Monthly Archives: March 2009


So, I’m eating my breakfast in this beautiful outdoor courtyard, on a clear spring morning in Calistoga. And I start hearing this sound. “Whoosh.” I look around… nothing. I take another bite of Cheerios and poke around some more on facebook. “Whoooooosh”. I’m trying to figure out if it’s a heater or something? “Whoooooosh. Whooosh.” Okay, seriously – what is that noise? And then a GIANT HOT AIR BALLOON rises over the building, not more than 50 yards away.

“Oh,” I thought. “A giant hot air balloon. Of course.”

Presentation Reboot.

All right, I know it’s been a while, but this is something I’ve been meaning to blog about. A week ago, I went to Presentation Reboot, a day-long workshop held at Duarte Design studios in Mountain View. It makes me smile, right now, just thinking about it. For those of you who don’t know, in the past year I’ve become (frighteningly) interested in presentation design, and in visual communication in general. Bad slides make me cranky. Really bad slides make me want to throw things. Really bad slides plus really bad presenters make me want to cry.

I had to make PowerPoint slides almost from day 1 at my job. Seriously, like, within the first week, I had to put together some slides for my boss to present to the CEO of our parent company. This wouldn’t be a big problem, except that before that day, I had never opened up PowerPoint in my life. So I went to Borders and picked up PowerPoint for Dummies and went to town. That got me through for a while…

But one night… I picked up a different book. I was perusing the shelves at Borders looking for more books about PowerPoint. Presentation Zen, by Garr Reynolds. It’s a book that started me on the path to making less crappy slides. Way less crappy. After that, I started following the blog, and that’s how I found out about Slide:ology, by Nancy Duarte. I read it and loved it. It gave me a vocabulary – design concepts that I could always sort of “feel”, but didn’t have names for. And now, my slides don’t suck. I’m even getting better at making real presentations, where there’s a purpose and a message, and a story arc. So when I heard about Presentation Reboot, a day-long workshop given by Garr Reynolds and Nancy Duarte, I knew I had to go.

Check it out – there’s a picture of me at Presentation Zen right now. I’ll try to come back and write more about it later – it’s worth writing about.

Out To Lunch.

On Saturday, after Connor’s basketball game, I took the boy to lunch. We went to Panda Express and ate Orange Chicken, and had a great time talking and eating, eating and talking. Afterwards, I got this in my fortune cookie. It’s about all of YOU. How about that?

A sidenote about the Orange Chicken. My son is the pickiest of picky eaters. He likes plain pasta, plain white bread, plain toast, plain plain plain. Although he has always enjoyed a variety of fruits & vegetables, for YEARS he wouldn’t eat cheese, and the kid still doesn’t eat meat unless it’s in “nugget” format. So one day, we’re walking along in the mall, and we walk past the Panda Express. He looks up at me and says, “I like that Panda place. I like the chicken with orange stuff on it.”

“Orange chicken?” I said. “You like the orange chicken?”


And it’s true. My son came back from his dad’s house, and suddenly he likes the orange chicken. So I look at him and think: “Who are you, and what have you done with my son?” But… at the end of the day… we can go to Panda Express together, and that’s pretty cool.