Dumb is fun.

San Francisco is the land of adults who unapologetically act like children. Skateboard commuters. Urban Putt boozy indoor golf. Naked people strutting down the street in broad daylight with no apparent agenda. It can be a shocking, delightful reminder that this city is truly a destination for everyone—even while one-bedroom apartments continue to rent at $3K a month.

So when the pop-up art exhibit, Color Factory, came to town, it sold out quickly. With 15 interactive “color” experiences, I was intrigued, but never considered going after hearing tickets were selling second-hand on Craigslist for $175 a piece. But things took a turn, a ticket came my way and I was excited to weigh the world’s hype against my own skepticism.

It all starts with a boisterous attendant encouraging all visitors to enter their name and email address into an iPad display to get a personalized plastic card that will be used throughout the exhibit. I didn’t think twice about giving them my personal information—the request was shrouded in fun. The diversion was just beginning.

After a quick stop at the scratch and sniff wall, and a treat from a rotating conveyor belt courtesy of Craftsman and Wolves, we headed to the orange room. It was packed with, you guessed it, lots of orange stuff. And it was cool. There were no heady artist statements, just a world of Cheeto-colored objects organized neatly. My brain waves began to subside even further as I snapped a bunch of pictures.

The blue balloon room followed—brought to me by…Alaska Airlines? Even in my mentally relaxed state, I started to connect a few dots. Somewhere between the social media-fueled Instagram frenzy, big brands’ financing and the “limited” availability of tickets, I started to understand why Color Factory had grown into a must-attend event. And the fact that it was easy to like made it even more buzzworthy.

As we made our way, I completely let myself go (as much as any Midwesterner can, at least). I wrote my name on a wall with a three-foot marker, I threw confetti into the air in the Method room, I jumped headfirst into a pit filled with yellow balls and even browsed the gift shop filled with over-priced, yellow merchandise. The subtle mix of art and commerce was working. I’d been sucked in and I really didn’t know why.

Conclusion? In terms of putting smiles on peoples’ faces, Color Factory was a hit. While it wasn’t a deep experience, it was tactile, interactive and, most important, entertaining. And as someone who works day in and day out trying to make impressions, I’d have to say the whole thing was extremely well done. Bravo to the artists and their sponsors.

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Black and white wisdom.

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Just a few things I found on the Internet last week that may influence my attitude this week.

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Foggy.

As a man of many cities, I’ve found myself accidentally, inadvertently documenting my take on their defining characteristics.

In Madison, Wisconsin it was the incredible amount of snow. I took a million pictures on 35mm film.

In Chicago it was the Gotham-esque buildings (and the snow). These were the days of color shots that appeared to be black and white.

Kansas City was filled with old cars that begged for impromptu portraits. So I did my best to please the beautiful machines.

In Springfield, MO the old cars continued, while the expansive Midwestern sunsets also emerged as a trend.

Then San Francisco came along—with its year-round foliage and strange weather patterns. Cold. Warm. Cold. An absolute paradise for a Kansas kid, the mild temperatures inspire sincere feelings of passion. The word “beautiful” has never been used so accurately. And I’ve reacted accordingly, aiming my camera at the sky predominantly. The fog never ceases to amaze me and for good reason. It’s mysterious. It floats. It’s seemingly always around, yet disappears within seconds. I captured some of what I’m referring to a few days back on an early-morning bike ride across the Golden Gate Bridge.

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Prepper.

As a city dweller, my dog-walking ritual has become a streamlined process.

The necessary supplies include:
1) treats
2) at least two poo bags
3) at least two drinks before your departure (optional)

Turns out, my regimented routine can come in handy with other dog walkers as well.

First I saw the struggle. Two dogs, one owner. The small dog wouldn’t budge—sprawled flat on the sidewalk—while the big dog pulled at the owner’s hand.

“I can’t believe I forgot the treats…” I heard the frustrated man mumble as I passed by. Having just dropped Woody the Black Lab off at home, I checked to see if I still had any goodies on board. Bingo.

“You need treats?” I inquired, handing him a random assortment of Woody’s favorites.

As the owner explained to me that the little dog requires some kind of food as an incentive to make it around the block, the big dog pooped on the sidewalk. He looked helplessly at the brownish pile and sighed.

“Let me give you a poo bag, too” I said reassuringly before continuing on my way.

 

 

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Can it.

As a nation of consumers, we’re all guilty of owning a bunch of crap we don’t really need. Nothing brings this fact to the surface like packing up to move. Things that have been pushed back, piled high and stored away to be forgotten are suddenly front and center and in need of a purpose.

Most of this stuff—junk that never should have been purchased in the first place—should be thrown away. Tossed. Pitched. Erased forever. No more debate. But the more sensitive folks among us, including me, feel slightly guilty about this scenario. As if two obsolete iPhone 3 cords have a soul and putting them in the garbage is disrespectful in some way.

I had a particularly intense episode of this mental back and forth last week when I rediscovered my small but respectable koozy collection. I don’t drink a lot of beer these days and there are no plans for fishing trip anytime soon, so they’re basically useless. But for now they remain—prominently displayed on a crowded kitchen shelf where far more essential things should be stored.

Now that we’re on the subject, I AM feeling a little thirsty…

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If this foam could talk, it’d be full of lies and grandiose embellishment.

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Move It: 2017 Edition

Back when all my worldly possessions amounted to a twin bed, a stack of CDs and a Mr. Coffee, I thought moving was fun. These days, things are a little different. With five bicycles, three grills and a small collection of non-Ikea, grown-up furniture, changing addresses is a stress-inducing hypothetical endeavor. Add a pretty lady, a big black dog and their stuff to the mix, and the subject of relocation is enough to inspire visions of a massive bonfire fueled by unnecessary household goods.

So when the landlord’s real estate sign went up in our yard back in June—roughly eight months after we moved in—the task before us seemed daunting. The Craigslist search. The big dog discussion. The you-want-how-much-for-the-deposit shock factor. The packing. The truck. The loading and unloading. But we did it. Mission accomplished. With a little help from a friend*. Now, as we dig our way out of the boxes, we’re up against the real-life limitations of physical space. We’ve stacked, stored, reconsidered and rearranged. I gave up on recovering the tape measure two weeks ago. I’ve come to terms with the idea of never owning a couch again. I hate shoes (other than the ones on my feet). Extra shirts seems extravagant. I find myself questioning why anyone would need more than two forks. All the things I’ve loved before are clutter and clutter is the enemy!

But one must remain calm. It’s the only option a relatively sane person has. In the end, we’re lucky to have a roof over our heads, a wonderful new neighborhood just beyond our front door and, of course, a magical sunflower watching over the entire process. Without the sunflower, I’m pretty sure the above mentioned bonfire would’ve been the first and only thing on my agenda.

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Cut from my lady’s garden at our previous address, this sunflower has kept me grounded.

* I hired a mover who happens to be a nice guy and by the end of the process I considered him a friend

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In bloom.

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The neon flowers of the bay area are alive and well around every corner. I snap pictures like a tourist and occasionally spot a theme among the many. In this case, Bougainvillea that’s so healthy it’s become an architectural element. Just one of the many reasons I’m proud to call this place home.

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