Category Archives: career choices

Recalling the LA Riots: Twenty Years Later

It took the LA Riots to make me realize that this was home, not a place I’d moved to.  I was enraged by the cowardice of the police, judiciary, and everybody else who set the stage for the 1992 LA Riots.

A short list includes:

  • The four LAPD cops who walked free after their trial was moved from LA to Pretoria out in furthest Ventura County.
  • Darryl Gates, who would snarl when the City Hall poodles would timidly suggest he wasn’t doing such a great job. Please remember that Gates at one point had requested a submarine for the LAPD. He already had armored vehicles with rams on them, so why not.
  •  The aforementioned City Council
  • The looters who burned down Esowon, LA’s oldest black-owned bookstore.
  • And all the rest of the looters who got into the act by cleaning out Samy’s Camera on La Brea. Hello, opportunistic white people.

Day One of the riots started late in the afternoon. The verdicts were read out, and my first thought was “Holy shit, we’re in for it now.” Having lived through college riots at Ohio University in 1970, with a subsequent National Guard occupation, I was not optimistic. There was smoke that night, but the main action was south of the 10 Freeway. White people were not overly affected.

Day Two dawned, and I was due to take a Quark class in Westwood. Feeling famously cheap, not wanting to pay for UCLA parking, I rode my bike 8 miles from the Fairfax to the Wilshire/Westwood office building. At 3:30 the instructor said “time to go home, it’s getting bad out there”. From the windows, the north-bound 405 was a glittering parking lot.

The White Zombie Apocalypse greeted me out on the street. Traffic was gridlocked on Wilshire, in both directions. All the white people in their cars had the windows rolled up, and they all had late-stage rigor mortis; lockjawed, stiff-armed, and frozen in place.

I got on my bike, whistle in mouth, blasting, and sliced lanes eastbound to Beverly Hills. Nothing moved. Crossed Santa Monica, which was also totally zombiefied, and raced onwards towards my office on Wilshire & San Vicente, a mile west of LACMA.

The traffic began to open up. I began to see Latino day-workers, stranded at bus-stops as the RTD buses thundered past them. At my office building, I could see smoke, and chaotic traffic. Terry, the black building manager, and Richard, the Ghanaian night desk man, hustled me into the lobby.

“What the fuck are you doing out there?” I told them, and they shook their heads.

Richard was getting a primer on American race politics. Terry was disgusted beyond measure at the looters. One looter had been slip-cuffed in front of the building, but the cops got a call and left him. He saw Terry and said “Help a brother up, will ya?”

Terry scornfully told him “I’m. Not. Your. Brother.” And walked back into the building. Down the street, looters cleaned out Adry’s Discount. Cameras, washers, everything. Somebody got shot in front of the Jewish Center.

Upstairs, the agency was empty. I looked out my window, and counted over 15 columns of smoke. I saw San Vicente being used as a race-track. I rode home to my apartment in the Fairfax.

I watched TV, flipping through all the free channels, watching ashen-faced, overpaid LA newsreaders trying to make sense of it all. Their million-dollar paycheck bubbles were nothing to Koreans protecting their property by any means necessary.

In the midst of all this stupidity, I saw Huell Howser on PBS. With only a sound-guy and camera-man, on Hollywood Blvd, in front of Sears.  Huell walked right up to the entrance, as looters swarmed like roaches, carrying everything, and asked The Big Question.

“Whatcha doin’ that for?”

They were stuck for an answer. He had the biggest balls in the city, making  all of the rest look like the hollowed-out cowards they were. For this alone, he has my undying respect and affection.

That night I slept on the floor the smoke was so bad. I could hear gunshots. My then-girlfriend up in Fresno wanted me to come up. I would, but at dawn, when the curfew was lifted.

I drove to Fresno at dawn. Descending into the San Joaquin Valley down the Grapevine, I saw the Nat’l Guard convoys heading up the mountain. I was thrilled.

When I got to Fresno, the local bobble-head news-readers cheerfully reported events exactly backwards, with the coda of “we don’t have riots up here yet!” Out in ruburbian Madera County, the riots were as distant as in a Tolstoy novel.

I couldn’t wait to get back, and returned late Sunday night. And I’ve been here since.

Due Diligence

rail crossing

Rail crossing, San Joaquin Valley, Dec 2010

Over the years at various jobs, I had downtime. Sometimes for several minutes, occasionally for days, even a week or two. Reading the papers got old. So I began to practice working on problems.

In the paste-up days, I’d xerox and make assemblages. It kept me nimble. Later when the agency I worked at went digital, I’d set up problems and situations for myself in Quark. Yes Quark, the Error 39 Dark Star of my firmament. While the guys next door were sitting in their office with their fantasy baseball leagues, I was skulling out the business of how this goddamned program worked.

Sooner rather than later, I began to encounter actual old-school typographers who’d washed up into ad agencies. They worked with the invisibles on, frames and all. I was hooked. They willingly taught me about style-sheets. Often times I’d outrun the then-feeble processing capacity of the machines I was working on.

As a freelancer I always had to stay ahead of the full-timers. They had a certain security, while I could be more obviously bounced. That is an unfortunate trade-off, one less and less certain as each new day passes in these grim times.

I too became complacent. Until one day I realized I need to know a whole lot more about Photoshop. So off to night-school I went, and discovered that for over fifteen years I was a mouse gnawing my way around a very large cheese. I’d never cored into the program.

Now I was scared. I went to school for the next 2-1/2 years. Always night, on my own dime. That way I didn’t owe shit to anybody. I’d hear from guys I’d worked with over the years the following statements. You might know them too:

  • I’d go to class if somebody paid for it
  • I’ve been meaning to do this
  • It’s too expensive
  • This shit’s too hard

When I started into Photoshop night school, it was about 18 months before the economy went straight into the shitter. I had several classes, one of which was blighted by a perfect storm of self-centered overtalkers, in over-their-head clueless, and some people who just didn’t take it seriously. One night, I’d had enough, and opened up a can of whoop-ass.

“For those in this class who haven’t noticed, the economy is about to go into the toilet. There are some of us in here who would like to live in a better quality of cardboard box than at present. If you don’t have anything positive to contribute, I’m going to ask you to [shut the fuck up], because your talking disrespects the professor, your classmates, and mainly yourselves…”

Dead silence.

The situation improved slightly. The instructor’s hands are tied, because they can’t tell these idiots to shut the fuck up, because then said idiots would cry that their rights had somehow been violated, and so on. For the record, I’m a stone-cold liberal, but this manner of disrespect I will not abide.

Time took care of them. By 2009 the poseurs and clueless were gone, replaced by a full class sitting stock still, eyes forward, terrified by the economic apocalypse unfolding daily. However the “Special Olympics” mentality is deeply entrenched. Too many expect somehow that just showing up gets them a finisher medal, and a victory lap around the track.

And that’s when getting into a community college was easy. Now that education funding has cratered,  just try getting into those classes. They are probably twice as expensive, and half as long as they were before.

What are your choices? Maybe its what you have to do.

But back to my working life. I make war on bad layouts inside the InDesign Creative Suite, currently 5. I taught myself the mysteries of tables, because where I work, they live and die by them. And I was fed up with working on weird-ass legacy documents where the previous operators had glued all kinds of random shit together with drawn rules, color boxes, tab-delimited text boxes, floating in an ambiguous space, with no definite margins.

Which you’ll never see if you work with the invisibles off.

Here’s the bottom line, ducklings: if you think your skills are the end-all and be-all, you are sorely mistaken. Because they probably aren’t. So if you aren’t going to school, and you go home and drink, watch whatever’s on TV, maybe you ought to slice off an hour and begin to study a problem. Put it on a flash drive, and take it to work, and when shit ain’t happening, study it there too.

All this is out on the webs. Ask the question. And here’s the hook: When you’re sitting at work, surfing, you’re slack. You’re not engaged. Eventually people notice.

But this requires a spark of intellectual curiosity.

So. What are you going to do about it?

“Kid, it sucks now. You shoulda been here two years ago!”

The day after I graduated, the day before I left.

After graduating from college, I moved to Los Angeles in June 1977, after an eventful trip west on my mortally wounded ’75 Suzuki T-500.

The first place I lived on my own was a dumpster apartment complex in Van Nuys, Located on the corner of Victory and Fulton Blvd, it backed up to a dinky strip mall on Victory Blvd. California Donuts, a CPA, laundromat, maybe a dry-cleaners. It was right across the street from Jimmy Smith’s Supper Club, where Jimmy held forth on his Hammond B-3 Fridays thru Sunday nights.

Immediately across the street was an Alta-Dena Drive Thru Dairy, where you could buy milk, smokes, and the LA Times for a dime (but not all together). Down the street was Changing Times Hair Salon, owned by the irrepressible Juan Lizarraga; “Hair styled by Pierre of Pacoima, formerly Walter of Watts”. But that was in the future.

The traffic was constant, the air gritty with smog, and the neighborhood was relentlessly ugly. It seemed all the trees were several blocks away.

The apartment building itself was a faded 2-story courtyard complex with an alligator pond for a pool. I looked at the apartment the day after my grubstake arrived after being lost in the mail for three weeks. I’d been staying with a college friend whose young marriage was dissolving, the job she’d lined up for me had evaporated, and my wheels were a gigantic beast of a Dodge ’71 pickup truck to replace my dead motorcycle.

When I walked into the courtyard, the pool was half-empty, with several of the mullet-headed vato chicas with their KISS Army t-shirts and heavy eye makeup standing around looking at it. The rental agent was glad that the unit was occupied, and vanished seconds after I wrote the check.

Everything I owned in the world fit into the corner of the apartment, which was $200 a month. That night I went to a Lucky supermarket, wandered the aisles, wondering what I was going to feed myself. I remember buying fish, white rice, household stuff, and a mop. Then I went home and made dinner, and ate it in silence.

As the days passed, I slowly began to come to terms with my new home. The building manager was a rowdy Filipino with a large fish-tank. The Vietnamese extended family lived in one of the 2-bedroom units in the back; the patriarch, wife, daughters, grandchildren, and the Anglo son-in-law. There was a spectacularly ugly Chicana who lived upstairs, and had a face an iguana would’ve loved. She entertained callers at all hours.

The Filipino vanished after a late-night drunk-fight with one of his homies ended in a sickening crack of his fish-tank, followed by a dead-silence, then 50 gallons of aquarium and fish hitting the carpet. He was replaced by a married couple that used their 2 small boys as basketballs. Tom, the husband, was a comic-book palooka with a room-temperature IQ. The wife was a porcelain-faced, Cupid-bowed mouth, heavy-hipped foghorn whose profanities were loud and memorable. Nothing she said was ever less than 90db.

I looked for work. Navigating this very large, strange city was exhausting. My truck got 8mpg with a tail-wind, had one locking door, and a concrete-splattered bed, minus the tailgate. The FM radio had 3 options; KBCA for jazz, KROQ for low-wattage New Wave, and maybe KMET for what’s now classic rock. It was the Ultimate Chick Repellant, which might as well have said “Never Get Laid” on the sides. I’d park this beast next to Jags, Benzos, anything that looked better than me. Nobody jacked my portfolio.

Looking for work here was only somewhat better than looking in Cleveland two years earlier. Now I didn’t have a fallback. This was it.

“Aw kid, it sucks now. You shoulda been here two years ago!”

“Didja go to Art Center? You shoulda”

“Ohio what?”

“Art Center”

“Art Center”

“Art Center”

I kept at it because I’d crossed the Mississippi with the express intention to escape Ohio. I got a hand-typed rejection letter from ABC. After that, the mailbox was empty most of the time. My dad sent a large box with paperbacks he’d plowed through and tossed. There were days I didn’t leave the apartment.

One day I got a call from a tiny magazine I’d interviewed at. Was I still interested? Uh, yeah. I was down to my last $150. It’d taken me 3-1/2 weeks to find a job. Now I had  it.

Only later did I understand how lucky and fat that was.

The Sixth Interview Principle

Panhandler Posts Her Day-Rate

Panhandler Posts Her Working-Rate

There are Five Big Things you want to avoid during an interview. They are:

  1. Being unprepared
  2. Behaving inappropriately
  3. Appearing unfocused
  4. Seeming insincere
  5. Stretching the truth

That’s according to an article by Jerry S. Wilson, Senior VP-chief customer and commercial officer at Coca-Cola Co, in addition to his current incarnation as a motivational marketer, etc.

Continue reading

The 60-Second Pitch

Super Hero, Straight Guy, and the Femme

Super Hero, Straight Guy, and the Femme

Its all about you. Describe who you are and what you do. Its professional speed-dating. That was the exercise before us that evening.

How are you going to be concise, informative, engaging, and confident? Without the hems, haws, errrs, and latent narcissism that is just dying to get out and run with muddy boots on white shag carpeting?

It was a messy start. Words got stuck in my throat. I was stumbling. All the reference points in my head were now floating furniture in a zero-gravity un-fun house. I closed my eyes like I was trying to see a match-flare in the dark.

If I’d been sparring in the boxing ring, I’d be knocked-out. If I was driving, there’d be a fireball. Help!

Start at the beginning.

“I’m a graphic designer with over 31 years of print production experience”.

Good start! Establish a professional bona-fide that you hadn’t been living as a Trustifarian.

“I am also a photographer that works with vintage cameras and film because of their unique visual qualities. The photos are then composited into unique digital illustrations, or left as freestanding documents”

Lumpy, but getting closer. Onward!

“One of my long-term documentary projects is photographing 100-mile runners immediately after they finish, in a mobile studio set-up at the finish line of the race. I shoot with medium format camera, using black-and-white film”

A definable, tangible artifact!

The second hand is sweeping towards the finish.

“I also…”

DING!

And now it’s your turn to listen to somebody else’s pitch.

At the end, I was wrung out. No surprise there—these muscles are flabby from inactivity. But its a start. As I went through the 60-second pitch process, I found that I thought I had it almost-wired. Almost. Until I got home and realized that I’d left out a lot. Like the fact that I’m writing this in a way that’s hopefully concise, informative, and engaging.

21 Questions In An Unsettled Time

Abandoned 1920s Billboard, N of Mojave CA. 1989

Abandoned 1920s Billboard, N of Mojave CA. 1989

I was contacted recently by a student who is going to be graduating this spring from Brooks. She included a survey and asked for answers so she could figure out her next move.

Tell me about yourself and your business.

Self-employed freelance print-production expert, with a sideline in photo

Where did you go to school?

Ohio University

Why did you choose that specific school?

A complicated story. There was no choice in the matter–my dad taught photo there, and with a faculty discount I paid (you’re not going to like this part) $79 a quarter (1973-77). However I had to cover all my own school expenses, while working nearly fulltime at his wife’s boarding stable. Much, much later I discovered that my grandparents had salted away money for my education…

What was your major?

Graphic design

How did you get started after school?

Looking for entry-level jobs. Got a job as a paste-up guy at a tiny magazine for $4.50/hr

Did your schooling prepare you for the industry?

Not really.

What are your most effective methods in growing and sustaining your business?

Being adaptable, learning new skills, learning old-school techniques and processes. Showing up on time. Meeting deadlines. Not being a dick.

What was the greatest challenge in starting your business?

Overcoming the terror. Yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

Is there any particular methods you would target and approach clients?

Be honest. Get a mentor

What are your favorite strategies of promoting yourself and your business?

Word of mouth. Social networking via LinkedIn/facebook. Its not surefire, but it helps.

What is your branding method or strategy?

Selling my experience.

What is the job market like in your market for new college graduates?

Really bad

What is the competition like in the industry?

Fierce

What is the competition like in your geographic area you promote and operate your business in?

Same as above

How do you determine your pricing?

1/ not being a CraigsList low-ball dick.

2/ realistically cover your costs, because this is a business

What would be your advice to a recent grad from a photography school about art direction for a career?

An effective art director is somebody who understands that looks alone are not going to make truly effective or interesting advertising.

I had a teacher who observed that fashion advertising is a world where the rules of gravity are suspended. I read W because the photography is alternately wonderful and horrifying, and gravity-free. Like the recent Marc Jacobs stuff where models are in a swirl of what appears to be mustard gas. Those are somewhat interesting images, but missed opportunities for art direction and design. By contrast there were some Chanel ads that were brilliant in their understated strength.

Are you growing as a business or entity?

I′m trying to grow my business as a specialty photographer using vintage cameras and film. Since my work is not insta-deadline driven, its a set of techniques like an illustrator

Would you recommend going to marketing classes or seminars?

depends on who’s teaching them. Get on a photo/designer list, ask questions, poke and pry. You’re trading money for talk.

Do you attend seminars?

Yes, very selectively

How is changing technology affecting your business?

Too numerous to mention. Suffice to say I watermark every image I post. Yes, its a dick move, but until I get paid for that image, its there, at 5% opacity, and meta-data’d as well.

What advice do you have for a student photographer desiring to enter the business?

Get ready to work very, very hard. Some joy, a fair amount of heartbreak. The stuff you thought was soul-deadening in school will probably pay your bills.

CODA

I mentioned my dad taught photography. Every quarter hed review the numbers for his Basic class:

450: annual number of students in Basic Photo [150 x 3 quarters]
100: number of students accepted into Intermediate, annually
25: number of students in Sr Class
10: number of students as graduate students
1: number of students making their living in photo, 5 years after graduation

This did not take into account the photo-journalism shooters, which was a different program. The numbers may have shifted over the years, I don‘t know.

I sincerely wish you the greatest success in your efforts. I really do. Hopefully the soundings I offer will help in some way, and not be discouraging. If I can be of any other assistance, let me know.

Portfolios: Show Me Your Money

A physical book/portfolio is essential, and a co-equal to a web presence.

A physical book lets an interviewer scan your work in less than a minute, and know exactly what you can and cannot do. They don’t have to wait for a Flash/media presentation to load. No cut on all the Flash wizards out there, but they want to get in, and out, fast.

They don’t care about anything else.

Sometimes an original item is a showstopper, and provides physical evidence that you are capable of handling large print projects.

I produced a 355pp high-end furniture catalog several years ago. This monster was printed at Geo Rice & Sons, lush and sweet. Ditto for annual reports, where 4/4 plus spots are more often used.

Exceptions would be telephone books, newspaper, OfficeDepot catalogs, etc.

Presentation styles come and go. I’ve seen slide portfolios, 8×10 trannies, matted flat pieces, laminated ‘place mats’, 8×10 vinyl books [in varying degrees of finish], godzilla attache cases, etc. Currently I’m in the higher-end vinyl sleeved book place.

A multtude of sins and defects can be hidden in a 50% reduction of a double-truck spread to an 8-1/2 x 11 page. Colors become more saturated and rich, etc.

But back to Flash and other media: this brings up questions of process versus content, which I’ll revisit at a later time.

A splendid time will be had by all.

Some of What You Need To Know

lost parrot

A wise man once said “I’m going to teach you everything you know, but not everything I know”. Unfortunately, he was eight feet high in a movie theatre.

The following are observations about the print production, agency life, and work in general. Its organized into easily-ignored categories.

The Workday

  • Everyone’s day ends at six, except yours. This explains the 5:59 dump on your desk by someone on their way home.
  • When the word “Family” is uttered, be very careful. You already have a family (setting aside metaphysics for the moment)—everything else are associations.
  • You can and will be thrown overboard—it’s the Family Way.
  • People come to the Studio because its way more interesting than their veal-cube. They’ll want to play in traffic. Watch their little fingers near knives.

The Workflow

  • Similar to a marathon—last files to arrive are the ones that are most screwed up. No, make that a destruction derby.
  • Just because that art director or designer went to a name school doesn’t mean their files won’t be screwed up. Remember, they think they’re Frank Gehry—they get to dream, not to execute.
  • The Inverse Law has many applications. The amount of misery generated by a client/account mgr/customer is inversely proportional to their understanding of the process.
  • The file that has to be FedEx’d rush is the one that is missing something.

Human Relations

  • Agency life revolves around Three Constants: Who’s Cool or Not, This Season’s Fad Gadget, and Who’s Doing Who. This was found taped under David Ogilvy’s desk.
  • Stay on good terms with the support staff and Accounts Payable.
  • 98.6% of office romances end badly. Don’t ask about the other 1.4%. Wait until that special someone works somewhere else, then let it rip.
  • Your problems suck.
  • A good joke lasts forever.
  • Get an outside life.
  • Beware of utopian office schemes that get breathless write-ups in design magazines. Make note who’s got an office with a locking door. Also check to see if there’s adequate ventilation and work surfaces—you are going to be putting together those comps.

The Client/Customer

  • They’re paying the freight.
  • Explain complicated things concisely. Give them a reason to consult you.
  • They know things you don’t. Maybe you’ll learn something.

That’ll do for now.

Vortex Theory of Chaos And Incompetence

vortex-ed1.jpg

This diagram is a way of explaining what can happen in the design/print production experience. Its also to show that things aren’t entirely grim here at “Mr Pre-Press Speaks!”

This schematic was drawn in 1990 using analog technology. However,  all the working parts are unchanged. Avoid sticking your fingers in the moving parts.

Young Creatives & Old Production Guys

shoes on the line

I remember the day the light went on. I’d figured out the ad industry wanted young creatives and seasoned, experienced production people.

The ad biz wasn’t looking for another 49 year old art director. Especially one with less than 2 years in a B2B shop. The business looks for, and gets, 25 year olds; who are typically beaten with a stick for 60-80 hrs a week, and are paid a lot less than a senior guy or gal makes. Everyone hopes they make their bones before they fall over from complete burn-out.

However—a senior production guy/gal who knows their game is a different proposition. I went home that afternoon and rewrote my resume to say boldly “25 Years of Print Production Experience”. I started working regularly after that.

Prelüde

I didn’t set out to have a career in print production. Honest. But here I am.

Long before I was a junior art director I was a disgruntled print-production guy. I tolerated it as it enabled me to pursue other things like running 100-mile mountain races and other outdoor pursuits.

Late one August night in 1997, I got fed up with being fed up and started back to school. Foreplay was Art Center At Night for a couple of semesters. There was a pause. I was still looking.

In late 1998 I lucked out and found out about Mike Whitlow’s Bookshop. I sat in on a class and realized that the Bookshop was the real deal. This became my after-hours MFA. It took 2-1/2 years, and when I had my book, I was wrung out. But it got me a job as an art director in a small B2B shop,

Our primary client was Aon Insurance. I got laid off after 9/11. Aon’s New York office had been on the 105th floor of the South Tower. Aon and my agency went into vapor-lock along with the rest of the economy.

I spent the next 18 months looking for art direction gigs. The job market was not good. The sky was raining art directors. I reluctantly went back to freelance print-production.

One day in 2003 I was down at a huge direct mail shop in Marina del Rey. Looking around me, I saw men, mostly; guys who’d been group creative heads, creative directors, guys with TV reels. They were doing direct mail. And the tanks were rolling across the Iraqi sand, hotf00ting it to Baghdad.

And that’s when I got it. Something else also happened. Being an art director didn’t define my entire creative existence. And not being one was a relief. Didn’t have to stay up nights and weekends agonizing over things I didn’t care about. Being a Lee Clow whose sole life was advertising struck me as being a monocultural retard, like genetically modified corn.

I’d begun to allocate energy in a different way. And that freed up considerable calories to deal with both print production and my photography in two different capacities. I became a happier guy in the process.

But Wait, There’s Always More

The starting line is continually redrawn. Nobody can afford not to stay engaged. Or in a more cruel vein, the rest of you can go back to sleep while I pursue my studies. Don’t mind me if I eat your lunch.

While working at Grey Advertising in the mid-90’s I met Ben Worthing. Underestimate Ben, but only at your own peril. Yes, he wore powder-blue polyester suits, and looked like the kindly grand-dad you wished you’d had. But he never missed an opportunity to look ahead and learn.

Ben was officially kept on the payroll well after the mandatory 65 retirement age because he was too valuable to let go. He’d schooled the young whelps who later on ran the agency in his print estimating office when they were fresh out of school and useless.

One evening I asked Ben a FileMakerPro question which had been bothering me. His answer was straight to the point. I then asked him how come he “got” computers when many in middle and upper management simply didn’t.

He quietly told me that it went back to his flying days in the Army Air Force in 1942. He was trained as a navigator on a B-17. He didn’t get sent to England because one of his original crew got sick, and the crew was pulled from the flight line. This probably saved him from being shot down over Germany somewhere. He was reassigned to Fort Bliss as an instructor.

By the end of the war in 1945 he was training crews in B-29s. The transition was from an unpressurized, manually controlled, 3-ton payload bomber; to a fully-pressurized, high-altitude heavy bomber that had electro-servo motors for flaps, landing gear, bomb-bay doors that unleashed 10 tons of destruction.

So when the first Macs appeared in the late 80’s he saw a tool that would change his work life for the better. He could now turn estimates for outdoor boards in three locations and four sizes in less than an hour, instead of four hours using an assistant riding a crank-calculator and a pencil on an estimating sheet.

He smiled gently, and walked slowly back to his office on bad knees. I saw him in a completely different light. Ben had remained engaged and curious when his peers resisted. An open engaged mind is a powerful thing. That’s the kind of grand-dad we could all use.

You’ll excuse me—one of my cameras needs to be exercised.