When you’re this close to your colleagues (which I’m thrilled to say I am), you learn some pretty interesting things about them. For our beloved broadcast producer and resident over-sharer Jim, a lot of what I learn just happens to relate to his lower GI tract. With visual assistance from Joseph, this infographic should give you a clearer picture of what I know about Jim.
It may seem odd, but I guess that’s just how comfortable we are around here. And I speak for everyone when I say I’m lucky to know Jim, inside and out.
As with anybody pursuing such endeavors, I, from time to time, suffer from a case of creative block. Arriving at such an impasse isn’t a bad thing, necessarily, and how you choose to get out of it goes a long way to your growth as a creative mind. One of the best ways to stay fresh, I’ve found, is to pursue personal projects. When you’re creating for yourself – no clients, no deadlines, no rules – you enjoy a freedom that liberates and can lead to some really interesting results.
North Carolina-based designer Matt Stevens has been thinking along those same lines. What first started with Stevens illustrating each pair of Nike shoes he had purchased dating back to the ’80s led to him designing daily depictions of the classic Air Max 1 shoe. “I began my own personal projects as a way to reconnect with just the exploring and ‘play’ aspect of design,” Stevens told me. “Just to do something completely for myself and see where it would lead. As an outlet and a personal challenge.”
After several iterations of the Air Max 1, Stevens had an illustration that reminded him of Aaron Draplin, so he turned it into something of a tribute. Then one inspired by Invisible Creature. And another and another, leading to a whole series inspired by fellow creatives. Once that mini-series had concluded, Stevens was faced with heading in a new direction. Where would he go next?
“[The tribute series] made it much more open and more of a challenge to be more conceptual once that ended,” Stevens said. “I began to explore my own range of illustration styles, found objects and photography. That was part of the fun. See where it would lead me. There were days I had an idea and couldn’t wait to try and execute it. It felt great to reconnect with that passion, even if it’s a simple shoe illustration.”
As the series has grown, so has the attention it’s gotten Stevens. His daily offerings, which just ended last week, were passed around on Twitter and other sites like a well-worn copy of The Who’s “Tommy” in a ’70s suburb. But the best part, perhaps? How it has helped the designer in ways he didn’t – and couldn’t – anticipate. “I found that some of the ideas and even just some of those ways of thinking found its way into my other work,” he said.
“Good conceptual thinking and creating has its own momentum.” Agreed. So try it yourself the next time you find yourself stuck in a rut. You, like Matt, may be surprised and pleased with the results.
OK, this is already starting out as a bad 4th Grade report on how I spent my summer vacation, so you can stop reading now if you like. For any of you still interested, here goes …
I love it. Period. Plain and simple. Humid, wet, dry, chance of snow? Doesn’t matter. As long as there are no signs of basketball-sized hail or flash flooding, I’m game. I have the benefit of living in nearby Lakewood, so I can take Detroit Road straight in. Or, if I have time, take the scenic route through Edgewater Park. Either way, both are safe passages and relatively bike-friendly (whatever that means).
There seems to be a lot of other benefits to this bike-to-work thing, like leaving a small carbon footprint, saving fossil fuels and ultimately saving ourselves! That’s terrific, but I’m not really an advocate on such matters, nor am I trying to go green. I’m more or less going gray. Don’t get me wrong, I try to do right by not littering and laying off the gas pedal. And I am trying to leave the world a safer, cleaner place than it was before I got here. But it’s not my primary goal and I’m not into the politics of it all.
It’s healthy and enjoyable. Hey! Healthy and enjoyable? In the same sentence? There aren’t a lot of things out there that are both, unless you’re on your honeymoon or maybe getting all Zen-like with your feet behind your head in a yoga class. As long as I’m feeling good enough to pedal around town, I’ll do it.
If you’re still reading this, congratulations! You’ve just won yourself some self-motivation to pump up those tires, throw on some horribly tight-fitting shorts and pedal in to work. Or maybe start with a less ambitious ride and go pick up some bread and eggs up at the corner store. You might like it! You might hate it! You may become as passionate as I. All I know is that it’s a wonderful way to start the morning and end the work day.
On Tuesday, the day I was to take nice pictures of my nice commute in the nicest of mornings for this blog, I suffered two flats. One happened on Clifton a mile from home and the next on Lake, because I rushed the patch job. After the second flat, I just went back home to get my car. For some reason, I habitually quote “A Christmas Story” whenever I get a flat. On that note, I habitually quote “A Christmas Story” throughout the year – I guess there are worse things out there. The flats really ruined my day. Don’t let this deter you from riding. It barely happens and RTA busses are now all equipped with bike racks.
Word of advice: when on the Bud Light Party Deck, don't ask for a Miller Lite.
Last Thursday, the Melamed Riley team descended upon Jac … err … Progressive Field to watch our beloved Cleveland Indians take on the Baltimore Orioles. And because it was the agency’s summer outing, we didn’t just watch the ballgame from anywhere – we watched it from the Bud Light Party Deck, baby!
For those of you unfamiliar with the Bud Light Party Deck, it’s an area just beyond the right-field foul pole where all of your wildest dreams come true – if you have dreams about drinking light beer and eating pulled-pork sandwiches.
If you were to only look at the right-field seats for the entire game, you might've thought it was a sellout.
Fun was had by all, and the Tribe went on to beat the O’s, 4-1. Still, with the two teams having a combined record of 88-142 while playing in front of a crowd of just 14,133, it made a fan such as me long for the good ol’ days.
And not just the Indians’ glory years in the mid-’90s, either. I’m talking about a time before some of us roamed the earth. A time when the average ballplayer sported a thick mustache, drove a Chevy and resembled everyone’s favorite beer-swilling uncle. The game seemed so much simpler then. No ‘roids, no Rolls Royces in the players’ lot.
I'm sure ol' Len Barker hopped in his Chevy and headed straight to the bar after that one.
Oh well. I guess I should just have another Bud and quit longing for a time I never even knew. After all, who needs gritty players or a competitive franchise when you’ve got a party deck? Cold beer and tasty food – now that’s progressive.
I spend far too much time commuting to downtown Cleveland from my home in a western suburb of Akron. It gets old … brake, idle, brake, idle. What could brighten this up? A recently purchased rapid-fire bubble gun!
It’s fun to watch the reactions of other drivers as these soapy bubbles appear out of nowhere. Women, in general, appear more receptive and allow themselves to smile as these fleeting balloons of happiness go floating past their windshields. Most guys, on the other hand, just furl their brows either from irritation or bewilderment. And I’m happy to report that I’ve yet to have been flipped off … “yet” being the operative word.
But here’s the important thing. I like it. Ha! It makes my drive more entertaining. (I can only take so many books on tape.)
Want to brighten your commute? I got my Bubble Blaster at Toys”R”Us. However, here’s a link to Amazon where they have a far more impressive selection.
Let your bubble blaster and spare ammo ride shotgun with you, wait for the traffic to stop and fire at will. I’m finding while the soapy solution does no damage, it does leave perfectly round, clean spots on my dark green car. A new incentive to keep my car cleaner.
Stay tuned. Bubbles on the boat, bubbles at the ball field and bubbles in the bar are all on deck.
A throng of people with one thing in common. We all had orange cups.
Just minutes from downtown Cleveland there’s a small sliver of Lake Erie shoreline known as Wendy Park. On any given day, boaters from the nearby Whiskey Island Marina, families carrying fishing poles, picnickers, sunbathers and beach volleyball players all peacefully co-exist – and are treated to some of the most amazing sunsets the north coast has to offer.
A few times a year, however, thousands of people descend on Wendy Park, turning this quiet coastal park into a wild, raucous, alcohol-fueled party. And it is awesome.
An army of volunteers ensured that we got refills faster than you can say Herschel Krustofsky.
Krusty’s Summer Sauce Camp is one of these annual events – for just shy of 20 years, it has been one of the Malachi House’s largest fundraisers. Across the park, flags and banners featuring the misanthropic, addiction-riddled Simpsons character flap in the wind. He seems an unlikely mascot for a charity event, but spend a minute at this festival and you know that Krusty would approve.
Around you, a sea of bright orange cups are in the hands of about two-thousand twenty or thirty-somethings. A nearby grill is being manned by over two dozen volunteers, sending the smoky smell of cheeseburgers, hot dogs, veggie burgers and chicken sandwiches into the air.
Lieutenant Dan’s New Legs kept the partygoers moving.
The Malachi House has got it right. If you want to have a successful young adult fundraiser, you really just need three things: food, beer trucks and music. Ooh, and port-a-potties. So make that four things. The rest of the fun we can make ourselves, especially when it’s a perfectly sunny day on the shore of Lake Erie.
And fun we made. People brought their own tables for drinking games, boards for cornhole, chairs for sitting, blankets for sprawling and they all set up shop wherever they could find a few feet of space. Navigating the crowds was an endeavor, but one that usually resulted in running into an old acquaintance or making a new one. And with $40 of the $50 ticket price going straight to the charity, there was a general feeling that we were all getting our money’s worth.
‘Round here we have a different kind of parking lot.
The party was still in full swing when I left Wendy Park, and I wondered what kind of aftermath a crowd of 2,000 young adults would leave in its wake. I returned the following evening to play beach volleyball and was happy to see that the only telltale sign of the festival was a row of port-a-potties that spanned the length of a city block, which seemed odd amongst the relatively quiet group of Wendy Park regulars who had come together to watch another glorious sunset.
The sixth annual Warehouse District Street Festival got underway – directly outside my front door – this past Sunday. Not only my home, but home to many downtown restaurants and bars, this was a place for food, music and one helluva cute dog show.
On my way out, I ran into my building manager, who was giving tours of the building. A new addition to the festival this year, the tours gave curious attendees a preview of downtown living.
Attendance was high and so was the temperature … of the grills that is. During the dog show, I was so enamored with the costume-clad dogs, I failed to realize I was standing next to a large grill and nearly char-grilled my buns.
The festival seemed to provide fun for the whole family – something you don’t see very often on West 6th Street – a nice changeup from the typical beer fest.