Monday, December 27, 2004

Spirit of Giving (and receiving).

With the first quarter done and the holidays here, Lyndsey, her sister and I traveled back to Texas for a little R&R with the family (hers and mine). Unfortunately, since a couple of us had to come back for work, we only had 3 days to celebrate. So between planned lunches, dinners, birthdays, Christmas breakfast, grandparents, cousins, and my family, it was a fast and furious Christmas. Fortunately, it was great to see everyone. They all seem to be having a great time, life is well, and we were all in the spirit of giving. We were given a lot! From Seinfeld DVD's to rent to a new portfolio case, it was a holiday to be thankful for and to tell all our family and friends how much we love them. Of course, by 'we', I'm including Lyndsey as an author on this blog. To everyone out there, Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

1st Quarter Complete.

Monday night at 8pm, I presented my final projects to a panel of 4 instructors/professionals from school. 17 minutes later, each of them spoke their minds about my concepts, execution, craft, and professionalism; and you know what, it wasn't as bad as everyone kept saying it was going to be. They were constructively positive....and negative. Craft was good, presentation was good, some concepts were great, some were not so well executed, mainly my work was too neat, too organized, and they wanted me to get dirty, get gritty, experiment more. The times where I was experimenting just needed to go further. And that's fine, no problem, that's been the design criticism of a lot of my work. So I'm making my New Year's Resolution now, design related, to get messy, not over-analyze my cleanliness (except in terms of not slicing through our dining room table with my x-acto knife), and let my ideas flow to one of my instructors says, "Get Over It." Let's see what I can do.

Tuesday, December 7, 2004

Studio Week

We are on the quarter schedule here at Portfolio Center, which means we have 11 weeks of class and then a 2 week break. Of those 11 class weeks, 9 are actually in-class, the 10th is Studio Week, and the 11th is Final Critique Week. Today is Tuesday, studio week, and I have approximately 6 days to complete all my final projects (roughly 11 separate deliverables for 4 classes) and go over my short presentation. It's the time everyone cringes about. Admissions reps talk about it, former students ponder the importance of it, and our instructors constantly inflict pain through our skulls with just a mention of this moment in time. 2 ways these critiques can go: 1. Panel, where the student presents and defends his projects in front of about 4 instructors/professionals in a 25 minute time frame. 2. Round Robin, where a few students set up in a room as instructors go by each one to discuss their projects. Round robin takes longer because you have to present to 4 people individually, and the panel critique offers openness for a more intense critique. I'm hoping for panel, simply because I hope to be reamed severely, and it feels more like an official presentation. My only hope is that I convey my excitement and ideas for these projects thoroughly enough to keep the panel intrigued. First things first, let's get these projects done.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Football and other Sports.

While Lyndsey and I enjoy Turkey in Georgia, my brother, his wife, and my parents are enjoying the raucous Cowboys/Bears game in Dallas. I've only been to one NFL game in my life and that was back when the Houston Oilers were still in existence. LIVE baseball was always more prevalent simply because the tickets were cheaper. Lately I have become more interested in the game of football for reasons similar to any other guy. Watching the old alma mater, the enticing integration of chips/queso and beer, and since we only get a couple channels off the antenna, football on Sundays is all there is to watch. With the Baseball season over, Hockey on strike, and the NBA going down the tubes, the only sport left is football...unless you were offended by the Desperate Housewives/Monday Night Football debacle last week. In that case, I'm sure you can enjoy some professional poker tournaments on ESPN2.

Thanksgiving Day.

So it's been 3 weeks since my last post and I know all of you are cringing for more daily news from life. Today is Thanksgiving. Lyndsey and I are here at her sister's in Atlanta and her family has come up to celebrate with us. There's a big turkey about to be cooked, an even bigger Pumpkin pie waiting to be eaten, and a "Seinfeld" story to watch this evening. Which reminds me, a couple of great multimedia items were released this past Tuesday. "Seinfeld" seasons 1, 2, and 3 can be bought on DVD with some great special features (really great deal at Best Buy); plus the new U2 album, "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb" is out in 3 different formats for fans of all levels. And for the digital music lover in all of us, iTunes is offering "The Complete U2". A collection of almost 400 songs, including live, b-sides, and some hard to find tracks for about $150...pretty cool if you don't have any of there albums. Now, on this Thanksgiving day, I have a lot to be thankful for. For my wife, my family, our apartment, my school, friends, and a day off from class projects. I hope this doesn't put me too far behind because I only have one more week of classes left!

Thursday, November 4, 2004

Thursday Seminars.

Thursday seminars give all us a students a look into new artists, photographers, and companies big and small. They come in talk about what they do, changes and innovations in the design world today and what we can do (as young designers) to help make things better. Before I started attending, I visited a seminar hosted by HATCH SHOW PRINT. Hatch is a printing company that primarily does posters for concerts or other activities in traditional letterpress format. Since the quarter began, we've had guests from Chronicle Books, Coca Cola, photographer Rodney Smith, and today Marc English from Austin, TX. I've really been blown away by work from each company and have been taking notes for future interests. If anyone has an interest in book printing, posters, magazine photography, or general publication design, check out these groups.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

2a.m. Rummaging.

55 degrees F outside, flannel pajamas, prismacolor markers and a 14x17 non-bleed marker pad can only mean one thing: creativity; at least I hope so. Phase II of a design project involving trademark designs, the Apache civilization, and notans. A notan is a trademark style when 2 or more objects can be seen within one image, whether it be reversed, inversed, upside down, rightside up, or inside itself; see this trademark. Just one of many new design terms I've learned in my first quarter, and one of the most challenging to execute. And since I chose an ELK to represent my tribe (before I knew what we were to do), this makes things even more difficult; however, I know that nothing comes better than a burst of creative thinking at 2a.m. If this makes absoluety no sense to you, I apologize, part of it may be a right-brain/left-brain struggle to distinguish sketching from writing. Oh and this is only one of my five classes. Designers Unite!

Thursday, October 7, 2004

School has Begun.

So we're into the first week of October, and for all of you following my adventures this year, you know what that means....School has begun. Two days ago was orientation, registration, and even a night class. We are a large group starting this Fall Quarter, a whopping 40 or so. An interesting group from all backgrounds and places, primarily the east coast with a few from the midwest, one person from Utah, and one from Thailand. Classes meet once a week in 4-hour blocks for 9 weeks, then Studio Week is to prepare final compositions of all projects, and critique week closes the quarter with presentations to a professional panel of instructors. After a two week break we do it all again with new classes and projects. Professors are really great, a couple are graduates from the school, everyone works in the Design field in their own time as well from freelancers to corporate or personal businesses. Studio atmosphere is reminiscent of Architecture at A&M, which I love. Open spaces, small groups, intelligent lectures, concepting, discussions, critiques, learning. Subject matter is unique and innovative. Assignments this week range from mind-blowing developments (large quantity and research, i.e. it's been a while) to capable challenges. Nothing I can't handle, everything I'm excited to do. Can't wait to get my talent back.

Saturday, October 2, 2004

Books, Movies, Music.

For a guy who loves 2 out of the 3 listed above, working at a place like Borders sounds like a great gig. Discounts, being surrounded by great product, helping others enrich their lives with the sounds and stories of great artists...and you’re right, it is. Unlike my last entertainment retail experience, the people here are great, management is respectful, and the store is calm and clean. It’s located on the sidewalk of the heavy trafficked Peachtree St., which means we get a lot of pedestrian action and sidewalk shoppers that come in, read an entire book in one sitting and leave. The other popular thing amongst streetside customers is to grab a handful of CD’s, stand by a listening station, and rock out for 4 hours. This is something I yearn to do; of course, I’d love to keep my job as well. The challenge is not to return my paycheck to Borders in exchange for product. With my new adventure in life and as a husband and provider, priorities have changed. However, I have developed a newfound interest in reading and I can still enjoy music one song at a time with iTunes.

New Favorite Fruit.

Upon talking to some nice old ladies at a Dillard’s department store, we heard of this award-winning, legendary place called Harry’s Farmers Market in Alpharetta, GA. I’ve been to a few markets, fruits and vegetables are cool, but Lyndsey absolutely loves them so we had to go. And it is here that I was introduced to the PLOUT. A sort of glorified plum, sweet, and refreshing like an ice cold glass of your favorite beverage on a 90 degree day. I had never heard of them before, not sure if I just overlooked them in the grocery store, or if they are even sold in Brownsville, let alone anywhere I’ve lived in Texas. Regardless, they’re great and I will look for them with every trip to Kroger or Publix. Keep them in the fridge until you’re ready to indulge, and like most fruits, it tastes better sliced rather than in-hand direct bites. And like the plum, it does come with a pit, so watch out.

Lack of Updates.

Ok, I know everyone has been at the edge of their seat, checking back, refreshing the page, probably getting in trouble at work, missing family dinners, worried about what has happened since my last post. Not to fear, a lack of updates in this case is not such a bad thing. I started a new job as a multimedia seller at a Borders Bookstore and have been adjusting to a new schedule while taking care of other things in life. Of course experiencing two more hurricanes since last we talked can affect a lot of things as well. With Ivan we lost power for about 8 hours and enjoyed a nice evening at my sister-in-laws’ place. Jeanne didn’t cause any power outages on our block but did cause some leaking through our back door. The direction of the rain was aimed right through the door and imperfect caulking along the baseboard brought in some water. Thankfully, nothing was damaged, and a couple of towels helped us defeat Jeanne 3-1.

Tuesday, September 7, 2004

Hurricane Frances affects Atlanta.

Thankfully we returned from our Labor Day weekend road trip before Frances had come to the Atlanta area. Unfortunately, we woke up at 5:30am, warm and to the beeps of a smoke alarm's dead battery. Frances has arrived. As of right now, both power and phone lines are down and I update this blog from my sister-in-law's place. Half the city is down, schools were canceled, tress have fallen, and the lakes are high. Even my first day at work has also been postponed due to the unfriendliness of Frances. Nothing compared to all that has occurred in Florida, and for that I thank my lucky stars and untuck my shirt.

Sunday, September 5, 2004

Apple Store: Chicago.

So I've been out all weekend long and have not updated this blog anywhere. My friends are I are walking down Michigan Ave. in Chicago, Illinois, and here we are at the Apple Store where I can update this thing. It's been great. Camping in Kentucky, partying in Detroit, a wedding in Merrillville, Indiana and now pizza in Chicago before our trip back to Atlanta. We'll see if we catch any rain from Hurricane Frances on the way back Monday. Wish you were here.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Getting Used to Atlanta.

It all revolves around time, Eastern Standard Time (EST); 1 hour ahead of the Central Standard time in Texas. This one hour changes everything. Where in Texas families eat dinner at 6 or 6:30, here it's 7:30pm. The news is on one hour later. Sitcoms, Letterman, Leno, even The Price is Right; they all begin one hour later, and it just messes me up. How will it affect my life span? Should we be living in the west coast? Is that why it is so populated? Anyway, this is about getting used to a new city. The other major observation is about traffic. I have no qualms with traffic. Not the size, space, or construction, it's going to be the same no matter what big city you live in; of course, everyone has their opinions. Best times to drive here or there, speed traps, short cuts, you just have to experience it in order to believe it. The biggest difference are the Turn Lanes, because there are none. If your eyes are not on the road ahead of you, 9 times out of 10 you will RAM into a car in front of you who was waiting for a clear spot to turn left. In a 2 or 4 lane two-way street in Atlanta, drivers will stop to turn left whenever they want! Top of a hill, end of a curve, whenever. And good luck finding a protected left arrow, those are few and far between as well. You have to jet across the road when the light first turns green if you want to make that left. Also, there are a lot more "No Turn on Red" signs than I have ever seen before. In Atlanta, patience is key. Thankfully, patience is one thing I have plenty of.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Friday the 13th.

August 13th lands on a Friday once every 7 years and with my name being Jason, it's obvious I would get a little freaked out. There's the fictional serial killer character of the above titled film, plus bad things seem to hover around '7 year' increments (like breaking a mirror), and the paranoid fact that I'm the only person who recognizes the coincidence between my birthdate, my name, and the horror film, really just drives me nuts. So this happened yesterday, and you can see that since I've posted today, all is well. I slept in, Lyndsey made breakfast, we did some shopping, and went out to eat with my sister-in-law at what is now my new favorite restaurant, the Rock Bottom Brewery. Of course, nothing bad has ever really happened on my Friday the 13th birthdays, so I will continue to be hopeful about future years. Turning a quarter of a century isn't really a bad thing, is it? So for those of you with strange and unique birthdays like April 1, February 29th, or the 13th day of any month, I wish you the same fortunes and happy days.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Tom and Will.

Two of the flicks on my Summer Movie Hit list were Anchorman: Legend of Ron Burgundy and Collateral, starring Will Ferrell and Tom Cruise, respectively. Lyndsey took me to see Will the night before our wedding. She also took me to see Tom this evening, while she went to see The Princess Diaries with her sister...we'll call it a 'date night.' Although two completely different movies, I'd have to say Collateral was easily the best. It's top notch in its genre of noir suspense thrillers that grab you by the throat and pull you through to the end. Michael Mann has directed a great film, with some great characters, unusually tender moments, and another well executed gunfight just like the downtown chase in his film Heat. Jamie Foxx plays a cab driver with a dream interrupted by Vincent's violent rampage. Both players run through the night with witty repartee and determined hearts. Foxx shines during a pivotal moment in a club after a story about Santa Claus and Pedro for it, brilliant. Anchorman, though really funny, will only work for those of you die hard Will Ferrell aficionados. It's 180 degree of non-sequitur humor will either drive you crazy or drive you out of the theater.

Thursday, August 5, 2004

Anji and Lucy.

Since moving to Atlanta, Lyndsey and I have been living with her sister and her beautiful mini-dachsund. Naysayers have spoke their mind about the horrors and worries about living with in-laws, especially for newlyweds, but I must say that our experience has been nothing but fun. We stayed in the guest bedroom, had our own bathroom, and stayed pretty much to our own tasks and assignments while Anji went to work each day. We ate dinner together most of the nights, watched some movies in the evenings, and hung out on the weekends, becoming more familiar with the area. Our only special assignment was to take care of Lucy while Anji was out and during her on-call nights; thankfully, she's great. I love playing with dogs, so running around with a mini-dachsund made for some high quality enjoyment for all of us. Tomorrow our parents are coming to town with our furniture and personal items, so as we move into our new place I just want to say Thank You to Anji, for your accommodations, for your kindness, and for your dog. We will be happy to dog-sit anytime.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

The Clean Artist.

I stopped by a local art supply store to inquire about a part-time job and was asked a unique question that no one has ever asked me before, "So, are you an Artist?"  I've done a lot of creative work, for myself, for others, for class assignments, but have never really thought of myself as an Artist; although, the very simplistic definition of the word is one who creates art.  As I have this conversation in my head, I quickly answer, "Yes", with a proud smile.  And the sales associate/artist behind the counter says, "Really?  You look too clean to be an artist..."  Now that's funny!  I've never read the book on appearances of an artist, but ok, I'll take it and reply with, "Well, that's what I am, a clean artist."  Not exactly sure if that will help or hurt my application.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Step One Complete.

I am back everyone, glad to see you all again; this time writing from Atlanta, Georgia.  The wedding was beautiful, the reception was a blast, and the honeymoon was an excellent vacation!  Everything everyone says about weddings and receptions for the bride and groom are correct.  It has been officially verified.  Your own wedding/reception is always your favorite.  It does go by in the blink of an eye.  And the photographs are the most important feature of the ceremony.  Thankfully, I can remember every single moment I took part in.  The honeymoon in Curacao was all I thought it would be.  The ocean was beautiful, underwater life was brilliant, the dutch architecture was breathtaking, the restaurants were tasty, and the happy hour was very nice.  Service at most of the restaurants was slow, that is, in comparison to our American standard of "get them in and get them out."  Finally, we've arrived in Georgia with our cars, and have signed a lease on a new apartment which we'll move into in a couple weeks.  Next is the all important job search.  Lyndsey has already had a great start and I just have lots of ideas in mind.  Tomorrow, I'll introduce myself to many local businesses.  Wish us luck.

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Wedding Day.

Luckily the hotel has high-speed internet access, so here I am once more, writing on the big day. It's been a great past few days with nothing but success all around. All my buddies from out of town have made it safely and on time, rehearsal went great, and our BBQ dinner was outstanding. Except for an interesting little song number my mother arranged at the dinner, all was as expected. I can't wait to see everyone at the ceremony and reception tonight. It will be quite a party filled with the sounds of mariachi's during dinner. What more could a guy ask for?

Thursday, July 1, 2004

Beautiful friend, The End.

This will probably be my last post for the next few weeks as I get caught up in all things Life, so catch up with the archives if you haven't done so already. To everyone at work who is visiting for the first time, the layout is pretty simple and easy to follow. At the end of each post is a link to leave comments about each entry. Blogger (which is powered by Google) is still refining this section so you either have to be a member or post anonymously, but you could include your name with your comment if you were so inclined.

It's been a great run here and I will miss you guys, I'll miss the luminous tower, the bridge out my window, and Double Dave's. Take care of yourselves, respect each other, and appreciate the world around you because it's such an awesome place. And for everyone who's been asking, we'll be visiting the Dutch Island of Curacao for our honeymoon. It's located here. 3 Weeks till we Go to Georgia!

Monday, June 28, 2004

The Insidious Internet

The information superhighway can be an evil thing and I'll tell you why. Tomorrow I'm turning in my cable modem and will be unattached from internet access at home for quite a while, and my first thought was, honestly, "What am I going to do?" What if I need information from my email, or check a phone number, or find directions; how will I update this blog? Are we so dependent on internet access that we begin to lose track of our own lives when it's not available? How did the world function before this was created? I poke fun at Lyndsey for always relying on the web every time she has an idea or a question about something, and now I've fallen into her mode. Sometimes having web access can hinder personal growth instead of building it. I've cut valuable exercise, painting, and reflecting time in order to surf the web. But tonight I'm packing up my CPU and peripherals to join the other boxes prepared for the big move and I will not let the insidious internet take up any more of my precious time and worries. However, I will try to find someplace where I can update this blog....I can't leave you in the dark too long.

Last Minute Updates.

Well, packing up my apartment has been going very well, just have a few things left that I'll be using during the week. The weekend flew by so fast that I didn't get a chance to see Fahrenheit 9/11, plus I missed The Terminal last week and will probably miss Spiderman 2 this week. My whole summer movie series will take a serious hit throughout the month of July, but that's ok. With my last week of work, the wedding and honeymoon around the corner, I've still got some last minute planning and organizing to do to make sure I'm all up to speed. I even started a couple paintings but just can't seem to finish them. Does that ever happen to you? My brain wants my body to move at the speed of thought which means I get sidetracked; but it only happens when there is a lot to do. No matter, this week, it's go time! I'm going to get back in the procrastination-filled, creatively-energized, late-night momentum just like working in Studio back in college. See you at the finish line.

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Apartment Packing.

Starting today, Lyndsey and I have begun packing up and trashing all my belongings from my current place. Coming up on my last week of work and with the wedding two weeks away, we've got plenty of items on are to-do-list. Trashing my junk has actually has been easier than I thought. Kind of used the rule that if I haven't looked at it since I moved from College Station, chances are I wouldn't look at it again. Cards, papers, thing-a-mabobs, gagdets, didley-winks, you name it, I'm trashing it. I've never been a grocery-bagger, and neither has Lyndsey for that matter, but it turns out I'm horrible with the physics and chemistry of packing. My boxes end up being too heavy or I forget to tape the bottom together (I just interfold the flaps); but thank goodness for the common sense know-how of my girl. If today's events were a television show, I'd be Jessica Simpson, Lyndsey would be Nick Lachey, and it would be called "Almost Newlyweds."

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Corporate Stories Part 1: Dress Code.

Thought I'd start a new column on my learning experiences in the corporate world from the past couple years. First thing is about dress code. It's the first characteristic of the company I noticed when I went in to interview; what people were wearing. Types of shoes, shirts, slacks, jeans, exposed tattoos, piercings, styles, what does this company deem acceptable? On my first day, I wore a short-sleeved, button down, flat-bottomed shirt, designed to be untucked and yet proper (so to speak); along with khakis and some casual leather shoes. Went to lunch with my new boss and was introduced to a Vice President. Approximately 3 hours later, while resetting the furniture in one of the large conference rooms, my boss raises the issue of our corporate dress code in a surprisingly calm and politically correct manner, requesting that I simply tuck-in my shirt to abide by our departmental standards. Blame it on naivete, blame it on style, fine. But, imagine if you will, the chicken looking both ways to make sure the road is clear before crossing it, only to trip and fall on his face from a miniscule pebble after his first step. That was how I felt. Paranoia and caution have since followed my every fashionable step (or misstep), which is why I haven't worn that shirt since. But I am reminded of that experience each day at the office because on my company badge...there is a picture of me...smiling...from that

The Best Commercials.

The Association of Independent Commercial Producers (AICP) recently announced the 2004 Honorees in television commercials. The awards are very similar to the Oscars with categories in Cinematography, visual effects, animation, sound design, etc.., with a couple of unique ones like graphics, low budget, student commerical, and ad campaign. You can check the Awards Show website to check out the winners in each of the categories. I'm sure you'll recognize most of them. There are some amazing creations and a few commercials that make you go, "Huh?" My favorites are "Girlfriend" (Best Talent), "Tractor Beam" (Best Visual Effects), and "Wingman" (Original Music). I am surprised that the HP ads for their digital cameras weren't in there. Great graphics and visual style! Unfortunately, you can't watch them here, but they are taking the winners on tour at museums around the country.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Wedding Invitations.

Invitation: A spoken or written request for someone's presence or participation ( Wedding guides will tell you that their are all kinds of rules and regulations to follow in order to have a successful and well-minded wedding; and so will your Bride. Depending on the person, or family, some are no-brainers, easy to follow and take no time to plan. Others become socially questionable, politically motivated, emotionally charged water balloons exponentially expanding until the pinnacle moment of combustion. This is where wedding invitations fall. Deadlines, text, the invitation itself, response cards, maps, stamps, order of operation, and who makes the list? Feelings of warmth and joy over seeing close family and friends share in this wonderful event become filled with greed, envy, selfishness, and arrogance. Someone will ask, "When was the last time we heard from these guys?" instead of, "I can't wait to see them again!" And there is always the, "You have to invite them, they won't come, but you have to invite them, they invited us to their child's wedding." To which I respond, "I don't care, I haven't spoken to them in 15 years!" I mean...someone responds with that. And why do these questions only come from the groom's side of the family? My Idiot's Guide to Being a Groom mentions nothing of the sort. But I've figured it out. I know how to solve this, and it all starts at the very beginning, with the most infamous of wedding questions, "What kind of wedding are you having?" Usually two answers, small or large? Lyndsey and I chose medium, but we should have said SMALL, regardless. This lets everyone off the hook, immediate friends and family only, and when others somehow receive invites in the mail - Everyone is Happy, or so I would hope.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Re-Sign or Resign?

Monday turned into a heartbreaker after I handed in my letter of resignation. I knew my supervisor would be surprised or disappointed and I just couldn't figure out how to do it. Or When? I analyzed it, set up multiple scenarios, thought about what he would say, how I would respond. Thought about it so much that I began reading about it on the web. I actually Googled 'resignation.' One site talked about tone, interpretation, legal issues, and even said, "Make sure you've discreetly prepared to leave. You may be escorted off the premises shortly after you give notice." Yes, I thought that was a bit ridiculous too, but I'm sure that it does happen, and it may have even happened at my company. Then I thought about my supervisor again, the discussions we've had in the past, and the respect I have for him as a passionate and understanding person, and my confidence instantly returned. My reasons are truthful, I'm proud of what I've accomplished, what I've learned from the corporate world, and all the details in between. From projector setups on the 30th floor to buffet dining on 3 to the Saturday at the office following the layoffs last year, it's been an eccentric endeavor. I have nothing to fear and am ready to take on the next challenge. So when it's your time to Re-Sign or in my case, resign, follow your heart and stay motivated.

Saturday, June 12, 2004

No Reality for Me.

As some of you may know, a few months ago I sent in an audition tape for an ABC reality-based TV show called "The Benefactor." Created and hosted by Mark Cuban, billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks, who was simply going to give away $1 million, the application asked 4 questions. 1. What would you do FOR a Million Dollars? 2. Why should Mark give you the money? 3. How would it change your life? and 4. What would you NOT do for the money? So I thought about it for a week, got some advice from a few friends, read more articles about the show and made my tape. Nothing had really been announced about what would be involved or what he was looking for, except that it wasn't going to be about eating bugs or remote islands. So I didn't get on the show, they filmed it last month in Dallas, but have since been reading updates from the set on Mark's Blog. Recently he posted a description of the contestants and the challenges, and it all makes sense now! In my tape, I never once mentioned my background, likes/dislikes, interests, or other witty commentary. In fact it was pretty bland. Guess I'm destined to live a bona fide reality life and not one homogenized by reality tv. Check out The Benefactor Promo from the link on the right of Mark's main page, but watch out for the volume, and look for the show on ABC in July.

Wednesday, June 9, 2004

Last Comic Standing.

For those of you who think I might watch a little too much televsion...maybe you should just get Cable...or maybe you're right; but I just fell in love with another great reality show. (see title of this blog entry) Where comics test their talent and writing by performing in front of a live audience and a cast of comedic judges. Hosted by Jay Mohr (Bob Sugar in the film Jerry Maguire), and in it's second season, LCS is a hit without even trying! Bring in a bunch of comics looking for a big break, record their short sets, life stories, interview the judges, and edit together to form a series. Brilliant! Last night, Bob and Ross (talent bookies for the Tonight Show) toured the states hosting Open Auditions, then gave callbacks a second chance, before making an official round of cuts. You could easily see the Fireworks from the Bombs, which included a guy called 'BuckStar' - who visited 7 of the auditions around the nation before even getting a Callback! Of course he didn't make the next cut. Tonight, the survivors performed in front of a larger audience with new additional judges (like Colin Quinn), and everyone was hilarious! Keep you're eye on Todd Glass, Corey Holcomb, and Dan Ahdoot, whose set about choosing comedy over medical school at Johns Hopkins was a riot! I liked those guys. Jim Norton and Monty Hoffman are also familiar faces from television and might have an edge. Semifinals are next Tuesday @ 8pm on NBC. Check it out if you love comedy!

Monday, June 7, 2004

Harry Potter Grows Up.

On Saturday I took my younger cousins to see Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, another film on my summer-to-see-list. Now, I haven't read the books, and I enjoyed the first two; great stories, characters, and effects, and I'm just as excited as the next critic about the new director. I knew that the combination of HP's teen angst and Alfonso Cuaron's (A Little Princess, Y Tu Mama Tambien) visual style would make for an interesting movie. The trailers for the film proved this, and low and behold Azkaban was Great! Again, not knowing the back story and details from the books, I was enthralled in this movie. I was hiding from the Dementors, dodging the Whomping Willow, and flying with Buckbeak along with Harry. The time travel twist was very surprising and played out extremely well all the way through. Even had goosebumps during Harry's final "Expecto Patronum!" That was the best. My only drawback, which is incidentally the same for all 3 films, is that there is always so much to show and explain (and I'm sure so much more left out), that it takes 1 1/2 hours before the film really kicks into high gear. Film 1 never even mentioned the Sorcerer's Stone until the last act. Film 2 took the entire middle hour explaining the Chamber of Secrets, and in Film 3, we don't even meet the Prisoner of Azkaban until the last act as well! Although this time it's worth it, because Gary Oldman is bloody brilliant! Now that I've seen the films, I can't wait to read the books.

Sunday, June 6, 2004

Birdstone eats Smarty Jones like candy.

After winning the Derby and the Preakness, Smarty Jones was the absolute favorite to garnish the Triple Crown with a win at yesterday's Belmont Stakes, which would have earned him a $5 million bonus! Starting in the 9th position, Smarty held his own for the first half of the race, taking his time to get in a good position, while Purge and Rock Hard Ten fought for the 1 and 2 spot. Smarty made his move around the corner maneuvering into the 1st position as Purge slid to the back. All of a sudden, Eddington was making a move and next to him, a 36-1 unlikely hero, Birdstone. Birdstone flew around the other horses determined to reach Smarty Jones for the win. And just as the end came near, Birdstone ran past the favorite to WIN the Belmont one length ahead of Smarty. It was unbelievable! I can't imagine losing a $5 million bonus in 5 seconds! Birdstone's owner had another horse in the race, Royal Assault, that ended up coming in 3rd, not too shabby.

Thursday, June 3, 2004

Your Floorplan or Mine?

Pre-fabricated homes have been around since the days of the Charles Eames house, but only in moderation. Developers have since taken the 'pick and choose' method even further around the states with multiple options and upgrades for your new home. I like the idea of pre-fab homes. I like Eames' case study homes. I like that it can be affordable, with unique materials, and ready to move into in just a few months; yet I can't seem to get past driving through a neighborhood and seeing multiple versions of the same house, only with different colors, or mirrored floorplans, and that same tree in the same place on each lot! Call me a house snob, fine, but blame my studies. Although I don', when you're not rich, there really is no way around it. We will all live in somewhat of a pre-fab house because of affordability. I have accepted it and anxiously await its arrival. However, sometimes, even Pre-Fab can be unique...Welcome to The Glide house. Very nice, but it probably wouldn't work too well in some areas of Texas. Make sure to check out the construction photos for a real definition of Pre-Fab.

Tuesday, June 1, 2004

Saved by the Bell: New Reflections

A couple weeks ago the 3rd and 4th seasons of Saved by the Bell were released on DVD. Since I'm on a DVD freeze, I chose not to buy it, and instead broke out the 1st and 2nd season I bought last year to fulfill my SBTB addiction. The first season did in fact have Kelly, Slater, and Jesse; in addition to Zack, Lisa, and Screech; not to be confused with Good Morning, Miss Bliss - when the latter were in junior high. Watching the episodes back to back I've gained a new found respect and love for the show. Sometimes great writing and fun character developments in a fairly standard formula for the show, with tons of side characters and simplistic sets. I noticed for the first time that each of their bedrooms were the SAME SET, just with new paint and a different decor....also, that we never see Slater's room, only the garage when he gets his first car. Why not? Amazingly, the actor with the most challenging opportunities - dramatic and comedic - is Dustin Diamond, a.k.a. Samuel 'Screech' Powers! Unbelievable. He gets the best lines, the most physical stunts, and challenges Zack for the most screen time! And all he's ever done since were derivations of the SBTB series like The College Years and The New Class where Screech was Mr. Belding's assistant. Now he's used as a pop culture reference in films like "Made" and "Dickie Roberts"; not nearly the high profile career the others have had. Unbelievable indeed. Favorite episodes include The Mamas and the Papas (where they're married for a class project), Screech's Birthday (with a hilarious recording of the Hall Monitor's voice), and Miss Bayside (Screech competes in the beauty pageant). I guess if I see it on sale, I might just have to get the 3rd and 4th seasons. Next to Seinfeld, it's the only television series I'd buy on DVD anyway.

Monday, May 31, 2004

A Holiday in the Homeland

Finally got back from my Memorial Day weekend in Brownsville and South Padre Island after a 7-hour drive with 4 stops and some unnecessary traffic in Odem. The family was throwing a wedding shower for my Fiance and I and some excited guests were going to join in the fun. Lyndsey's parents, 3 of her grandparents, 2 of her college friends, plus my parents, my brother and his wife made for a multi-generational family First for me! My visits back home to Brownsville are now more like vacations. We always make sure to eat at Antonio's, Garcia's in Matamoros, Mexico, or Bigo's, or The Toddle Inn, and if we get to the Island, the Sea Ranch is our seafood of choice. Lyndsey's folks were able to score a condo at the Sunchase IV (one of the greatest buildings on the island)ending a 2 1/2 year drought for me of actually staying out there. Activities were plentiful, timing sporadic, and communication abrupt; all the usual complications that surround 'Griswold-style' family events. In the end, I had a great time seeing everyone, swimming at the beach, eating my favorite meals, and finally getting the boot clipped onto my back tire after many years of illegal overnight condominium parking.

Friday, May 28, 2004

Fun with Elevators

At the Anadarko Tower, we've got 15 inch monitors in each of the 16 Public Elevators that displays industry news, company events, weather forecast, and our stock price. When a monitor experiences troubles, one of us in A/V services gets a call to check it out; and for the last few weeks we've had persistent trouble with PE1. Our elevator contractor was here with my supervisor taking a look at the cords and connections supplying the signal to the monitor, experimenting with ways to fix it, and I was there to relay how the image was changing with each test. So I got into a short conversation with the Elevator Guru about speeds (ours run 700 ft/min - fairly standard for 30 floors), the controls, differences between ours and other building's elevators, and I had to ask about the ceiling 'escape' panel often used in movies like Speed, Mission Impossible, or The Game. And YES, they Do exist! Then my boss asked about any bad elevators in the area, and the guy mentioned the Del Lago Resort and Conference Center on Lake Conroe. Apparently it's so sketchy, not even he would ride it! You know an elevator should be off limits when an Elevator Scientist is even afraid to ride in it.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Time Drags its Feet

I wish it were Friday already. With a big weekend planned and a holiday on Monday, I'm anxious for the weekdays to end. Plus there's some huge events happening at work in the next few weeks and the wedding in July, my birthday in August, my emotions are dehydrated Ramen noodles. Even my brain is reacting in slow-motion. To prevent this, I just have to complete some menial tasks, right? Productive, yes, educational, even better. The more the merrier. Laundry, apartment re-organization, finish reading my book, update this blog [check]. And I'll take my watch off. If this works, it will be June before I know it. What are the metaphors? Time is of the essence? Time flies when you're having fun? Because this week, time drags its feet.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Box Office Bonanza

My first memory of waiting in line on opening day for an event movie was in the summer of 1989. The film was Tim Burton's Batman and I was 10. The first time I remember being interested in how much money a film made was in the summer of 1993. That film was Jurassic Park and I had just finished the 8th grade. I had seen the movie 15 times @ $3.25/piece in the theater and felt that Spielberg was becoming a billionaire based on my allowance. I also discovered that the films that made the most money, came out on VHS for sale the same day they came out for rent! Ever since then I followed my favorites at the box office, hoping they would do well so I could buy the film when it came out. Now films cost more to make, tickets cost more to buy, and box office successes are hit and miss, even during the summer. With the advent of DVD and the increase in video sales, every movie comes out for sale when it hits the home video market. The challenge now is to guess how soon it happens. Shrek 2 has just made $125 million at the box office since it opened on Wednesday. It will hit $375 million by the end of its theatrical run, and come to us on DVD and VHS in late-November, just in time for Christmas. Let's see if my Bachelor's of Box Office and Statistical Studies was worth the money.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Shrek is in the Union!

Thank god for the writers and animators at studios like Pixar and PDI/Dreamworks. It's the comic wit and creativity in spoofing other films that makes animation great, and Shrek 2 hilarious! The opening sequence alone must have referenced at least 5 films; and adding The Little Mermaid was genius! Although not as charming and surprising as the first, this one definitely has its moments. From the long ride to Far Far Away, to Pinocchio's panties, and even Puss-in-Boots' catnip, I laughed louder than the 100 kids in the audience combined. With Donkey and Puss stealing the limelight, there is nothing much for Shrek to do except show his emotional side. Thankfully, he is married, this is what happens to men, so we feel for the green guy; at least I do. But to give Mike Myers $10 million for a sensitive side, I don't understand. PDI/DW, thanks for the laughs, you've created another heartwarming crowd-pleaser! And to those reading, make sure to stay through the main end credits for a nice little surprise.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

New Releases and News.

New Music Tuesday's brings the latest from Alanis Morissette, So Called Chaos, and a special edition Dashboard Confessional, A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar with bonus DVD of MTV2 Album Covers. Here DC performed songs from R.E.M.'s Automatic for the People, one of my favorite albums of all time, and Michael Stipe even performs with them on Drive and Hands Down, a DC song. Very cool and lots of fun. I'm also glad to find out that BRAVO is ready for the 2nd season of Celebrity Poker from Las Vegas, starting May 27th. If you missed the first season, well nevermind, I loved it though! With David Cross, Ben Affleck, Willie Garson, and a few others making Texas Hold 'Em look like a blast. Can't wait to see all the new stars enjoy gambling fake money for charity. All In ! Lastly, tomorrow brings the next flick in my 2003 summer movie season, Shrek 2, from my ole alma mater. You can see the first 5 minutes of it here. Enjoy.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Sunny Saturdays

Saturday was a great day. Enjoyed breakfast at a nearby diner, caught an early showing of TROY, then walked and jogged a mile with the Woodlands squirrels before heading in to the city to catch a night of comedy by Ron White with my friend Luis. Breakfast was relaxing. TROY met all my epic expectations with great action, architecture, and attitude. Brad Pitt really stole the show for me taking on anyone and everyone without fear. Ron White did the same. Playing to a sold-out crowd, Ron had me in constant laughter with jokes on expensive sunglasses, his new wife, even cracks at his mom and fellow comedian, Larry the Cable Guy. If you don't know either of these guys, check out the Blue Collar Comedy Tour on DVD with Ron, Larry, Bill Engvall, and Jeff Foxworthy. Each of them is great, but the best part of the show is when all four come out riffing off each other to close the show! They're funny, I don't care who you are, they are funny.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Summer at the Movies.

Entertainment journalists have said this year's Summer Movie Season started last week with Van Helsing; but for me, it starts tomorrow with TROY. I haven't really had a 'summer at the movies' since college, and I probably never will again, but if I was given the chance to have just one more...this would be it! Big Effects, Big Stars, unique directors, and some really great stories to throw in the bag. So Here's my summer movie mix tape in chronological order of release date, sorry I'm a sucker for the mainstream. MAY - Troy; Love Me if You Dare; Shrek 2 (of course!); The Day After Tomorrow; JUNE - Harry Potter 3 (looks better than the first 2 combined); The Terminal (Spielber+Hanks=awesome); Spider-Man 2; JULY - Before Sunset (but I'll have to show Lyndsey 'Before Sunrise' first); Undertaking Betty; Anchorman (Will Ferrell is a comedic genius); I, Robot; The Village (M. Night brings another thriller); Garden State; AUGUST - Collateral (Michael Mann brings the Bad out of Tom Cruise); Everyone should check out Super Size Me if it's playing in your area. I saw it at SXSW in Austin and it blew me away! Big budget flops will include The Chronicles of Riddick, King Arthur, and Catwoman.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

James Lipton and Mike Myers.

Have you ever seen "Inside the Actor's Studio" with James Lipton? It's a great interview show filmed at a Filmmaking School in New York (of course) and you can see on the cable channel BRAVO. Tonight I saw an older episode, the greatest I have ever seen where host, James Liption, interviews the hilarious Mike Myers! If you've seen it, you know what I mean, otherwise, seek it, watch it, download it, borrow from a friend who recorded it on their TiVo. I hope BRAVO sells recordings of the show because I want it. Myers is hilarious, witty, and full of improvisational genius. Lipton amazingly gets answers from Myers IN CHARACTER bringing the likes of Wayne Campbell, Linda Richman, and even Deiter (all from SNL) Right On Stage! Phenomenal. Not sure when it was filmed, but it was after 1999, because they talked about AP: Spy who shagged Me. Watch this soon.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Post-Surgical Disorder

Today is the 5th day since my oral surgery. The headaches have lightened, bleeding to a minimum, and jaw functionality increasing. The Chinese food at lunch was soft and savory; but I wish my teeth could have handled that Egg Roll. Man! It looked like the greatest Egg Roll in the world. I went in to work for the afternoon and was called to duty just as I got there. It was like I had never left, except with new meetings, new requests, and it was raining cats and frogs. Of course, coming home after work was another story. Medicine and guaze everywhere, blankets thrown about, unread mail; my apartment had post-surgical disorder. I'm sure its feeling much better now that it's all cleaned up. Just like me.

Saturday, May 8, 2004

Wisdom taken from a Wise Guy.

Yesterday morning an oral surgeon removed both of my upper wisdom teeth, quite differently than my dentist did 3 years ago with my lower ones. I went in, lied on the chair, the assistants got everything ready and in walked the surgeon. As I made fists with my hand, the doctor pricked the IV into my arm. I remember looking to the ceiling and then waking up in the passenger seat of my car saying "OK" to Lyndsey as she walked into Eckerd's to fill my prescription. I swear to you I have no recollection of the surgery, of getting into a wheelchair, or even into my car? Lyndsey does swear that I asked if I could have my withdrawn wisdom teeth 3 times! I only remember once. So I'm in day 2 of recovery and I've never missed solid foods so much in my life. Double Daves Pizza Buffet, Egg rolls, Brisket, Cheeseburgers, cookies, I have craved these all day long! This is almost as painful as the soreness in my jaw. The doctor said I should be just about ready for solids on the third day, but I don't think that would be very wise.

Thursday, May 6, 2004

Friends - The Last One

I thoroughly enjoyed the season finale of a really great show called "Friends." At 7pm was an hour long retrospective of the show including best of antics of each character and the group as well. Watching these clips really reminded me how much I've enjoyed the show; even though the first 5 years were a lot funnier than the last. I don't think I have a favorite episode, but I definitely have favorite moments. Rachel's closure and Ross' "you're Over me? when were you under me?" line, the game Chandler and Joey played against Rachel and Monica for the apartment was a great piece of writing, and of course tonight's great moments with the twins and Ross' anxiety over the message on his answering machine. Great moments to end a great show. But why didn't they mention anything about Joey moving to L.A.? Seems like this would make sense in creating a nice transition into his show this fall, which NBC did give us a quick glance at during a commercial break. Nice Plug. And tomorrow I'm getting my last 2 wisdom teeth out, wish me luck.

Tuesday, May 4, 2004

"Hall of Dishonor"

Checked The Battalion today, Texas A&M's own student newspaper, and found a very interesting article. It seems the A&M chapter of the Young Conservatives of Texas posted a list on their website of A&M professors they feel are biased in the classroom. Now, I've never had any of these professors. I consider myself to have views on multiple sides of political agendas, and most of you know that I am also a graduate of Texas A&M; but, I have to say that I find this whole concept rather alarming. Check the article out, if it's not on the front page of the Battalion website, then click here. I understand if you get upset with or want to question a professor's point of view, or teaching methods, but to post a list suggesting not to take these professors? That's insane?! I mean, what if the profs came together and posted a list of students' names on their department corkboard saying "watch out for these students, they are excited about class!" We used to just tell each other whom not to take because their tests were too tough, or you couldn't understand them, or they only taught one section and it was MWF Afternoon! I say, congrats to the profs for getting a rise out of their students. Encouraging students to form their own opinions is a positive thing. That's what learning is all about! The thoughts and ideas reflected in this post do not reflect those of Texas A&M University, The Battalion, or their affiliates.

Monday, May 3, 2004

Well, oh well.

Well, Smarty Jones, favored to win 4:1, came in First at the Derby and Action This Day did not. Thankfully, I also put $2 down on the favorite which paid $10.20. Not too shabby at all. Tomorrow, I'll be back on the early shift at work, 7am-4pm. Each month I switch between the early shift and the late, 9am-6pm. Each shift brings a different responsibility and a different kind of work load. Early means handling the everyday tasks which also means, making sure equipment gets setup and delivered in a timely fashion. Late means handling special projects and equipment maintenance which also means a little more lag time and a little less responsibility. I actually do prefer the late shift because I enjoy working the special projects more than the everyday task. And that's not to say I don't create my own special projects so that there is no lag time, ok, it just helps the day go faster. But finishing at 6 is such a bummer. Post Office is closed, Cinemark movie tickets are more expensive, and I just can't seem to get anything done. Really, this is all about how I'm not excited about waking up early to be at work by 7 after conditioning myself to start at 9. Oh well...

Friday, April 30, 2004

Action this Day to Win!

Saturday marks the 130th Kentucky Derby and the 1st anniversary of my interest in the sport. My co-worker, Aubrey, has been into the game for quite some time and where I talk about movies, he talks about horse racing. I went with him to the dog track once and had the greatest time learning lessons on betting. I've seen a couple of the horses racing this weekend on shows lately, and have only heard the stats from Aubrey. As an amateur, my gut says, Bet on the horse with the Best Name! With 20 horses in the lineup, there are a lot of names to choose from. Horses named Minister Eric, Smarty Jones, Read the Footnotes, and Quintons Gold Rush. If your Uncle Eric is a minister, there's your winner. If you love Jean Claude van Damme, then bet on Lion Heart. As for me, I'm looking for a horse with the most powerful name in the group, ready to take on the Derby and mark his day in history. $2 on Action This Day to Win, please! With 30-1 odds, I just might be able to get my fiance a little something nice.

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Alanis is Back!

So I should be asleep, but MSN had an exclusive performance of a new song by Alanis Morissette, and I had to watch it. Acoustic version. Wow. Watched the video for the song, and WOW. This is a really great track. Love the seamless effect of making it look like one single shot all the way through, similar to Hitchcock's Rope. "Everything" - her new single, album out May 18. Very strong, confident vocals. She has always been hit and miss with me, well this one knocked me off my feet. Wonder if iTunes has it yet?

Facets of Thursday

From not wanting to wake up this morning to having to work a little late this evening, my Thursday turned out longer than expected. Got to work, printed my A/V schedule for the day and was immediately/frantically called away to help a meeting in-progress. No big deal, it all worked out, the meeting presenter didn't know how to Un-Mute the microphone, now he does. And everyone loves pushing buttons! Later we experienced some troubles dialing up a Videoconference. The TeleCom guys were checking ISDN lines, IT guys were checking the network lines, and us A/V guys kept testing for solutions. After reseting the system time after time after time, all of sudden it worked. You ever have a day where no matter what you do, nothing seems to go right? Well at least it didn't involve any senior Management. On the flipside, I received a late email from Mom wanting to meet up for dinner, which was cool. I love when mom buys dinner, makes me feel like I'm in college again. We went over a few things for a bridal shower she's throwing Lyndsey with some folks in Brownsville. These generally turn out to be very interesting events so I hope it works out. Hey, someone remind me to pay rent tomorrow. Thanks.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Special day for a Special Person

April 28th is the lovely birthday for my bride-to-be, Lyndsey, and I want to wish her a very happy and fulfilling day! Last night I mentioned my new blog to her and how excited I was to start it. I thought it really was going to be tough figuring out what I wanted to write about. Work, television, art, something I saw out the window. She asked if I knew what to write today, not thinking I said "No." And she graciously replied, "You can wish me a happy birthday!"......This is why we are meant to be together. So Happy Birthday and I'll see you this weekend.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

The First Blog

Ok, so here we go, day one, blog one, skipping onto the wagon, with a smile, my cell phone and a head full of caffeine and worries, but that is beside the point. Hopefully each and every day you'll get a little insight, a little gift, or a headache from my thoughts and goings on as I begin a new online journal; at least I'll try. Remember to let go of all grammatical and punctuational knowledge you learned in English class over the years, because I love fragments, run-ons, exclamation points, and semi-colons; even though, I'm not alwyas sure they're in the right place. Did you catch that? Good. Tonight I'll keep it short and simple by welcoming myself (and yourself) to the bumper-to-bumper traffic on the information superhighway. Thank you for reading and feel free to bookmark this site for future enjoyment. File under miscellaneous.