Category Archives: Chicago

A Quick Glimpse of Chicago

Chicago is a WONDERFUL city and Rene and I had a great time! There is an energy to the city, a creativity, and a friendliness that we fell in love with. Although we only had a few days in the city we got a decent glimpse at it. Warning: This is a picture heavy post!

Naturally, we saw yellow production signs. Once you know to look for them you see them everywhere. I believe that this was for Transformers 4 currently being shot downtown.

There’s all kinds of great architecture in Chicago. This clock struck Rene’s and my fancy.
Then we headed over to Sears Tower, now Willis Tower, to see the views. My mom used to work in Sears Tower and it was neat to finally see it.

On the 103rd floor they have four glass outcroppings called “The Ledge” built by the same team that built the glass viewing deck over the Grand Canyon. It’s a bit nerve racking to be over 1300 feet in the air directly above nothing but asphalt and sidewalk. Standing in The Ledge isn’t all that bad, but sitting down adds a whole new element of terror. It really changes the whole experience. Neither Rene nor I were brave enough to jump, although we saw other people do it. And the view…!

We spent a lot of time in the Theater District, mostly for the gluten free donuts, but we’ll get to that in a sec.

And we visited Navy Pier, one of the top tourist attractions in the state.

We hung out with Juliette of Verona.

And we played mini-golf. Rene got two Holes-In-One!

Here’s a video I caught of Rene’s first one:

A lot of what we did in the city was eat. And in the morning we had donuts – particularly donuts from Do-Rite Donuts where they make gluten free donuts that taste better than regular donuts – that’s not a joke!
This is a Dunkin Donut. It tasted the same as I remember them.

We had Dunkin Donut Coffee every morning!

The gluten free donuts are so popular that we had to call and reserve them in the morning. This was the last one.

Needless to say that the architecture is amazing! We took a river boat tour and got a great views.

We saw the sights and ate more donuts. They really were that good!

Oh, and of course the dirty martinis!

We did quite a bit in three days, but all it really did was whet our appetite for more.

Thank you, Chicago! We had a great time!

See you next time!

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Filed under Chicago, Get Lost, rene, travel, video, YouTube

Chicago & Creativity

Over the weekend Rene and I had the pleasure of visiting Chicago. I delivered the Think Fast seminar at the National Auctioneer’s Association Conference. We had a fantastic time in Chicago, we loved so many things about it, enough for it to be a completely different post later. Today I want to talk about the conference.

The point of the conference is continued education for the benefit auctioneers who attend. They get a chance to brush up on skills and learn new techniques. I was invited to help share improvisation techniques to aid in crowd control and auction flow. We did a series of games designed to keep them from second guessing themselves and to engage the creative centers of their brains. 
These are very personable people with gregarious personalities. They have a performer’s mentality and a salesmen’s drive. They write their own scripts, interact with people constantly and do the job of being both a host and performer.  These are creative people, but many of them had forgotten that. 
When I was first approached about speaking at the conference one of the specifics that was mentioned was to help come up with snappy patter and one-liners. That’s a tough thing to do for other people in a general way. When writing comedy it’s best to write to your subject. General jokes create general results. Specific jokes create specific results, better results. The fact of the matter is that they really didn’t need my help coming up with clever or snappy patter. Every one of the people at that conference has all the ability they need, they just needed the confidence to trust themselves. 
And that’s really the point of it all. So many people forget in the course of what they’re doing that part of why they are doing whatever it is they are doing, they are doing it because they had an idea about it. Something triggered their creativity and got them to where they are at. 
Now I know what some of the more cynical of you are thinking, “What about people in menial jobs? What kind of creativity got them there?” And, ok, I’ll give you that the job itself may not be the end goal, but they got that job for a reason. They needed to pay for something and that job is going to help do that. Everybody has their reasons. And sometimes the motivation can lead down some convoluted paths that distract you from the ultimate goal. All the more reason to get refocused! 
During the exercises you could see the spark light up as they remembered that they already knew how to do this stuff. They brought their own talents out and they got excited! It was really neat to see. Tools are great but seeing people use them, effectively, is always better. 
I think that we can all forget sometimes how to use our talents, at least to their full extent. It’s easy to get caught up using them in certain ways, simple ways. Sometimes you don’t get challenged, worse we don’t always challenge ourselves. Talents are different than skills. Skills are learned, require practice and can fade from lack of use. Talents are innate. The stick around whether we want them or not. Skills can enhance a talent, but skills can never replace a talent. 
I have heard it said, and it makes a nice poetic notion, that when you teach you learn as much as you pass on. I definitely learned some things during the conference. While talking to them I was reminded that I haven’t really been utilizing my talents as much either. It was motivating. I saw what it was like for them to be making a living doing what they love. That was inspiring. And I was pointed to a Facebook group all about grilling and barbecuing. It looks delicious!
So I put it to you, use your talents. They don’t need to make you famous, but they can make a difference, even if that difference is just making you a little bit happier. 
But that’s just me, what do you think? Let’s talk in he comments. 
See you next time!

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Filed under career, Chicago, commentary, consulting, creativity, doing new things, education, getting started, happiness, inspiration

In Chicago!

I will be teaching a seminar in Chicago this weekend called Think Fast – Using Improv To Improve Your Performance. I’m really excited about it, hopefully this will be the first of many seminars, and I’m also glad to be able to explore the city a little with Lovely Wife Rene!

Today, however, was a travel day so I’m really tired and ready to sleep. For all the up-to-the-minute updates about our adventures in this great city follow us on Twitter:
@ReneBordelon – she’s going to post a metric ton of stuff!
@CurtisAndersen – here’s hoping I remember to take pictures. 
Normally I’d put a picture of the city, but I haven’t taken any yet, so instead here’s where we ate tonight. It was our big “first night” in the city. 
See you next time!

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Filed under Chicago, consulting, rene, travel