A Moveable Feast

Kinetic Sculpture

Howdy Friend,

I have always enjoyed building things, working with my hands.

I am working on a project that is on Kickstarter.com

I like tasks that are born from problems that push me to the edge.  Complex, with many variables, high stakes, and requiring thought from diverse fields.  I feel like I grow as I solve these.

I like mundane tasks that are repetitive and often monotonous, too.  These make my brain quiet and allow me to rest.  They also present an opportunity to practice patience and commitment, as the fun stuff isn’t allowed to be appreciated without the drudgery and I know it.

A Moveable Feast is both and is going to kick ass!

Ernest Hemingway wrote A Moveable Feast about his experience in Paris in the 1920’s.  “This is how Paris was in the early days when we were very poor and very happy.”  In it, he recalls how every cafe were a buffet of most interesting tales from even more fascinating people.  “If the reader prefers, this book may be regarded as fiction”, yet the stories are a memoir of his time there.  Paris in the 1920’s!!

We hope to recreate the essence of those glory days aboard a most interesting and unique machine.

My friend Dan Busby, Head Chef for Dinner, certainly belongs in the fascinating people department and I was stoked when he invited me to help build this carnival of metal.  A handful of other really cool cats are lending a hand, too, so it’s a lot of fun to get together to figure it all out.  Head scratching and laughs abound.

Our concept is simple: Create an art bike that we can pedal around while enjoying a feast.  The seats must be comfortable and the table wide enough that our legs and drivetrain can fit underneath.  We’ve got a lot of details to hammer out, but we’re making some great progress.  We’ll decorate the table with the finest china, ornate chafing dishes, and goblets of wine, and we’ll dine in style.  A meal upon the Moveable Feast will never be mundane.

The wheels are completely done.  The steering and transmission have been acquired.  The final design is making it was to paper.

Building an art bike is expensive.  It will probably cost in excess of $4,000 by the time its done and Dan is putting up half out of his own pocket.

Would you be willing to make a small donation toward our project?

Our goal is $2,000.  We’ve already raised $1,800 as of this writing and we have over 6 weeks left on our drive.  We don’t have to stop at $2K though.  What’s cool is that for every bit of cash we raise over our goal means that we get to add extra cool stuff.  Think tall candle sticks, doilies, top hats all around, and sound…of course, sound.  Massive, beautiful sound!

You get cool stuff when you make a donation, too.  A couple of my favorites are $10+ a copy of the recipe book we are writing of meals that will be feasted upon, $40+ a signed copy of Hemingway’s book signed by the builders of the contraption, or $400+ a ride anywhere in Los Angeles with 6 of your friends with dinner served..Hollywood? Downtown? A sunset ride along the boardwalk in Venice?

Here’s a link to our Kickstarter page

Thanks for giving my project a look.  I hope you’re smiling.

Talk soon,

Aaron

ps – Real big thanks goes to Syyn Labs for offering space to build, Aaron Industrial Recycling and Aaron Blatt for donating the aluminum rims and various metal, a cool old salt in North Ridge for a good deal on a golf cart and some spare parts, and everyone who has lent a hand or thrown a few bucks toward our cause!  Thank you so much!

pps – If you want to help, you can make a small donation.  Even $1 helps out

pps – Did you notice that we’re going to get doilies if we exceed our goal? That makes me so happy.

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

2011 Year In Review

Howdy Friend,

I hope you’ve had a peaceful and productive 2011 and are looking forward to new opportunities in the new year.

The last year of my life has been simply amazing.  I just feel so full of life and am looking forward to amplifying these effects as the new year emerges.

The super duper short version of my going’s on:

  • Fell in love with sailing
  • Joined the citizenship of Burning Man
  • Traveled to the magical lands of New Zealand and Australia for the Rugby World Cup
  • Left Sotheby’s to join Coldwell Banker
  • Started development on 3 pieces of software
  • Directed InternetCE.com in getting approved in California
  • Increased the search ranking position of several companies
  • Agressively pursued happiness

Now for the expanded expanded made for TV version:

  • Sailing – I wrote a lengthy passage here about my latest passion, however this quote from E.B White sums it up:
    “If a man must be obsessed by something, I suppose a boat is as good as anything, perhaps a bit better than most. A small sailing craft is not only beautiful, it is seductive and full of strange promise and the hint of trouble. If it happens to be an auxiliary cruising boat, it is without question the most compact and ingenious arrangement for living ever devised by the restless mind of man–a home that is stable without being stationary, shaped less like a box than like a fish or a girl, and in which the homeowner can remove his daily affairs as far from shore as he has the nerve to take them, close hauled or running free–parlor, bedroom, and bath, suspended and alive.”
  • Burning Man – I shared my thoughts on the event here.  Wiith out hesitation, I feel this event is the most creative, bizarre, welcoming, nonjudgemental, and industrious I have ever known.  I’ll go back.
  • Rugby World Cup – I organized a tour for 9 friends I have played rugby with over the years to visit the footy motherland, New Zealand.  I share all the details fit for print here.  We also spend a bit of time in Australia, which was cool.
  • Real Estate – I left Sotheby’s International Realty, after nearly 5 years, to join Coldwell Banker.  It is safe to say that the company I joined in late 2005 is a very diferrent one that Ieft earlier this year.  I still apreciate the competence and friendship of many co-workers that remain with Sotheby’s and have much gratitude for the opportunity to have worked with them.  With all of in mind, I am also thankful to have been invited to join Coldwell Banker and to continue to be called on to advise on the transfer of properties in Los Angeles.
  • Software – With 6 years behind me in the real estate game (lease, residential, land, and commercial), I have realized several opportunities that can be achieved through software.  Although the programs are still in private beta, I am happy to share them with anyone that might be interested.  I sincerely believe that they, independently and collectively, will change the way real estate is traded.  To say that I am excited about these developments is an understatement.
  • InternetCE – Over the past 5 years, I have helped bring my family’s company online.  A major milestone reached this past year was getting approved to sell our courses in the state of California.
  • SEO – Search engine optimization became an interest with the development of InternetCE.  Understanding how to get the most out of Google is important for every business and I find the process very interesting and challenging.   I’ve enjoyed having been able to help several companies achieve more from search and I’m happy to do a free audit for you, if you’d like to learn more.
  • Happiness – Pursuit of happiness has come to the forefront of my focus.  Not to say I haven’t enjoyed my life thus far, but I am putting much more intention into making sure that my actions are aligned with what I know makes me happy. In an effort to plan and record these actions, I created a Life List, which was public when I first wrote it.  I have since redacted it.  Got keep em guessing a little, right?

I am amazed at the surprises life brings.  I am fascinated by the world around me.  I am in love with learning.

“Stay hungry.  Stay Foolish.” ~ Steve Jobs

Here’s to 2012!  Let’s make a good one, shall we?

Talk soon,

Aaron

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

ps – If it’s been longer than you are comfortable with since we last spoke, for pete’s sake, call me!
pps- I have recently changed email providers and I’m sorry for including you if you’ve unsubscribed.  You can unsubscribe again below.
ppps – You are the most important person in this universe.  Don’t lose sight of that.

Life List

A trip to the desert, a trip to southern hemisphere, and a rather solemn birthday got me thinking.

I asked myself, “Aaron, what makes you happy?”

So, then I started writing.

Then I searched around the net a bit for inspiration.

Then I played a little basketball, had some supper, wrote some more, and took a nap.

In the end, my friend Danny Dover’s site – Life Listed, was all the inspiration I needed. He has put together a nice frame work with which to create your own list.

I wrote down all of the experiences that have made me happy in the past. I also wrote down a bunch of things that I think would be really cool in the future. I then gave a good measure of thought to when would be reasonable to complete it.

Here is my life list.

Having a list like this where I can see it frequently and also in public will help me with my decision making process. It’ll be good for making sure the tasks I am doing every day are aligned with the experiences I wish to accomplish in my life.

Helping

It was 6:32pm.

I was sitting at my computer writing.

I heard a small screech, a couple loud thumps, and then a really loud crash as my building shook.

I knew what had happened.  It happens every few days at my house, but just not to this degree.

There was a wreck outside my house on Pacific Ave.

I rushed downstairs and ran as fast as I could around the corner to help.

An SUV had been traveling north on Pacific Ave. had jumped the curb, taken out 2 street signs, a few trees in front of my place and slammed head on into my neighbors house.

No skid marks.  Full on at probably around 50mph, which is how fast the cars travel down this stretch of road.

I was the first person on the scene and I assessed the scene.  The vehicle did not look as though there was fire danger so I approached the car to find the man driver convulsing and seizing, still in the harness.

I got certified as an EMT last year and the training came back quick.  I knew I needed to stop his head from moving as he very likely had a broken neck so I opened the rear door and tried to hold his head to secure his cervical spine.  As I began, other people came over to help and I told the first person, Simon (my neighbor), to take my place so that I could asses him.  We made the transfer and I began to check him out.  He was sweating profusely and bleeding from his forehead.  He began to seize harder and we were unable to hold him still.  He wasn’t responding to verbal or painful (rubbing the chest) stimuli and his eyes we uncontrolled.  Ultimately, his seizures became so violent that we were forced out of the car.  I continued to stay by his side and try to communicate with him as he he came and went.

Ultimately, the paramedics got there and then the cops and then the crash truck and the wrecker and about 30-40 congregated around.  Camera men were taking pictures and traffic was at a standstill on Pacific, where rush hour had it packed to the brim with the entire north bound lane shut down.  They had it under control.

They got him on a stretcher and our of there as quickly as possible.  That made me feel good.  That they were there to help.

I walked back in my house.  I paced in circles for a few moments and I called my roommate to tell him.  My rugby coach called as he had driven past the house and explained in a voice mail “There is wreck in front of your place and I have a feeling you were involved.  Call me back.”  I did and spatted who knows what, but that I was ok.  Another friend text me to see if I was ok.  Reply – Yes, thanks for asking.  I couldn’t catch my breath and I couldn’t sit down.

I needed to get some air.

I started on a walk to the beach and as I walked across Pacific Ave. down the 2 blocks to the sand, I started feeling weird.

I veered from feelings of excitement to sorrow.  I thought about my girlfriend from college that had died while we were dating.  I thought about my loving girlfriend, Lea, that I spend so much time with now.  I thought about how much I love to be able to help.  I thought about how powerless I felt as there was nothing I could do when.

I needed to walk more.

I took a seat on my favorite bench as the sun was setting over the pacific ocean and took a few deep breaths.

I thought about my mom and my sister and her baby and my dad.  I thought about Lea.

I thought about how there was nothing that could’ve changed the events that had just taken place.  It was determined that he started having a seizure while driving, jumped the curb and never hit the brakes as he hurled his truck into the house. Nobody at fault.  No one to blame. A seizure.

What if someone had been waiting at that bus stop, like they do all day long.  What if someone had been walking across the street. What if the girl in the house that he hit had been close to that wall?  What if instead of veering right, he had gone left into oncoming rush hour traffic at 50 mph?

The thoughts made my stomach turn.  I thought it was good no one else got hurt. I thought that he likely could die from the injuries he had just suffered and that was not good.

“Is there anything else I could’ve done?”, I asked myself.  I didn’t like asking that question.

I called my Mom and as the first ring started, an angel appeared.

I met Whakapaingia David Luke 6 years ago when we both joined Santa Monica Rugby Club.  We won our first of back to back national championships that year and we probably spent 6 out of 7 days together.  Eating, training, partying, praticing, traveling..living together and we became fast friends.  I was there the afternoon he met his wife on the beach and I was in the house to help deliver his daughter.  To say he is a brother is an understatement.

Right when I needed someone to talk to that could hear me, in spite of my uneasiness and discomfort, there he was.

As I dialed my Mom, I looked up and Lucky, as his rugby buddies affectionately call him, said “Fancy seeing you here” with a great big smile behind the stroller a beaming Tahi, his darling daughter.

I wanted to cry.  I wanted to hug him.  I wanted to kiss his little girl.  I wanted to be alone.  I wanted to be next to my friend.

I didn’t know what the fuck I wanted..

But seeing him made it all better.  We talked for a while and retreated into my favorite restaurant, where I eat nearly every day for breakfast, but had never visited at night, and had a beer.  He called his wife to meet us and she was on the way.

He spoke to me as my friend.  While about 90 minutes had passed since I first heard the loud crash, I was only starting to realize the progression of time..that is, the time where we live.  Minutes are minutes and hours are hours.  For the past hour and a half, it had been a blur.  Lights..sirens..cars..horns..people, of all stripes, coming..going..looking..walking..muttering.

In all the words of empowerment he told me as he bounced his little girl on his knee, I only remember one thing.

“The universe doesn’t make mistakes.”

It made me feel better.

If I could have chosen anyone in the world to show up at that precise moment, it would’ve been him.  His smile and his overtly positive persona.

Perhaps the universe doesn’t make mistakes..

I felt I should probably call my Mom back, as she would’ve seen the phone dial earlier.

In speaking with her, her voice eased me.  Her tone and her tangible concern could be felt.  We talked about hope and loneliness and the path of a warrior.  We talked about how part of what makes me, me, is that it was my only instinct to run as fast as I could to help.  She went on to remind me that while that has great value, it comes at a tremendous price, for I would always be there first to witness the bad as well.  That was part of the deal but that I was equipped to deal with it.

My life has been always been full of the “front lines”.

We shared a laugh and she closed a much needed conversation with a quote from Emily Dickinson:

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune–without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

I felt put back together.  I felt capable and proud of myself, however still drained from the experience.

I walked back to my place with Waka, Sara, and little Tahi and made small talk.  Soon after we got home, Chris got home as well and we all shared inthe joy of watching an 8 month old look around the room and giggle.

Life.

Waka and his family soon left and Chris and I had a chance to talk.

Chris’s Mom was an ER nurse so he has first hand knowledge of the effects of witnessing human suffering and sickness.  We sat down for a few minutes and he eased me with his advice.  He always has a way of rationalizing things.  Breaking them down into separate parts so that they are more manageable.

We talked about accepting life and all that comes with it is in fact a part of life.  How accepting that fact can help one to understand and move positively through events such as those that just took place.  We talked about how part of my purpose in being able to help was “just being there at the man’s side, so he wasn’t alone.” We talked about how being emotional in the face of emergencies is important, especially when it involved another person.

Him talking to me was calming and comforting.

I suppose his ability to be a great listener and willingness to give sound advice is part of the reason I call him one of my best friends on this earth.

Its been nearly 5 hours now. I’m calm and tired. Drained.

I hope the fellow is OK.

I feel thankful for my Mom and my friends and my girlfriend and my rugby coach and little Tahi and this world.

I’m thankful I was able to help.

 

 

Morning

It used to drive my Dad mad. Simply crazy! He was always a morning man, waking up at ‘O:dark, thirty’ before the rest of creatures began to stir. Grand Dad had similar ideas. He would proclaim that getting a jump on a long drive was good to do before the sun came up, ‘That night time dark air makes the engine run cooler..’

I, on the other hand, have
always been a night owl. Even when I were tired, I still had chutzpa to stay up to the wee hours.

That has changed. Some what..

I get up early now. I love to take walks before I do anything. Well, not anything, but most things. I get out of bed, put in my contacts and brush my grill piece, take my vitamins and drink a protein shake..and then go for my walk.

I live a couple blocks off the beach in Venice, CA and if you’ve ever visited, you know that the boardwalk is a bit gritty a lot of the time. No, no, I’m not complaining! I love the salty characters that mingle and mix on and around the colorful strip. I fit in and it makes me not feel so damn weird for having a mohawk or an ear ring or funny shoes or doing yoga poses admist the piano man and the guy on stilts or the lady that’s telling fortunes. I suppose I was made to live here..

Returning from digression, whilst I love the bustle of the boardwalk, in the morning its empty. Its quiet and its soft. The hard edges have yet to wake up and the day is fresh.

Waking up early allows my mind to boot up. My heart gets primed for a good day and the bits of oil that smooth my joints is well received. By the end of my 15 walk I’m ready to tackle the world..and yet, although I made a solid table of breaky this morning to kick it off right, its only 7:36am

Onward and upward!

Morning

It used to drive my Dad mad. Simply crazy! He was always a morning man, waking up at ‘O:dark, thirty’ before the rest of creatures began to stir. Grand Dad had similar ideas. He would proclaim that getting a jump on a long drive was good to do before the sun came up, ‘That night time dark air makes the engine run cooler..’

I, on the other hand, have
always been a night owl. Even when I were tired, I still had chutzpa to stay up to the wee hours.

That has changed. Some what..

I get up early now. I love to take walks before I do anything. Well, not anything, but most things. I get out of bed, put in my contacts and brush my grill piece, take my vitamins and drink a protein shake..and then go for my walk.

I live a couple blocks off the beach in Venice, CA and if you’ve ever visited, you know that the boardwalk is a bit gritty a lot of the time. No, no, I’m not complaining! I love the salty characters that mingle and mix on and around the colorful strip. I fit in and it makes me not feel so damn weird for having a mohawk or an ear ring or funny shoes or doing yoga poses admist the piano man and the guy on stilts or the lady that’s telling fortunes. I suppose I was made to live here..

Returning from digression, whilst I love the bustle of the boardwalk, in the morning its empty. Its quiet and its soft. The hard edges have yet to wake up and the day is fresh.

Waking up early allows my mind to boot up. My heart gets primed for a good day and the bits of oil that smooth my joints is well received. By the end of my 15 walk I’m ready to tackle the world..and yet, although I made a solid table of breaky this morning to kick it off right, its only 7:36am

Onward and upward!

Never mind “On The Air’, I’m thinking about the down time..

I have been a salesman my entire life.  You can read a bit more about the history in that regard here, or if you know me, you know that to be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

In any event, lately, I am honored to be working for BizeeBee.com in Business Development and Sales.  That means that among other things, I am required to speak to quite a few good folks on the phone sharing the benefits of how our software can make running a Yoga Studio much simpler while retaining more students.

If you have ever done phone sales before, you know that some times it can be difficult to find a groove and get on the phone and more importantly, stay on the phone for extended periods of time.  When I first started in sales via the phone I would try to monitor my “On The Air’ time in an effort to make the most of my day.  This can be a good method, but I’ve found something that helps me a bit more.

Monitor the time I am not on the phone.

It’s a pretty simple process.  I set up sprints for myself lasting 50 minutes to make calls and I set my phone to lock the screen after a minute.  Thus, after I hang up on a call, I have exactly 60 seconds to make another call before it locks.  In the event it locks, I owe myself 10 pushups.

They add up. Quick.

I tally the number of times this happens and at the end of the 50 minute sprint, I crunch out the number of push ups I’ve accumulated.  My shoulders are thanking me for the exercise, but that’s not the point.

The result is being ever aware of my down time, thus I end up spending more time on the phone spreading the good word.

Onward and upward!

Never mind “On The Air’, I’m thinking about the down time..

I have been a salesman my entire life. You can read a bit more about the history in that regard here, or if you know me, you know that to be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

In any event, lately, I am honored to be working for BizeeBee.com in Business Development and Sales. That means that among other things, I am required to speak to quite a few good folks on the phone sharing the benefits of how our software can make running a Yoga Studio much simpler while retaining more students.

If you have ever done phone sales before, you know that some times it can be difficult to find a groove and get on the phone and more importantly, stay on the phone for extended periods of time. When I first started in sales via the phone I would try to monitor my “On The Air’ time in an effort to make the most of my day. This can be a good method, but I’ve found something that helps me a bit more.

Monitor the time I am not on the phone.

It’s a pretty simple process. I set up sprints for myself lasting 50 minutes to make calls and I set my phone to lock the screen after a minute. Thus, after I hang up on a call, I have exactly 60 seconds to make another call before it locks. In the event it locks, I owe myself 10 pushups.

They add up. Quick.

I tally the number of times this happens and at the end of the 50 minute sprint, I crunch out the number of push ups I’ve accumulated. My shoulders are thanking me for the exercise, but that’s not the point.

The result is being ever aware of my down time, thus I end up spending more time on the phone spreading the good word.

Onward and upward!

Windows

The windows are open and I hear a chirp from the yard. Night. Enough smoke from the fire to know its a good one. Fat dog listening, only moving eyes. Slow breeze on the cusp of spring. Lea’s smile.

Knee Knowledge

I came out of retirement from competitive rugby to give it another go this season with Santa Monica Rugby Club.  I was playing some really good (by my standards) footy and really enjoying myself as the games went on.  It all came to a halt, when against OMBAC, the #1 seated team in our division and certainly a contender for top national rankings, I hurt my knee.  We were in a maul driving down the field with solid pace that I got tangled up in the soup and someone crashed into my knee from the outside and I came screaming to the ground.  Talk about a wounded animal.  Holy Smokes!  I not sure I’ve ever cried out like that before, but it hurt.  Bad.  I had a bit of trouble catching my breath for a few moments and and when I did, the entire indecent seemed to blur.  My friends helped me off the field and my girl came over to see how I was and the trainer began the assessment.  Through a few structural tests (beding the leg in various ways) she determined that I had either torn or severely sprained my MLC.  The MLC is the ligament on the inside of the knee that helps to keep your leg straight and not buckling inward.  An appointment with an orthopedic and an MRI later, her determinations were confirmed.  I would be 3-6 weeks, at best, and probably more like 3-6 months before I would return to playing at the level I was, if I so chose.

Bummer, dude.

The fall out would come shortly there after.

I was sequestered to my bed and couch for days on top of days.   Even the simplest of tasks (ie – taking a shower, getting out of bed, putting on socks) loomed large and nearly impossible without help.  Working out was out of the question and even thoughI drive an automatic, getting in the car took 10 minutes as I would contorsion the rest of my body to accommodate my immobilized pole of a leg.

It was difficult to sleep in light of the acute pain and the medication helped to make everything a bit grey.  My temper soared and my tolerance dwindled.  From the stress and lack of exercise, I then developed a cold.   Headaches, a runny nose, coughing and sneezing, and generally feeling like cold poo would take over my waking hours.

Of course, during all of this time, I have been responsible to work and a small collection of commitments I previously made (organizing buying blazers for my rugby team, helping friends find a new place to live, etc.).

Now, I realize that I had what many might consider to be a relatively minor injury in the grand scheme of things, but man was I rain cloud.  Three weeks into it and I now beginning to hobble around pretty good without crutches and the acute pain has morphed into a sort of slow ache.  I can sleep and the cold has lifted.

What did I learn?

  1. My health is my #1 priority – Being able to get a solid sleep is an absolute must.  Eating clean and healthy food is crucial.  Filling my mind with uplifting content is paramount.
  2. My ability to reason and remain rational in the face of adversity while wounded is extremely difficult – I had blow outs with several of those closest to me during this time over what I see in retrospect as being relatively minor
  3. I must ask for help – I’m an independent guy and like to do for myself.  However, when I am having trouble even walking I need to swallow my pride and ask for help from those I know love and care for me so much.
  4. I must limit, as best I can, the number of important decisions I make – Having a skewed perspective on the world + really powerful pain meds + lack of sleep + generally feeling like shit = really crummy decision making.
  5. I must find the light – It is a fact that I had quite a few strikes against me, but I must remember to see the light and positive in my world around me, even if I am currently at the proverbial bottom.
  6. I must break a sweat – Even if its only by sitting there and clapping my hands, the endorphins and chemicals that get released when doing such, make me feel better.  Always.
  7. Sometimes I need to stop – I have struggled with telling folks no when they ask something of me.  When down and out, I must find the courage to say no to more commitments.  In fact, when I find myself circling toward the caldron, I must let go of the obligation sand bags if I plan to rise again before a total blow out.

I might be able to identify a few more lessons, but that’ll do it for now.

Rugby has now been reduced to cheering (heckling) from the sidelines and my schedule is quite a bit leaner as a result of my trimming the non-mandatories.  My breath is deep again and I hope to begin practicing yoga in the next week.  Things are looking up.

This injury has been a learning experience and I have grown from it.

Onward and upward!