By Paul Tocatlian.
In the Medieval era, the knights took the “peacock vow” at the end of the Christmas season each year to reaffirm their commitment to chivalry. A few centuries later at the end of the Great Depression, about a quarter of American adults formed New Year’s resolutions. At the start of the 21st century, about 40% did.
In 2012, I made a few New Year’s resolutions. While I may have fallen short of some self-improvement resolutions and reaffirmation to chivalry, I was able to see through Project 365. The idea behind this project was to take a picture each day and share it with friends and family on Facebook. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, it also saved me from writing the equivalent of a 1,460 page novel that no one would ever read.
What I didn’t expect is that this daily act would urge me to become more attuned to the beauty and noteworthy that surrounds us everyday, everywhere. As Dorothea Lange once said, “the camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.” I couldn’t agree more.
What follows are some of my favorite picks, no pun intended.
Around The World
I was fortunate to spend time in four countries in 2012, starting the year in France, then visiting Japan and Aruba, while calling the USA home. The above picture was taken at the Golden Pavilion (Kinkaku-ji) in Kyoto, Japan. This sublime temple is literally covered in gold leaf. It also happens to be one of the places Steve Jobs would return often and last visited in 2010 with his daughter Erin.
After four and a half demanding – and rewarding – years of running the product development team at Minerva Networks, I decided to leave the world of IPTV for mobile. I am proud of the work we accomplished, for which we were awarded the TelcoTV 2011 Vision Award for Innovation in Middleware.
But I am even more humbled by the sendoff and parting gift I received. There was no card… but rather an electric guitar signed by my dearest friends at Minerva Networks. The photo I posted on Facebook to mark this occasion was complemented by an Abraham Lincoln quote, “I do the very best I know how – the very best I can; and I mean to keep on doing so until the end.”
Man’s Best Friend
In a 1870 courtroom speech, George Graham Vest said “The one absolutely unselfish friend that a man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him and the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous is his dog.” A few animals made it to Project 365, including three of man’s best friends, a black cat, a bull about to charge, a crow sunbathing on a balcony, and a boiled lobster (this one probably belongs to the next category of pictures).
“Il faut vivre pour manger, et non pas manger pour vivre.”
I love Chirashi! Well… let me more specific: I love Chirashi at Kenzo Sushi in San Jose. Nine of the Project 365 pictures are of Chirashi dishes at Kenzo. If you live or plan to visit San Jose and enjoy Japanese food, make sure to stop by Kenzo. If hungry, you can try their all-you-can-eat menu, but it’s not for the faint of heart.
Other eateries that made it to Project 365 includes Phil’s Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria in Montvale (another favorite), Kumako Ramen & Banana Crepe in Japantown San Jose, Paris Baguette, Cheesecake Factory, Coconuts Caribbean, and Cafe Venezia (the best mocha) in Palo Alto, Taste of Himalaya’s in Sonoma, St. John’s Bar & Grill and Rok Bistro in Sunnyvale, Yiassoo in Campbell, Alice’s Restaurant in Woodside, Tomatina in Santa Clara, Bo De Vegetarian Restaurant, Falafel’s Drive In, Lee’s Sandwiches, Sweet Tomatoes, Thien Long Restaurant (another favorite), Cocola Cafe, Gulzaar Halaal Restaurant & Bakery, Yard House, Poor House Bistro, and Pizza Antica in San Jose.
I was starstruck twice this year and was able to capture one of the two encounters for Project 365. The first encounter was at the Nike Store in Palo Alto, while purchasing a Nike FuelBand. There he was, Guy Kawasaki, buying a pair of running shoes. Guy is the former chief evangelist at Apple, author of ten books, founding partner at Garage Technology Ventures, and is the co-founder of Alltop.com.
I also had the distinct pleasure of meeting Alfred Chuang, the co-founder of BEA Systems, in September. I wasn’t able to get a picture of our encounter, but am privileged to be working for his new start-up, Magnet Systems, where we are building a mobile application development platform for enterprises.
We’d all like to believe that we’re great photographers – and I’m no exception. So Project 365 includes it’s fair share of artsy fartsy shots. This one is a picture of my friend Hannah’s shadow at Santana Row. There are at least a dozen other pictures that fall in this category and may warrant their own blog post one day! [Update: See Artsy Fartsy Photography]
Trains, Planes and Automobiles
“It is better to travel well than to arrive.”
Project 365 had it’s fair share of vehicle pictures, including a few trains such as the Shinkansen Bullet Train in Japan, some planes, plenty of exotics cars, a fire truck, a few motorcycles, and my new Cannondale bicycle.
“I cannot even imagine where I would be today were it not for that handful of friends who have given me a heart full of joy. Let’s face it, friends make life a lot more fun,” Charles R. Swindoll. Javier Becerra is one of those friends.
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
The good: 21 Jumpstreet, Avengers, Breaking Dawn, James Bond, Life of Pi, MIB, Mission Impossible, Savages, Spiderman. The bad: Dark Knight Rises, The Dictator, Hugo. And the ugly: The Artist, Prometheus.
There isn’t a year that goes by without Apple releasing a new “must have” iToy. This year, it was the iPad mini. My mini replaced the new iPad I had purchased just a few months before, which found a new and rightful owner. I wonder what 2013 will bring. I’m hoping for an iTV and iWatch. If not an iTV, then hopefully they will open app development for the Apple TV.
The caption for this photo in my Facebook post reads, “Lying in bed… realizing that I still hadn’t taken a picture today. So I took a picture of me naked without flash.” This post got its fair share of Likes and one comment thanking me for not using a flash. Truth be known, I wasn’t naked.
Best of 2012
There isn’t another picture that brings me more joy and pride than this middle-school graduation picture of Jenna with her loving cousin Claudia, surrounded by some of her closest friends and classmates.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License by Paul Tocatlian.