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How two ducks taught me about love

Ever since I left my job at ExactTarget and began freelancing, I've made it a goal of mine to walk Green Lake every day. The plan was to do it every morning before I start client work and swing into Zoka Coffee afterward to have a drink and visit. Have I done this every day? No, but I'm trying.

I'm very inspired by Twitter creator Jack Dorsey and read in an interview that he liked to go on walks to reflect and think about ideas. One day, I took a second to sit and watch the ducks. They have a special place in my heart because my team at Nike typically used the term "get our ducks in a row" all the time. I snapped a few photos on my phone and noticed these two ducks.

It shook my world.

Whether these ducks were actually a couple or not, what they stood for made me rethink things. I could not help but smile when I saw the two ducks cuddling together, overlooking Green Lake without a care in the world. We as humans seem to complicate things so much. These ducks did not care out much money each other made, what religion they are, how clean they want the house. Hell, they didn't even talk to each other. I sat there for 20 minutes just watching them sit together...not a sound. On occasion they would glance at each other, then look back to the lake.

I never thought I'd say "I want a relationship like those two ducks have" but it was totally true, and still is. I have been in a lot of relationships recently that have been very hurtful and just straight up emotionally abusive to the point of scaring me to even pursue a relationship. It's amazing how these two animals may restore hope for me.


Why I trust EVERYONE

When it comes to strangers, I don't believe in them. A lot of my friends are hesitant to meet new people. At my first stop in a recent trip to San Francisco, I saw this sign that wrote "There are no strangers here, just friends we haven't met." I truly believe that. For me, I'd rather be wrong than have a negative perception of someone.

Here's to finding out everyone's story.


The (MacBook) Air Up There

When the new MacBook Air came out, there were a lot of opinions about it. Some people were super-excited about it, others were haters. I am not pouring any Hatorade on this thing. It's an amazing machine.

My current setup was a MacBook Pro with Cinema Display Monitor, an iPad + iPhone. It's a phenomenal setup to do all my design and development work, but of course, I could use another machine. I went to the apple store and ran into my friend Damon and we chatted about the machine. Well, see the photo below to find out what happened:

I got a lot of criticism for buying it from friends and strangers. Here's the criteria that determined my purchase:

It's my money, I can do whatever I want with it.

Plain and simple—I saved the money myself and will do whatever I please with it. The money I save from not going out, not smoking, dining and other expenses pretty much went to my computer fund. I can't say the same about coffee though. I'm not stinking rich but had some income from freelance work and selling art and decided this was a noteworthy investment.

I work...a lot

My close friends know that I probably work about 80-100 hours a week—whether it's my consulting job, freelance or just on projects. I want to have the best weapons out there. Did they tell Picasso no tier 1 brushes? Did they tell Keith Sweat no velvety smooth vocals? I don't think so. I'm a believe in spending a bit more money to have the top of the line, whether it's a pair of designer jeans or a computer. No, I don't buy Apple because it's apple, but it's the platform I love working with most.

On the go

I travel a lot and have plans to travel heavily in the next few years. I want to have a lightweight machine that has enough firepower, whether I'm in Indianapolis for business or sitting at some cafe in Morocco. Most of the work I do is on the cloud anyway so the hard drive has had no importance to me. I wanted something that could literally fit in an envelope. See below.

Pros:

  • Solid state drive is wicked-fast. Programs open a lot faster than on my MB Pro, which I will definitely get a SSD hard drive for it once the prices drop a bit more.
  • Long-lasting battery. The average trip I take on the plane is about five hours, which is the working battery life on one of these.
  • The perfect secondary machine. I got the 11" so it's the perfect companion for my 15" MacBook Pro. Again, that's what I bought it for. For those of you who play Command & Conquer, I compare my MB Pro to the Mammoth Tank where the MB Air is an Orca.

Cons:

  • Oh snap attack. I seriously feel like I can break it in half. Be very careful—assuming it's delicate.
  • Power off Einstein. The power button is a bit too close to the delete key for comfort. I don't know where else you'd put it, but I might have designed it so it's not the same type of plastic key.

If you bought a MB Air I'd love to hear your thoughts on it.


My design equipment when traveling

When I travel and work, I try to keep things light. It's less things to lose if the unfortunate happens and less things to carry. However, I still need some firepower to get work done efficiently. These are the things I take with me:

Belkin Mini Surge Protector Dual USB Charger. For about ten bucks, this is the best charger money can buy. With three plugs and two USB chargers, this little guy can charge everything you carry, including letting someone plug into yours as well (that's what she said).

32 GB iPad. I don't need the iPad when I travel, but it's certainly nice to have when I want to kill time on the plane to read, browse on the web or watch a movie. Most of the time I need a fully powered laptop as I land so it's better to use the iPad battery first before I bust out the big gun.

11" MacBook Air. I made some tweaks to mine. Well, Damon and I both did—increasing the RAM to 4 GB. The reason I take the Air over the MacBook Pro when traveling is that it's lighter and has more battery life. In a quick mission, a commando is going to take the MP5, not the heavy M16.

Moleskine Squared Notebook ($17.95). Notice how soldiers still carry a combat knife despite carrying other weapons? The reason is they need something practical and essentially unlimited use. This 240 page notebook is plenty for me to take any notes or draw.

H&M Man Bag Thingy ($20). It's amazing that a $20 bag can fit everything I need to work without the need to carry everything with me. I absolutely love this bag. The only thing I would suggest is put some padding in there to protect your laptop and other electronic equipment. Another advantage is you can just roll this bag up and put it in another bag for traveling.

Bose IE2 Headphones ($99.95). Hey look, an IE I like! Of course all Bose products are a bit more spendy but these are great to use. I like the headphone volume control so I can use it on my Mac or iPhone for having calls.