Directions 2007

This is a picture of me and Dan Oster, a fellow University of Nevada-Reno MBA graduate, at the Directions 2007 event. This is the post I wrote for Twelve Horses, my employer about Directions.

Continue reading Directions 2007

Andy Warhol at the Nevada Museum of Art

I am back from Costa Rica (post to come), and I can tell you that it was quite nice to return from a foreign country and soak up some American pop culture.

The First Thursday events at the Nevada Museum of Art are always good fun. Through the collaborative efforts of Dave Chapman from KTHX, various vendors such as Great Basin Brewery, and of course the Museum, the first Thursday of each month is a great excuse to get off of work and appreciate some art, have a few drinks, and visit with friends in a beautiful setting.

Last night’s event was packed. Even though that might be perceived as a negative to some, I am glad to see additional revenue flowing into the Museum’s coffers.

The featured exhibit right now is Andy Warhol. While I am not  supposed to, I managed to dodge the guards and grab a few pics with my Cingular 3125 Smart Phone.

As well-known as Warhol is, it  is still nice to see his work in person and appreciate the use of color and texture in his various pieces and collections. Something as simple as a the image of a soup can or a recognizable figure has the power to invoke a myriad of emotions and associations.

I can recall one obnoxious young man, who was observing the Campbell Soup cans, sarcastically stating to his friends in a loud voice, “Hey guys, this is what I am going to do. I’m going to frame a bunch of soup cans and call it art.” He obviously didn’t get it. This particular work of Warhol’s represents the mass appeal of certain products, and how the use of color and illustration not only further create this appeal, but could very well be the driving force.

The Nevada Museum of Art is a great asset to the Reno community, and I encourage all of you to support it to the best of your abilities.

tags: , ,

Keystone Canyon

Because the ski season for Lake Tahoe is off to a very slow start, I am still mountain biking pretty regularly. Keystone Canyon offers a number of different trails to ride upon, one of which being Evans Trail.

Simply ride up from the trailhead off of McCarran Blvd and veer right when the trail crests at the looming mechanical towers. 

All along the trail one is afforded nice views of Reno, and there is actually some decent technical riding to be found.

You descend down into a slot canyon, head left at the bottom, and eventually you switchback your way back to the top. From there you blast your way back down Keystone Canyon to the car.

Not a bad little ride considering its close proximity to the city.

210 North: Reno, Nevada

Finally got down to 210 North in downtown Reno to check out the new digs and see whether or not it is worth a damn. I was pleasantly surprised.

If you don’t want to wait in line, arrive around 10:30pm or so. I waltzed right in at that time, but observed over the course of several hours that the line got progressively longer and longer.

When you enter you are immediately asked to pay an entrance fee. On a standard evening, for men it is $15 for locals and $20 for out-of-state; for women it is $5 for locals and $10 for non. After paying, you  ride up to the 2nd floor on an escalator dressed with hanging metal chains. Sort of sets the mood.

At the top of the escalator you are greeted with an airy space surrounded by segmented but connected rooms representing separate bar areas and VIP rooms. The largest room contains a sizeable dance floor equipped with DJs.

The interior design of each room is distinct and thoughtful. They are outfitted with unique furnishings such as stylish furniture and cool lighting.

The other attribute of note is the general feel of the place. It is not pretentious. Hats are not allowed, but you don’t feel like you have to wear your best duds every time you go there. There were many different types of people and dress, and fortunately there were no real sketchy characters. The large bouncers probably help. 

All in all I think 210 North is a good addition to Reno, and I hope it survives. I hate going to clubs where it is so crowded and packed that you can’t get a drink, nor can you move around and hear what your friends are saying. You have the option of the dance floor where you can rock out, or you have the choice to retire to a quieter place to socialize and drink. Nice dichotomy.

Charleston, South Carolina

I love where I am from. Charleston, South Carolina is a place by the sea where environment, culture and history have come together to create a very special place filled with a distinct charm all its own.

There have been many events and individuals that have shaped the character of Charleston. For instance, Charleston was once held hostage by the infamous pirate, Blackbeard. Almost one-hundred years later, the first shots of the Civil War were fired at Fort Sumter, a structure that still stands sentinel in the mouth of the harbor. It is said that General Sherman spared Charleston from the match on his way to burn Atlanta because of his love for it.

My appreciation for Charleston, SC is only intensified by the fact that I live almost 3,000 miles away from it and for almost 10 years. Why do I not live there you may ask? Well, because Charleston lacks only one thing – mountains.

Still, I love to visit, and I just happened to find myself there this past week. I was able to get out in the boat to fish with my father, shoot clays in the country with my mother, and take in the city with long walks and runs down the slate-covered sidewalks.

For those that live far away from their place of birth, I suspect they  experience the same feelings that I do when they return. You cannot help but unearth memories containing emotions, experiences, and individuals that have played an integral role in who you are today.

On my last day in Charleston, my feet lead me to the very street and house that  I grew up in. Sounds cliche, but it was actually quite circumstantial considering the busy schedule I maintain when visiting. I have an extensive family and divorced  parents who live in different houses, so I generally do not have much time for these types of tangents.

Nevertheless, there I was looking over the wall, thinking it rather small in comparison to when I was a child. So much happened there, and yet it is all gone except for my memories and of those that shared them with me. How quickly your mortality can come rushing in like an uninvited guest. 

On a lighter note, I love the juxtaposition of these two pictures. My stepfather on the left in his skeet shooting attire, and my father out on his boat. Both pictures were taken within two days of each other.

Above Reno

Today was clear and cold, and I was a little apprehensive to go mountain bike riding, but it actually turned out to be quite nice despite the fact that it is now December in Nevada.

Keystone Canyon is a popular trail for Reno residents because it offers easy access to the national forest area surrounding Peavine Mountain, an 8,266 peak that creates a significant mountain chain just outside of the city.

Before it became a recreational asset to Reno, the area served Washoe and Paiute Indians, as well as Basque herders, miners and foresters. The remnants of copper mines can be seen in some places, and the landscape, devoid of but a few trees, indicates that it was heavily logged for White Fir and Jeffrey Pine.

The trail climbs steadily, and before long you are offered a nice view of downtown. I actually clambered around on these rocks for a bit before I realized that I was just above a rather large animal den; and with the city seemingly so close!

The large, fresh scat surrounding the entrance convinced me that I was dangerously close to the home of a mountain lion. I quickly retreated and blasted down some fun single track back to the car.

 The mountain chain surrounding Peavine is a great asset to the city and a perfect getaway without having to go very far at all.

There are a great deal of trails cutting across the landscape, and hopefully with some volunteer work and even some funding a little restoration can take place to further improve the area. 

WordPress Surpasses 500,000 Blogs

I love WordPress. Not only is it an incredibly powerful piece of blogging software and a fantastic content management system, it is free!

The founder of WordPress, Matt Mullenweg is a very cool guy. He and his crew operate with a set of principles that I think are really having an effect on technology, business, and people’s personal lives.

Not only are they empowering people to express themselves online, but they are big advocates of open source and the sharing of new ideas. Matt maintains a very busy speaking schedule, and he quite often travels internationally spreading the gospel so to speak.

The success of the business, as far as I can tell, is their genuine focus on developing and providing the environment for a continuously evolving product.  Better themes, new plugins, and more features all geared towards improving the way we communicate.

WordPress has become so robust that it is really just a matter of how the individual decides to use this tool.

In the future, I believe there will be less and less of a distinction between what constitutes a website and a blog. They will become further integrated to the point that the end user will hardly be able to distinguish between one or the other. A blog is a website, it’s just a matter of the variations in content and purpose.

With that being said, the beauty of blogging is that it pushes people to write. Writing facilitates introspection and reflection on the world around you. Even if you blog in a vacuum, it still has the potential to move you forward and hopefully make you a better person. 

Thanksgiving = Recreation in Reno + Culture in San Francisco

Started off Thanksgiving with an enjoyable mountain bike ride in Reno. Chose the well-known Galena Creek trail. Even though it was late in November, it was a beautiful day with most of the trail being fairly free of snow. I earned my turkey credits.

Did my duty as an American – consumed. Crashed in Incline Village, and then headed down to San Francisco to see my sister. Here she is doing her thang.

The highlight of the trip was definitely the de Young museum. A beautiful structure located within the Golden Gate Park, the de Young is an architectural work of art.

Because the former museum was heavily damaged by the earthquake, the new structure is quite insulated from future tremors. It sits within a bowl complete with breakaway zones. Once the ground begins to shake the de Young will happily roll around in its shock absorbing seat.

The shell of the de Young is quite extraordinary. Pocked metal panels make up the exterior of the structure, and because they are computer generated the artist was able to make each panel design unique.

As homage to the greater forces of nature, one of the first exhibits are man-made cracks or fissures that run the length of the entrance walkway. They snake their way through the bricks and continue through large stone blocks that are positioned around the atrium.

The interior is modern and cool, and the Gerhard Richter positioned just off from the main foyer immediately captures the eye. It is a representation of the atomic particle, strontium, and it is one of his larger works.

A visit to the de Young is not complete without a trip up into the tower. The views encompass much of the City and the Bay, and the only thing that detracts from the experience are the museum concessions within the floor space. My advice – confine that sort of thing to the gift shop.

The Ruth Osawa exhibit is notable. A graduate of Black Mountain University, Osawa developed a talent for creating unique shapes out of metal wire. Her hanging sculptures capture the light and cast shadows that are almost as impressive as the works of art.

Dined at Limon, Rose Pistola, and Citizen Cake for either dinner or breakfast. I would recommend each of them.

There is always something going on in San Francisco, even is unusual places. Here’s how to turn a tunnel into a very effective speaker.

Reno News & Review

This past week I appeared in the Reno News & Review along with my colleague, Josh Kenzer for an article titled, “Up all Night: It’s a brave new world called the blogosphere. Meet some of its denizens.” This photograph was taken by RNR staff member, David Roberts.

I posted about the article on the Horse Power blog, but I wanted to at least acknowledge it on my own blog because, well, it’s partially about me.

We were the lone business featured in the article, which I think says a lot about the approach we have taken with the blog.

We made a conscience decision in the very beginning NOT to make the blog a selling proposition. We try our hardest to provide information and analysis of the industry we are in without selling our business too aggressively. In other words, we hope our expertise shines through, so we do not have to go on at length about what we can do as a business. Plus, that is what the website is for, right?

Regarding the podcast, it is about local business professionals and not about Twelve Horses. Sure, it is an excuse to meet new people and put a voice to the company, but we really wanted to construct a forum that highlights interesting individuals in the community, and the fantastic work that they do.

I blog for business, but I also enjoy having a personal blog. I guess I could take up knitting or whittle a stick, but instead I choose to have a blog. It gives me a chance to express myself outside of my profession, and it introduces me to people that I doubt I would have otherwise known existed.

If you want to read the perspectives of some other bloggers that were featured in the same article, check out Reno and Its Discontents post about it. People get fired up about why they blog and how it effects them internally, as well as the external world around them.

In the end, it is the resulting actions that take place because of what is said or written. The rest is an exercise. The problem is you never know the end result until after the fact. So, you use your judgment, which hopefully consists of solid values and ethics, and then you forge ahead. But you have to be constructive in your approach, or eventually no one will listen to you.

When you blog about someone else, do it as if you were standing directly in front of them looking straight in their eyes. And, right before you do a blog post or comment about a topic, think about the fact that it is has been recorded, and can be forever attached to people’s perceptions of you. Hopefully that will keep you honest and fair.

What is my Header Graphic?

I have been asked by several people to explain what my header graphic is. One reader even emailed and told me it made her skin crawl. Yikes! I guess it is does have some reptilian and big cat characteristics.

 The image is in fact a photograph I took on the East Fork of the Chattooga not far from Cashiers, North Carolina. It is just downstream from one of my favorite places – a mountain house my family has shared with 9 other Charleston, South Carolina families since my birth.

The Chattooga is famous for the movie, Deliverance, as well as the fact that it was one of the first rivers in the United States to be designated Wild & Scenic. Its headwaters start at the base of Whiteside Mountain, which is considered by geologists to be one of the oldest mountains in the world. Whiteside is about 30 minutes from the mountain house.

The house and accompanying property used to be a fishing camp. It has a trout pond, and to this day the entire length of the river that runs through the property is still stocked with Rainbow Trout.

From an architectural and environmental standpoint, the house is perched over the East Fork, which under present day law would no longer be allowed.  Most of the riverside portion of the house is glass, so it creates a very dynamic relationship with the river. Open the windows and doors, and you are immediately greeted with the rushing sound of water over rock.

Needless to say, the Chattooga watershed and our mountain house hold many fond memories for me. It has played a significant role in shaping me into who I am today.

When I look at the photograph that makes up my header image I think about the Chattooga and the mountain house, as well as my youth, my family, my time so far on this earth, and how fast it is all flowing by.

Robert Payne

%d bloggers like this: