Thursday, December 15, 2011
Whirlwind? Well, its been more methodical, more drudgery that that would imply. Yes, the word whirlwind has a nice romanticism, but it doesn’t convey the coach class compression that has defined my flights bookending the last twenty four hours, or the schedule compression that defined the time between.
I woke up early this AM (well, early for me) in Las Vegas, where I’ve been for the past (I have to look at the calender to know how many) ten days. Went to the airport (thanks, Angela and Eric for the lodgings yet again, and for the ride to LAS) so that I could fly back to Los Angeles on the 8:40 on the Grumpster’s favorite airline, the egalitarian and efficient SouthWest.
On the ground before ten AM, I said hello to my home, which I haven’t seen since the Monday after Thanksgiving. Unpacked a bit, returned some correspondence via email, and jumped on a conference call with two scientists and a high level manager of a multinational conglomerate. I could tell you what the call was about, but then I’d have to kill myself. Or at least delete this entry. So I won’t.
That was followed by a meeting with my newest clients, Green Planet Productions, the folks behind the film, Fuel, and their recent entry, The Big Fix, about the BP oil spill, the damage it has done, and the subsequent cover-up by one of the world’s most profitable companies. Love those green signs at your gas stations, boys.
After the Green Planet meeting, I headed over to Tunnel to finalize some paperwork for another client’s new venture, before meeting Mario the composer at an Irish Pub for a happy hour dinner. Mario had some things he’d wanted to discuss, I hadn’t seen him as I haven’t been in LA to see him (and I thought I could co-opt this into a ride to LAX, something Mario was more than happy to provide). He’s been doing the score for Lee Daniels’ follow-up to Precious, a thrilled called The Paperboy, which stars Nicole Kidman, John Cusack, Zak Efron and Matthew McConaughey. I was glad he was able to make time.
I spend a good deal of time these days thinking and talking about environmental technology and the environment in general. One of the books that I am currently reading is Greg Palast’s Vulture’s Picnic. It’s investigative journalism, with a Sam Spade wink, from a truly entertaining and informed writer who is looking very hard at the world’s petrofinancial industry, with a focus on the BP Gulf Deepwater Horizon disaster and its historical precedents in Alaska and the Caspian sea. I mention this primarily because I am most of the way through a redeye flight (yes, this is all one day) to Miami from LAX, on a ticket I booked when I thought I’d be much less busy. Its so rare that I fall asleep cramped in a coach seat, particularly when I am stuck in a row with two big guys (don’t get me started on the perverse humor that must, I swear, must exist, when seat assignments are made). However, I did fall asleep, only to wake up, look out the window hours into the flight, and see the lights of boats and other structures (oil rigs, couldn’t say) in the Gulf.
I am still wiped out regardless of the three hour snooze, and I am looking forward to getting into the guest bedroom at my families’ place in Miami Beach and making a full morning of catching up on the missed sleep. When I booked the ticket, I hadn’t expected to have been in NY eleven days prior, but its still nice to see my folks the extra time (they just arrived in Miami today, er, yesterday, I don’t entirely know what day it is). I didn’t get even a single night (or a nap) in my own bed in the twelve hours I spent in LA, but that’s OK. What I am doing has meaning, I like for the most part all of the people with whom I am spending my time, and the future is exciting.
Wonder if I can get back to sleep for the last forty minutes of the flight.
Tuesday, December 06, 2011
What a long strange trip its been.
Not so long, actually, but I enjoy the reference. Over the past week, I’ve passed through Pittsburgh to visit with a multinational corporation’s physicists, then onto DC where I met with, among others, Clinton’s Secretary of Agriculture, visited the Indonesian Embassy (I missed the Ambassador but others from our group had an audience), and saw out mission reach the House of Representatives and the Senate. I spent a full day at Jones Day, the preeminent intellectual property law firm (OK, well, maybe that doesn’t sound so exciting, though they did take us out for drinks after) and drank Russian vodka in a Dupont Circle bar, poured by a drop-dead Meryl Streep look-alike (when Meryl was 25). Notably, I met the mistress of the blog Diary of Why , and we shared an evening bloggin’ in person, over beer (and champagne). I assure you all, there is a good reason why.
I’m currently on the plane back to Vegas, to company HQ’s, with the man I’ve coined “the real most interesting man in the world,” an appellation to which the Mistress of Why agreed after a brief interview with him. The world’s most interesting man is actually asleep in the window seat (to my aisle), and so I can describe him with no fear of intervention :P.
Charles is a blue blood scion of American corporate royalty, coming from the Pan Am legacy. He is a former (well, not so former sometimes, like at the Mint a month ago) rockstar, an expatriate on the run for twenty years from charges against him (now expunged), a boat captain, an airplane pilot, a technical Flir photographer of much merit, the true producer of the movie (and the daredevil therein) The Cove (and if you haven’t seen it, see it, immediately – no excuses, it streams on Netflix), and a magnet for all global environmental issues. His rolodex includes other rockstars, heads of state, billionaires business magnets, world renowned scientists, royalty and Johnny Depp. He can outdrink you, outsmoke you and play a blistering guitar. He lives the life of a 1 percenter on the income of a 99 percenter. And he doesn’t want anything from you except perhaps friendship and a shared point of view.
In NYC, which we reached via Acela from DC, just in time for The Big Fix premiere (please google and check it out, very important doco about BP’s continuing destruction of our environment), I had time to see my parents, some close friends (like Ibo and Elicia), to take in with Newman the most exciting football game I (and probably most of the crowd) have ever attended, even though my Giants lost to the Pack), and dine with a quite charming member (a friend of Charles, of course) of the royal family of Monaco, all in a seventy two hour period. I spent a few hours with one of the top lawyers in America, a bit of time on the phone with another with whom I used to work, and even more importantly, got to see Drew’s lovely, brilliant young daughters, a sterling reminder of why I am doing what I am doing.
Also, I’ve heard several times over the past few days from my EX (capitalized to emphasize that she’s the only one I’d refer to in this capacity). The tumultuousness of that relationship still well, in mind, it appears that détente may be on her mind. Ambivalence is what is on mine. Hold fast.
And now, back to Las Vegas, where this journey all began just a few short months ago (not surprisingly due to Charles’ introduction). Its not full circle, as the journey has hardly begun. Lots of travel appears to be on tap, a tremendous amount of safeguarding and business development to be done. Stops in Monte Carlo, Guadalajara, and Switzerland loom on the horizon. What a long strange trip it promises to be.