  • BusinessFrame – I’ve scaled back software/marketing consulting.

  • LA Hacker New – I continue to organize the LA Hacker News Meetup.

  • Travel – Puerto Rico, Germany, Czech Republic, Spain, Russia, Philippines, Thailand, London, New York, San Francisco, Miami, Black Rock City

  • Rugby – The ball still bounces.

  • William – A kind and gentle beast.

  • r/LifeProTips – Interesting and oft surprising ways to move through life with a bit more ease.


Exploration

Exploration is a media management and technology company.  It exists to help media companies control their data and collect their money.

I founded the company in 2014 with my friend, Rene Merideth.  If you listen to music on YouTube, there is about a 20% chance Exploration works with the owners of that intellectual property. And we continue to grow very rapidly into film and tv and other distribution networks.

For inquiries about Exploration, please visit us online or reach out via email to [email protected]

 

BusinessFrame

BusinessFrame is a software development and digital marketing company founded in 2009. I have declined additional consulting projects under this masthead for nearly 2 years. I really don’t see this changing anytime soon.

LA Hacker News

Y Combinator is the most prolific startup incubator in the world.  They are the funding source/advisor to a few companies you may have heard of – Airbnb, Dropbox, Reddit…and about 1,200 more that are less known.

Hacker News is their online community and news aggregator portal.  It is one of the most respected destinations online to learn and discuss the intersection of technology and entrepreneurship.

I am the organizer of the Los Angeles Hacker News meetup.  We meet every so often to hack, learn, and debate on a particular topic.  Most commonly about building a tech company or having created technology / art. Or most recently, just to hang out with like minded people for a beer and a laugh.

We are now screening a hacker/computer film once a month at the WeWork offices in Culver City (Exploration works out of this office as well).  Tron is que’d up for next Thursday night (5/4/2017).

Free admission, beer, and pizza.  Meet someone new.  Folks will be watching the film, but it will not be theatre quiet.  Hack on the WeWork open wifi.  Come and go as you like.

https://www.meetup.com/LAHackers/events/239490386/

Huge gratitude goes to the good folks at Disney for allowing us to screen the film.  To WeWork for hosting the party.  And to Exploration for spotting for the food.

Travel

My Facebook and Instagram profiles remain the best records of my travels this past year. However, I have made significant effort to limit my presence on social media in general.

The lead up to the election and subsequent related events were/are to much for me to stomach on a daily basis…so I tuned out completely. I’ve just now recently logged back on for the first time in over 4 months and have a few ideas on how to better curb the trap (ie I created an instagram account to share photos there and on Facebook, but I follow zero people..so I don’t get snared into consuming drivel just because it is there.)

Rugby

You may know that I love rugby.  I fell in love with the game the very day I learned of it and not a lot has changed since.  As the years have swept by, my relationship with the sport has changed.  I really do consider my career to have been amazing! This included winning championships and traveling the world as a player, making friends with guys that are truly some of the most wonderful humans that exist,  and learning about life through an oval ball.

I was honored to have been chosen to join one of my best mates, Dallen Stanford, in coaching the United States team to compete in the Maccabi Pan American games last December in Santiago, Chile.

The good guys ended up bring home a gold medal in 7’s and a silver in 15’s.  Hat tips to an incredible effort on behalf of the host and visiting teams from around the world.  The boys in red, white, and blue made friends from around the world that I am certain will sustain way into the future.  I can not say enough good things about the boys that took the field…simply a massive effort.


I share my deepest gratitude again with all of you that supported our journey. With money, gifts in kind, and good vibes…it all made a huge difference!! I speak on behalf of the entire team: Thank you.

 

William

It’s been four years since this beautiful and gentle beast nuzzled his way into my life.  I rely on his consistent kindness on a daily basis.  He’s awesome.

Life Pro Tips

I get a kick out of these ideas posted on Reddit r/lifeprotips. Click through to reddit for more color and commentary on the ideas.

Conclusion

Three times dang!!! Life is good.

My health is good.  My circle of family and friends is interesting and diverse and supportive.  My work is meaningful and making an impact.  Several really good ideas are percolating.  Adventures abound.  I’m still learning.  I’m listening more.

In the spirit of being transparent, it’s important to note that the contents of this report are the highlights.  I do my best to leave the lowlights out, as focus on them tends to exacerbate depression and fuel prolonged rumination.  My life is anything but sunshine and rainbows but I’m proud of my rather recent ability to better acknowledge and compartmentalize those facets that are unfortunate and cause the blues.  I’m also choosing to leave out some of the more intimate details of my life including particulars about my family.  If you’re really interested in those bits, I’d prefer to share in person.

I really appreciate you for your interest in the musings of my life!  You’re welcome to reach out if you’re curious about any of it.  Simply reply to this email or drop me a line – 310-663-2865.

Stay close,

Aaron

ps – whose billy goat is this?  – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6PQrdBsrZVE

68th Annual Newport to Ensenada International Regatta – Santa Monica Rugby Yacht Club

Santa Monica Rugby Yacht Club

6 skilled and fearless SMRYC members competed in the 68th Annual International Yacht Race, from Newport, CA to Ensenada, Mexico.
Robert Knox (Captain), Aaron Davis (Main Trim), Simon Jones (Bow), James Corr (Mast), Brian O’Rourke (Videographer), Chris James (Tactician and Voice of Reason) sailed Merlin, a 39′ 1972 Columbia in the Cruiser Spinnaker B class out of South Coast Corinthians Yacht Club.
The men of SMRYC competed is classic fashion.
Having competed in the California Yacht Club Wednesday Night Sunset Series over the course of the summer and finishing within the bounds of the law once, the crew were ready to embark upon an international voyage.
Much preparation was done over the weeks leading up to the regatta.  Fuel, gear, supplies, beer, maintenance, beer, scheduling, and more beer was gathered. Oh, and party flags, to hoist when needing a surge of festival for adventure.
It’s noteworthy that Rob Knox exuded the generosity and patience he is famous for.  Without his dedication to participating in this event, it would not have happened.
The ship was delivered from Marina del Rey on April 19th. Friends and dogs joined for the short 6 hour voyage to San Pedro. The air was light and seas kindly. An uneventful trip was brought to an end when high winds and loud shouting at docking contributed to a kerfuffle.  Simon at the helm, a 25 knot cross wind had the high beamed vessel sliding to port as we entered the slip. The lowly deck hands jumped aboard the dock, lines in hand. Not to be outdone, Rob perched high above the mess at the shrouds holding about to the life line hollering and directing traffic. Looking like a burrito doing a jack knife atop the 10 meter platform, he got in a tussle with the party flags, and when Simon ran us squarely into the dock, did a tuna fish right into the drink. It’s a damn miracle the winded boat didn’t squish him against the dock, but the muscles and grit of the private first class hands fended off the big blue behemoth. He was gracefully pulled from the frigid water and Simon single handed the vessel under control. Completely lacking sorts and unsure which way was up, Rob then did a swan dive backward into the next slip that was deserving of a 9.7 and again he was in the water.  Although comfortable in his natural habitat, twirling around and providing a show all wet, he finally relented and allowed us to pull him from the icy grips back onto dry land. He cursed like hell the name of Simon Jones for docking like a blind squirrel and of Aaron Davis for buying and ultimately hoisting the joyous party flags.  The day was done.
On the following day, Sunday April 20th, with a short handed crew, the Merlin made another quick hop to Newport Harbor.  The wind had kept up, having the master and commander to nearly kiss the sea wall upon embarking. It was exciting and hands were shaking! Finally she was side tied to the dock to allow the the wind to push the nose out far enough to spin around and make way. Off she sailed and made portage in Newport without incident.
Provisions would be stowed and the captains meeting needed attending.
On Wednesday, April 22nd, Simon and Rob went to Yachtman’s Lunch at the Newport Harbor Yacht Club and the Captains reception in the evening at Balboa Bay Club. Their task was to check in and grab the racing pennant, signifying our class.  Lore has it that they made plenty of small talk and fair well signed in, but accidentally got drunk, forgetting the small flag that would be our license to race.

Thursday night would have the lion share of the crew turn up in Newport, full of excitement and fraternity, at the hint of danger that lay ahead.  It was then that the ever present James Corr realized his massive brain had failed him, contributing to his forgetting his passport.  His fair maiden went into overdrive and sent the enabling document via carrier pigeon to her prince, such that he could ensure safe passage.  The ship was stocked and poised for greatness. A hot meal aboard with all provisions stowed sent the boys off to the regatta pushing off party at the Newport American Legion.  A live band played classic beach hits while a heavy handed bar keep kept folks happy. There were 100’s of sailors, hailing from up and down the California coast, and one Frenchman.  Several not so rare Orange County Cougars were witnessed in their native land, circling a bit, excited by the diversity and amount of hair that existed among the men of the sea.  Stories were shared about that one time when a gale sprang from a calm and when the madman met his Hyde 30 nautical miles offshore. Comparison of provisioning always finished with, ‘Well, it’s to late to make any changes now. Cheers!’.

We were in heaven!
At dawn, on Thursday April 24th, the full compliment of the crew arrived and off we pushed.  Final communication was made and charts were checked for what way ahead. We knew the wind, the waves, the swell, the timing in which should have us where, the shifts of crews, and what meals would be cooked by who when.
Then the wind died.

Bobbing about like apples in barrel, boats were spinning about, jockeying for the start. However King Neptune smiled upon us, sharing good fortune, blowing a slight puff, our timing was right and gone!

What about the racing pennant? Oh, sh!t.
In a flash of genius and remembrance of darker days, Rob reached into the deep crevices of his overgrown brain to recall the party flags!!  Perfectly, among them, was our burgee. James Corr quickly laid his handiwork to the task, dismembers the string and hoisted the correct signal in just the nick of time.
The gun went off and Merlin slid across the start after only another 90 seconds!! We’d won our start! Cheers and celebration ensued, beers were popped and the party started.
And then the wind died again.
It was touch and go; nerves were high. We couldn’t get steerage and the fast multihulls and MAXI’s were starting right behind us. Merlin, being of vintage nearly 43 years prior and positioning as a bit of a fat bottomed gal that likes a bit of breeze to get moving, trouble was afoot.  Hard decisions had to be made.
Normally, safety was third.  Have fun, go fast, and be safe, in that order was our code, but the dollar signs on carbon fiber our proper racing ships adjusted our consciousness.  We decided the best course of action was to motor out of the way of the big boats bearing down upon us.  10 minutes later, the stink pot was extinguished and the sails were trimmed.
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Wind wasn’t all that consistent but we made a solid 5.5 knots for the next several hours.  Passing the lights sprinkling Oceanside with San Diego in the distance, night had already fallen.
Always keen to enjoy a nap, Aaron found his bunk and fell fast asleep after a delicious meal that had been previously prepared by Rob’s better half, Dawn.  The seamen told stories, drink cold frothy beverages, and laughed loud as the miles clicked by.
Then disaster struck!
Aaron later explained that he was dreaming of his girlfriend’s golden locks and warm bosom, when a frantic Simon woke him from his slumber.
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‘We are taking on water!!! Get up now!!!’, he shrieked!
By the time he came to, the boys were dedicated to the task.
About 15 clicks west of San Deigo, Merlin had about 3 inches of water sloshing about the sole. The bilge was already full.  James Corr was busy on the manual bilge pump in the cockpit, Chris James was steady at the helm, Brian O’Rourke was shuffling gear to and fro, Simon Jones was busy with another hand pump, and Rob Knox tried desperately to find the void allowing the pacific to swoosh in.  Aaron Davis, in his stuper of having just woken up, was staring at his shoes.  We would later learn that he found putting his warm and dry sock laden foot into a wet and floating shoe a bit harder of a choice to make than to respond to the command of “All hands on deck!”.  He was cursed thoroughly and appropriately and finally joined the crew in saving themselves and the ship.
IMG_5343 (1)

Almost by instinct, Aaron recalled a 5th grade science experiment he did on buoyancy and fluid dynamics, and postulated that perhaps one of the native holes in the vessel was the culprit.  The order to close all seacocks was given by master Rob, but the water seamed not to stop. The electronic bilges were pumping away and diesel infused salt water was everywhere. Panic was afoot and Simon gave the directive to change course toward San Diego in the event all would be lost, the swim would perhaps allow us to save our souls. The manual pumps then began to earn their keep the water line began to move down.  After much work and collective thought, we localized the trouble to the galley sink.  Turns out that when Rob did the dishes from dinner, a syphon was completed with the great pacific and the sea would help itself right into our safe haven.  It had been about an hour of chaos by the time we were drying things out and pointed the old girl back toward Mexico. Our route was nearly due south at about 117.5 degrees west, as there would be a solid breeze rolling in from starboard, allowing us to fly the spinnaker once we tacked to port.  Aaron immediately went back to sleep with much fan fare.

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Shifts would have the men turn around 3am, sending Aaron to helm to replace James, with crew from Simon and Chris James there to offer the occasional quip about a voyage from another time. Rob never would sleep and roamed about the ship for hours, peering into dark spots looking for more leaks to no avail. We considered ourselves among the luckiest men alive as the sun began illuminating the mountains of Mexico on our left and the great expanse of pacific to our right. As day broke we were joined by dozens of dolphins frolicking in and around the curl of water broken by the bow.  After a hot breakfast and coffee a giant grey whale blew used air and spray high into the air several times about 50 meters to starboard.  Many species of fowl circled our craft inspecting us and giving loud reports.  The area was teaming with life.
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Checking out charts, we were ahead of schedule and by noon Ensenada was on the horizon.  The large spinnaker was full and all hands were busy on deck as we neared the committee boat.  It was surprising to see so many ships astern, as we felt alone for most of the voyage.  Just before noon Merlin would hear the horn as we gracefully eased over the finish line.  Cheers abounded and another beer was clanked in celebration.  We’d done it! Almost…
Perhaps 200 meters past the finish line would be the mouth to the Hotel Coral Marina, a small but accommodating port.  We fired up the iron horse and stowed all sails. Then it sputtered. Then again. Once more. Knowing his girl, Rob ordered the genoa to be unfurled quickly. No sooner than the sheets became taught did the old diesel finally die. Sh!t.  We tried in vain to bleed her lines, as it’s only ever air and fuel that will spoil an old stink pot, but had no success. We finally resorted to calling for help and two friendly locals were soon on their way with a reliable panga to bring us home. It would be only 20 minutes more and we found ourselves securely tied in at D38, toasting and relishing the adventure.  We’d not even finished our first beer when two mechanics turned up and found the culprit, a blocked fuel line that was replaced in short order. We then topped off the tank and ran her for a good while for insurance and the party began.  Finally, we confirmed we’d made it safe and sound.
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The party at the hotel was cool, with those souls that had made it (many had turned toward Catalina when the breeze died in the night) relishing in another successful voyage.  In checking the leader board, we learned we came in second in our class and that someone had protested our finish.  Aaron set out with Chris to present before the judge.  They explained to the race committee that they felt safety was paramount and gave rationale to motor off the start.  They commended us for being forthright and corinthian and scolded the protesters for not coming to the Merlin men before filing.  In the end we received a Retired at Finish as our official ruling for the regatta.  Aaron then quickly filed a protest against the opposition’s haircuts, which was upheld by the high court.  The finest tequila shots followed.
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A hot shower was the cherry on top as we donned our best to hit the town.  Chris James and Brian O’rouke said farewell and jumped a bus for the border, while to remaining dodgers hailed a buggy for the square.  Loud music and low riders and donkeys and trannies and sailors and mariachi bands and one Frenchman elbowed their way from tavern to tavern. It was like a scene from another world.  We toasted to the experience and hours passed like minutes.  It didn’t feel like much time had passed before we were in another roller coaster, stopping only once for ice, back to the boat.  Sleep came easy and was only broken by the easy dawn light and chirp of seagulls.
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Sunday would have us relaxing.  We made breakfast aboard and we all enjoyed the spoils of Rob’s recently compiled bloody mary bar. After one or more, a fellow from a neighboring ship came by for laughs. He’d been a navy man, aboard the only vessel able to be called a boat, a submarine. He had jokes and stories and a hat to trade, sending Simon away happy, as we learned that was the only reason he came on the voyage.  We quickly became famous for insisting passers by take a cold beer and laughing loud at anything that moved.  We might have been drunk but no one remembers.  Berths were found early.
We were off the dock before sunrise. Under motor, Merlin was back in US waters by 4pm and clearing customs by 5pm. It was an easy process, apart from James Corr getting asked thrice to remove the peanut butter from his mouth, for the serious border men understood nothing of what he mumbled.  It wasn’t long after that we appreciated the reciprocity of being members of South Coast Corinthian Yacht Club by tying up at San Diego Yacht Club and sitting down for a hot meal at their beautiful restaurant.  The sun would set and the final four toasted one last time before Aaron and James jumped a car home.
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Captain Rob and First Mate Simon were alone back to San Diego.  The voyage was easy for the first half, but the fuel lines proved to show their fickle and Seatow was beckoned a final time.  They clinked glasses for having paid the nominal fee to AAA of the sea, allowing for pull at no cost.  The final leg brought them home to Newport where Merlin would rest.. until next time.
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It had been an unbelievable voyage, a true adventure, with triumph and failure, hard work and relaxation, uncertainty and confidence…and one Frenchman.

How to Start a Startup – Final Lecture & Party :)

How to start a startup

Howdy

Thank you so much for attending the How to Start a Startup Lecture!

It’s amazing to have participated in the entire program and to have now arrived at the final lecture.  There was so much incredible information shared and discussed and it would not have been the same without your input and shared ideas.  A huge Thank You goes to General Assembly for being such gracious hosts for the duration of the course.

Feel free to review and reference the lectures moving forward.  They are all online and available for free – http://startupclass.samaltman.com/

No worthy endeavor is complete without some sort of celebration, so we are throwing a wrap party to mark the completion of this program.

Please join the group to view the final lecture tomorrow night, Thursday 12/11/2014 @ 6:30pm (film starts at 7pm), followed by a solid party.

General Assembly – 1617 Broadway 2nd Floor Santa Monica CA 90404

We’ll have beer and goodies on hand – FREE

More important that visiting another lecture or party, of course, the idea is that you go out and create something that will make this world a better place.  In that spirit, if there is anything I or any of your classmates can do to help, please do not hesitate to reach out.
Stay close,
AD

Aaron Loring Davis
310-663-2865
www.aaronloringdavis.com

Happiness Check List

I keep this list handy, so that when I find myself feeling down, I don’t have to think about what to do to get back up.  I often find that after doing just a couple of them, I’m already feeling better and ready to take on the world again.  See below for a video of a talk I gave presenting this list.
  • Listen to music – I love reggae, jazz, and ambient electronic (somafm.com)
  • Meaningful engagement with friends and family – I like to ask questions and let them tell me stories.  Light stuff, but intentional and meaningful.
  • Water – 1 liter+  At least a full glass as soon as I wake up and as often as I think about it during the day
  • Sleep – 7+ hours.  Melatonin and water at bedtime.  F.lux to get rid of blue light from computer screen
  • Green food / smoothie, preferably with friends
  • Meditation – I like to focus on my breath in the shower in the morning for 3-5 minutes
  • Small victory – Something small that I can complete in under an hour to feel like I’ve done something worthwhile
  • Help someone – strangers are the best.  Helping with groceries or just open a door.
  • Write – Writing forces me to collect my thoughts.  Privately in my journal or publicly on my blog
  • Group exercise – Getting a sweat where I can talk to other humans. Basket ball/hike/rugby
  • Yoga – close to meditation, given the breath work and mind focus, but adding a physical component
  • Read fiction – Fiction allows my brain to travel to another place.  Non-fiction tends to make me add things to my work todo list
  • Hug my dog – He doesn’t care at all about problems and is always eager to show me love
  • Guard myself from takers – Energy suckers can wait 48 hours until I’m up again.  When I am wounded, sick, and/or vulnerable I’m not interested in interacting with them
  • Create art – I love to paint, sculpt, and build stuff (usually with electronics or wood)
  • Hire help – Call for back up to get my house in order – laundry, cleaning, cooking
  • Intentionally smile and breathe – Just do it
  • Say good morning to strangers – Its nice and they almost always say it back.  When they don’t I have a reason to laugh AT them for being so fussy
  • Ask friends for help – That inner circle of 3-5 people that love you most.  Yeah, they want to know when you need them.  I’m not bothering them.  That’s what friends are for.
  • Reread The Four Agreements – 1) Be impeccable with your word 2) Don’t take things personal 3) Don’t make assumptions 4) Always do your best
  • Return to the Up folder – When my crazy isn’t acting up I like to save interesting and inspiring tidbits from around the web (articles, posts, videos, pictures).  When I’m in the pit of sorrow I have it right there to help.
Some of these things are habits.  Others are not.  But that is why the list is so good.  I can read it without having to think when I’m down to be able to get back on top.

Response to: How do you deal with disappointment and loss?

I broke my leg nearly 8 months ago.  Recalling the feelings of the moment, I can not recall ever being as disappointed as I was then.  I wrote about it (that was a good idea) and my family and friends helped me.

Writing this now, that seems like a place that is so far away.  I suppose it is and it isn’t.

In any event, things are definitely up.  Of course, pieces are still coming in to place as a result of the overall event, by my life has taken a turn that I could have never expected (more on that later) and my leg is nearly 100%.  The doctors said it would be a year, but last week I played a full game of regulation basketball.  I nearly fouled out, scored exactly zero times, and was pretty sore the following couple of days, but I was happy.  To be able to run was what was important.

Finally, over 100 people wrote to offer support, kernels of advice, and show me love.  It filled me up and I return to it again and again.

Below are a collection of of those nuggets in response to my question: How do you deal with disappointment and loss?

“I workout.

I remember what I do have in my life and what at I least was fortunate enough to have no matter how temporary it was.
I stay focused and work hard to be successful in my career.
I have a hobby that helps me relax.
I remind myself that I am a mentor to others. Even to some that I may not be aware they are watching me.
I listen to elders when they are sharing stories. There’s usually something there that I can file away –  knowledge.
I talk to strangers.
I remember good times and look forward to even better times.
I remember not to take everything so serious.
I think about what is really important.
I remember others feelings and not just my own (that’s easy to overlook).
I forgive.
I cry.
I laugh.
I love.
I live.

So there’s my two cents. If you remember anything at all that I’ve written, it’s this:

I do give a shit.”

“I can honestly say it never gets easier. There are going to be things that frustrate the shit out of you for the rest of your life, and some of those things are going to be way harder to deal with than not getting to enjoy the trip of a lifetime…All you can do is prepare for the next meaningful thing in life and maybe give back to the sport you loved by fueling someone else’s love for the game.”

“You’re surrounding yourself with supportive people, and the kind sorts, and I’m sure you’re trusting your instincts, and refining them as responses to adversity show you where your personal connections are misplaced, and where you didn’t realize there was so much love!

From my experience, LA’s a hard lady, and we’re sometimes drawn to the fun outgoing friendly-in-good-times crowds, but we discover that the kind people we forgot sometimes are the ones that really mattered…it’s those who admit their weaknesses who turn out to be the best and strongest in the end!

As Sir Winston once said: When you’re going through Hell, keep going!”

“From my experience, staying in hell is a choice. Once you decide you’ve had enough, you can choose to leave.”

“I know you. You are an “up” kind of guy. Honestly, that is not what makes you loveable. Your honesty and truth telling is what helps you connect to people. You, like all of us, are worth being cared about and not everyone has that capacity to care, and some do. Just keep telling people how you feel, really feel. You’ll find the ones that can accept you regardless of whether you are brilliant or stupid. It won’t matter to them. They will just care because you are worth being cared about. You don’t have to do anything for folks who really care, just be you, all of you. That’s what unconditional love is all about. I love you.”

“Be thankful for the 30 minutes against Canada, as you are going to remember it for a while.- If life didn’t deal us challenges and disappointments every now and then, we’d all be soft and useless.  What you lost by not going to Burning Man you made up for with growth of character, even if it doesn’t seem that way.- You’ve got your whole life to live!  Go enjoy it.  You can start by becoming a rugby coach or referee.”

“Read If by Rudyard Kipling”

“Say thank you (mentally) every time these thoughts come. Let them go, do not resist them. You can choose to be at peace in the middle of the situation.”

“I’m certain there are several gifts or diamonds with in the experience. Life is fast and ephemeral”

“Things happen for a reason and despite setbacks and failures, I think that’s an opportunity to learn from them.  Without those failures, you wouldn’t otherwise learn what success and happiness means.  I learned that and am grateful for the lessons and things I learn from disappointment.  I think you’ll reflect on this months later and realize that there were good things to be gotten from it (ie, you realize who your true friends are and who will be there during the tough times).  Anyway, hang in there and it’ll only go up from there!”

“Let me start by saying you’re right, that there is a lesson, that you must grow from this, and that there are things you can do differently.”

“None of this maybe relevant or worthwhile, but two quotes come to mind.  One is from a former yoga teacher: ‘no expectations, no regrets’, and the other is from Ray Liotta’s character in Blow: ‘when you’re up, its never as good as it seems, and when you’re down, it feels like you’re never going to be up again’.  Take these for however many grains of salt they’re worth to you.

I don’t know how much more i can say.  I guess we just have to keep our eyes open and our head on a swivel, and do our damnedest to not bemoan our station.

Life’s a funny fucking dog.  Keep your head up and your heart open.  I’m sending you good vibes.  Keep me updated on your progress.  I’d love to hear from you.  I’m on whatsapp if you’re inclined.  I love you, brother.”

“Hey douchebag…wanna come to aspen…I will cover room and flight.”

peace

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stay close,

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Annual Report

 

Annual Report

2013

Howdy Friend,

Lots of year end articles, lists, and posts are circulating and it moved me to create my own.  Its really just a personal stock of my own life, what I’ve experienced, and a few notes on what I have learned.  My hope in writing this is that I will be more aware of what I’ve been getting on about, where I’m headed, and what I’m thankful for.
Highlights from the past include:
Making it to the Sweet 16 with Santa Monica Rugby Club
Making life long friends and winning a Bronze Medal at the Maccabi Games
Adopting WIlliam

Restoring a Hobie Cat sailboat
Getting a bicycle that is built for tall people
This is a partial list of books I’ve read:
I browse the following blogs and news aggregators for interesting and compelling articles and posts nearly every day:
Of course I use my blog and Facebook to share my life, but over the past year I have found these mediums to be a wealth of knowledge and advice as well.  More times than I can count, I have posed a question to my social networks to be completely blown away from the responses.  Thank you for that!

***

I sit here on new years eve morning, thinking back on yet another most interesting year of my life.

2013 brought about incredible victories and crippling disappointments.  I am a better man having lived to tell the tale.

I am so grateful for my life.
A friend said to me just the other day that they remember to check if they are still breathing when they wake up.  If so, yay!  What a good reason to be happy!  One is still alive and that is the most important thing about life – life itself!
It got me thinking about not only what i have to be thankful for, but ways to increase happiness and decrease unhappiness.
First, allow me to address a few thoughts on unhappiness and what causes it for me.
1) Not keeping promises to myself.  This is a big one.  When I have failed to keep a promise that I made to myself, it causes me to acknowledge my own lack of self control, and being out of control is a big reason for worry and stress.
Solution – Be realistic and honest with myself regarding the specificity and difficulty plans, tasks and promises I make to others, and more importantly to myself.  Inasmuch, keeping said promises becomes easier and more enjoyable.  Its also worth mentioning that understanding “why” I am making the promise in the first place is probably more crucial to the success in keeping them than actually what the promise is.  I am well aware of the fact that if the “why” is strong enough, rationalizing the follow through, or lack there of, becomes much easier to act upon.
2) Not listening to my gut.  Honest to goodness, I am not aware of a single time in my life where listening to my gut has sent me in the wrong direction.  The other side of that rusted coin is just as consistent.  I don’t know of a single occurrence when I wavered from the voice in my gut that didn’t leave me with feelings of guilt, remorse, regret.
Solution – Slow down for a moment.  Think.  Back in the days of selling real estate there was an old rule of thumb regarding disclosing a particular item during the transfer of a piece of property – If you are questing whether or not to disclose something, you probably should.  I think the rule can be applied here as well.  If I am having a mental dialogue with my higher self about whether or not to do something, and my gut has strong feelings one way or another, that is reason enough to listen…and act accordingly.  Empirical evidence tells me it will be the right choice.
Distilled down to a simple directive action – Understand “Why” something is important and make sure my actions are in alignment.  Simply asking myself why I might be doing something is enough to help myself live better.
With underlying reasons for unpleasantness aside, its important to recognize that what makes me happy, what I have learned, and just how grateful I am.
1) Deep personal relationships are the most important thing in life.  Who with doesn’t matter.  The depth does.  People are weird and quirky and selfish and have their own agenda and make mistakes.  We all have these qualities.  That much we know.  What is important to recognize is that despite of these things, our deep personal relationships attribute to our most profound and lasting levels of happiness. Period. Deep personal relationships at their core come from communication, consistency, honesty, trust, patience, giving, and fortitude.  When veering from these tenants, I have always found myself hung from the rungs of the items listed above.  When I am true to what I know mixes to make wonderful connections with my family and friends, I always…ALWAYS come away from the experience lifted up and better equipped to move through the disappointments of life.
2) Good health is a lifelong process, not a goal.  There is no end point one is trying to reach, as no one makes it out alive.  So, I am reminded that in the spirit of being healthy, its important to embrace and enjoy all of what being healthy entails. Living a healthy lifestyle makes me feel good.
     – Deep personal relationships
     – Mindfulness and meditation
     – Regular exercise
     – Lots of water
     – Learning
     – Green vegetables
     – Plenty of sleep
     – Journaling
     – Laughing a lot
     – Honoring myself
     – Vice in moderation
     – Being kind to myself
3) Learning and growth is essential for me.  It is the catalyst for creativity in areas of interest that have no relation whatsoever to the topic I might be studying.  Learning new things allows me to contribute more.  Growing permits me to have a bit more of the good stuff and helps to subdue a bit more of the bad stuff.  Expanding my mind to new ideas is just important to my overall happiness as oxygen is to my ability to breathe.
I love life!  I love the experiences, good and bad, that life brings to me every day.  I make mistakes and generally make an ass of myself with regular frequency.  I’m ok with that.  It doesn’t stop me from striving to grow and push forward in spite of those missteps and I am thankful for the good and bad that come as a result, just the same.  The amalgamation of the up and the down make me, me.  To play it safe, is but for losers.  To challenge life and to win and to lose.  That is to live.
“A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for.” ~ William Shedd
I am so grateful for those in my life, look forward to the possibilities of 2014, and hope this next year brings you happiness of all stripes 🙂
Stay close,
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Aaron Loring Davis
310-663-2865
www.aaronloringdavis.com

Dealing With Disappointment (Explicit Language)

 

Dealing with Disappointment

A rant and a request for advice

Howdy Friend,

 

Disclaimer – I’m going to complain and rant about a recent personal experience and then ask for some advice in this post.  If you aren’t interested or lack the capacity to deal, I completely get it and certainly do not take it personal.

I pride myself on seeing the cup half full.  I’m a happy guy, with lots to be thankful for and I am, indeed, quite grateful.

However, as events take place that I feel are not fair or meant for someone else or, for lack of a better explanation, shitty, sometimes I find myself sliding, scraping backward for an undetermined amount of time as the feelings and circumstances change.

This is a tale of one of those unfortunate events.

Of course, I know how to make myself feel better.  It’s taken me nearly 36 years to figure it out, but I know.  In fact, I wrote about it.  Its good measure for me to understand how to systemically improve my reality and I return to the checklist time and time again as a reminder.  Its a track where I know the final destination when my warped emotional brain is unable to comprehend what to do next in light of what, at the time, seems like an insurmountable problem or situation .. I simply resolve to do just these things and I will feel better.  To settle and trust in that provides incredible support and hope.

Just now, I was unable to use many of the tools on my list, thus it didn’t do me a whole lot of good.

Ok, so I’m going to go on a rant here.  I’m going to bitch and complain for a few minutes.  And then, I’ll be done.

I was speaking to a friend about complaining and we came to same conclusion – no one really gives a shit about my problems and issues..or your problems and issues.  I (we) have enough things to think about in my own life than to have to absorb your drama as well, nearly always.  However, I also believe I must get it out of my body and brain.  I’m over listening to my mind race from one dark corner to another rationalizing, what-if-ing, and saying “oh, but the silver lining is..”.  I also want to heal. Like, now.  And I have resolved to doing every possible thing, including having a good rant, to insure I am on the track health.

My outlet is writing.  By writing, I am able to organize my thoughts, because you (mom) need to be able to read this.  I am then able to process that organized information. By writing and getting those thoughts out of my head, I allow those thoughts to be set free.  Once I click ‘publish’, I honestly feel like I’ve just taken a good hot shower after a long camping trip and then I get on with things again.  When I keep it inside, it festers and I feel like I’m losing my mind.

Here goes.

Breaking my leg while playing rugby just now is the single largest disappointment of my life, for reasons that might not be immediately clear from the outside looking in.

I know, I know, I don’t have a terminal disease and I didn’t lose my leg, however one mustn’t discount that I did in fact, break my leg.  So, I’m going talk about it what I’m feeling for a minute or two.

As I was saying..

It had been a couple years since I had been on a proper vacation.  For nearly the last year of Apollo’s life I cared for him every single day. I did not leave the house for more than 12 hours in over 9 months. Then the training started to compete with Santa Monica Rugby Club for an entire season. Every week had multiple practices and most weekends were spent playing.  After the season ended, I would go on to train and ultimately compete with the USA Maccabi team in Israel.  Work filled up the balance of my time.  Not much sailing. No real travel for pleasure.  No creative projects to speak of.  I wanted..I needed to let my hair down a bit.  I really make a point in my life to do those things with regular frequency, yet I was head down. Focused. Neglecting, some might say, areas of my life I truly cherish in order to prepare for this journey.

I had it all planned out.

Everyone I knew.  I mean everyone, knew I was about to embark on this journey.  They supported my efforts.  Cheered me on.  Donated hard earned money.  All of my closest world said “Go get it!”

I would work my ass off with my business, to provide real value for my clients and a living for myself.  They knew I was going overseas to compete and some of them graciously supported my efforts in the way of real money.

I would play for SMRC and we would enjoy all the success we deserved.

I would travel with my mates to Israel to represent my heritage, my country, and my family as a vice captain of the US team.

My parents would join me.

It was my final competition, after all.  Win, lose, or draw, I told myself, I would enjoy it.  I would relish in the heated tests.  I would deepen what I knew would be life long bonds with the men that would take the pitch with me.  I would hug my mom and dad under the lights in the heat, as I said “sayonara” to competitively playing the marvelous game.  …and then we would get good and drunk to lick our wounds or celebrate our victory after the final whistle.

Given I had not spent more than a lousy week with my parents in years, after Israel we planned to go to Istanbul, Turkey.  We bought flights and reserved hotels.  We made itineraries and discussed ad nauseum all that we would do.  I was so looking forward to just a long dinner with no email or phone or texting or FB or anything else familiar to disturb us.  I wanted to hold my mother’s hand and laugh with my dad..After Turkey, my parents would leave and I would continue on to Ukraine.

I bought tickets (in rubles) to attend a great music festival, connected with friends to host me, and planned on meeting a long lost love to enjoy the Black Sea for a week.  The fact that my mother’s family is originally from Ukraine is what sparked the interest in the first place.  Finding where my ancestors were from is very interesting and important to me.

While competing, of course, I would be on the down low, work wise, but while backpacking, I had planned on doing a bit of work here and there and generally staying abreast to things back home while enjoying a bit of a much needed break.

Finally, upon my return to the states, I would go Home to Burning Man yet again.  I was the captain of a center point of our camp, Strangelove.  I designed and made a Max (of Where the Wild Things Are lore) costume and had all of my various effects sorted.  I volunteered at the Black Rock City Airport and with the Department of Mutant Vehicles.  I even planned a short talk about ropes and knots for our camp.  I would reconnect with 100 of my favorite people on this earth for an experience like no other.

You see, it wasn’t pie in the sky..this was a done deal.  This trip I would do.  Tickets paid for, rent and bills paid up in advance for the next 3 months, clients abreast of my departure from the normal world, friend looking after my place..I was taking a break from Los Angeles for a little while.

All of that changed 30 minutes into the first game against Canada, when I broke my leg.

I had the rock 25 meters out of the try line.  I could smell pay dirt.  Stiff arm to one fellow.  Good.  Could’ve, and in retrospect, should’ve given a baby pass to Elliot on my outside.  It would have put him through.  But I’d been here before.  I was fine taking it along for a bit of a jaunt.

It happened quick.  A maple leaf hit my right shoulder and another my left leg, just below the knee, as I was planting on my left foot, at the same time. I knew it as soon as it happened.

POP..no pain really, but I could see the spikes on the cleats on my left foot.  Deep breath.  Why.the.fuck.did.that.just.happen.  Then everything seemed to slow way down. The lights. My face close to the grass. I was sweating..good fashion from playing for half an hour.  The air was thick with heat.  Humid, too.  My heart was racing. I felt I could hear my pulse in my brain.  Canada over there kinda looking, but not really.  My teammates sort of coming and going to give me a pat on the head. Then everything sped up and I basically only remember being driven to the hospital in the back of an ambulance.  Then the pain started.  It was deafening. I put a smile on my face and made a corny joke as often as I could muster, but on the inside I began to sink.  I knew it was coming.

I was fucking crushed.

No spending time with my friends on tour.  No quality time with my parents. No travel to Turkey.  No travel to Ukraine.  No music festival. No relishing a trip home recalling all the memories.  No Burning Man. No fucking break!

I had just broken my leg.  I canceled everything.  I had no other choice.

Initially, I spent a week in the hospital.  I had a complex surgery to repair the bone and tendons that were severely damaged.  I lost track of day and night.  Sleep came only after exhaustion.  Of course, nothing fights sleep as valiantly as searing pain.  3 hours was the max.  I mean max.  The fibula repair pain dulled to discomfort after about 3 days, but the tendons.  Holy shit. The tendons.  The three medial tendons had been detached and then reattached, along with an artificial tendon, all held together with a titanium device, screwed into the tibia.

If I moved anything on my body, it pierced my reality.

It happened during the first game and I didn’t want to be a distraction to the rest of the team, so I asked the coaches to forbid the boys from taking time away from their training to fiddle with me.  The same was true with my parents.  They had traveled across the world..not to sit in the hospital beside me, but to see all that is Israel.  Really, what could they do?  The boys did play valiantly though.  They played their guts out.  They took Gold in 7s and Bronze in 15s.

My coach would visit me and said the only (best) thing he could say, “I’m so sorry for you.”  What else is there to convey?  We had a laugh and watched a sweaty resident use what looked like hedge clipping shears remove one of the casts from my leg.  He should be arrested for torture.  Are you fucking kidding me?  In the end, Shawn took the massive vice and did it himself, much to our delight.

A note about talking to people that are injured – I sure as hell don’t care about that one time when you did that, what’s it called, and then came out of it and had to go back for that, where’s that place..sorry, I don’t give a shit about what happened to you. Not right now.  Not while I can’t walk.

I don’t want to hear, “Oh, you’ll be fine..” Because who can honestly say that?  What is ‘fine’ after all.  You don’t know.  I mean, if the 60 year old chief of the orthopedic department of the largest hospital in the country doesn’t know, how the hell do you?  Exactly. You don’t.

I don’t want you to sit there and stare at me.  Its awkward and I can’t run away.

The vulnerability I experienced in the hospital was overwhelming.  From having to pee in a jar and sometimes spilling it on myself to eating food that looks to be made from plastic to not sleeping for days to not eating waiting for surgery to being in extreme pain to not having been able to crap in days from the pain medication to trying to pantomime what a blanket is because the nurse doesn’t speak your language..to the shear numbness of my disappointment.

To say it was humbling and defeating is an understatement.

I thank the universe for my dear friends Haddas and Guy Dotan and their 3 beautiful children, who cared for me upon my release from the hospital.  His parents have a wonderful home with a guest house in Hoffit, right on the Mediterranean.  The guest apartment was clean and cool and quiet.  Perfect.  He was so patient with me and would check in with me as often as there was a chance, to see if I needed anything or if there was anything he could help with.  Haddas was the best host and those miniatures..I loved having them come to say hello and laugh and run all around.  I am ever grateful.

The following week the woman I was to meet in Ukraine changed her plans and flew to Israel instead.  While it was beautiful, I felt pretty damned weird.  We had not seen each other in 10 years.  I am American and live my life in Los Angeles.  She is Russian and lives her life in Chelyabinsk.  I was high as a kite on pain meds and starving for communication with a human.  I couldn’t sleep. I struggled with doing most anything beyond laying there and making sure that foot did not move.  I couldn’t carry a cup of coffee.  I felt like I was packing for college in preparation to make love.  The fact she came to see me at all, knowing my current state, is a miracle.

In spite of my injury, she was still amazing.  She was just so easy to be around.  She to was ever patient and cared for me like few people I have ever known.  In my head, sometimes I felt unworthy.

Remember that the entire US delegation and my family have now been gone for two weeks and I can’t fly with my leg in its current condition.  I must wait one more.

My final week was spent at a flat I rented on airbnb.com in Jaffa, which is just south of Tel Aviv.  Try and imagine the heat of the Middle East in August, where you don’t speak the language, can’t read a menu online or ask about the contents of a dish over the phone (skype), are without a car, can only call friends when its the opposite time to be awake as you have an 11 hours time difference, and you are unable to walk…with an incision about a foot long on the outside and 4 inches on the inside of your leg that you must clean every day.

Alone.

Never mind the logical, lucid brain that shuns the effects of seriously powerful pain medication only long enough to remind you that you have tons of work that is being neglected..having brief fits of productivity cuffed by days of feeling worthless and attempting to sleep.

All I wanted to do was come home.  I wanted it to be over and I wanted to be in mild Southern California with my friends and some leafy veggies and a solid steak and retire at the end of the day in a clean house and finally my own comfortable bed.

Stay with me here..I’m nearly done.

So after an 18 hour flight home and a leg that looked more like kettle bell than anything that belonged on a human, I arrived home and my place was gross.  I had told this guy I would have a cleaning lady come over before I got there, because I am a freak about having a clean house.  That’s in normal life.  When I’ve been gone for 2 months, rode hard and put up wet, it had better be clean!  I’ll save the details, but suffice to say that my dogs live better.  Are you a fucking idiot, man?

I was livid.

So, I spent my first week back getting things back in order.  Cleaning. Laundry. Moving furniture.  Why was the furniture moved?  I was losing my mind. All on one leg, mind you.

Meanwhile, remember those wonderful humans I mentioned earlier going to Burning Man? Well, they were just about to depart and the emails were flying around like crazy.  Given I had volunteered to champion one of our major art pieces, that would still go, I had to remain engaged.  Inasmuch, the feelings of loss were amplified again as I would miss out on the experience.

Done. Here we are today. Healing and settling.  But, that is what just happened.

If that sounded like it sucked, it’s because it did.

The culmination of the experience amounted to what I am certain is the most significant disappointment of my life.  It hurt on number of levels.

I’m done complaining.

I’m done.

Whew..that was a good one! If you’ve made it this far, thanks.  I needed to get that out.  If you didn’t make it this far, I suppose you will not know I think your haircut is terrible.  I feel better already.

So, what to do now.

  1. I am acknowledging that which I’m thankful.  Always.  The list is long, diverse, and vast.
  2. I must heal this leg and I am proud to say that it coming along ahead of schedule (hat tip to  mom and dad for great genes)  Today is exactly 6 weeks since surgery and mobility is great and the pain is gone.  My diet is full of green vegetables, fresh fruit, and organic meat.  Rehab has started at the hospital.  Walking in the pool has just begun.  Finally, I can sleep.
  3. I must surround myself with people who love me and bring me up.

I need your advice.

What else can I do?  What lessons are to be learned?  What can I do differently next time?

Writing this and getting it out is the first step.  Next, I need to figure out ways to grow from this and manage life better.

Seriously, please do write if you have ideas on how to cope with loss and heartbreak and anger.  I’d appreciate it.

Life is an amazing ride, as it will it will fill your sails or drown you quick.  This go round has been in the steel of the teeth.  However, as I proof read this essay, its the friends and family that mark each bright spot.  For those people I hold dear, I am thankful.

Stay close,

AD

Aaron Loring Davis
310-663-2865
www.aaronloringdavis.com

 

Video Rugby Update From Israel

FINAL TOUR UPDATE
+
PILLOW STACKING

Howdy Friend,

This is the final tour update from the Maccabi Games.  I have also included a pillow stacking technique.

For those that missed it, I wrote a rather lengthy essay on how rugby has affected my life and what it means to me.  I followed up with a mid season update toward the twilight of the season with Santa Monica.

This is a short video update from Israel.  The same details are listed below.

The tour has been amazing!

We had an incredible precamp and the team really came together.
At day 5 touring started and we visited the old city of Jerusalem, Masada, a beduin dinner in the desert, Yad Vashem, and many other historical sites.
After most of the tour started, the 7s tournament took place and the US team played like champions.  We won a coat hanger of a game in the final against a very strong Israeli side to bring home gold.
The opening ceremony was incredible as over 70 countries walked into the stadium in Jerusalem to a sold out crowd of 35,000.  The night saw speeches from the President, dignitaries, music, and dancing from artists all over the world.  I was honored and ever grateful that my parents were able to experience it with me.  Truly an amazing evening.
Our first 15s game was against Canada and in absolutely shocking fashion, I broke my leg 30 minutes into the first half.  To say I was disappointed would be a gross understatement.  I spent a couple days in the hospital before getting surgery and then spent another week in recovery as the surgery was quite complex.  The pain has worn off for the most part and now I have been able to see a brighter side of the injury.  By not being able to play, I have been given ample time alone to think about my career as a rugby player, how the transition to other roles associated with rugby might look, and a general state of my being that is afforded only when spending hours upon hours alone.
To me, rugby is a great metaphor for life.  Much of what is executed and learned on the pitch can and should be applied to life.  In that spirit, while the hand I was dealt was poor relative to the next guy, I feel as though it has been a lesson in patience and acceptance.  If given a chance to do it again, I might not have broken my leg, but I certainly would not change the men that make up this team or the experiences that have highlighted this tour.
The next game was against Great Britain.  We were beating them in every phase of play and at 60 minutes subbed out most starters. The luck then swung toward the opponents as they ended the game ahead.  The outcome did not affect the playoff matrix, as we both had playoff berths.  Only ego and pride were at stake and the Brits came out on top.
The first game of the playoffs saw a physical test with the Australians, the defending gold medal team from 2009. The game had flurries of champaign rugby, muddled with yellow cards, dropped balls, and general mayhem between the uprights.  A hat tip goes to the Aussies who came out ahead and will compete for the Gold medal against Israel in the finals.  Israel handily defeated the Brits to send the centuries old grudge match back to the pitch for a second round.  The bronze will be contested between the US and the Brits just prior to the finals.
You can find a link to the live broadcast on my facebook wallhttp://facebook.com/aaronloringdavis
All in all, it has been an amazing tour and I have been fortunate to make what will likely be life long friends with many of my teammates and staff.  It might not be on the field, but I’ll return to the Maccabiah again.

Stay close,

AD

ps – In the boredom of spending nearly two weeks in a hospital and then my hotel room, I tested and identified the optimal pillow stacking technique to support a broken leg.

Rugby Video Update [final] & STEAM Carnival

Rugby + STEAM

Last update before leaving + a very cool carnival

Howdy Friend,

This is the final update on my rugby progress before I leave for Israel to compete.  I’m also sharing a really cool project that some of my best friends are building.

For those that missed it, I wrote a rather lengthy essay on how rugby has affected my life and what it means to me.  The essay has quite a bit of history and photos, thoughts on playing for Santa Monica RFC this season, and why this third attempt at a Gold medal is so special.

More than anything, this video is a big THANK YOU!!!

Mom and Dad, thank you so much!  You are my greatest inspiration.
Everyone who gave a donation, your financial support is what will allow me to make this journey.  I am so grateful!
Thanks again to everyone that has pushed me and encouraged me, whether by phone, email, text…all of it has helped drive me to be my very best.
To the boys at Santa Monica RFC, you are my family and I appreciate you for going to battle with me this season.   I also must give a nod to the Beach Boks, the good lads I now train with on the beach for touch, whom intend on keeping me honest (on sides) and in good spirits (always a bit of banter) before I depart.
The next update will be from the Games, medal in hand.  Thanks again to everyone that has helped me along.  I would not have made it this far without you.
In other news, some of my best friends are building the coolest carnival you had ever seen!

S.T.E.A.M. stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math. Right-o, so they are rolling this into a carnival and tricking kids in to learning all kinds of cool stuff, by making it all fun!

Can you imagine being able to attend this exposition of education…a jamboree of jubilation, all in the name of learning?

They have nearly reached their fund raising goal of $100,000 at the time of this writing and it looks like they are going to make it!  So cool!!!!

Check out their Kickstarter here

Life is the most spectacular show on earth. ~ Sara Gruen, Water for Elephants

Stay close,

Aaron

310-663-2865
www.aaronloringdavis.com

ps – if it’s been longer than you are comfortable with since we last connected, please reach out.
pps – you look fantastic today!