Is that not an awesome outfit for the airport?
(I’m writing this one on a plane- dumbass (me) didn’t check the flights, just clicked… and ended up getting a flight from the OC to Austin, by flying from California, to Atlanta, and THEN to Austin… nice one)
“Are you gonna make it out to our event?”
“I’m not sure…”
“Well, of course you’d be our VIP guest.”
“I’m pretty booked, and I’m not sure about flight funds right now. You guys need a photographer?”
“I don’t know… you’d have to talk to Larry about that.”
That was the conversation on Skype with one of my awesome couches, Caleb Jennings.
The next day the phone rings, “You’re NOT going to believe this! I woke up at noon, and had a Skype from Larry, ‘Can Ori shoot our event? How much?’ – I hadn’t even talked to him”
I spoke to Larry, we ironed out the details, and it was on.
If that serendipity hadn’t been enough, check this out:
I was supposed to be at a 10 day silent meditation (Vipassana) center during these times. I got put on the waiting list because I waited too long. They called me up the day before, and said I can go… but I was already booked with projects.
My flight was Thursday at 6:30am. That means I need to be at the airport at 5:30am. It’s about a 20 minute drive (there’s no traffic in Austin at 5am), so we figured we’d leave at 5am.
I figured I’d stay up all night, and just sleep on the flight.
At 10pm (CST) on Wednesday, I tweeted that I needed a place to crash, and by 2am I got a text from Angel- compliments of Aron Bender. I now feel like Angel and I are old buddies, even though we barely spent time together. That’s one beautiful aspect of Couch Surfing by the way. (You can see our photo shoot at the bottom of this blog post)
4am… I’m starting to drift off, or display symptoms of what I like to call “Keyboard Head” (’cause you fall down, and your head hits the keyboard, leaving imprints of the keys in your forehead).
“I’ll just take a small nap. It will be fine, ’cause I set my alarm, and Craig set his alarm, and he’s responsible….”
“We’re not going to make it.”
Oh crap… guess my alarm didn’t wake me after all. *sigh* Well, no reason to stress. It was $150 for a new ticket to California for the same day. Back to sleep.
Now, instead of arriving at noon, I would arrive at 7:30pm (PT). Angel was fine with that.
This gave me time to ride with Craig to his office, pick up a paycheck for some of the recent web and design projects I did for them, and even do a quick product shoot for them. No problem on making it to the airport on time at 2pm (as compared to 6am).
The Best Part
Angel came and got me. We’ve never met. How would she find me? The traditional approach “I’m wearing a brown and white striped shirt” didn’t seem like it would make it fast enough. Angel joked around that I should be doing jumping jacks between 7:45 and 7:55. I did, and she found me very easily!
I gotta tell you, that was semi embarassing. I was nervous about doing it, being concerned about “What would people think?” and “I’ll look like an asshole”- which are great reasons to do something! In fact, the jumping jacks warmed me up, as the outside air was getting frigid. Most importantly, Angel will never forget me, and I have a funny story now!
We made it home, ate some dinner, I got my ass kicked in Super Smash Bros on the Nintendo WII by her 12 year old, and then Angel and I just sat around until 2am (4am for me) exchanging travel and adventure stories. Angel has been around the world too.
The next day was amazing, and unexpected.
I had no car. Registration for the event begins at 4:30pm. I like being early, and scoping out the scene. The Hilton (where the event woas taking place), was out of the way for Angel, as her job (Massage therapist) is the other direction.
I had Angel drop me off at “The Corner Bakery” – a coffee shop/restaurant that was near her home. There would be internet there.
The weather was so nice out! Cloudless blue sky, a high 60’s, a cool breeze, and plenty of shade from Palm trees (the only downside, the breeze kept knocking small flowers from the trees, and into my hair).
The bench I was on had WiFi reaching it in full strength. I was Facebooking, when Adriana realized that I was in California. We connected, and she figured out that I was in the OC, a few minutes from her job. She was going to meet me for lunch… ‘cept that she already ate lunch, and I wasn’t hungry.
I had already moved inside The Corner Bakery, and gotten a coffee before Adriana showed up. That would be all that I ordered from there. I got a text from Angel (who was supposed to be working until 4pm), asking if I’d like to meet up for lunch at the beach.
How perfect?! I was thinking about what a shame it is that I’m in California, at the OC, and will not be hitting the beach. Here was my opportunity.
Angel showed up, and I introduced her to Adriana (who had to go back to work) — they’ve hung out since then (I would’ve gone with, but my phone broke later in the trip, and I could not call or text).
Angel took me to her favorite beach. We had the most amazing Ahi-Tuna Sandwiches with a Wasabi Mayo sauce, and Pineaple. The view was spectacular, and I spent most of lunch doing the consulting thing, telling her the steps she can use to get many more clients,as well as raise her price.
We then went down the stairs to the beach. The tide was low, and we were walking (barefoot) along the rocks and the sand, checking out crabs, shells, and tidal pools. I even got to play with a sea snaemone (which was kind of creepy– little bugger latches on to your fingers, and tries to eat you).
Angel wanted to show me her other favorite beach, and we drove there… but I wa sgetting antsy about the time.
It was almost 4pm, and I wanted to be punctual.
We got to the Hilton.
“Do you have to go right now, or can you stick around a few minutes?” I wanted to introduce her to some of my other couches who were there– Craig Allen, Caleb Jennings, and Jason Moffatt. I called Craig, and they were at a restaurant near by called 118 Degrees.
118 is a raw food restaurant that’s upscale, and wonderful. When we arrived, our Clan (people attending the Longevity Conference) had taken up a majority of the restaurant.
The food was delightful, and very healthy. I (and most people) had ordered a coconut. The Miso soup was the best I’ve ver had. The various drinks were delicious, and the conversation was a trip. I even videotaped a light-sabre (app) battle between Steve Pavlina and Caleb Jennings, as one was on an iPhone, and one was on an a Droid.
I made sure to get a photo of Craig, Caleb, and Angel — 3 of my couches from across the country (Orange County, Las Vegas, and Austin), in one place. The energy was great- we rearranged the restaurant, and even invited people from other tables to come join us. That was because we’re talking about Twitter technologies, web trends, and marketing, while someone 2 tables away was reading a book on using twitter.
“Come, join us, I have 11,000 followers.”
I was bummed, ’cause Angel couldn’t stay– but she had already gotten a new client because of joining me…. Craig… who reported that his massage on Sunday was absolutely amazing.
The even was packed! I believe there were 500 people in attendance, and many crew. Even the internet broadcast was sold out at 500 seats. Apparently, many people care about living a long time, and David Wolfe is the industry leader.
I put my bags up in Caleb and Adam’s room. I met Adam for the 1st time at 118 Degrees, but he was one of the few people I hung out with this weekend, and before lunch was up, he had already invited me to couchsurf in Vegas. We may be doing a roadtrip to Sedona, AZ.
We checked out Larry’s room, the presidential suite. Don’t you think that it looks like Craig is peeing on the door? (he’s not)
Hanging out is fun, but I take my work seriously… so, surprisingly, I did not make a scene, wear my furry hat, or tell too many jokes (In fact, as we said our goodbye, Larry said “It sucks! We didn’t get to spend more than 2 minutes, and you didn’t get to make me laugh once!” — which is not true, ’cause I did make him laugh once, to get a nice smile from him and his stunningly hot girlfriend, Oksana, as I took their photo).
Small note- Caleb went to his first Burning Man, as did Larry and Oksana, and that’s where I met Larry and Oksana…. That’s how they knew my photography skills are so great, and that my humor so corny, witty, and mildly entertaining.
I was in professional mode. I skipped some meals, I skipped going to Au Lac (which is this amazing Vietnamese / Raw restaurant, where the head chef, Chef Ito, has taken a vow of silence, and has not spoken in 10 years. He would rather communicate what he communicates with words, with his amazing foods) multiple times, while all my friends did go.
I can not emphasize enough the importance of going to events…. they are a great way to learn what’s going on in a particular industry, but more importantly, a great way to meet like-minded individuals that can become friends, or business associates. I did not get to network too much this time, as I was way more concerned about doing a kick-ass job.
How kick-ass of a job did I do? More than 4,000 photos! Sure… some of them are blurry (I did not use a flash 98% of the time), and some are of repetitive content, but the event organizers were certainly thrilled! I got all the speakers, all the exhibitors, all the logos, all the standing ovations, all the hugs, the pushups, the book signings, the tastings, the lines out the door for the tonic bar, the folks at the tonic bar making their tonics, the production crew, the giveaways, and of course, people mingling. I was not afraid to cut through the crowd to get the shot I needed. I used my collection of lenses to get closeups when needed, and a wide-fisheye view to show what a sold-out room standing ovation looks like (Larry’s comment when seeing that photo, “Holy crap dude, it looks like there’s 5,000 people here!”– isn’t that the point? ).
I’m jumping around of course.
The days were long. began from 7:30-8:30am. I did not photograph that. I slept. I was pretty tired, as the doors opened at 9am, and the lectures went on until 10:30-11pm. People stayed for the whole thing.
Day number one, one of the first things that were lectured about was the importance of grounding. The short version is that shoes are the most lethal invention that humans have made. Basically, as humans, we’ve done everything we can to block ourselves from the Earth’s energy, which regulates a lot of our biology. We insulate ourselves from the ground by wearing rubber soled shoes most of the day and night. We have windows to block us from the good radiation from the sun (UVB, which helps the skin create Vitamin D), but does not prevent UVA, which causes cancer. Funny enough, until recently, that’s what sunscreen did… block out healthy radiation, but let in the bad stuff. So, by grounding yourself (walking barefoot, amongst other things), you are shielding yourself from solar and electronic radiation. They actually took some blood samples from these 4 ladies, and showed how blood clumps together when it is not grounded… but when you are grounded, blood flows better. They had scientific charts showing all sorts of other things that happen when you are grounded. Let’s say it this way— I want to be grounded! Of course, they sold grounding kits- bed sheets that are interwoven with silver fabric… wristbands… stomach bands… a ground pad for your feet. Many different products that you can use to ground yourself.
There were many speakers who spoke on many topics. Vitamins, Minerals, Probiotics and fermented foods, mushrooms for immunity boosts, the digestive brain vs the cerebral brain, and much more….
Since I was there shooting, I didn’t get to mingle as much as I normally do at events, but I’m cool with that. I feel great about a job well done. The event organizers love the photos, and I do feel a sense of purpose at a job well done.
— writing from the ground now —
Since my phone broke, I couldn’t text people, or call people. I didn’t even have everyone’s numbers! Since I introduced Craig and Angel, I was able to contact her through Craig’s phone on occasion. We decided that after Monday’s Elixir Masters class, I’d get a ride, and we’d do a shoot Monday morning, and then she’d take me to the airport.
The ride I got was from Carlo. Who’s Carlo? He’s my new buddy. We met recently through Facebook / Twitter– he had found me through the LiveOffGroupon contest… he made an entry, saw mine, and was sure I’d win (as was I). We chatted about it a bit, but I can not emphasize how much easier it is to get to know someone in person than over Twitter. Use social media to open doors, but then talk to people on the phone, or meet up with them.
It was really neat… we had a lot in common, and he’s just an interesting fellow. The funny thing was that he’s got this beard, and this long dreaded hair… and he felt a bit odd, as his normally odd looks blended right in at the conference.
If I hadn’t said it– this was the best looking crowd I’ve ever seen at any event… and I attend any events. I suppose it’s ’cause they all do what the speakers say, take good supplements, take a barefoot walk, exercise, watch what they eat…. and of course, now, ground themselves.
Being there certainly inspired me to eat healthier, and exercise some. But it also inspired me to focus on my goals… which are not so much business as they are travel and adventure. I thrive on consulting. I am wired for it. But, exploring new places, doing death-defying things, having new experiences… that’s what really lights me up…. so… I’m looking for travel opportunities that will inspire me. Since I realized that, there’s already talks of me going to document someone’s humanitarian efforts in Uganda. More on that when I know more.
The Elixir Masters workshop was mindblowing. It’s amazing how many herbs people can fit into a smoothie… and they know exactly what each does… you had to see all the things that these people have cured with just a good diet, and herbal drinks. This guy Truth Calkins was constantly citing Doctors, and research, and studies… He owns http://www.erewhonmarket.com/ – where they make these drinks and foods all the time, and of course the supplements and herbs that people need to make this stuff at home. I spoke to Truth, asked how he got started, and it was an amazing story. This wasn’t just a smoothie maker… this was a guy that nearly killed himself (literally) with junk food.
His parents were health nuts, and as a child he wasn’t allowed to eat processed foods (smart!). He later made up for that, by piling it on…. he got fat, ran low on energy, and suffered from depression, candida, and all sorts of other things…. he was just waiting to die– actually trying to do it by overeating the worst kind of food. He had also burnt out from being an actor and a graphic designer…. and then realized it was all in the knowledge….
Truth read everything he could… over and over… he cut out his sugars, he ate fermented foods…. let’s say it this way, he’s now 40, and I bet he gets carded for alcohol.
After the Elixir Masters, Carlo dropped me off at Angels. Seth was there, Angel was there, her kids were there….. we had dinner, and then just sat around chatting. I made Seth (Angel’s boyfriend) a website, and demonstrated how easy a WordPress site is to control. It already looks better- he took to it like a fish to water.
The next morning we did our shoot… in a very little bit of time.
I’ve been really productive about catching up on work. Perhaps that healthy food has me thinking more clearly?
Crap…. forgot to hit Publish… ’cause I wanted to add the gallery… lots of separate projects, aka.. distractions. So, here’s the gallery– and I’ve lost a few pounds already by just eating healthy again, jogging a tiny bit, and I feel great. When I did my 30 day raw, I also made sure to get a full night’s sleep each night (Which is generally not the norm for me).