Monthly Archives: September 2009

Association Publishing Magazine Features Composer and Filmmaker Stuart Meyer in September/October 2009 Issue

Association Publishing ArticleMy advance apologies for the dreadfully ego-centric sounding headline above.  I simply wanted to make sure this posting was optimized for search engine results… or “SEO” as it is called… which translates into posting views and insures that this story might reach a wider audience.

As many of you know, I’ve spent the second half of this year making the transition toward living and sustaining my life purpose.  This wonderful article, written by the very talented Carla Kalogeridis, provides a deeper perspective on how I am working to translate my humbling gifts and talents into my daily vocation as composer, filmmaker and not-for-profit social media consultant.

Earlier this year, as a step along this journey, I voluntarily composed a theme song (click here to listen) for the Association Forum to be used as a source of motivation for all the not-for-profit association professionals out there who have weathered a very difficult year.  The title of the theme song is “Go the Distance” which pretty much says it all to anyone from any walk of life who has endured this year of economic heartbreak and setbacks.

Within the past couple of months, I was contacted by Association Publishing Magazine about their interest in writing an article about the story behind this piece of music.  If you click here you can read the full article.

As the journey continues, I also invite you to support my current documentary film project, Imprévu – The Kenneth von Heidecke Storywhich is an inspiring story about a blue-collar Midwestern kid from Chicago who faces unimaginable triumph and tragedy in pursuing professional and international acclaim in the world of ballet.

When I first met Ken, I knew this was a powerful story that had to be told in a way that is as uniquely creative and as beautifully artistic as his life.  This film will not be your typical documentary, but rather an emotive and inspiring cinematic journey that well leave audiences reflecting, and hopefully acting upon their own inexhaustible purpose and calling in life.

Please join the official Imprévu film group on Facebook by clicking here where you can read our production diary dating back to 2008, listen to clips of film music I’ve composed and see our growing collection of production photos. I also welcome you to spread the word.

The Tale of a Perfect Date Night in Naperville, Complete with a Little Joy Yee and Tutto Dolce

As any of you with a young family will attest, it is truly a rare occasion when the planets align with the stars and moon to offer an evening window for a simple old-fashioned date, free of chicken tenders, plastic kid’s cups, broken crayons and other unexpected outbursts of fatigue-induced pint-size drama.  Simply put, date nights for husbands and wives make us much better moms and dads. 

With the Labor Day Weekend in full “Fling”, one such opportunity presented itself last evening.  Now your first assumption would be that we headed into Downtown Naperville for Last Fling, right?…BZZZZZZ… wrong!  While it was a tempting thought to walk along hand-in-hand amidst the twinkling lights of carnival midway and smell of powder-smothered funnel cakes riding upon the gentle September breeze, we opted to go a different direction all together in branching out to try somewhere entirely new… well at least new to us.

As you may recall, we moved to South Naperville last year and its now easy to understand the geographic divide between North and South given the route and commute times.  Nonetheless, the movie we wanted to see, 500 Days of Summer, was at AMC Cantera so we decided to head somewhere on the Northeast side of Naperville.  The choice was easy as I’d been wanting to go to Joy Yee’s Noodles, well, for about 4 years now. 

Located in Iroquois Center just west of Naper Blvd, Joy Yee’s Noodles lives up to its authentic pan-asian experience which I first learned about from WTTTW’ Check Please program ( click here to see the WTTW Check, Please video on Joy Yee’s location in Chinatown).  We headed over about 6:30 PM thinking that it would be a quiet Sunday evening.  To the contrary, as we pulled up we saw a crowd out front carefully examining over-sized menus.  Had the kids been in tow, we may have kept driving… but hey, this was date night and the world was our oyster… if only for a couple of hours.

Speaking of “pearls”, I will confess that I love fresh fruit smoothie/freeze drinks loaded with those large black tapioca pearls and completed with one extra-wide straw.  At Joy Yee’s, these drinks are a main event as the first thing you see when you walk in is the the wall of fresh fruits and the drink assembly station.  Though the place was packed, we were warmly greeted by the host and a bit surprised when he said the wait would be around 10 minutes.  He was right and soon we were seated among the sea of tapioca fruit freeze slurping humanity. 

Joy YeesThe place was crowded and tables were packed close together, but I really liked this fact as it added to the charm of walking into the door of a Naperville restaurant that truly transports you to Chinatown.  Even more, the closer you are seated to others, the easier it is to quickly eyeball the dishes being served up as the commitment-averse should beware, Joy Yee’s menu is a bit mind-boggling with its wide assortment Thai, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese and a touch of Chineese culinary offerings.

We started with, of course, a couple of fruit freeze drinks.   Mine was Strawberry and Lychee with a nice gob of tapioca pearls and my wife’s a Mango and Lychee minus the gelatinous chewy wonders.  My wife spent a number of weeks in China when she was in high school, which is where she developed a fond affection for the exotic tree-fruit lychee.  Perhaps the best part is that Joy Yee not only offers  quality and selection when it comes to the “bubble” fruit freezes, but their prices in the $3.50 – $4.o0 range is great.  This should be a lesson to the other Asian restaurants in town that offer the same tapioca fruit smoothie drinks for $5.00 and up… and you know who you are.   

As we emerged from our disoriented menu-scanning haze, we were actually more confused than when we first opened the epic volume.  Knowing that we wanted to try a dish that we had never eaten before, we went with our gut instinct which was telling us a relentless blast of hunger was closing in on us, which drove us back to the first thing that caught our eye.  For me, it was the Spicy Korean Pork served on a hot plate and for my wife… well, it was a pot full of rice, beef, cabbage, hot sauce, onions and fried egg on top.  Both dishes were absolutely delicious and only got better as the flavors continued to combine before our eyes once the food reached the table. 

One word of caution, the innocent benign-looking slivers of dark green peppers hanging out on the spicy pork hot plate like a peaceful Friday night at the “Gas-n-Sip” are, in fact, sleeping volcanic daggers of tongue-numbing, head-melting shock waves which burn slowly through your mouth up to the top of your head like a slow-burning explosives fuse.   Once the cute little pepper has you in its merciless clutches, your only choice is to ride out its fury and hope the table next to you doesn’t spot the shower of sweat cascading off your sizzling forehead.

Despite my lapse in judgment as the other peppers on the plate mocked my foolishness for eating their little green cousin, the meal was absolutely delightful leaving us in antipation of our next trip to Joy Yee’s.  The good news continued when we received our bill, which was under $30… including our towering fresh fruit freezes.  A great all-around culinary and cultural experience, which left me lamenting the fact it has taken so long to check out Joy Yee’s. 

Tutto DolceUpon emerging from the bright and colorful strip mall space into the crisp moonlit breeze, our only thought was to make the walk to our car as long as possible to “burn” a few minutes as we were still early for our movie time.  Two doors down from Joy Yee’s, we discovered another unexpectedly delightful experience in Tutto Dolce Gelato.  I mentioned to my wife that it might be nice to have something to cleanse the pallet as she said, “what, the giant fruit freeze wasn’t enough?”.   A point well taken, but still we had time to kill and I love checking out new Naperville spots. 

Now I’ve had gelato locally and in Europe which leaves me a bit spoiled, but Tutto Dolce really impressed me in its quality and variety.  The other factor that really impressed me was the service as the owner was more than happy to patiently serve as our host in providing samples from one end of the freezer case to the other.  We talked about the gelato-making process and the fact his humble-yet-affordable strip mall location enables him to spend more money on quality ingredients.  You can see the passion and creativity in Tutto Dolce, which we were told has been around a for a while, but recently changed ownership. 

If you aren’t familiar with gelato, allow me to give you two great reasons to give it a try.  First, it’s less fattening than regular ice cream or custard and, second, it is smoother, creamier and more flavorful in my estimation.  While we were told that Blood Orange is their best-seller, my heart found its home with the Chocolate Orange.  It’s almost like eating the chilled center of a chocolate truffle with a touch of orange citrus.  Is there a better combination?  Tutto Dolce has one full case of fruit-based gelatos and another entirely consisting of new spins on familiar favorites, such as French Vanilla, Coffee, Chocolate and Banana.  For these reasons and more, I can only rave about Tutto Dolce and will be back very very soon.  This is a gem which is deserving of our local support and enjoyment. 

The evening would have been a wonderful success even if it had ended there, but we proceeded to Cantera and really enjoyed 500 Days of Summer… a great date movie which can be truly enjoyed by those of us who are much further down life’s path than the film’s characters, but at the same time remember the trials and tribulations of finding and falling in love.  In a way, a special date night like this one is almost like falling in love all over again as we pause to cherish and reminisce about the past and look toward the future.  All too soon, we were pulling our carriage back into the garage as it returned to the more familiar form the family car, complete with booster seats, matchbox cars and coloring books in the backseat.  SM    

Keeping Your Life in Perspective and Your Purpose in Focus

DSC_0099Two months ago I set out on a new path in life at a time when many thought it a bit crazy to leave a secure well-paying job for the uncertainty of launching out on my own in this economy. 

 To me, it was about the most sane and rational step I could take as this transition is nowhere near haphazard.  As a matter of fact, I’ve been preparing for this change my entire life.  The voice of my inner purpose could no longer be ignored and I arrived at a place where I had become confident in my life’s intentions.

Will I manage to achieve the same level of income in my new venture as I did when I was working as a salaried employee in my previous professional roles?  Quite simply put, the answer is it doesn’t really matter.  “Really”… you ask?  Consider the following. 

First, when you are following your heart and living the life that you were meant to live, money becomes far less important.  It doesn’t mean you don’t need money to live and support your family, but rather it means that you find yourself needing less money than you may have once desired.  Why you ask?  It’s because when you are focusing on the life path you always wanted to travel, you find that many of the things that you once thought you “wanted” or even convinced yourself you “needed” have become irrelevant.

My belief is we often use the material side of wealth to subconsciously compensate ourselves for the substance and meaning which is missing from our lives.  The greater the void, the more we require to “offset” the feelings of being on the wrong path.  In other words, you may not be living the life you feel you were meant to lead, but the comfort of wealth and luxury becomes the deceptive consolation.  But the question is whether or not the emptiness created by not living a uniquely fulfilled life is a void which can be filled by anything other than the pursuit of your truest form of personal fulfillment… not “one day down the road when you retire”, but today.

Secondly, we have a far better chance of living a balanced and comfortable financial life when we are in alignment with our true strengths, talents and passions.  We struggle less and enjoy more of our human journey through our seemingly inexhaustable passion.   This is what I call “purposeful wealth” , which is when monetary reward becomes the by-product of our unique purpose rather than the primary motivation of our life.

If financial health is your singular focus in life, you cannot turn your back on your physical, emotional and familial health as well.   I don’t believe that life falls on hard times because our bank accounts dwindle, but more importantly because somewhere along the way we turned off that internal voice within that was trying to lead us in the right direction.   The good news is its never too late.   

For now, I leave you with my own mantra and personal mission which has fueled my life journey.  The first being monetary wealth is merely a measure of survival, not of purpose and the mission being to life the truth of my purpose in service of others.  Where will you begin?  SM