Category Archives: The Soup

These are random series of thoughts that may occur at any given time. May or may not be edited, and definitely not pre-meditated.

The best things that ever happened in my life… so far.

Growing older comes with aching body parts that I didn’t even know I had to slowly but surely realizing my life has been awesome when I had a chance to reflect at the many things that I have done in my personal life and career. So, in an effort to try something that I’ve never done before, I will celebrate my birthday by creating a list of the best things that I remember experiencing. I will keep adding to this list as I remember events and happenings. I hope that you will find some joy in the simple things in life as I have.

  1. I was born today, on January 21. Thanks to my loving parents, Nelia and Leonardo.
  2. Getting that huge birthday cake with a massive jack in a box decoration with corndogs on a stick circling the entirety of the cake when I turned 7.
  3. Trying to make mashed potatoes with my brother, Kersey from sliced potatoes in the stew that my mom made.
  4. Tasting Dr. Pepper for the first time.
  5. The first time I successfully rode the bike without training wheels and supervision.
  6. My mom discretely sending me multiple choice answers with her hands, while sitting with the audience at a school math competition in 3rd grade. I still laugh at this one.
  7. Every time I played basketball at the driveway with my brother.
  8. Getting excited and anticipating the birth of my sister, Tanya.
  9. Wondering why my mom hasn’t come home from work at the hospital, then realizing she went to labor and just gave birth to my youngest sister.
  10. Making paper boats and placing them on puddles.
  11. Playing in the rain.
  12. Attempting to skateboard but couldn’t stay up on the board, so I decided to lay on it like I was Superman and weave around my parents’ house.
  13. Using the curtain rod and a tennis ball as a makeshift mini basketball set.
  14. My dad sneakily walks into the house and surprising us. I didn’t see him for 3 years because he was working overseas.
  15. My dad introducing burritos to my food pyramid.
  16. Making the school basketball team in 7th grade and receiving my first jersey with my name on it.
  17. Learning how to play the drums in junior high.
  18. Making all-county chorus in junior high. Cool and Ewwww at the same time. Hahaha.
  19. Meeting my lifelong friends in high school. One of them ends up being my wife, Amy.
  20. Marching with the drumline at the Pride of West Virginia.
  21. Recording with the WVU Band’s keynote concert
  22. Making the Graphic Design program at WVU.
  23. Meeting lifelong friends in the art department. Those guys are crazy, yet awesome.
  24. Recording the first live CD with my post-college band.
  25. Getting my first agency job shorty after graduation.
  26. Marrying my best friend in the world, Amy.
  27. Moving to Knoxville, Tennessee when it was close to 100 degrees in July.
  28. Going on my first cruise. Although, I still fear the wide open view of the ocean.
  29. Going to the Sugar Bowl in Atlanta where WVU won as an underdog to UGA after a fake punt.
  30. Building, closing and spending the first night at the first house we ever bought.
  31. Getting my logo designs published as one of the best in the world.
  32. Meeting my first born daughter, Kaylin
  33. Meeting my second daughter, Kadence
  34. Seeing the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas. Twice.
  35. Going to Vegas for the first time and coming home on the plus side of gambling.
  36. Being on a reality tv show for TLC.
  37. Reaching 10 happy years of marriage.
  38. Waiting 3 years for a video game to be released and it was worth the wait after playing it almost everyday.
  39. Playing disc golf almost daily with the guys at work.
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Something Worth Thinking About

The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity, answered:

“Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”

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My Concert to do and done list.

Been thinking about this a while and really wanted to make a list of all the shows and bands I’ve seen in my lifetime – just because. This will be an ongoing list as I remember them.

DONE

After Midnight Project
The All-Mighty Senators
Arrested Development
The Black Eyed Peas
The Black Keys
Bleu
Blues Traveler
Busta Rhymes
Boy Sets Fire
Boyz II Men (Hahaha)
Chevelle (3X)
Colbie Callait (Don’t Laugh – My wife dragged me to see it)
Coldplay (Don’t Laugh Either)
Copper
The Dave Matthews Band (14x)
David Ryan Harris
Default
The Deftones (These guys kick so much ass!)
Eagle Eye Cherry
Edwin McCain
Fergie
Fuel
The Head & The Heart
Hoobastank
Imagination Movers (With my daughter)
Incubus
Kansas
Kanye West
The Flaming Lips
The Goo Goo Dolls
Journey
Toby Keith
Live
The Mars Volta
John Mayer (2x)
Macy Gray
MC Hammer (My first ever concert)
Marvelous 3
Jason Mraz
The New Relics
Nickelback (Yep, that’s right – Chevelle opened for them and I was already there)
North Mississippi Allstars
The Presidents of the United States of America
Reel Big Fish
The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus
Staind
Sugar Ray
10 Years
311
Third Day
Three Doors Down
Tim Reynolds
Trapt
O.A.R.
Outkast
P. Diddy
Wyclef Jean

TO DO:

Aerosmith
The Beastie Boys (Probably won’t ever happen)
Ben Folds
Breaking Benjamin
Cold
Eminem
The Foo Fighters
Jay-Z
Jurassic 5
Nine Inch Nails
The Police (Missed my chance at Bonarroo 2007)
The Roots
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Rage Against The Machine
Vanilla Ice
Van Halen
Weezer

 

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My love/hate relationship with graphic design.

Today, is Valentine’s day and what better day to talk about a subject that I hold dear to my heart… graphic design. Sniff Sniff. Don’t you just feel all warm on the inside when you see a well-executed design? You know, the feeling where you just say to yourself…”Wow, that is cool” Sometimes it’s followed by the occasional… “Why didn’t I do that?” “Or I wish I’d thought of that.” Regardless, have you ever thought about how the tools we use everyday can significantly affect how much we love or hate doing the things we do? For example.

Making beautiful, thoughtful, meaningful designs on Photoshop. LOVE.

Making beautiful, thoughtful, meaningful designs on Powerpoint. HATE.

Well that’s about it. Talk later.

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A couple things I wished I learned in Design School

No, it’s not.. “I wish I learned how to draw a dinosaur with Microsoft Paint” or something like that. This is a list of mostly things that I’ve experienced during my short time being a professional graphic designer. I got a lot more of things to learn but here’s a quick rundown.

1. Most of my work will not be critiqued by other designers.

When a non-designer critiques a design, they are generally less informed about the design process and techniques as they lack the background a designer has. Because of this, they often aren’t able to effectivly communicate the message as a designer would.

2. You usually don’t have a full week to concept, develop and execute a great design.

During the work week, there’s a lot of “emergency” projects that needs to be turned around almost immediately. With a full plate of other design projects, limited time is spent on certain things and usually the small details suffer.

3. Put more emphasis on web design because print will almost be dead within 10 years.

Getting the correct training to be prepared for the ever-changing landscape of design is very important. I am glad I have my background in print, since it helped me with my transition from going from a 95% print: 5% web designer to 90% web: 10% print in a year.

4. Social Media will show how many “non-designer” people with a copy of Adobe Suite will make all designers cringe at the sight of really ugly designs.

For example: MySpace backgrounds.

5. Collaboration is key.

Design school was a very hard-nosed competitive program. Everyone wanted to show-off their designs skills and everyone kept design secrets and resources to themselves. But in today’s world of design, it seems that camaraderie between other designers are more typical. Any other set of eyes that can critique a mundane project with the most boring subject and give it a practical solution can be the difference between a disaster or a successful project.

6. Business and marketing classes should had been a program pre-requisite.

Interacting with clients is best way to understand and manage your projects. Learning about pricing, marketing strategy, markups, budgets on time and money, etc… will go a long way in sufficiently handling every aspect of the projects.

7. Web development and programming languages.

Flash was a very new application that started right around the time I was wrapping up my senior year. Actionscript was such an intimidating language that it made me fear going deeper into my understanding of Flash. Nowadays, most designers write CSS, Javascript, PHP and of course Actionscript – that it actually helps them visualize the project and eliminate unnecessary and unrealistic elements of a design when working with developers and programmers.

8. It’s rare that you get to design some really cool stuff with really cool subjects with no intended demographic.

If your base clients are Nike, MTV, Comedy Central, Quicksilver, ESPN etc.. then most of the creative can be abstract and brilliant eye candy. But what if your clients are government agencies, suit and tie buttoned-up high-tech companies, and rustic furniture re-sellers – those brilliant and edgy design ideas are pretty much put on the shelves.

9. How about a Pre-Press class for 1 solid semester?

Beside designing that awesome 125-page magazine from top to bottom, and yes, including the ads. We have to always be a couple steps ahead to make sure no headaches happen when you package that final file and send the files over to the printers. I learned a lot of technical things from my favorite printers and none of them ever existed in the realm of the design studio lingo. So even though the design world has somewhat abandoned the print path for the cheaper and easier-fixed web design projects – knowledge of the print process should still be a major arsenal in your post-production skills.

10. You will spend more time with the people you work with than your actual real family.

I am very very glad that I enjoy working with the people at Pyxl. They are all open-minded, have a great sense of humor, hard-working, understanding, crazy, smart, innovative, creative so on and so forth. They’re pretty much my default second family. But if you dread going to work everyday, then your work suffers as well. Your co-workers should be a great asset to your design development as they give you a different perspective in finding a solution in areas you’re not an expert in. So better be nice to all of them. Maybe buy them lunch or a round of drinks during happy hour – or just be nice.

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Great TV Shows that should make a comeback.

The HoffI don’t watch much tv anymore. But if I did, it would be watching cartoons with my daughter or following WVU sports (they’d been breaking my heart as of late). But when I was younger, these shows were great. Entertaining, funny and worthwhile. Some were re-made –  like Knight Rider, which was a disaster (nice try NBC). Is there a petition of some sort where we can bring these shows back? If anyone knows, let me know.

1. The X-Files – a must watch every Sunday in the dorm room with my roomate. I believe our next door neighbor is still an alien. The shape of his head was freaky.

2. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air – By far the funniest show I’ve ever watched on tv. Carlton rules. Nobody can get enough of the dancing.

3. Seinfeld – Never has a show made something random and irrelevant so hilarious.

4. Old School Nickelodeon Shows – You Can’t Do That On Television was my favorite. The sliming was great!

5. Unsolved Mysteries – Robert Stack’s voice is so creepy yet awesome.

6. MacGyver – If I were not a designer, being like MacGyver would be my next choice as a profession. Did you know his first name on the show is Angus? What?

7. The A-Team – How can you not tune in to a show that blow up stuff and has Mr. T in it? A new movie in the works too.

8. Knight Rider – A talking car in the 80’s was crazy!!! That’s why I liked it. Bring back the Hoff and give him the same Trans Am.

9. Married With Children – Funny line from Kelly – ” Bud, I’m gonna kill you and then I’m gonna bury you alive.”

10. Miami Vice – Great action show with guns, fancy cars and mis-matched suits. No wonder my dad got me watching it.

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