Photo Phriday


Wearable Computing

I really wish I could take an iPhone and create something that was in between this unmade Apple prototype from the 90's:
This "steam punk" MP3 player:


and one of Haruo Suekichi's watches:


Rough Sketch

A rough (VERY rough) sketch of my concept for this years Gotham Girls Roller Derby Program cover. We're doing a retro pin-up style thing to celebrate the 5th anniversary of the team, and trying to highlight their National Champs status as well.

It's Called a "Lance." Hello!

6 months ago I was considering returning to freelance. Then things turned around at work, I felt fine, and the economy tanked and I was happy that I wasn't freelancing. As I've hinted a few times it looks like I may be going back that route sooner than I anticipated. My office is relocating, and while I will probably continue to freelance with them, I will no longer be full time. When that is happening... I'm not sure. I do know however that suddenly a LOT of work is cropping up, so my fear levels are... lower. Looks like I'll be doing some more sketchcards for DC Comics, I've been asked back by the theatre where I did Steel Magnolias earlier this year, I'm doing a ton of advertising stuff for Orlando Opera, and of course I am going away to summerstock in July and August. One of my proudest accomplishments is that since moving to NYC I have not done anything that was not theatre or art related in order to make my living, no "day jobs" or "security jobs" or "contingency jobs." I have to face the next year knowing that that will continue to be true. I'll be at my current job until I leave for the summer, and possibly for a while when I get back, as I said, it is unclear when the move is happening. Regardless it is going to be an interesting year. One of those few times when you can see the turn in the road of life before it happens, and those times always freak me out. I'm struggling a little right now to know how to steer myself through this... find a new 9 to 5? really make the leap back to freelancing? somewhere in between? Luckily I have 7 months or more to figure that out.

Snake: Step by Step



Meet Snake. Sometimes costuming a children's show means building the characters from scratch...

Resolution: Lunch

One of my New Year's resolutions was to begin packing my own lunch every day. I've done pretty well at it, I've managed 4 out of 5 days for the last three weeks, which is great! This week Kid Flash starts school again, so the planning and working to make this happen has to ramp up a bit. To that end we sat down last night and made a complete menu plan for the week, and shopping list. The menu includes a Chickpea Burger, a Veggie Pot Pie, a Moroccan Stew, and a veggie Sandwich Spread. Frankly all of these sound better than what I had been eating on the average day anyway. With list in hand we set off for the absolute BEST grocery store in Manhattan: Fairway. Probably 80% of the shopping list was fresh produce so the idea of getting what we needed from our local grocery was... not quite appealing. The local is a decent place, expensive, but well stocked, except when it comes to produce which is incredibly hit or miss. (Mostly miss.) The most amazing thing was that we walked out there for less than $110. Shockingly that means that for this week I'll be spending less for 10 to 12 meals over the week than I spent for my 5 regular lunches per week before this plan! I am a little bit astounded by that. We prepped the Veggie Spread, and cooked the Moroccan Stew for dinner, so we are two up on having things available to pack for lunch. If this trend continues I'll be a happy boy. Not only am I eating healthier, and better, but cheaper, how is that possible?

Things I bought this week that I never even knew existed frankly: pickled baby eggplants, preserved lemons, zatar, and grape sausage.

Things I Learned Today

1. Where the Middle Eastern Groceries are in Manhattan (I wanted pickled baby eggplant for my lunches this week, we also got some preserved lemons.)

2. Snow might melt off the streets but will still be hanging around along the side of the river where no one walks (discovered while Geocaching, natch.)

3. Not to look too closely at "furry" websites when trying to find a pattern for paw gloves. (For a kid's show I'm costuming.)


Oh... and its 28th street around Lex.

Photo Phriday


T-Shirt Idea


Feeling Lost

As I've mentioned, since moving in with Kid Flash I've been sans cable television. At first I thought I would eventually get it, then I decided to delay until the fall season started, then I realized that I could watch everything I wanted online... so 7 months later I am still without cable, but $120 richer every month, so I'm not going to complain. Between Hulu, youtube, Netflix, Surf The Channel, and the various network websites I have been able to see everything I want. For the record ABC has the best online player. Followed by CBS. NBC's pretty much sucks, but I don't watch much at that network anyway. Now that I've added bittorrent to my life absolutely nothing escapes my steely gaze.

With all that said.. it is KILLING me, absolutely MURDERING ME that Lost is on right now, as I type this, and I won't be able to see it for at least 12 hours.

Gah!

Subway Sketch

Thus ends my 5th subway sketchbook. On to #6!

Obamania

While this is a bit... overkill... I am happy that our national nightmare ends tomorrow. I just hope the next dream comes true...

(via boingboing)

Praise & Cuts

My favorite souvenir from my trip to Florida this weekend. I REALLY want to know why Cookie left in the first place, and what it took to get her back! There's story there.

Enough Already

I love my bank, I do. I love that they are open until 8 at night, and that they give me free checking, and that they don't charge me for using other banks' ATMs, and even refund any fees that OTHER banks charge me... but I'm getting a bit tired of their over-protective nature when it comes to "fraud." They've suspended my ATM card 5 times now. Every time it has been the result of an internet purchase. I buy something... the next day, my card doesn't work. I appreciate their attempt to protect me, but I buy things online. A LOT. If they are going to turn off my damn card every time I'm going to have to change banks. This time I attempted to use the card, only to have it declined, but I couldn't recall having made any purchases lately that should have set it off. I called the bank only to find that the domain registration for this blog had auto-renewed. When I asked why that had set off a fraud alert on my account they said that it was because the merchant was in another state fom where the card was registered, combined with the fact that I had made a withdrawal in yet another state (I'm travelling). I calmly explained that, yes... that was the way online purchasing worked, and that the modern economy was full of such transactions. The card has been restored, and I aksed them to loosen the controls on my card if such a thing was possible. We went through several transactions that I have made in the past few months to tray and establish a pattern with her. This hard since I am often buying esoteric props from a wide variety of places. Hopefully this willstraighten out some of the problem... we'll see. Is one issue with a merchant that I otherwise have a great relationship with enough to give up the relationship?

Photo Phriday: Phruit & Veg


Subway Sketch


Past or Future? Pt. 2

Well... this decision may be taken away from me. Seems that in an uncertain financial period two months of unpaid leave from my current job is being viewed as... if not a good thing, then at least welcome. Summer stock here I come?

Past or Future?

The summerstock where I worked for the summers of 2005 and 2006 contacted me this week and asked if I would be willing to design part of their season for 2009. The producers are retiring, and they are planning an ENORMOUS season, and are reaching out to past designers with experience to try and get the job done. In the past it was a 13 week commitment, but I was single, working freelance, and... younger, frankly. They want an 8 week commitment this time, 3 shows. But I'm not 100% there yet.
  • The shows are good, that isn't a worry, but at least one of the shows is BIG and difficult to pull off even in the best of settings, with their limited resources... sketchy.
  • I'm not single anymore. 8 weeks away from someone is a lot to ask. I am trying to negotiate a less full time schedule, possibly splitting my time between here and there, but nothing is certain yet.
  • 8 weeks is also a lot of time to ask off from a job. I have 2 weeks of vacation (that I would clearly rather use for other purposes!) but the rest would be unpaid leave, and the theatre is offering me less that I'd be making here, and it isn't really negotiable.
  • Luckily they are shows that I am interested in. I really miss designing actual "theatre" and not corporate meetings and unveilings and the like.
  • I like the area, being in the country, seeing stars, having camp fires.
  • I know a lot of the people who are returning, so that could be fun.
  • I'd like to get in on the good side of the new producers who are taking over next season so that if they run a different style of hiring (ie: not the same designer for the whole seaosn, or a huge chunk of the season) I could be in on the ground floor of potential candidates.
I just don't know yet... I haven't discussed it with my boss at all, I plan to do that tomorrow. But for now this is a possibility that both intrigues me and scares me.

January 12 of 12: Life in Miniature

My first 12 of 12 of the new year! My hope for these this year is to be a bit more artistic with them, and try to do a little better photography. We'll see how that goes.

12 of 12 was created by Chad Darnell, the rules are simple, 12 photos to document the 12th day of each month. You can see the rest of the participants for this month here.

As usual for me I chose a theme for myself, this month it was: Life in Miniature. I ended up following the theme in ways that I didn't even realize until I started compiling the photos. The idea was to alternate between macros and tilt-shift photography during the day because I knew that part of my day would be devoted to the model I've been working on.



The first tilt-shift shot, the subway station where I get off for work every morning. It's amazing what a little processing will do to a photo, huh?

I brought several components of my model to work with me to use the spray booth there. This chair was pink when I purchased it, but that doesn't really fit with my model of a Chinatown Grocery, so I wanted it to be a bit more metallic looking.

The view from the fire escape, which I've photographed a few other times for this project I think. My office has an open floor plan, so I tend to come out here to talk on the phone so as not to disturb everyone else in the place.

Lunch. The first of my coincidental nods to my theme. This is a yuzu flavored soft drink that I picked up from a Japanese grocery yesterday. Yuzu is a miniaturized ornamental Japanese lemon.

The view from the conference room, where I often eat lunch. 180ยบ from the fire escape view.

Another unintended intersection with my theme. These little guys are all over the 14th street subway platform, small denizens of the subway system working and living all through the station. This little guy is being busted by a transit cop for trying to evade fares.

On the way home I stopped by Columbus Circle to visit Borders. I needed a copy of "If You Give a Pig A Party" which I am designing a theatrical version of soon. When I design things based on popular children's books I try to emulate the style of the illustrator as much as possible since kids are usually super familiar with the illustrations.

It's also just about time for a new sketchbook so I grabbed one while I was in the store.

The A seemed to be having some difficulties so I took the 1 home, which afforded me the opportunity to grab this last tilt-shift shot.

More miniatures! Mini-cabbages! I'm doing really well on my New Year's Resolution to pack my lunch. I've done it 5 out of 6 working days since I got back from SC. I only missed the first day, and then only because I had been traveling the day before and didn't have time to prepare properly.

And the shot that inspired the whole day today, the miniature I've been working on. Over the weekend I added the brick, the cooling unit over the door, and built the roll down door that I painted at work today, along with the chair that you see in place there, and installed when I got home.

And that's my day! See you next month.

Just A Man and His Chickens

Something sort of mesmerising about him, isn't there? What I wouldn't give to be able to grow a beard like that.

Vegetarian By Proxy

One unintended side effect of packing my lunch is that we end up cooking for both of us, which means that it is vegetarian, because KF is veggie. Not really a problem, I've been an "at home" vegetarian since I moved in with him 6 months ago. I have cooked meat once in the apartment since moving and that was bacon Christmas morning. Otherwise when I've cooked here it's been vegetarian. (I have brought in meat based take-out, but not often.) So that mean that the majority of my meat eating was taking place when I was eating lunch at work. With that gone so are my carnivorous ways it seems.

I used to be a vegetarian, from about '95 to 2000 or so. I never really intended for it to happen, I just went through a period where meat was just... gross. It started when I realized that that thing in my chicken leg... was a big ol' vein. Gross right? Then it became about bones. I was still eating meat for a while but only highly processed stuff that no longer resembled something freshly butchered. Then I stopped that too. It took me about a year to wane out of it. Then at the other end I started eating meat again in pretty much the reverse pattern. It took me nearly 2 years to get back to the point of eating ribs, or fried chicken that still had bones, but these days it doesn't really phase me any longer.

So I'm left with the dilemma... continue as I am, about 80% vegetarian, with meat only coming from an ocassional resteraunt trip, or just go whole hog (so to speak) and stop eating meat altogether. I don't really have a motivation for that at the moment. I'm not finding meat gross anymore, and with my intake so drastically cut anyway there would only be a marginally greater health benefit. I'd have to choose to do it for political, or environmental reasons this time. There certainly are plenty of those. Though, I suppose I have the third option which is to start cooking meat at home, but I'm not sure how happy that would make certain other people in the house...

Photo Phriday


Subway Sketch


Advertising

Interestingly some pr firm has gotten it in their head that I would be a good resource for getting word out about their products. So far I have been asked to discuss a photography contest, and a group that sends inner city kids to summer camps. I suppose those aren't TERRIBLY off the mark for things I might discuss, but... it just seems strange to me. I don't feel like I've built up quite enough of an audience to be being targeted for that sort of information. It sort of makes me feel like I've "made it." I will note that they haven't offered to PAY me to write about anything yet, so I guess I haven't "made it" that far.

Community Supported Agriculture

Kid Flash and I are considering joining a CSA, which means Community Supported Agriculture. The idea here is that a local farm is assigned a neighborhood, and the members of that neighborhood become partners with the the farm, paying a yearly fee, (seems to average $300 to $400) for a weekly share of vegetables and fruit during the harvest season (most of the farms have 22-24 week seasons starting in June.) Each week they come to a designated site, and the members come to collect their weekly allotment. What it contains varies from week to week based on what is in harvest that week. Some of the farms do veggies only, others include fruit. Most do supplemental plans that include fresh eggs, dairy, cheese, yogurt, even honey and maple syrup. It seems like an incredible idea. The one we like averages out to $18 a week, which is a fairly small price for fresh, in season veggies in the city. None of them have drop off points that are super convenient for us, living in the extreme northern part of Manhattan does have its drawbacks sometimes, but several are in locations that could conceivably be hit on our way home from work. One thing that we can't seem to find online though are reviews of any of the farms, or their service. Have any of you had any experience with this sort of thing? Even if you don't live in NYC and you have done something like this I'd love to know about it.

Subway Sketch


Yes. Yes! YES!

Their evil reign is OVER!! A year sooner than I expected! Yes!!!

2008, By the Numbers: B.A.D. Special

So... I didn't too well with my Blog A Day goal. Looking at this chart I started strong, going over the daily post schedule for the first two months, then hitting 100% in March. I had THOUGHT that my worst month was July when suddenly I had some Blogger problems that then mysteriously righted themselves. I never have gone back and tried to fix the missing posts there or I probably would have done better. It seems thought that September was actually my worst month... I was traveling quite a bit in September, in and out of Connecticut in the later part of the month. Maybe that was the issue? I can't really remember. I am trying again this year to do a post a day, so I'll see you back here at the end of the year to see how I did.

2008, By the Numbers

16502
Unique viewers to this site. (Down from
18445 in 2007, 17895 in 2006, 9053 in 2005)
650
Amount in dollars of the salary for my lowest paid design gig. (Up from $500 in 2007, $100 in 2006, and $150 in 2005. These figures do not include my "day job" design work.)

304
Blog Posts. (Up from 204 in 2007, 252 in 2006, and 241 in 2005 there's a special note about my "Blog A Day" performance in an upcoming post.)
119
Geocaches found. (Up from 104 in 2007, 10 in 2006, none in 2005)
28
Subway Sketches posted. (Up from 23 in 2007, 83 in 2006, and 80 in 2005.)
24
Approximate number of books read. (Down from 32 in 2007, 24 in 2006, but still down from 2005's 40)

18
Movies seen. (Down from 19 in 2007, 27 in both 2005 and 2006.)

15
Approximate number of boxes that it took me to move.
13
Approximate number of days spent outside New York State. (Down from 29 in 2007, 21 in 2006, and 24 in 2005)
12
12 of 12 months completed
5
Shows designed. (Down from 8 in 2007, 17 in 2006, and 24 in 2005, again this isn't counting my day jobs.)
GGRD roller derby bout attended. (Down from 8 in 2007, 3 in 2006)
4
Geocaches placed.
2
Number of degrees I currently am from Dolly Parton. (Thanks to Vinnie!)
Plane trips taken. (Down from 5 in 2007, 6 in 2006, and 3 in 2005)
2
Broadway shows seen. (Holding steady with last year but still down 5 from 2006's 7, and 2005's 11)
1
Number of cats added to my household (or rather households added to my cat since the gain was from moving in with Kid Flash.)
NY burroughs worked in. (Holding steady from last year, 2 in 2006, 3 in 2005)
Number of new laptops purchased.

2007, 2006, 2005

Almost There

I've spent all day wading through HTML that I barely understand, (well... not ALL day, but a good chunk of it) in order to try and get my new template ready to roll out. Alas it isn't ready. I can't get the date on the thing to display properly, that is my last conundrum. So... for now you'll have to look at this one for a bit longer. Hopefully I'll have it resolved and be able to get it all set up soon. Which did I choose? Well... none of them. Notepad seemed to be the most popular, but when I went to download it I saw something better. Along the same lines as Notepad, but more customizable for me, which is what I have been trying to get finished. It is looking pretty spiffy. Hopefully I can get this date thing resolved and get it up.

UPDATE! Okay... I think I have it suitable enough for now. Interestingly I finally fixed the date problem in my test phase, loaded the template, and now I have a whole new date problem. Those dates are supposed to be displaying as tabs to the left, not as a headline like they are. Weird. Please let me know if you are having any trouble viewing anything on this page. The background under the text should be a cream color, that part gave me some issues as well. If it is green/blue then something is wrong. Please bear with me while I figure this out! Thanks!!