Introducing: The Bird’s Eye

by | Oct 20, 2021 | 0 comments



“Do you wanna direct a music video?” Eight days before leaving for my second trip to LA this year, Caleigh proposed a question that would have seemed absurd, let along impossible, to be carried out in 8+ days thereabout. 

“Uhhhh, giddy up! Wait, what?” I had directed small product commercials for years, and had talked about getting into music videos, but timing amongst everything else never seemed to be in my favor. Enter The Bird’s Eye.

Every so often people enter your life randomly and their energy is so palpable you could drizzle it on pancakes. That is Caleigh and Bill. Having known them for so long, as now former New Yorkers, I had always been in awe of their artistry, so when the opportunity opened up for me to work with them it was a no-brainer.

With their new music video Wave dropping today on YouTube directed by yours truly, recorded and mastered at 840 Studios, edited by our man Brendan Amoruso at Luna Lyte, and made up & styled to perfection by Lydia McIntosh, we thought we’d proudly feature them in our guest edition for this month!

The Bird’s Eye

Listen HERE

Music is a potent catalyst for connection.  It became clear to us around midnight at our friends’ home this past summer on the Puget Sound.  The table on their patio was littered with empty wine bottles and snack bowls, the aftermath of the socially-distanced outdoor concert we gave hours prior. For many of our small audience of sixteen it had been their first live music experience since March of 2020.  For some it was the largest– and the only–  gathering of any kind they had attended since then. Following the concert were conversations with our friends, new and old, that had us all completely lose track of time.  

Since we started our duo, The Bird’s Eye, just under a year ago, we’ve discovered the power music has to bring people together, connect, celebrate, and forget for a few hours about the world spinning around them. These days it is more important than ever to share that power with others.

Music has undoubtedly created connection and magic in our lives.  In October of 2018 William was on tour playing guitar with Pink Martini in Manhattan.  Caleigh had just returned home to New York from a North American tour with Belle and Sebastian, and was hired to perform in the string section for Pink Martini.  After the concert, we spoke for about 10 minutes, exchanged social media handles, and went our separate ways.  The connection, however brief, was strong right off the bat– as William continued on his tour, he and Caleigh stayed in touch almost every day.

This magical connection ultimately led to William making a boldly romantic invitation to Caleigh: join him in Hawaii for the final 5 shows of the tour.  By the end of that trip, we had both resolved to relocate to Los Angeles to pursue our lives and our careers in music together.  

What we didn’t anticipate was for a global pandemic to wipe out the industry.  We had tours and performances cancelled and couldn’t attend shows, meet musicians or rehearse. As we struggled to get our bearings, an opportunity became present: to play music with each other.  It was the only opportunity for a while to play live music at all. Fortunately, we discovered it was also really fulfilling, and one that had been under our noses the whole time.  It just took the slowing down of the entire world for us to stop and notice it.  Thus, The Bird’s Eye was born.

In February 2021, we had our first live in-person performance to an audience of four in Joshua Tree, California.  We were visiting a friend’s property, where she maintains several vacation rental units.  She invited two of her neighbors over, and we performed on her patio for live human beings for the first time in a year.  None of us, performers and audience, was prepared to be moved by the experience the way we were.  It got us present to the core of what matters to us as musicians: connection.  In our careers we have collectively performed for millions of people, and while that’s been magical, what really drove it home was to perform together for a few friends, the cacti and the coyotes, under the Mojave stars.

Since then we have had the opportunity to give several small-scale, private outdoor concerts.  We have discovered there is an opportunity for connection in playing for small gatherings, not to mention the relative ease of navigating safe COVID protocols.  As a duo, it’s fairly easy for us to travel safely and economically, and to take our music all up and down the West Coast.

For both of us, The Bird’s Eye has not been “just another music project.”  It’s been an opportunity for us to play whatever music we choose.  We could now explore musical ideas in a safe space, without the external pressures of upcoming gigs and repertoire lists dictated by clients’ tastes.  We connected, through music, with other humans who have shared in the separation of the past 18 months.  We have discovered new dynamics in our relationship as co-creators, band-mates, and musical accompanists to one another.

So what’s next?  We’re proud to announce a few things: first, we launched a music video today! Creative Director Aleksandr Karjaka helped us produce a delightful and magical video. Second, we’ve created our Patreon page! This is your opportunity to support us directly and have close access to our projects and shows. Also, we’ve begun collaborating with Lizzy Ellison in her incredible band, Cardioid.  We’ll be performing live in Portland, Oregon, on December 16th and releasing some delicious media with her soon.

It’s taken some extraordinary circumstances for us to come together, both as a couple and as The Bird’s Eye. In spite of the challenges, our story is nothing if not a testament to the power of perseverance, partnership and love.  Uncertain as the world is currently, we look forward to what comes next and find strength in knowing that we are moving towards it together.

The Growth Mindset with Trainer Craig Thomas

I am a dad of 3 little girls that span the ages of 2-4.  I love them.  They love me.  They also love to test me and test my patience.  When I can’t get work done, I can turn on the TV.  When I can’t have a conversation with my wife, I can turn on one of our 3 iPads.  That would be easy and solve 3 unhappy little personalities.  Occasionally it happens.  Instead I offer other options that can entertain my little ones that would be more productive.  So I drag out puzzles, drawing options and other non-video games I think would be both fun and thought provoking for a 2 or 4 year-old.  It is very energy and time consuming, but it’s hands-down better growth opportunities for our little ones (and us as parents that want to see our children improve) and sets them up for figuring out various future tests as they get older.  It’s about teaching the tools needed to handle different situations.

Mindset.  It’s a benign and innocuous term.  It sounds easy when describing handling kids and steering them toward a more productive life.  But it’s really a state of mind and a whole modus operandi in and around how to handle moments in life that aren’t familiar or patterned.  It’s a simple idea that is very difficult to keep at the forefront of the mind.  And it’s something that would enhance every adult and child’s life.

Mindset has been explored and thoroughly drawn out by the psychologist Carol Dweck in her book “Mindset” and “Mindset: Changing the Way you Think to Fulfill Your Potential”.  It’s a theoretical approach to shifting the way we all think and how to better approach adversity and it can be applied to nearly all facets of life.  Growth is best described as a pathway toward believing how your abilities can be harvested and improved upon vs. those who rely on knowledge and skills already acquired and/or inherent.

As a parent, I am always checking myself when I catch myself categorizing my children.  It’s easy and comfortable to label them as good at something and not so good at something else.  Instead, I try my best at thinking they are not fixed and stationary in their personalities, proclivities and talents.  It’s hard—especially when my children are young and I’m trying to enrich their experiences with balances of tasks both tedious and complex with those that are routine in which they can excel at and build confidence.  I also have to balance my tendency to steer them toward what I think is beneficial vs. what they discover on their own (discounting time spent watching cartoons on the iPad, of course).  It’s particularly more challenging when the threshold for their explorations borders on physical injury risks. 

The beauty about watching children respond and learn is that it’s simplistic in its approach.  How can this be of any help?  As an adult in the professional world, it’s primarily manifesting modesty and a willingness to say that I do not know something.  It’s an eagerness to take continuing classes and finding new research and techniques.  It could mean eschewing old ideas that are obsolete.  It’s being able to say “I don’t know” and then finding the answers at a later date.  It’s saying “I’m wrong” when I was wrong or when the approach I used to do does not work any longer.  It is simple, but not easy to do.

As a strength and conditioning coach, it’s incumbent upon me to be up to date with current trends, strength programs, mobility expansion and movement capacity.  Research doesn’t stand still.  The human body doesn’t stay fixed.  For my clients, they can run the spectrum in ability and I need to figure out what modality/approach best suits their needs to get  the maximum response out of their body’s and minds. Selfishly, I want to keep myself in top condition and the more tools I have in my toolbox, the more systems I can explore to see what works.  Thinking that the same things that worked for me 25 years ago will work for me today is a fixed and foolish mindset.  I have to be able to realize that although some systems and approaches could still be successful, some do not work as well anymore.  Embracing new empirical research and more up-to-date studies can have profound effects on enhancing movement capabilities and improving strength output.  It certainly has for me.

One of the key components in the fitness industry is learning what works best for each coach.  No other coach can adequately convey to a coach what he/she “should” do and what’s appropriate for their respective clients.  The more education a coach attains, the more he/she can choose which approach will best serve their clients needs.  A one-size-fits-all approach limits how well a client can move and generate power and thus limit their talents outside the gym.  I have taken many courses and spent weekends learning a method that I’ve rarely used. That being said, I have never felt it was a waste of time or money: I’ve learned an idea that I initially dismissed may help me understand something bigger in the future. Regardless of the eventual outcome,  going into a learning experience arms me with the mindset that I do not know everything and it expands my thought process.  It humbles me each time.  And that is the process vital to developing my craft. 

The hardest part to approaching a growth mindset is knowing how to balance what currently works and what can be slowly implemented or adopted.  It doesn’t need to be a continental shift in thinking and coaching—the best coaches learn how to incorporate new and effective techniques into an already cohesive program.  It takes time and patience.  It can be incredibly deflating.  But it’s worth it. 

Ultimately it’s learning how to blend older, fundamental principles with progressive concepts.  That powerful blend will provoke further questions and deeper understandings in keeping with how our bodies and minds—and that of clients—constantly adapt to change.  Growth mindset doesn’t have a limit.  It will equip a coach with the best mental temperament to deliver results for their clients while also providing self empowerment in tackling what seems to be the impossible.  

And it’s absolute gold when handling 3 growing little girls at home.

Solid State of Mind with Tech Evangelist Howard Globus

There are many different kinds of hard drives available.  From old-style platter hard drives to Solid State Drives (SSD) to USB/thumb drives.  The different kinds of drives that would be used depend on several factors:

  • How will the drives be used (internal, external, portable)?
  • What media will the drives be storing?
  • Is speed to read/write an issue?
  • Is cost a limiting factor?
  • Are you looking for dispensability or longevity?

How the hard drive will be used helps to guide the decision on what type of drive to choose. 

What’s the difference between the old-style hard drive and new SSDs?  Old hard drives have round disks mounted on a spindle that is spun using a motor.  The disks are covered with magnetic filaments and a little articulating arm with a needle at the end of it hovers just above the surface of the disk.  As the disk spins, the arm moves the needle over sections (or sectors) of the disk and information is either read or written through this needle and arm.  When the disk becomes slightly unbalanced and spins in a way that the needle makes contact with the surface, ripping up some of the magnetic field, this is what was termed a hard drive crash, the arm crashed into the platter and made the data unusable.

These hard drives are very stable, but they use a lot of power and generate heat and are bulky to house the moving parts. 

A Solid-State Drive (SSD) does not have any moving parts and therefore uses less power. The read and write times are also much better, sometimes 2, 3 or 10 times that of a traditional mechanical hard drive. 

So why don’t all drives move to SSD format?  They are more expensive to manufacture, and the longevity of the devices has not been proven past a few years.  Data stored on old style hard drives has been retrieved 30 and 40 years on, but the longevity of the SSDs is not expected to be more than half that time right now. 

Based on the how the data storage is being used will determine drive the decision about speed to read and write versus data preservation all while considering cost to store a Gigabyte of data. 

How to properly dispose of the hard drive is another consideration. 

When looking at the life of a hard drive, how to dispose it responsibility should be taken into consideration as well.  None of the drives are pieces of equipment that should just be thrown into a landfill.

As with most computer parts all hard contain some heavy and precious metals.  There is a value to reclaiming the materials and care of disposing of them. 

A consideration when recycling or disposing of old hard drives, computer equipment or cell phones is the sensitivity of the information that has been stored on the equipment.  Most operating systems have internal tools to erase or remove data from the systems.  However, there are whole industries dedicated to retrieving data from hard drives and equipment like cell phones where data that was deleted accidentally or specifically to remove sensitive information prior to disposal. 

Therefore, I believe still to this day that the best way to ensure that information is irretrievable from the device is to physically mar or destroy the device using a drill press or crushing device to damage the disk or chip on the drive.  Not everyone has access to a multi-tone pneumatic crushing tool or an industrial drill press.  Most of us do have ready access to a corded or cordless drill with a metal-to-metal drill bit.  Obviously, safety precautions should be taken, such as using protective eye and ear wear, using a clamp to hold the hard drive in place and gloves should be worn when preforming these types of tasks. 

Once the drive is physically damaged beyond use, there are still services that can recycle the materials equipment.  Earth 911 (link) offers a search tool to find local resources on where to recycle/ecycle many different types of computer equipment and materials. 

When considering the type of hard drive to use, take into consideration your budget, the way the device will be used – internally or externally on a machine and for high speed video and audio editing or slower tasks such as email and web browsing – and the longevity of the data storage you need.  Based on these factors and the portability as well as connection method to the computer you can make a better informed decision about what type of hard drive to purchase for your project or daily usage.

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