Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Changes, changes and new blogs

It has been way, way too long. But I've decided to retire this blog and use my own domain (seeing as I've shut down the graphic design business).

From now on, find me at:

I look forward to seeing you all there!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Best fime of year

I really enjoy this time of year. I don't have any awful baggage that clings to me when I think of Christmas. I feel like that frees me up to just rest and enjoy my family. Unfortunately, I don't have my sis and bro-in-law around this time. I'm going to miss out on doing the sibling tradition of the first one awake jumping on top of the other in the midst of dead sleep and yelling, "It's Christmas! It's Christmas!" I've been reigning champion for about 10 years now. The look on my sister's face is the best payoff.

I do have two extra guests with me this year. My friend Judith has left her dogs with me for a week while she visits family overseas. They're a handful, but I'm enjoying having them around. No crazy dog-soiling-bedding stories so far and I'm keeping my fingers crossed for the rest of the week.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Putting Down Some Roots

I've been taking a lot of time to look at my life and my surroundings and I've come to this conclusion: I have put down very few roots.

The more I think about it, I wonder if that is the most important thing to be worried about at this point in my life. It also begs the questions of whether I need any roots. That's the academic in me. The pragmatist in me says that the answer is yes, I need roots.

In the last two places I've lived I have almost refused to unpack everything or to put pictures on the walls. Not consciously. I just couldn't be bothered to settle in. In short, I haven't made the places I've lived in feel like a home. What's with that?

But this week I've been feeling very unsettled about being unsettled. I've looked at my apartment and I wasn't feeling good about passing by the assortment of boxes and clutter that were strewn about my home. So I had some help yesterday in getting some new furniture and unpacking the last few remaining boxes. My place isn't exactly where I want it yet, but it's a damn sight closer to the goal. I actually feel like I want people over. I actually feel like I have some permanence that I want to share with those around me.

I think that previously I had been feeling like the bottom could drop out of everything at any moment and it was best not to get too attached to my living space in case I had to run at a moment's notice. Very odd, considering that I lived at my last place for almost 8 years and I have no reason to think that I'll be leaving my current place any time soon. I suppose it has to do with the uncertainty I have felt about my life for a number of years now. It's uncertainty about friendships, relationships, work, profession, church, etc. But I'm finally coming to the realization that I don't have to actually embody uncertainty in the midst of the uncertainties that swirl about me.

How do I live that out? I start by unpacking some boxes and making a home for myself. I start by putting down some roots.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

My local coffee shop needs new ventilation systems

I don't know how many of you have had the new hot breakfast items from a certain coffee shop from an un-named city in the Northwest of the United States. They're really very tasty. Essentially, they are gourmet egg muffin sandwhiches with names like "Peppered Bacon, Egg and Aged Cheddar" and "Eggs Florentine with Baby Spinach and Havarti." Delicious! However...

I was just in the store across the street from my apartment to have a coffee and to read The E-Myth (an amazing book that makes me feel like the author just observed my last few years of running a business... but enough on that subject today). I came to a realization that I'm not enjoying the in-store Northwest Coffee Chain experience as much as I used to. And it's because of the hot breakfast items.

I used to come to the stores to enjoy the smell of the coffee beans freshly ground and espresso freshly pressed. Now, all I smell is the breakfast items... no matter what time of the day it is. Perhaps the company could vent the ovens outside. All I know is that it's impacting my in-store experience and that's pretty much the entire reason we all go and buy our coffee from them.

My parents are in Mexico right now with some friends. Let me just check off the traveling they have done this year: Christmas in Edmonton... check. Numerous trips to Kelowna... check. Switzerland for a month in August... check. Puerto Vallarta, Mexico at a luxury resort... check, dammit!!!

Take a look at the view from the house they're living in. Absolutely sick. Have I mentioned the shitty weather we've been having??? I hate my parents this week.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Oh, how I love the weather here!

It was so nice and peaceful this weekend sitting on my couch and watching the snow fall. Until last night, that is. That's when the rain rolled in and turned it all to the grossest slush that can only be described as slurry. It was disgusting.

The snow is mostly gone now thanks to the rain. But it did leave one lasting impression with me this morning.

I was on my way to meet Will at Starbucks across the street from me and I was finding it hard to get off the sidewalk without stepping into some snow. My right foot got a little wet, but I quickly jumped out of the slush.

I then crossed the street and realized that I was going to have the same problem all over again! How was I to get onto the sidewalk without stepping into the melting snow? What was that I saw? Oh, it was the entrance to the parking lot! There's no snow there! Oh wait... there may have been no snow, but there was a 3 ft. deep lake erm... puddle. Hmmm... must find another way.

No other way presented itself so I stepped into the snow... and right into another 3 ft. deep puddle beneath the snow. As my sister would say, "Good times."

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Back online

I last wrote on this blog in early September. Jordan Bateman and I had just finished a large 15th anniversary corporate retrospective for Phantom Screens of Abbotsford. It was definitely the largest project I had ever worked on. 130+ pages of text that was laid out and formatted. A few hundred photos to colour correct and resize. Some very particular clients with a lot at stake. It was fun and I'm incredibly proud of the project.

It was that project that illustrated for me how out of whack my professional life had become. We made a profit... in fact, it was probably the first project I have made a real profit from. That really opened up my eyes.

I'm going to be a bit harsh on myself for a bit. But, bear with me because it has a redemptive ending... well, the ending hasn't happened yet, but the path seems to be turning out to be redemptive.

In addition to my design work, I had been struggling for 2 years with a high-tech marketing company that a friend of mine and I had been keeping afloat by sheer will alone. It was taxing every fibre of my being, my bank account, my health and in August I was ready to just run from everything. That's how bad it had gotten.

So at the same time when I was actually getting a project right for a change, the high-tech company got some new partners and a new lease on life. Suddenly, I didn't feel like I had to carry the whole operation on my own shoulders. I had help and support. We got investors. We started doing intensive planning and dreaming. It was like a real business.

In the space of a few weeks I feel like I went from being a pretend businessman to being legit. I found the ability to ask good questions and make good plans... I went from wanting to cut and run to being ready to build something amazing. I have found resources inside me that I somehow knew were there, but I didn't know how to tap into them.

So, starting December 1st, I go full-time in partnership in a new company called Broadburst that I have been helping to incubate for the past 2 years. It's going to fly and my partners and I are going to be wildly successful. It's a little scary. It means that I'm leaving graphic design as a profession for a time so I can build something that will allow me to build whatever I want in the future.

The other week I had a burst of creativity for myself and I made simple desktop wallpaper. It didn't have any corporate logos or attempt at self-promotion. It was just for me and my desktop so I could remember what I was feeling at that moment. Even though I did the art on my computer, it felt analogue. Here were the words:

"i keep looking around the room and i wonder how i got here. is this me? did i plan this? did god plan this? how come he didn't tell me? what if he did and i didn't listen? so many questions and the future is pretty ambiguous on the ultimate ending. what ending? it doesn't end. why would i want it to? isn't this interesting? isn't this what i wanted? isn't this as far away from boring as i could get? yes. i think this is what i wanted."

Friday, September 14, 2007

Anticipation after hard work

Tomorrow is the unveiling of a project that my business partner and I have been working on for about 6 or 7 months. It's certainly the largest project I've ever worked on and I can't wait to see the looks on the faces of the people it's being presented to -- they have no idea this project was being done.

I can't say any more until after tomorrow because they could inadvertently read this and find out and spoil the surprise. But, the event tomorrow is really one of the reasons I got into this business in the first place. Seeing the tangible results of your creativity and the joy it brings to others is a feeling like no other. I would often get the same feeling after performing in a play where you could feel the audience being drawn in to the world you have created and then applaud a the end. No feeling like it in the world!

After tomorrow, I'll talk more about the project.