60 Miles, 1 River, 1 Friend

60 Miles, 1 River, 1 Friend

So, my best buddy from high school built a house nearby a few years ago.  It was awesome news.  I envisioned hanging out late night when he was in town and reliving old memories revolving around quotes from Fletch and Caddyshack.  With him living thousands of miles away, this news was well-received and plans were made (in my head at least) for endless nights and days of fun.  The band was getting back together. Then reality hit.  When people build a second home and spend their vacation times in the same place, they create their own existence in that place.  And that means it doesn’t always include you.  It means they will have their dinner parties with visiting friends or locals they know better than you. The band, it turned out, wouldn’t have as many gigs as I thought. In February, after another one of his visits where we didn’t hang out much came and went, he put his foot down: “I am coming back this spring and we are going fishing.  Pick the dates.”  That was welcome news, of course, and I quickly chose my favorite time of year in Montana–late April/early May.  As the time approached, the four days of fishing was still undecided–where would we go?–and I needed to put the search in high gear.  What is a perfect four-day fish? Their are several answers to that question in Montana, thankfully, but only one really good answer that time of year–the vaunted Smith River.  If you haven’t seen or floated or fished or kayaked or canoed the Smith River, please do it.  This river is well-known...
Music and the New Economy

Music and the New Economy

In Rainbows is a great album by a great band.  That is not really a controversial statement as Radiohead is one of the most beloved bands of my life and In Rainbows is considered their finest work since Kid A.  (This isn’t going to turn in to a discussion of the best Radiohead albums, but that would be fun for another time). In Rainbows was released in October 2007 and it was a watershed moment in the history of music and the way music was sold. Radiohead released the album on their own website for an interesting price–whatever you thought it was worth.  I remember buying it and I think I paid $1.  I paid this paltry amount not because I think a new Radiohead album is worth $1, but I wasn’t sure I believed the offer.  I had never paid for anything what I thought it was worth. We might not have realized this, but the world of music marketing hasn’t been the same since. Artists from all over the globe have taken control over their own music to levels never before seen–and there appears to be no end in sight. Case in point: Father John Misty (aka Joshua Tillman).  The former member of the Fleet Foxes and creator of the fantastic debut album Fear Fun in 2012, Tillman released his follow up album I Love You, Honeybear earlier this year.  To mark the occasion, he released his new album to the world for free…with a catch.  A catch that actually caught me off guard. On his website, Tillman released his album in a format called SAP.  Here is how he described the...
Being Lousy Again (or…why do I need to spey cast?)

Being Lousy Again (or…why do I need to spey cast?)

Fly casting was once my biggest passion.  Learning new casts and trying them over and over again was so much fun.  I can remember spending an off-season in Los Angeles (Pasadena to be specific) and it was quite tough.  Thankfully I was chilling with my best friend, but even my job at Bob Marriott’s Fly Fishing Store–then the largest fly fishing store in the world–wasn’t enough to feed my fishing jones.  I missed Montana and the large rivers it called home. The best part of living in Pasadena (outside the great times with friends) was spending my days off casting on the grounds of the venerable Rose Bowl.  Despite the fact the Rose Bowl is home to the UCLA Bruins (my least favorite college team), it is an awesome place.  The grounds around the stadium are strewn with joggers, people enjoying casual family days and the occasional lurker.  And during that winter, there was one forlorn angler practicing his fly cast for hours on end. I am still just an average fly caster, but that winter was tremendous because it put me back in school.  I was only a little over a year out of college, but I missed the learning.  This gave me the chance to try and hit targets far and near with a variety of casts.  To this day, I don’t think anglers spend enough time casting without water.  The incessant obsession to catching fish is too powerful a force to put aside for a moment in favor of a docile practice session. The result of that winter was that I returned to Montana a much better and...
The Subtle Genius of Curtis Creek Manifesto

The Subtle Genius of Curtis Creek Manifesto

Fly fishing is tough and anyone who tells you differently is misleading you.  While it is my passion and passion of many of my peers, it is not the easiest sport/hobby to learn, let alone master.  In fact, the barrier to entry in fly fishing has been one of its most difficult obstacles to growth.  While A River Runs Through It captured the mystic of the pasttime and the River Why captured some of its romance, very few books have been able to make it easier to learn.  And countless have tried. But if you look back to 1978, you might just find the best attempt yet to spread the gospel of fly fishing and it was a 48 page hand-drawn book on learning how to fly fish called Curtis Creek Manifesto: A Fully Illustrated Guide to the Strategy, Finesse, Tactics, and Paraphernalia of Fly Fishing by Sheridan Anderson. For the record, I have gifted this book more than any in my life.  And I have done so for two reasons–one, to encourage a friend or family member to learn how to fly fish; and two, because it is fascinating to watch people’s expression after you give them a hand-drawn book on how to fish.  The first look from them usually denotes the following comment: “what am I, 12?”  And that look is priceless, because they don’t know I just handed them something incredibly elegant and profound. You see, to learn anything new, you have to start with the basics.  If you want to build a website, don’t start reading about Ruby on Rails or Javascript.  That may (or may not) come later. At...
The Creatives Shall Inherit the Earth

The Creatives Shall Inherit the Earth

Back in the day, success was driven by widget sales.  Ever since the industrial age, companies have mass produced all sorts of products–from cars to light bulbs to tvs–and then sold the hell out of them.  The goal was simple: sell as many widgets as possible.  This also spawned drastic changes in the way we work and live. Advertising widget sales centered around the attributes of products.  Product photos accompanied bullet call-outs of the widget’s features and consumers were enticed by the one-up-manship of product ingenuity.  That seems so simple–just make it function better than the other.  Or at least make it easy to claim that.  This doesn’t happen as much anymore. Today, we are firmly entrenched in an era of creativity.  It is undeniable.  Brands like Apple have supplanted tech behemoths like Microsoft (although the Redmond, WA company is far from done) as the corporate titans.  Why?  Because they relied on creative design and creative motivations for fairly banal solutions.  The world had phones and computers (not tablets yet, I suppose) and hardly needed new ones.  Until, that is, they saw a much more creative and elegant version. I share a cubicle wall with my company’s Director of Design.  I honestly believe him to be one of the most important people in our business, because he is the person who is charged with delivering the product in such a way that is distances us from competition.  To take business goals and make them creative.  To make another few margin points used to the call of the day with spreadsheets dictating product lines.  Today, Adobe Illustrator dictates product lines...