January 26, 1998
Westminster, California, USA

Last week, while waiting for my slides at the photo developer, I walked across the street to an indoor rock climbing gym. Inside on the wall, I noticed a poster advertising a slide presentation by Walley Barker. He is the dude who paid me $50 to carry his backpack to the base of El Cap in Yosemite National Park. The show is tomorrow night. I can’t wait to see it!

Also last week, I went to an area of town a short walk from here, called Little Saigon. Most of the signs there are in Vietnamese, and a lot of the older people don’t even speak English. These people were brought over here after the Vietnam war. This is the largest concentration of Vietnamese anywhere in the world outside of Vietnam. While I was there, it felt like I was actually in Vietnam. Most of the food they sold I had never seen before. Most of the stores were a cluttered mess, filled with cheesey plastic statues of Buddha.

A few days ago, on my way to Interactive Ideas, the people who are helping me renovate my website, I found a dollar on the side of the highway. Feeling that it was good fortune, I gave it away. There is a song that goes something like... "Love is like a magic penny... Hold on tight, and you won’t have many. But if you give it away... give it away... you end up having more!"

It sounds corny, but I think it worked... because tomorrow, I’m going to see Superman! And Joan Lunden, and Zig Ziglar, and Bob Dole... and a bunch of other famous folks! Marni and Warren bought tickets to attend a "Success Conference" involving all these people, but Marni can’t go, so she gave her ticket to me. I almost fell on the floor when I found out that the ticket price is $225 US!!! It is being held at the Pond, where the Mighty Ducks play. On the ticket is a picture of last year’s conference. The only people clearly visible, other than the man on the stage, are Warren and Marni, sitting in the front row!

Well, it is now 11:41pm, and time for bed.

January 30, 1998
Westminster, California, USA

The Success Conference was fantastic! The stadium was almost full. Along with Peter Lowe, the host of the event, there were two other professional motivational speakers, Zig Ziglar, and Brian Tracy. I really enjoyed Brian’s presentation. He is one of the best motivators I have ever heard. Most of what he said I’ve heard before, but his delivery was entertaining and very effective. He suggested that people should plan every day in advance, review and rewrite goals often, and treat everyone like the most important person in the world. Zig Ziglar put on a good presentation also. He had few interesting quotes and facts. He stated, that people who immigrate to the US, are 4 times more likely to become millionaires, than folks that are born here.

Joan Lunden told a funny story about a group of researchers, who were trying to see if they could turn an optimist into a pessimist, and a pessimist into an optimist. The researchers went to kindergarten class and found a little girl that was always optimistic, and a little boy that was always pessimistic. To test the kids, the researchers asked them questions. The little girl responded to her question, "I don’t mind when it rains, because rain helps the flowers grow, and I love flowers!". "I hate the sunny days! They make me sweaty!" answered the little boy to his question.

The researchers knew they had the perfect "Guinea Pigs", and continued with the experiment, by placing the little boy in a room full of toys, and the little girl in a room full of manure. After leaving the children alone in the separate rooms for a half-hour, they went back to check on them. The little boy was sitting in the middle of the room with his arms crossed, and had not played with any of the toys. "Why didn’t you play with the toys?" the researchers asked. "If I can’t play with all them, I don’t want to play with any of them!" replied the boy. When they checked on the little girl, they found her covered in manure. "What have you been doing?" the researchers asked. "Well...", the little girl responded, "with all this evidence, there has got to be a pony in here somewhere!".

Bob Dole was witty and humorous. He made fun of himself by commenting on the fact that he was a loser speaking at a forum for success, and kidded that his wife writes all his speeches. He put on a great presentation, focusing mainly on honesty and integrity - which seems very timely in the wake of the current sex scandal at the White House. He opened up his speech with, "I know what you all want me to talk about..., so let’s talk about something else!"

Christopher Reeve’s appearance had the most impact on me. I think it is ironic that tragedy struck this one individual in particular. Whether it is fair to say or not, I don’t think it would be as profound in the public’s eye if Pee-Wee Herman was transformed into a quadraplegic, after falling off his bicycle. The fact that it happened to Superman, a guy that could leap over tall buildings in a single bound, and who has saved the planet on numerous occasions, just goes to show that it can happen to anybody.

What is most impressive about Christopher Reeve, is his optimism. He makes every normal person’s problems look rather insignificant. He can’t even feed himself and yet, he is happy to be alive, and incredibly optimistic about the future. He is truly a super man.

The special celebrity guest speaker was Charlton Heston - the acting legend who played the lead role in many Hollywood classics such as Ben Hur, and the Ten Commandments. Mr. Heston also spoke of the importance of honesty, integrity, and good leadership.

Immediately after the Success Conference, I attended Walley Barker’s slide presentation on his ascent of Triango Tower in Pakistan. He has an astonishing story, with captivating photographs, and yet, he remained rather modest about the whole ordeal. He spoke of refrigerator size blocks of ice being pelted down at them from above, and withstanding the constant sting of freezing temperatures. It took Walley and his three friends over a month to climb the 6000 foot wall. The line they chose was a first ascent which they graded A4. When Walley displayed the summit photos, he simply stated, "We were glad to reach the top". It seemed like an understatement.

The presentation was held at Rockreation, an indoor climbing wall in Costa Mesa. Afterward, I climbed a bit, then a guy named David drove me back here to Marni’s place. At 5am tomorrow morning, David, his friend Patty, and I, are heading for Joshua Tree National Park to spend the weekend climbing. Kodak has given me free film, and a slide processor in Costa Mesa is developing my slides for free in exchange for advertising on my website. I’m sooo psyched!