A nifty text woke me up this morning.
I don’t think I’ve ever described a text as “nifty” before, but this certainly qualified. It was a quick note from Captain Pete. “Be sure to pick up a few copies of the NY Times this morning, get ready to laugh!” It came at 6 am and I mercifully slept through several hours of intermittent, brief buzzes as it vibrated against the night table.
One finally broke through the surface tension of a dream and the buzz beckoned me back to the waking reality. I rubbed my eyes and noticed the phone, a foot from me, was glowing with an alert so I knew a text was there. I gathered the iphone and read the text.
I decided first to check out the electronic version of the Times from my “phone” (can we really call it a phone anymore? I think I will start calling mine a PCD – Personal Communication Device. Any other suggestions with better acronyms?). I did a quick search for “Florida Oil” and up popped a truly wonderful article about how the Gulf oil spill has affected the livelihood of one Florida dive boat Captain. The Captain profiles was, in fact, Captain Pete.
The week after I left Key Largo, a New York Times reporter was dispatched to the area to report on the local reaction to the Deepwater Horizon travesty. Turns out Pete was interviewed for the article - he phoned me and told me about it shortly after the reporter left his dock. He was told at the time that they needed the perspective from a local captain for a few paragraphs in the article. So I was certainly floored to see an article all about Captain Pete's struggle in the face of the tourism drop-off, rather than just a few quotes from him in an article about the greater Keys during this ecological crisis.
It was one of the more fantastic articles I have read from the Times in some time. The writing was true artistry and painted a vivid picture from the first words, describing Captain Pete as having a “cabernet nose.” As I read on, I was truly thrilled by the quality and care the author, Damien Cave, infused into every paragraph.
I was even more surprised as I scrolled down the electronic column and a found a familiar image alongside the test – a screen grab from the commercial, showing Pete’s beaming visage hawking his glorious mustard. In the article right alongside, the story describes how a New York producer came in and made a commercial for Pete. In the text, where it said “an advertisement,” the words were linked directly to… the commercial on my Vimeo site.
Well, that was even niftier!
Here is the New York Times article: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/02/us/02voice.html
It was nifty enough to get me out of bed and to the corner store to grab their remaining copies with change from my change jar - the only money I had on hand. Like the web page, it featured the screen grab as well. So thousand of people around the world saw Pete's close-up thanks to that shot, even though the New York Times did its usual stellar editorial job by not bothering to credit the image at all.
So all in all, it was a great way to start the day. Granted, this all happened much earlier in the week, and I am only now writing on it. Some may question why I would bother posting this news tidbit in a blog about my documentary. But since my relationship with Capt. Pete began as part of this project, I feel this is a most appropriate venue to show off this little success.
Serendipity indeed. Nifty.
How it all began...
Thomas, a close friend who lives in Thailand, lost his family in the 2005 Christmas tsunami. Searching for good amidst the tragedy, he discovered Biorock, the reef restoration process championed by Dr. Thomas Goreau. After some convincing on his part, I grabbed my camera and journeyed to Indonesia to learn about saving our coral reefs. But the story didn't end there. My education about the perilous state of hard corals brought me back to Florida, where I followed another restoration process developed by Ken Nedimyer in Key Largo. Trips to Kosrae and Australia followed, as I sought out healthy corals in an effort to explain what is going on with our coral reefs.