Wednesday, June 13, 2007


Several years ago I was doing both still photography and video work. I decided to drop the video because it wasn’t that much fun. I later realized why. Still photography takes a slice of life and distills it down to a clean glimpse. It seeks it tell the story in a small rectangular slice of time. Video, on the other hand, adds chaos to an already busy world.

That is why I don’t watch television. When I get home, I have had enough sound, movement, and color for the day. I don’t need manufactured stimulus to distract me.

Simplicity is a concept that seems to get short changed a lot. I see many places where complication and layers of complexity are added with little reason. For example, since I have a background in sound systems, I pay attention to things like microphones and speakers. In many places, wireless mikes have replaced wired microphones, adding complexity and unreliability with little other benefit. Every sound guy knows that wired mikes sound better, have less noise issues, and cost a lot less than wireless. Why then do they spend hundreds of dollars on microphones, receivers, and batteries for a mike that spends its life on a stand?

Cars are another example. Hybrids are big news, but they are exceedingly complicated. In the long term, that means unreliable and expensive to repair. Diesel cars are simply by comparison, get similar mileage, and last several times longer. Yet diesels have been slow to catch on in the U.S., possibly because they are simple and don’t have the high-tech image of the hybrids.

The old adage K.I.S.S., Keep It Simple Stupid, has gone out of favor. We have added layers of complexity to even the simplest pleasures such as shopping for music and talking on the telephone. I believe our lives would be a lot better if we looked for simple solutions not the most complicated solutions. The Bible says to aspire to a simply life. I am not ready to join the Amish, but I think they make some good points. A simpler life is a better life.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Yes, there is a story.

The other day couple of men were at the counter at Homer’s Coffee House. One of them picked up a copy of my book, “Saving the World, One Latte at a Time, The Story of Homer’s Coffee House.” He read the subtitle out loud and then declared, “You mean this place has a story?”

I didn’t say anything, but it sure struck me as odd. After all, every place and everybody has a story. In retrospect, that may have been the dumbest comment I’ve heard in months. Not everybody writes their story, but they certainly could. Certainly, everybody business has a long and interesting story. The hours, days, and years, of planning and sweat that make up even the most modest enterprise could easily fill a book.

Our lives are a story that we play out day by day. Our lives open like a book before us we play out our lives each step of the way.

Does this place have a story? Stories are written here everyday. People meet, get married, and start lives together before our eyes. Business deals are made and lives are changed over a cup of coffee.

I feel sorry for those poor saps who don’t see the stories, don’t know the stories, or are even surprised there is a story.