Rainy Walk in Foster City, California

The other day I bought a Canon 70D. Today I went on a walk with it. Here’s a selection of the photos I took:

The 70D was purchased primarily for shooting video, but I wanted to see how I liked it for still shots.

The RAW files I get from shooting with the 70D are CRW filet type. I haven’t figured out how to edit them with my version of Photoshop.

Because I can’t work in lossless filetypes with the 70D, I’m not a huge fan of today’s work.

It was a really, really rainy day. I saw two people walking even though I walked for what seemed like two hours.

I listened to two really really good podcasts while on the walk. Both where products of James and his podcast The James Altucher Show.

The first podcast was with Scott Adams. The focus was on persuasion and Donald Trump’s use of persuasion during  the campaign.

It’s not political. It’s about persuasion and seduction. Very interesting stuff from Scott.

The second was with Steven Pressfield. It was about doing one’s life work and the art of telling stories. Both conversations were fascinating.

If I was pressed to pick which episode I liked best, I’d pick the Pressfield episode.

All in all, this is a great way to spend the afternoon. Walking, listening to interesting ideas and creating some art. I needed to clear my head from working all morning on a drop-shipping store.

There is a lot of beauty out there.

Songkran Chiang Mai 2016

Songkran Chiang Mai 2016 - Maya

Songkran Chiang Mai 2016 is a lot of fun. It’s honestly one of my favorite festivals in the world now, topped only by Burning Man.

Sonkran is a celebration of the Thai New Year. It happens in April and we went in 2016. You can learn from the organizers at the Songkran website.

During the 3 days, Chiang Mai becomes a city that is experiencing the most intense water fighting on earth. You will not be able to walk down the streets without getting very wet. Plan accordingly.

Water Fights and Songkran

Why water fights? This is a holy day right?

The traditional thing to do is to go to temples and pour water on holy statues. My guess is that a little water pouring turned into someone splashing someone a little bit for fun. That evolved into a full on water fight over the past 100 years. Inexpensive plastics and water gun entrepreneurs have created a situation that can only be explained as unbridled war.

I’m being over dramatic. The event is a blast and you don’t actually feel anything other than glee during the whole thing. It’s not really a fight. It’s just a lot of fun.

Golden Guns

Water guns are available everywhere during the festival. Most look like toys. You can purchase gold spray paint and make your guns look like they are made of blocks of gold. This will get you a lot more attention, which might not actually be good. I’m confident we became targets more often because of our golden guns. If you think it’s fun to get attacked in a water fight, then the gold guns are helpful.

Songkran Chiang Mai 2016 - Family Water Fight

Party Plans

We didn’t plan anything specific for Songkran Chiang Mai 2016. All we did was get geared up and walk down the street.

Songkran Chiang Mai 2016 - Girls

If you need a plan, here’s a good one:

  • Start at Maya – There is a big cool party happening out front of the mall. It’s fun.
  • Walk down main road headed towards the Old City – There are lots of cool parties happening here. The walk is crazy, but you’ll enjoy it.
  • Old City – This place is great. Feel free to wander around. If you need specific spots, you can check the map, but I suggest wandering

Songkran Chiang Mai 2016 - Walking Map

Songkran Chiang Mai 2016 – Be Careful

Make sure to drink lots of water and stop to eat in a restaurant where people aren’t throwing water at you. There are a lot of people drinking so make sure you’re being defensive with where you’re walking.

Also, don’t drink too much. You’ll find beer for sale everywhere and lots of people just give beer to you as you’re walking around. So don’t go crazy. Remember you’ve got to be smart. This is a very free place. The only person who can ensure your safety is you.

Chiang Mai Songkran 2016 - Skill Barber

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Long Canyon Cliff Dwelling – Sedona, AZ | 2016

I didn’t even know this place existed…

We met Miles and Melanie on the Nomad Cruise, but when they asked us to come visit Sedona, AZ – we had no idea what that actually meant.

After deciding to attend App Academy in November, rather than Hack Reactor in September, it became clear that we had a few months of free time before I do the immersive coding thing.

Miles and Melanie told us a lot about how beautiful Sedona, AZ was… but I never really thought much else about it. I thought, “Ok then. I trust these guys. If they say that they live in a beautiful place, well we can just go there.”

It wasn’t until we were actually driving south of Flagstaff, AZ that I realized that this would turn out to be time spent in a very special place.

The beautiful stretch of road to Sedona, AZ

Lessons from Sedona

Appreciation for the Earth’s natural beauty is a common thread for most people I know and trust. This places exhibits that beauty like I’ve never seen before.

natural bridge of Sedona, az

Sometimes adding strange action to still frames causes them to be far more interesting. In this shot below, Miles, Melanie and V do a good job of levitating stones. As you can see, all three where able to levitate the rocks in this ancient cliff dwelling.

Girls levitate rocks in Sedona AZ

Again, Miles shows his prowess at levitating stones.

Miles Levitates Rocks, Sedona AZ

There is an abundance of beautiful flora in these canyons, this one was particularly interesting.

Flora of Sedona, AZ

Planning a Visit?

It’s quite easy to just go to Sedona and go on hikes. Our friends live here so we didn’t have to plan our accommodation. If they didn’t live here, planning accommodation would have been our only requirement. There are lots of hikes all around and if you’re confident with hiking, you don’t even know a guide.

The great thing is that the whole place is beautiful. You drive to the gas station and it’s stunning. So just go and have fun.

Update on New Vortex Video

We collaborated on a second video as well. This one is for Melanie’s channel specifically.

You can watch it on YouTube here:

 

Driving to Las Vegas from Reno

Before we left, I expressed that this drive was boring. I was wrong. It’s amazing.

Reno to Vegas

The whole trip is STUNNING. It’s not just a beautiful desert, there are some really amazing things along the way. For example, we found this:

Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Projcet

This is called the Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project. It’s the first of it’s kind. The blue isn’t a lake. The blue in the image above is a lake of robotic mirrors. Each mirror reflects light to the top of that tower. The plant pumps salt from a 70 million pound vat to the top of the tower. That salt melts at the top of the tower. The melted salt is a storage method to utilize the energy of the sun.

This is different from photovoltaic solar power, it’s thermal solar power.

The heated salt stays hot for more than ten hours. Therefore, the power plant is capable of running consistently for the entire 30-year lifecycle of the plant. This is a zero emission source of power.

Amazing.

The problem seems to be that they produce a kilowatt hour for 13.5 cents, in a state where the market rate is 12 cents. That means they have to get better at it before the technology has a chance of taking over the market.

Creech Air Force Base Drone

The US Military is probably the most prolific stakeholder along this route. The above image is one of many drones we saw while driving by the Creech Air Force Base. At first I thought they may have been checking out drivers to ensure they aren’t speeding… but then I realized there were about 5 in the air. I’m assuming that they are training the pilots or testing the vehicles.

Funny enough, we were listening to a podcast directly related to drones and technology of the future. It’s called Eye in the Sky. The show discusses a company that can take pictures of towns from so high their aircraft can’t be seen from someone on the ground. They can uses these images to track people and learn about people’s movements. It’s an excellent podcast.

Please feel free to listen to it if you’re interested:

A casino and hotel in Las Vegas called The Luxor

Despite being born in Nevada, I’ve spent very little time in Las Vegas. It’s a beautiful town. I’m looking forward to learning more tomorrow.