Posts Tagged With: Neal Portenza

Day 1327: Why did Ann share this picture?

Why did Ann choose today’s title?

I chose that title because of this picture I want to share from the Edinburgh Festival Fringe …

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… and because I sometimes  imagine my readers asking themselves …

Why did Ann share this picture?

I wonder if you’ll ask that question about any of my other photos from yesterday, which I shall now share (in chronological order and with no editing whatsoever).

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Why do you think I shared these pictures?

Many thanks to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Ada/Ava by Manual Cinema, Marc Mackinnon (last appearing in this blog during the 2015 Festival Fringe), Lucie Pohl, the amazing Neal Portenza (who has appeared previously in this blog here, here, here, here, here, and here), Josh Ladgrove,  Asexual Healing, our favorite Edinburgh-based comedian Dr. Tom Joyce (appearing in Asexual Healing and previous blog posts here, here,  and here), and everybody  who contributed an image to today’s post.  And special thanks to you — of course! — for whatever you choose to share, here and now.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 33 Comments

Day 1326: Perfection is a matter of time

What do you think of today’s blog title?  Is perfection a matter of time? Is perfection ever possible, no matter how much time we have?  Is it worth our time trying to be perfect?

Because I woke up so late today in Edinburgh, Scotland, I have no time to make this post even close to perfect.

Yesterday, it took time for me to perfect my understanding of this sign:

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It was a matter of time before I perfected how I captured that sign (because of my son’s perfectly timed interruptions):

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Earlier in the day, I thought I had found the perfect title for today’s blog post …

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…  but it was only a matter of time before I changed my mind.

I don’t have time to explain all the other photos I took yesterday. I will, imperfectly, mention some Scottish experiences that matter to me:

  1. My perfect son Aaron and I are attending the Edinburgh Festival Fringe for our fourth time.
  2. We love taking the time to talk to the perfectly wonderful people here.
  3. My ex-sister-in-law Deborah, her daughter Laura, and Laura’s daughter Victoria arrived yesterday to join us, after spending lots of imperfect time in a New York airport that had no power and waiting hours of time for their rooms in Edinburgh to become available.
  4. We found a perfect Edinburgh labyrinth yesterday.
  5. Whenever Aaron gets hold of my iPhone camera, it’s only a matter of time before he takes extreme closeups.
  6. Aaron and I spend a lot of time discussing which of the Fringe posters comes closest to being perfect.
  7. Last night, we saw Josh Ladgrove a/k/a Neal Portenza in another amazingly inventive and hilarious performance. Every year we see him, Neal Portenza perfectly puts Aaron is his show.
  8. It’s only a matter of hours before we  all see the Neal Portenza show again.
  9. After we see Neal Portenza Neal Portenza Neal Portenza Neal Portenza Neal Portenza Neal Portenza  Neal Portenza Tracey again tonight, we are going to see Tom Joyce, our favorite local comedian.  Every year  Aaron and I have been coming to the Fringe, it’s only a matter of time before we run into Tom on the street at the perfect time or otherwise figure out a way to see him.

It was only a matter of time before I showed you my other photos from yesterday.

 

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It was only a matter of time before I would remind you if you can’t perfectly see any of those imperfect photos, you can click on them to enlarge them.

What’s the perfect music for this post?  Damned if I know, but it was only a matter of time before one of those photos would inspire this:

As imperfect as this post is, it took me much more time than I expected to finish it. So here’s some imperfect thanks to all who helped me create it and to you — of course! — for taking the time to visit today.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 31 Comments

Day 965: Getting unstuck

Do you ever get stuck in a behavior, a feeling, or a thought? Do you ever repeat patterns of acting or thinking you KNOW are neither positive nor helpful?

If you answered “yes,” you are NOT alone in your stuck-ness.

If you answered “no,” could you let the rest of us know how you stick to being unstuck?

Here’s why I’m stuck thinking about getting unstuck today:

  1. Tomorrow I go back to work helping others get unstuck in their lives, after two weeks of being wonderfully unstuck from my regular routines, on vacation.
  2. One article I read while in Social Work graduate school — that has stuck with me for decades — suggested that all mental/behavioral health diagnoses could be replaced with a single, one-word diagnosis: “Stuck.”
  3. While I’ve made a lot of progress in my own life, I still get stuck in certain ways of thinking, reacting, and behaving  I KNOW are unhelpful, outdated, and automatic.

Let’s stick to the title of this post — “Getting Unstuck.” How do those of us who know we get stuck start unsticking from  old, unhelpful habits of thinking and behaving?

Before I share some getting-unstuck advice,  I invite you to stick to your own wisdom and experience.

What’s one thing you’ve learned in your life about getting unstuck, even temporarily?

Stick with that question, for a moment. What memories, images, or other associations about getting unstuck are sticking with you, now? If you stick any of those in a comment here, you might help others get unstuck, too.

Because I’m stuck with that promise I made to share something I have learned, in my long life,  about getting unstuck, here it is:

When you feel stuck, get in touch with your experience and your intuition and do ONE THING differently. Then, notice the other changes that one simple change creates. 

With all of you as my witnesses, I now pledge to do one thing differently when I return to work tomorrow.  In order to get unstuck from old and unhelpful post-vacation habits, I  am going to consciously allow the many wonderful feelings, thoughts, and images from eight glorious days in Edinburgh, Scotland to stick around, for a long time.

We’ll see how long I can stick with that.

If I had brought my Scottish walking stick back with me to U.S., perhaps that stick would help me stick to sustaining and change-inspiring  memories of freedom, creativity, beauty, and growth. However, I left that stick behind on the streets of Edinburgh, stuck with the hope that walking stick might help somebody else — who might need support — move forward through that cobble-stoned city.

Because I have no pictures of that stick, I’ll stick to other images, old and new:


                                                                    
       
What music might help us all stick to those things that help us get unstuck in our lives?


I’m sticking with a song that’s familiar to me:  the Scottish Gerry Rafferty and Stealers Wheel performing “Stuck in the Middle with You,” stuck back in the United Kingdom circa 1973.

Unsticking thanks to all who helped me stick to this topic, today, and to you — of course! — for sticking around for the end of this post.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 55 Comments

Day 961: Pareidolia

My son Aaron, who has a very nice face, tells me that “Pareidolia” is the word for our tendency to see human faces where they do not exist.

For example, when I faced this car, yesterday, in Edinburgh, Scotland …

… it looked, to me, like it had a human face.

We probably see human faces, where they do not actually exist, as a way make the unfamiliar more reassuring.

It’s also reassuring to see actual human faces, especially if they look friendly.


That’s Joanna, who reassured us that the unfamiliar Scottish custom of including white AND pink marshmallows on hot chocolate was actually practiced widely across Europe.


That’s Fearghas, with whom we swapped recommendations about what shows to see at the Festival Fringe.

That’s one of the faces of the terrific improv group Men with Coconuts, whom we’ve faced several times this year and during the Festival Fringe in 2014.

One of the first friendly faces we saw in Edinburgh, when we arrived a week ago, was that of an imposing redhead, named Marc,  from an original play called STYX:


While there are SO MANY choices at the Festival Fringe, we knew we would eventually face STYX, because we kept seeing the faces of Marc and his fellow STYX performers on the streets of Edinburgh. Also, STYX has a really stand-out poster, which our faces have been seeing everywhere. AND, we’ve been facing these neat give-aways in our hotel room, since we first saw the STYX players’ faces:


So, yesterday, we finally faced STYX. Here are two familiar faces I saw, before the show:

Here are faces I saw on stage:


  
  
  
  


Those are the faces of some amazingly inventive comic actors. I also faced some ridiculous synchronicities with my life in that hilarious play, including :

  • A character with heart problems,
  • Several plot points involving a DEFIBRILLATOR (installed in a phone booth) and
  • A woman hobbling around with a cane.

After we saw STYX, I took these photos of some friendly faces responsible for that fabulous and funny production:


      

Now,  please face another photo of faces that were on stage AND off stage at yesterday’s great performance of STYX:

There were a lot more faces I faced yesterday, in amazing and beautiful Edinburgh. Let’s see what faces you notice in these photos:


  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
That last photo includes the face of a performer my son Aaron and I have admired since last year’s Festival Fringe: Dr. Professor Neal Portenza,  who also faces the real word as Joshua Ladgrove.


  
There’s our friend Josh performing on a bus last night, facing another enthusiastic audience. Face it, my dear readers, it was great seeing Josh perform, especially since he asked if any of the people facing him on that bus were able to be in the moment and — when he noticed my face nodding “Yes” — he told the whole audience that he READS THIS BLOG.

You can just imagine my face, when he said that.

Well, we now need to face our last full day in Edinburgh, including an 11 AM performance by this beautiful face we saw on our first day here:


Because I need to get ready to face Sanctuary and the rest of the day, I am going to ask you to face a post here today without any videos. Perhaps somebody who faces this blog can provide some Pareidolia -appropriate music?

Thanks to all the faces that make my life worth living, including yours!

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, pride | Tags: , , , , , , , | 41 Comments

Day 958: Tangible

Yesterday, in a part of Edinburgh near the sea, I was lucky enough to see a tangible sign of what to call today’s post.

Here are other experiences that, to me, were tangible:

  









Some of those photos — including that giant sculpture of a hand– tangibly demonstrate one meaning of tangible: “touchable.”

One of my tangible motives for this post is to finish it quickly, so my son Aaron, Aaron’s aunt Deborah, and I can go on a tour today of the tangibly beautiful countryside outside of Edinburgh. We are leaving soon, at the tangibly early time of 7:30 AM, which might make me rather touchy.

At the same time, another tangible motive for today’s post is to show you other experiences that tangibly touched me yesterday, including images from our walk to and through the Lethe section of Edinburgh:




















We also saw some tangibly great performances at the Festival Fringe.

Hurt and Anderson …

… tangibly stood out from all the others trying to create tangible audiences for their shows yesterday.

Here were some of the tangible high points of Hurt and Anderson’s smart and confident sketch comedy, that I was tangibly able to capture:
  

I could almost touch their set list from our tangibly front-row seats …

… which I just turned around — with a few touches on my phone — so you could tangibly read it:

The other tangible performance we were touched by yesterday was that of Dr. Professor Neal Portenza in “Catchy Show Title” again.

Here is tangible proof of the good Dr. Professor’s kindness:


Those were hand-written tickets touchingly arranged for us, at the last tangible minute. Last night, we were sitting within  touching distance of  his tangible inventiveness with his tangible audience:


  

I took the above photo when Dr. professor P asked the audience, “Can you feel it?” We could all feel it.

Then, the tangibly brilliant Dr. Professor posed for my touch-screen camera:

Later this week, we may share a tangible meal with Dr. Professor Portenza, where I may ask him this tangible question: “How does one become a Doctor AND a professor at such a young age?” and my son Aaron might ask if it’s true that an audience member really broke his ribs, in Australia, by touching him too hard with one of these tangible plungers:

I’m not sure what tangible tune would go best with this touchy-freely post, so I’ll pick some music from the  Dr. Professor’s  show:

I know that “Lovely Day” by Bill Withers will tangibly touch at least one of my readers. For you, what was most tangible about this post?

A lovely day to everybody who touched this tangible post and for you, especially, I leave this tangible message:

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , | 29 Comments

Day 956: Never Give Up

Yesterday morning, my son Aaron, Aaron’s aunt Deborah, and I were very happy to  meet Christina.


Christina owns a lovely tea room near our hotel in Edinburgh, Scotland.

  
  

Christina not only served us a delicious breakfast, she also shared photos of herself when she was younger, as well as some important thoughts about life:


   
   
  
When Christina showed us “Never Give Up,” I got pretty teary-eyed. I guess it struck a chord.

Throughout our wonderful day at the Festival Fringe, whenever I felt tired navigating the ups and downs of Edinburgh, I remembered “Never Give Up.” And, like Christina, I kept pushing on.

And when we encountered talented, funny, and soulful people, it was obvious they had  never given up, either. They were still  sharing their creativity and vision with others, despite inevitable ups and downs.
  
  




   
  

   

 

Those last two photos are from Dr. Professor Neal Portanza’s incredibly inventive and hilarious  show  — “Catchy Show Title.”

If you never gave up reading my blogs from  the 2014 Edinburgh Fringe, you might remember the good Dr. Professor putting Aaron on stage in his brilliant performance piece from last year — “Dr. Professor Neal Portenza Performs His Own Autopsy.”

Aaron hasn’t made it on stage at the Fringe. so far, in 2015. Yesterday, however, he did win this:


… from the amazing Improvisational Group “Men with Coconuts.” My son — who never gives up having great ideas — came up with the name for yesterday’s musical extravaganza


“I Have No Spine.”

Because I have given up trying to capture everything here at the Fringe, I have no video of the many improvised songs from “I Have No Spine” — including the stirring and inspirational  title tune.

Here’s what came up on YouTube when I searched for “Never Give Up.”

Finally, as I give up trying to make today’s post perfect,  here’s free stuff some of the Fringe performers, pictured above,  gave us yesterday:


I never give up loving those kinds of encounters.

Non-spineless thanks to everybody in this never-give-up post and to you — of course! — for never giving up, too.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , | 37 Comments

Day 599: Signs, again

As I’m writing this — back home in Boston after a whirlwind 5-night visit to Edinburgh, Scotland with my 16-year-old son, Aaron — the room is very cool, with the windows open, at 6 AM.

Signs of the impending autumn in super-seasoned New England, USA?

We shall see.

 

Usually, before I publish a post, I check to see if I’ve used my title before. Yesterday, I didn’t bother to do that because

Because I didn’t check, yesterday, to see if I had used the title “Surprises” before …

…of course there WAS a post with that title: Day 463: Surprises. Coincidentally, that post was written at the end of my most recent trip/adventure (to NYC, with my friend Jeanette, right before I came down with a month-long bout with pneumonia).

Are there signs, there, of anything important?

We shall see. In the meantime, I’m reframing that whole I-Have-to-Title-Each-Post-Differently Rule, right now, as follows:

It doesn’t matter if I use the same title for a post, since my including the post number in each title automatically makes each one unique.

Phew!  One less thing to worry about, in my life.

Okay!  Time for some signs from the last week, during our round trip from Boston to Philadelphia to Edinburgh to Philadelphia to Boston. And, for this parade of pictures, I’m keeping some personal blogging rules/preferences in place, showing images you’ve not seen before, in order of appearance:

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I would like to explain some of those photos, at this point. That last shot shows the lovely Cynthia Levin a/k/a the scathing Linda Lovin, performing at Fingers Piano Bar with Ron Lynch (as described in yesterday’s post, here). The four pictures preceding that show my son, Aaron, performing on yet another Fringe stage, as he was invited to exchange places with the star of that extraordinarily inventive show — the incredible Dr Professor Neal Portenza.

Well, I have many things to do, now that I’m back home in the USA.  I will leave you with my last photo of the trip, taken yesterday in the Philadelphia airport:

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Thanks to all those who create and read signs, to every single person who contributed to making this post possible,  and to you — of course! — for making the trip here, today.

Categories: friendship, humor, inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism, pride | Tags: , , , , , , , | 38 Comments

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