Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Link
A L B U Q U E R Q U E and S A N T A F E


My flights from Las Vegas to Albuquerque went smoothly - approximately an hour long each with a short layover in Phoenix, AZ. While waiting for my second flight, I bought the book "The Truth About You" a sort of motivational guide meant to assist in the search for direction. It is written by motivational speaker/career expert Marcus Buckingham who basically leads you through steps to define your innate strengths. The thing that caught my attention was that Buckingham separates strengths from talents -- meaning that just because you are good at something it doesn't mean that you are naturally passionate about it, and thus talent without passion is actually a weakness and not a strength to be focused on. Anyway...it is a good read, and helpful at my current stage of life...

The National Portfolio Day in Albuquerque was held at the Marriott Pyramid North (it is shaped like a Mayan pyramid. The interior is shown below.) I also stayed at the hotel both nights. The NPD went well. I had a steady line and collected a fair amount of potential student information cards. The student work overall was lackluster - their teachers should be taught how to help students prepare an organized portfolio. Recruiters never expect work to be framed or even matted, but we do expect work to be well kept - not created on notebook paper and stuffed in a folder. In a way I feel sorry for the students because it isn't 100% their fault that they aren't well prepared or may not have access to more archival materials. On the other hand, a passionate student takes the initiative to learn about portfolio requirements and follows directions regardless of how well they are taught or what materials they have access to.


The Marriott Pyramid North Hotel, Abq


I drove to Santa Fe on Monday for a high school visit and to grab a coffee with my friend Jeff who I lived with and worked with when I was there in 2005. A blizzard started 10 minutes into my 50 minute drive and in no time the roads were looking like they were heading straight out of Michigan. Because of the altitude difference, the temperature between Abq and Santa Fe can change greatly, and according to my dashboard thermometer the temperature dropped 11 degrees within 50 miles. Winter driving is one of my worst fears/stressors. This fear is made worse when the b!$@# behind you decides to pass and then fishtails into your lane right in front of you, over-corrects her mistake and ends up in a ditch in the median. When I got my heart-rate back to a reasonable speed I pried my white knuckles off of the steering wheel long enough to take a photo of the road. Between my drive up and my drive home, I saw 10 cars in the ditch, 3 of which were on their side or completely rolled over.


US-25 heading north into Santa Fe


Despite the inconvenience and danger it brings, the snow also adds to the charm of Santa Fe. Around Christmastime, ristras (strings of dried chiles) are decorated with Christmas lights, windows and gates are hung with pine boughs and farolitos (paper lanterns, specific to New Mexico) are placed on the rooflines of adobe buildings. The winter air in Santa Fe smells like the sweet smoke of burning pinion wood.


A snow-covered ristra.


Wrought iron front gate.


An abandoned back building a block from Canyon Road.



A snow covered adobe style home.


My reflection in a Canyon Road gallery window.



A graffiti artist has tagged some of the galleries on Canyon. Hopefully not a foreshadowing of my flight home.







Snow covered adobe homes and a church in Santa Fe.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Shannon's Baby Bump

While in Las Vegas this week, I got to see evidence of my nephew firsthand! Here is Shannon and her baby-to-be:






Saturday, December 13, 2008

L A S V E G A S - 12/11-13/2008

12/13/08

I am on my way to Albuquerque, after staying in Vegas for a HS presentation and a non NPD portfolio review day at the Las Vegas Academy of International Studies Performing and Visual Arts.

I arrived in Las Vegas on the evening of the 11th, and drove up to North Las Vegas where I stayed with my sister Shannon and her husband, Don (and their 5 month old boy-fetus-who-has-yet-to-be-officially-named). They live about 20 minutes from the strip (or two hours depending on how much rush hour traffic you get stuck in.) I always enjoy the flight into Vegas, seeing the strip from the air - and the drive to their house which can include a drive up the strip as well.

If you are lucky, a drive on the strip can include not only a great view of the casinos, but also a parade of police vehicles on their way to save the governor from a suspicious, powder-coated package and a glimpse of some Sin City skin (see photos below.)








On Friday, Shannon and I visited the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art where we saw the American Modernism exhibit featuring Georgia O'Keeffe (also known to the hard-of-hearing as "Jo Jo Keeffe" :-). It was worth seeing - as was the lobby of the Bellagio (featuring the glass sculptures of Dale Chihuly) and the atrium which included a great Christmas display:





A detail of a scale model of the new City Center, a grouping of high rise buildings on the Strip:


Some additional Strip skin (Sex on Wheels!):


A sweet ride on the strip:


A small (northern) version of the famous Las Vegas sign on the strip:


A great (FILLING) lunch was had at Jason's Deli:


After lunch, Shannon and I toured the Neon Boneyard - an outdoor "museum" filled with neon signs from Vegas' Ratpack heyday. It was basically a dumping ground for the old signs, but was extremely interesting to explore - filled with great text and textures. Below are some of my favorites:















In the evening I took a trip down to The Fremont Street Experience - a street of casinos downtown, covered by a canopy of LED screens. I had my tarot cards red by a psychic and took some photos of the neon - some of which has been restored by the Neon Boneyard Museum and re-exhibited for posterity. I collaged some of the signs into the image below:

Image from the psychic's cart: