Sunday Espress Editorial Clint

Life in a day. It’s the best feeling. You know the kind of day where you wake up, and then find yourself dashing from one place to the next with not a moment to breathe? Maybe it’s a series of family events. Or places to go. Or perhaps just shifting mental gears from a series of tasks that are all part of: life. On these occasions, it often feels–at least to me–as if I’m on a roller-coaster that won’t let up, or that I’m running like a poor little gerbil on a wheel that goes round and round. At the end of it all, though, there’s a wonderful sensation; sore legs up on the ottoman, glass of Chard in hand, and comforting grin knowing that, yet again, I’ve enjoyed life in a day.

In 1994 Clintworld came to be. Turns out I had invented narcissism 2.0 well before Twitter and Facebook (did Clint even occasionally write about himself in the third person?). I chronicled the life and times of a bachelor in the throws of a tech bubble or two. Vegas this. Ferrari that. Gadget this. Party that. Looking back, I sometimes wonder, “was that really me… with all that hair?!” The concept of blogging didn’t exist. So I used Microsoft Frontpage to manually code an online journal of sorts, each entry with a date and headline.

Clintworld, 1998
Clintworld, 1998

When I later moved to California, Clintworld continued (“At Cisco now!”). It was a useful way to stay in touch with friends and family. As I discovered, it was also useful for people around the world looking to rip off some of my grad papers. Naive me, what was I thinking? You see I had posted a bunch of papers from my MBA that I completed in the late 90s while overseas at an exchange program in Maastricht, Netherlands. I thought it would be interesting to share my thoughts and views on various business and marketing topics via these reports. Even then, somehow, most certainly not via Google though (maybe Infoseek?), the slacker half stumbled upon them. They’d even send me notes later, “Thanks for your paper on Globalization and Social Systems, it got me an A-”

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Desktop Publishing: the early days
Desktop Publishing: the early days

First, there was Gutenberg.

In the 1980’s my father was publisher of a newsletter called ‘Foghorn’ for teachers and educators in Ottawa. I reviewed Apple ][ games in a monthly column. This may account for the early development of my vivid imagination, a most necessary quality when “gaming” back then. Gutenberg, an ingenious piece of desktop publishing software, enabled us to layout the newsletter. I learned about tags and formatting using code that was very much the precursor to modern day HTML. But it was my father who showed me the ropes, and many a late evening were spent in the dining room, which had become a makeshift publishing center, piecing together Foghorn. Back then, scissors, glue, rulers and lots of patience were essential.

Publishing Foghorn in the 1980's
Publishing Foghorn in the 1980’s

The mostly oddly named blog, StarkSilverCreek, would be born around 2005/2006, hard to say exactly. Clintworld was great for a guy living the life. But for a married one, something else would take shape. Why the awkward, three-word name? I like to say it’s what happens when the imagination dries. Or it could’ve been that there wasn’t enough wine that night to stir the process. Okay I give up! Let’s just take our last name and add the name of our neighborhood: Stark + SilverCreek. Perfect… ?

Baja is magic. And to blog about it back in 2006 was a natural thing for us. We had bought a home in Loreto, a tiny fishing village. So we wrote about it, sharing photos and stories. What is it like to build a vacation home in Mexico (not easy)? Why in heck did we chose Loreto over, say… ahhh, San Francisco (adventure seeking)? Good questions! Come to StarkSilverCreek to read all about the adventure!

Clintworld, 2002
Clintworld, 2002

And so we grew. Other home owners in Baja California Sur, many who also live in the SF Bay Area, would visit on a regular basis.

It was only natural that we begin writing about our other passions like food and wine. Loni would share recipes, I’d write tasting notes and about good times in Napa and Sonoma. Granted, this was lifestyle, not hard-hitting political commentary; occasionally we’d dip our toes into that territory. “I want to be hardcore!” I once told Loni on a chilly San Jose evening, not exactly making the case. “We’re not lightweights!”

StarkSilverCreek, despite the name, continued to grow. Guest writers, then regular contributors helped to expand points of view, and breadth of coverage.

StarkSilverCreek, Oct 2008
StarkSilverCreek, Oct 2008

In late 2008, we decided to push into video. I believed it was a unique way to build personality, to connect with others. We would still write, tell stories, but videos could separate us from the pack. Two years later, we’re still experimenting, adjusting the formula. It’s not easy, but it’s always a learning experience. I never thought we’d have over 130,000 views (with a bonus racist comment for fun every now and then). Through it all I’d discover my affection for the outtake, plus fuel my never ending addiction for gadgets (Canon T2i!).

The Kite Runner would mark our move into theater and arts. It was most fortuitous. The Bay Area was (and still is) suffering from cutbacks in traditional media, just like most of the country. So why not, we thought, bring a fresh (well, at least new) voice to the game? Plus, we love the show. And we figured people that like food and wine, and travel, were likely to also enjoy theater.

StarkSilverCreek, April 2009
StarkSilverCreek, April 2009

Thanks to the San Jose Rep, we’d amazingly start with a flagship theater. And an amazing show. We awarded The Kite Runner 5 out of 5 stars. From that point forward, we added a new theater house here and there. Covering opening nights; recording silly (Twice as fun / Half as smart) videos on location trying to share the excitement of the stage with others who would hopefully go out themselves to the show.

About 18 months later, we now find ourselves covering over 40 different venues. Yes, life in a day.

In 2010, StarkSilverCreek lives and breathes. We signed a media sponsorship for the stellar 2010 01SJ Biennial which celebrates the intersection of arts, technology and digital culture. More are in the works too. But the most important thing for me is quality and authenticity. Here, I want the voices to come through. And I want us to continue to push, to challenge perceptions of media, and what can be achieved with lots of willpower, and not-so-much (if any!) budget. As I wrote here earlier in the year, I need to create content: publish or perish.

We always get a laugh when people we know, or sometimes strangers, tell us what fun we’re having. You know, drinking all that wine, walking the red carpet at opening night, going backstage. Of course I want to jump up and down, and explain how much relentless hard work goes into it; probably more than anyone would ever realize; 18 hour days are easily the norm, the last four nights we’ve not gone to bed earlier than 2am, and get back up first thing in the morning to do it all again (with inspiration and perspiration). Without question, this is the hardest I’ve ever worked… and the intensity! Then voice of reason, Loni, tells me: calm down Clint. Then I realize, this is just part of the perception that results from quasi-successful branding, intentional or otherwise. I should be flattered really. Loni and I agreed that after someone visits SSC they should always come away inspired, feeling good about themselves.

StarkSilverCreek, right this second
StarkSilverCreek, right this second

Around the corner?

In spite of the ad-hoc, run ’n gun appearances, we actually do plan now. For better or worse. We’ve been doing it for the past year, ever since we established goals and metrics for SSC. We’re just like that. It’s a challenge, and we like to measure our success (and failure) and see how far we can take the new media ride.

StarkSilverCreek. Is it a name that conveys excitement, mystery, lifestyle, Bay Area living? Or is it, as we’re frequently told, a casino? A winery?

And darn it all, it will most certainly be butchered in every possible way: Stark Silver Creek, Stark silvercreek, Stark Silvercreek.

What’s in a name…?

More to come.

Thanks for visiting. Thanks for reading. Thanks for your comments (positive and negative alike).

And thanks for not laughing too hard at our follies as we get ready for the next chapter…

Clinton shoots videos for Stark Insider. San Francisco Bay Area arts, Ingmar Bergman and French New Wave, and chasing the perfect home espresso shot 25 seconds at a time (and failing). Peloton: ClintTheMint. Camera: Video Gear