Saturday, January 24, 2015

96 Days - Games! Part 1

Why I Love Games, Part I

I really love games!  Just about any type really; board games, card games, dice games, CCGs, social games, you name it and I probably have played it!

One aspect of games that I enjoy so much is teaching games.  I enjoy teaching games for a couple of reasons.  Firstly, I feel when I have to teach a game, it gives me a better understanding of the game.  I know I really need to have a good grasp on the game to be able to explain the rules and methods behind a game.  Secondly, I really enjoy getting people excited in playing games and I believe the first way to get someone into gaming is to teach it in a fun and exciting way.  Lastly, teaching games has really helped me improve my skills as a trainer and facilitator.  I have used many of the methods I've picked up teaching games over the years in my work.

I was very happy tonight to both teach and play a couple of new games with friends.  It reminded me that when I was a trainer, I received many accolades.  I look forward to future game days!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

97 Days - Basel Paper Museum (Switzerland)

Basler Papiermuhle (Paper Museum) 
Euro Trip, 2014, Part 1

Today is my first photo project for 100 Days of Me!  We recently got back from Europe and rather than waiting 2-3 years before I get around to actually editing pictures, I thought I'd actually do them in a somewhat reasonable amount of time!

As to not cause my brain to explode trying to edit them all (near 6,000 total shots), I've broken it up into small chunks.  Now you get to experience some of the fun we had traveling in Switzerland and France!  

Our first stop is at one of the coolest places we've ever been!  It's the Basler Papiermuhle (the Paper Museum); it's both a paper and printing museum and a working print shop!  They still make paper by hand and use awesome antique printing machines (and techniques, such as marbling paper!).  We spent over two hours running around acting like 7-year-old's at a toy store.  Theresa got to actually make paper, run a small printing press and marble paper!  

If you just happen to be hanging out in Basel, Switzerland, you should absolutely go visit!  


(If you prefer to view them on Flickr, you can do so here)

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

98 Days - Awesome People are Awesome

Awesome People

There are times when I meet people for the first time in a social environment, such as a poker night or a friends cocktail party and I ask them: "What do you do?" and they answer "Oh, I'm a singer" or "I'm an actor/actress".  I think that's pretty awesome - I sound like a drowning cat if I try and sing and I don't think I could act my way out of a wet paper bag.  I file that information away in my head and it sits there quietly, saying "Yep, that's a singer."  It never says "OMG! You totally know famous person who sings the awesomeness!!!".  I think this is because when I'm playing cards with folks, or chilling having cocktails, or otherwise just socializing with folks, they don't normally bust out singing (or acting) and show off how awesome they are.

Tonight was different.  Tonight I got to see the awesome - and a lot of it!  I went to a show tonight and got to see some good friends of mine, who I knew were singers/actors but never really got to experienced their awesomeness before.  They blew the house down.  I was so excited to not only get to hear them sing, but to really understand that they aren't just singers, but Singers (big capital "S"!).

Being in the presence of someone who is an expert at their craft is always such a joy.  I want to thank my friends for letting me be a part of such a wonderful experience (even if just as a bystander!)  Melissa, Ben, Tom, Peter and all of the rest!

I include this as part of my 100 Days of Me, because it's both inspiring and motivational - if you practice, are dedicated and have self-esteem, great things can happen!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

99 Days

For the first time in over five years, I decided that I would do some painting today as part of my 100 Days for Me project.  Back in 2009, Theresa and I took some painting classes at the local community college and they were quite a bit of fun, except for the fact I really disliked what I made.  (Theresa's work was awesome!).  I think I was trying to hard to paint in a way that wasn't comfortable for me.  I have an issue with depth perception and rendering things in three-dimensions.  And when you're being asked to draw/paint objects, that can be tricky.  For this project, I'm going to try to be a bit more abstract and enjoy myself!

The painting is called "99 Words".  Every day I'm going to add one "word" to it, be it literally or conceptually.  The painting will be done on the 100th day of my project.  I have no idea what it will end up looking like.

For my first word, I chose "Patience" for a few reasons.  Normally when I'm working on an art project I try and complete it as soon as possible.  For this project, I want to slow down and enjoy the process, not just the end result.  I also need to learn patience for this whole experience.  Last night after posting day 1, I immediately thought about what I need to do for the rest of the week and starting mapping out what I needed for the entire project.  I need to patience to realize that this project needs to be more organic and not to force the process.  I threw away the map, and I'm going to let tomorrow (and the rest of the week) just "happen".

99 day to go.


Monday, January 19, 2015

100 Days for Me - Day 001

100 Days for Me

2015, a new year, and for me it will be a “decade” year – the year I turn 40!  For this exciting year, I’ve decided to work on a pretty big project – I want to be and feel like a better version of myself!  Normally I’m not really into the whole “self-help/self-actualization” thing but I believe that we have the capacity to be so much more.  I’ve learned that the most restrictive force in many peoples’ lives is their own mind (i.e., self-doubt, lack of desire, negative attitude, willpower, etc.). 

I consider myself a logical person, almost to a fault – when something is wrong or someone is upset, I usually try and see it in “black and white” terms and think: “If thing X is making you sad, just don’t do it anymore.”  I might consider what they are doing to be illogical, but perhaps to them it’s not about logic, but something else.  What I’ve never done before is question “why” people, myself included, do some of these crazy things.  I have these arguments with myself; I know I do things that I really shouldn’t and I understand that they are completely illogical (and even harmful) and yet I still do them.  What I’ve decided is that I need to learn how not to think in just “black and white” concepts, but realize there is a whole lot of grey out there! 

To help myself with this, I’ve created a special kind of project (as you know, I love projects!) called “100 Days for Me”.  I realize that it sounds a bit self-centered, and to be fair, it is a bit, but it is also a tool that I hope will help me be a better person. 

The 100 Days for Me project is conceptually an easy project to be a part of – over the next 100 days I’m going to focus on taking better care of myself.  This can be mentally, emotionally, or physically, (and likely all three).  I’m going to try and create an environment that helps me feel better.  I am also going to try and limit my exposure to things have been known to cause a negative impact on my well-being.  I’m going to do tasks that in the past I considered “silly” or “stupid” because I think part of getting better is letting go of old, negative ideas and experiences and gaining some new and exciting ones.

Just as important as what the 100 Days for Me project is, it’s just as important as what it is not.  It is not an excuse for me to isolate myself from other people or to blame others for how my life is.  It is not to compare my goals and achievements against anyone else’s.  This is not a race to become “perfect” in 100 days. 

For me personally I have these goals as part of my 100 Days for Me project:

  • Write and share something every day about my 100 Days journey
  • Enjoy taking photographs
  • Cook more meals
  • Complete art without self-judgment
  • Improve my health
  • Be positive

That’s it!  It was much easier to type those goals than to think about what it is going to take to accomplish them!  I might not know how to achieve each of those goals, I remind myself of the last goal – be positive, and I know that 99 days from now each of those goals will realized in a positive way and I’ll be a better me.  

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Art Quest - Trophies from Denver

Happy New Year to all!

2014 ended in a crazy way.  In early December, we had a strange convergence of luck and work that ended up with us going to Switzerland and France for a couple of weeks.  We got to visit some amazing museums and sites.  We even spent Christmas at Notre Dame Cathedral.  After our European trek, we came home for a few days (literally), and then packed back up and headed to Denver for New Years Eve - and Grand Prix Denver!

Important Note for California's heading to Colorado during late December - It's frickin' cold!  Not silly "San Francisco" cold where you actually think about putting on your windbreaker jacket.  It's not even the "East Bay" cold when you have the Starbucks barista leave the cup cozie off your double-latte so it will make your hands toasty.  No, this was Stupid Cold.  It was Negative19.  I'm not going to type "-19", because that little "-" isn't powerful enough to impress how cold it was.  I'm using the whole damn word for this one!  Negative Nineteen Frickin' Degrees!  Cold.

Just in case I'm being too subtle here, NOT flip-flop and t-shirt weather.

Well, after getting over the insane weather condition and celebrating the new year, it was time to head to the Grand Prix, both to play some Magic and continue my quest of getting more cards for my Real Magic Deck!  After researching, I discovered there would be 4 new artist for me engage in the quest.  I though since it was so bloody cold, that the Grand Prix wouldn't be too full - I was epically wrong.  The lines for some of the artist were considerable - I guess without some difficulty it wouldn't be a quest!

The first artist I was able to meet was Jeff Miracola, who did two fabulous cards for me.  I requested the two of hearts (as Beebles) and the two of clubs (as Slivers).  The Beebles has already become one of the favorite cards in the set.

Next up was Jim Pavelec.  I requested the five of diamonds (as Dragon Roost) and four of spades (as Frost Marsh).

Chris Rahn, who was not listed on the website as being in attendance was a great surprise.  The unfortunate part was he was constantly swamped with fans.  I was finally able to wait in line long enough to get one card done, but was unable to get the time to get a second card.  For his one card, I requested the Queen of clubs (as Nylea), and while he was crazy-busy I think he did a great job.

Lastly, I met Aaron Miller, who like Mr. Rahn was frequently busy with lines of fans.  I was able to meet him during a small lull on Friday and asked him for two cards; the King of diamonds (as Ajani) and the ten of hearts (as Chained to the Rocks).  After he flipped my binder of all of previously completed cards, he offered to do full-paintings of the two cards I requested.  I totally jumped at the offer!  I love sketches and drawings, but any time I can get a full art card I always take it (see the Steve Argyle cards).  I knew these would take a considerable amount of time, so I basically left him be until Sunday afternoon.  Sunday afternoon I went to collect the cards, and I was saddened to learn that he just didn't have the time to finish them.  He showed me the sketches that he started and they looked awesome.  He was really excited to work on them and wanted to be able to spend time to complete them correctly.  He even offered to ship them to me (for free!) once he was done - so I certainly couldn't say no!  So, I'm awaiting these two pieces to arrive, and as soon as they do I'll post some pics of them.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The First Art Quest - Real Magic Deck

The First Art Quest

Over the last two years I've been attending a lot of Magic: the Gathering Grand Prix events (basically a large 3-day gaming convention for those of you don’t know/play M:tG).  As much fun as I have playing main event (even made day 2 a couple of times), I really enjoy a lot of the “side action” stuff – such as browsing the dealer tables, playing casual and side events, and chatting with the artist (of course)!  Many times I've considered purchasing art from these incredibly talented folks, but I never really “pulled the trigger”, mostly because I really didn't have a way to transport the work home – I really don’t trust airlines.  So, for the last few months I began to think of some sort of way I could not only help support these artist (even if just a little), but actually get an awesome piece of art.  

At first, I thought “prints”, but I’d have to roll them and they would have to be small enough to fit in the carry-on luggage.  I’d have to frame and mount each as well, and I have a bit of a limited wall space for that kind of display.  

Secondly, I though “alters” (“alters” are basically cards from Magic: the Gathering that the artist will alter for you – such as altering a card of a giant demon into a picture of Bill Nye, the Science Guy (I've never seen this, but that would be awesome!)).  Alters certainly remove the transportation restriction because I can basically put them into a card box/binder.  The problem is, I like card alters, I just don't love them.  Once it’s been altered I’d never play with the card again and it, in my opinion, becomes more of an art piece.  And while I've seen some EPIC awesome alters, I still feel it’s just a Magic card.  I really wanted something more than just a Magic card to collect – something more “me”.  

Then it hit me, as inspiration is wont to do, that there is a way to totally have “me” in an art quest!  It needs to hit all of these bullets:
1. I love games
2. I love art with character and uniqueness
3. I love cards
4. I love things with a story/history

With those criteria, I know exactly what I wanted to do – A “Real Magic Deck”.  My quest is to commission as many Magic artist as I have the ability to meet over the next few Grand Prix’s and have each of them create 2 playing cards using some of their more famous art as a guideline.  For example, I requested Steve Argyle create Chandra as the Queen of Hearts and Liliana as the Queen of Spades.  I will also commission four jokers to make a complete deck of 56 cards (2-10, J, Q, K, A of each suit and each suit will get a joker).  I was able to acquire some professional playing cards that were un-printed on the face, but they still have the regular playing-card back, so in theory I could play a game of poker with these – but that is never going to happen! 

I've already designed the framing and mounting for the entire deck (four rows, one for each suit and joker).  When complete, it should measure approximately 3’ by 5’.  

I will be posting pictures of the cards that I currently have and the remaining as I acquire them!  

The Quest Begins!

Anthony Francisco

Christopher Rush

James Paick

Jung Park

Karla Ortiz

Lucas Graciano

RK Post

Steve Argyle

Thomas Baxa

Tyler Jacobson

Wesley Burt

Yeong-Hao Han