January 2014 Update – UK, US, and first copies of Decoded!
The first month of 2014 is wrapping up. I always feel like the New Year is going to be this big thing, a huge transformation where everything is going to be different and then the next morning unfolds just like any other. It always amuses me that January 1st feels just like December 31st only with added pressure to create new habits and drop some old ones.
My approach to New Year’s eve tends to be very laidback. A quiet night at home with Jesse and the dog, watching some movies and drinking some nice wine. Traditionally, the week between boxing day and New Year’s Eve is spent “adulting,” aka doing all the grownup things we should have done during the year but didn’t. We put up new shelves, cleaned out closets, etc, so by the end of the week I just want to relax and ease into 2014.
January was pretty fun. I went to London to see Book of Mormon with Jesse. It was such a great show, I was laughing the entire time. It was brilliant, gently poking fun at some of the eccentricities of organized religion while still creating characters you wanted to root for and could identify with. It reminded me of how powerful humor can be in getting people to consider alternative points of view, though I wonder if it was too much of preaching to the converted (pun intended). I heard from one of the ushers that sometimes people walked out during certain more controversial songs about God.
I also went to visit the Harry Potter studios in London, which I wrote about here. Thanks to a recommendation by my friend Will, we bought tickets to The Drowned Man, an immersive theater production that was unlike anything I’d ever been to before. There was no linear story, instead a warehouse converted into three different sets that you wandered around in. Everyone in the audience wore a mask, except for the actors so that you can easily identify them. How you spent your time was up to you: you could follow one actor for the whole period, or wander around and see what happens. We did both, exploring the detailed sets for the first hour and then picking two characters we followed for the rest of the time there. It was really incredible, it felt like a real life video game. The sets included forests, deserts, a town, a movie studio and more, complete with detailed apartments, restaurants, movie theatres. While the logical part of me resisted such an ambiguous experience, my inner-writer was completely captivated at such an original way to tell a story and to craft an interactive experience with an audience. I would highly recommend catching a show if you’re in London or New York.
US: Arizona, Utah, Nevada
I spoke at the StoreConnect conference in Scottsdale, Arizona about ArchiTechs and the future of retail (I’ll post notes about that shortly.) Since Jesse had never been in that region, we added a few days to explore. We had a blast! We started out in Phoenix and made our way to Las Vegas stopping in Sedona, The Grand Canyon and Zion National Park on the way.
In Sedona we took a Pink Jeep tour to go offroading and get up close and personal with the beautiful red rocks of the region. We hunted energy vortexes and picked out some healing crystals. We had lunch overlooking the Grand Canyon’s South Rim and followed the path of the colorado river all the way to Utah. We hiked through Zion national park and came across the tiny town of Springvale, with it’s beautiful views of the rock vistas that were simply breath taking. My favorite part was stumbling across the most random things, like the Chapel of the Dove (see picture below) and a tiny little cafe on the side of the highway in the middle of nowhere that roasts their own beans on site and offers a spectacular view. Finally, we spent several days wandering around in Vegas, seeing a Cirque du Soleil show, and marveling at the replicas of Venice, Paris & Rome that have been built, not to mention the amazing casinos!
It was a fast paced trip and I came home to the wonderful news that the first copies of Decoded are hot of the press! I should be getting some of my own copies soon and I just can’t wait to hold it my hands! Next month is going to be crazy, the launch is coming up so I’ll be spending a lot of time in Toronto and New York not to mention ramping up into full promotion mode. Expect to see a lot of op-eds, media and podcasts as we get the message out! Stay tuned for an event near you, I’d love it if you dropped by and said hello.