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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

For your health, Casa Suenos

We got home around midnight Saturday from Manzanillo, Mexico, where we'd spent eight days at the incredible, unique Casa Suenos. A "bucket list" trip for our ailing daughter, Danielle.

I think my son shot that sunset pic. Maybe it was his girlfriend Meg.

A decade ago, Danielle held a fundraiser for the non-profit youth golf organization in Las Vegas where she served as Executive Director at the time. One of the auction items was a week-long retreat at Casa Suenos.

My wife bid on it successfully. She and Danielle and my niece April and several others subsequently went down. I stayed behind because my friend Bill Champlin (former Chicago lead singer) was in Las Vegas for weekend performances at South Point. See my photo blog posts here and here.

I have subsequently never heard the end of it from Danielle and Cheryl for not going to Manzanillo.

Some months ago, Danielle inquired of the proprietor Denny Riga regarding the possibility of getting a week at the villa at "cost." He'd not known of Danielle's illness, and that she was no longer working and had had to move back in with us.

He gave us the week gratis. We only had to pay for our food, drink, and travel. They even told us they were waiving the customary aggregate staff gratuity.

We were having none of that latter forbearance. There were eleven of us. They worked hard all week to enure we had a fabulous time. Cheryl and I insisted on leaving an ample gratuity.

On Wednesday we had outdoor lunch and a swim at their private beach. There are no words, really.

Every meal for the entire week was beyond 5-star quality. Carlos, the chef, is an absolute culinary wizard. The service was impeccable. Every person we met while there, both staff and other locals, was beyond gracious and friendly. We could not have had a better time.

Danielle really needed this: muchos gracias.


I left my Mac Air home. They do have secure WiFi, so we could all use our iPhones to get online, mostly to upload photo updates to Facebook as the week ensued. I brought both of my big cameras, shot a good number of pics with them (which I've yet to process), but we all mostly just used our smartphones for photos.

I brought Walter Isaacson's hardbound Steve Jobs bio, which I'd bought several years ago and never gotten around to reading.

A long read. Excellent. I finished it. Having been a resolute "Mac snob" all the way back to 1991, consumed it with fascination. Complex, difficult guy. Visionary, but a major "***hole."
"This is a book about the roller-coaster life and searingly intense personality of a creative entrepreneur whose passion for perfection and ferocious drive revolutionized six industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing. You might even add a seventh, retail stores, which Jobs did not quite revolutionize but did reimagine. In addition, he opened the way for a new market for digital content based on apps rather than just websites. Along the way he produced not only transforming products but also, on his second try, a lasting company, endowed with his DNA, that is filled with creative designers and daredevil engineers who could carry forward his vision. In August 2011, right before he stepped down as CEO, the enterprise he started in his parents’ garage became the world’s most valuable company.

This is also, I hope, a book about innovation. At a time when the United States is seeking ways to sustain its innovative edge, and when societies around the world are trying to build creative digital-age economies, Jobs stands as the ultimate icon of inventiveness, imagination, and sustained innovation. He knew that the best way to create value in the twenty-first century was to connect creativity with technology, so he built a company where leaps of the imagination were combined with remarkable feats of engineering. He and his colleagues at Apple were able to think differently: They developed not merely modest product advances based on focus groups, but whole new devices and services that consumers did not yet know they needed.

He was not a model boss or human being, tidily packaged for emulation. Driven by demons, he could drive those around him to fury and despair. But his personality and passions and products were all interrelated, just as Apple’s hardware and software tended to be, as if part of an integrated system. His tale is thus both instructive and cautionary, filled with lessons about innovation, character, leadership, and values…"

Isaacson, Walter (2011-10-24). Steve Jobs (Kindle Locations 341-355). Simon & Schuster. Kindle Edition.
Given my daughter's dire diagnosis, reading the particulars of Steve's ultimately fatal pancreatic cancer struggle was rather difficult.

I brought my iPad, wherein I have hundreds of Kindle edition books, but I never once fired it up. I finished the compelling Jobs bio while sitting on the tarmac at SFO awaiting a gate as we returned.

A highly recommended read.

BTW, amid the mail pile upon our return home was a signed copy of Steve Tobak's excellent book.

I'd previously cited and reviewed in on the blog, e.g., here. Out of the blue one day a couple of weeks ago he emailed me asking for my street address. We've never met in person, we're simply online "friends" via shared interests.

Steve's book is another highly recommended read (as is his blog; one of my requisite daily stops). I did a quick Kindle search, and I can report that Steve Tobak's numerous cites of Steve Jobs and Apple are uniformly spot-on (despite his admission to me that he'd not read the Isaacson bio).

Steve Tobak is an astute, straight-shooter. Buy his book, and bookmark him.


Coronas are required, LOL. Left to Right, Grandson Keenan (now 23), me, and my wife Cheryl.


My last topical post prior to our Mexico trip was that of "Artificial Intelligence and Ethics." This MIT Technology Review article showed up in my LinkedIn feed while we were in Manzanillo: "AI Ca Be Made Legally Accountable For Its Decisions."

Stay tuned.


Save the date.

I asked for a press pass. No response this time thus far.

More to come... dxFromHell

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