Archive for the ‘Explore’ Category

Fly Anywhere | Anytime | Forever

Saturday, August 27th, 2016

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IN THE early 1980s, American Airlines, strapped for cash, decided to start selling passes for unlimited first-class travel for life. At the time, the passes cost $250,000 (around $600,000 in today’s dollars), with a companion ticket available for an extra $150,000 and discounts for older people. The Los Angeles Times explains what happened next:

There are frequent fliers, and then there are people like Steven Rothstein and Jacques Vroom.

Both men bought tickets that gave them unlimited first-class travel for life on American Airlines. It was almost like owning a fleet of private jets.

Passes in hand, Rothstein and Vroom flew for business. They flew for pleasure. They flew just because they liked being on planes. They bypassed long lines, booked backup itineraries in case the weather turned, and never worried about cancellation fees. Flight crews memorized their names and favorite meals.

Each had paid American more than $350,000 for an unlimited AAirpass and a companion ticket that allowed them to take someone along on their adventures. Both agree it was the best purchase they ever made, one that completely redefined their lives.

In the 2009 film “Up in the Air,” the loyal American business traveler played by George Clooney was showered with attention after attaining 10 million frequent flier miles.

Rothstein and Vroom were not impressed.

“I can’t even remember when I cracked 10 million,” said Vroom, 67, a big, amiable Texan, who at last count had logged nearly four times as many. Rothstein, 61, has notched more than 30 million miles.

But all the miles they and 64 other unlimited AAirpass holders racked up went far beyond what American had expected. As its finances began deteriorating a few years ago, the carrier took a hard look at the AAirpass program.

Heavy users, including Vroom and Rothstein, were costing it millions of dollars in revenue, the airline concluded.

The AAirpass system had rules. A special “revenue integrity unit” was assigned to find out whether any of these rules had been broken, and whether the passes that were now such a drag on profits could be revoked.

Rothstein, Vroom and other AAirpass holders had long been treated like royalty. Now they were targets of an investigation.

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When American introduced the AAirpass in 1981, it saw a chance to raise millions of dollars for expansion at a time of record-high interest rates.

It was, and still is, offered in a variety of formats, including prepaid blocks of miles. But the marquee item was the lifetime unlimited AAirpass, which started at $250,000. Pass holders earned frequent flier miles on every trip and got lifetime memberships to the Admirals Club, American’s VIP lounges. For an extra $150,000, they could buy a companion pass. Older fliers got discounts based on their age.

“We thought originally it would be something that firms would buy for top employees,” said Bob Crandall, American’s chairman and chief executive from 1985 to 1998. “It soon became apparent that the public was smarter than we were.”

The unlimited passes were bought mostly by wealthy individuals, including baseball Hall-of-Famer Willie Mays, America’s Cup skipper Dennis Conner and computer magnate Michael Dell.

Mike Joyce of Chicago bought his in 1994 after winning a $4.25-million settlement after a car accident.

In one 25-day span this year, Joyce flew round trip to London 16 times, flights that would retail for more than $125,000. He didn’t pay a dime.

“I love Rome, I love Sydney, I love Athens,” Joyce said by phone from the Admirals Club at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. “I love Vegas and Frisco.”

Rothstein had loved flying since his years at Brown University in Rhode Island, where he would buy a $99 weekend pass on Mohawk Air and fly to Buffalo, N.Y., just for a sandwich.

He bought his AAirpass in 1987 for his work in investment banking. After he added a companion pass two years later, it “kind of took hold of me,” said Rothstein, a heavyset man with a kind smile.

He was airborne almost every other day. If a friend mentioned a new exhibit at the Louvre, Rothstein thought nothing of jetting from his Chicago home to San Francisco to pick her up and then fly to Paris together.

In July 2004, for example, Rothstein flew 18 times, visiting Nova Scotia, New York, Miami, London, Los Angeles, Maine, Denver and Fort Lauderdale, Fla., some of them several times over. The complexity of such itineraries would stump most travelers; happily for AAirpass holders, American provided elite agents able to solve the toughest booking puzzles.

They could help AAirpass customers make multiple reservations in case they missed a flight, or nab the last seat on the only plane leaving during a snowstorm. Some say agents even procured extra elbow room by booking an empty seat using a phony name on companion passes.

“I’d book it as Extra Lowe,” said Peter Lowe, a motivational speaker from West Palm Beach, Fla. “They told me how to do it.”

Vroom, a former mail-order catalog consultant, used his AAirpass to attend all his son’s college football games in Maine. He built up so many frequent flier miles that he’d give them away, often to AIDS sufferers so they could visit family. Crew members knew him by name.

“There was one flight attendant, Pierre, who knew exactly what I wanted,” Vroom said. “He’d bring me three salmon appetizers, no dessert and a glass of champagne, right after takeoff. I didn’t even have to ask.”

Creative uses seemed limitless. When bond broker Willard May of Round Rock, Texas, was forced into retirement after a run-in with federal securities regulators in the early 1990s, he turned to his trusty AAirpass to generate income. Using his companion ticket, he began shuttling a Dallas couple back and forth to Europe for $2,000 a month.

“For years, that was all the flying I did,” said May, 81. “It’s how I got the bills paid.”

In 1990, the airline raised the price of an unlimited AAirpass with companion to $600,000. In 1993, it was bumped to $1.01 million. In 1994, American stopped selling unlimited passes altogether.

Cable TV executive Leo Hindery Jr. bought a five-year AAirpass in 1991, with an option to upgrade to lifetime after three years. American later “asked me not to convert,” he said. “They were gracious. They said the program had been discontinued and if I gave my pass back, they’d give me back my money.”  (CLICK BELOW TO OPEN REST OF ARTICLE)

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Trip To Nova Scotia | July 2016

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016

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Such a fun trip to take the kids down to Nova Scotia for a week and visit with family and explore a bit of the South Shore.  Created a little video made up of little quick video clips shot with my cracked iPod and brought into iMovie to make a little keepsake of the trip.  I will add some more images into this blog post shortly.

One Second Everyday | Flying Out + Touching Down In The South Shore | November 2015 OSE Videos

Monday, November 30th, 2015

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OSE Everyday | November 2015 | Flying Out + Touching Down On the South Shore from Makeit Count on Vimeo.

Used my flight benefits to fly down to spend some time with my Father in Nova Scotia.  This short film covers my first couple of days from flying down on Air Canada to heading down towards Yarmouth and doing a little exploring around to catch up with family and visit the ocean.

song credits:  Oh Wonder | All We Do &  Novo Amor | Anchor

Film Length: 10min

Date covered: October 31st – November 3rd, 2015

OSE November 2015 Part II – Video 18 from Makeit Count on Vimeo.

The second video covers a couple more days in Nova Scotia visiting with some relatives and a little tour of my Dad’s workshop at the farmhouse and up until flying back to Ontario.  Song credits: Passenger with “House On A Hill” and Ben Howard with “The Wolves”

Going forward for the rest of November will be a shorter film that covers the month.  I’m going to see how this evolving project goes forward with the structure.

You can view all the videos here.

Part 3

One Second Everyday | November 2015 Part III | Video 19 from Dan Deveau on Vimeo.

Third video covers flying back from Nova Scotia and basically just working for the month to close it off with a couple of sweet moments.

Where Do You Want To Go? Where Do You Want To Stay? | Airbnb

Thursday, November 5th, 2015

AIRbnb what?  So many listings at so many price-points offering different levels of privacy.  I love the idea of this cool little website.

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Airbnb BELONG ANYWHERE from Rod Blackhurst on Vimeo.

Nothing fancy but a neat little spot in Lisbon Portugal but this is a cool little apartment

Gulbenkian Apartment – Apartments for Rent in Lisbon

Apartment in Lisbon, Portugal. A modern and cozy apartment that will make you feel at home while enjoying Lisbon. One bedroom apartment with good areas and a balcony. The apartment is very central and near a wide variety of public transports. You´ll be in the center of the moder… View all listings in Lisbon

Another little cool little spot for a great price close to everything:

Alges House – Apartments for Rent in Algés

Apartment in Algés, Portugal. This beautiful and airy apartment with 1 Bedroom, 1 Living room, 2 toilets, great and sunny kitchen that is smartly modern in white and a light blue, with a stylish breakfast bar for three It is located between Lisbon, Cascais, Estoril. Alges is… View all listings in Algés

Perfectly located Castro – Apartments for Rent

Apartment in San Francisco, United States. 1895 Victorian flat w/ 12 ft ceilings. (No Long Term Rentals or couples) Close to Mission, & 2.5 blocks from Castro theater. MUNI is 3 blocks away. Room is small and cosy, but a great $ for one of the most expensive neighborhoods in the US! We li… View all listings in San Francisco

Romantic Cabana with view in Armenia

Cottage in Armenia, Colombia. Located in the coffee region, a charming cabana made from bamboo, with a great view and a “sendero” or pathway through the bamboo forest which criss-crosses our 5 acre organic farm, leading down to a stream. A place to relax and commune with nature. View all listings in Armenia

AIRSTREAM VINTAGE TRAILER ADVENTURE in Malibu

Camper/RV in Malibu, United States. Perched on a hilltop with a magnificent 360 degree vista of the Pacific Ocean, Catalina, Santa Barbara Island and the Santa Monica Mountains, spend the evening watching the sunset over Boney Mountain as it fades to black. The stars come out by the… View all listings in Malibu

Columbia Castle in Brooklyn Heights in Brooklyn

Apartment in Brooklyn, United States. *THIS LISTING IS FOR A PRIVATE ROOM IN THE APARTMENT IN WHICH I ALSO LIVE* Please message me BEFORE requesting a reservation. This comfortable two bedroom SIXTH FLOOR WALKUP (no elevator) in an apartment complex originally built as a tenement in … View all listings in Brooklyn

Wanderlust | Let’s Get Lost | Casey Neistat + Owen | Your Bond With Kids

Sunday, October 25th, 2015

I watched this again this morning… loved it. i just love how he documents things and comes back from the trip and puts together little shorts.

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LEAP INTO THE UNKNOWN Casey Neistat, jumping after a wildlife tour in Namibia, will likely end up in the Guinness Book of World Records in a category that doesn’t even exist yet. His son, Owen, is more reserved.

Taken from the New York Times by Jesse Ashlock | By chasing a gonzo new adventure every summer, the viral filmmaker Casey Neistat and his son, Owen, embrace the unfamiliar and forge a closer bond.

Far in the distance, a tiny figure stands atop a sand dune rising higher than many skyscrapers, waving his arms. “He looks like every lost-in-the-desert movie ever made,” says Casey Neistat, snapping away with an enormous Canon outfitted with a telephoto lens. Neistat, 32, directs and stars in online ad campaigns for clients like Nike and Mercedes, and in YouTube shorts that get millions of views. The subject in his viewfinder is his 15-year-old son, Owen, who in a few days will begin his sophomore year of high school in Connecticut. Each summer, they embark on a grand adventure together. That’s what has brought them to Sossusvlei, Namibia, an otherworldly place where giant dunes rise over a wide salt plain dotted with groups of springbok, oryx and ostriches. Having already climbed the dunes that tourists generally climb, Owen has gone on to the dune behind them, where there are no footprints. Like his dad, he enjoys going places he’s not supposed to be.

“O.K., that is Owen,” Casey narrates, shooting video. “He just made it up to the apex of that dune.” Casey pans along the landscape. “And this is how far he walked.” Owen makes it back down, flushed and exuberant, his Nikes full of sand. “Well done, boy!” Casey exclaims. “That is definitely a Facebook-profile-picture-worthy photo.”

Silhouetted against the desert sky, the two cut different figures. Casey, a triathlete, is muscular and tightly coiled, with a showman’s face that’s all planes and angles; in another era, he might have been a Borscht Belt entertainer. Owen, a runner, is taller than his dad and still gangly, with a natural sweetness about him. But the resemblance is impossible to miss. Casey says, with obvious satisfaction, that they’re often mistaken for brothers, and sometimes it’s easy to forget just who is the parent and who is the kid. Casey is the one who has braces. (They’re gold.) He’s also the one in perpetual motion, while Owen will let you know when he’s tired. Casey becomes anxious when he goes too long without checking Instagram or Twitter or Facebook. Owen uses his phone mainly to prepare for the school year by listening to textbooks on tape. And Casey takes all the pictures. He looks for photogenic locations where he can put his camera on a tripod and set the timer for a father-son selfie. Still, in many ways, Owen — who lives with his mom during the week and at Casey’s apartment in Manhattan or at his house in New London, Conn., on the weekends — is a typical teenager. He loves Starbucks, American Eagle and the mall. He gets bored easily. Casey, meanwhile, is fond of pronouncing paternal nuggets of wisdom (“Let a boy cry — don’t coddle him”) and tales of great deeds (“I’ve charmed my way out of Middle Eastern prisons”). The kidlike qualities in Casey are the same ones that have made him such a successful adult, despite having dropped out of high school, and then having a child at 17. “He was born with an extra battery,” says Max Joseph, the co-host of MTV’s “Catfish: The TV Show” and a frequent collaborator. “It’s what you need to have to be a professional athlete.”
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When Casey was growing up in New London, his mother taught him that possessions were more valuable than travel, because they lasted forever. After a trip to Paris at 18, his first outside the United States, he concluded that she was wrong, and decided to dedicate his life to having experiences — a favorite word of his. “He’s trying to find the ultimate adventure,” says the creative director Andy Spade, who hired Casey and his brother Van to make short films for the fashion lines he was overseeing, Kate Spade and Jack Spade, and later co-produced a feature film with Casey. “He’ll end up in the Guinness Book of World Records for a category that doesn’t even exist yet.”

In Owen, Casey has found a willing confrere. “The only guy I’ve encountered who enjoys flying as much as I do?” he asks. “This guy.” When Owen was little, Casey sometimes scraped together extra money working as a dishwasher to buy lessons at a flight school. “Owen would have his lunchbox,” he says. “He’d be eating an apple in the back.” Their first real trip was a package deal to the Bahamas when Owen was 4. As Owen got older, the trips — to Paris, St. Barts, Central America — got more elaborate.

 

VIDEO PREMIERE Casey Neistat presents “My Kid and Me,” an autobiographical new short documenting his first grand summer adventure with his teenage son, Owen, in which the duo trekked the Andes to Machu Picchu in 2011.

Casey’s career was taking off. He went to work for the artist Tom Sachs, running his studio and making short films with Van for Sachs’s exhibitions. In 2003 the duo ventured out on their own as the Neistat Brothers. One of their first projects was “iPod’s Dirty Secret,” an Internet short that called out Apple for its user-unfriendly battery-replacement policy. It garnered national attention, earning the brothers a reputation as Internet provocateurs, as well as commercial clients. Spade remembers marveling at Casey’s precociousness. “His son would have the idea to make a monster movie on the beach, and he’d just make it. ”

That monster movie appears in the first episode of “The Neistat Brothers,” a 2010 HBO series that showcased the brothers’ homemade, autobiographical style. It was not a success. The brothers split after it aired and now speak infrequently. Casey went solo, making more shorts in the Neistat Brothers vein and taking on increasingly remunerative commercial work. “Van was my best friend and partner in crime,” Casey says. “When he left, Owen became that.”

Two years ago, the father and son trekked through the Andes for five days to Machu Picchu. Last year, they rode motorcycles through Vietnam. This year, Casey says, “I wanted to show the kid Africa Africa. That thing where you get to do something for the first time? I try to make all our trips that.”

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The Kulala Desert Lodge, a collection of thatched dwellings set in the middle of a vast plain surrounded by mountains, makes an ideal vantage point. Sweeping vistas of grassland stretch in every direction, giving way to achingly blue skies. It’s possible to spend hours watching wildlife during the day and the Milky Way at night.

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But Owen isn’t impressed. It’s the second desert lodge of the trip, and he’s not enthused about going on another game tour and listening to the guide drone on about how to tell if an oryx is male or female. “I’d much rather be riding a motorcycle in the mud,” he grouses, while Casey checks his email on the lodge computer. The next day, the two fly in a Cessna to the coastal resort town of Swakopmund. The rest of their adventure is supposed to consist of activities like catamaraning and sand-surfing. But the following morning, in the lobby of the hotel, Casey says, “Owen had an idea that was kind of interesting, which was that we rent a car” to explore the country further, without the pilot or a driver. No cars are available, however, so Casey and Owen huddle on a sofa with Casey’s laptop for a while, whispering conspiratorially. Finally, Casey looks up. “I think it’s about to get weird,” he says, “and possibly dangerous. I think we’re going to Zambia.” Owen’s face lights up in a grin.

Casey had already visited Zambia in 2012 with Max Joseph, for Nike. According to Casey, they were supposed to make an Internet ad for the brand’s FuelBand fitness tracker that showed how regular people “make it count.” Instead, they traveled to 13 countries in 10 days — until their budget ran out — filming themselves making it count. They’d seen a picture on the Internet of the Devil’s Pool, a naturally occurring infinity pool at the top of Victoria Falls where you can swim safely without being swept over the edge. But when they arrived, they learned they couldn’t swim in the Devil’s Pool at that time of year. The moment Casey and Owen’s plane lands in Livingstone, Casey begins asking everyone he meets about the Devil’s Pool. On the way from the hotel to Victoria Falls National Park, the driver informs Casey that the pool can be reached this time of year, but discourages him from trying. “Every year, a few bodies go down on the Zambian side and wash up on the Zimbabwean side,” he explains.

“Do they need visas for that?” Casey asks. If the driver gets the joke — or finds it unfunny — he doesn’t let on. In Victoria Falls National Park, Casey runs around consulting maps and asking uniformed personnel where the pool is. Even in the dry season, the falls stun the senses, forming a mile-wide, 355-foot-high liquid curtain that glides down into a long gorge, with a plume of spray rising at the western end to welcome the setting sun. One of the best views for Casey’s constant photos is from the Knife Edge Bridge, a mist-enshrouded span suspended before the falls’ eastern side. There, Casey spots Kenneth, a local guide he had enlisted during his Nike trip. After a hug and an introduction to Owen, Kenneth assures Casey that he can arrange a visit to the elusive pool.

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The next morning, a tourism official tells Casey that the Devil’s Pool can only be visited by boat, and that trips are sold out. But Casey finds Kenneth near the gift shops inside the park entrance, and he makes good on his promise. Vinda, a guide with dreadlocks and bare feet, arrives to lead the way. He starts by striding past a sign that instructs visitors to go no farther, right into the shallows of the Zambezi. There is no path: The only way to get to the Devil’s Pool is to wade through the river and scramble over wet rocks. Vinda tells everyone to form an “African chain.” But Owen doesn’t want to hold hands, so everyone makes his own way.

“See, Owen,” Casey says, so excited he’s almost vibrating. “Persistence and endurance will make you omnipotent.” He explains after a minute that he’s paraphrasing the “Tenacity Prayer,” popularized by the McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc. Upriver, an elephant trumpets. The Devil’s Pool is in sight. But to get to it, everyone has to swim through open water against a swift current. Vinda leads the way on a kickboard. The guys clamber onto a rocky outcropping before jumping, one by one, into the pool. At its front is a slick basalt wall, with an inch or so of water passing over it to create the infinity-pool effect. Once Casey and Owen reach it, Casey pulls out his iPhone in a LifeProof case and turns on the video recorder. “This is us,” he says. Then he raises it to show the abyss behind them. “Those are the falls.” An enterprising local balances on the precipice, shooting photos for tips. Casey poses on the very edge, as if he were going over, while Vinda and I hold his feet. When Owen’s turn comes, Casey insists that all three of us hold onto his son as he peers over Victoria Falls.

This is what I thought of when I heard we were going to Africa,” Owen exclaims afterward. For a rare moment, Casey is silent, basking in his son’s pleasure. And then it’s time to swim back through the river and climb over the rocks as quickly as possible, because the flight out of Livingstone is leaving soon. We arrive at the airport in our wet trunks. After the plane takes off, I turn around. Casey and Owen are seated a row behind me, both already passed out, their heads tilted slightly toward each other. Casey has on big studio headphones and sunglasses, his mouth open wide in sleep. Owen is wearing earbuds and a serene expression. You really could, right at this moment, mistake them for brothers.

My notes:  I miss my kids.  This video hits home more…

Who is Casey? Below is his story:

i wish I could draw.

The Thousand Year Journey: Oregon To Patagonia

Saturday, June 20th, 2015

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The Thousand Year Journey: Oregon To Patagonia from Kenny Laubbacher on Vimeo.