(new here? read this first.)

Daniel here. Welcome back.

I attended an art parade a few years ago, taking lots of photos and videos. As I was packing up and heading out, I turned the corner and witnessed this scene. It was hard to resist taking this photograph. It appeals to me in so many ways, most significantly, it’s surrealism.

I’m never without a camera. In the past, it was a conscious decision to carry one. Heading on a big road trip. Flying somewhere new. Heading into the city. Or on a perfect cloud day.

Now I don’t always have to think or plan. I’ve taken some pretty cool shots with my iPhone. I take photos when I go running. On my way to meetings. Out with friends. I’m always prepared.

I’m always fascinated and amazed by witness or amateur photography and video during major events – sports, natural disasters, bloopers, Tosh.O, etc. You never, ever know what’s going to happen in life. I think that’s why I always like carrying a camera.

When I was younger (and even now, sometimes) I used to want to be a photo journalist. Someone that traveled to really diverse locations around the world – wars, natural disasters, extreme climates, you name it. I wanted to explore, experience and engage with local cultures. My camera would bring that world alive.

I don’t exactly live that life, but my camera does bring my world to you. I love photographing in new environments. Clouds. Airports. Cities. Food. Rarely people. Lego. Racing. And the natural landscape. And I love the unexpected. Like this shot.

I still remember this moment like it was yesterday. It was a moment I had to capture. And now I’m bringing it to you.

blow up dolls galore

blow up dolls galore

Long time no see! So, how are you? Me? I had a baby. She’s really cute. And it’s not just me that thinks so. Pretty much everyone is enamored with her to the point that going out in public is a big spectacle.

You know what else is a big spectacle? My six year old coming home from Kindergarten, throwing down her backpack, holding up her middle finger and proclaiming “HUNTER DID THIS TO ME ON THE BUS.

*deep breath*

So I remember flipping my dad off once, okay, so I don’t actually remember the flipping, I just remember staring down at my tiny feet attempting to dodge my dad’s enormous ones as he tried to pummel some sense into me. (To be clear, my dad didn’t smack me around or anything, let’s just say they didn’t have parenting books back then that told you not to freak the freak out when your kid does something super naughty in complete innocence.)

Then there was the time she came home and asked me if girls really had to take off all their clothes to kiss boys. (Thanks again neighbor boy!) Or the time she asked me what ‘sexy’ meant. Or there was last Tuesday where she asked what the “I’M NOT GOING TO SAY IT BUT THE FUH WORD” meant.

Thanks to all those books I have that my dad didn’t, I calmly replied “That is a word that is a thousand times worse than the ‘S’ word (the ‘S’ word being “stupid” score one for innocence!) and if you ever say it to anyone your face will melt off.”

If her eyes weren’t huge when I told her it was a thousand times worse than stupid they were practically water towers by the time I finished telling her the fate of her face if she were to ever utter such a word.

What? The books just said to stay calm and not make a big deal out of it, how am I supposed to remember what comes next?

Today I had to explain cremation, last month I had to explain birth, breastfeeding and umbilical cords in a span of three days. In February I had to explain drag queens and someday I’m going to have to explain a lot more…and until I’m feeling the pressure of her little inquisitive eyes? I at least know to stay calm.

(new here? read this first.)

Casey here, and I’d like to think I know a thing or two about sadness.

There’s the sadness that comes from losing something you love, losing someone you love or watching someone you love lose something or someone they love. There’s the sadness that can come from chronic or temporary physical pain and the sadness that can come from a broken mind playing horrible tricks on your existence. Sadness can happen when you watch your favorite sports team lose or when you watch a friend win something you’ve wanted for so long.

On the surface it’s a crummy thing to be an expert on, who really wants to be familiar with all the facets of sadness? It’s like being an expert on all the dodgy and dangerous streets in a dodgy and dangerous city. However, the wonderful thing that comes from being familiar with sadness, just as the wonderful thing that comes from being familiar with dodgy streets, is that you can find your way back out that much quicker. Even better is that you are able to help others navigate the streets.

There is a visceral reaction in my heart whenever someone says they’re sad.

It doesn’t matter over what.

Sadness isn’t just something that can be told to feel better or turned towards the bright side. It cannot simply be taken away or glossed over. Sadness must be picked up and cradled, much like a mother scoops up a child who just turfed it for the first time on cement. It needs to be held close, until it is ready to leave. It cannot be forced to leave. It cannot be reasoned with. But it can be fed, hugged, supported, written about and talked about until the sadness is ready to become strength. And from that strength grown out of sadness comes empathy. And from empathy comes the ability to get love others around us more deeply, be they strangers or friends.

And when we love each other more deeply the world becomes a much less scary place and sadness holds a far less icy grip around our weary souls.

Balloon Parade

I’m Daniel and that’s me on the far left. No not really, but let’s pretend it is.

I crashed this wedding. But I at least brought all these balloons. I introduced myself as Marty Biesler, owner of Biesler Balloons. I said I was the second cousin of the bride. No one questioned it. Plus I had all these balloons. Purple one’s. The color of royalty.

I navigated through the reception handing them out. I had so many of them, that it looked like I had a float following me. People were in awe and took them as if they were gifts. The reception was a sea of purple. The sun sent it’s ray’s through the balloons giving everyone a royal glow. Magic.

I/Marty watched this magical moment of laughter, dancing, toasting as balloons floated, wandered, be-bopped through the night. The night was unforgettable. Love, memories, champagne, jazz, dancing and Biesler Balloons.

Slowly, balloons drifted up into the sky. One by one they left the reception. Every now and then, guests would catch a balloon crossing the view of the moon. A little balloon with string drifting across the moonlight like E.T., phone home.

Then I/Marty Biesler climbed back in a 1927 Model J Duesenberg and drove home.

The End.

I like to make up names. I have my favorite DJ names picked out. And I have these alter ego names selected. Marty Biesler has been around for almost a decade. In my mind, he doesn’t look like he does in this photo. But he is the type of guy that would bring a thousand balloons to a wedding, uninvited. And then stand off to the side, enjoying the spectacle. He and I are similar.

Kurt Vonnegut has this great quote: We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful what we pretend to be.

I pretend to be a lot of things. I am a lot of things. Sometimes I’m not sure which is which. I’m me, I’m Marty Biesler, I’m DJ Inspecta Collecta, I’m a husband, a father, a friend. Sometimes I’m great and sometimes I’m just not. What a struggle.

But one day, I’ll bring a sea of balloons to a wedding. Marty would want me to.

(new here? read this first.)

Happy 2011. I’m Daniel.

I’ve become obsessed with desserts. In fact, I’ve become quite the expert. It happened shortly after I stopped drinking booze. Apparently I still needed that sugar. So I started looking at sweets in a new way. Cheesecake seemed appealing. Crème Brulee beckoned. Carrot cake called.

I’ve always enjoyed dessert after dinner. But, in the past, I typically opted for an after dinner drink instead. Limoncello would look longingly at me. Grappa gaped. Scotch stared. And as a result, I always went for a liquid option as my reward. A piece of pie would only get in the way of some ouzo. Gulp.

I gulped some good stuff too. I became a huge fan of scotch – Scapa 16 yr single malt being one of my favorites. I embraced rum with enthusiasm, often bringing back Cuban Havana Club when traveling overseas; It’s sweetness and smoothness – definitely a dessert. And I went euro bling from time to time, with a Louis XIII de Rémy Martin. I made the most of each sip. I knew how to order a drink. And I often felt the cruel effects of a hangover.

I’ve not had a hangover since switching over to cakes, pies, cookies, ice cream or chocolate. In fact, I’ve never felt better. Now, instead of sipping on a scotch on the rocks on my couch, you’ll find me on that same couch stuffing my face with a chocolate croissant, filled with strawberries and whipped cream.

Now that’s what I call progress.

Homemade carrot cake

Homemade carrot cake

(Casey here…hi!)

Walnuts tear up my mouth.

I know because there is a pie at a restaurant in Salt Lake that has a filling similar to cookie dough that is simply filled with walnuts.

It is a delicious pie, but the next day my mouth is very sad. I’ll spare you the details, because they’re gross. But I’ll still eat walnuts on occasion, until I remember why it is that I don’t eat them.

Band-aids make me break out in a perfectly shaped band-aid rash. Especially when I’m pregnant. In fact, anything medically stuck to me while I’m pregnant leaves behind these horrible itchy rashes. I once spent a whole day in a hospital while seven months pregnant and it was quite a shock to see the dozens of red welts from where various medical devices had been stuck to me.

Kiwis make my mouth tingle. Avocados make my throat itch. But I don’t really care about those, because kiwis are delicious and avocados are akin to perfection.

My little kid is allergic to carrots. Nothing else, just carrots. If she eats them she barfs. And carrot barf is gross.

I wonder how many people throughout her childhood are going to attempt to feed her carrots only to have her look up with her big blue eyes and say “but I’m allergic to carrots.

“Sure you are kid, sure you are.”

But she really is, so if you try to feed her carrots? You’re keeping her for 24 hours. Because as I mentioned, carrot barf, gross.

I used to tell people I was allergic to cigarettes and that’s why I didn’t want to smoke or be around smoke. Saying I was allergic always went over better than “I think it’s a gross disgusting habit and I hate smelling like an ashtray.” I once saw a girl at an Italian restaurant send back her fettuccine because it had pepper on it and she was apparently allergic to pepper.

Allergic to pepper?

Not going to lie here, I’ve used the allergic to pepper excuse, even though I’m not. I just hate pepper and don’t understand when chefs surprise you with a giant splotch of it on top of your food. Tell me it’s there in the menu and I’ll ask you to leave it off, surprise me with it?

I’m allergic.

(new to this blog? start here. new to the 30 d. of t.? start here.)

Hey, I’m Casey, and I’m supposed to tell you something I hate about myself.

But see, here’s where I tell you that I don’t even let the word hate into my vocabulary. Okay, so that’s totally a lie. I use the word hate, BUT I’M NOT HAPPY ABOUT IT. And I don’t use it around my daughter. Okay. So I try really hard not to use it around my daughter. If I had to narrow a situation down to the word hate? It would be stepping in water in clean dry socks. I hate doing that.

As far as hating things about myself? That’s not going to get me anywhere good. Not to mention I did it for over a dozen years and it landed me nowhere that could be considered awesome. Those nowheres including, but not limited to, the hospital, therapy and in really dysfunctional relationships. So for the sake of this post and for anyone who is already emotionally fragile I am not going to say I hate anything about myself. Things I’d like to change? Sure. Things I need to do a better job of accepting? Absolutely. Hate? Nope.

However, in the spirit of this whole project I will tell you that I’m a little disappointed in my complete and utter inability to participate in hypotheticals. I am thoroughly convinced that I would never make it through law school because it consists of really stupid hypotheticals that I’d be paying a whole boatload of money to think about.

Paying money to decide the outcome of a completely false situation. I read those “choose your fate” books in fifth grade. I was always the kid that read the last page so I’d know exactly which story lines to choose. This little inability to play along with hypotheticals drives my lawyer husband UP. THE. DAMN. WALL.

Today he asked me which of the destinations I would choose to visit that have been featured thus far on this season of the Amazing Race. My response? None of them. They were all either cold, ugly, smelly or waaaay too busy. Call me when those racers end up on a beach in Tahiti. I mean, okay. If someone else is paying…no. Nope. Not going to work. I don’t know too many people who would get geeked out of their mind to go to St. Petersburg. So maybe Daniel would. In fact I know he would. I would give my trip to him and his wife. They deserve a trip, even if it is to Russia.

My inability to stick within the parameters of a Cody given hypothetical leads him to massive eye rolling and frustration. Why would I pretend to choose between eating cereal or eating spaghetti for the rest of my life when it is NEVER GOING TO COME TO THAT? Besides, why cereal or spaghetti? Why not sushi or pancakes?

So there. I wish I could do hypotheticals better. But to be honest, I am the best weasel outer of hypotheticals ever. I dare say there isn’t a single one you could get me to agree to right out of the gate. Unless it was something stupid like “Eat ice cream forever or lose a leg?”

********************************

I’m Daniel and I will write this entry. I will finish it.

I’ve procrastinated for weeks on this post. I’ve started it countless times and written lots of drivel. It’s either been way too personal or severely lacking in any personality. This is my final attempt. I will write something.

What do you hate about yourself? It’s a simple question, but so tough to answer.

I thought about sidestepping this one with some humor and wit. But I won’t. So here goes.

I’m incredibly hard on myself and I hate that. It creates personal feelings of inferiority, unrealistic expectations and easily misinterpreted social situations. Aside from the general feelings of negativity, it’s enough to drive me crazy.

This way of living has resulted in some amazing accomplishments and experiences in life. I can only say that because I’m going through this writing exercise. I never take time to reflect on the positives of things. It’s not healthy. It’s insane. It’s not reality.

I’m capable of easily outlining the critical aspects of what I do or who I am. We could be here for days. I could easily point out the horrible things I’ve done, mistakes I’ve made, or opportunities I missed and so on. Easily. I actually do that very well.

But there’s no balance. I can gloss over the positive things I’ve accomplished or initiated. I can justify why they occurred – it was luck, it was others, it was too easy and so on. But I’m incapable of finding the healthy balance in processing this. One accomplishment is quickly erased in pursuit of the next.

I hate this because it’s had a big impact on my life. I’m not fully aware of how lucky I am in all areas – my wife and son, a home, family, friends, colleagues, projects, creative outlets, opportunities, you name it. There’s something to be said about stopping to smell the roses. I hate that I don’t. I hate that I don’t give myself a chance. I hate that my actions are shaped by this way of thinking.

All is not lost. I’ve given this part of me a lot of thought the past few months. I’m aware and taking time to soak it all in.

And today, I’m telling you.

Casey here, Daniel and I are going to throw a little something different into the mix. There’s this thirty days of truth meme floating ’round the Internet and I figured Daniel and I could do it in a way no one else could. Daniel wasn’t totally stoked on the idea, but I know he’ll surprise himself. We’re certainly not doing thirty consecutive days, we have lives you know.  We may even change a couple of the topics. That’s what makes this so fun. Enjoy.

Day 01 → Something you hate about yourself.
Day 02 → Something you love about yourself.
Day 03 → Something you have to forgive yourself for.
Day 04 → Something you have to forgive someone for.
Day 05 → Something you hope to do in your life.
Day 06 → Something you hope you never have to do.
Day 07 → Someone who has made your life worth living for.
Day 08 → Someone who made your life hell, or treated you like shit.
Day 09 → Someone you didn’t want to let go, but just drifted.
Day 10 → Someone you need to let go, or wish you didn’t know.
Day 11 → Something people seem to compliment you the most on.
Day 12 → Something you never get compliments on.
Day 13 → A band or artist that has gotten you through some tough ass days. (write a letter.)
Day 14 → A hero that has let you down. (letter)
Day 15 → Something or someone you couldn’t live without, because you’ve tried living without it.
Day 16 → Someone or something you definitely could live without.
Day 17 → A book you’ve read that changed your views on something.
Day 18 → Your views on gay marriage.
Day 19 → What do you think of religion? Or what do you think of politics?
Day 20 → Your views on drugs and alcohol.
Day 21 → (scenario) Your best friend is in a car accident and you two got into a fight an hour before. What do you do?
Day 22 → Something you wish you hadn’t done in your life.
Day 23 → Something you wish you had done in your life.
Day 24 → Make a playlist to someone, and explain why you chose all the songs. (Just post the titles and artists and letter)
Day 25 → The reason you believe you’re still alive today.
Day 26 → Have you ever thought about giving up on life? If so, when and why?
Day 27 → What’s the best thing going for you right now?
Day 28 → What if you were pregnant or got someone pregnant, what would you do?
Day 29 → Something you hope to change about yourself. And why.
Day 30 → A letter to yourself, tell yourself EVERYTHING you love about yourself

(new here? read this first.)

Hi readers. I’m Daniel.

You may not recognize this through the fog, but this picture was taken on the grounds of the Indianapolis Museum of Art. I worked at the IMA until February for just over 5 years. It was a wonderful journey filled with unforgettable projects. That’s easy to say now. At the beginning, I certainly couldn’t see the path. It was kind of hazy.

Most things in life are like that. You start on a journey, not exactly sure of the final outcome. Along the way you make the right choice. You make the wrong choice. You adjust. You keep going. That’s the way it is. I’ve been surprised in life by a wrong or right decision drastically determining a destination. There are decisions I wish I could take back. And there are decisions I could have not made better.

I’m incredibly thankful for my opportunities at the museum. When I joined in 2004, I know that Linda Duke (Director of Education) had taken a risk in hiring me. There were times where I felt I was in over my head, days where I went home never wanting to return and countless moments of self-doubt. Often, I simply went through the motions, trying to do what I thought was right. I’m glad no one ever gave up on me. Then one day, things just kind of clicked and there’s was no going back.

I’m proud of the projects I participated in at the IMA – a trip to Cuba, a video series with the Louvre, an exhibition featuring an eastern mole, a pretty cool blog, The Nugget Factory, lots of websites,  ArtBabble, and hundreds of videos. It was an incredible five years and an experience I could never had predicted. Especially when I first started.

I’m in a newish job now, I’ve got a new baby, I’m trying lots of new projects and I’m trying to make the right decisions in crafting my next journey. Along the way, I’ve learned that the haze disappears. I’ve learned that persistence is key. I’ve learned that you don’t arrive in a short time. I’ve learned to be patient (maybe not). And importantly, I’ve learned to surround myself with brilliant people. I would never get through the haze without them.

Thoughtful morning

Thoughtful morning

Casey’s turn.

I haven’t left my house enough over the last 11 weeks to enjoy much of anything. I have been so consumed with keeping myself and the baby in my belly safe that going outside seems to be too much work. There are too many noises and not enough soft places for me to land outside. It seems as though the last 11 weeks have revolved around soft things. Soft places to sit, soft places to sleep, soft things to wear and soft places to recover from the overwhelming emotions that have nipped away at my spirit like birds pecking away at a peanut butter and seed covered pinecone.

It’s surprising to me how bright the world has become, some of it is a side effect of hormones surging through my body and a lot of it is the amount of time I spend locked away in cool, quiet darkness where the sickness isn’t able to get to me as easily. There are times when I look out my window and wonder if God has turned up the world’s exposure two stops, there are other times I wonder if it’s simply the sun burning away at the ozone and POW KAPOW! the world ends and who thought it was a good idea to bring more children into this world anyway?

I spent the last week in Toronto. The truth is I cried at least a dozen times because I was so scared of being away from everything and everyone I knew. I choked on the tears and forced them down because who cries when they are handed amazing opportunities? Me, apparently. More specifically a pregnant me. I have become so protective of myself when it comes to where and who I choose to spend time with, it’s instinctual. And somewhat crippling.

Every winter since I have lived in the midwest there comes a point where I mourn the loss of sunshine, however this winter the same fear isn’t staring me down with the same anticipated terror. I know darkness. I have been enjoying darkness. And not in a deep twisted way, but in a self preservation way…I am ready to spend the winter curled away growing a tiny human inside of me. This has become my biggest focus. Grow this baby. Love my family.

When the flowers and the leaves come back, so will I. Very symbolic.

(new here? read this first.)

Hi, it’s Casey, and never in my life have I been afraid to perform in front of a crowd.

I started in drama and theater when I was in fifth grade, our group performed for my elementary school. I was cast as Captain Hook in Peter Pan. A singing Captain Hook. I remember an especially rude sixth grade boy coming up to me in the library and saying “you didn’t actually pay money to do that crap did you?” Well the truth was my mom paid and I would have her pay again, because I liked doing it and I didn’t see his rear end up there doing anything theatrical.

My love of drama and performing continued through Jr. High and High School. I played Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird I performed in a very watered down performance of McCavity from “Cats” (which is where I met my first real boyfriend) and in high school I ended up in Arsenic and Old Lace and Much Ado About Nothing. I played a role originally written for a man in both plays. (I was Dogberry in Much Ado About Nothing. Shakespeare holds my heart, it’s one thing to learn Shakespeare with the knowledge of iambic pentameter, it’s entirely different thing to memorize a the lines of a chronically drunk Shakespearean character.)

A partner and I even made it to the Utah State Drama Competition my Junior year with a scene from Baby with the Bathwater, the only problem was that by then I really was a bit of a drunken Shakespearean character in real life and instead of heading South to where the competition was being held, we drove North…to Idaho. Sure we missed the competition and our chance at fame, but we had some excellent pancakes in Lava Hot Springs.

I miss performing, I have taken to karaoke since it’s really the only chance I have to use all those skills I spent so much time learning in my younger years. I have on my life list to perform on stage again. And it will happen. And you’re all invited.

what would you say?

I am Daniel Incandela.

Talk about a frightening image. This conjures up a lot of anxiety. Public speaking.

Here’s my take on public speaking. I hate it, but I rarely turn down an opportunity. It’s painful, stressful and scary – but I’ve always managed to make it.

Those of you that know me would probably say I’m quiet. That’s mostly true. I like efficient communication. To-the-point. Blunt, even.  It doesn’t mean I don’t have a lot to say.

I’m also okay with silence. It drives people nuts so I try to be aware of that. I also like awkward, so there are some opposing issues here. I’m far from perfect.

And standing in front of others at a microphone is a challenge.

About a year ago I delivered a keynote presentation on Museums and Technology in Wellington, New Zealand. I was honored to be asked but scared to death. I had done lots of other conference presentations but never as ‘the’ presenter. I couldn’t turn down a trip to Kiwi land, but…

I knew this might be my only opportunity to deliver a keynote so I wanted to go big – either with a major meltdown or a major victory. Honestly, as i walked to the podium i didn’t know which it would be. That was a scary walk.

I’m most happy during major challenges. I enjoy testing myself, growing, learning and achieving.

I researched the sh*t out of this presentation. I researched what other museums were doing. I researched NewZealand. I researched popular culture. I researched presentations. I wanted go big.

I wrote in Indianapolis. I took my son on walks and practiced my presentation. I wrote on the long flight. I wrote on the beach. I practiced in my hotel rooms. I arranged and rearranged.  I wrote and rewrote. I PowerPointed (do I hear gasps?) – but I hate PowerPoint, so they were more like graphic elements. I didn’t fly 7000 miles to read stats, bullets or quotes. They would have to hear me talk.

And talk I did. Probably for 65-70 minutes. It felt like 5. It was a leap of faith.

My presentation in Wellington ranks as one of my proudest moments. On the topic of museums and technology, I managed to work in a personal video introduction from Kiwi IndyCar driver Scott Dixon, several Flight of the Conchords references, a nude body paint video and a lot of quiet sense of humor. Everything just clicked.

As I walked to the podium I told myself this was it – a moment to rise, an opportunity to be proud, an experience to remember. I left to the applause of 300+, a polite grin and memories that will last forever.

Here’s to more microphones in life.

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