Sunday, December 24, 2006

Happy Holidays!

2006 has been the most intense year of my life. The family and I have had so much going on, and somehow I don't see any signs of slowing down. Funny thing is, that's what I'm most excited about. It's not often you look down at your cafeteria plate and see every placeholder filled to the brim with daily activities. Then you think, well, I could hold another plate in my left hand. Maybe I can balance one on my head. Does it come with backpack straps?

So I look forward to this Christmas. It'll be the first time since high school where I will wake up and walk out to the living room to hand out gifts on Christmas morning. I'll miss my parents not being here this time around. I won't miss having to travel somewhere during this hectic time. What I will do is enjoy every minute watching Ian tear up the Christmas wrapping with his ear-to-ear smile and roll around the floor trying to figure out what all the hoopla is about. It'll be a great way to end the year and an exciting way to start a new one.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Puck is Back.

There have been many times where I've posted on other blogs begging for updates, worried if they were doing well, what major travesty or hilarity may have happened? And for the first time I've found myself on the other side of the yard. Well, let me just say that the family and I have been the little Christmas capitalists we are, staying late at work, looking at houses, and visiting relatives nearby. I'm happy to report that we are all A/Ok.

Here's a briefing on the past few weeks:
Daniel Craig was excellent as the new James Bond and the opening sequence (the one before the credits) was one of the best 007 scenes in the history of Bond! Ian is rolling like a madman, but can't quite figure out how to crawl yet. A new business client at work chose my design over another making me the lead Art Director on the project. Lyndsey will be teaching Biology in the spring, which is about 4 weeks away. Lastly, we have found a rockin' floorplan that matches just about everything Lyndsey and I have been looking for over the past 3 we purchased a corner lot to start building a house! We were the second people in line to get a lot in a new phase of the neighborhood that was opening up. Unfortunately, we weren't given white flags to run out onto the grounds and claim our land like Tom Cruise in "Far and Away." Man, that would have been fun. It's the craziest, most exciting decision we've ever made together. It's about 12 minutes from where Lyndsey will teach, and 2 minutes from a TRE station where I'll continue to commute into Dallas.

So, that's the long and short of it. The next thing I have to do is upload all the pictures on my camera and post some newbies of Ian, the lot, and Ian's encounter with 'ol Saint Nick. I guess I'll see you in 3 weeks.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Should We Talk About the Weather.

North Texas is getting a major cold front right now. What started out as a 75 degree day has quickly become 35 degrees with a chance of getting even colder in the next few hours. Add to that some rain and what you get are icy roads and sleet in an area known for its year round warmth. The funny thing is how crazy everyone in Texas gets about it all.

It started in the office when someone asked if we were ready for the blizzard coming our way. Then came an email with a phone tree listing of who should call whom upon any circumstances in the morning. And then the obligatory mention of wanting to come in late and leave early to miss the highway traffic. Why is everyone so afraid of the weather? The answer, right after this...

{insert Target Christmas Ad, with that catchy tune I can't find the name too, here}

Everyone anticipates the worst when icy weather comes to North Texas. From buying groceries, to school closings, to office phone trees. If you ask anyone why, they'll tell you it's not because they're afraid to drive on the ice, but because they're afraid of how other people will drive on the ice. I heard it at work, I heard it at On The Border, I hear it from Lyndsey all the time, and then someone mentioned it while being interviewed on the news tonight. "I'm more worried about the other drivers out there," people say. Even the Getty Images rep from Chicago said the lady at the Car rental place told him to be weary of all the other drivers out there. Apparently, Texans don't know how to drive on ice because it's not a common occurrence.

Don't you think if we're so busy worried about how others drive, we might forget how to drive ourselves? I say, if you do plan on driving, worry about yourself, your car, your windshielf wipers, your heater, your seatbelt, your parking brake, your Starbucks Peppermint Mocha in the cupholder, and your break pads. If everyone takes care of their personal travel needs, we won't cause any harm to each other. That's why I take the train to work.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Texas on TV.

It's not a secret to say that Austin has become this generation's version of Hollywood. I'm not from there and I don't live there, but I have been to SXSW 3 times, I read Aint it Cool News, and I love the Alamo Drafthouse. With guys like Robert Rodriguez, Richard Linklater, Mike Judge, and Harry Knowles (and Dentler of course) at the helm of this land of appreciation, it's no wonder they've finally struck a nerve.

Take Monday night's NBC one-two punch of HEROES and STUDIO 60. Last night the Hollywood town of Texas got a mention in each show. In HEROES, the Japanese time bender, Hiro (note the name coincidence), mentioned to his lady friend the chance to go to the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin to see some Kurosawa films. An hour later, Matthew Perry cracked a joke about a target audience that reads Aint-It-Cool-News. I wonder if these guys A. really like Austin or B. are referencing these sites to reach an audience of their own. HEROES: A. STUDIO 60: B.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Gig 'em Ags!

After 6 years, the Aggies finally beat the Longhorns 12-7. I knew the tides would change once we got back to Texas.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Friends in High Places.

It's not selfish to say that I have my blog bookmarked in my Safari browser. The reason is because on my blog I have links to some of my other fellow blogger friends and more often than not, visit their sites for the latest going ons. Tonight I was fortunate enough to visit Aldo's (The Capitalist) site a few days after his recent post. Aldo is in Argentina on business. He wanted to let everyone know. And he wanted to post some other links to fabulous Aldo content.

Thankfully he listed an article written by one of our dear friends from back home, Matt, whose blog for the SXSW Festival is also listed in my links section. It was a link to Matt's last article as Music Editor for The Daily Texan at U.T. It's a great commemorative piece for the guy as he discusses his thoughts on graduating and moving on, written over a year after 9/11. Four years later and Matt has become a high profile producer in the festival circuit.

Thanks Matt for the mention and your prediction of local Austin band, Spoon, was right on the money.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

A Hard Days Night.

I'm sure you've all figured out that since I've been working, this blog has collected some dust. I'm beginning to think I should change the title of this thing to 'Puckett Every Other Week'. Fortunately, it's all been for a very good reason. After all, blogging does not count for any additional income. So I thought I'd fill you in on my days and nights:

The official hours at the office are 8:30-5:30. As a test to save a little cash, wear-and-tear on the car, and my sanity, I've been taking the Trinity Railway Express to Downtown Dallas. There's a station about 4 songs from the house and the train ride is approximately 7 songs. It drops off at Dallas Union Station, about 8 blocks from the office, where if I chose to I could walk and be at the office in about 3.5 songs. Or I could jump on the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) and be at the office in 2 songs. You see, all this pedestrian time has allowed my iPod and I to become friends again. He's a lot happier when he's playing music than when he was being used as a flash drive. The biggest challenge has been catching the train at the right time. They're really good about staying on schedule and I think I've finally figured it all out.

I've been working on a few projects, catching some quick turnaround deadlines, and keeping our clients happy. Last Thursday, we hosted an Open House to show off our new office space to clients and friends of MasonBaronet. It was a happening gig with food, drink, and music. Lyndsey and Ian joined the fun and got to meet everyone in the office. Ian loved watching the goldfish. I swear, that kid is going to be a Marine Biologist. It's a great space with hardwood and dark polished concrete floors. The best spot is at the production counter around 3:30pm when the afternoon sunlight beams right onto the cutting mat. Printouts never looked so good. At the end of my first week, we had a Happy Hour at the end of the day that included a Champagne toast (and some left over Shiner Bock-good to be back in Texas) welcoming me to the team.

Nights go by pretty quickly. I usually get home around 7:15 after staying a little later and then catching the train. By then, I catch up on dinner and get some play time with Ian before he gets his bath. We all visit and hangout with NBC in the background. Dim the lights around 8:30 calming Ian down to get him ready for bed. He's been having a rough time getting to sleep. I think it's because he misses me all day and wants to stay up and play all night, but that's just me. Lyndsey and I catch up on some things before calling it a night.

I just finished two weeks now which means I got my first paycheck as a Creative. I told Lyndsey she had 3 choices for dinner last night: 1. Bennigans - where I haven't had my favorite Turkey O'Toole in over two years 2. Whataburger - where I haven't had one of their excellent burgers in over two years or 3. Spring Creek Barbecue - which is where we had our Rehearsal Dinner over two years ago & is the home of the most tender brisket in North Texas.

Man, it's good to have Texas barbecue again.

Monday, November 6, 2006

Caption This.

Living with my in-laws has been a great experience so far. There's a few extra hands to play with Ian, a few extra home cooked meals with the family, and some extra words being typed across the television screen...Wait, what are those?

Oh, that's right, they're captions!

You see, Lyndsey's dad wears hearing aids and uses the captions on television to make watching the shows a lot easier than listening at maximum volume; though on occasion he will listen at maximum volume. And tonight, at the end of "Heroes", I noticed the strangest of captions. It said something like, "Buy a guitar pick and play on your new such and such guitar. Visit such and such .com". I find that hilarious. First off, the fact that Ads even make it on the captions is great. Copywriters will always have jobs. Secondly, the fact that a guitar company thought someone who's hard of hearing and chooses to read the captions would want to buy a guitar, is the funniest thing I've heard since "gristletoe." No offense to all the audibly impaired musicians of the world.

Saturday, November 4, 2006

Sign on the Line which is Dotted.

Offer Letter
Originally uploaded by jtpuck.

I've wondered what it would feel like to present my portfolio in actual, private interviews with real firms I hoped to work for, and this week I've been able to do it. Met with some great people, spoke with some great companies on the phone, and really got a sense for the design community in Dallas. It's a tight-knit group where everyone knows everyone. Competition or not, they want each other to succeed and do good work.

Self-actualization, career goals, company culture, and of course good work, were deeply considered these past few days. At one point I had called a couple of my respected design colleagues, looking for analytical assistance. We are our worst critics, and coming to terms with my own skills, opportunities for growth, and personal views on what kind of company I feel represents who I am and what I believe in (much like the process of making my portfolio) were all part of the job search.

So I've decided to take a job as Art Director with MasonBaronet. They are a marketing communications firm that really takes charge of every brand that comes through their office. They handle advertising and design in all their glorious forms. There's about 12 people in the office, one of which is Paul Jerde, Creative Director. We've had many great discussions this week and I look forward to working with him and soaking in everything I can.

I actually had my first day on Friday, and I must say, it feels good to be back on the computer working on projects again. It was just one piece with a few different aspects to it, but I was sucked into it. Even skipped lunch without knowing laying out this brochure 6 or 7 different ways. The biggest challenge is going to be getting used to designing for real, actual, take-to-press, projects for real, actual companies that hired us to do this. I'm sure I'll figure it out.

Monday, October 30, 2006

PC in NY.

There was about 30 of us PC graduates in New York last Friday for the annual Portfolio Review. Our school sponsored event invites industry professionals from all across the states out to Manhattan for a one-on-one look at the portfolios of recent graduates. I was thankful enough to be included in that mix of students.

We gathered at the Society of Illustrators at 128 E. 65th St. between Park and Lexington, on the 3rd floor in a unique library room setting. It started out in two rooms with about 11 tables and 30 students, a very intimate setting. By the end of the day, it was quite possible you could present the work of the person sitting (standing) next to you. For 8 hours, designers, creative directors, vice presidents, freelancers, headhunters, and art directors strolled through the rooms browsing through portfolios and inquiring about each and every one of us. I presented my 10-17 minute spiel roughly 18 times that day. It was shorter or longer depending on the interest of the person I was presenting to. You see, after a few pages, you could tell if they liked your work, if they were really seeking an employee to begin with, or if they simply wanted you to flip the pages for them. An occasional, respectful visitor would ask if you were a writer, designer, art director, OR if they were short on time and just wanted to look for themselves. One guy simply came through, picked up resumes, and took any mini-books if students had them available as freebies. I only had a few to pass out, so I kept those for serious seekers.

Overall it was an excellent experience and I'm glad to have had it. I had my presentation nailed by the 3rd time and it always included that my primary focus was packaging. Mostly I was happy to hear that employers were impressed with my work. Had a couple people ask if Struct Gothic was available to purchase (the typeface I designed). One poor girl couldn't handle the 3-D glasses needed for my Symphony poster because of her more than slight case of vertigo. Two groups were highly intrigued with my work, one of which was a certain feminine fashion company who like my packaging projects. I'd tell you, but it's a secret.

This week I've got two interviews setup in Dallas. This will be a little different than the fast and furious aspect of the Portfolio Review, but at least I have my presentation down. We'll see how PC does in TX.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

PC Fall Grad Class

PC Fall Grad Class
Originally uploaded by jtpuck.

My time at Portfolio Center has been the most challenging two years of my life. From all-nighters, last minute project changes, schedule changes, and printing problems, to sliced fingers, Starbucks runs, and Chik-fil-A sandwiches; I've never worked so hard in my life. During my last week, finishing my portfolio, I had 2 nights working from 8am one day to noon the next. In my 4 years of undergrad at A&M, I barely had one a semester.

All the hard work has paid off with a great portfolio I'm excited to have and share with employers of the states. I've also made some great friends along the way. Above are my classmates from the past two years and they've experienced everything, if not more, than I have. Somehow, we made it.

Congratulations to everyone! I wish you all the best. Remember to bookmark this page and leave comments as you visit. I'll never forget any of you and will always cherish the time we spent at PC. See you in New York in 8 hours.

BTW: the guy in the tux on the right, that's Hank Richardson, president and adjunct professor at PC. His classes meet at 5:30am. That was a fun quarter.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


The time has finally come.

My portfolio has officially been signed off and I am now a graduate of the Portfolio Center in Atlanta, GA. And for those of you anxiously awaiting our homecoming, the wait is over. Lyndsey, Ian, and I have also completed our move back to Texas. We're living with Lyndsey's folks in Bedford taking a few days to get situated. Thursday, I'll be heading to NY for a Portfolio Review held by our school for companies and recruiters from across the states. It'll be a great opportunity to showcase my work and present 2 years of work to potential employers. There's also a few places in the Dallas area I'll be seeking out in the coming weeks. Wish us luck.

Sunday, October 8, 2006

I Love This Game!

Ian At Turner Field
Originally uploaded by jtpuck.

Last weekend we got to take Ian to his first baseball game. It was the last Braves series for the 2006 season and it just so happen to be against the Houston Astros. I grew up watching the Astros but have always been a Braves fan; so the opportunity to introduce Ian to both at the same time was perfect.

Overall he did really well, happy to look out onto the field and over the field to Downtown Atlanta. He just got freaked out whenever the announcer would pop up out of nowhere or those taunting stadium chants screamed over the loud speaker. He did however take part in the Atlanta Braves Tomahawk chop late in the game. He fell asleep in the eight inning and was awakened by some monstrous roars as the Braves tried to make a comeback.

Please, city of Atlanta, never wake up my baby like that again.

Thursday, October 5, 2006

Portfolio Teaser.

Drew's Organic Salsa
Originally uploaded by jtpuck.

Here's a one page glimpse into my final portfolio at school. New packaging for Drew's Organic Salsa, offering a healthy alternative for all the sports fans of the world. Here, the heat score correlates to how close you are to the action on the field. Only a true sports fan knows where his seat is in the stadium; from the upper level down to the field box. I'll also have the complete label posted into my book to fully depict the off-the-shelf experience.

Of course, the actual file will be corrected to a complete white background with minimal shadows. And if you can imagine this page printed to a 12"x18" sheet, the project becomes larger than life. You'll be able to see the cilantro and onions in the salsa, it's fantastic.

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

I'm not Pregnant.

I had the most unbelievable of cravings tonight after dinner. It was for a dessert I had not enjoyed in 6 months, and more like 6 years before that. I first learned of this dessert in elementary, when a student brought some for the class one Friday morning. You see, I'm from Brownsville, TX, right on the border of Mexico, and this is fantastically unique Mexican Dessert. It goes by a couple of different names and with varied toppings depending on who you talk to or what Mexican restaraunt you eat at. I was taught to call it a BUNUELO. You might commonly refer to it as a SOPAPILLA.

It's essentially a fried tortilla sprinkled with cinnamon & sugar, a dab of powdered sugar, and then topped with Hershey's Chocolate or Honey. For an added kick, add some whip cream and strawberries. They're fantastic, they're sweet, easy to make, and they hit all the right notes. Amazingly enough, we had all the ingredients already. In my house, you'll always find a package of tortillas. Give it a shot if you have the stuff at home. Toss some oil in a pan, heat it up, toss in the tortilla, fry on both sides a minute or two, dabble off the oil, and add your toppings, dry stuff first.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

A New Season has Begun.

So I've just gotta say before I hit the sack tonight, that if you missed "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" Monday night, you missed out on one of the best pilots ever shown. It hit all the right notes and at all the right times and sucked me in like a Dyson. And the thing about Dyson's is, they never lose suction, ever. I just caught the episode again on BRAVO, so keep you're eye out on replays around the channel. The writing was great, tons of tight details that followed throughout the show and I'm sure the entire season. The cast was excellent. Not once did I think about Matthew Perry as Chandler or Bradley Whitford and Timothy Busfield as their characters from the West Wing. In fact, now that I think about it, each of their characters on Studio 60 is quite a detour from what they're known for. I look forward to the rest of season and hope it turns out as good as the pilot. Can't wait for the return of Earl and the Office tomorrow. Good night.

What a Difference a Day Makes.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Try, Try, Try.

If only we all had the guts to try as hard as this little guy. I'm going to finish designing a project tonight! Thanks, Ian.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Photo Shoot #1.

Photo Shoot #1.
Originally uploaded by jtpuck.

I meant to put this up with the other post, but couldn't get it to work.

Here's a little sample of things to come with a behind-the-scenes look at our first shot from the day. My Mondavi Wine Bottles that took a lot of production work with rub-on transfers and paper labels and a coat of satin spray paint to decrease reflection. The end result is spectacular, but you'll have to wait to see it in my final book.

Friday, September 8, 2006


I'm in the middle of a Photo Shoot!

I've been away from the blogosphere introducing Texas to Ian with the family and then finishing up production on a couple projects for my first photo shoot. Now, here I am, going over the look and feel of my portfolio and how I want the shots composed with Peter Hobbs, photographer emeritus and PC instructor. We discussed all the shots, projects, and layouts in an hour and a half and are just now setting up the first one. It's been a stressful week trying to get my first few projects fully produced and only half of what could go wrong did go wrong.

I started out the week with a goal of getting 5 pieces complete for today. The biggest challenge was getting my R.E.M. 5-disc box set screenprinted at Lonny's place, which we did yesterday...half of it. It's my first time sharing in the screenprinting process, an arduous task that can result with monumental power. In burning the screens with my artwork, we lost some type and therefore lost time and production value. Lonny and I were getting frustrated and didn't want to rush it any longer. So we decided to hold off the rest for another week. The box set is intended as a handhelf piece for my book, so production is of the utmost importance, not so much getting it photographed for my website.

The next task was reworking and finessing the logo for KRAFT. The problem here is getting the logo right, so it can be applied to the Mac & Cheese package, so I can print it to build the boxes in order to shoot them for my portfolio. You can see how the chain works and were it can easily be broken. Needless to say, the logo, or logotype as it is correctly named, needs a lot of tweaks and a lot of time to fix. The chain got pulled early yesterday.

For my first photo shoot today, I've got 3 prized pieces to take care of: Mondavi Wine Bottles, Drew's Organic Salsa, and spreads from my Atlanta Symphony Orchestra book. They are complete, ready, and I must say really great. I've never been more excited about my work than I am today. Can you believe I forgot my camera! Dave Werner would be most disappointed.

Lastly, I have to say THANK YOU to my pops-in-law, Ken, for spending some of his well-earned retirement time here in Atlanta with us to help with the house chores and most importantly, keeping our awesome, growing-personality-by-the-minute son, IAN, happy.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Sunday Morning.

These used to be my favorite mornings. For some reason I would not really sleep in, make a full-course breakfast with Papas con Huevo, tortillas, cinnamon rolls, sliced fruit, and a Folgers Breakfast Blend. Over the past couple years, I've been able to spend this time with Lyndsey here too. She never enjoyed breakfast as much as she does now. As you've read on this blog before, Sunday morning also meant browsing through the weekly Best Buy Ad. (best deal this week is Arrested Development Season 3 for $19.99, along with numerous other TV box sets on sale for $19.99, from Entourage and Curb Your Enthusiasm to Seinfeld and some others) I haven't been home on Sundays in quite a while due to my schedule changes at work.

On this particular Sunday; however, we are undergoing our annual storewide inventory check, usually an all-night process. Since I am an expert in our inventory process, after having participated each of the past two years, I have been invited to work the night shift. From 7pm-3am, I'll be helping out, which means only dealing with intellectual book worms who look down on me for being visual for about 2 hours before the inventory begins. So, I'm home on a Sunday morning, the family is taking their morning naps, and I'm hungry.

The best part of waking up....

On a quick side note regarding graduate projects, 4 projects complete, 3 projects ready for production, 2 close to it, , 5 I haven't started, and 10 that are in limbo waiting for the right idea to go the distance. And my first photo shoot is in 2 weeks.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Save River Oaks.

Just read this bit on IMDB and it was the first time I reacted to an IMDB blurb regarding my home state.

The poor River Oaks theatre in Houston just might get replaced with a Barnes & Noble. That's a sad, sad, thing. It's an independent film house in the Rice Village area, a vintage, majestic theatre. Now, I'm not sure how sales have been, but to be replaced by B&N is like getting rid of a '57 Chevy for a MINI. It just doesn't feel right.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

How Texan Are You?

You are 67% REAL Texan!!

You're mostly texan. You know your Mexican food, state heritage and are probably slightly politically aware. You can probably pronounce Kukendall, Manchaca and Boerne correctly. Go you.

How Texan Are You?

Since 85% of my readership has a history in the state of Texas, I'm sure you all will love it. The guy who came up with this is from Austin, so it's no wonder a lot of the questions revolve around that city. Some of the questions are pretty tough.

Thanks to Lorena for the link.

Friday, August 4, 2006

Motion Picture One-Sheets

The Descent
Originally uploaded by jtpuck.

The thing about movie posters is that sometimes, there isn't much you can do when all a studio wants is a big picture of the star. I'll never forget when "Saving Private Ryan" came out. The poster was fantastic. A darkened grey skyline with a single soldier silhouette pacing over a hill right in the center, lower third of the frame. It said journey, war, and hope in one single image. Then around Oscar time and for the DVD release, a new poster was shed. Same original layers, except with images of the cast filling up the sky. All emotion blown off the mark.

It's a shame there aren't more great movie posters out there. Loved what they did with "The Da Vinci Code", the theatrical "V for Vendetta" poster, and the image of Superman drifting over Earth is a gorgeous shot for "Returns." I stood and analyzed this one for "The Descent" when I saw it posted at the Shallowford Regal. Stunning! A fresh execution of a typical concept. How often do you see the credits laid out around the border, or the rating at a 90 degree angle. It actually reflects crawling down and around a cave like the characters in the film! But was that part of the plan, I wonder? I wondered what Saul Bass would have done? I wondered why Movie Posters aren't more highly talked about amongst the design world. I guess they're only done in Hollywood, probably by designers at the studio, and then celebrated at some Key Art Awards show in L.A. Actually who does design movie posters?

I did 2 while at Portfolio Center, for "The Sandlot" and "Glengarry Glen Ross." I was pretty happy with my Sandlot poster, would be really great with a better photographer. GGR didn't turn out like it should have, but that was before I had a better understanding of poster design.

Film One-sheets are the best place to experiment with logotypes. Probably get to meet the director and flesh out concepts, maybe even see the film early, or visit the set. Hmph. And as long as there are movies, there will always be One-Sheets, so it sounds like there's good job stability.

I have this dream of a long hallway in my future house that connects the living and sleeping spaces. One side will be lined with my favorite movie posters, like a one-sheet museum. The oppostie side being a wall of windows that overlooks an outdoor terrace in the middle of our home. After waking up and getting ready for the day, as I walk down the hallway to head out for work, a refreshing sight of creativity will help start the days right.

What have been some of your favorite movie posters?

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

8th Quarter and a Baby.

And what do I have to show for it so far? A baby that is almost twice his birth weight, a list of 24 projects headed towards my portfolio, 5 of which I'll have to completely redo from scratch, and I just can't seem to get it together. I'd like to blame the high humidity and 90+ degree weather outside; but I was raised in South Texas, it's what I'm used to. I just havent' been able to master the art of simultaneous diaper changing and concept sketching.

I'll have to admit, being a stay-at-home-Dad is actually quite fun. I just seem to be snacking a little more than I used to. So much for losing that pregnancy weight.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Return of Television?

I've become very excited about a couple of new TV series debuting this fall, two of which are about TV shows in and of themselves. First there's "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" with Matthew Perry and Bradley Whitford and from the creators of "The West Wing." From the initial teasers played earlier this season, I couldn't tell what it was going to be about. Was it a comedy or a drama? They just didn't play well except to list the cast of stars. Tonight I've seen some updated trailers about the plot and it's style of comedy AND drama. The show definitely looks great, and it's fast paced action behind the scenes looks like an audience favorite. I'm concerned it might be too fast for a half-hour show; but it should be just fine with a full hour. Then there's the Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin comedy "30 Rock", a TV show about the behind-the-scenes antics of an SNL style sketch show. Pretty much anything with Tina Fey is a winner and the trailer is hilarious. This show seems to have something, even if it's a whole lot of nothing. And yet, even a third debut has its hooks on me.

I'll be the first to tell you that my favorite movies tell stories of ordinary people in extraordinary situations. From Shawshank and "The Truman Show" to "The Game" and the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, I'm astounded by tales of the regular guy (or hobbit) finding strength and facing the fears that surround him. Even M. Night Shyamalan's "Unbreakable" grabbed me by the heart and pulled me in; although one could argue that Bruce Willis' character wasn't exactly an ordinary guy, but that was after he discovered his 'powers.' So of course I'd be intrigued by "Heroes." Can you tell I only watch NBC? "Heroes" seems like an Unbreakable story with the number of character to challenge the X-men. Although it does seem like they researched and analyzed the public's love for Wolverine and Superman, disected their strengths, and created individual characters to embody said powers. Not exactly original, but the execution could still be great. As a side note, next time you see the trailer for Ali Larter's character, Nikki, listen to her answering machine. "Hi this is Nikki, leave a message." It sounds exactly like the answering machine from "Swingers" where Jon Favreau's character continues to leave messages after getting cut off. Now that I think about it, all the "Heroes" trailers are told like that original Unbreakable teaser.

Funny how television is becoming more like film. Teasers, trailers, high definition widescreen, event programs, commercial free (for those of you with the right technology), even the cinematography, and visual effects. I guess this makes things easier for actors to move from film to television (Alec Baldwin) and so forth.

May I also say "Kudos" to NBC for airing the pilot of Michael Mann's "Miami Vice" in support of it's film adaptation with Jamie Foxx and Colin Farrell. I have to admit I don't remember actually watching the show, but I saw the pilot tonight, and dare I say it was actually good. Dare I go farther to say that Don Johnson did a decent job. Michael Mann, you haven't made a bad film I've seen, don't fail me now.

Friday, July 21, 2006


Stopping by Old Navy this evening, I couldn't help but be reminded of a certain Seinfeld episode. I can't remember the exact episode, but Kramer joins Jerry and George at the hospital because he thinks he might find some heavy-duty gloves there. Jerry and George are in a hospital room talking with someone getting surgery (may be "The Junior Mint") when Kramer busts through the room with a handful of rubber gloves in his hand. "PAYDIRT," he exclaims!

When we walked into Old Navy and I saw tons of signs proclaiming, "take an EXTRA 50% already clearance marked items", I said to myself the same thing. Five shirts and $17 later, actually it was zero bucks later since Lyndsey's Mom handled the sale (Thank you), I was happy. This included vintage polos, baseball T's, and graphic T's. As a designer I sorted through the graphic T's choosing designs I thought reflected a belief or emotion that I could relate to. As a fan of $4 shirts, I honestly could've cared less. In the end though, it was palm trees, California prints, maroon, blue, and red shades that rounded out the collection. Summer is my favorite season.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Lightning Crashes, a New Father Cries.

Thankfully, everything is ok.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Smiles All Around.

Smiles All Around.
Originally uploaded by jtpuck.

I absolutely love this shot of Lynds and Ian after our anniversary dinner last weekend. Just before my Kahlua Cocoa Coffee slice of cheesecake came to the table, Ian woke up and started making a fuss. Fortunately for the other patrons, The Cheesecake Factory gets so loud you could barely hear him. Grandma Moore took him for a walk outside, then after dessert we took a few pics by the fountain. He still wasn't happy. Poor guy went to the Cheesecake Factory and didn't even get a slice.

Day to Day Operations.

Day to Day Operations.
Originally uploaded by jtpuck.

On a good day, this is how Ian and I hang out. He's not exactly tall enough to get the most out of it, but he likes looking around. It was tough at first trying to maneuver him into the front-pack; but I quickly figured out how much easier it is when he's not crying or hungry. This front-pack helps me accomplish some tasks like, oh, I don't know, typing an email or brushing my teeth or taking Ranger outside. Otherwise I'd be holding Ian in one arm and trying to maneuver said items with the other....not easy folks, not easy. However I don't think this will help when I need to spray paint wine bottles, or use an X-acto to cut cardboard. You can't exactly sit down comfortably while wearing the pack either. Maybe Ian can help me sketch this weekend.

Laundry Day.

Laundry Day.
Originally uploaded by jtpuck.

I mentioned previously that our dryer was on the fritz. It wasn't heating. It was something we should have noticed as our laundry loads began to take 2 and 3 rounds to actually dry. Needless to say, all of our laundry got pretty backed up over two weeks and we needed to do something about it.

I was reminded of a place back at A&M called "Harvey Washbangers." Quite the clever name for a laundromat that doubles as a bar/restaurant, complete with a small reading space and Galaga arcade machine. It was great. You could take a load of laundry and take a load off with a Bud on tap. Just remember the washing machine number and look up to the Press Your Luck scoreboard for your lucky number to turn off and whammo, your laundry was done. Plus on Mondays, they had 20 cent wings. I was hoping to find one of these around town.

The best I could find was a little place called The Laundry Lounge over in Ansley Square. It was a nice place to do laundry with decent prices, great machines, and little reading area. The place was air conditioned, which is rare for laundromats, and good to take Ian along with us. The best thing about laundromats is that you have tons of machines to use. We had 6 washers going at one time, then 5 dryers held everything we had. Add to that the large tables to fold everything up and I'm happy (sad) to say that it made for a nice family outing.

As of now, our dryer is back up and running after Lyndsey's folks ordered a new heating element for us for our second anniversary. What would we do without them.

Thursday, July 6, 2006

Oh, What's Going On.

I didn't realize it had been so long since I last posted. I guess that's because time has been moving faster than a speeding locomotive. Which gets me to the first thing I've been wanting to tell you about. Saw "Superman Returns" last week and was absolutely floored by it. The effects, production design, action sequences, Brandon Routh, and the story were all fantastic. If this is the only movie I see all summer, and it probably will be, that's cool with me. Bryan Singer hasn't made a bad movie yet. It's amazing how much technology has changed since the original film in '76. "Superman Returns" is a blockbuster worth supporting.

Monday marked the first day of my 8th and final quarter at PC. Registration was the smoothest it has ever been, my loan check was ready on time, and it felt really great to be back. First steps are to take an inventory of all my projects, evaluate what's going in my book, what's missing, and then get crackin'. We're talking 18-24 pieces plus 3-4 handheld books. They say it's all about time management, embracing the creative process, multi-tasking, and hiring professionals to take care of some of the dirty work (photography, color correction, printing, the box). I'd say that's quite a bit to keep me busy.

Wednesday marked Lyndsey's first day back at work since having Ian. It was just him and I manning the homebase, oh and Ranger too. The three of us had a rough morning since one of us didn't seem interested in having a mid-morning breakfast. Thursday and today have been better. I figure I can get about 4 hours of classwork done in an 8-5 day, if everything goes well. I'll have to figure out how much everything else will take.

Friday marks the day when Ian's three surviving Great-Grandparents come to town. Lyndsey's folks are driving them over from Texas. They are the coolest GGP's I know. They'll love hanging out with Ian, helping us fix our dryer (a story for another post), and maybe even some homemade tasty treats. I guess I'll have to get started on a couple of final projects...

Which reminds me, the only reason I was able to finish everything on time last quarter was because of Lyndsey's parents. Ken and Kaye Moore were a blessing to have in town during Ian's first few weeks in the world, and my last few weeks of 7th quarter. They helped out tremendously with household chores, dinners, and tending to Ian. Those extra hours were perfect. Thank you for everything.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Sunday Ads Up.

Ever since sophomore year of college, my favorite part of the Sunday newspaper were the ads. More specifically, my favorite part was that 20 page booklet of blue newsprint with yellow price tags labeling the sales for the week. Ah, when I think of those blue and yellow tags, I think of DVD's 3 for $20, $9.99 new release CD's, and I think of spending the afternoon at Best Buy. In fact, while I was working in Houston, Best Buy was 8 minutes from my apartment and 2 minutes from my workplace. That's why I have 2 large binders filled to the brim with some of my favorite movies. Working at Borders, I take a moment on Sundays to peruse the Best Buy ad from an AJC (don't worry, I put it back so someone else can buy the paper) and this week found a great deal. The new album from Dashboard Confessional, "Dusk and Summer", will be on sale for $9.99; AND, if you show a student ID you'll get an extra 3 bucks knocked off. What a steal! Sale starts Tuesday and goes through Sunday.

The month of June is a great time for new music. It's like someone knew I was going to have a baby and therefore not purchasing much music in the near future and decided to release albums from some of my favorite bands at the same time. How dare they! So I'll be missing out on the new albums from LIVE, Guster, Keane, and the aforementioned Dashboard. Feel free to donate any {purchasesd} copies to the Poor Puckett Foundation for Missed Music.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Looking for Robyn.

Hey Robyn, hopefully you still read this. Send Lyndsey or myself an email, we don't have your contact information. Thanks.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Please, No More Chips.

I need a new snack. Chips and salsa are just not doing it for me anymore. Oatmeal Creme Pies are good for like a day before I get tired of them. And the animal crackers Lyndsey's mom got from Sam's are just lacking the flavor I need in a good afternoon snack. What kinds of things do you like? I know some of you are going to say an apple, or a banana, or something healthy; and that's ok, but it's something I already know. I'm looking for something new or something that's slipped my mind for the past few years. I love a snack with some good flavor, something that works with water, lemonade, or a coke. Something I can eat with my hands, from a bag or poured into a bowl, and definitely not something that takes an hour to make and is only good for one sitting. I don't mind spending time to make it if it will last a week or two. Any snack ideas?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Talent on Television.

So I was watching Bravo's "Celebrity Poker Showdown" tonight when something host Dave Foley said caught my ear. He mentioned they had to go to commercial break to pay the bills especially since cable TV only had three years left. Now that's funny and quite an interesting note. Then I turned to NBC where I was horrified at the premiere of "America's Most Talented." Another reality show that humiliates people that think they have talent while raising the hopes of those with it. This thing is just ridiculous. Andy Warhol is laughing in his grave. I just don't know what to think anymore. At this rate, primetime may have less time left on the clock.

Entertaining is a craft that few in the world can do. I watch television to be entertained and I'm not entertained by the joe schmucks in the world that profit off humiliating people that don't realize they're being humiliated. I love to be entertained by those that know what they're doing. Writers, actors, directors, musicians, performers that have honed their craft to make people laugh, cry, or sit at the edge of their seat. Sitcoms, courtroom and hospital dramas, home makeover shows, even game shows are ok. But when businessmen sit around and say "let's find the most talentless, ridiculous people around and put them on television and let them think they're talented becuase people will watch it and we'll make millions", that just drives me over the edge. That's one of the reasons why I love "Celebrity Poker Showdown." It's celebrities on a reality show, so they know how to make it fun, and they're playing for charity. Plus, I get to learn how to play Texas Hold 'Em.

So I'm not dogging reality television as a whole. I happen to enjoy it on most occasions. I think "Last Comic Standing" is a stroke of genius. If Chris Porter or Josh Blue release a comedy album or come to Atlanta, I'll be there. But when it means to degrade individuals around the country, count me out. If someone thinks they're the greatest knife juggler in the world, let them go about it on their own, and not humiliate them on national tv. I'm still waiting for the day when we can subscribe to television networks on a per channel basis.

Ian Montage

Ian Montage
Originally uploaded by jtpuck.

The little guy is getting big. He is now four weeks old and starting to get bigger than his britches. The other day he wore his first non-newborn sized clothes, how cool is that? The nights are still kind of random. He does great one night and not-so-great the next. Last night was not-so-great. He loves to eat like the rest of us, but doesn't want to sleep as much as the rest of us. I'll tell you what he loves to do. He loves to fill those britches with a recycled milky substance similar to rice pudding.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Karaoke Baby.

Singing Together
Originally uploaded by jtpuck.

If there's one thing I like to do when I dance, it's to sing. Here I tried to teach Ian the ABC song, the one by the Jackson 5.

Let's Dance.

Daddy & Ian
Originally uploaded by jtpuck.

Ian and I take some time out of the day to dance. He told me he wished his feet could touch the ground.

Friday, June 16, 2006

The Last PC Critique.

Audrey and Mary (both are Texans at Portfolio Center) posted about their critiques yesterday and inspired me to post comments on their respective blogs (see sidebar for links). As I was leaving a rather lengthy comment on Mary's, I figured maybe I should write about it on mine as well.

It was my 7th and final critique at PC wednesday night, but it was the first one that was strangely different than the previous six. Maybe it was because 3 of the 4 panelists knew Lyndsey and I had a baby three weeks ago, maybe it was because I was the first presentation of the night, or maybe it was because of the work.

I have always completed all assigned work and only twice not finished a day early, the other time was when I had Hank's class 5th quarter. The biggest compliment they had was that it was amazing how I could complete the projects from 5 classes after such a demanding event in my life. First time I had heard that. The other thing was that they could tell I was passionate about my work and that I clearly stated the objectives, goals, concepts, and solutions for my pieces. That's the one thing I had heard everytime since first quarter, great presentation and communication of ideas. The thing that surprised me the most, which was my goal for the quarter, was that some of the projects actually worked! That I had good ideas AND good execution, craft included. I couldn't have been happier and this couldn't have come at a better time.

Then came all the bits and pieces about unreadable type on a dark background, and type cut across a spread, and maybe change this part of the poster or refocus some of these things. Ok, ok, fine, whatever, I understand, if I had another week I would have changed that. But the ideas actually worked? That's amazing.

With the 8th and final quarter looming, my previous projects quivering in the basement hoping to get revamped for my portfolio, I finally get the feeling I'm ready. That I've actually learned something and can put it to good use. Finally, after seven quarters, I have the critique I always wanted. It's constantly being said that Design is about the process, the plan for creating something. My entire experience at Portfolio Center has about the process. And they've created a monster.

Of course today I realize, my Phaidon Online Strategy Brief was just a presentation of my idea and not a fully functional website. The Coca-Cola/Beijing Systems book was researched and worked on by all 8 people in our class, the book itself laid out by Mr. Typography himself Brice Beasley. My Choice book wasn't even read by the panelists, just looked at, which is kind of good because I messed up the page numbers in the text bigtime! And I had some illustrations that a panel of designers really didn't care much for, only Michael Goodman, the bookmaker, mentioned an appreciation for my New Yorker cover. Really, it was my Typeface Design that was a good idea and a great execution. Which is fine because I spent 10 hours a week on that one...but, I digress. Onwards to 8th Quarter!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Seven Hours Till Critique.

Originally uploaded by jtpuck.

I mounted my last illustration this morning and now all is complete. Here's the place where I usually work, granted it's not always this messy. Printer/scanner in the back, my iBook, sketch paper, drawers of materials, wire racks for books and such. Note the tall 5 shelf stand in the foreground. Always had that upstairs in my bedroom until Ian moved in. Realized it would work great at my desk. I had one shelf for each class, making my notes, printouts, and handouts easy to separate.

There's a "New Yorker" cover I did for class taped to the wall, 3 books and some display boards piled underneath the stack of books on the top shelf. This keeps them tight and flat. Also, there's my promotional poster for the Typeface I designed. It's a 5' tall Doric Column, looks great from across the room. And just like any Portfolio Center student during studio/critique week, I've got my list posted of projects to finish and things to do. Thankfully, all tasks have been marked complete. Now if I can just figure out what to say...

Sunday, June 11, 2006

To Write or Not to Write.

Originally uploaded by jtpuck.

I've written my first book. At 10,000 words, it's more of a quarter-life memoir. In preparation for having a child, and then actually having the child, the book is about how choice builds character. I've taken five of the most character-building events in my life and written them out in the form of a choose your own adventure book. The intriguing aspect is that I only know the outcome of one of those choices. By going in the other direction, you end up reaching a blank page, allowing you the freedom to write in your own story to share with others.

Writing it was one challenge, designing the book was something else. The craziest bit about it was actually coming up with a title. When I thought of the idea last quarter, I was toying with a title of "Mathematical Birthdaycakes", hoping the story would be about the formula-led life I've lived. The story I wrote turned out much different. In fact, you've probably experienced the same stories I did, perhaps with different results. For a day, I had used "I Can't Decide on a Title, But I Can Setup A Projector." The title kind of made sense when you got to the last chapter of the book, but it just seemed like a cop out.

In the end, I really like the simplicity and power that comes with the main idea of my story, choice. I'm still working on the cover, but here is the right page of my Title Spread in the book. I'm sure the type treatment has been used before, but I'm happy to use it because in my case it actually means something.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Baby Steps.

First Footprint
Originally uploaded by jtpuck.

It was good to see all ten toes when Ian was born. It was also cool to see how they printed his first steps. There wasn't just a stamp pad that got pulled out of an old drawer for Ian's baby feet to paint with. Technology has advanced even the most primitive printing methods. Instead, the nurse had what looked like a 5x7 inch plastic frame clasping around the edges of a thin transparent sheet over a layer of ink. She laid the frame onto a page and brought it to his feet. His feet pressed against the transparent layer, identity lines pushing through into the ink and onto the page. Voila! Instant footprint without all the inky mess. Very clever, I must say.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Silly Bilirubin.

Photo Therapy
Originally uploaded by jtpuck.

So I mentioned the word 'jaundice' in an earlier post regarding the yellowing of Ian's skin. It was constantly brought up in every check-up by the neonatologist while at the hospital. His numbers had started average and slowly got higher throughout the week. When we visited the pediatrician for the first time yesterday, they grew into a high risk zone.

Jaundice is a common condition in newborns that causes the skin and whites of the eyes to become yellow, due to increased amounts of bilirubin. When bilirubin builds up faster than a newborn's liver can break it down, excrete it into the intestines, and out of the body through stool, a baby becomes jaundiced. If a baby's bilirubin level gets too high, it can cause permanent damage to the nervous system. You can treat jaundice by increasing the frequency of feedings, causing frequent bowel movements, therefore saying bye-bye to the bilirubin. If that doesn't work, say hello to Phototherapy.

Phototherapy uses fluorescent light to help transform bilirubin into a form the body can eliminate quickly. The equipment is a cross between a flatbed scanner and a mini-tanning bed that sits in a bassinet for the baby to lie on. Wearing only a diaper and a cap, he's wrapped in baby-scrubs that velcro shut to keep him in position. Flip the switch and on go the fluorescents. We started this last night, and over 12 hours, his bilirubin levels had already begun to decrease. Today at the pediatrician's office, 4 of the newborns that had come in today showed high levels of bilirubin, so it seems to be fairly common.

Interesting side note, Lyndsey went through this same process when she was a baby. As an adult, she has a bitter taste towards bright lights, especially fluorescents. Ian is taking after his mother more and more each day.

Lastly, how many times did I use the word 'bilirubin' in this post? Go back and count them all, then mulitply that number by a thousand; that's the number of times I've heard that word in my entire life. The first time I heard it was Tuesday.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Home on the Range.

Going Home
Originally uploaded by jtpuck.

After four long days in Piedmont Hospital, we got the go ahead to go ahead and head home. So we got packed and packed up the car to pack up the highway for the journey home. It's time to be real parents. Real parents without nurses and lactation consultants at our bedside, without scheduled knocks on the door to check vitals, without remote controls that can call up a pint of prune juice and a bowl of cream of chicken soup at the push of a buton, and of course without a plastic slinky disguised as a lounger for dads to sleep the long nights on. Home, sweet pillowtop, home.

Sleeping Baby.

Sleeping Baby.
Originally uploaded by jtpuck.

With just a tad bit of jaundice, Ian enjoys some rest after a great feeding (nice job, Lynds). Take a look at the grip on this guy. Taking charge with just one hand, and with his eyes closed! What do you think? Quarterback? Power Forward? Pitcher? Bowler? Ok, ok, Architect? Designer? In a few years, we'll see what this kid can do with a pencil.

A Family Gathering.

A Family Gathering.
Originally uploaded by jtpuck.

Sure we've got a thousand photos, and sure I could post all of them up on another photosharing site so you can spend some time at work scrolling through an Ian Slide Show; but I'd rather just tell you a bit about some of my favorites.

Ian was born as week 8 of the quarter was about to start. Hank, the PC prez, was thankful enough to offer some excused absences from class, and Borders said 'do what you gotta do.' Luckily, a couple of projects I'm working on don't require space to cut, paint, draw, or use the internet for. Take for example, Typeface Design. I've got my alphabet pretty much sketched out and scanned in, so it's all in my iBook. It's just a matter of tracing letterforms in Illustrator and working with their details. As the Puckett family gathers at the dining table in Room 250, we all get to do something we love.

A New Mother.

New Mother.
Originally uploaded by jtpuck.

Can you believe this little lady gave birth 48 hours from this picture? God Bless her. Lyndsey is one tough chick. I don't know if it's her 10 years of softball or what, but when she sets her mind on something...nothing can stop her. Not even contractions, incisions, or needles; 85 RN's, CP's, or BP's serving chills, pills and apple juice fills; or even all-night feedings, mid-day greetings, and tender breasts heaving.

Ok, so that perhaps that last one was a little out there. But believe-you-me, after bearing witness to everything 'labor'-intensive, any form of modesty gets thrown right out the window.

Lyndsey, you're beautiful, and I thank you for bringing little Ian into our lives. I still don't know how you did it.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Behind the Curtain

Behind the Curtain
Originally uploaded by jtpuck.

Shielded by this blue wall of danger, I sit pondering the special effects in progress on the other side. Staring at Lyndsey scares me (and her) as her body shakes from numbness. Who is the man behind the curtain? What will he look like? How will his entrance into this world change our lives? We're not in Kansas anymore.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Elements of a Story.

The Introduction.

What started at 5:30am Sunday morning and ended at 10:56pm that same night, was the most unbelievable experience of my life. I'd like to introduce you to a new creative.


Originally uploaded by jtpuck.

Rising Action.

Cesarean Prep

Daddy C-Prep
Originally uploaded by jtpuck.


Fresh from the Womb.

Fresh from the Womb.
Originally uploaded by jtpuck.

Falling Action.

Post Surgery Family

Post Surgery Family
Originally uploaded by jtpuck.


Birth Announcement

Birth Announcement
Originally uploaded by jtpuck.

The Conclusion.

Friday, May 19, 2006

iBaby Update.

Well, Lyndsey completed her 38th week of pregnancy on Thursday with a weekly checkup. It appears that iBaby, Ian, is bigger than we all expected. "Not 10 pounds big, but big," said the doctor. Lyndsey was still only 1 cm. dilated, her blood pressure good, and Ian's heart rate good, but he didn't seem to be dropped into her pelvis. That's where he needs to be in order to make his way out of the tunnel. The doctor thinks he might be too big for Lyndsey's small frame. So next week we'll have another ultrasound to get a better feel for his size and location. If he hasn't dropped any further, we'll have to schedule an appointment for a Caesarean Delivery.

They suggested the possibility of simply scheduling an induction to get labor started, but that they wouldn't let Lyndsey try for very long before administering the C-section. So if they seem pretty sure about his size, we'd rather just schedule it and let it be, we're ready to love this little guy!

A Caesarean had always been on Lyndsey's mind ever since we first started talking about children. She's built like her mom, who also had troubles delivering her first girl and ended up with a C-section...which resulted in the same cut when Lyndsey was born. It's in the genes. Although you may not see it in myself or my brother, tall strong bones are in the Puckett genes. All my cousins on the Puckett side are 6' plus and played either Basketball or Football in high school. Maybe Lyndsey and I will end up being the little people in the crowd cheering for the 6' power forward who averages 10 rebounds a game.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Words of Wisdom.

"I believe you can go to school to learn to be an accountant, a doctor, a physicist, an engineer, an astronaut. I am not sure you can learn to be an artist. Artists are born, not made, and the real reason to study the arts is to have fun, learn technical skills, network with other creative types, fall in love with people who are not boring, and do the work you probably would have done anyway."

" a teacher of film appreciation, I believe faculties in the arts are sainted. They must guide, advise, moderate, encourage, teach methods, provide a context, share secrets and declare an informed opinion on the worth of the work. They create a world within which such work is possible and valued. What they cannot do, I suspect, is teach a student how to be original and creative."

- Roger Ebert
taken from a review of "Art School Confidential"
directed by Terry Zwigoff

One of the reasons why I love Portfolio Center is because the instructors believe this too...most of them anyway.

Sunday, May 7, 2006

We're Gonna Need A Bigger Summer.

I know, I know, so I quickly posted about M-I:3, subtley announcing my extreme excitement over the new film; but what I really wanted to announce was the start of the summer movie season. There is a lot of hype over the releases (Da Vinci Code, The Break-Up, X3) and a lot of worry about potential box office struggles like last year. I'm hear to say that there is no need to fear. Who cares if M-I:3 opens up quieter than expected, I believe this summer will be about longevity; and it will be clear who the winners are. I believe audiences aren't as dumb as studios think they are. This summer, we want to be thrilled, moved, sucked into the worlds brought to the screen. Our hearts MUST race. Our laughter MUST echo through the AMC hallways. And most importantly for the sake of studios, our voices MUST communicate to each other the power of what we experienced. Longevity through word of mouth will bring success to the films that make us soar. A good trailer doesn't hurt...

Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you SUPERMAN RETURNS.

Thursday, May 4, 2006

Two Words.




Saturday, April 29, 2006

Stick It.

There are two things I love about a movie theatre experience. One of them is not the popcorn. I'm talking about the certain steroids that can juice up an audience like a rock concert. Amazingly enough, the new gymnastics film, STICK IT, is pumped with those drugs.

Of course, this film was not my choice since yesterday was Lyndsey's birthday. The only thing I was expecting was a great performance by Jeff Bridges, and what I got was something more. I was involved. I was rooting for the girls. I was laughing with the guys. Sure I was turned off by the cheese and the formula, but the film's challenge at gymnastics scoring was too cool for school. A great twist in an otherwise standard fish out of water sports film. The most magical moment was at the apex of conflict in the story when Haley Graham (Missy Peregrym), after being confronted with some old challenges, lets her emotions take over in the middle of a balance beam routine. We can tell she's hurting as she almost loses her balance. She goes into a hand stand, stretches her legs out, and then, the camera takes her perspective, looking down onto the beam. In dramatic slow motion (and formula foreshadowing a fall), we see a single tear drop onto the beam; cut to a medium shot of the bar, the tear so heavy it splashes chalk off the beam...I'm squeezing the armrest as we go back in full motion. Haley flips back onto her feet struggling for composure and we see she's just wrecked by the past. It's a beautiful moment that makes a 'who cares' guy like me care for gymnastics. She finishes her routine, and walking out of the arena were told about the past.

The two things I love about a movie theatre experience are:
1. Audience Participation--When a film hits you right where you weren't expecting and you react in the 3rd dimension. For me it was squeezing the armrest. For everyone else, it was clapping with excitement during the final act of the film.
2. Audience Inspiration--When a film hits you right where you weren't expecting and in the end makes you want to tell someone you love them, or apologize for what you did wrong, or research a topic you thought you weren't interested in, or question yourself and others. For me is was about wanting to FLOOR IT with my school work. For everyone else, it was getting on their feet and dancing in their seat after the final act of the film. Or the guy who stuck it to the theatre by offering ROCK! fingers in the form of a shadow puppet over the projector. For Lyndsey, it was saying, "If I weren't pregnant, I'd do a cartwheel down the aisle."

Although, after rereading this, they could be combined into the one thing I love about a movie theatre experience: the audience.

Friday, April 28, 2006

More Short Films.

I was telling a classmate of mine how I was reminded of a particular animated short film when looking at his character drawings. Quite unique. As far as most of MY sketches; well, they remind me a lot of the animated shorts by Don Hertzfeldt. And that's not exactly negative. It's amazing just how much story and emotion this guy can pack into his 2-6 minute films with little or no dialogue and the most elementary of drawing techniques. Pure genius...alas, I guess I'm not that good.

Genre. Don's first film.
Ah L'amour.

Funny, funny stuff.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Balancing Act.

Speaking of inspiration, I've been thinking a lot about some of the great animated short films I've seen over the years and the level of respect I have animators. I have no idea where they come up with some of this stuff. From old Disney's shorts like Tortoise & the Hare and Mickey & the Beanstalk (which you can now get on iTunes), to Wallace & Gromit claymation and Pixar digital shorts. Luckily, I came across one of my favorites that you can now check out on the web. It's an Academy Award winner from 1989. About 6 minutes of so. I love a good metaphor.


Sunday, April 23, 2006

The Creative Shroud.

The impending duties of fatherhood are upon me...and Ian hasn't even been born yet. It's only 10 after 10 in the evening and I feel like a hand towel wrung up and ready to dry. It's not any different from what everybody else does: laundry, cleaning, household chores. What's draining is that it happens every weekend. With school and projects clouding over my mind for 3.5 days (sleep fills the other half Monday-Thursday), and family man rounding the week, balance is lost. That's not like me. I've often said that family is my biggest inspiration; can you believe film is a distant second. But I can't seem to be inspired in my current projects. Challenged. Yes. Excited. Yes. Inspired. Not quite.

I finally finished McLuhan's "The Medium is the Massage" after wanting to read it since Hank's class 5th quarter. I finally got the book yesterday, and read it in 3 hours. It's over 150 pages and mostly a picture book, so don't get too excited. But it's the pictures that tell a great story. The few words that invigorate the mind. Occasionally, a page and a half of classical poetry not even Mozart could compose. If only I could harness it. My goal would have been to remember a simple 6-word phrase to fill you in on; alas, I would have to grab the book to find it. It's my mind that needs massaging. As an amateur designer, I worry about the real world. I worry about finding inspiration in the everyday. All I can think about is joining my wife in bed, comforting her during these last few weeks before Ian is born. Perhaps he'll be the inspiration I've been looking for.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Celebrity Seins.

There are 3 signs to look for when spotting a celebrity: sunglasses or glasses (if they don't normally wear them in the public eye), baseball cap, and an untucked screenprinted t-shirt. They don't often come into our bookstore, but being located in the heart of the city, near a train station and up the street from the Fox Theatre where artists often perform, makes for a good place to hang out during the day of a show. I've seen a few here and there like T-Boz (the 'T' in TLC), Colin Quinn, and Vern Yip (from the original Trading Spaces), but today was something to report about.

I was on the other side of the music department when I heard Elton say, "Hey, you're Jerry Seinfeld, nice to meet you. Yeah, the soundtracks are right around here." W H A T !? I peeked over the soundtrack sign, saw a baseball cap, then glasses, then the comedian himself. And I can't believe I didn't offer my usual over-the-top customer assistance! As an employee in a retail shop, yes, we're supposed to greet and offer service to every customer within 10 feet (it's in the handbook); but as a celebrity (or any other person for that matter), they don't always want to be greeted by every employee within 10 feet. So I headed back towards the information booth disappointed that I headed right towards the cafe when I should have gone left towards soundtracks.

A few minutes later I noticed Mario Joyner was perusing the shelfs behind him. For all the SEINFELD fans out there, Mario was the driver of the 'Maroon Golf' in the episode "The Puerto Rican Day" when Jerry and the gang get stuck in traffic during the middle of a parade. Of course Jerry was driving his "Black Saab." Mario is also a comedian, you may have seen him back in the day on MTV. He's opening for Jerry at tonight's show at the Fox Theatre. Both are great LIVE, saw them in Dallas 2 years ago. It was quite a morning seeing the king of my all-time favorite television show. The only words I got to tell him were that I was excited for his animated film coming out this year called "Bee Movie". I asked if there was a release date yet, and he answered, "Yeah, it's coming out November 6th."

"That's great," I replied with a smile, "I can't wait to see it."

Didn't get into my previous internship with Dreamworks Animation (who's producing this one), or my collection of all the Seinfeld DVD's so far, or that I wished they could organize a reunion. I did however give my props to 'Maroon Golf'. His simple response was, "Heh, yeah." I can only imagine what he said under his breath. Oh and, Jerry purchased the soundtrack to the film "The Wizard of Oz", in case you were wondering.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Blinded by Chester.

Ranger & the Cat
Originally uploaded by jtpuck.

Chester is the neighborhood cat that drives every dog on the street absolutely crazy. Ranger's favorite thing to do when he sees the cat is make an attempt at jumping through the window, only to find a plate of glass fogged by the warmth of his barking breath. On an occasional afternoon while Ranger is tanning on the back patio, Chester will scurry around the corner appearing face to face with our orange & white pushover. It's a Mexican standoff without guns and moustaches. Today was the mother of all cat teases. Someday I'll unhook the beast and give Chester the scare of his nine lives.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Halfie with a Mission.

I was on my way home today around 1:45pm and desperately needed to get a Borders Scholarship Application into the mail by 5. There's a P.O. on Dresden, just off Clairmont a mile or 2 from my duplex. Upon exiting 85-N I notice the whole off-ramp is backed–up like getting preshow tickets to Episode 1. I think "accident", no big deal. 5 minutes later I get to the light and cops have the left turn blocked off. I'm forced to go straight to Shallowford and turn around on the feeder. No big deal. Getting back to Clairmont there's more cops, but traffic is moving. No big deal.

I see muchos gente de Latino Americanos walking around wearing white t-shirts. Brain flips on. Immigration law, Atlanta Farmers Market, barricades I saw leaving my house this morning, Dresden Rd, Buford Highway, Taco Veloz, QT @ Buford and Clairmont, pan dulce, elotes, Brownsville, Charro Days, Elizabeth street, parades, P R O T E S T, post office.

Traffic halts.

A Very Big Deal.

As the Tripping Daisy disc I started when I left school fades into The Verve Pipe, I inch closer to Buford @ Clairmont, it's 2:38 and the rest of Clairmont is closed to thru traffic. Without lunch and an umpteenth personal realization that I'm Hispanic and wish I spoke Spanish, I call Lyndsey for assistance. She wants refreshments and offers a potential shortcut to her office (which come to find out everyone else knows) where there's a PO box that picks up at 4:30.

I'm there by 3:25 and Lyndsey gets her Dairy Queen Chocolate Sundae. I hope I get the scholarship.

Funniest thing I saw while in traffic (at least it's funny to me): guy-in-a-tie steps out of a silver Land Rover, passenger side, to smoke a cigarette. Driver rolls the window down as not to halt conversation. As the car crawls, smoker hops onto the side rails grasping the luggage rack, takes a drag. Apparently you should not smoke in a Land Rover. Got that, Anne?

Thursday, April 6, 2006

Holy Stock, Batman!

Sweet & Sexy Duplicate
Originally uploaded by jtpuck.

One of the perks of working mornings at Borders is that I get to unbox and tag New Release CD's and DVD's before the Tuesday shelf date. I smirk at the new Troma film, gasp at 100 copies of Chronicles of Narnia (in 3 editions no less), and get a quick glimpse a lot of new CD cover art.

This was the first time I saw this: 2 albums with the same stock image. Witness Poison's new 'Best of' record and a 'sweet and sexy' collection of New Urban Jazz, both released this past Tuesday. Reading the stats on the back of one of the albums gave photography credit to Getty Images, the stock capital of the web. So I went and found it with 3 key words...can you guess them? Yep, legs, sexy, and stockings. I figured 'sweet' might not exactly work.

As a student designer, stock photography websites are great places to find images for projects. Depending on the subject matter, it can take 3 minutes (like above) or 8 hours. Often times, 8 hours. As a personal goal for this quarter, if I need an image, I'm going to try and take it myself. I hope I don't need sweet and sexy legs with stockings.

Tuesday, April 4, 2006

Georgia Aquarium

Georgia Aquarium
Originally uploaded by jtpuck.

Pops-In-Law came to town last week and we made a little visit to the new Georgia Aquarium downtown. Billed as the largest aquarium in the world, this place was very cool. It was setup like any other theme park with different themed sections. Very interactive, and with some great aquariums overhead and down below. Here's one of them. On the left is a 'people mover' where you can stand and be taken through, or you can walk at your own pace on the right. Very, very cool.

Getting Older.

Yesterday was the first day of my 7th Quarter at Portfolio Center. Turns out things were a little hectic. Schedules weren't completely ready, some instructors were taking a quarter off from particular classes, and some of us were still waiting on financial aid to come through. Most of that has been taken care of; but I'm still waiting on my schedule. Had my first class last night though, thanks to a call I received. BRAND INTERACTIVITY, exploring how a brand can translate onto the web in a world that is no longer based on simple functionality. How can you create a brand experience? What does it mean?

Funny thing is that half the class are a 4th Quarter group. Folks that that have pretty much grown up on the web. I was first introduced my senior year in high school. Our school got connected and our whole class registered for FREE Hotmail accounts. It was unbelievable. Most of these guys were designing web pages by their senior year in high school. That's unbelievable. For the first time, as far as I can remember, I feel old. And that idea of the young guys taking over your job is on display right in front of me. Thankfully, I'll be graduating first.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Criti–Size Me.

Originally uploaded by jtpuck.

Thursday night I completed mt 6th quarter with a critique of my final work. Only had 3 panelists this time around as the 4th got moved into another group. From left, Scott McBride, Linda Doherty, and Gary Weiss provided me with one of the best crits I've had during the program. Not that my work was the best its ever been, but the discussion was the best. It wasn't so much of a critique as it was a conversation; which is strange because that's something I refer to on my website. They loved my presentation, could sense the pathos in my process and brand understanding; but some of the work fell flat. The hype didn't equal what I showed.

What you see here are the panelists wearing 3-D glasses I provided them to use for my Atlanta Symphony Orchestra poster. Check it out at my website. On the table you'll also find some of Kraft Food's pieces, ASO book (by Gary) and postcards with a slight hint of my Mondavi wine bottles. The magenta mini-books are a promotional piece I worked with Nick Skyles (Boats and Stars blog) on. From a 2-day workshop, in which Nick and I completed the piece in 2 days, 5 weeks later, we created a Be A!ert campaign on how young girls can protect themselves on the web. Came with a button to add to their fashion accessories.

Now we get a 2 week break before the next quarter and it is welcomed. It's going to be an exciting and strange quarter starting in April. With Ian on the way, tough classes on the roster, and some close friends out of town on internships, I'll be spending a lot of time at home.

Thursday, March 9, 2006

Observation of D.

Everone has their own unique way of listening to music. Thanks to iTunes, you can also have a unique way of organizing the music that you listen to. From 5-star rated playlists, to everything by R.E.M., to specific lists you make with Sinatra followed by Soundgarden. Most of the time I put it on shuffle and let the gods do the playing. My friend Joseph, has all his tracks rated and occasionally checks out his 0-star list for songs he hasn't ever listened to. Mike on the other hand has a strict "no-shuffle" policy and must listen to an entire album chronologically before going on to something else.

To shake things up a little, I've been picking a letter. Last week I started with 'M', and listened to all my tracks that start with the letter M. When I get to the end, I choose a new letter. It could be at home, at school, my laptop, or directly from my iPod. The other day I went to 'D'. The first track was "D'yer Mak'er" by Led Zeppelin. Then came U2, Depeche Mode, U2 again, Led Zeppelin again, not too bad. 2 hours later, I noticed I was singing a particular word quite often. That word was "Don't". Out of the 70 tracks starting with the letter 'D', 10 of them started with the word "Don't." I haven't been through the entire alphabet yet, but that seems like quite a large percentage.

Don't Cry
Don't Do It
Don't Fade on Me
Don't Follow
Don't Go Away
Don't Know Why
Don't Look Back in Anger (twice, studio and live unplugged version)
Don't Speak
Don't Stop Till You Get Enough

2 of those are songs by OASIS. They obviously feel very strongly about certain things that should not be done. If I come across any other letter anomolies, I'll let you know.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Online Portfolio Addendum.

So I previously mentioned that I'm finally working on an online portfolio, something I've been thinking about for a while and apprehensive about taking on. It's actually going pretty well. I've got my concept and the layout figured out, just need to photograph some of my work to get on there. Hopefully in about 3 weeks, I'll launch the website and all of you can finally take a closer look at the work I've been doing over the past year and half.

Recently, a friend of mine named Dave Werner graduated from PC. Dave is truly a web masta (as well as a lyrical gangsta). In lieu of a printed portfolio, Dave opted for a full blown, interactive, online portfolio; a digital job application + interview that is a virtual representation of who this guy is. Absolutely amazing. I mean, he's practically documented every project he worked on during his time at PC and has included video clips of his process, research, sketches, and concepts to accompany the actual printed work. I urge you to take a look at the future of design portfolios: OkayDave

Mine won't be nearly as fun, but I'm still learning.

Things Are Heating Up.

It's week 8 and the quarter is on the downhill slope. This means it's time to get picky with my projects, get color prints tested, order paper, and finalize design schemes. In other words, STOP BEING LAZY. The Olympics are almost over, the Oscars are coming up, only a couple more childbirth and parenting classes left, but lots of work to do. Add to that today's seminar from Microsoft, which ought to be interesting, and a 2-day workshop I was invited to take part in. By 2-Day, I mean, we actually meet on 2 days, but we have the rest of the quarter to finish the project for critique; i.e., an extra project that wasn't originally on my schedule; i.e, almost too much to handle.

So, let's review:
Professional Practices: Robert Mondavi Wines, a 3-bottle series, picnic set with small bottle, 2 wine glasses and wine key, and a 3-Ad campaign.
Type & Image: 48-page Atlanta Symphony Book, 8 postcards, and a promotional poster.
Advanced Packaging: Kraft rebranding, 5-package series, plus point-of-purchase display (hand rendering), and still possibly a 3 page Brand Positioning Statement (which we haven't really talked about)
Internet Design: Fully functional personal website for use as an online portfolio (I'm about halfway done)
PLUS the Workshop: Graphic Agitation piece, which I'm working with Nick on (see Boats and Stars in the blog list), will be a complicated piece that we haven't quite figured out yet.

Whew, are you tired yet?

Tuesday, February 7, 2006

Do What You Feel.

Wow, sometimes I feel I have no idea what I'm doing or why I'm doing the things that I feel.

Today in Professional Practices, I may have done something right. All it took was some assurance from my classmates.

Thank you, we'll see how it goes.

Thursday, February 2, 2006

Blogging is Connecting.

It's amazing how blogging has impacted our lives today. Every person, every industry, every idea is discussed, analyzed, and commented on everyday. And if you're like some of my dear old friends, you'll type in people's names checking up on them. I wonder if so-and-so has a blog? What are they doing now? WHAM! There they are.

On my previous post talking about my packaging projects, a lady known as the "Packaging Diva" posted a comment on some ideas to consider with my designs. Turns out she's from Atlanta. I mentioned her to one of my instructors, she called her, and now she'll be visiting our class in a couple weeks. Blogging is connecting.

So for those of you that have found this, thanks for thinking of me. Don't forget to bookmark it for updates. If we haven't spoken in a long time and you have some extra time to kill, check the archives to really follow my life each and every day [almost].

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Packaging Decisions.

So I'll be doing some packaging for 2 classes. For Professional Practices I've chosen to rebrand Robert Mondavi wines. This was to be our 4th project in my Design History class last quarter, but we didn't get to it...and I was pretty bummed. So I'm using that for this class. Should be interesting. Mondavi is into a natural process of winemaking and environmental safety, so I think I may go for a little Jugendstil (German Art Nouveau) inspiration and perhaps a completely hand-done look. Big props to Doobz for his suggestion, he was reading my mind.

Secondly, for Advanced Packaging, we were to choose a nationally known brand to rework in a mass-merchandising format; i.e., products of the same brand found in different areas of a store. I'm gonna take a stab at KRAFT foods. First off, the logo is fairly dull. Secondly, they've been around for over a hundred years, generation after generation of families have passed down the name in their homes. How about a nostalgic approach? Kraft is about comfort; about family. Perhaps the packaging could be a celebration of its heritage? We'll see. The hard part for me is actually doing it.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

QUICK: Rebranding Ideas!

I've got till Tuesday morning to choose a brand, research and analyze for a packaging project. And I have till Wednesday night to choose another brand to research, analyze, and begin sketching ideas on new packaging for an Advanced Packaging class and I can't think of anything. I'd like to do a wine label, or something for women, or a food that might be better in a bottle. Do you have any ideas! I'll give you 24-36 hours to post.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

It's A Boy!

Ian Matthew Puckett
Originally uploaded by jtpuck.

Today was the big day, and boy was it. Let me just mention two things: 1. Lyndsey noticed it before the nurse did. 2. Ian was not shy at all. Oh, and if you can't figure out the perspective, this is actually looking up from beneath him.

Monday, January 9, 2006

Anticipation Exasperation.

I am so happy to have come across a repeat of INSIDE THE ACTOR'S STUDIO with special Guest Mike Myers. I first saw it in May 2004 and wrote about it on this blog, check the archives. Just great great stuff. Watching Mike and James Lipton riff off each other in and out of his beloved characters is sheer genius.

I also find myself typing up some notes and homework for my classes tomorrow. My 9am is ready, my 7:30pm is not, at least it's not quite organized yet. Both classes, Professional Practices (the business of design) and Type + Image are very serious projects with extremely organized, respected instructors. If I can get these classes right, I can get my projects right. First I have to stop my hands from shaking and get these concepts straight.

Wednesday, January 4, 2006

The Paradox of Choice.

Well, school has started up once more. Picked up my schedule on Monday and I don't really have too many complaints. Would have liked to added Systems Design, but apparently it's already full and those of us that didn't get it THIS time will get it NEXT time. I'm skeptical, as this is not the first time I've heard this, but next quarter will be my last chance to take everything I want to or have missed. Next quarter, I'd like to have an internship. Next quarter I'll also become a Dad. Choices, choices, choices.

Speaking of choices, I picked up a book before the year ended, "The Paradox of Choice." Been great so far, just tapping into the meat of the book. A sociological look into how the increase of options in our consumer world doesn't make things easier on us. Why more is less. Just thinking about it is overwhelming.

This quarter boils down to this: 4 Classes. Professional Practices, Type & Image (a whopper), Advanced Packaging (Do or DIE), and Internet Design. Hopefully in ID, I can create a site for myself and my work instead of choosing a pre-packaged design as you see here.